This was the most unassuming, beautiful, restful spot one could imagine. An hour from the airport through hilly countryside and quiet villages takes you to this wonderful place in the middle of Crete, among mountains and olive groves with the most amazing views from your bedroom balcony on waking. Eleonas is a treasure, peaceful and with amenities like air con, swimming pool and fantastic Cretan traditional cooking. They love children which was a bonus and helpful with anything you need. Great value too, you can book per night. There is also a lovely lake, walkable and quaint village with tavernas for a local treat. Pure simple bliss.
It is a lovely peaceful guesthouse, perfect for an idyllic break away from the crowds and is located in Greece, on the beautiful mount of Pelion, in a village called Portaria. Klio, who runs the guesthouse, is the perfect host and had a lot of suggestions for day trips in the surrounding area, which has many interesting sights.
Αmazing landscapes full of forests, breathtaking views over the sea, spectacular beaches and many picturesque villages in the area.
The hotel is surrounded by a nice garden. All the rooms of Klio are very clean and built according to the traditional style of Pelion.
It is uses a stone which is produced only on this mountain.
+30 24280 99222
With so many places to stay on Crete, how do you decide? One of my favourite resorts on the north coast of Crete is Agia Pelagia, a lovely, laid-back seaside village ideal for a relaxing holiday on Crete.
Its main sandy beach is ideal for children, and the clear waters are perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving.
There's also a good choice of cafes, bars and family run tavernas. One of the must eat places is the new bar/restaurant Almyra - it's a slice of Myknonos in Agia Pelagia with great cocktails and delicious food.
Agia Pelagia is within striking distance of bustling Heraklion and the ancient ruins at Knossos, so it's well positioned for some sightseeing.
In terms of hotels and apartments there's a good selection.
Google map: bit.ly/RbqDeO
Tucked away on a leafy square just off 25th August St, this quirky, family-owned restaurant/taverna prepares creative and original dishes which touch all corners of Greece. There’s no doubting that their range of fantastically fresh local fish and seafood, many of which can be served as small plates (mezedes), ranks among the best in Heraklion. Fresh salads, grilled meats, pastas and risottos, not forgetting their signature dish of pork tenderloin cooked with wine and tomatoes and served in a pita roll (my favourite!) are sure to hit the spot.
Agios Titos 18, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
For many years now, my friends were telling me to go to Santorini and that I would fall in love with this island so this year I did. It was absolutely gorgeous. It is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen. Fira, Imerovigli and Oia are for the romantic couples but Kamari and Perissa are beach villages and they are great for families. I have stayed in Kamari, in Hotel Matina (got the idea from the review here). It is a great little hotel with very friendly owners and the prices are very reasonable.
Nafplio is an amazing city, the architecture especially can amaze you. It was occupied through the centuries by Venetians, Ottomans and many more and it is something you can see at the style of the buildings. You can see old Mosques standing next to neoclassical buildings. While walking to the narrow streets, it feels like living to another century! While at Nafplio, we stayed at beautiful Pension Dafni. A nice pension hidden in the streets of the old city. The room was clean and stylish and breakfast was delicious and fresh. The staff were helpful and made us feel like we were at home. I would totally recommend Nafplio as a stop and Pension Dafni the place to stay.
I am actually writing in response to the article about Greece in TRAVEL, 23.6.12: I have just returned from SW and central southern Crete - Paleochora area and Sphakia (Chora Sphakion/ Frankocastello). This part of Crete is mainly wild, spectacular mountains, empty, spotless beaches with deep clear sea, incredible gorges, tiny roads ending in villages and trails off up to the peaks, very pretty towns. There is little sign of economic catastrophe here. I was amazed to see some German tourists .. either unaware of the 'dialogue' between the two nations'media and politicians, or arrogantly sure the Greeks would welcome them - which they were doing. There is masses of accommodation easily obtained on site - or in advance simply by googling accommodation in the areas/ places mentioned. Travelers should be aware though that 1) Greece has always been a cash economy, even more so now: we had to pay cash for car hire, accommodation, food, petrol. But everything is cheap (apart from car hire). A beautiful room + fridge/ shower/ balcony over the sea/ cooking area easily obtainable for 40 euros or less - so much cheaper than the £40 mentioned in the article. But medical services are stretched: there is an excellent, cheap, private clinic in Paleochora - also Chania (cash only!). But in Chora Sphakion there is only the local public medical centre. Wonderfully helpful, free, but struggling to cope with demand from locals and sometimes there are no doctors there - I know about this as my wife had an accident - do not fall down holes in Crete at the moment! The drive from Chania to Chora Sphakion over the White Mountains, passing through beautiful, prosperous little towns such as Vrysses, follows the arduous, spectacular track that allied soldiers walked when retreating from the battle round Chania in 1941, to the tiny, attractive port of Chora Sphakion from where they were evacuated to Egypt.
Recommended: Haris studios, Paleochora; Paradiso Apartments, Frankokastello - huge amount of accomodation available in both places. You can get to both regions from Chania airport by local bus or taxi but car hire makes you able to really explore - easily obtainable at Chania airport, or in Chania. We used autoclub Crete - cheaper than the rest - but cash only!
Naxos is one of the biggest and most picturesque islands in the cycladic complex with endless beaches and restaurants offering local organic products. The most recognisible ancient monument is the "Portara" the gate of what used to be the temple of Apollo, situated close to the main port of the island. However Naxos has also many Byzantine churches and above all the famous "Kouros", the two gigantic statues which represent a young man. The first Kouros is located in the northern part of the island, in Apollonas and it is not worth the visit, whereas the second Kouros of Melanes is a fantastic sample of the geometric era (7th and 6th century B.C.) The unfinished Kouros at Melanes (or Flerio) is situated in a lovely garden full of citrus trees. At the end of the path there is a lady selling home made marmelades, a treat you just can't miss.
The annual summer festival of Kalamata offers a great opportunity to explore both the new trends of contemporary dance and the endless beaches of the region. The International Dance Festival runs from the 14th until the 21st of July 2012 at Kalamata Castle Amphitheater and Polycladikon Lyceum Gym. During the festival there are also many workshops and off-program events taking place at various venues. The city of Kalamata itself is a charming place situated in south Peloponnese with many bars, restaurants, byzantine monuments and an impressive castle with a magnificent view. Explore the Benakeion Archaeological Museum and the History and Folklore museum of Kalamata. The trekking lovers will enjoy the paths of the mount Taygetos which is situated east of Kalamata.
This Santorini hotel is amazing. It is only two minutes from the black sand Kamari beach in Santorini and in a very nice flower garden.
Greece offers more challenging walking, but none stranger than between the sandstone needles of the Metéora.
Monasteries perched on the pillars were once accessed by rope ladders, replaced only when they broke. Now there are steps, and larger sites like Megálou Meteórou are busy. The hawks hunting in the thermals below, and the black-frocked priests hugging their knees in the ramshackle cable-car to the staff car-park, make it worth the climb. Walks to Ipapandí or Aghios Triádhos are wilder and more peaceful.
Boufidis' Cave guesthouse/campsite in Kastráki, camping from €10, rooms €40 (www.camping-boufidis-meteora.biz/). Kalambaka station: trains from Athens/Thessaloniki, (c.€25 single); buses from Igoumenitsa, (c.€20).
Pelion is crisscrossed with a network of ancient kalderimi, or stone donkey paths, and monopati, or unpaved footpaths. These link the traditional stone-roofed hill top villages and the picturesque fishing harbours, sandy beaches and secluded coves. Walks take you through plane trees in the valleys and olives and pines on the hills. Round each corner there is something different, small springs that provide cool, pure water, glimpses of the sapphire Aegean, splendid sunsets over the Pagiasitikos Gulf and a tsipouro and a meal of delicious regional cuisine at journeys end.
For how to get there, places to stay, walking routes and opportunities to join walking groups contact The Friends of The Kalderimi of South Pelion on Facebook or pelionwalks.wordpress.com
We've been to half a dozen Michelin starred restaurants but this one has to be one of the best if not the best we've visited.
We went for the tasting menu which effectively amounted to 10 courses (including various amuse bouche) costing €140 in total including two glasses of wine each.
Service was very friendly and very relaxed.
The chef Nikos Karathanos won the Michelin star for the restaurant in 2009 and it from our experience will hold it for many years to come!
Small jewellery store in Plaka area. All items are hand made, made from semi precious stones, coral or silver to name but a few materials.
The prices are extremely reasonable with turquoise or coral bracelets retailing from €7 upwards.
Very friendly service with no hard sell.
Adrianou Str 136, Plaka
+30 210 27 75 005
Interesting bar/cafe in the bohemian Exarchia area of Athens.
The Exarchia area has drawn intellectuals and students into it from the 19th century onwards and the area was headquarters of many left wing organisations.
This establishment on the square looks straight out of 1960s eastern Europe with every piece of furniture actually from the 1960s itself. Relaxed easy going crowd pitch up here.
A cafe for the 'elite' of Athens, it is worth a visit to see that the economic downturn has not affected everyone equally. Quite exclusive shops ring the square.
Τσακάλωφ 1, Athens 10673 Greece
+30 210 3602497
Google map: bit.ly/HDb6Br
This was a real find just around the corner from the James Joyce pub. The small entrance on Agiou Filippou Street leads onto a rooftop terrace with a great view of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the Temple of Hephestus.
Beers available from €2 and also serves food.
We were making our way to the Parthenon and it was quite a surprise to come across this village at the foot of the Acropolis.
This white washed village which was carved out of the rocks is reminiscent of a village in Santorini. It was dug out of the rocks by stonemasons from the island of Anafi (near Santorini) who were working on King Otto's Athens palace in the early 19th century. To remind them of home, they tried to recreate their homes of the islands. Anafiotika unsurprisingly means 'Anafi style'.
Just be aware that these are people's homes though the inhabitants (many descendants of the original stone masons) are used to tourists now.
As a matter of interest, there is a plaque dedicated to Konstantinos Koukidis who fell from the Acropolis wrapped in the Greek flag during the German occupation of Greece. The plaque is by the church of St George of the rock.
North east slope of Acropolis
Easiest way to get to the village is to go up Thespidos from Adrianou, and then turn right onto Stratonos. At the end of that street you will come to the whitewashed church of St George of the rock. This is the base of the village and you can then ascend via the winding paths into the village itself.
Google map: bit.ly/IadzQQ
Decent Irish pub in central Athens. As you'd expect it was not particularly cheap but shows all the UK sporting events and has live music as well.
The other three Irish pubs are all located a wee bit out from the centre.
So, you’ve sampled all that the Alps can offer and you’re looking for new vistas…well, why not head for Parnassos? Just two hours drive from Athens on the E75 route and you will be in Arachova, which is an enticing little village clinging to the southern slopes of Mount Parnassos. Accommodation in this traditional settlement ranges from the delightful and simple Maria Rooms, to the five-star Santa Marina Spa. The ski area will be unfamiliar to many, having only opened in 1976 (with no further development until the early nineties). While you won’t be tormented by too many perilous black runs, part of its charm comes from the close proximity of major sites of antiquity, such as Delphi (12 Kms), and the Corinthian Gulf, a further 15kms.
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