There are 3 beaches in a line on the bottom of the island called Skinaria, Amoudi and Damnoni.
They each have something special. If you go to one and the sea is too rough, it would be fine on the next beach.
If you take the road to Plaxia from the village of Asomatos, the first beach you reach is Skiniria. This is a safe sandy little beach.
The furthest beach is Danmoni, it is a really long sandy beach where you can hire pedalos, and there is a great floating pier that you can swim from.
The best beach of all is called Amoudi. We call it the drop off because it is like the drop off in Finding Nemo.
It is a small beach with a river on one side, and what makes it really special is that you can walk out into the sea on a huge flat rock, and then jump into about 10 feet of water.
If you are wearing a mask or goggles you can see hundreds of fish. The last time we were there we brought some little bits of salami from our sandwiches
into the water with our snorkels on and all the fish went mad for the salami, and that is my favourite place to be.
On the road from Asomotas to Plaxia, Crete.
If you are interested in spending your holidays in the heart of a peaceful and natural environment, visit the island of Alonissos is order to enjoy an unforgettable experience. See alonissos.atspace.com for a useful travel guide.
Delphi is usually the second point of interest on every traveller’s list when planning their itinerary for Greece. Second only to the Acropolis. 180 kms from Athens it is quite easily a day trip. The famous oracle of Delphi has a fascinating history. But how does one get there?
You could go on one of the tours. Or you could do what we did. You would need two things. A map of Athens and a metro map. Armed with that you head to the nearest metro station and head towards Kato Patissia on the Green line. You exit the metro station and head towards Terminal B on Liossion Street. It’s a ten minute walk at most. Ask for directions or follow the map. I find the metro a lot faster than the bus, but you could take a bus from Syntagma (the centre of Athens) to Terminal B. The bus terminal itself is more or less like an inter state bus terminus in one of our metros. If you are looking for great service and smiling personnel, take the tour from the city centre. At the terminal, go to the office and look for a kiosk marked for Delphi. There is a bus going every couple of hours or so. We managed to take the one that left at 10.30 am. The ticket was approx 10 Euros. Buy the return. Actually, decide if you would like to stay in Delphi or Arahova. If not, get the return ticket.
If you're looking for a special place to stay in the Greek islands, look no further. The Magic Hotel is ideally located and is superb in every way possible. Their rooms are luxurious, service is first class, food is scrumptious and the views are breathtaking. It is the perfect place to stay for a relaxing holiday.
Agia Paraskevi, 370 02 Skiathos, Greece
++30 24270 49453
In Athens, the most important map you will need is a metro map. You can get one there, but better to get comfortable with the places and the connections before you land there. It is fairly simple. There are only 3 lines and you cannot possibly get lost. There are metro lines and an ISAP suburban railway line. You will find a map on www.ametro.gr. There is a coastal tram and a convenient bus service in Athens.
Buses are the best way to get around mainland Greece. Fairly inexpensive, and a good network. There are 2 terminals in Athens, which service different regions of the country. There is also a good train network that connects the main cities. Two train stations — one for the west and one for the north.
The ferries to the islands would blow a considerable hole in the pocket, even if you take the slow ones. Schedules are fairly reliable so you need to check at a travel agent or head down to Piraeus and book tickets. You don’t really need to take a taxi except when you venture out at night. Public transport makes most places quite accessible. On the islands you could rent motorbikes for a day and that’s the best way to discover the place.
Hydra is a great place to visit if you like taking photographs. You would think that the entire island had been deliberately set up for the perfect photo shoot. You just can't go wrong. The colours, quaintness, odd little corners, the donkeys (there aren't any cars) and the reflections are gorgeous and that's just in the port!
I love going up the hills to get the best sunsets especially in the spring when there's still enough cloud about to make them interesting. And inland there are hundreds of pretty chapels normally stranded in the middle of a field that just beg to be snapped. Come with plenty of extra memory and batteries - you'll need them for sure.
One of the Greek Saronic Islands, 1.5 hours SW out of Piraeus, hugging the Peloponnese coastline.
Fly into www.AIA.gr
Take a taxi or the Express bus to Piraeus
Cross to the island with www.dolphins.gr or www.euroseas.com
And for comprehensive island information visit www.hydradirect.com
Avoid the modern day intercity for a romantic night ride on train 504.
It departs Athens central station at 22.50 arriving at Thessaloniki at 5.30 just in time for morning coffee and fresh bougatsa (cream pie).
Early booking can secure one, two, three or four bed compartments but the real thing are the six bed compartments in older cars.
True old fashioned experience on one of Europe's oldest trains with the bonus of the lovely city of Thessaloniki at the end of the journey.
A cosy jazz 'museum' in the posh area of Kolonaki.
Enjoy vintage jazz in an appropriately smoky environment and have a philosophical chat with Costas the legendary owner.
Avoid telling him that you prefer modern jazz (that's anything after bebop!), he may ask you to leave his bar!
4 Deinokratous st (oposite St George Lycabetus Hotel)
Real Cretan food in a nice casual chic environment.
Fresh produce shipped daily from the island of Crete. Owner Stavros Theodorakis, famous Greek journalist is around most nights making sure his guests have a great night out.
Gamopilafo (Cretan risotto served at weddings) is the best you can get outside Crete. Around 40 euros per person including wine and dessert. Reservation recommended.
Vrasida 13 (oposite Athens Hilton)
Avoid Perssia and Fira. Fira is overcrowded, overhyped and feels more like Ibiza than an exclusive Greek island.
Perssia is just plain tacky with an awful beach, and caters only to the British package tour of a certain demographic - as witnessed by ubiquitous signs for 'full English breakfasts' and the Sun and Fredrick Forsyth novels in the newsagents. Whilst Oia is also overcrowded (especially when cruiseships dock), it is indescribably pretty, with better beaches, and with the best views on the island.
Oia doens't have the nightlife of Fira, but the atmosphere is much much nicer, and you can always pop over to Fira to go clubbing.
Melenio cafe is a great place in the centre of Oia. It is on a little terrace and has the best views over Santorini. Very different to the rest of the restaurants/cafes in the village, very relaxed with amazing cakes and fresh juices.
Oia hostel is a great, clean and cheap place to stay (and Santorini certainly isn't cheap). It's very un-hostel like in a positive way and in an excellent location.
Ammoudi port is the best place for a swim in Oia; however the climb back up to the village is pure torture. It is a rocky cove with the clearest water I have ever seen, but space is limited so get there early.
Visiting vineyards is a must, especially as most have small restaurants attached.
Also, Atlantis Books is a rare find of a bookshop anywhere in the world. It is in Oia centre and must be visited, international literature, and the shop is a delight.
Katharos Beach - one of the best beaches in Santorini. Follow signs out of Oia village and it is a 15 minute walk.
It is hidden away between rocksides and cliffs of the island, with some amazing layers of stones acting as your backdrop. Never crowded and no annoying umbrellas/deckchairs to rent. Black sand and amazing waves.
On the way down to the beach there is the Katharos bar, a great relaxed and unpretentious place. Not tacky, not commercial or overstyled (unlike the rest of the island) - open bar, canvas roof, lots of cushions and chilled music. Again, I've never seen it crowded. Great place to have a drink after the beach.
The whole area makes a great change from the rest of Santorini - busy, busy, busy. Those famed sunsets of Santorini refer in fact to those at Katharos beach.
This is a delightful family-run B&B type hotel. It consists of about 14 small, simple but utterly charming rooms on the edge of the sea, put together round a small courtyard in the style of the old Greek 'village rooms'.
You can swim in the clear sea just below, or you can simply sit on one of the small terraces, drink in hand, and contemplate the view of Aegina across the water. Once there, you may find you have little inclination to move very far! Rosy provides delicious lunches, and in the evening two minutes' stroll will take you to the open-air restaurant, the Alkyone, from where you can continue your contemplation of Aegina and the sea as long as you want.
My family and I decided to visit Icaria after passing by some years ago on a Greek Island trip. We found Evon's Rooms in Faros, not too far from the airport with a beautiful beach.
The owner was very friendly and hospitable and the rooms were cheap, clean and very well presented. We stayed in their biggest room which had four single beds as well as our double and cost us only 60 Euros per night in October.
Icaria is a great place and Evon made our stay even more enjoyable!
Faros Beach, Icaria
Have just read that this is a new shop opening early in 2007 - and just perfect for ordering my wedding flowers as we are getting married at St Pauls church, Lindos in June. Cant wait! Apparently they will have confetti, balloons etc which we can buy there instead of taking with us.
It is a few doors down from the butchers in Lindos
This bar is an air conditioned oasis on hot and sultry nights on Symi. Jean your hostess is welcoming and chatty and knows pretty much everyone on the island. She has contacts for any situation and also manages some rather splendid accommodation. Oh and the bar stays open as long as you are drinking... I don't know where she finds her energy!
Chorio, Symi. Near Square
Santorini has some excellent wines, especially its Vin Santo, a sweet wine. I would recommend visiting one of the many vineyards and trying the various wines, quite an experience - but take a taxi! You can also buy the wines from the vineyards for a very good price as well.
A truly brilliant little bar at the top of the Kali Strata in Chorio (the old town). It is nothing remarkable to look at but sitting under the giant vine watching the world go by whilst Yanni (the landlord's son) brings you beers and snacks is just like heaven. I don't think I have been happier in any other bar.
Top of the Kali Strata, Chorio. Next to the square.
I suggest this nice Italian restaurant-pizzeria for tourists visiting Lindos.
Very nice pizza in wood-oven, very good pasta and very good appetizers. Italian staff, good Italian music, and much more. Enjoy your trip to Lindos.
In Lindos village next to the donkey's station.
They are called tapas in Spain, meze in Cyprus, and appetizers almost everywhere else. But in Greece, they are Orektika or Mezedas. These are the bite size yummies that are served hot or cold, and are supposed to be your starter but can actually be your entire meal. The appetizers in Greece are very special and can be found nowhere else. If you are on a budget, this is the best food to order, because they are tasty, inexpensive, nutritious and filling.
In Greek Tavernas, Ouzarias, and Mezedopolios. See here for more on Greek food: www.travelswise.com/greekfood.htm
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