Exploring Porto Heli, the “Greek Riviera”

Labelled the “Greek Riviera,” Porto Heli is a luxurious destination in the Peloponnese and home to 5-star hotels, fine dining restaurants, lovely beaches, secluded coves, private bays, and breathtaking landscapes that attract affluent visitors throughout the warmer months.

Location, location!

A 2.5-hour drive from Athens, or 25 minutes by helicopter, this opulent destination is set across from Spetses and Hydra, making it the perfect base for day trips to nearby islands. Porto Heli’s harbour is well protected from the wind and with a gorgeous marina that offers easy access to the Saronic Gulf, it has become extremely popular amongst those who love to sail the Aegean Sea.

To Stay

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa is an elegant hotel with impressive spaces and stunning sea views. Offering guests a glamorous and upmarket experience, here you can enjoy one of its 66 state-of-the-art rooms and suites, two fine dining restaurants, and the world-renowned Beach Club, where you can relax poolside with a drink, and taste local seafood, all while listening to a resident DJ playing cool summer tracks. Otherwise check into Amanzoe, which is one of the most expensive hotels in Greece. This ultra-exclusive and carefully designed resort has an emphasis on health and wellbeing and features an exclusive private beach club and a decadent spa. If you prefer to stay in a villa, there are plenty of options via Porto Heli Villas, where you can rent an exclusive property with panoramic sea views and a private beach, and also check out PortoHeli Exclusive, as they offer a vast portfolio of luxury villa rentals that are ideal for families and anyone with a larger group.

Eat & Drink

Porto Heli provides various options when it comes to wining and dining and is most known for its delicious fresh fish, which can be found at any of the local eateries. Our recommendations are Veranda del Vino, Big Blue, Salt & Pepper, and Rozos Restaurant. For a gastronomical Japanese experience head to Nama, or if you are after something more casual try The Drunken Clam. When craving something sweet, Solo Gelato serves freshly made gelato and desserts, and Café Da Luz is the place to go for a leisurely coffee. As for a place to sip on a cocktail while watching the sunset check out Ostria Café Cocktail Bar.

Tip: don’t miss going to the fishing village of Kilida, about 10 km northwest of Porto Heli, here you will be treated to the freshest and most mouthwatering prawns.

Water Activities

Sailing and yachting are very popular here with a renowned water ski school and the annual Spetses classic yacht regatta. Sea lovers can enjoy plenty of watersport activities such as scuba diving, marathons, kids sailing, paddle boating, and windsurfing.

To Swim

There are so many beautiful beaches, bays, and coves including Hinitsa, Kounoupi, and Blue Beach, which has a nice tavern and also check out Ververonta Beach for its calm water and fancy beach bars. Paralia is the main beach with lots of water activities, while Triantafyllou, Petrothalassa, and Paralia Kosta are secluded and ideal for a picnic.

Day Trips

In 10 minutes you can arrive by taxi boat to the picturesque island of Spetses, as well as the nearby islands of Poros and Hydra, where you can discover pretty towns, shops, cafes, bars, and seaside restaurants. Porto Heli is also great for road trips to historic sites such as the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio

5 Greek Islands for Amazing Culinary Experiences

Are you a foodie going to Greece for vacation? Amazing. This write-up is for you!

Apart from the beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and relaxed vibe, the Greek islands offer visitors an abundance of delicious dishes and delicacies. There are so many things to try on each island that you literally cannot go wrong with what food you choose.

Here, I will include five Greek islands that offer unique tastes and will, for sure, excite your taste buds.

Let’s go see…

Crete

The island of Crete is known for having some of the greatest food in the country. You have to try the ‘dakos’ salad, ‘sfakiani pita,’ ‘bougatsa,’ ‘kaltsounia,’ and ‘gamopilafo.’ Everything is made with Crete’s fresh and pure ingredients, such as locally produced olive oil, cheese, and herbs. Make sure to accompany your food with a glass of ‘tsikoudia’, the popular local spirit.

Naxos

This beautiful sun-soaked island unfolds a rich gastronomic experience. Besides the well-known potatoes (the best you will try, for sure), Naxos stands out for its delicious cheese variety, stew (stifado), goat dishes, such as ‘kleftiko,’ pork dishes and of course locally produced cheeses, like ‘arseniko,’ ‘xinomizithra’ and ‘graviera.’

Insights Greece - 5 Greek Islands for Amazing Culinary Experiences

Chios

An undiscovered island, Chios is known for the ‘mastiha’ (mastic) production, popular in ancient times for its therapeutic value and unique aroma. The island, which is located in the northern Aegean Sea, is also known for its mandarins, which are of high quality and flavour due to the sun and climate, mastelo cheese-perfect for ‘saganaki,’ and ‘kopanisti’ among other delicacies.

Lemnos

An island untouched by mass tourism keeps its gastronomic traditions intact. Besides the rich cultural and historical background, Lemnos (also known as Limnos) presents an exciting culinary adventure. Local cheese is simply delicious; ‘melichloro’ and ‘kalathaki’ are a must-try. Moving on, don’t miss out on the sardines, octopus, and local meat dishes. Last but not least, Lemnos produces excellent wine to accompany your food.

Folegandros

This small island offers stunning landscapes and beaches of wild beauty. At the same time, it unravels interesting gastronomic choices. ‘Matsata’ is one of the island’s specialty dishes, which is fresh pasta served with chicken or rabbit, ‘souroto’ is a salty and soft cheese used for the best cheese pie and ‘karpouzenia,’ dessert is made of watermelon.

Greece is a wonderful destination for foodies, and these are just a few of the must-visit islands for all you food aficionados. It’s also worth mentioning that due to years of austerity, many young people have returned to their homeland and started beautiful initiatives, such as running restaurants or farms, all designed to highlight local delicacies.

What it’s Like to Solo Travel in ‘Lover’s Island’ of Santorini

Santorini is one of the most romantic destinations in the world- a place where couples from all over the globe visit to celebrate weddings and honeymoons. But that didn’t stop 22-year-old journalism graduate and social influencer Ciara Rose from taking a trip to this breathtaking destination alone!

Ciara, who currently resides in California, spoke with IN+SIGHTS GREECE about what it was like exploring this famous Cycladic island solo and shares some great tips on what to do here on your own.  

What made you decide to travel solo to Santorini?

While I was studying abroad in Rome, I realised living in Europe was the perfect opportunity to travel to some of my dream destinations. I had always wanted to visit Santorini, so I seized the moment. I chose to travel solo partly so that I could create an itinerary completely to my liking, and also because I hadn’t met any other student at the time who had the same interests. I learned that you simply cannot wait for others to live your best life.

Insights Greece - What it's Like to Solo Travel in 'Lover's Island' of Santorini

Did you have any hesitation after booking?

To be honest, I didn’t realise how romantic Santorini was until I checked into my hotel as the only partner-less guest. To me, I was simply treating myself to a luxurious experience. I had travelled to Florence and Pisa alone weeks prior, so I felt empowered enough to enjoy my time on the island and gave myself enough activities to combat any feelings of loneliness.

How much did you research before you arrived?

I planned every aspect of my trip down to the hour- from my round-trip flight, my hotel, the shuttle to the hotel and back, restaurants, excursions, and more! While being spontaneous is nice, I find it vital to plan every trip so that you have a backup plan in place.

What was your first impression?

I was immediately in awe! Everything was beautiful – the whitewashed houses carved into the cliffs, the endless Aegean Sea, it was simply breathtaking. I loved the feeling of being there, it was remote and almost empty to the point where I felt as if I had the whole island to myself, as I travelled in the off-peak month of March and I couldn’t wait to explore!

What did you love most about this famous Cycladic island?

I loved the contrast- it felt both large and small, intimate and adventurous, welcoming, and distant. I loved the strong winds, the stray animals, and the incredible views of the sea.

Your favourite experiences?

Even during the off-season, I found many things to do. My favorite experience was booking a photoshoot with Greek photographer, Panos. He took me to the best locations on the island and in the end, I had over 100 amazing shots. I also highly enjoyed horseback riding. It was just me and the instructors, and I got to learn more about their business and Greek history while riding off into the sunset. Finally, I got a fish “pedicure” at a salon that was interesting, to say the least – definitely a must-try.

Insights Greece - What it's Like to Solo Travel in 'Lover's Island' of Santorini

Did you find the locals friendly and welcoming?

They are gregarious and understand when tourists need assistance. I got lost during a hike to Oia, had no cell reception, and desperately needed a taxi back to my hotel. I knocked on the door of a few locals who were having a gathering, and the ones that spoke English gave me accurate directions for the way to the taxi station. I’m so thankful for that.

Was there a time when you felt alone or unsafe?

The nights in Santorini were the most difficult – it was chilly and quiet, and being so close to the sea alone felt strangely isolating. Also, given that most of the cell reception was spotty and unstable, my anxiety increased, especially during my four-hour hike to Oia and back. During that hike, I was truly alone because I didn’t even have the security of the hotel staff to account for me if anything were to happen. I was also briefly lost there for a moment and had to rely on my instincts to guide me back to safety. However, when I was in the main areas and actually around other people, I felt much better.

Would you recommend Santorini for solo travellers?

I would not let the stigma around Santorini being a “couples only” destination deter any solo travellers from visiting. It is entirely possible to plan an enjoyable trip here completely alone.

Insights Greece - What it's Like to Solo Travel in 'Lover's Island' of Santorini

If you did it again, what would you do differently?

Initially, I thought, “yes, I would take someone with me on this trip,” but then I changed my answer. I believe that being solo on this trip forced me outside my comfort zone, which allowed me to further grow and mature as a person, I also gained a lot of inspiration. This is essentially one of the most important benefits of solo travel – it teaches you to rely only on yourself. The only thing is I would maybe visit closer to April or May when more shops are open and before the chaos of the summer months.

Will you be heading back to Greece? 

I would love to take my mother to Greece to see her experience the massive beauty and culture the country has to offer. If I ever get married, I would also bring my partner here to explore.

Your tips for travelling to Santorini alone?

Plan at least a month in advance of where you wish to stay, how long for, and have an idea of what to do. Also, get your money converted and bring enough cash – many vendors did not take cards and the ATMs charge fees. I would advise setting up an international cellular plan with your mobile so you remain connected to home and can make calls in case of any emergencies. Lastly, I would say to have fun! Enjoy it to the fullest because travelling solo is a luxury, not many have the flexibility, time, or confidence to do so, so take pride in your freedom and find a way to document your time. I recommend journaling, creating a website/portfolio, or starting a blog like I did so that you can reflect on the day and read it back years later.

You can read more about Ciara Rose’s travels here

Saying “I do” on Romantic Rhodes

Rhodes is a place many people have fallen in love with and it has become the perfect destination for lovers of love.

Honeymooners, newlyweds and wedding parties are now discovering the unique experiences that Rhodes can offer, as getting married on this gorgeous island on the Dodecanese provides you with the opportunity to combine your wedding celebrations with a great time away with family and friends.

Destination weddings require lots of planning, so we spoke to Greece’s leading wedding event specialists Lia and Stelios from White Events, to share their tips on saying “I do” in Rhodes.

Why do you think Rhodes is a great wedding destination? 

Any Greek island would be the right decision for a couple seeking a Mediterranean theme for their wedding day. But Rhodes will always be our number one suggestion as there is so much variety across the island, making it easy to cover all preferences. There are sea and mountains, rocks and sand, simple venues and churches, as well as more luxurious places where you can tie the knot. Plus, the sun is always shining- but it’s not extremely hot like other islands.

What are your favourite wedding spots on the island? 

Too many to choose from but we do have a list of favourites. For churches: Saint Paul’s in Lindos, Prophit Elias in Faliraki, and Agioi Apostoloi in Faliraki. The best venues are the Springs of Kalithea with the beautiful historical baths, and Lindos village for the Acropolis and ancient ruins.

What is the best time of year for a wedding in Rhodes?

June and September would be the best time since the weather is literally perfect, with just the right amount of sun.

What do couples need to know about planning a wedding in Rhodes?

No need to panic. Couples should see their wedding day as a trip to a beautiful island and not as a stressful event. The wedding will last only a few hours but the preparation starts way before. That’s why we recommend researching as early as you can and enjoy each step along the way. Since we are experts in what we do, couples can leave it up to us and peacefully enjoy their time on the island.

How far in advance should couples contact you to help them plan their dream wedding?

Start planning the event early. A year in advance would be ideal for smooth communication between us and the couple to plan everything in a timely manner.

Tell us some of the most romantic things to see & do in Rhodes? 

A nice evening stroll along the streets of the Old Town while observing the majestic castle and small boutique stores. And if people think Santorini has the best sunset that’s only because they haven’t seen the one in Monte Smith- simply sit on the bench and enjoy the breathtaking moment.

Insights Greece - Saying “I do” on Romantic Rhodes

What are some traditional delicacies/sweets from Rhodes that couples should think about including on the menu?

Greece is known for its Mediterranean cuisine, using pure and fresh ingredients such as olive oil, fresh spices, and seeds is a must. We recommend a platter with our traditional starters such as dolmadakia, pitaroudia which are basically little balls made of chickpeas and a variety of dips such as tzatziki and melitzanosalata (eggplant dip).

Melekouni would be our top favourite sweet option, which is a traditional Rhodian treat served at weddings and christenings. Made of sesame seeds and honey it’s known for its nutritional value.

What has been the most popular wedding theme over the last year?

Boho has by far been the most preferred. Couples tend to want more of a sophisticated and simple theme nowadays, which we have to admit is our favourite too.

What colours and decor do you love working with most? 

Natural and nude colours compliment the Greek islands most. Wooden, linen and cotton materials will always look stunning. While plants such as echeveria add that perfect final touch. 

Having planned over 200 weddings in Greece, tell us more about the services you offer?

There’s no limit to what we can achieve, as the client comes to us with a vision and we sculpt their idea using our expertise to turn it into a reality. We start from finding the perfect venue and church as well as the theme and aesthetic of the event according to the clients’ needs. We work alongside the best of the best photographers, caterers, florists, and other suppliers to offer a complete and unique wedding experience.

All images courtesy of White Events © (Copyright)  

 

Our Ultimate Travel Guide to Mykonos

Mykonos is a playground for the rich and famous. From luxurious yachts to inevitable star-spotting, this is the Greek isle to see and be seen. Whatever your style and taste, our ultimate guide to Mykonos reveals the best places where you can eat, swim and play!  

Having visited for the first time in my early 20s, I was captured by the island’s 24-hour party vibe. Stunning beaches, international DJs, late-night outings, great food, sunrises. I just felt alive. Having visited many more times since then, I can say it has now become a super cosmopolitan island, even more luxurious and in line with renowned European party locations such as St Tropez and Ibiza. There are always new places popping up, so here’s my current must-see and do list when visiting this ultra-chic Cycladic isle.

Getting there

From Athens, it’s a 35-minute flight. The quick ferry (Rafina to Mykonos) takes 2.5 hours and roughly 5 hours with the slow ferry.

Where to stay

The main town has many hotels to suit a range of budgets- staying here allows you to walk around the centre day and night. Agios Ioannis/ Ornos is also a great spot as it’s close to town- only a 2-minute drive but not as crowded. Platis Gialos is a gorgeous spot and close proximity to the beach clubs. Ftelia Beach is on the other side of the island and allows for more privacy and a chilled vibe.

Getting around

If you are staying in town it’s completely walkable. Buses take you to all the main beaches and depart regularly. Of course, hiring a car allows you to really discover the island and you can drive to remote beaches that aren’t so crowded. There is valet and free parking available all over the island. A Vespa is another great way to zip your way around the tight and winding Mykonian roads.

To sleep 

Located in Ornos, Cactus is a charming boutique hotel that is perfect for singles and families, or you can try Hippie Chic in Agios Ioannis which is another mid-range priced hotel that’s central and stylish. If you would like to stay close to the shops and nightlife Harmony is set on the Old Port and offers complete sea views. If money isn’t an issue check out Bill & Coo, Rocabella, Branco, and Cavo Tagoo, which offer a super luxurious stay.

To eat

Starting off casual, grab yourself a gelato from Bon Bon Fait Maison or a souvlaki from Sakis Grill House. For some great dining experiences try Kikis Tavern at Agios Sostis Beach but get there early, as there is always a wait. For amazing Asian food try Ling Ling. Super fresh seafood is served at Hippie Fish and at Spilia you will enjoy oysters shucked right in front of you. For fresh, handmade pasta and pizza head to Fresca Barkia Pasta. If you are after a range of Mediterranean dishes, Kastros in Little Venice is great. And for one of the best meals in town (that won’t blow the budget), try M-eating– don’t leave until you taste the homemade Myconian Honey Pie. For amazing outdoor dining try Bakalo- they serve traditional tavern-style dishes, Mr Pug restaurant for great Asian, La Maison De Katrin has a fusion of traditional Greek and French elements, and at I Frati you will have a delightful Italian culinary experience, located just a bit out of town.

To drink

This list is truly endless but I love Semeli Bar right on the water in Little Venice and Cosi is also a great place for a casual drink. Remezzo, established in 1967 is world-renowned for its parties that go until sunrise (incredible views). Astra in the heart of town is always buzzing, while Bonbonierrie is perfect for people watching, star-spotting, and some shisha. Queens of Mykonos is cozy, fun, and the crowd spills out onto the streets. Baos Bar is ideal for afternoon drinks on the water- followed by a late-night dance. For an exclusive Myconian nightclub experience head to Moni, and for Greek music make your way to Rhapsody and 4711, where the party kicks off after 2 am!

To swim

Try to get to all of these beaches (in no particular order)- Ornos, Panormos, Ftelia, Agia Anna, and Kalatafi. I also recommend a boat ride around the island, where you can visit secluded beaches.

Beach bars

If you want to rub shoulders with global celebrities and socialites just head straight for Nammos, Mykonos’ famous spot to swim and play (just make sure there’s plenty of money on your credit card.) For a more artistic and holistic experience, Scorpios is an all-day bar/restaurant that offers a real Myconian beach feel. At Panormos beach, you will discover Principote where you can also wine, dine, and dance the afternoon away. For a more chilled vibe head to Alemagou at Ftelia Beach where you can enjoy great food, cocktails, and music in a bohemian setting. And for families who are after some sports activities, Ornos is a great place for people of all ages.

Where to shop

Mostly in town, as many international designers including LV and Balenciaga have set up shop here. At Nammos Village you will find Dior, Burberry, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Louboutin, and Luisa boutique. Another stylish store that stocks international and local designers is Bazaar at Scorpios. Bollicine is a great concept store with exclusive brands and a rooftop bar, so you can enjoy a cocktail while you shop. Chora Mykonos has amazing Cycladic home décor and Yasemi features stunning sandals. While Soho Soho boutique is home to numerous leading European and International fashion brands.

Galleries

Minima Gallery showcases a range of contemporary artworks by both upcoming Greek and foreign artists. At Skoufa Gallery you can view historically significant contemporary art of the 1930s. For modern art head to Rarity Gallery and for a gallery/auction house that promotes local artists definitely check out Kapopoulos Fine Arts.  

Spiritual sites

Mykonos has over 800 churches on the island, I highly suggest you see a few such as Panagia Paraportiani, Panagia Tourliani, Agios Giorgos, and the Virgin of Saint Rosary which is the only Catholic church on the island.

History  

You must get close to the iconic Kato Mili Windmills, Armenistis Lighthouse, and also head to Ano Mera the second largest village on the island where you can visit the 13th-century Gyzi Castle.

Do as locals do…

Go to isolated beaches such as Agios Sotis and Fokas beach, head to a Panigiri (festival) by the beach, have a drink at Bakoyias near the Old Port, and catch an outdoor film under the stars at Cine Manto.

Take a day trip to…

The ancient island of Delos, where Apollo was born, or take a ferry across to Tinos and visit Panagia Evangelistria, where the Virgin Mary appeared.

Can’t leave until…

You find Peter the famous Pelican, have a dance at Jackie O and watch the sunset at 180 Degrees Sunset Bar.

Experiencing Santorini Like a Local

Santorini is one of the world’s most popular islands- known for its crisp white cliffside homes, romantic walkways, mesmerising sunsets and the world’s only inhabited Caldera.

Over the last few years (pre-COVID) Santorini played host to two million visitors and although this popular Cycladic island is filled with tourists, you can actually avoid the massive crowds and enjoy a more authentic experience when guided by a local. 

IN+SIGHTS GREECE spoke with hotel owner George Sigalas, who was born and raised in Santorini, and along with his siblings, George warmly welcomes thousands of guests each year to Above Blue Suites and Amber Light Villas.

Here he shares tips about his beloved island and also takes us through his beautiful hotels, which were built by his grandfather.  

What do you love most about your island home?

I really love a lot of things about our island- the fresh air, the sea, our enchanting Caldera but mainly the people- my family and friends. 

Insights Greece - Experiencing Santorini Like a Local

What makes your hotels stand out? 

There are many hotels with similar facilities but what makes ours unique is the personal touch and the love we have for our guests. Above Blue Suites consists of ten suites and one villa- offering a unique combination of privacy, luxury, unique interior design, and breathtaking views of the endless blue sea and the famous sunset. Amber Light Villas is curved in the mountain and provides comfortable villas opening up to private terraces and balconies with stunning views out to the Aegean Sea. We want everyone to have a unique experience that will create lasting memories. We do it with love, passion, and a smile because that’s how we feel.

What changes have you made to your hotels since you took over from your grandfather?

We have definitely given a lot of emphasis on the upgrade of our facilities and services, including the heating of the pool. We also expanded our menu to include gluten-free and vegan dishes. Of course, we try to improve day by day.

Where are your favourite places to eat out?

There are many good spots but I would recommend Kira Katina in Ammoudi for seafood, Agogi in Imerovigli for traditional delicacies, and also Metaxi Mas in Pyrgos, for the famous Rakomelo. For brunch head to TERA NERA in Perivolos as well Galini restaurant. The places for ice cream- Chill Box in Fira and Lolita’s Gelato in Oia.

Must-try local delicacies or dishes?

Santorini Fava, Tomatokeftedes, Santorini salad, and Fried White Eggplant. Also don’t leave the island without drinking a glass of Ouzo, while enjoying local seafood by the sea.

For a drink?

In Fira, you will find the famous Enigma and Mamounia bars, where you can enjoy a drink and music, as well as PK and Tango Bar.

Best places to swim?

The best beaches in Santorini are located in the southern part of the island and are none other than Perissa and Perivolos, which features black sand due to the volcanic eruption- definitely a unique experience.

Archeological must-see sites?

Akrotiri is definitely worth a visit. The settlement was one of the most important urban centres and ports of the Aegean during the Middle and Late Bronze Age. Also, for hiking lovers, I would unreservedly recommend a visit to Ancient Thira. It is an ancient city located at the top of Mesa Vouno, the city was founded in the 8th century BC. Access to the city is on foot, with stairs to the mountain slope.

What are some of the most authentic experiences you can have on the island?

Start with a visit to Kastelli village in Pyrgos and admire its wonderful view. Then head to the traditional village of Megalochori and try a Greek coffee from a traditional coffee maker. The architecture of the village in combination with the Greek aromas will make you sense the true heartbeat of the island. Akrotiri is also a beautiful village worth visiting. Entering the archeological site you will feel the aura of the settlement and its inhabitants who were so suddenly lost by the eruption of the volcano. There are many traditional taverns such as Delfinia that serve delicious Tomatokeftedes and other Greek delicacies.

To capture the spectacular sunset?

To enjoy the famous sunset you have to head to Imergovigli as it’s the highest point of the Caldera and the view here is magical.

Insights Greece - Experiencing Santorini Like a Local
Oia Sunset- Image by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)  

Top activities?

Hike from Fira to Oia. Being a local and having done this route many times, I can tell you that for a few minutes, you will feel as though you are walking in paradise. The view is magical and unique. I’m sure the experience will reward you. Also, a catamaran trip to the volcano and the hot springs is a must!

And you must visit one of the wineries on the island to taste local wines. Ideally, you should visit at least three wineries to browse the vineyards of the island and taste some of the most delicious and famous wines in the world.

Best places to shop?

Insights Greece - Experiencing Santorini Like a Local

In Fira, there are many boutique stores, and souvenir shops. In Oia, you will also find amazing galleries, jewellery shops, and concept stores. Also in Oia, you will find the leading Atlantis bookstore, which has been named one of the best in the world.

Must-see museums and monasteries? 

Any museums or monasteries that shouldn’t be missed? Definitely the prehistoric settlement in Akrotiri but also Ancient Thira in Kamari. In Fira, you will find the Archaeological and the Folklore Museum of Thira. Do not miss a visit to the Wine Museum of Mr. Koutsogiannopoulos, it’s amazing. Also, the Monastery of the Prophet Elias in Pyrgos is located at the top of the mountain and so you can admire its architecture as well as the panoramic view of Santorini from its highest point.

Spotlight on Marathi, Chania’s Hidden Gem

If you’ve ever wondered where local families head to for a perfect day at the beach in Chania, it’s the same spot where you will find Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and First Lady Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki, who spend most of their summer weekends here.

Marathi is around a 17 km drive from the city of Chania and this gorgeous spot boasts two clear, sandy beaches that are separated by a charming little port. Both of these bays are organised, so you will find rows of umbrellas and sunbeds, which are filled with visitors who come here for all-day swimming, followed by a late lunch at one of the many cafes or restaurants along the coast- serving delicious local seafood and other well-known Cretan dishes.

Ioanna Filippakis, who along with her brother and parents own and run Marathi Villas and Psamathi Restaurant, recently spoke with IN+SIGHTS GREECE about the family business and why this spot in town is one of the island’s best-kept secrets.

When did Marathi Villas open?

The property has been in our family for over three generations. Initially, there was only a small house and an olive grove. Then we renovated the spaces (without disturbing their natural beauty) and created eight elegant villas, which now accommodate up to four people in each. By the water, a space that used to be the local “kafeneion” has now become a restaurant, offering visitors a range of Mediterranean flavours, including fresh fish and good Cretan wine.

Tell us about the style and décor of the villas.

The four villas, with uninterrupted sea views, have a purely minimalist feel. The other four overlooking the garden have attics and are decorated in a 1930s and 1960s style. We chose pastel shades because they blend in perfectly with the surrounding environment.

Your restaurant “Psamathi” is a favourite amongst locals, tell us about your menu. 

All the produce used in our restaurant is organic and locally sourced. The oil, honey, and wine are actually produced by our family. There is plenty on offer for brunch, lunch, and dinner. My favourite dish at the moment is Pasta served with Mediterranean squid and stuffed with Feta and olives. Our customers’ most loved breakfast is the Cretan specialty, which consists of Strapatsada (eggs with tomato and Feta), Yogurt with Walnuts and Honey, Sfakian pie, and Cretan Dakos.

Where do locals love to swim?

Very close by you will find a bay, known to a few, which is called “White Beach”. You can get to the bay by boat or by swimming. The sand is white and the waters are crystal blue. There are high cliffs, ideal for diving, and a small cave.

What makes Marathi an ideal spot to visit?

Marathi is a place where the natural landscape wins you over. Souda Bay which encloses the area does not allow the winds to get through, so the sea is always at peace. It’s always calm and looks like paradise. Marathi is ideal for rest and relaxation. Here it’s all about sunbathing and swimming. You can also enjoy walking along the adjacent bays and participating in water sports such as canoeing and pedal boating.

What history can be found here?

Marathi is built on Ancient Minoa at the Port of Aptera. Parts of Ancient Minoa, the jetty, and the ancient sanctuary are visible from here.

Insights Greece - Spotlight on Marathi, Chania’s Hidden Gem

What are the best months to visit?

The best months for holidays here are May, June, and October. The weather conditions during these months are such that the temperatures are at the best levels so you can enjoy a wonderful vacation without the crowds.

Tell us about Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ connection to Marathi.

The Mitsotakis family originates from Chania. Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ father the late Konstantinos Mitsotakis built a holiday house here because he loved the wonderful natural environment with views of the mountains and the Gulf of Souda. The Prime Minister spent his childhood here and has incredible memories of summer vacations in Marathi, which he has now continued with his own children. Former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis Mitsotakis, sister of the PM, considers Marathi “a place of unsurpassed beauty.”  

Marathi Villas

4 Beaches in Rhodes that Can’t Be Missed  

Rhodes has so many spectacular beaches that are definitely worth exploring, but if you only have a few days on this stunning island in the Dodecanese, we suggest you head to these amazing spots that guarantee a memorable swim every time!

Kallithea Springs

This is one of Rhodes’ most visited areas and for a good reason. Famous for its therapeutic properties, the ancient healing powers of Kallithea’s natural hot springs attract thousands of international visitors who come to enjoy the majestic spaces that have been wonderfully renovated. You can spend an entire day relaxing on the sun lounges, snorkelling around the rocks, as well as exploring the ancient spas, lush gardens and pebblestone mosaics. When you are done, sit down at the chic beach bar and have a late lunch while enjoying the gorgeous views. 

Address: Kallithea Avenue 80, East Rhodes

Distance from Rhodes Town: 13km, 15 minute drive

Parking: Free car park

Organised: With sunbeds and beach bar

Fee: 3 € per adult, 2 € for 12-18 years, kids under 12 are free

St Paul’s Bay

This picturesque beach in Lindos is located on the southeast coast of Rhodes. St Paul is said to have stayed here in 51 AD and a small church has been built in his honour. The bay is both shallow and protected from winds, making it ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Sunbeds and cabanas are available and waiters walk by taking orders. On the beach menu, you will find a list of cocktails, beers, wines, and juices, as well as light snacks, salads and burgers. If you prefer table seating, Tambakio Restaurant is set on the edge of the water and open for lunch between 12 noon – 4 pm, and later on for dinner. 

Address: St Paul’s Bay, Lindos

Distance from Rhodes Town: 48 km, 1 hour drive

Parking: Free car park at the top of the beach, otherwise there is street parking

Organised: With sunbeds and beach bar/restaurant

Anthony Quinn Bay

Named after one of the world’s most famous actors, the water here is a deep emerald thanks to the lush green vegetation which surrounds it. On the natural stone surfaces, you will find scattered sunbeds and umbrellas, with many set up underneath pine trees. At the top of the rocks is a kiosk serving sandwiches, snacks, coffee, fresh juice, ice cream and salads. The gorgeous underwater scenery makes Anthony Quinn one of the best areas in Rhodes for snorkelling. Just make sure you get here early as it packs out quickly.

Address: Kallithea

Distance from Rhodes Town: 15 km, 20 minute drive

Parking: Free car park at the top of the beach

Organised: With sunbeds and kiosk at the top

Insights Greece - 4 Beaches in Rhodes that Can’t Be Missed  

Tsambika

If you are looking for a long coastline that offers a great choice of watersports and beach volleyball, this one’s for you. Tsambika is one of the most beautiful places in Rhodes and the beach has been named after the Monastery of Panagia Tsambika, which is known to protect the island. With plenty of facilities, and lots of space to make sandcastles and calm waters, Tsambika is the perfect spot for those with young kids. 

Address: In between Kolymbia and Archangelos
                       
Distance from Rhodes Town: 25 kms south of Rhodes Town            

Parking:
Free car parking right outside  
                         
Organised: With sunbeds, beach bars, taverns, mini market


All images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)  

Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets

The Greek Islands may be a vibrant oasis offering a cornucopia of pleasures, but we strongly suggest getting off the beaten path and heading to Mani — the central peninsula of the Peloponnese. Behold the marvel that is Limeni: Stone-built houses, turquoise waters, and colourful caiques (quintessential Greek postcard, anyone?) that are well worth the trip.

Preserved by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Limeni is a place where natural beauty, coastal vistas, and history combine. Located just minutes away from Areopolis and Gythio and in close driving proximity to Kalamata, this tiny traditional fisherman’s village is one of Mani’s best-kept secrets waiting to be explored.

What to See

Monastery Evretrias (Panagi H Vreti)

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Must visit destination

This catholic church built in the 18th century, dating back to 1731, belonged to the Mavromichali family. Overlooking the seaside with its iconic bell tower, it’s definitely worth a visit (and an Insta-post).

Paralia Dexameni —  Mani Water Sports

Adventure with a side of crystal clear waters? Whether it’s scuba diving into the big blue, paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, or simply an intimate sunset cruise you crave, Mani Water Sports is a recreation centre right on the “beach” that will fulfill your adrenaline needs. Paralia Dexameni is more like a natural rock formation (like a natural swimming pool), so if you’re looking for a “proper” beach – you may have to drive further to Foneas, Alypa, or Gerolymenas.

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Charming alleyways

Just a 5km drive away is the village of Areopolis (in fact, Limeni is the seaport of Areopolis). This traditional village pervaded with stone-built houses has grown into a flourishing town filled with buzzing cafes, bars, and restaurants and if you’re lucky enough to be there on the weekend — a lively open-air market takes place in the main square every Saturday- you don’t want to miss it!

Where to Stay

Mavromichalai Hotel

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Rustic hotels

One of the most iconic places to visit and stay is at the Mavromichalai Hotel, built directly on the water’s edge. Now converted and restored into a luxury hotel, the Tower was the first residence of Limeni-raised Petrobey Mavromichalis, the last Bey (or ‘Prince’) of Mani and chief leader of the Maniots during the 1821 Greek War of Independence. Offering six exclusive rooms, all with unobstructed views of the picturesque bay and village of Limeni, visitors also have the opportunity to visit the tower and the tomb where the famous maniacal military leader is buried.

Pirgos Mavromichali

Luxury, history, and a private beach area with a sun terrace. Ah, where do we sign? Pirgos Mavromichali (or Tower Mavromichali) is a historically restored 18th-century stone tower, turned family-owned boutique hotel overlooking the Gulf of Messiniakos. The hotel provides practically everything you need for an enjoyable stay in Limeni, including an exclusive restaurant and bar overlooking the turquoise waters.

Where to Dine & Drink

O Takis

Prefer to live on the edge? Watch the fishing boats chug up and down the bay from your perch at taverna “O Takis”. Famed for its exquisite fresh seafood and its Insta-worthy sunset, “O Takis” is one of the best seafood restaurants in the Peloponnese. P.S. Ask for the Lobster Pasta, cooked with Takis’ “secret” recipe for two!

To Mavromichaleiko

If you’re craving Traditional Mani cuisine then “To Mavromichaleiko“ in Areopoli is your stop. Charming wooden tables and stone-built walls fill this family-owned taverna in Areopoli. We recommend their specialty: Hand-made pasta served with Maniatiko cheese, fresh farm eggs, and “siglino” (Mani salted pork). Trust us, you won’t leave unsatisfied.

Insights Greece - Limeni: Discovering One of Mani’s Best Kept Secrets
Delicious cuisine

Teloneio

This two-story stone building, located just above the water, houses one of Limeni’s fave cafes and restaurants – Teloneio. Whether you’re looking to enjoy your coffee where the water breaks, or a quality feed to see the sunset, you won’t be disappointed. We recommend the smoked sausage from Mani wrapped in grilled capsicums — delicious!

Bukka Bar

After the sun sets in Limeni, make your way to Bukka Bar in Areopolis. Adorned with a giant fuchsia bougainvillea wrapping the entrance of the stone building, Bukka Bar serves some of the best (and most original) cocktails you’ll sip. You can’t go wrong with ‘Grandma’s Choice’.

All images courtesy of Marina Bifsha © (Copyright)  

Our Complete Guide to Hydra  

A small island in the Saronic Gulf (just 2 hours away from Athens), with its classic beauty, has seduced many international personalities such as Sophia Loren, Maria Callas, Aristotle Onassis, and Leonard Cohen, who purchased a house on the island in 1960. Moreover, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd used to regularly vacation here.

Hydra has a charming atmosphere and romantic allure, it is aristocratic, yet authentic and features a rocky landscape with elegant, imposing stone mansions, narrow cobblestone alleys (with colourful bougainvillea), plus impeccable sunsets.

What you need to know before you arrive

Cars or motorcycles are not allowed on the island, aside from garbage trucks and ambulances.

Getting There & Getting Around 

You can get here by ferry that departs from the port of Piraeus in Athens (a 2-hour journey). You can drive up to Metohi in the Peloponnese (2.5 hours) and park your car and cross to Hydra by a ferry or water taxi (25 minutes). You can also do a day cruise from Athens, where you will visit three islands- Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. Bear in mind that you will only have two hours to explore Hydra. Once there, the main method of transport is the delightful mules and donkeys, as well as water taxis.

Where to stay

Near the harbour is nice, this is where all the buzz is. Other great places for accommodation are Vlychos, Mandraki, and Vlychos Plakes.

Where to sleep

Rafalias a magnificent Mansion, near George Kountouriotis Manor and the Hydra Museum Historical Archives. Mastoris Mansion is another great hotel, located just 90m away from Hydra’s port, with five rooms beautifully decorated and a wonderful terrace. And Hydrea Boutique Hotel in the heart of Hydra Town has stunning views.

Where to eat

Techne Restaurant & Social, situated by the sea, it’s set in a renovated historic building with a picturesque courtyard and serves great Mediterranean dishes. Omilos Restaurant is a must as it evokes memories from Hydra’s history.

To Piato, a traditional restaurant with a big collection of plates, decorated by the clients. From its prime spot, you can see the port while you enjoy fabulous dishes. Caprice, an Italian trattoria, only 150m from the port. The restaurant is decorated with old photos, tools, and equipment used by sponge divers. It serves traditional Italian recipes made with fresh Greek ingredients. Il Casta, another authentic Italian restaurant in the alleyways of Hydra’s town serves food from Napoli and the South of Italy.

What to eat  

The traditional Hydriot halva for dessert and Tsagkaris’ amygdalota.

Where to drink

Hydronetta, a café-bar carved into the craggy coastline near Hydra’s harbor is the perfect spot for a drink any time of the day. Amalour is for cocktail lovers and Isalos café, the most well-known café on the island is also a must. Tip: ask for the Caffe del Doge, a specialty coffee from Venice.

Where to swim

Vlychos, a pebbled beach, just 2km west of Hydra Town, it’s for those who are fond of undisturbed beaches. Kaminia, a pebbled beach, is located within a small fishing village, only 1km west of Hydra Town, and near the village of Vlyhos. Spilia, a rocky “beach” with translucent blue waters is the perfect diving spot. At Agios Nikolaos, a sandy blissful beach on the western end of Hydra. In front of the Four Seasons Hotel and located in Plakes town, the long, sandy beach of Plakes offers panoramic views of mainland Greece and the surrounding islands. To get there, the hotel offers a boat that runs every hour between the village and Hydra Harbour for 3€, or you can hire a water taxi (20€).

Discover history

Visit the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Hydra’s main Cathedral, located in the center of the harbor, underneath the clock tower. It was said to have been built by a nun on her arrival in 1643 and consists of magnificent Byzantine-style architecture, frescoes from the 18th century, and exquisite Orthodox icons. Historical Archives Museum, founded in 1918, displays artifacts and rare documents related to the historical, traditional, and cultural aspects of the island from 1708 –1865. There is also a library there. Kountouriotis Museum, a mansion dedicated to Lazaros Kountouriotis, who played a vital role in the War of Independence. It was built in 1780 and features beautiful interiors, paintings by Greek artists, historical jewellery, and furniture owned by the Kountouriotis family. The Ecclesiastical Museum, located on the west side of the Monastery and housed in a former monk cell, has been open since 1999 and showcases elaborate holy vessels, jewellery, musical manuscripts, and other historical relics of the Monastery.

Special Events in Hydra

Miaoulia is celebrated during the last weekend of June, in remembrance of Admiral Andreas Miaoulis, who played a vital part in the War of Independence. The festivities include folk dancing, concerts, and boat races. At the very end, a sensational fireworks display takes place.

Koundouriotika Festival takes place in late August and commemorates the death of Hydriot and the first Greek Republic President Pavlos Kondouriotis. The festival includes sporting events, exhibitions, and lectures while ends with thanksgiving and memorial service.

Hydra Regatta is a famous sailing race from Faliro to Hydra and back. It is organised twice a year, in Spring, on the weekend before the 25th of March (Independence Day), and in Autumn, on the last weekend of October.

Do as locals do

Visit little-known beaches on the back of the island, such as Limnioniza and Nisiza. You can reach them using a boat ride. For a beautiful walk, begin from the picturesque fishing village of Kamini to Hydra Town. It is off the beaten path as there are no tourist shops. You will meet the parish church of John the Baptist and several stunning mansion ruins.

Top activities

There is a Yacht Club, offering swimming, water polo, sailing, and canoeing. The island is also rich in aquatic life, reefs, and sea caves at the bottom of the sea, so it’s perfect for snorkeling. Hydra is also top for hikers because the landscapes from the highest points are magnificent.

Where to shop

Speak Out is a chic boutique with various jewelry, accessories, and clothing. Keramidas Lykourgos, since the late 1960s, creates jewellery inspired by Greek tradition (especially the Byzantine one). Turquoise, unique clothing, and textile shop, with handmade pieces.  For a variety of beauty products including soaps, lotions, and cologne that are made using old traditional recipes from Greek pharmacopeia, in stylish packaging, visit Rafalia’s Pharmacy.

What to see

Rafalia’s Pharmacy is considered one of the most beautiful pharmacies in the world. It was founded in 1890 by Evangelos Rafalias, located within a gorgeous century-old mansion,  it’s the oldest in Greece and has remained in the same family. The Tsamados Mansion houses the oldest Merchant Marine Training School in the world, still in operation today. The Tombazis Mansion hosts students from the Athens School of Fine Arts in the summer. The Bastions to the left and the right of the harbor, with a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea. 

Take a day trip to…

Poros and Spetses islands. Alternatively, to Ermioni, Porto Heli, or Aegina.

Can’t leave until

Stopping along the way to admire the dusk at Sunset Restaurant, which has a spectacular and romantic view of the sea. And a walk to the Profitis Ilias Monastery.

All images by Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright)  

Thinking of Visiting Milos? Here’s What You Need to Know  

Volcanic rocks, vast blue magic, stunning sunsets, jaw-dropping beaches, geological formations (that awaken our imagination) and picturesque settlements by the sea, all together narrate exquisite stories about Milos, a Cycladic island that blows our mind away, every time we step foot in it.

It’s Milos’ simplicity that reminds us of the greatness of nature. The so-called island of lovers will make you fall in love with this magical land and will fill you with memories and unforgettable images that will follow you during winters for many years to come.

Getting there

You can travel to Milos by ferry (Adamantas) through the port of Piraeus in Athens. The ferry route runs regularly with weekly trips and the ferry journey between the two ports lasts from 3 to 7 hrs. Minoan Lines, Anek Lines, Aegean Speed Lines, Zante Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, and SeaJets operate their crossing several times per week. There is also an airport in Milos, located about 4 km from the port town to Adamantas. The flight from Athens to Milos takes approximately 45 minutes.

Insights Greece - Thinking of Visiting Milos? Here's What You Need to Know  

Where to stay & Getting Around

I would strongly recommend staying at Adamantas, the port of Milos, located in the center of the island, which is also where all the sailing trips depart from. The island is large and in order to visit the must-see beaches, you need a car, a motorcycle or an ATV. Milos also has local public transport, with a bus system that goes to all seven towns and several beaches. The bus terminal is located in the main square in the port of Adamas in front of the Portiani Hotel.

Where to sleep

Milos Hotel at Adamantas is a key location in every direction. Skinopi Lodge is a unique boutique hotel at Schinopi, a fairytale tiny village, between Adamantas and Tripiti. Milos Breeze Boutique Hotel in Pollonia features an infinity pool, overlooking the ocean. And Asterias Boutique Hotel is located between Sarakiniko and Papafragas beach.

Where to eat

Bariello restaurant in the village of Tripiti, with a romantic veranda and an organic menu from several parts of Greece.

Sirocco tavern at Paleochori, that buries under the sand fresh fish or meat and lets them bake from the natural heat of the ground.

Armenaki in Pollonia for tasteful dishes combined with wine selections from an excellent wine list.

Oh! Chaos! Taverna at Adamantas, Papikinos beach with traditional, authentic Milos recipes in pots.

Paleos Pastry for handmade desserts and ice-creams.

Insights Greece - Thinking of Visiting Milos? Here's What You Need to Know  

What to eat

Local must-try delicacies are Ladenia, a delicious bread dough with fresh tomato and olive oil. Karpouzopita, a pita (pie) with the main ingredient being watermelon. And Koufeto is a handmade spoon sweet made by simmering pieces of local sweet white pumpkin in a mixture of water, sugar, and local honey, which is then combined with blanched almonds and lemon juice.

Where to drink

Akri Bar offers tasty cocktails and a wonderful view and also check out Aragosta Cocktail Bar, which has a charming Cycladic interior and is set in an idyllic coastal location.

Where to swim

At the one of a kind, lunar landscape of Sarakiniko featured on countless postcards. At the beach of Firiplaka for crystal clear waters and a rock scenery in the background. A huge sea boulder divides the part with the beach bar and the sun loungers for rent from the “natural” part. Tsigrado, a magical beach that owes its existence to perlite (a type of obsidian from the volcano of Firiplaka) that you can reach by boat or by climbing a rope ladder. The caves of Papafragas, a long-narrow fjord-like inlet with blue-green waters and grey-white rocks. The sandy beach of Agios Konstantinos, known as Alogomandra, with fine sand and a cave formation for natural shade.

Discover history

The volcanic activity of Milos shaped amazing geomorphology thousands of years ago. The volcanic rock and mineral deposits created a thriving economy on the island for many years. During the Bronze Age, Milos became the center of the Cycladic culture. During the Hellenistic period, new blossoming began. Aphrodite (Venus de Milo), the statue that made Milos renowned, was created at that time. In WWI it became a naval base for the English-French allies (1915- 1918). In May 1941 the Germans occupied Milos. The population suffered from hunger, human casualties, and destructions until May 1945.

Ideal time to spend here? More than 5 days, ideally a week in order to experience the unbeatable beaches.

Favourite part? The picturesque fishing village Klima with its “syrmata”, little houses dug from the shore’s porous rock formations, used as storage areas for fishermen’s boats during winter. Some of them have been converted into real houses or an Airbnb. Similarly, the nearby Mandrakia and Fyropotamos, all with photogenic colorful wooden doors.

Do as locals do- The residents of Plaka, the island’s capital, head to their secret sandy beach of Plathenia, which is perfect for sunset watching as well.

Insider tips– On the days when the meltemia (winds) blow on the northern shores, the beaches of the southern side are ideal. At the beach of Paliochori, hot springs well up so check it out. And lookout for the Mediterranean monk seal, an endangered and protected species, that roams around the Milos western coast.

Top activities– Windsurf or Kiteboard at the vast Ahivadolimni, that owes its name to the lake (“limni”) on the other side of the road, full of clams (“ahivades”). Hiking. With 10 hiking routes to choose from, there’s a hike for anyone.

Where to shop– Giteftra, situated in Plaka is an art shop with handmade artifacts such as crochet needleworks and compositions on silk fabrics. Kalimera, a small, traditional, jewellery workshop since 1973, inspired by the Aegean Sea, the blue sky and the history of Milos, this workshop creates handmade jewelry with gold, silver and mineral stones. Zoulias Wood Creations, housed in an old, 300-year-old building in Tripiti, hosts handmade, wooden creations (the wooden bags hold the protagonist role)

What to see- Milos’ Archaeological Museum, housed in a beautiful neoclassical building of Ernst Ziller in Plaka. You can find a copy of Aphrodite of Milos there, which is currently exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The Sand Museum with a variety of sand shades of different parts of the world. At the Paliorema site, the facilities of the old sulfur mines are still there in front of Paliorema beach (the smell of sulfur can be quite intense, though). Also check out the Catacombs, near the fishing village of Klima and the Venetian Castle that dates from the 13th century and offers panoramic views of the island.

Take a day trip to- Firstly take a tour around Milos in order to discover the famous bay of Kleftiko with crystal clear waters and perfectly white rock formations in the background, the underwater sea caves of Sykia, -among others- and certainly the uninhabited island of Polyegos with exquisite waters. I would strongly recommend choosing Thalassitra, a replica of the dominant early 20th century, traditional Milos craft. The captain cooks on board ten authentic Milos’ recipes in Sifnos’ clay dishes that play perfectly with your palate. You can also visit Kimolos island by ferry, which operates 3 times per week.

Insights Greece - Thinking of Visiting Milos? Here's What You Need to Know  

 

Can’t leave untilGetting lost in the small cobblestone streets of Plaka with the traditional Cycladic houses with colorful windows and enjoying the sunset from the “balcony” of Marmara in Plaka.

All images by Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright)  

Golf Enthusiasts Head for the Greens in Greece

It might come as a surprise to some, but Greece is now considered an ideal destination for golf enthusiasts.

Imagine perfect weather conditions, luxurious accommodations with magical views, and a superb golf course only a few steps away. If that sounds like a dream read on to discover three exceptional golfing experiences around the Aegean that will leave you wanting to head for the Greens!

Costa Navarino

In the heart of Messinia, Costa Navarino offers not one but two world-class golf courses with the stunning sea, mountain, and river as a backdrop to your tee shots. The Dunes and The Bay Course are 18-hole signature courses surrounded by five-star hotels and resorts, making it a prime location for golf connoisseurs. Here you will find everything from shoes and buggies to full sets of golf clubs for hire and you can test your skills while enjoying uninterrupted views of lush olive groves on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. This spot has become so popular with golfers from around the world that Costa Navarino is scheduled to open two new José Mariá Olazábal-designed golf courses in 2021.

Insights Greece - Golf Enthusiasts Head for the Greens in Greece
Porto Carras, Halkidiki
Porto Carras

Set on the spectacular coast of Sithonia, Porto Carras is home to the one and only golf course in Northern Greece, which is now considered a leading golf destination in the Mediterranean. Here you can enjoy a luxurious golf experience on its 18-hole and par 72 signature course, which hosts international tournaments all year round (pre-COVID). With breathtaking views of the Aegean, nearby mountains, vineyards, and the overall landscape of Halkidiki have made Olive Grove Golf Course one of the most admired in the globe. There are also private and group lessons, which are designed for every golfer level, including kids’ classes. The course is close to Porto Carras two 5-star hotels, a world-class villa, a casino, one of the biggest thalassotherapy and spa centers in Europe, a private 315-berth marina, a horse riding academy, a tennis club with nine courts, a diving center, a nautical club, plus Greece’s largest organic vineyard, making it a real treat for all.

 

Crete Golf Club

On Greece’s largest island, you will find an 18-hole Championship course that meticulously maintains the distinctive elements of Crete’s natural landscape. The mountainous course at Hersonissos, about 25km east of Heraklion, features a desert-style layout and each hole has been individually sculptured to blend into the authentic surroundings. The course is said to test every aspect of a golfer’s repertoire and the popular 11th hole offers an unrivaled view of the Lasithi Mountains and the unique Cretan countryside. Open all year round (prior to COVID) the course is only footsteps away from its 5-star hotel that consists of 25 suites, which all include large balconies with mountain/ sea views, plus a serene restaurant overlooking the course.