Old Hammam in Chania Becomes an Art Gallery 

One of Chania’s oldest hammams (Turkish baths) has been turned into a unique art gallery and will now host a variety of exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year. 

Insights Greece - Old Hammam in Chania Becomes an Art Gallery 
Old hammam becomes an art gallery

Located on Katre Street in Kastelli Hill, an old part of the city, the hammam is surrounded by vaulted arcades and smaller domes. This was once an elaborate two-floor building, however many parts of its exterior and interior were destroyed during the Second World War. Restoration work recently took place to makeover the building into a new cultural space, however it still features the old character and architecture of the building. 

Chania’s Deputy Mayor for Culture, Yiannis Yiannakakis, revealed to Athens News Agency (ANA), that the old hammam will be used for cultural projects exhibitions and events, emphasising the promotion of art creations, including paintings, photographs, ceramics and sculptures.

History of the Turkish Hammam 

The Turkish Hamam on Katre Street is one of the many public baths built by the Ottomans when they occupied Chania. It’s a type of Turkish bath that continues the tradition of Roman and Byzantine baths, with the underground hypocaust (heating system) and the earthen pipes circulating hot water and steam to the floor and surrounding walls.

Historic Area of Kastelli Hill 

Insights Greece - Old Hammam in Chania Becomes an Art Gallery 
Area of Kastelli Hill

Kastelli is located on the hill above the old harbor in the city of Chania, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and what became later became known as Kastelli Hill (because of the Byzantine fortification that was built here). This was the first place to be inhabited over 5000 years ago.

Much later the Venetians established their headquarters, as did the Turks. Unfortunately, most of the district was destroyed by German bombings during WWII. 

The main place for visitors to see the area (from the outside as the site is fenced off) is the excavations at Agia Ekaterini Square, only a few minute’s walk from the harbour.

30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 

From crystal clear waters to white-sand beaches, pretty ports, and charming seaside villages that come to life at night, Greece offers so many beautiful spots over summer. 

And while this list could grow into the thousands, we’ve done our best to round up some of the most beautiful places in Greece to visit during the warmer months. One thing that’s for sure- wherever you choose to visit first, you will definitely love it! 

Athens Riviera, Athens 

Home to Athens’ most luxurious hotels, restaurants, bars, and beaches, the Athenian Riviera is filled with a range of delightful spots to visit.

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Four Seasons Astir, Athens Riviera

Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion

Less than an hour’s drive from Athens, Cape Sounio is the ideal weekend getaway or perfect day trip from the Greek capital. There are plenty of things to see and do at this beautiful spot- the first being watching the sunset from the Temple of Poseidon. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Sunset at Cape Sounio

Sithonia, Halkidiki

Halkidiki is where locals from Thessaloniki head for a weekend getaway and Sithonia (one of the 3 legs) is home to small secluded bays that are surrounded by lush trees and other vegetation. Also visit Nikiti, which has a chic new promenade lined with classy restaurants and all-day cafes. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Kavourotripes beach in Sithonia

Messinia, Peloponesse

Home to some of the most charming seaside towns in Greece, a drive few days drive through Messinia should be on everyone’s bucket list. Add Koroni, Methoni, Pylos, and Voidikilia beach to the top of places to visit. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Magical views at Koroni

Town of Nafplio

Named the “most romantic town in Greece”, Nafplio is set on a small port beneath the towering Palamidi fortress. Filled with beautiful alleyways, neoclassical mansions, and stunning Venetian houses, there are also a few lovely beaches when you need to cool off. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Stroll through the pretty alleyways of Nafplio

Simos Beach, Elafonisos

This beach has been rated one of the best in the world on many occasions, as it’s the perfect spot to spend endless hours in the crystal clear sea; then sit by the white sand and enjoy the majestic views surrounding you.  

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Stunning beach

Avlemonas, Kythira

This traditional fishing settlement is built in Cycladic style and boasts stunning gulfs and lush vegetation that create a beautiful natural backdrop. The whitewashed houses and lush gardens draw visitors here each summer, as they take a quick dip in the sea. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Kythira’s most charming seaside village

Old Town of Chania, Crete 

A unique mix of architecture, narrow pebbled alleyways, and a buzzing port- it’s the perfect combination of old-world meets new. Strolling through the beautiful Old Town and taking in the magnificent sites will allow you to discover the Venetian, Byzantine, and Ottoman influence of Chania. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Beautiful Port of Chania

Loutro, Crete 

This quaint and picturesque fishing village in Crete, promises a Greek island getaway full of swimming, delicious local cuisine, hiking, and loads of R&R. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Loutro, one of Crete’s best-kept secrets

Port of Symi

Surrounded by deep green seas and covered in cypress trees, this beautiful island is home to one of the prettiest ports in Greece, neo-classical mansions, and dreamy fishing villages. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Symi’s stunning port

Lindos, Rhodes

Lindos is one of the most stunning archaeological sites in all of Greece. The views from up top are breathtaking and the town itself features lovely beaches, picturesque cobblestone alleyways that lead to a range of shops and eateries in a charming setting. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
St Paul’s Bay with views of the ancient site

Cave of the Apocalypse, Patmos 

Patmos is home to around 360 churches and you can definitely sense the island’s unique spiritual energy as soon as you step foot here. Patmos is known around the world as the island where around 95 AD Saint John the Baptist wrote The Revelation, in a cave that can now be visited in the island’s Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Monastery of St John

Port of Kastellorizo 

Surrounded by the jewelled turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Kastellorizo allows you to experience authentic island life while enjoying its neo-classic architecture and all its charm. Cobblestone alleys and traditional colourful mansions dot the scenic village and the waterfront is lined with tavernas and café-bars that spoil you for choice.

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Kastellorizo’s captivating port

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos

Hands down the most photographed beach in Greece, Navagio is spectacular and deserves a visit at least once in a lifetime. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Shipwreck of Navagio

Porto Katsiki, Lefkada 

Another stunning beach in the Ionian, Porto Katsiki is a piece of paradise that needs to be seen to be believed. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Views of Porto Katsiki from up top

Assos, Kefalonia

This very pretty seaside village will steal your heart. Filled with bougainvillea and colourful villas, as well as a small little bay that’s surrounded by a few seafood taverns- it’s the perfect place to spend time over summer. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Assos, Kefalonia’s prettiest village

Voutoumoi, Antipaxoi

There are a few spots in the world, where you feel like you’ve found paradise and Antipaxoi is one of them. This tiny unspoiled island boasts one of the most impressive natural landscapes and the most stunning turquoise waters.  

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Sail through Antipaxoi

Oia, Santorini

This magical village in Santorini is one of the most popular places in the world to catch the sunset- and for a good reason! You will also find beautiful restaurants, bars, cafes, and boutiques, which all offer views of the caldera. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Oia boasts a sunset like no other

Little Venice, Mykonos

This charming little spot in Mykonos is located close to the landmark windmills. Little Venice’s views of the sea, the classic buildings, and wonderful bars and restaurants make it the perfect spot to grab your favourite drink and watch the sunset. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Little Venice offers magical spots for a drink

Chora, Folegandros

Every visit to Folegandros is an adventure: the climbs, the dives, the treks, the views. And one of the best things to do is get lost in the town of Chora, a pedestrianized maze of tiny streets lined with houses and churches. It’s one of the most beautiful villages in the Cyclades. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Breathtaking Chora

Ermoupli, Syros

The beautiful town of Ermoupolis is not only the capital of Syros but the entire Cyclades. Featuring stunning neoclassical architecture, old mansions, marble-paved streets, stunning town squares, imposing churches, and historical monuments, it’s rich in both history and culture.  

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Ermoupoli, Syros (image by Polina Paraskevopoulou)

Klima, Milos

The picturesque fishing village Klima with its little houses is a unique spot that was once only visited by fishermen. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Klima, Milos (image by Polina Paraskevopoulou)

Porta, Naxos

A massive marble doorway (of the temple of Apollo), is Naxos’ famous landmark. It lies close to the port, on the islet of Palatia which was once a hill. The spot offers one of the most breathtaking sunsets in Greece. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Porta, Naxos’ landmark

Pyrgos, Tinos 

Pyrgos, one of the island’s biggest and most beautiful villages, is most famous for its marble and it’s displayed everywhere. Sit down at one of the local taverns or cafes and enjoy local delicacies.  

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Village of Pyrgos (image by Polina Paraskevopoulou)

Mèllises, Andros

The entire property is a slice of heaven. A stay at Mèllises, includes indulging in homegrown varieties of fruit, local herbs, and spices that enrich the property, which now also houses a small farm. With an infinity pool that overlooks the Aegean Sea, it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Breathtaking views

Panagia Hozoviotissa, Amorgos

Hozoviotissa Monastery is one of the Aegean’s most extraordinary spots. The second oldest church in Greece, built in 1017 and is located on the side of a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Set on the side of a cliff in Amorgos

Harbour of Hydra

Hydra has a charming atmosphere and romantic allure, it’s aristocratic, yet authentic and features a rocky landscape with elegant, imposing stone mansions, narrow cobblestone alleys with colourful bougainvillea, plus impeccable sunsets. Near the harbour is nice, as this is where all the buzz is.

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Harbour comes to life at night (image by Polina Paraskevopoulou)

Dapia Port, Spetses

Enjoy an afternoon or evening stroll around the buzzing harbour of Dapia Port. The tiny port is surrounded by whitewashed, neoclassical houses and is also surrounded by chic cafés and stylish boutiques.

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Perfect spot to relax

Giola Lagoon, Thassos

Known as “Aphrodite’s Tear” in Thassos is one of the world’s most beautiful natural swimming pools – separated from the sea by a narrow strip of rocks, it looks like a pool of crystal clear water, carved into a coral reef that rises above it.

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Natural rock pool

Castle of Monemvasia

Today, the Castle of Monemvasia is one of the most beautiful in the world, with a fairytale atmosphere and profound romanticism. Take a walk through and enjoy the rich history, culture, and spectacular views. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Greece’s most majestic castle

Sea Caves of Thetis, Pelion 

Experience a day trip around the Pelion Peninsula and visit the Sea Caves of Thetis. You’ll leave from either the port of Chorefto or Agios Ioannis. From there, head north and discover an uninhabited and truly unspoiled coastline as you explore the stunning sea caves. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Swim through the caves

Naoussa, Paros

The first thing you’ll notice when you get to the main town of Naoussa is the charming and colourful cafes and taverns everywhere you look. Grab a coffee, gelato, or walk through the back streets and take in the stunning views. 

Insights Greece - 30 Most Beautiful Places in Greece to Visit in Summer 
Naousa is Paros’ pretty harbour


11 Best Places to Spend Easter in Greece 

Greece is a wonderful Easter destination and even if you aren’t Orthodox Christian, a visit to one of these places during this period will be an experience that will stay with you forever. From the famous pottery smashing in Corfu to fireworks in Hydra, here are 11 Greek Easter destinations that you should add to your list. 

Easter is a huge celebration throughout Greece, even more so than Christmas. It is during this time when Orthodox Christians throughout the world celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection. As a result, Greeks take Pascha very seriously and commemorations begin from the week beforehand.

Insights Greece - 11 Best Places to Spend Easter in Greece 


On the island where the Bible’s Book of Revelation was written, here visitors are welcomed to the historic monastery of St. John the Evangelist, which UNESCO has declared a world heritage site. The main festivities are the Washing of the Feet ceremony in the central square of Chora, the reenactment of the Last Supper, and the reading of the Gospel in seven languages and in Homeric hexameter. The very spiritual celebration of Easter on the island concludes with the procession of the monastery’s icons on the Tuesday after Easter Sunday.


During Greek Easter, on Easter Sunday, Saitopolemos takes place in Kalamata. This is where groups of people wearing traditional costumes hold and light long handmade tubes filled with powder. Each year, thousands of people visit Kalamata over Easter to witness this historical tradition dating back to the Ottoman period. 

Insights Greece - 11 Best Places to Spend Easter in Greece 


This Cycladic island is filled with many Orthodox and Catholic churches, the main being The Epitaphios of the Catholic Evangelistria, the Assumption of Panagia, the Transfiguration of the Savior, and Saint Nicholas, all meet at the main Miaouli Square and Easter services take place. Locals participate in the procession often carrying spears, or sponges, which is a clear reference to the passions of Christ.


This Cycladic island, located near Santorini and Milos, has its own Easter traditions, which honour Panagia (Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ). The annual tradition has it that locals clean and whitewash their houses in preparation for the passing of the icon of Panagia. Starting on Holy Saturday, the icon goes around the village, outside all the homes, which are given a blessing. 

Insights Greece - 11 Best Places to Spend Easter in Greece 


Corfu is by far the most popular Easter destination in Greece. Each year thousands of local and international visitors arrive on the island to celebrate the resurrection with a variety of traditions, one of the most famous being the throwing of clay pitchers (botides). In the town’s historic centre, with thousands of people, locals throw ceramic pots off their balconies, yelling “Xristos Anesti” (Christ is Risen). Bands play music throughout the town, and everyone is outdoors (day and night) taking part in the festivities. 


On the Dodecanese island of Kalymnos, the anticipation for the Resurrection builds with the loud sound of dynamite exploding. This can be heard throughout the entire island, from the main port to the mountainous villages. After midnight mass on Easter Saturday, fireworks take place and the island celebrates with traditional local food and music. 


On the beautiful island of Spetses, the Epitaphios processions of each of the four main churches of the island come together on the main town square in front of the Poseidonion Hotel on the evening of Good Friday. Locals carry around the Epitaph, which is beautifully decorated and the city is lit with pretty lights and Easter candles.  

Insights Greece - 11 Best Places to Spend Easter in Greece 


Meteora is by far one of the holiest sites in Greece and come Easter time, it is truly magical. During this time you will hear chanting Byzantine hymns and you will see glimpses of holy icons inside the 30 monasteries all lit up. After the midnight service visitors are welcome to head to Kalambaka or Kastraki towns nearby where the local taverns serve traditional Magiritsa soup. On Easter Sunday you can enjoy the local celebrations in the nearby town of Kalabaka. 


The Byzantine town of Monemvasia e is filled with flowers during Easter time and on Good Friday you can follow the Procession of the Epitaph through the narrow, cobbled alleyways of the town, alongside a band playing music. The entire Holy Week is filled with many commemorations and events that culminate on Easter Sunday. 

Insights Greece - 11 Best Places to Spend Easter in Greece 


Easter is a wonderful time to visit Chania, as you can experience local Cretan customs and traditions and visit many historical monasteries that invite guests to experience the true meaning of Pascha. At this time of year the town’s spring charm also comes to life and not only is it blossoming with flowers, but the sun is also shining and the warmer weather may even allow you to have a swim. 


This is a very popular destination for Athenians to celebrate Easter, as it’s only a two-hour drive away from the Greek capital. Nafplion has special celebrations that take place throughout the entire Holy Week. On Good Friday, follow the procession of the Epitaph through the narrow streets and alleyways, and at the end of it, you will find all four Epitaphs of the various churches on the main town square in the centre of the city. 

14 Greek Regional Airports Receive Major Upgrades

Many popular Greek airports are ready to welcome visitors again- as the huge upgrades are designed to greatly enhance the passenger experience of local and international travellers. 

Fraport Greece launched the airport development program in April 2017, with 11 island and three mainland airports across Greece receiving major upgrades as part of the innovative €440 million airport development program.

Insights Greece - 14 Greek Regional Airports Receive Major Upgrades

Having finished three months ahead of schedule, the completion includes five brand new terminals, the expansion and modernisation of five existing terminals, and upgrades of four other terminals. Construction projects at airside operational areas of the regional airports included renovating 12 runways, improving ramp areas, and constructing and renovating 12 fire stations. All of the airports have also been equipped with new state-of-the-art baggage handling and security detection systems.

Construction projects were completed at the airports of Zakynthos, Chania (Crete) and Kavala. Also on the mainland, Aktion Airport’s terminal had a complete overhaul, on the island of Samos, the airport terminal was modernised and expanded and Skiathos Airport has been completely refurbished and enlarged.

Odysseas Elytis Airport in Mytilini features a new terminal and similarly the new terminal at Kefalonia offers some 10,700 square meter of space for passenger comfort, including more services, a 70% increase in the number of check-in counters, and twice as many security checkpoints and departure gates.

On Mykonos, the redesigned terminal is now 50% bigger and combines traditional Cycladic architectural highlights with modern airport facilities. As a result, there is more space for check-in counters, departure gates, as well as a unique ambiance with attractive amenities.

Insights Greece - 14 Greek Regional Airports Receive Major Upgrades

On Rhodes, the airport has also been upgraded to offer world-class services. The terminal has a larger check-in area, plus more security checkpoints and baggage belts, a wider choice of shopping and dining. The apron in front of the terminal was also redesigned for improved operations.

Similarly, in the second quarter of 2020 Corfu Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport opened a new terminal and the islands of Kos and Santorini also underwent major redevelopment.

Final construction works were also completed at Thessaloniki Makedonia Airport, the largest airport in Fraport Greece’s portfolio. This €100 million development has created a new terminal complex that is said to rival Europe’s most popular airports. The new terminal is linked via skyway bridges to the redesigned existing terminal – doubling the amount of terminal space available. More check-in space, twice as many departure gates, and a wide range of restaurants, cafes and shops now shape a completely new environment at the international gateway to Greece’s second largest city.

Marking the official completion of the construction program, Fraport Greece CEO, Alexander Zinell announced, “The completion of this emblematic, €440-million construction program of 2021 fills me with pride and optimism. These airports will serve as a catalyst for re-starting the vital Greek tourist industry. I am confident that these new state-of-the-art airport facilities will fully welcome and satisfy travellers wishing to explore the beauties of this magnificent country.”

*Images: Fraport Greece 

Best Greek Islands to Visit During Off Season

One of the most commonly asked questions by our readers who plan to visit Greece is, which islands do we recommend during off season? Greek travel and tourism expert Maria Athanasopoulou shares her favourite destinations, outside the peak season, and lets us know why they deserve a visit any time of the year! 

by Maria Athanasopoulou

During this non-summer period, people from all over the world, plan their trips, in order to take advantage of good deals and also to enjoy spots where they can travel with fewer people. So, I recommend two destinations for your vacation in Greece during off-peak; the island of Crete and the island of Corfu. 

The island of Crete

Insights Greece - Best Greek Islands to Visit During Off Season

For me, one of the most beautiful Greek destinations during this time is Crete. In September, October and even November, the temperature is still very high, allowing guests to enjoy the sea, swimming and sunbathing daily, while also avoiding the crowds of July and August, especially when taking part in tours and excursions. 

As for the beaches of Crete, whatever one says will not be enough to do them justice. Most of the beaches really are fantastic and even if you only get the chance to visit one, it will probably be much better than you would have hoped for. Indicatively, I will mention Elafonisi, Falasarna, Balos, Kalamaki, Frangokastelo, Hiona, Paleokastro, Platanias, and Potamos.


If you decide to stay in Heraklion, I recommend ibis Styles Heraklion Central. It is located in the city center. It has large and nicely decorated rooms and serves a very good breakfast.

For authentic Cretan cuisine, I suggest the Courtyard of Defkalion. Traditional Cretan recipes and a very welcoming atmosphere!


In Chania, this beautiful city of Crete, there is so much to see. Just a walk around the Old Port  gives you the opportunity to take in so much history and culture! For your stay around this area, I highly recommend the Domus Renier Boutique hotel, it is an excellent choice that you will not regret. For food, visit the Enetikon restaurant in the Old Port. Try local recipes that will completely satisfy! 

Also, visit The Cellar Restaurant in the beautiful Telonio beach of Kissamos village. The cuisine was excellent and highly recommended! 

Insights Greece - Best Greek Islands to Visit During Off Season


The beautiful Rethymnon is waiting for you and will excite you with its unique beauty. In my opinion, it is probably the most beautiful city of Crete and fully retains its local traditional identity. For your stay, I recommend the Steris Elegant Beach Hotel. Very nice rooms and nice location. 

For eating out I highly recommend Raki Ba Raki Restaurant. You will be thrilled with its local recipes and the excellent taste of its dishes. 

Finally, if you visit Agios Nikolaos, do not forget to eat at the restaurant Archontiko, one of the best restaurants in town. 

Must see

The Archaeological Museum at Heraklion is a real experience. It is one of the biggest and most impressive museums I have visited! A virtual trip of about 5500 years, from the Neolithic Age to Roman times, awaits the visitor. The Minoan Exhibits and especially the collection of Minoan Frescoes is impressive.

There is no doubt that Knossos is one of the most important ancient cities of Crete. Visitors to the site have the chance to see how the Palace was in ancient times since the monuments are very well preserved. The palace was the house of the ancient King Minos in the Minoan era. Arrange to take the tour with an expert guide to hear all the historical details. The tour lasts about an hour and twenty minutes and be sure to put on your hat and take with you a bottle of water- it is really hot here when the sun is out!

If you love good wine, I recommend a visit to Manosakis Winery, where you will have the chance to listen to the owner’s life story while tasting some excellent wines.

The Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete

It is an olive grove, where after a big fire, the owners created a park with plants from all around the world. Visitors may walk through the paths of the park for almost an hour and a half to view various species of plants and trees and then taste the products produced, in the restaurant located inside the park.

Insights Greece - Best Greek Islands to Visit During Off Season

The island of Corfu 

Another dream destination for your holidays in Greece during off season, is the beautiful island of Corfu. You will enjoy it with fewer people and all your travels will be much easier.


Much has been written about the beautiful island of Corfu! This is an amazing place, with beautiful beaches and very good food. During the summer months, the island is full of visitors. I recommend you visit it before or after the summer months, so as not to encounter crowds. The city harbor, one of the most beautiful of Greece, is the first picture for anybody who reaches the island by sea. 

Corfu Town

A really beautiful city, the capital of the island of Corfu, with strong Venetian, French and English influence, is itself a unique destination. Esplanade, a large and beautiful square, is the largest in the Balkans. If you walk in it, you will admire many stunning buildings and within the small alleys, you will find many small souvenir and trade shops.

Fortress of Corfu

The Fortress of Corfu is one of the most popular attractions of the island. It is the first image that the visitor sees as they approach the capital of the island by the sea. The fortress is really imposing. It is built on a rocky peninsula. The location was perfect for the residents to control all the neighboring coasts in the past. The Fortress is now open to the general public. It is an attraction of the island that is worth seeing. 


One of the most famous sights of Corfu is this green rock that got its name from its shape. It looks like a mouse. In Pontikonissi there is a church dedicated to the Transfiguration of Sotiros. In order to get there, where the visit is short-term in order to protect the natural environment, you will begin across from the cannon, with the boats you’ll find there. It is worth making the circumnavigation of the island with a boat.

Insights Greece - Best Greek Islands to Visit During Off Season


Paleokastritsa is one of my favorite beaches. Also visit the beach of Agios Georgios, the beach of Agios Stefanos, Pelekas, and Benitses. Of course, the island has many beautiful beaches, I’ve just mentioned a few of my favourites.


The emblematic hotel Corfu Palace in the city of Corfu is undoubtedly the best choice for your stay. 

For eating out I highly recommend Paxinos Restaurant in Benitses. I tried some amazing food, with authentic Corfiot flavors. I combined my dishes with red Corfu beer, definitely try it!

For authentic Galaktoboureko I recommend the Milk Bar Periklis Alexis in the old town of Corfu. You will never forget its rich taste.

Please check all the above details before planning your trip, regarding the applicable regulations due to current restrictions.

Maria Athanasopoulou is the founder of the tourism marketing company Respond On Demand. She is also the founder of the non-profit urban company Top Tourism. She serves as the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the World Food Travel Association and she is also a Master Culinary Travel Professional. She serves as ambassador of the World Gourmet Society in Greece and Cyprus, and she also serves as ambassador of Green Destinations. She has given seminars for tourism professionals, as well as many speeches and presentations on tourism issues, in events in Greece and abroad. She is also a Sustainable Tourism marketing expert.

Unique Flavours of Cretan Cuisine

Cretan cuisine is renowned worldwide for its unique ingredients and rich flavours. Cooking here is based on simple techniques and lush local produce, making the island’s dishes stand out. 

From organic mountain herbs and a variety of greens to handmade cheeses, an abundance of fresh seafood, renowned Cretan oil, floral honey and famous Raki- there is something very special about the delicacies on offer.

We recently spoke with Kelly Michelakis, founder of The Hellenic Odyssey, a passionate home cook who hails from Crete and runs popular online cooking classes. Kelly offers lessons to people around the world on how to prepare Greek food and also shares her Cretan family recipes that have been handed down through generations.

What do you think makes Cretan cuisine unique, and what dishes from the island do you enjoy making?

Cretan cuisine aligns with the values of the Mediterranean diet, which in fact originated in Crete in the post WWII period. Cretan food relies on fresh, local and seasonal produce. Dishes are simple but full of flavour which comes from high-quality products such as extra virgin olive oil and fresh aromatic herbs. I love making Cretan Kaltsounia and Boureki the most.

Having spent a lot of time in Chania, where are some of your favourite places to eat out? 

Ntounias set in the mountainous region of Nerokouros, Gramvousa restaurant in Kaliviani with beach views in the distance, and Chrisostomos, Tamam and Oasis all in the town centre and for the sweet tooth Kronos and Ioardanis.

What Cretan delicacies/dishes do you suggest people try when visiting?

Bougatsa: It comes in two forms. The sweet version is filled with custard and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Also, there is a savoury version which is made using a local cheese called Mizithra.

Boureki: This delicious dish is traditionally made by layering thickly cut pieces of zucchini and potatoes, topped with a cheese and mint mix.

Dakos: A refreshing Greek appetiser consisting of a large barley rusk, it is topped with extra virgin olive oil, grated tomatoes and mizithra cheese.

Insights Greece - Unique Flavours of Cretan Cuisine

Pilafi: This traditional rice pilaf is made using chicken or beef stock or even a combination of both. It is then finished with lemon juice and butter.

Kaltsounia: Filo pastry parcels with any type of soft local Cretan cheese and/or wild greens and herbs.

Loukoumades: Fluffy doughnuts, which are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, there are so many Loukoumades stores in every part of Crete serving this popular sweet. 

Yoghurt: Crete is a large producer of dairy making yoghurt varieties, from sheep to cow and to goat.

Myzithra: A cheese similar to ricotta but made with goats milk. It is extremely soft in texture and absolutely delicious.

Raki: This is a very strong spirit made using the traditional evaporation method. Leftover grape pomace is used to make the following harvest and winemaking.

Sfakianopita: A scrumptious pie from the mountainous region of Sfakia. This is a really thin flat pie which is filled with a small amount of cheese, lightly fried and topped with lots of honey.

Staka: A very traditional dish made from goat’s milk butterfat. In fact, Staka is a dish you will only find in Crete.

Xerotigana: A light pastry fluffy dough fried in olive oil, soaked in honey, and topped with sesame seeds or walnuts- delivering a super crunchy texture.

The Hellenic Odyssey

Cover image via purecrete.com

Cool Ceramics Made in Crete

Talented Greek American artist Alexandra Manousakis remodels her personal experiences into colourful abstract and ceramic art. Her cool collections, exclusively handmade in Crete, delight in small joys, bold lines and vibrant colours! 

When did you begin painting?

Insights Greece - Cool Ceramics Made in Crete

I began when I was four. My parents and teachers quickly saw that I loved it so I was enrolled in different classes and after school programs. I studied art throughout my education and eventually majored in Art, Hellenic Studies and Business at NYU’s Gallating School of Individualized Study. When I moved to Greece 13 years ago, I maintained painting as a hobby and even put on a few solo exhibitions here in Chania. I started to experiment with ceramics in 2012 when I created a line of olive oil and sea salt for our winery called ‘Terroir by Alexandra Manousakis’. Eventually I branched out into making different home goods for friends and family and decided to open my showroom in downtown Chania in July 2019.

What inspires your creations and how would you describe your designs?

I am very much inspired by my experiences here in Greece. Adjusting to a new culture and way of business was quite difficult in the beginning and I often reminisce on these difficulties and remember funny (or not so funny) stories of what it was like to be a Greek-American navigating the Greek system. That being said, the colors and lifestyle in Greece are incredibly influential on my work. It is hard not to be inspired when living in a place like Chania. Beyond my location, I am very much about my process. I love experimenting with materials and seeing how they interact. It’s a continual dialogue for me when creating art between me and the piece.

What do you love most about what you do?

Besides actually creating, I love the freedom I have when creating and the fact that I can mix art with business. I like the challenge of selling art. I love getting lost in color and materials and I love the endless possibilities to make things.

What are a few of your favourite pieces from your range?

Each piece serves a different purpose so I love all of them. I have some larger pieces that I am particularly fond of and then some pieces with names or words that remind me of specific people or events and those always put a smile to my face. I love making and looking at large paintings as well.

Your gorgeous creations are all made in Crete. Tell us more about the materials and craftsmanship? 

Everything is made locally and the clays I experiment with are all sourced from Greece. The art of making ceramics is deeply ingrained in Greek culture; it has been around since ancient times. In ancient Greece, ceramics were made for everything from storing foods and goods, transporting goods, making tableware to being used as urns after cremation. Ceramics were essential for every aspect of life. Today, their use is quite different but ceramicists in Greece are very aware that they are continuing this legacy and respect their craft very much.

Insights Greece - Cool Ceramics Made in Crete

I have spent the last three years refining the way we make our ceramics and what materials we use in order to reach the most desired outcome. It has been an incredible ride; I have learned so much along the way.

What colours do you love working with most?

I love all colors but I always finish off a piece with a bold black mark or pattern. I love the depth that black has. I love how certain and unforgiving it is as a color (of course this aspect poses its challenges as well!). I think it has to do with the way I see the world sometimes. I am very black and white in my thinking. I don’t do so well with gray areas, lol. I like for things to be defined and clear and because so often in life things are not that way, at least I can make them that way on my art!

How often will you release a new range? 

I’ve only had the showroom for the last year and my e-shop for a few months. The first two collections went better than I could have ever expected so I have held on to the last range. I am working on a whole new collection with different clay and that should be out by next Spring. I almost always am working on the next batch of designs which may or may not get released. I’m still testing out different ideas and seeing what works best.

What have been some of your most popular products so far and do you custom make?

I have noticed that most people buy entire table settings for their home. I thought people would be more interested in buying one or two pieces but that is not the case. The larger pieces are very popular and those are made to order. My paintings are the most popular and I just happened to sell the last one available yesterday! I have a new range of paintings coming out by next summer.

Is your studio in Chania open to the public? And do you ship internationally?

I have a showroom in downtown Chania that is open to the public and people can come and buy from. It’s a very small space but just what I need for now and quite central. We do ship internationally and have sent all over the world.

Tell us about your childhood growing up in the US and spending summers in Chania. What are some of your fondest memories?

I’d say my fondest memories were of coming here to Chania every summer! I grew up in Washington, DC. I had a very urban upbringing and I love big cities. Chania was the only exception to my rule of living in big cities (I went from DC to NYC for school and stayed there for a couple of years). I loved the contrast of my American life to my Greek life. This was the major pull that got me to try out life in Chania, this idealization of the place that I loved going to every summer.

What was it like moving from New York to Chania? Did it take time for you to adjust?

I’m still adjusting, lol! It was and is very difficult at times. As many times as I had been here, nothing could prepare me for such a different mentality or way of life. I was 23 years old when I came- a woman (girl by the standards here) and trying to do business in a predominantly male society. It was tough. Some things are still shocking or annoying but at least now I know what to expect and how to take care of it. Even today, I will ask a question in a business meeting and the question will be answered to my husband, not to me. I think the whole experience helps you choose your battles. What is worth fighting for and what isn’t. A very valuable lesson to learn in my opinion. Of course, every place has its pros and cons. Many times I get asked where life is better and that is just an impossible question to answer. Both places have so many great qualities and both places have some negatives. Washington DC will always be the place where I grew up, in fact I only recently stopped calling it home. Now Chania is very much my home.

Where are your favourite places in Chania to eat and drink?

By default I love going to my husband’s restaurant on the harbor which is called Salis. I also love Ginger, The Five, Kross Coffee and sitting at our winery and drinking wine. Don’t know if I’m allowed to say that but its true!

What is your favourite beach in Chania for a swim?

Falasarna beach. Just beautiful.


Domes Zeen Chania Named Best Resort in Europe for 2020

Described by international judges as a “standout project with a true sense of place”, Domes Zeen Chania was named Best Resort in Europe for 2020, at the AHEAD Awards for Hospitality, Experience, and Design.

The prestigious awards are entered and judged by leading hotel owners, developers, operators, architects, and designers from around the world; with the winners announced online two days ago.

Under the guidance of head designer Michael Schickinger (Lambs and Lions), interior stylist and designer Annabell Kutucu, and lead architect Konstantinos Karampatakis (k-studio); Domes was a collaborative project culminating in the launch of a luxurious boutique hotel that provides the perfect spot to unwind.

Insights Greece - Domes Zeen Chania Named Best Resort in Europe for 2020

Set against an enchanting backdrop of the deep Mediterranean Sea, sandy stretches of beach, and an ancient Venetian port, Domes Zeen Chania is an ideal place to rest and reinvigorate. Here you can recuperate with yoga or an energizing massage, or take your time exploring the tropical sanctuary.

“Domes Zeen oozes warmth, charm, and personality,” announced AHEAD’s judges, adding “It has an earthy colour palette, natural textures, and neutral materials were used throughout to exude Bohemian luxury and ensure it blended effortlessly within its Cretan setting.”

Throughout the boutique property, there are a series of soulful spaces and sanctuaries that merge minimalist mid-century modernism with sustainable design in one seamless union. The 106 handcrafted rooms feel earthy and organic, like a home away from home, opening up onto your own private terrace.

Boasting large areas for indoor and outdoor living, Domes Zeen retains privacy and seclusion, whilst maximizing the spectacular verdant and sea views.

Domes also brings a duo of gourmet restaurants, a beachfront spa, and classic island experiences to the table, including cookery and ceramics classes, wine tastings, and coastal hikes. Children have just as much to look forward to, with the kids’ club offering everything from painting classes to sleepovers in a tepee.

Organic Boutique Winery Set in a Serene Village in Chania

Manousakis Winery has been producing its 100% organic wines under the brand name Nostos since 1997. The winery is situated in the village of Vatolakkos, just 15 minutes (drive) from the city of Chania. 

This charming, traditional village setting is a perfect backdrop to try these award-winning Cretan wines and over the years Manousakis Winery has been holding tours and tastings for visitors from all over the world.

The philosophy of this boutique winery is to carefully cultivate the vines in order to absorb the scent-filled terroir so the flavours of the grapes combine with the herbs for an incomparable taste. Each bottle of Nostos Wines captures the character of this verdant island and the slopes of the Lefka Ori.

IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with Alexandra Manousakis, youngest daughter of owner and founder Ted, about their beautiful family winery.

Tell us about your family winery. How long has it been running and how did it all begin?

Insights Greece - Organic Boutique Winery Set in a Serene Village in Chania

The winery started in 1993 when we first planted our organic vineyards with the international varieties of Roussanne, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. In 1997 we had our first vintage. The winery was started by my father, Ted. He loved wine and wanted to make world class wine in the village he loves. Since my dad is not a viticulturist nor an oenologist he hired a fantastic team of top people in the wine industry at that time and they advised him on which grapes to plant and how to cultivate.

Tell us about your wine and what makes it so special?

Our winery started as a passion project. Therefore we are truly interested in producing the best wine we can from the best grapes. We want to showcase the Cretan Terroir which is phenomenal and to show the world that fantastic wines can and are coming out of a small place like Vatolakkos. I have to say that I love wine and particularly our wines.

How would you describe your varieties- both reds and whites?

The varieties that we work with are international varieties that have now been living here in Crete for the last 30 years. We also work strongly with the local variety called Romeiko and produce a white from that, which is a go to summer white. We experiment with some other Cretan Varieties and have seen excellent results there. We believe in low intervention for our wines which means that we like to let our vines and grapes do their thing. We now produce 12 different wines and a total of 120,000 bottles approximately per year. That might sound like a lot but we are still one of the smaller wineries on the island.

Where are your wines stocked? Are they sold internationally?

Our wines are sold in 15 different countries and you can see where in the wine section of our website. Due to different laws in different countries we can only send directly to countries within the EU.

Insights Greece - Organic Boutique Winery Set in a Serene Village in Chania

What is your role in the company and who else in your family works with you?

I run the winery with my husband, Afshin. My father is based in Washington DC and is still involved with the winery. We are all quite involved with the production of our wines and love what we do.

Tell us about the rest of the team at Manousakis?

Since 1998, our oenologist Kostis Galanis has been head winemaker. Kostis is an amazing person as well as winemaker and together with his son, Giannis Galanis they make the wine production team. Giannis is our viticulturist and assistant winemaker. We have a wonderful team in our office as well and our tasting terrace. We firmly believe that you are only as good as your team is and we feel very happy to be working with the individuals that we do.

Insights Greece - Organic Boutique Winery Set in a Serene Village in Chania

Describe your beautiful vineyard and the wine tours and tastings?

Our vineyards are on quite rough terrain. We have a few different vineyards in a number of locations that range from 350m above sea level to 650m above sea level. Tours of our vineyards are arranged through Uncharted Escapes, a tour agency with land rovers to be able to get around the mountains. At the winery we have our tasting terrace and
restaurant which serves traditional Cretan delicacies and where you can try all of our wines. Normally, we do tours of our winery but due to the pandemic, we did not hold tours this past summer. The tasting terrace is quite beautiful and is located in our old winery in an olive and orange tree grove. It’s quite peaceful and relaxing.

What cultural events take place at the winery?

We normally host a series of events at the winery. We’ve done art exhibitions and every weekend we have live music on our terrace. People often rent the winery for private events such as small weddings, baptisms or parties.

Insights Greece - Organic Boutique Winery Set in a Serene Village in Chania

How has harvesting for 2020 been and are there any new wines you will be releasing for 2021?

The 2020 harvest was quite good. So far we are very pleased with the results and we are looking forward to the wines that will come of it. We are releasing a new wine in 2021! It’s a collaboration with another winery and it’s very exciting. I won’t say more yet but will make an announcement when it is ready.

What are your current opening hours are and are you open all year round?

The winery is closing the tasting terrace from November 1st and then operating by appointment only until March 15th, 2021. Typically we are open daily during the summer months but of course we don’t yet know what the 2021 season looks like.

Inspiring People Around the World to Cook Greek

Australian born with Greek heritage, Kelly Michelakis, founder of The Hellenic Odyssey, is a passionate home cook and travel enthusiast.

Accompanied by her photographer husband, Xenophon, they make the perfect team-  sharing discoveries of authentic Greek food and travel on their social media pages and popular blog, which is reached by thousands of followers. 

Having to put their 2020 culinary and travel tours on hold due to the pandemic, Kelly has turned her focus to online cooking classes, which launched a few weeks ago and has already become a worldwide hit.

Insights Greece - Inspiring People Around the World to Cook GreekKelly is currently hosting weekly classes and sharing her beautiful and traditional Greek recipes with people from all around the globe who are keen to discover how to make authentic Greek dishes from scratch. This includes entrees such as Greek pita and dips, a variety of mains like Gemista and Pastitsio, as well as Greek sweets such as Bougatsa and Ekmek Kataifi.

With the aim of inspiring people all over the world to try Greek food and to visit Greece, Kelly recently spoke with us about living in Greece, her passion for Greek cuisine and culture, plus her love of sharing her knowledge about the origins and philosophy of Greek gastronomy.

Tell us which part of Greece are you from and when did you first visit?

I’m from the island of Crete, the largest of all the Greek islands. My family originates from Chania, the prefecture on the western side of Crete. My grandparents grew up in the region known as Keramia in the village of Kontopoula. I first visited Greece when I was eight, but I didn’t just visit. I lived there for two years in the prefecture of Heraklion, the capital city of Crete. Since then, I have been back to Greece five times.

Insights Greece - Inspiring People Around the World to Cook GreekWhat part of Greek culture do you connect with most?

I connect mostly with the food of Greece and the traditions and customs surrounding that- music, dance, celebrations, festivals, the land, cultivation and harvesting. Learning about how our elders lived provides great insight into our history and ensures their stories are not lost among the generations. It enables their recipes, their food and their ways to be remembered and passed on.

When did you launch The Hellenic Odyssey and what was the vision behind it?

We started The Hellenic Odyssey as a project created from the heart, driven by a passion for food and inspired by a love for travel. We launched in 2018 with the intention of providing culinary travel tours to Crete and hosting cooking classes here in Melbourne. Our vision was to continue to learn about our own culture while sharing what we love with others; Greek food and travel.

When did your passion for cooking begin and what do you love making?

It began at an early age. I remember in primary school being told that we could go to the library to borrow a book and I would find myself in the childrens’ cooking section browsing cookbooks. I love cooking sweets the most, and this too has been with me from a young age. I recently found a cookbook from 1995 that was all about classic cakes and upon browsing through the pages, I recall having baked the majority of the recipes from it (and I would have only been about 13 years old).

What are some of your favourite Greek dishes and as a ‘foodie’ what regions in Greece do you enjoy visiting?

My favourite would have to be Cretan and they include Dakos, Boureki, and Kaltsounia. I think Crete is a foodie haven but so too are many other islands and regions such as Naxos, Santorini, the Peloponesse (Kalamata), Athens and Thessaloniki of course! There is such a diverse range of foods and the flavours vary on what that region is known for. The island of Chios for example has its mastiha while Corfu features a lot of Kumquat liqueur.

How would you describe the Greek gastronomy scene in 2020 and what do you think people would be most surprised about?

There is so much more on offer in Greece than travellers could ever expect when it comes to gastronomy. Local boutique suppliers of products such as cheese and yogurt, baked goods, wine, olives, jams, preserves and honey, herbs and botanicals, olive oil, nut based products, distilled spirits such as raki, and even beer are earning a reputation. Travellers would be surprised at the variety of unique food experiences to be had and the exceptionally high quality of the product.

What has been your most memorable A) Breakfast in Greece? B) Lunch in Greece? C) Dinner in Greece?

The most enjoyable breakfast for me are those that you have in a small boutique family owned hotel. There is not a huge selection on offer but what is served is always 10/10. Fresh seasonal fruit, homemade jams, cheese and paximadia, freshly baked bread, local yogurt and honey, and a moist delicate sponge cake.

Lunch! Being served a Greek salad with vine ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, mountainous oregano that seems to smell so different in Greece, topped with a local soft white cheese, plus a plate of hand cut olive oil fried patates and a glass of homemade wine (as most restaurants have their own supply) while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, with old Greek music softly heard in the background at a local taverna on the lesser-visited island of Skiathos. It is the simplicity of the place, the meal and the atmosphere that makes such an experience memorable.

As for dinner, it would be in Santorini on the cliff face of Andronis Luxury Hotel at Lycabettus restaurant, overlooking the caldera with nothing to obstruct your view. Santorini’s best delicacies are served with matching wine during sunset with soothing music in the background on a balmy night. There is a sense at that moment, that nothing else matters, time is non-existent, thoughts do not enter your mind, you are purely there in the present moment without a single thing bothering you.

Insights Greece - Inspiring People Around the World to Cook GreekTell us about the one and a half years you spent in Greece. What was it like, and how much travelling did you do during that time?

We spent the majority of our time in Greece living in Corfu and in Crete. We intended on living there more permanently but due to the economic crisis Greece was experiencing at the time, we had to return earlier than expected. Living in Greece is completely different from life here in Australia. There is no real order, it is exactly as they say ‘organised chaos’ and you have the choice to either join in and become one of them or be left out with your Australian ways. You have to act and live the way they do in order to get anything done. You must drive like them, speak like them, act like them, eat like them, party like them, and live like them. It is then that you are truly a local.

It was one of the most memorable times of my life. There is a sense of freedom and free spiritedness I feel there that I just can’t get here. We travelled extensively towards the end of our time in Greece, by island hopping during the quieter season. We departed Crete in May and travelled until August. We chose to do this without pre-booking any destinations or hotels. We would board a ferry, arrive at our destination and choose how long to stay there once we got a feel for the place.

What is your advice for anyone planning on travelling through Greece for a long period?

I would recommend buying a cheap car in Athens as it gives you so much freedom to travel. I also recommend you try to travel outside of the peak season, either May/June or September are great months. 

You were meant to start travel tours this year, however, that didn’t go ahead due to Covid. Tell us more about those?

The culinary and cultural travel tours in Crete are based in the region of Chania for the whole time. The reason for this is that we want our travellers to become immersed in one destination. We don’t want to rush from one place to the next simply to tick it off a list. We instead want people to have a slow travel journey, to really get to know the locals, to settle in, to experience Cretan life the way locals do. Our tours have an immersive live like a local feel.

Insights Greece - Inspiring People Around the World to Cook GreekWhat do you want visitors to experience with your tours when they commence?

Tours are aimed at those who are seeking an off the beaten track experience based on a slow travel style. We want to showcase our ancestral history through culinary and cultural travel experiences. We want to share the love we have for Crete and show others what makes it so special. Our tours are unique because they provide the freedom to venture off the beaten track. They are not driven by set times, they operate on Greek time. For example, if our group finds itself having an amazing time with the locals at a winery visit, we would not want to interrupt that because its time to go, or if we stumble across a local festival, we would actually stop so the group could experience that. Our tours are about taking travellers to places that they would not be able to find on their own in the short time they would be there. We take them to the best of the best hidden local gems.

You are inviting people to your home in Melbourne, where you will host cooking classes. What can people expect to learn? 

Our cooking classes in Melbourne are in themselves a trip to Greece. I welcome guests into my own home which is surrounded with fruit trees, olive trees, a veggie patch and fresh herbs with an indoor and outdoor dining area so guests can feel like there are in an authentic Greek kitchen, home and garden. Classes are hands on so guests can learn by doing it themselves, we prepare and cook as a group followed by sharing our cooking creations together. Cooking classes in Melbourne will commence once restrictions are lifted.

In the meantime, you’ve launched your popular online cooking classes. 

Yes, this is ideal for anyone interested in taking part in an online Greek cooking class as now you can do so from anywhere in the world. I can also conduct one on one sessions, or group Zooms for your special event, family get togethers or work team meetings. You can learn to make Galaktoboureko, Pastitsio, Gemista, Cretan Bougatsa, as well as vegan and vegetarian dishes.

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Why You Can’t Leave Chania Until You Try Bougatsa Iordanis

For close to 100 years, people from all over the world have been visiting Bougatsa Iordanis in the heart of Chania’s city centre, so they can get a mouthful of this crispy and creamy Cretan delicacy!

The famous bakery is now in the hands of the fourth generation of Iordanis’ descendants with the grandson, his children, and wife Ioanna in the shop every day proudly serving loyal customers and global visitors, who want to experience the unique and fresh taste they can only find here.

Opening its doors for the first time in 1924, Iordanis still remains authentic, simple, and rustic in the year 2020- with a few tables inside and views to the kitchen out the back- here you will enjoy their exceptional delicacy served on a simple aluminum plate.

Although Bougatsa can be found all over Greece- what makes this delicacy so special is the cheese that is used to fill the pastry. Most bakeries serve their Bougatsa with a sweet custard in the centre, however, Iordanis prepare their filling using a local Chaniot mizithra (Cretan ricotta cheese) namely Pichtoggalo Chanion Cheese PDO, which is produced from goat’s or sheep’s milk, giving it a slightly sour flavour.

“We haven’t changed the family recipe since the early 1920s. We have kept it the same as everyone loves it. We also make a custard version but again ours is unique as we use oil instead of butter, which enhances the taste,” says Ioanna. 

A: Apokoronou 24, Chania

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 6 am to 2:30 pm | Sunday: 6 am to 1:30 pm

*Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Complete Travel Guide to Chania

Chania, with its pretty beaches, a unique mix of architecture, narrow pebbled alleyways, charming villages, and buzzing town- is the perfect place to experience a lively city where the old-world meets new. Here is our Complete Travel Guide to Chania.   

Getting There & Getting Around 

The flight to Chania from Athens is around one hour, otherwise, you can catch a ferry. There is a direct ferry line that takes around 6.5 hours, or you can do an overnight trip, which is roughly 9 hours. Depending on how much of the island you would like to see, we strongly recommend hiring a car, which allows you the flexibility to visit the many beaches, villages, and historical spots around town.

Where to Stay

If you like being close to restaurants and nightlife, we suggest you stay around the Old Town, Venetian Port, or the New Town. If you prefer a more relaxed vibe and being somewhere close to nature (mountains or sea) try Kissamos, Paleochora, or Sfakia. For those wanting to be footsteps away from the beach, we highly recommend Marathi and Loutraki, in the Akrotiri area.

Where to sleep

For a great stay in the heart of the Old Venetian Harbour Cretan RenaissanceDomus Renier, or Casa Delfinio all offer stunning views of the Old Port and the famous Lighthouse. For more of a city vibe, base yourself around the New Town and try Samaria Hotel. If you prefer apartment living, check into Casa Ntore Luxury Apartments or Trianon. And for something closer to the water, we recommend Domes Zeen, Ammos Hotel, and Marathi Villas.

Where to eat

For authentic flavours head to Evgonia– don’t expect fancy décor but the food is amazing (we recommend the grilled fish). Ta Chalkina at the Port offers the complete Cretan experience- great views, live music, and traditional cuisine. Tamam in the Old Town is where you can experience local dishes served in a rustic setting. Further across town at Kaliviani village, you will find Gramvousa Taverna, which offers magnificent food and gorgeous views. Taverna Mpourakis in Kounoupidiana is a local favourite and their specialty is Xoirino Kotsi (pork hog), which is baked for hours. Nea Chora is a waterfront location lined with traditional fish taverns- our favourites include Akrogiali, Volakas, and Achilleas. For modern cuisine and stylish decor try Pallas and Mon.Es- great food and ambiance.

Sweet treats

Yes, you can try Bougatsa all over Greece, but you can’t find Bougatsa Iordani anywhere else. This famous pastry- made using fresh Cretan Mizithra (ricotta) – Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Chaniahas been a local favourite since 1924. If you are looking for a variety of sweets, make your way over to Koukouvagia which has been named Greece’s best dessert shop on many occasions- and for a good reason! Here you can try the famous Zoumero (a fluffy chocolate cake) as well as Lemonopita (lemon cake), Mosaiko (chocolate biscuit cake), Mille Feuille, Milopita (apple pie), Karidopita (walnut cake)- plus the view is spectacular. Lastly, if you love crepes (like us) head to Roxanis and try the classic Nutella and Banana! 

For drinks

For great local wine and spectacular views of the sunset, head over to the harbourside bar, Pallas. You will catch most of the locals over at Sinagogi- a chic and rustic spot hidden away in the ruins of the old Jewish synagogue. And for a pre-dinner drink or a late-night cocktail, try Fagotto Jazz Bar, one of Crete’s oldest bars. 

Local Delicacies and Dishes

Achinous (sea urchins) may be rare to find at your average restaurant but here they appear on most menus. Gamopilafo is a traditional wedding rice dish and is likened to a deluxe risotto prepared in a rich meat broth. Saligaria Tiganita (fried snails) is a local favourite and served as an appetizer. Stamnagathis (local wild greens) are boiled and served with a dash of olive oil and lemon juice. The famous Cretan Dakos is a rye dusk topped with juicy grated tomatoes and crumbled feta (can be eaten any time of the day). Kaltsounia are delicious Cretan cheese pies, and Arni me Stamnagathi is a lamb dish, where the meat is sautéed in hot olive oil, then served with either avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) or a squeeze of lemon juice. If you love cheese, you should definitely try the local Graviera, Pichtogalo Chanion (which has AOC protection), and Myzithra, a young Cretan whey cheese. Raki or Tsikoudia is a locally made Cretan Brandy that is distilled from grapes and served in every Cretan taverna and kafeneio (not for the faint-hearted). 

Best Beaches

Seitan Limani offers magical views and pristine waters- it’s a bit of a hike to get there as you need to walk down steep steps- but definitely worth it. For a morning swim and a great Freddo (cold coffee) head to Loutraki Beach, where you will find lots of sunbeds. Marathi is perfect for families and it’s where the locals go. Also good for those with young kids are Falasarna and Stavros Beach (where Zorba the Greek was filmed). Balos Lagoon, Elafonisi, and Gramvousa Islet are by far Chania’s most photographed beaches- you can’t leave Chania until you have been to at least one. While Golden Beach with its golden sand and clear, calm waters also deserves a visit. 

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Chania
Seitan Limani


Discover history

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Chania
Around the Old Port

Walking through the charming Old Town (while taking in the magnificent sites) allows visitors to discover the Venetian, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences. Chania has an impressive Archaeological Museum, a Naval Museum, Folklore Museum, and several others that are all as significant as each other. Then make your way over to Prophet Ilias, where you will find the Tombs of Eleftherios Venizelos, a famous politician who was Prime Minister of Greece- no less than 7 times! Here you will also get panoramic views of Chania, as well as the chance to go inside the local chapel.  On the other side of town, check out the Municipal Garden, which was designed in 1870- here you can get up close to the historical 1927 Clock Tower. You can also enjoy coffee or tea at the famous Café Kipos, which is a member of the European Association of Historical Cafés. And while you are at it, catch a film at the nearby open-air cinema! 

Spiritual Sites

Chania is home to many sacred and historical monasteries that are well known. The most frequently visited is Agia Triada Tzagarolon, which was built in the 17th century by two monks. The Gouvernetou Monastery was designated as a preserved monument in 1900, while the abandoned Monastery of Aghios Ioannis is said to be the most ancient monastery of Crete (dating back to the 6th- 7th centuries).

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Chania
Agia Triada Monastery
Where to shop

For small boutiques filled with handmade jewellery, sandals, ceramics, and other great gift ideas head to the Old Town and stroll through the beautiful alleyways to find a range of stores catering to all tastes. If you are after fast fashion such as Zara, H&M, or other local chain stores- make your way across to the new part of town where you will find all the latest shoes, clothes, and accessories. If you prefer to take home some tasty Cretan treats- check out the local markets in the Agora, where you will discover the freshest home-grown food and delicacies. 

Can’t leave until… you have brunch at Ginger Concept, and lunch at Dounias in Drakona, where all the dishes are farm-to-table and created by owner/chef Stelio Trilykaris, who prepares it all using traditional cookware and a wood-fired oven. For some adventure, hike the 16km-long Samaria Gorge- one of Europe’s longest canyons- but try to get there early morning to avoid the crowds. For a unique cultural experience visit artist Manousos Chalkiadakis, who Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Chaniatransforms clay into stunning vases, boats, and balloons. His studio is located in a small village and the hospitable artist will also take you next door to see a 300-year-old house. You should then drive to the village of Maza and eat at Dris in the main square (ask the owner to unlock the door to the tiny Byzantine chapel in front of his shop, which contains amazing 13th-century artifacts). Also, pay Manolis Tsouris a visit- where you’ll find a range of wooden art pieces. Last but not least, you should listen to live Cretan music and join in on some local dancing, which will be one of the most memorable experiences!