21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021

Greece has become increasingly sought-after by travellers around the world. It is said to be one of the first places people want to visit as soon as they are able to book a holiday—and it’s easy to see why.

One of the world’s most beautiful countries, Greece has the stunning Aegean Sea, magical sunsets, lush mountains, and rich cuisine that caters to everyone’s palate. Here, we take you on a visual tour of the country’s best sites, from breathtaking isles to small charming villages- we reveal why it’s so appealing to visit! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            A tiny village on Tinos island | Image @Labettarosa

Greek Islands: Greece has 6000 islands in total and 227 of those are inhabited. From the Ionian to the Dodecanese, each has its own unique beauty, making it hard to choose which one to explore next! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
  A tiny village on Tinos island | Image @Labettarosa

Charming Villages: The Greek islands aren’t only about beaches and sunsets. Endearing little villages reveal so much about Greek history and culture and are well worth a visit. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                 Athens’ National and Kapodistrian University

Athens: The Greek capital is dominated by striking 5th-century BC landmarks and while you are there make sure to check out the outstanding neoclassical building at Athens Kapodistrian University. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            Chic cafe in Thessaloniki | Image @urban_wanders

Thessaloniki: Greece’s co-capital is known as the centre of Greek gastronomy. Spend some time here trying the local dishes and delicacies; and enjoy long coffee breaks at one of its many cool cafes. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
          Olive oil gelato | Image @the_greek_olive

Delicious Desserts: Those with a sweet tooth will be more than satisfied with the range of desserts on offer. From classic Galaktoboureko and Bougatsa to more modern treats like olive oil gelato, you won’t be disappointed!  

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            Fresh lunch | Image @melisses.andros

Fresh Produce: Simplicity is the key to Greek gastronomy and there is always a wide range of seasonal foods to savour. Without a doubt the best place to head to is the local taverna, where they serve up authentic dishes using fresh produce. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
              Modern Greek house designs | Image @homadhome

Amazing Architecture: Classical Greek architecture is famous for its intricate detail, symmetry, harmony, and balance. Greece’s current architects are also leading the way with award-winning designs in both residential and commercial properties that combine old-world charm with a modern chic look. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
         Discover the Ancient Theatre Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Archaeological Sites: From Olympia and Delphi to the Temple of Apollo and the Acropolis, there are so many historically important sites of Ancient Greece to explore. Also add the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus as a must-see attraction to your list, as it’s considered one of the best open-air theatres in the world.

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                   Stylish ceramics | Image @kerameio.serifos

Chic Ceramics: If you want to take a piece of Greece home with you, we recommend sourcing a few stunning ceramic items that are handmade by talented local artisans. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                 Ftelia Beach Bar in Mykonos

Best Beach Bars: Greece is known for its buzzing island life. And if sitting by turquoise waters (day & night) in your designer bathing suit (with a glass of Prosecco in hand) listening to the latest dance tracks sounds appealing- Mykonos is calling your name! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
          Sarakiniko Beach in Milos | Image @itsnedkelly

Breathtaking Beaches: Choosing the country’s best beaches is a tough one as Greece is filled with stunning waters. And while all visitors no doubt have personal preferences as to what makes a Greek beach perfect, there’s no denying there are hundreds of great ones to choose from! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                                            Vorres Museum

Magnificent Museums: Wandering through the numerous museums around the country brings everything about Greek antiquity to life. From grand-scale monuments to simple items of everyday life, the exhibits are filled with endless treasures

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            5-Star Luxury Hotel in Crete | Image @minosarthotel

Greek Island Hotels: Boasting majestic views and 5-star facilities & services, these pretty hotels are designed to appeal to those in search of a slice of Greek island life. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
               Volcanic Slopes Vineyards Winery in Santorini

Greek Vineyards: Wine lovers rejoice! Age-old techniques are producing distinctive wines from its resilient grapes and Greece’s beautiful Santorini island is most famously known for its indigenous white grape varieties Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
              Church in Ano Syros | Image @silversurferberlin

Holy & Spiritual Sites: Found by the sea or perched on a mountain top, the monasteries, churches and chapels in Greece are of unique beauty and a familiar feature of the country’s landscapes. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
            Classic Greek jewellery | Image @inukoo

Stunning Jewellery: If you are looking for a statement piece make sure you visit one of the many local jewellers who use traditional techniques to create stunning one-off pieces that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world.  

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
         Panigiri in Astypalaia | Image @rizesmas

Local Festivities: To truly immerse yourself in Greek culture it’s a great idea to attend a local Panigiri (festival) where you can taste authentic dishes, try house wines and enjoy local music and dancing- everyone is invited to join! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
             Village in Monemvasia | Image @kasetophono

Magical Mainland: Greece is starting to become an all-year-round destination and some of the places we love to visit during autumn and winter are Monemvasia, Nafplio, Meteora, Zagori and Veria

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
Fig & watermelon salad | Image @thecraftyhostess

Lush Fruit: Greece’s great climate is ideal for producing flavoursome fruit and if you are there during the right season trying locally grown watermelon and figs is an absolute must! 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                    Pyrgos in Santorini | Image @lavienblog

Whitewashed Houses: The first thing that catches your eye when you step foot on the Cycladic islands is the whitewashed houses, that blend in beautifully with the light blue sky and the vast Aegean Sea. 

Insights Greece - 21 Reasons to Visit Greece in 2021
                                        Breathtaking views

Mesmerising Sunsets: Greece has always been known for having some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world and even if you are not in Santorini, you will still be captivated by the sheer prettiness of a Greek sunset.  

*Main image of Folegandros Island captured by IN+SIGHTS GREECE Senior Writer Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright) Lavien Blog  

Traditional Handmade Gifts From Greece

If you are searching for some beautiful handmade gifts from Greece that are made by talented local artisans, including traditional ceramics and paintings, you can find them at Delfis Art Studio in Kos. 

Delfis is an art workshop and gift store located in the beautiful mountain village of Zia. It’s doors first opened in 1997 and here you will meet owner and local artist Maria, who launched her studio with the idea of satisfying the wishes and needs of local and international visitors looking for unique handmade Greek creations that are affordable.

Insights Greece - Traditional Handmade Gifts From Greece

“The idea is for the pieces to have authenticity and Greek identity, away from the mass produced and imported “tourist” products. This is the main idea behind our work,” says Maria. 

Every object is original and reflects the personality of each artist who created it. Here you will find a wonderful selection of ceramics, paintings on wood, as well as paintings on Greek marble. Maria cooperates with small workshops from Crete, Athens, Patras and other regions of Greece to ensure all the pieces in her store are different to what you will find at an average tourist shop. 

Inside the studio is a ceramics workshop, where Maria herself produces a wide variety of pieces that are both made for use and as decorative pieces. The ‘Delfis‘ range is one of the most popular amongst international visitors who purchase the tiny ceramic Greek churches and homes to take home with them as a reminder of their holiday to Greece. 

In the wide selection of products you will find dinnerware, coffee and tea sets (made without toxic colours and glazing) that are all available in a variety of colours and designs. Each item is painted with fire colours and baked in the oven with lead-free glazing.

Insights Greece - Traditional Handmade Gifts From Greece

Maria also works with her clients to create one off pieces that can be custom ordered in the colours and designs of your choice. Orders can also be shipped internationally. 

However, if you are in Kos, we definitely recommend you pay Delfis Art Studio a visit! 

Where is Zia? 

Zia is a picturesque mountainous village scattered on the northern slopes of Mountain Dikeos (17 km from Kos town). It is one of Kos’ most popular spots thanks to its breathtaking sunset. The area around Zia boasts outstanding natural beauty with free-flowing springs and the village itself has been declared a traditional settlement. Here you will find restaurants, cafes and shops. 

A: 85300 Zia – Kos

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

Greek Honey, A Love Story  

Like olive oil, honey is one of the miraculous staple foods of Greece and comes in a multitude of beneficial and delicious varieties. As a variable ingredient it can be used in everything from tea to yogurt to cakes and even savoury dishes to offer flavour, texture and dimension.

For the love of honey

Insights Greece - Greek Honey, A Love Story  

Beekeeping has been vital to Greek life since antiquity, when it was established as a large-scale practice. Archaeologists have discovered that during the Hellenistic period beekeepers were so ahead of their time that they interchanged their beehives throughout big regions in order to make the best of utilising different varieties of plants endemic to each area.

Greece is well recognised for its extraordinary variety of medicinal and aromatic herbs and plants, which carry their aromas and essence into honey. Various scientific research has revealed that Greek honey is rich in compounds such as polyphenols, phenolic acids and many more.

In recent news, since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Greek reality, honey consumption rose by 15%. This is owed to several factors – the high and widespread production nationwide, the accessibility and the inherent, ancient knowledge Greeks hold about it being a superfood. In fact, research at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki has even shown that Greek honey has higher antioxidant qualities than Manuka honey, which is regularly lauded as the most beneficial honey globally.

During the Greek financial crisis, many people left the city or urban-based activities and turned to the ancient art and science of beekeeping. As a result, today there are around 20-25,000 beekeepers in the country with over beehives. It’s estimated that outr of this number of beekeepers, 5000 are professionals, 10,000 are part-timers and another 10,000 are amateurs. The Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) says that Greece produces around 17 tons of honey per year.

Variety, variety, variety

Insights Greece - Greek Honey, A Love Story  

Because of Greece’s great variety of flora – around 6,500 different types, of which 1,500 are endemic, textures and colours -there are many different types of honey with an exciting range of tastes and properties. The most commonly found varieties of honey one can find are Pine, Flower, Thyme, Chestnut, Orange, Sage, Eriki, Carob and Mainalos Vanilla.

Honey is certainly a blessing for Greeks and for the world, and an especially healthful and delightful ingredient to enjoy every day.

Honey Health Benefits

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Is anti-inflammatory
  • Supports digestion and improves gut health
  • Is high in B vitamins which help strengthen the nervous system
  • Is high in antioxidants and has anti-carcinogenic properties
  • Soothes the throat
  • Induces relaxation and helps sleep
  • Gives energy

Bonus recipe!

Pasteli, the Ancient Greek honey health bar:


1 1/3 cups thyme honey

3 cups white sesame

1 lemon peel


  1. In a deep pan heat the honey and lemon peel until it reaches a boil.
  2. Add the sesame and stir well, until it reaches a second boil.
  3. Remove from the heat, and remove the lemon peel.
  4. Pour onto a baking sheet spreading to a 5cm thickness and place onto a cool surface.
  5. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, place it in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.
  6. Remove and slice or break into pieces.

Some awarded Greek honeys to look out for (and order online!) 

Insights Greece - Greek Honey, A Love Story  
E-La-Won Honey


Fir Honey Helmos



Apiculture Amfipolis

Tea Honey



Apiculture Amfipolis

Rose Honey


Artius Mt Taygetos Thyme Honey



Likou Eftixia


Foodcross Natural Products



Geranos Stefanos-Forest


& Geranos Stefanos-Antheon


Attiki Honey – Wild Flora & Thyme


Greece &

Attiki Greek Dark Brown Forest Honey




Gypsy Queen


Nomad Premium Greek Honey


Insights Greece - Greek Honey, A Love Story  


Voria Chora


ennea Premium Honey-Conifers & Herbs



ennea Premium Honey-Flowerz,Herbs & Thyme


Thyme Honey Metamorphosis

Smari Cretan Honey-Nikolarakis Emmanouil

Smari Cretan Thyme & Pine Honey



Mint and Chocolate Infused Honey

Little Donkey Honey


Georgakas Family







‘Supersized’ rare white truffle weighing 510 gr found in Greece

The second largest white truffle in Europe was found in Greece? It’s usually a different kind of headline that boldly confronts readers, informing them about something or other being unearthed under the diverse and ancient Greek landscape.

By Adrian Vrettos

Yes, truffling in this country is now on the map and gaining momentum, happily being embraced in modern Greek cuisine as well as jazzing up old staples.

The latest estimates are that between 2,000-3,000 Greeks are involved in the hunting and production of these edible treasures and that Greek truffles are now being exported far and wide, with some varieties regularly topping 3,000€ per kilo.

Insights Greece - 'Supersized' rare white truffle weighing 510 gr found in Greece

Quite a tidy sum but bear in mind that truffle hunting is no walk in the park.  It involves hours of muddling through the undergrowth of low-lying mountainous regions. Also, it requires a sound local knowledge of the areas likely to yield up their white or black prizes.

Where can this be done? Well, anywhere with wild oak or chestnut forests at the foothills of mountains, so just about all over Greece, from Crete to Meteora, Olympos to Komotini.

This is convenient although adding to the challenge, the conditions of forests conspire against human seekers so that often wild boars (amongst others) get to the prize first. So good are they at finding these aromatic gems that we train their hairless pink cousins to help us with the dirty work; pigs have a remarkable sense of smell and can root out a truffle up to three feet underground.  But more commonly, man’s best friend is trained as the primary scout. A decent (but by no means exceptional) dog can set you back €1,000, but compared to a pig it can be more fun, easier to house and with less food consumption, as far as I know.

There is another way to get truffles and that is through cultivation. Excellent! Problem solved. But not so fast; the best tree to cultivate for this purpose is the mighty oak, which takes 12 years to mature and, which is when the farmer can gather her first harvest. A long time indeed, and also a hit and miss process, as some inoculated saplings may never produce a single truffle. Not that I could tell the difference of course, but I would prefer to eat the hunted version, as there is something adventurous and excavatory about it that definitely adds flavor to my intellectual taste buds.

Having said all this, it would be remiss of me to not reference an ancient yarn from the heyday glory times of my ancestors: The ancient Athenians loved truffles to the extent that they gave citizenship (no small acquisition) to the sons of Xerippo for coming up with a new recipe for them! Unfortunately, the recipe in question has been lost to the ages, which is rather frustrating considering it was great enough to have such an honour bestowed on the willing chefs.

Insights Greece - 'Supersized' rare white truffle weighing 510 gr found in Greece

These aforementioned ancients called it Hydnon, and indeed “hydnology” is the science relating to truffles. In Latin it’s called “Tuber” which is the official term, where as a number of Mediterranean cultures (including Arabs, French and Spanish) conspired to give us the word ‘truffle’ the handle commonly used today. Furthermore, in Plutarch’s accounts, truffles were created by the combined action of water, heat and lightning leading me to conclude that it was considered as a gift from Zeus himself. Wherever the actual truth of this incredibly pungent food lies, it certaibnly has fascinated humankind and animals alike throughout the ages and will surely continue to bedazzle our tastebuds for as long as it exists.

Here are some exemplary Greek truffle product you can find online now:

Dryas Truffles – everything from truffles, truffle salt and truffle olive oil.

Dirfys is known for its excellent mushroom and truffle products, ranging from truffle gruyere to truffle mustard.

Eklekto sells top of the range White and Black Truffles.

Cover Image @langhenet

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.


Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

Athens-based fitness coach Aggeliki Koutelekou’s love of sports began at the young age of four and since then the talented athlete has competed in local and international championships where she has represented Greece on numerous occasions.

Today, the stunning 28-year-old is a physical education teacher, a personal trainer, a running coach, and an ambassador for adidas GR. Born and raised in the Greek capital, with her family hailing from Panagia, a remote village in Trikalon, Aggeliki recently spoke with IN+SIGHTS GREECE about her passion for inspiring people to keep fit; shares her tips on working out at home, and reveals her love of travelling around her homeland.

When did your passion for fitness begin?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

I started playing sports at the age of four, beginning with swimming. Then I was involved in athletics for about 10 years. The stadium became my second home, as I spent much of my daily life there. Very quickly my training became an addiction leading me to local and international championships. As the years went by, my passion continued and I decided to get involved professionally.

When did you start competing? 

From a young age, I remember myself running non-stop! I started at the age of eight in the track and field academies. Sprinting won me over from the first moment I set foot on the track. So, inevitably, it became my race! I participated in many pan-Hellenic track and field championships and in international meetings with distinctions in the 100m race.

Tell us about your work as a coach and fitness trainer?

I graduated from the Department of Science and Physical Education and Sports at Trikala with a major in classical sports. I mainly focus on training ́groups and individuals. Since 2016 I have also been a PE teacher at a private elementary school.

You have also become an ambassador for adidas? 

Yes, for the last three years I’ve been an ambassador of adidas GR and I work with adidas runners Athens as a coach. It’s the largest global running community that brings together people with common goals and a passion for running. We gather every week in the centre of Athens, doing different types of training each time.

How passionate are you about inspiring people to keep fit?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

The benefits of sports are endless, both in terms of our health and our psychology. What I love most about my job is the opportunity to encourage and inspire my young athletes to recognise the importance of sports and to love it. As for the fitness part, I feel joy and satisfaction when my clients, who had no contact with exercise beforehand, have now made it a way of life. I get excited when I see them feeling better at the end of training.

How do you motivate your clients? 

My motto is: “wherever you are, you can exercise”. No special equipment and space are required. With the will and the right guidance, you can do a complete workout anywhere! The first lesson and meeting with my client are to get an understanding of their lifestyle. To work out what they need and to see what they are physically capable of, and of course to take into account any injuries that they may have. Each of us is different and that’s how I treat my clients. With the right ‘individual’ approach, I encourage them, motivate them, and try to gain their trust.

Do you think social media has influenced the fitness industry? 

Social media in general, and, mostly Instagram in recent years is a medium where you can source anything you want. The immediacy offered by a nice image or a video with a nice background I think can definitely gain attention. I put a lot of emphasis on my posts with both the images and the videos I choose to publish. I believe that aesthetics, colour, and quality are elements with which one can stand out in the hundreds of thousands of profiles that circulate. Both through the photos and the creation of videos, which I have my own personal touch, I try to attract and inspire more and more people to engage in fitness!

How often do you train a week?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

I run three times a week with the adidas runners Athens and I do full-body training two to three times a week depending on the free time I have.

Do you follow a Mediterranean diet? 

Yes, I mainly follow the Mediterranean diet. During the week and training days, I mainly eat protein, legumes, carbohydrates, fruit, and vegetables. Of course, to be honest, I have a weakness for traditional homemade Greek dishes such as Mosxari Kokkinisto me Kritharaki (beef with orzo) and meatballs with mashed potato.

What Greek sweets do you crave most? 

I have so many favourites I can’t resist! A warm Galaktoboureko, one or two Melomakarona, and also homemade Koulourakia with a Greek coffee.

How can we stay positive and fit throughout the cooler months, when it’s sometimes harder to find motivation? 

Home confinement definitely throws us off psychologically and can affect us negatively. One way that helps us stay optimistic, physically, and mentally is exercise. This increases endorphin levels and secretes hormones that make us feel happy and positive. However, sometimes we have no choice, and staying at home does not mean that we can not stay in shape. By following easy and short fitness programs, we can exercise our whole body and feel better.

What are some simple exercises for home?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

It is always best to consult a professional who can guide you and create personalised exercise programs, as each of us is different. Some very basic tips for a good general workout is a warm-up to start off with- this is a prerequisite for starting any workout. Begin with some aerobic exercises (jumping jacks, high knees, scissors, running on the spot) in order to prepare for the main part. Then choose easy exercises (not complicated to start off with) that will work your whole body such as squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and our favourite planks. At the end of each workout do not skip the stretching. Always choose to do exercises that are not particularly difficult for you. One piece of advice I always give to my clients is to listen to your body and don’t overdo it.

On another, you also have a passion for photography, can you please tell us about that?

I love the arts and I’m fascinated by everything related to it. Many times I look at something and I have already created the frame in my mind. Through photography, I express and capture what I see with my own eyes. I have a passion for symmetry, simplicity, old buildings, and objects. I recently bought a camera to capture the moments and I now share them.

What are some of your favourite holiday destinations in Greece?

I’m lucky to live in Greece, a place that combines unique landscapes with natural beauty. I love summers on the Cycladic islands with whitewashed houses, the endless blue sky, and the countless beaches. But I also enjoy the winter destinations, where I can get closer to nature, walk on trails, and dance at traditional festivals. The places that first come to mind are Kythnos, Zagorochoria, and, of course, my home village of Panagia in Trikala.

A few of your favourite summer activities- where you can combine fitness with the Greek sun and sea?

Insights Greece - Keeping Fit and Healthy with Aggeliki Koutelekou

I love swimming in the sea, running along the beach during sunset, paddleboarding, and playing raketes.

Your all-time favourite beaches in Greece?

That’s a hard one as there are so many beautiful ones in Greece. Some of my most loved are Simos in Elafoniso, Lagousi in Kithnos, Plaka in Naxos and Falasarna in Crete.

What do you love most about Trikala and what do you recommend for anyone planning to visit?

My grandmother lives in the village and every time I go, she greets me with a traditional local pie. If you are in the wider area, do not forget to walk on the river of Trikala, to explore the city by bike, to organise short hiking or climbing trips to Meteora and, of course, to visit traditional taverns and grocery stores or in the surrounding villages where you can try local delicacies.

Finally, do you offer online training and how can people get in touch with you?

I have clients who now live abroad so I started online training, in order to stay close to my existing clients and also to offer training to people who do not live in Athens. I offer personalised online training tailored to personal needs. To contact me and learn more, you can visit my page on Instagram @aggeliki_koutelekou or Facebook.

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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Travel Around Greece With These 10 Films

While many of us wait to head back to the Aegean, we have rounded up ten of our favourite films set in Greece, that are destined to bring you a step closer to the beautiful Greek sea and land! 

Boy on a Dolphin (1957)

This was the first Hollywood movie shot in Greece. Phaedra, played by legendary actress Sophia Loren, is a poor Greek sponge diver on the island of Hydra. She works from her boyfriend Rhif’s (Jorge Mistral) boat, he is an immigrant from Albania. She accidentally finds an ancient Greek statue of a boy riding a dolphin on the bottom of the Aegean Sea. This statue brings pride to the city of Hydra and has been lost for around 2000 years.

Location scenes: Greek Saronic Islands- mostly in Hydra and also in Poros, Athens, Rhodes, Delos, and Meteora

The Guns of Navarone (1961)

This is a 1961 British-American epic adventure war film, which was inspired by the Battle of Leros- during the Dodecanese Campaign of World War II. The film stars legendary actors Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn. The book and the film share the same basic plot: the efforts of an Allied commando unit are set to destroy a seemingly impregnable German fortress that threatens Allied naval ships in the Aegean Sea. 

Location scenes: Rhodes island

Insights Greece - Travel Around Greece With These 10 Films

Zorba the Greek (1964) 

This famous 1964 Greek-American film was written, produced, edited, and directed by Greek Cypriot Michael Cacoyannis and stars Anthony Quinn as the titular character. Basil, half English, half Greek, meets Alexis Zorba, a Greek man, while they are both waiting at the port of Piraeus, to board a ship for Crete, where Basil’s family owns land, and where Basil intends to reopen a mine. Once in Crete, an unlikely friendship between Basil and Alexis leaves the wealthy, educated, English gentleman, having second thoughts as to if education and a refined life are the be-all and end-all. 

Location scenes: Crete, mainly in Chania

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

This famous spy film was the twelfth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the fifth to star Roger Moore as MI6 agent James Bond. Deep into the Roger Moore era, this James Bond episode was much enhanced by its location shooting on Corfu. There’s a plane-eye-view to start, then scenes scattered around the island. In Corfu Town, Bond falls for beautiful  Melina, who is out to get revenge for the murder of her parents.

Location scenes: Corfu, Meteora, Achilleion

Insights Greece - Travel Around Greece With These 10 Films

Shirley Valentine (1989)

The main character is a fed-up, 42-year-old English housewife who is completely bored with every aspect of her life and jumps at the chance of a holiday to Greece. When her friend drops out of the trip, Shirley travels to Mykonos alone, and here begins a passionate love affair with Greek waiter; Costas, and it becomes the beginning of Shirley’s life in Greece.

Location scenes: Mykonos

Insights Greece - Travel Around Greece With These 10 Films

The Big Blue (1988)

This cult film is a heavily fictionalised story of two friends, Enzio Maiorca (Jean Reno) and Jaques Mayol (Jean-Marc Barr) both free divers, growing up in Greece in the 1960s until their deaths in the 1980s. The friends travel through France, Italy, and Peru, but the key locations here are in Greece. Jacques grows up on Ios, at Manganari and there are many scenes set in Amorgos. 

Location scenes: Amorgos, Ios

Insights Greece - Travel Around Greece With These 10 Films

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001) 

The main characters are Antonio Corelli (Nicholas Cage), an Italian army captain, and Pelagia (Penelope Cruz), the daughter of the local physician. During this war/romance film, Corelli is the leader of the Italian invasion force that controls the Greek island of Kefalonia. Billeted with the local doctor he falls in love with his daughter Pelagia, even though she is engaged to resistance fighter Mandras. Slowly, his feelings are returned but their life and love are disrupted when the Italians surrender to the Allies. 

Location scenes: Kefalonia

MAMMA MIA! (2008)

This famous musical is based on the songs of pop group ABBA and the film features an ensemble cast, including Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, Stellan Skarsgård, Meryl Streep, and Julie Walters. The plot follows a young bride-to-be who invites three men to her upcoming wedding, each one with the possibility of being her father.

Location scenes: Skopelos, Pelion, Damouchari

Never on a Sunday (1960)

This is a 1960 Greek black-and-white, romantic comedy film that tells the story of Ilya, a self-employed, free-spirited prostitute who lives in the port of Piraeus in Athens, and Homer, an American tourist and classical scholar who is enamored of all things Greek. Starring Greece’s cherished actress Melina Mercouri and Jules Dassin, this movie gently submerges the viewer into Greek culture, including dance, music, and language (through the use of subtitles).

Location scenes: Athens

Insights Greece - Travel Around Greece With These 10 Films

Summer Lovers (1982)

An American romantic comedy film written and directed by Randal Kleiser, it stars Peter Gallagher, Daryl Hannah, and Valerie Quennessen. It was filmed on location in the Cyclades, mainly on the island of Santorini, and follows the American characters Michael Pappas and Cathy Featherstone, a young couple from Connecticut, who have just graduated from college and spend their entire summer on the island of Santorini.

Location scenes: Santorini, Crete, Delos, and Mykonos

Greece’s Fearless Wine Warriors  

Wine writer Nico Manessis introduces us to two young Greek women who are determined to create change in the local winemaking industry.

Women who have brought changes have never had it easy, yet, we should be grateful, they continue to persist. In the Greek wine scene, an increasing number of women have been quietly offering on several fronts. Pioneers like Maria Tzitzi, teacher extraordinaire, started her career taking over a wine analysis laboratory in Athens. She is now head of education at the Le Monde Institute of Hotel & Tourism Studies in a part of Athens named Moshato (once a vineyard). There are numerous others that come to mind.

Insights Greece - Greece’s Fearless Wine Warriors  

In a male dominated profession (not forgetting winery spouses) the laboratory services up and down the country are mostly women-managed. And this for the better of cellar hygiene and the consistency it offers to consumers. It is not only the ‘white coats’ that are contributing to the ongoing Greek wine renaissance. In the vineyards, important work has been accomplished by ampelographer Haroula Spinthiropoulou. Her research in the rich indigenous grapes and authoring the first in decades publication of wine producing grapes was an important bridge to the ongoing revival. The success of today’s Greek wine rests, in part, to these rediscovered age-old-vines now with a bright future, yes, even in the post Covid 19 era.

Recently two young women have stepped up to the front lines. Both are formidable. Iliana Malihin, aged 27 and Evmorfia Kostaki, aged 25, are bringing a cosmopolitan vision to their respective islands – but not only. Malihin is an oenologist (wine chemist) and Kostaki has a joint Master of viticulture and oenology. Both have an agenda in motivating and ushering farming techniques to enhance, in what the French term call terroir – wine’s sense of place.

Malihin has set up a winery on her native Crete. Specifically, in forgotten organic terraced old vineyards around Melampés, on the southern shoreline of Rethymno. Her focus on Vidiano, the rising star white grape originating in these hills, has brought, rightly so, international attention. While inspecting the vineyards that she contracts from older and younger farmers, she looks like an ethereal creature out of real or imaginary myth. The truth is a more somber back story: a woman with steely resolve and the kind of great attention to detail that her male colleagues, well, often miss. Crete is the most exciting wine region and this fearless wine warrior has added valuable momentum. Who knew anything of sleeper Rethymno? Now, we do.

Insights Greece - Greece’s Fearless Wine Warriors  

Evmorfia Kostaki is from Samos. Perhaps the most famous of Greek wines, feted in Versailles with the other two great sweet wines, Hungary’s Tokay and South Africa’s Vin de Constance. More recently in Sweden, such was the repute of Samos Vin Doux that during geography lesson a pupil who was asked where Greece, cutely answered “next to Samos”. Kostakis is starting out with her father in partnership in the NOPERA winery, with Nikos Mitilineos, scion of a historic wine merchant family; one of the several new ventures on this island vineyard, famous for sweet Muscat and more recently bone dry examples. While contributing to NOPERA she is laying out plans for the future. She’s modest and has no cult status nor is she seeking ambitions.

In 1934 the Samos Cooperative was made compulsory by the government due to civil unrest as merchants in Karlovasi and Vathi took advantage of the farmers resulting in a full out revolt. For decades most of the islands’ sweet wine has been shipped to Issy-les-Moulineaux, to the cellars in a Paris suburb now owned by La Martiniquaise group. It is this bulk shipment which champions Greek wine by volume exports. There are other smaller wineries than the Union of Co-opperatives now on the island. Local boy Nikos Vakakis, whose remarkable life journey from a priest’s son to an elite commando officer, founded and manages Vakakis Wines.


Kostakis’ recent project has been helping her father with a impressive dry Muscat marketed by natural wine specialist Yorgos Ioannidis. Clearly, these vineyards, replanted initially again in 1540 AD have unrealised potential. Perhaps the Swedish boy’s enlightened education hinted of how good Samos muscat really is.

With two exemplary figures as these two young women bringing wine to new levels in Greece, one can only expect that things can only get better in the local wine industry, and that the world will keep offering more and more well-deserved recognition to the efforts being made.

You can find more of Nico’s grape adventures at greekwineworld