Marbella Elix, a Stunning New Luxury Resort

It is easy to see why Marbella Elix is popular with discerning families who look for fun and convenience. Calm, modern design rooms peer over dense olive groves and azure waters- a place to stow away and let off steam. This is most certainly Epirus’ best-kept secret!

Shy of the beautiful town of Parga, Marbella Elix is a luxury hotel where relaxation and tranquillity acquire a whole new meaning, where all-inclusive does not confuse abundance with quality and where food is seasonally sourced and cooked. It is no surprise after all that Marbella Elix was included in Condé Nast Traveller’s 2022 Hot List!

Style & Feel

Amphitheatrically built and perched on a hill by Karavostasi beach, Marbella Elix visitors are amazed by the big glass walls and sea views once entering the lobby. “Blue as far as the eye can see” is what everyone kept saying to each other whilst the concierge took care of our luggage.

The lobby lounge has a laid-back feeling that makes you want to spend your evening gazing into the deep blue water. It works overtime as a cafe and bar and does a pretty good job of calming you down especially if you have travelled all day long. The interior decor is a well-matched mix of local traditional elements and Moroccan features- think of big armchairs, wooden tables, metal lanterns with an antiqued bronze finish and soothing neutral beach colours, it sold me!


I’ve expressed my love for the Marbella Collection 5-star hotels many times in the past. I had the pleasure of staying at the Marbella Corfu and I have also visited the Nido Suites but this was the first time I stayed at the Marbella Elix and from the first glance I could tell that the same quality and attention to detail applied here, too.

Tall handmade headboard? Check. Contemporary details mixed with classic features? Check. Impeccable interior decoration? Check. Big rainfall shower? Check. Coupled with a big balcony, comfy sunloungers and a big glass deck railing to make the most of the breathtaking sea views and views to the islands of Corfu, Paxos, and Antipaxos, it was difficult not to fall in love with the place.

I loved every detail, from the cushions in the living room to the natural variations in the grain and colour of the wooden wardrobe! 

There are multiple rooms- some have their private swimming pools others are closer to the beach. Our room was next to the swimming pool and Indigo bar, as soon as we checked in we took a stroll around before ending up in the baby swimming pool with our little M practising her swimming moves.


I have already waxed lyrical about the food at Marbella Elix; it is freshly cooked with locally sourced ingredients and caters for all tastes and preferences. There is a little fine dining corner for those who seek luxury and then there’s Greek food, seafood and special dietary requirements food catering to vegans and people with intolerances. And by vegan food, I mean spinach risotto and vegetable moussaka, not just fries and boiled veggies.

Those with a sweet tooth wouldn’t be left unsatisfied either. Marbella Elix has a magnificent selection of desserts you must save room for; from perfectly baked Greek sweet pies to white chocolate mousse and mocha pots de creme, it was nearly impossible not to try at least two different puddings at a time.

Decadent, rich, full of flavours, a proper feast for the eyes!

To top the dining experience off, the hotel offers a culinary series called Greek Chefs Abroad where, as the name suggests, Greek Chefs from abroad cook for the hotel’s guests giving them the chance to taste menus they wouldn’t have the opportunity to do so otherwise.


The beautiful beach of Karavostasi unfolding below the hotel is easily reached by the funicular railway, making access to the sea easier if you have mobility issues or if you are carrying a baby stroller around like myself. But if you are more of a swimming pool type, the infinity pool at the Indigo bar will no doubt have you smitten with its striped bean bag sunloungers, sea views and calming scenery.

Into sports and outdoor activities? Then, go trekking in the pine forest hills surrounding the hotel or go kayaking in the colling waters of the Ionian Sea. Into relaxation and mindfulness? Visit the spa, join one of the yoga classes at the gym or, even better, follow one of the Digi Detox Activities! Looking for kids’ activities? Let your kids join “The Grasshoppers” Kids Club  & Creche. Supervised and cared for by multilingual childcare professionals this club offers activities for those between four months and 12 years, letting the parents the time to soak up the sun by the pool and enjoy the serenity of their private balcony.

Marbella Elix is truly a place that caters to everyone’s liking!

Until now, I had the softest spot for Marbella Corfu, but I think I’ve found a Marbella Collection hotel that’s taken over the top spot! We had the most wonderful time at Marbella Elix and I cannot wait to return back soon.

The post-lockdown Greek tourism explosion is real so if any of you reading this are thinking of a last-minute holiday in Greece, this is the time to do it or book your trip for next summer – any excuse to start planning your next adventure, right?

Images by Anastasia Fountouli ©

Miniguide to Parga

Picturesque Parga, lying northwest of Preveza in Epirus, is an ideal place to visit during a late spring or summertime exploration of the entire beautiful region, or as a sole destination. In this new miniguide, you’ll find all the best places to stay at, eat, swim and shop. 

Richly verdant, with emerald waters and colourful mansions, amphitheatrically built Parga also offers close access to Paxos and Antipaxos islands in the Ionian, known for their gorgeous crystalline turquoise waters and scenic villages. 

In Parga, you’re likely to feel a carefree island vibe and enjoy admiring lovely Venetian architecture – including an archaic castle at its top. There are plenty of things to see, do and taste to keep you busy, whether you’re going for two days or two weeks.


Most popular – and busy of Parga’s beaches is the long, sandy Kryoneri coastline, with Piso (back) Kryoneri at its end and Valtos beach interconnecting on the other end.

From Kryoneri beach you can rent a pedalo (or swim) to reach the Panagia islet, where two churches stand and with surrounding rocks perfect for snorkelling around.

Ai Yiannaki and Lichno on the south side are also great places to swim. 

On the path to Syvota, you’ll find the beaches of SarakinikoKaravostasi and Arilla

Valtos is popular for watersports enthusiasts. 


Along the Promenade

A perfect seafront walkway for sunset strolls where you can stop for an ouzo and meze by the water.

Visit the Olive Oil Factory

Learn all about local olive oil production and how it has helped shape the culture and culinary profile of Parga and book an olive oil tasting session. (Paragaea, K. Tzavella 19, Parga +30 2684 032889)

The Venetian Castle

The 13th Century castle has sturdily remained in place despite being knocked down by both Ottoman occupiers and pirates before being rebuilt by the Venetians in 1572. Head up to see spellbinding 360-degree views.

Journey to the Underworld

Visit the springs of the Acheron River, in a beautiful natural landscape near Glyki village. According to Greek mythology, the river was one of the five rivers of the underworld. On the banks of Acheron is the Nekromanteion, where the dead were said to begin their descent to the underworld accompanied by a blind ferryman. 


Villa Rossa Area Boutique Beach Resort

The historic red villa is a Parga landmark and the only building standing on Parga’s main beach. It offers a private beach area and uninterrupted sea views.  Having starred in several international films, the hotel blends old-world charm with innovative design in addition to hosting an Interactive Museum, a Gallery and a Gift Shop. It also boasts a direct sunset location, ideal for sundowners! (Agiou Athanasiou 4, +26840 31237)

Alfa Hotel 

This recently renovated hotel is a good option for those who want to be within close walking distance to two beautiful beaches and a hotel pool. There is also a good restaurant with al fresco dining (Agiou Athanasiou 51, +26840 32111)

Lichnos Beach 

For those preferring to be a little further from town, Lichnos Beach is a large luxury hotel with spacious rooms and good family options. (Lichnos beach, +2684031257)


Villa Rossa Restaurant is an award-winning farm-to-table Greek and Mediterranean restaurant with top-quality locally sourced options. It offers exceptional quality fish and seafood and is famed for its oysters. Other signature dishes include gambares, delicacy shrimp from nearby Preveza, and beef fillet with fresh Greek truffles. (Agiou Athanasiou 4, +26840 31532)

Aegis Dine & Drink offers good, creative Mediterranean dishes and is ideal for people watching on the main promenade overlooking the sea ( Grigoriou Lampraki 17, + 693 724 1479)

Tourkopazaro is Greek for Turkish Bazaar. This is a picturesque area near the Venetian Castle full of popular tavernas that seem to blend into one, and all serve good quality Greek traditional fare. 


Pargas Distillery, Amicos Food and Bar is an old distillery where traditional liqueurs are still served along with creative cocktails and small bites in a pleasant setting ( Patatoukou 26, + 694 700 9151)

Sail In Cocktail Bar– is in a beautiful building on the steps leading to the castle. It offers great views and signature cocktails (G. Gaki 1, +2684032097)

Atrium– Perched on a hill overlooking Pisso Kryoneri beach this is a great place to unwind during the day and have a cold beer in the early evening. Options are limited but the trek is well worth the view (Agiou Athanassiou 28, +26840 31600) 

The Venetian Castle also has a café/bar. It is a spectacular location to be enjoyed at all times of the day.


Kendra is a treasure trove of interesting kaftans, beach dresses, and jewellery for affordable prices on the promenade. 

Mandalaki– easy-to-wear summer clothing by mostly Greek brands, includes interesting sandals, purses and jewellery. (Frouriou 13, +2684 031630)

Papaya– good, curated, designer options (Riga Feraiou 50, + 6947054086)

There are many souvenir shops on the promenade and Parga’s quaint alleyways, all worth exploring.

Festival time!

On August 14th, visit the Panigyri on the Panagia islet. The next day join the festivities of Dekapendavgoustos at Varkarola, a festival commemorating the homecoming of Parga’s locals after they had been made to leave their home by the English, who sold Parga to Ali Pasha of Ioannina.

A Glorious New Boutique Hotel Opens in Ioannina

Naiades Guesthouse is a striking new boutique hotel that has opened its pretty doors in the centre of Ioannina, right at the historical castle district.

Set in a neoclassical building Naiades features a mix of modern and simple lines that are softly combined with local traditional influences. Blending in harmoniously with the aesthetics of the nearby castle- the hotel offers guests a charming and cozy spot to explore Epirus’ capital city.


Located 200 metres from the famous Castle of Ioannina, which was built in the 6th century and is the oldest Byzantine fortress in Greece- Naiades residence is close to The Pavlos Vrellis Museum of Greek History, the Silversmithing Museum of Ioannina, the Cathedral of Agios Athanasios and the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina. Ioannina Airport is only 4 km from the property and it’s also nearby to the Vikos Gorge, Permama Cave, and Lake Pamvotida. 

Style & Design

The neoclassical building boasts traditional architecture and spacious areas that have been wonderfully filled with contemporary decor. From bright and bold colours to soft and pretty pastels, each room has its own unique style. Throughout the hotel, there is oakwood flooring and furnishings, velvet curtains, modern chandeliers; plus contemporary artwork, and splashes of metallics and marble. 


The hotel has eight unique rooms including a Deluxe Room, Superior Room, and Deluxe Suites. On the ground floor and first level, the guest rooms feature colourful selections of decor with custom-made furniture. Ample windows allow plenty of natural light in the rooms and each one includes air conditioning and a flat-screen TV.

Garden Area

The outside of the hotel is just as inviting as the interior spaces. From the ground floor, stairs lead down to a charming stone courtyard at the back of the building where grey metallic chairs and marble tables offer an airy and intimate space for guests to enjoy a buffet or à la carte breakfast. The lush greenery and pretty pots also make it an appealing spot for guests to sit back and relax with a glass of wine. 

Dining Area 

The main dining area is in the basement of the hotel and features red, green, and yellow furniture. Marble and wooden tables with velvet armchairs fill the open space that also features an open kitchen. Guests are also able to enjoy an intimate reading corner; and there is also a central fireplace- just perfect for those cold, winter days.  

Ideal for… 

Anyone wishing to experience Ioannina’s rich history, local traditions, classical architecture, breathtaking landscapes, and buzzing cafe scene. With nearby activities include rafting, horseback riding, and hiking, it’s also perfect for those seeking adventures during the day and a quaint place to return to each night. 

Facilities & Services 

  • Free WiFi
  • Room service
  • Garden
  • Buffet or a la carte breakfast
  • Lounge
  • Bar
  • Luggage storage
  • Library

A: Kastro, Thanasi Vagia 8, Ioannina

Charming Mountain Getaway With Astonishing Views

Set on the outskirts of Megalo Papigo, a charming village located in Zagori, Papaevangelou is a traditionally built hotel that offers guests a chance to completely unwind and take in the calming mountainous views. 

The quaint village atmosphere set against the lush mountainside makes an ideal backdrop for a relaxing getaway and Papaevangelou Hotel- with its warm hues- is the essence of Greek mainland hospitality; its simple, yet chic comforts make it feel like a home away from home. 


Tucked into the hillside overlooking the towering Astraka, Papaevangelou is close to the centre of Papingo (about 200 metres), where you will find traditional tavernas serving local specialties, as well as charming cafes. The scenic village of Aristi is about 10 km away, while the picturesque Monodendri is 30 kilometres away.

Insights Greece - Charming Mountain Getaway With Astonishing Views

Character & Style 

Set in a stone mansion that pays homage to the unique traditional architecture of the area, the hotel provides the perfect blend between old-world charm and modern-day comforts. Intimate spaces and simple décor keep the focus on the surrounding nature; and the layout was designed with a wonderful view in mind, with large windows looking out to the mountainside at every opportunity. Austere yet warm, the decor at the hotel lets the sturdy wood take the front stage, complementing and warming up the traditional stone.


Commanding breathtaking views, all of the ten rooms can accommodate up to three guests and have been set out with comfort in mind. The earthy decor complements the peace of the environment and the crisp mountain air; and they all boast a private bathroom with amenities, independent heating, complimentary WiFi, refrigerator, and daily maid service that will make you feel at home.

Insights Greece - Charming Mountain Getaway With Astonishing Views


The four studios, with their open layout, are ideal for families. Kitchenettes allow for eating as you please, and the country-style décor gives it a very inviting and “never want to leave” kind of feel. 

Food & Drinks

Start your day with a home-cooked breakfast made with locally sourced fresh ingredients. The wonderful homemade breakfast is served daily in the spacious lounge area featuring a stone-built fireplace. Hot beverages and alcoholic drinks can be enjoyed throughout the day at the bar. In the evening, warm up by the wood-burning fireplace with a drink and share your adventures of the day.

Insights Greece - Charming Mountain Getaway With Astonishing Views

Ideal for…

Whether you are in Papigo to get away from city life and enjoy a few days of pure rest and relaxation, or you are here to experience the adventurous mountaineering and rafting at the Vikos Gorge, Papaevangelou Hotel is the perfect retreat in Zagori. 

Facilities & Services 

  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Bar
  • Sun terrace
  • Garden
  • Luggage storage
  • Safety deposit box
  • Heating
  • Daily maid service

A: Megalo Papigo, Zagohoria 

Highlights of Metsovo

Nestled within the Pindos mountain range at an altitude of 1,200m, the charming town of Metsovo is set at the ‘crossroads’ of Epirus, Thessaly, and Western Macedonia.

Built like an amphitheatre, it boasts a collection of traditional houses with tile roofs and wooden porches, as well as grand mansions that are nestled between lush greenery. The town flourished in the 18th and 19th Centuries and ever since was supported by a local
benefactor and politician Evangelos Averoff, who created a foundation to fund local crafts, cheesemaking, and winemaking. Indeed, Metsovo is known as a capital place to find excellent cheese in all varieties, the most famed of all from the region being the smoky, toffee-coloured PDO Metsovone.

Insights Greece - Highlights of Metsovo

Top Things To Do

-Explore the town – stroll along cobblestone streets and sip coffee in Agia Paraskevi square, admire the traditional architecture and visit the Averoff Museum, Aghios Nikolaos Monastery, and the Folk Art Museum.

-In early spring or late Autumn especially visit the man-made Aoos Springs Lake.

-Southeast of that is the high Katara Pass (5km northeast of Metsovo) where you can challenge yourself in a climb or hike and admire stunning vistas.

Insights Greece - Highlights of Metsovo

Best Places To Eat

-Visit Galaxias, which serves good regional cuisine and is located in the main square of Metsovo. We recommend you try the homemade pites (pies), traditional kontosouvli, as well as handmade local pasta.

To Koutouki Tou Nikola serves simple yet delicious local fare, from meats and mezedes to grilled saganaki cheeses and hand-cut chips in a cozy ambiance.

-No-frills in terms of its appearance, Aspasia’s (20 minutes from Metsovo) honey cuisine has character and packs a punch in flavour. Local meats, cheeses, and wines are served up in well-sized and affordable portions.

Don’t leave Metsovo without trying: Agiorgitiko wine at the Averoff Winery and Hotel, and cheeses such as gyalotyri, Metsovone, graviera, and goat’s cheese. Hard cheeses travel well and can be bought at I Pygi or the Tositsa Foundation Cheese Factory.

5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Any part of Greece you choose to visit will unveil unique landscapes of incredible beauty! But the truth is, villages are often overlooked by the sun and sea seekers, who mostly visit the Greek island villages.

However, the country has a plethora of lovely places to explore, destinations that go beyond the hustle and bustle of the most well-known spots.

Immerse yourself in five of Greece’s fairytale villages and make sure you add them to your travel list.

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece


Situated in the mountains of Pindos, in Epirus, Metsovo is one of the most picturesque Greek villages, tranquil and beautiful, ideal for escaping the daily urban routine. Wander around its maze of alleys, enjoy the mountain peak views, and go for a refreshing hike. Metsovo keeps its traditional and authentic character and welcomes visitors all year long.


*You have to try its local, delicious cheeses, especially Metsovone; a smoked semi-hard cheese, made of both cow and goat milk that gets naturally smoked. 

*Go hiking in the nearby Valia Calda National Park, one of Greece’s best trekking destinations. Take in the beautiful natural landscape and, depending on the season, pick your favourite activity and have fun!

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Nymfaion, Florina

This mountain village in northern Greece is a stunning spot; a true gem. Explore the local shops within the cobblestone streets, capture the stone-built houses, drink a glass of locally produced wine and discover its rich history and traditions. 


*If you’re an adventurous type of traveller, enjoy one of the various activities, depending on the season; try horseback riding, go mountain biking or enjoy canoeing. 

*Go to “Omegas tigris” for tsipouro and cold cuts.

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Agoriani, Parnassos

This tiny village on the slopes of Parnassos is a true fairytale. Agoriani, also known as Eptalofos, offers a beautiful natural landscape and is the best getaway alternative to the very popular Arachova. Unwind at one of the local tavernas under the plane and walnut trees, go skiing in the nearby ski centre, or hike in one of the trekking routes. 


*Try the local delicacies, including honey and a range of meat.

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Stemnitsa, Arkadia

Stemnitsa is a mountain village in Arkadia, Peloponnese, and is considered one of Greece’s dreamiest locations. This charming village is known for its monasteries, stone houses, and silver and gold craftsmanship.


*Don’t leave without buying a ring, a silver icon, or other jewellery items.

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece
Monemvasia, Laconia

No words can successfully describe the beauty of Monemvasia. Admire its medieval village enclosed within the “Kastro” (Fort), its romantic alleys that absorb the bougainvillea colours, and marvel at one of the most authentic Greek villages that manage to maintain their identity despite the mass tourism.


* Try locally produced fruity wine.

*Try Matoula’s homemade recipes for local tastes. 

Feeling inspired? Which fairytale escape will you choose?

Greece’s 11 Most Spectacular Waterfalls 

You’ll never regret chasing these stunning waterfalls found across Greece- a country filled with spectacular scenery and natural bliss. From the mainland to the islands, we’ve put together a list of our favourite! 

Panta Vrexei, Evritania

Located between the villages of Roska and Doliana in Central Greece, it’s about 40 minutes from Karpenisi. On your way to the main waterfall, you will come across smaller ones and streams that are also worth a visit. Once you reach the main falls you can enjoy some hydrotherapy with the pressure of the cold water falling from above. There are also other activities you can enjoy here, including hiking, kayaking and rafting.

Mavri Spilia, Evratinia 

You will come across the remote waterfalls of Mavri Spilia along your way to Mavri Spili, a cave used as a local hideaway during Turkish and German occupation. It only takes around 20 minutes to reach the stunning waterfalls from the main road and another ten minutes to climb all the way up to the cave; over a couple of wooden bridges. Reaching the waterfalls is definitely worth the trek!  

Kalipso Waterfall, Larissa

Considered as one of the best canyoning spots in Greece, Kalipso is located near the coastal village of Kokkino Nero. Once you reach the waterfall, you will enjoy the beautiful and peaceful sounds of nature. Huge rock formations are reflected in the crystal-clear water of the river, making it a stunning sight.

Edessa Waterfall, Edessa

This is probably the best-known waterfall in Macedonia and entire Greece. The left (single drop) waterfall is called Karanos and the right is named Lamda falls. The total height of the waterfall is roughly 70 metres and you are able to walk behind the big Edessa waterfall where you will have a perfect view for the perfect Instagram shot! It’s a wonderful day trip from Thessaloniki. 

Fonias Waterfall, Samothrace Island

From Mount Saos, water splashes and forms great waterfalls all over the island. And in the crystal green waters, natural pools are formed. This is quite a spectacle and a natural wonder. This hidden waterfall located on the small island of Samothrace is 20 metres high and the water is absolutely crystal clear. 

Papingo Rock Pools & Waterfalls, Epirus

The series of rock pools and waterfalls are quite small, but nonetheless definitely worth visiting. The rock formations here are stunning and although it takes about an hour of hiking to reach upstream, you will be glad you did. You may also be lucky enough to spot hundreds of tadpoles and frogs in some of the pools. 

Neda Waterfall, Kyparissia

The waterfalls of Neda river lie in a lush green valley near Kyparissia, in the Peloponnese. The 31-kilometre river creates a natural border between the regions of Messinia and Ilia and it’s a huge attraction all year round. You can stroll around the banks of the river, explore the huge vegetation, oaks, and plane-trees, before arriving at the riverside which ends in the natural river pool. You can actually safely swim around the waterfalls, making it a wonderful experience for all the family.

Polylimnio Waterfalls, Messinia 

Consisting of several lakes, Polyminio is connected by a stream full of cascades and waterfalls. The main lake and waterfall called Kadi is a popular swimming spot. It gets packed during the hot summer days so make sure you get there early.

Nidri Waterfall, Lefkada 

One of Lefkada’s best-kept secrets is Nidri. Drive to Rachi in Exanthia (here you’ll find an amazing all-day bar/ restaurant with stunning views) and then follow the signs that lead you to the waterfall. From the restaurant car park, it’s about a 15-20 minute walk to reach the magical 12-metre high waterfall. Make sure you’re wearing swimmers as you can dive into the lower pool- truly spectacular! 

Neraida, Kythira Waterfalls 

Neraida is an absolute must-see when visiting Kythira. The entire island is filled with hidden natural treasures and close to the charming village of Mylopotamos, the waterfalls form an exceptional landscape. You won’t be disappointed. 

Skra Waterfalls, Kilkis 

Take a beautiful hiking trail through the woods to reach this area full of lush vegetation. Beneath the fall is a small cave that features some stunning stalactites and crystal waters that fall to create a lake, whose depth reaches four metres. Here you can enjoy an unforgettable swim! 

Cover Image @sofiaadventures

Top 12 Reasons to Visit Ioannina

With a rich history and lovely local traditions, classical architecture, breathtaking landscapes and a buzzing cafe scene, Ioannina is Epirus’ charming capital. Here we share our Top 12 reasons why you should add this unique destination to your 2021 travel list! 

1. Many famous Greek novelists and award-winning poets originate from Ioannina, and several cultural events are organised in their honour here throughout the year, allowing visitors the opportunity to discover the rich local history. During these festivals you can taste the flavours, see the sights and enjoy the authentic sounds of Epirus. 

2. With many multicultural influences throughout the centuries, a walk through the historic city centre highlights the Christian, Islamic and Jewish influences that all blend in to make Ioannina so unique. Visit the many mosques and minarets, and the rebuilt wall of the Kastro. Make sure you check out buildings such as the House Matei Hussein, the Dodoni Sanctuary and Theatre, as well as the Kehila Kedosha Yashan Synagogue. 

3. Stroll along the pretty streets and visit the Old Quarter to admire the impressive architecture which includes folk residences, mansions, as well as the Old Bazaar and the Kale Citadel.

4. See the Museum of Ali Pasha and Revolutionary Era where Ali Pasha’s decapitated corpse was discovered.

5. To learn more about Greek history visit the Byzantine Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Ioannina and Epirus’ first ever school. 

6. Make the most of the buzzing social scene as you sit down at one of the many cafes or taverns where you can taste the wonderful delicacies including local fish from the lake, and a wide range of herbs and spices, which are added to local dishes. Ioannina is most known for its frog’s legs, an alcohol free liqueur made from organic vinegar, fruit syrups, herbs and nectar; as well as a sweet wine named ‘sherbetia,’ and a variety of syrupy pastries including their own version of galaktoboureko and baklava

7. Take a 10-minute boat ride to Nissi Island, founded in the 16th Century. Here you will find a couple of monasteries dating back to the 13th century (the boat departs regularly from the promenade). 

8. Just 4km from Epirus’ capital you’ll find one of the most beautiful caves in the Balkans, called Perama. A walk through here will take around 45 minutes and you can admire stalactites and stalagmites that are over a million years old.

9. Stroll along Pamvotis, a picturesque and calm lake, with clear waters- it is surrounded by lush greenery and rocky mountains. 

10. Visit the castle of Ioannina, which was built in the 6th century and is the oldest Byzantine fortress in Greece.

11. Admire the small craftsmen shops where local artisans are still using their skills. Here you will find a range of jewellery stores with traditional and modern pieces for both men and women. 

12. Near Ioannina you can also visit the Byzantine town of Arta or Pindus National Park with stunning views, it’s a must see.

9 Top Rafting Experiences in Greece

As the weather grows chilly, only winter swimmers dare to plunge into the water, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on the fun of aquatic sports. With fantastic rivers around the mainland of Greece, rafting is an adrenaline-pumping activity that often requires little to no experience.

There are numerous professional adventure sports companies that arrange rafting expeditions for individuals or groups and all you need to do is slip into a wet suit and follow a few basic instructions before hopping into a dinghy. Some added bonuses to the fun – being immersed in stunning, rich natural landscapes that include amazing flora and fauna, waterfalls, springs, rock formations and bridges, exploring the surrounding region and making new friends. Here’s a guide to Greece’s best rafting destinations.

River: Aliakmonas

Region: Macedonia

Greece’s longest river (300km) starts in Nestorio, Kastoria. Herons, falcons, storks, eagles and ducks populate the verdant area, where you’ll also admire Meteora-like towering sandstone rocks. The 6km route (3.5 hours), which usually starts at Fellos village, is ideal for beginners and families. According to Greek mythology, Aliakmonas was a river god.

Insights Greece - 9 Top Rafting Experiences in Greece

River: Aoos

Region: Konitsa

This somewhat challenging, 15km (4-5 hours) route starts at Aoos bridge (somewhere in the middle of Palioseli and Vrisohori villages), passing the green gorge and concluding at the picturesque, 20m high Konitsa bridge. Unlike any other river in the country, Aoos flows outside the Greek borders. If you want to enjoy a smaller, easier trip (1.5 hours) along the river you can arrange to raft from the Monastery of Stomio region, or follow an hour’s route that starts from the bridge of Bourazana, passing the ruins of Mesogefyra bridge and ending near the monastery of Molyvdoskepasti.

River: Arachthos

Region: Tzoumerka

This river too can be experienced via two different routes (2 hours or 4 hours). One takes you through the narrow gorge of Arachtos past steep rock walls that are 700m high. The route includes a stop at Glyki waterfall with its lovely – and very swimmable – pond. You’ll also pass the beautiful Plaka bridge, which used to be one of the largest of its kind in the Balkans, mountain springs and lush vegetation, and if you’re lucky can do some bird-spotting.

River: Evinos M

Region: Nafpaktia

Another great choice for rafting beginners, this 10m route (2 hours) the relatively calm river, which sources from Vardoussia, starts at Poros bridge, passing the beautiful Hani Bania bridge – and the Olympic kayak slalom course – going in a circle and concluding at Hani Bania again.

Insights Greece - 9 Top Rafting Experiences in Greece

Rivers: Loussios – Alfios

Region: Arcadia

A slightly more demanding rafting ride, this 8km (2 hours) route is one of the most scenic in Greece. The route starts at Atsicholos takes you through tunnels of trees, white limestone cliffs and a lush, a long narrow gorge, past beautiful arched bridges and natural springs. Trekking Hellas concludes the journey at the spectacular bridge of “Koukos” from where you can hike to a nearby waterfall. According to Greek mythology, Lousios is the river where Zeus had his first bath, while Alfios river, the longest in the Peloponnese, was named after a god.

River: Nestos

Region: Drama

This generally safe, shallow river is one of Greece’s five largest (234km) and favoured by rafting and canoeing fans. You can choose between the longer route (around 4 hours in total) that starts at Arkoudorema-Nestos and concludes at Paranesti or take the easier route (1,5  hours) that starts at the Platanovrysis Dam and ends at Paranesti.

River: Tavropos

Region: Εvritania

A great option for beginners and not only, this naturally stunning 10km (2 hours) route starts either at Gavreniti bridge or a little further along at Palia Viniani, with a stop at the lovely Viniani waterfalls and ends at the Megdova bridge.

Insights Greece - 9 Top Rafting Experiences in Greece

River: Venetikos

Region: Grevena

You can choose between a medium difficulty route and a harder route, in a 2 or 4 hour trip. The trickiest part of this river is between the bridges of Trikomo and Spanos. You’ll raft through lush vegetation and past splendid 16th and 17th century stone bridges. Some excursions take you past a double arched bridge that was once part of the railway and the three arched bridge of Aziz Aga, the largest of its kind in  Macedonia.

River: Voidomatis

Region: Zagori, Epirus

A 5km (1.5 hours) route in the heart of the Vikos – Aoos National Park, Voidomatis is considered one of the easiest to raft along, making it ideal for younger people and beginners. Starting from the beautiful Aristi stone bridge and ending at Kleidonia Bridge, you’ll get to enjoy some of the clearest and cleanest river waters in Europe.

*Main image via Argo Travel

Perfect Places in Greece to Explore as a Couple

Greece is a dream destination for couples looking to explore a country offering magical scenery, amazing outdoor activities, as well as magnificent archaeological sites, cultural attractions and gastronomical delights- making it the ultimate travel experience with a partner.

Local lovebirds George and Julie from Ioannina in Northern Greece, who are the creators of the website, explore Greece all year round and share their wonderful adventures together on their popular blog.

The Travellers recently spoke with IN+SIGHTS GREECE about the places they believe other twosomes from around the world would also appreciate and admire!

What makes Greece a great place for couples to visit?

Greece is a paradise for every traveller and that’s not an exaggeration. For nature lovers, there are endless mountains, forests and rivers with incredible beauty. For those who love the sea and the Greek summer, Greece has about 6000 islands and picturesque spots. What definitely makes Greece a unique destination compared to other countries is the hospitality and simplicity of the locals, but also of course the unique traditions and history of each place.

Santorini is known as the most romantic Greek island. What other islands do you think are ideal for couples?

There’s no denying Santorini is a standout and no one leaves from there untouched. But our favourite islands apart from Santorini are Nisyros, Leipsoi, Koufonisia, Serifos and Alonissos. 

Insights Greece - Perfect Places in Greece to Explore as a Couple

Where do you love to go in in Autumn & Winter? 

Greece is a unique destination all year round and in Autumn, the destinations we enjoy are mountainous ones that bring us closer to nature. Near Ioannina, where we live, is Zagorochoria which has around 52 villages and each has something unique to offer, with a range of mountains, rivers, forests and stone bridges. In winter we definitely like snow and we climb to another altitude. From ski resorts to traditional settlements in the mountains, our favourite destinations are Paleos, Agios Athanasios in Pella, and Kastoria. 

What are some of your favourite road trips?

Road trips are our favourite type of travel in Greece and abroad and there are four that we have singled out. For Summer: 1. Peloponnese (Patra-Kalavrita-Nafplio-Monemvasia-Gythio). 2. Central Greece (Karpenisi-Nafpaktos-Galaxidi-Arachova) For Winter: 1. Macedonia (Kastoria-Prespes-Paleos Agios Athanasios-Loutra Pozar-Kavala) 2. Thessaly (Meteora-Trikala-Pertouli-Elati-Lake Plastira).

Insights Greece - Perfect Places in Greece to Explore as a Couple

Where in Greece have you not been yet that you want to explore next?

We would definitely like to visit several places in the Peloponnese and with so many islands to see, the next on our bucket list are: Skyros, Milos and Folegandros.

Some great activities for couples when visiting Greece?

The ones we recommend are horseback riding at the river Acheron, rafting on the river Voidomatis in Zagorochoria, hippodrome at Lake Plastira, mountain climbing at Mount Olympus, paragliding in Lefkada and scuba diving in Kefalonia.

Insights Greece - Perfect Places in Greece to Explore as a Couple

Greek dishes/delicacies that you recommend?

If you come to Greece for the first time, you should definitely try moussakas, traditional Epirus pies, traditional Greek salad, spetsofai (Greek sausage and peppers), tzatziki, gemista (stuffed vegetables), spoon sweets, and of course souvlaki.

Any tips for couples planning a trip to Greece?

The only advice we have, which of course applies to every holiday, is to be in a good mood, have an appetite for new adventures and savour every moment!

You can follow George and Julie on their Instagram Page here

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