New World-Class Golf Courses Opening at Costa Navarino 

Costa Navarino, in the heart of Messinia, is ready to kick start the new 2022 season with two new signature golf courses- the world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course and The Hills Course- both set to open on February 20.

Offering panoramic views of the Bay of Navarino, the new Olympic Academy Golf Course has been designed by José Mariá Olazábal – boasting stunning sea, mountain, and river views as a backdrop to your tee shots.

Situated over 125 hectares overlooking the historical bay of Navarino and the Ionian Sea, the International Olympic Academy measures 6,366m in length. The 18 holes hills course, par 72 has been designed to challenge the best golfers in an enchanting environment with dramatic views and memorable sunsets.

The Hills Course is the second golf course at Navarino Hills and overlooks the rural landscape of Messinia, with rugged mountains and small villages. Measuring 6,280 yards, this 18-hole course par 72 completes the challenging experience designed to challenge the most experienced golfers in a different landscape setting.

They will be joining The Dunes and The Bay Course, which are 18-hole signature courses surrounded by Costa Navarino’s five-star hotels and resorts – making it a prime location for golf connoisseurs with four signature golf courses within a 13km radius. 

Costa Navarino is steadily raising its profile as a prime, sustainable destination in the Mediterranean by offering a world-class golf experience on the four signature golf courses in Greece. Each course bears the signature of a different world-renowned designer and offers a unique combination of challenges and rewards for golfers of all levels.

A series of international tournaments are hosted each year, including Messinia Pro-Am, Aegean Pro attracting professionals, amateurs, and golf lovers while also creating a vibrant intercultural golf hub. 

Costa Navarino Golf Resort

Image by Gerrit Kleinfeld  | Costa Navarino 

New Luxury Lifestyle Resort Opening in Santorini This April

Radisson Blu Zaffron is set to become Santorini’s first lifestyle destination resort – where authentic hospitality is elevated by opulent design, a beach area reserved only for guests, exclusive events, and unforgettable bespoke experiences.

Strategically located near Kamari Beach, the new 5-star resort (which had a soft launch in July 2021, and is officially opening its doors on April 18, 2022) features an exotic, boho-chic ambience with a quintessentially Cycladic architecture. Offering relaxed elegance in an all-suite environment- its unrivalled cuisine, discreetly luxurious accommodation and boutique experiences, allow guests to enjoy an intimate getaway in Santorini, one of the most beautiful islands in the world. 

Featuring 103-rooms, the resort brings a strong lifestyle element to the island via an eclectic mix of experiences, events, and international brand collaborations, as it marks the first luxury hospitality offering from Fais Group; an Athens-based distributor of a vast luxury, fashion and sports brand-portfolio – with world-renowned brands such as Tod’s, Hogan, Salvatore Ferragamo, Philipp Plein, Princess Yachts, KIKO Milano, Under Armour, Adidas, Puma, and Technogym (to name a few).  

Design & Character 

Responsible for Zaffron’s concept design and master plan are Greek-based architects Arc-Set, who wanted to respect the rugged landscape of the island, and at the same time create a relaxing and warm, softly textured haven.

The lobby’s elegant domes and arches, a gentle nod to Santorini’s prevalent architectural theme, are combined with natural materials such as wood and stone, providing an earthy ambience that makes guests feel instantly welcome. The use of domes is also apparent in the interior of the generously spaced 103 rooms, suites, and villas that range from a superior room with a king bed to the presidential suite with a private plunge pool.

Overseen by Designteam | Nikos Theodorakopoulos, the interiors boasts a serene and calming environment with the use of tactile materials, rich textures, and a neutral colour palette. Sustainable wood surfaces are complemented by linen and cotton fabrics, while the walls are adorned with black-and-white photography that captures Santorini’s breathtaking beauty.

Food & Drinks 

With two restaurants and a bar on site, Zaffron utilises gastronomy, international collaborations, and a smorgasbord of authentic experiences to deliver a one-of-a-kind core concept. The fine-dining eatery Zeffirino is set against the backdrop of Santorini’s spectacular views and offers guests an authentic, Italian experience with the use of local produce and much-loved recipes created by the family of Zeffirino Belloni. From homemade, fresh pasta to catch-of-the-day fish courses and the signature Pesto Genovese secret family recipe, Zeffirino’s menu is expertly complemented by a curated wine list that includes local and Italian labels.

For more laid-back moments, Trattoria Belloni offers a choice of classic Italian dishes and comfort food, while the Blu Pool Bar is the place for sushi and signature cocktails. Being a few steps away from the sea, Zaffron also features a beautiful beach setup, with sunset parties as part of its entertainment programme.

Bespoke Experiences 

International partnerships are at the heart of the resort, including a series of DJ events and creative dinner parties in collaboration with leading modelling agency Elite Model Management London. Art is also an important part of Zaffron, where a partnership with world-renowned agency Magnum Photos will include immersive workshops with their award-winning photographers for the hotel’s guests.

At the resort’s spacious spa, guests can benefit from wellness treatments that tap into the healing properties of Greek nature. The spa uses exclusively Korres skincare and beauty products made from natural ingredients inspired by homeopathic remedies and rooted in tradition.

The ultimate indulgence setup features a range of bespoke touches of comfort and practicality, from the moment guests are picked up by luxurious and environmentally friendly electric cars. The switch to pure escapism mode continues with island hopping in the Aegean through private yachts and tailor-made sailing trips into endless sunsets.

Radisson Blu Zaffron Santorini 

A: Apollonos & Makedonias Street, Kamari, Santorini 

Mount Pelion Ski Centre Officially Opens for 2022

Greece’s popular ski resort at Agriolefkes on the beautiful Pelion mountain, which offers a wonderful view of the Aegean Sea against the backdrop of the snow-covered aspens has opened up for 2022- welcoming skiers (both professional and amateur) to make the most of the heavy snowfall that’s hit the area over the last few days.

Mount Pelion reaches an altitude of 1500 metres and boasts wonderful views of the Aegean Sea on one side and the Pagasitikos gulf on the other, making it a favourite winter getaway for Greeks from all over the country.

The centre has seven slopes (with different levels of difficulty) and five lifts. All of the centre’s ski slopes will be open to the public.

Insights Greece - Mount Pelion Ski Centre Officially Opens for 2022
One of Greece’s most popular ski centres

Apart from the slopes, there is also a ski school here for beginners, and other ski options including a descent down an uneven slope, snowboarding or mountain artillery ski, which takes place on the eastern road and ends up on the beach of Agios Ioannis.

And apart from skiing, you can enjoy the cobblestoned squares and local taverns nearby that serve comforting winter dishes. The area also offers an array of other activities such as horseback riding, hiking, adventure trekking, cycling and more.

The ski lifts will be in full operation from 9 am until 4 pm, and the organisers announced all those visiting the premises of the ski resort should wear protective masks both in open and closed areas.

Agriolefkes is 2kms away from the village of Chania and there is a daily bus service from Volos.

Main Image by My Thessaly 

New W Escape to Open at Costa Navarino this Summer

The new W Escape Costa Navarino resort featuring 246 stylish rooms, suites and villas, as well as private pools, restaurants, a sunset bar and a beach club is set to open on the Navarino Waterfront in Messinia, this summer 2022.

Marriott International, Inc. on Thursday announced it has signed an agreement with TEMES S.A., a leading developer and operator in high-end tourism and real estate, to debut the W Hotels Worldwide brand in Greece with the opening of W Costa Navarino. Expected to open in summer 2022, W Costa Navarino is anticipated to mark the latest addition to the expanding W Escapes portfolio in Europe following locations in Spain, Switzerland and Portugal.

The new W Escape in Greece will be located on the Navarino Waterfront, the newest integrated resort of Costa Navarino. The 13-hectare beachfront destination is designed by renowned Greek architects, Tombazis and Associates Architects. W Costa Navarino’s design is inspired by the region’s traditional residential areas and is set to use local, natural materials such as stone, wood and reed. The distinctive interiors will be led by London-based MKV Design.

The Escape is expected to feature 246 stylish rooms, suites, and villas, many with private
pools staged in the Bay of Navarino with stunning Ionian Sea views.

‘‘We are thrilled to build on our fantastic relationship with TEMES S.A. to open W Costa Navarino, strengthening MarriottInternational’s presence in this Mediterranean paradise,” said Candice D’Cruz, Vice President Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. “Joining our portfolio of coveted W Escapes around the world, W Costa Navarino will add a distinct take on modern luxury to Navarino Waterfront. We look forward to welcoming free-spirited travelers to this new luxury playground.”

The new resort will also feature five dining venues including a destination beach club overlooking a long sandy shore, designed by Athens-based K-Studio. The ‘Culinary Square’ is the hotel’s playful take on a deli food market- with individual outlets offering guests all-day dining options. Other planned amenities include a sunset bar and the signature W Living Room. Guests will also be able to enjoy experiences and dining at neighbouring venues in Costa Navarino; including the new Navarino Agora, an open marketplace with retail, street food, open-air cinema and exciting events throughout the day and night.

Tennis courts and a water sports hub are part of the vision for guests to enjoy at W Costa Navarino, along with access to the destination’s four signature golf courses and an array of outdoor programming including biking, hiking, rock-climbing and sailing.

W Escape Costa Navarino 

Top 22 Greek Islands to Visit in 2022

Given there are over 6000 beautiful Greek islands, of which roughly 227 are inhabited, deciding which one to visit is always a hard decision to make.

If you’re planning a Greek summer holiday for 2022, the editors at IN+SIGHTS GREECE rounded up their favourite Greek islands (based on recent visits) and recommend adding them to your Greek island getaway list for this year!

P.S. This list is in no particular order- they are all just as spectacular as each other!


The charmingly mysterious Folegandros, situated in the corner of the southern part of the Cyclades, entices with its deep blue waters that are in complete harmony with its steep mountains, picturesque Chora, and jaw-dropping sunsets. This Greek island exudes natural beauty and it’s a dreamy destination where you can completely relax and unwind in style.  


Part of the Small Cyclades, Donousa is perfect to explore by boat so you can get up close to the magnificent caves like “Spilia Tichou” with its beautiful stalactite formations- or discover “Fokospilia” a habitat of seals. Also, head over to the southeast of the island where you’ll find a mountainous village with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. And for the most beautiful beaches on the island, make your way to Livadi and Fikio.

Insights Greece - Top 22 Greek Islands to Visit in 2022


Located a little over two hours away from Athens, the luscious island of Spetses is a perfect weekend escape from the Greek capital. This idyllic, car-free island of the Argosaronic Gulf is a favourite spot for affluent Athenians and international jet-setters. 


Located in the Sporades islands, Skyros is only three and a half hours away from Athens; a destination untouched by tourism, it retains its tradition and authenticity. Whether you are an adventure seeker or looking to relax, Skyros offers a unique experience that entices you to unveil all its mysteries. 


The dreamy landscape of this almost untouched Cycladic island is composed of rugged hills, historic mining sites, breathtaking coves, picturesque settlements, classic Greek island architecture, and endless beaches. The wild beauty of Serifos will fill your soul, relax your mind, and steal your heart. 


Whitewashed houses, delicious food, unbeatable beaches. This is Naxos island in one sentence- one of our favourite Greek islands that never ceases to amaze. Beautiful beaches, ancient sites and museums; plus great food, atmospheric mountainous villages, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere for those who want to stay out all night. Naxos has something for every type of traveller and fulfills even the most demanding one! 


Home to the beautiful town of Ermoupolis, Syros features stunning neoclassical architecture, old mansions, marble-paved streets, charming town squares, imposing churches, and historical monuments. Syros is not only rich in both history and culture, but it also boasts beautiful beaches including Galissas, Delphini, Kini, Finikas and De La Gratsia.


A small island in the Saronic Gulf (just 2 hours away from Athens), Hydra island has a charming atmosphere and romantic allure. It’s aristocratic, yet authentic and features a rocky landscape with elegant, imposing stone mansions, narrow cobblestone alleys with colourful bougainvillea; plus impeccable sunsets.


Volcanic rocks, vast blue magic waters, stunning sunsets, jaw-dropping beaches, geological formations and picturesque settlements by the sea, all together narrate exquisite stories about this Cycladic island that blows your mind away every time you step foot here. Fast becoming one of Greece’s most popular destinations, there is still an authentic and untouched beauty about Milos island


Boasting spectacular azure waters and charming architecture, Paxos is one of Greece’s most beautiful islands. Located on the Ionian, it boasts some of the most stunning and exotic beaches in the world; as well as a wonderful natural landscape with lush vegetation. Combining a cosmopolitan feel with natural beauty, Paxoi is a Greek island that has been described as a “paradise on earth”.

Insights Greece - Top 22 Greek Islands to Visit in 2022


The largest of the Ionian Isles, Kefalonia remains pure and protected from mass tourism. What makes this place so special is the pride locals take in keeping their island clean, fresh, modern, yet warm and inviting, all while encouraging its natural charm and authentic beauty to shine through. From the main town of Argostoli where you’ll find a range of eateries, bars, and boutiques through to gorgeous fishing villages and quaint towns, there’s so much to see and do on this lush island.


Wild landscapes, diverse beaches, thermal springs, lively summer festivals in beautiful village squares, rugged mountains, and tavernas serving foods made from organic produce and local goods like goat’s cheese, honey, and meat are all part of the Ikaria experience.


The simplicity of this authentic island, which shares aesthetic elements of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, is what makes this destination extra special! Astypalea’s magnificent Chora, the old port, picturesque windmills, an imposing Venetian castle built of dark stones, and stunning beaches with crystal clear waters are the main reasons to fall in love with this beautiful Greek island. 


Greece’s largest island is always a good idea! Renowned for its breathtaking beaches, rustic natural beauty, delightful cuisine and its remarkable hospitality, there is so much to see and do here. The main places to visit are Chania, Heraklion, Rethymno, and Agios Nikolaos; it doesn’t really matter where you go, as it’s a magnificent island filled with rich culture, history and traditions.  


An ideal Greek island year-round as it’s located just two hours from Athens, Andros is filled with lush vegetation, abundant water, and stunning beaches. The beautiful Cycladic isle owes its lush greenery to its rich underground and surface water resources. Here you can experience the island’s rich culture and culinary flair. Also make sure you visit one of the many historic monasteries and churches, the amazing museums and enjoy the endless nature and its hiking trails.

Insights Greece - Top 22 Greek Islands to Visit in 2022


The third-largest Cycladic island, Tinos is gifted with impeccable beauty. Crystal-clear waters, rare sorts of stone, architectural masterpieces, several charming villages with alleyways and bougainvillea, dovecotes, and the perfect environment to stimulate any artistic inclination- the island of Aeolus has it all!


The Aegean island of the Apocalypse is known as the place where Saint John the Theologian wrote the Book of Revelation. Patmos is a nostalgic destination, offering wild beauty, a striking coastline, medieval Chora, a maze of alleyways filled with cascading bougainvillea, and beautiful doors. Patmos is an unspoiled island that you should explore at your own pace.

Insights Greece - Top 22 Greek Islands to Visit in 2022


Also located in the Dodecanese, Karpathos is an island of untouched beauty that’s loved for its authentic customs and centuries-old traditions. Visit the ancient acropolis, caves, churches and see locals in their traditional dress. Offering beautiful views from authentic mountainside villages- here you’ll get to understand what Greek island life is truly about.  


The largest island of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. Make sure you visit Lindos, which has one of the best microclimates in the Mediterranean is a must, as well as the beaches of Anthony Quinn and Kallithea.


This Ionian isle boasts remarkable natural landscapes, world-famous beaches, verdant mountains, delightful local cuisine, a noteworthy winemaking tradition, and an exciting range of things to see and do. Otherwise known as Lefkas, it’s the perfect spot for a summer holiday.


An absolute gem in the heart of the Dodecanese, Symi is a small but mesmerising Greek island, which lies in the north of Rhodes. Surrounded by deep green seas and covered in cypress trees, this beautiful destination is home to one of the prettiest ports in Greece, neo-classical mansions, and dreamy fishing villages. Many visitors arrive here on their private yacht and spend days (or weeks) enjoying the magical views surrounding them. 


This undiscovered island close to Athens is filled with history, captivating scenery,  imposing castles, secret caves, medieval villages and beautiful beaches. Located off the south coast of the Peloponnese, Kythira also features delightful villages and lovely local delicacies that you’re sure to enjoy. 

Tsipouro, Best Way to Warm up on Cold Winter Nights

Tsipouro, a clear distilled alcohol – 40-50%! – is made from grapes (the pulp, leaves and skins) and has been around since ancient times. Warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Indeed, in the olden days, tsipouro was diluted in water and consumed by hardy labourers, enjoyed as a sort of poor-mans wine. Essentially a pomace brandy, the spirit has become increasingly popular over the last three decades in Greece (it was commercially unavailable until 1990), and in more recent years the country’s trendy mixologists have gained global award-winning reputations for cocktail concoctions based on the drink.

How Tsipouro is Enjoyed

Insights Greece - Tsipouro, Best Way to Warm up on Cold Winter Nights
Metaxa 2, Athens

Traditionally, and we’re talking callous handed farm lords at the village kafeneion here, tsipouro is drunk in small glasses and never alone, neither in terms of company nor in terms of other consumables. Because of its suddenly hitting potency, it is normally accompanied by at least two meze dishes. In modern times creative and entrepreneurial new generation Greeks have tapped into the tapas concept and have generated an entire drink-dining industry around this factor nationwide, with Volos as a centre point. True tsipouro aficionados in the know to go to Volos, under Mt. Pelion and at the shores of Pagasetic Gulf, where there are by now over 600 places honouring the drink. Head there to savour the largest and most palate-pampering variety of tsipouro brands in combination with near-gourmet mini dishes on the side (see some must-visit suggestions below). Another important tip for how to enjoy tsipouro comes in several forms of one-word advice: Slowly. Wisely. Happily.

History of Tsipouro

Paradoxically, we can thank the monks at the reclusive religious peninsula of Mt Athos for the tsipouro recipe. Since the 14th Century, the large community of monks on the holy peninsula mastered the then-secret art of making this purified spirit by first fermenting and then distilling the grapes to create the imbibable result. The drink was minimally enjoyed during special events such as major religious holidays.

Tsipouro-Making in Greece

The season for producing tsipouro is between October and December, and it can be a wonderful travel experience to visit producers and sample their freshly made fuel after observing the production process.

Insights Greece - Tsipouro, Best Way to Warm up on Cold Winter Nights
I Thessali, Athens

The Cretans are big fans of tsipouro, which unlike the rest of Greece they call raki or tsikoudia, and will gladly offer several glasses of it to even absolute strangers in their inherently hospitable way. Apart from Volos and Crete, other well-known tsipouro-making/drinking regions are Thessaly and Epirus.

Where to Drink Tsipouro in Athens

Metaxa 2 (Andrea Metaxa 2, Exarcheia)
In the heart of Exarcheia, this cooperative-café is ideal for vegan/vegetarian tsipouro-lovers wishing to eat ethical yet yummy meze dishes.

To Tsipouradiko tou Apostoli (Tron 43, Ano Petralona)
A broad selection of tasty meze dishes like fried calamari and several tsipouro brands to try at this Petralona classic.

I Thessali (Melinikou 2, Votanikos)
Tsipouro from the region of Karditsa in Thessaly, live music, many meze dishes and a youthful crowd who appreciate the reasonable prices.

I Avli (Ag. Dimitriou Square 12, Psyrri)
An out of the way spot that was a near-secret until it became a trendy hideout. Here you can enjoy your tsipouro with fried meatballs and chips.

Voliotiko Tsipouradiko (Ag. Dimitriou Square 19, Psyrri)

On the same street in Psyrri you will find one of the oldest tsipouradika in Athens. Set in a neoclassical building it also features a charming garden; perfect place to enjoy a few drinks and meze with friends in both winter and summer. 

Two Tsipouro Cocktails to Make This Christmas!

Insights Greece - Tsipouro, Best Way to Warm up on Cold Winter Nights
Tsipouro based Rajito

Pink Tsipouro Fizz

50ml tsipouro

5 ml bitter almond syrup

5 ml lime juice

pink grapefruit soda

strawberry slices

Mix first three ingredients, add ice then top with soda and serve with strawberry slices.


10 fresh mint leaves

fresh lime or lemon juice

2 tsp brown sugar

1 shot tsipouro

soda water

In a tall glass bash the mint with a small pestle or the handle of a wooden spoon, adding the sugar and lime juice while continuing to break the leaves and extracting their oils. Add crushed ice and pour in the tsipouro. Mix well while topping up with soda.

Main image: Voliotiko Tsipouradiko 

Kos, Greece’s Bicycle Island

With numerous bicycle lanes in the main town and wonderful cycling routes around the island, there’s no better way to explore Kos’ cultural and historical sites than hopping on a bike! 

From Hippocrates’ tree where the famous Father of Medicine practiced his therapies to Therma (hot springs) on the east coast of Kos or beautiful Zia where you can enjoy a fabulous meal and the stunning sunset- the adventurous cycling routes in Kos are endless!

Insights Greece - Kos, Greece’s Bicycle Island
Cycling around Kos’ port

Located in the Dodecanese, the flat terrain of the island makes cycling an easy and popular means of transport for both locals and international visitors. Here you will find locals on their bikes heading to work, school, or to the shops; and will be sharing the lanes with visitors who are exploring Kos’ main town, beaches, and historical sites along the way. It’s also the perfect way to admire the historic buildings until you reach a café, restaurant, or bar of your choice so you can sit down for a relaxing drink and some food- before you start riding again.

Just this month, Greece’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister Michalis Papadopoulos announced that Kos is emerging as a prime biking destination, and during the event, Papapopoulos highlighted Greece’s efforts to establish a National EuroVelo Coordination Center that would promote cycling tourism in Greece. 

“Currently there are 6.5 thousand bikes available for rent on Kos island– a huge advantage for the development of bike tourism,” Papadopoulos said.

Insights Greece - Kos, Greece’s Bicycle Island
A variety of routes around town

Exploring Kos’ main town by bike is a great experience and highly recommended. Featuring a 13km cycle lane stretching right along the waterfront, the bicycle path of Kos begins from Faros beach all the way through to the end of the beach at Psalidi, with a distance of about 13 km. With many side roads, some of which lead into the city of Kos, cyclists can choose which path they would like to discover first.

For those who are more confident cyclists, there are routes through mountains and dirt roads, overlooking the stunning nature on one side and the panoramic view of the island of Kos on the other. There are many paved roads, with limited traffic that will lead to charming villages and beaches beyond the centre of town, including some of the island’s most popular beaches- Tigaki and Marmari.

On the island, visitors can find many bicycle rental shops, with bikes suitable for all ages, levels of experience, and tastes. Ranging from road bikes to mountain bikes up to tandem bikes (for two riders); others prefer to take part in organised cycling tours, which can be booked while on the island or in advance.    

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

Exploring Samothrace’s Natural Pools

Samothrace is a beautiful island of the Northern Aegean, filled with evergreen forests, splendid waterfalls and dreamy natural pools named Vathres.

The island captures visitors with its unspoilt natural beauty as it boasts waterfalls, rivers, springs, natural pools, hiking trails, gorges, and tall rocks. There are more than 100 natural pools located all around the island; found amongst lush vegetation, tall plane trees, waterfalls, and streams. 

Insights Greece - Exploring Samothrace’s Natural Pools
Swim in the waterfalls | Image @marie._tsol

If you enjoy hiking, you will love the imposing Mount Saos that reaches a height of 1,600 meters. From here trails will lead to the well-known Vathres of the island. Starting from the village of Therma known for its thermal, sulfur springs, there are two trails that lead to Gria Vathra. 

The largest stream of the island comes from Fonias and one of its waterfalls, Klidosi reaches an impressive height of 35 meters. The waterfalls of Kakia Plaka, of Karia, those of Xiropotamos, Arapi, Karagiannakis, and the other rivers of Samothrace are also worth a visit, as you are able to stay close to nature and make the most of the lush foliage surrounding the water.

You may also want to visit Vdelolimni, one of the island’s most important wetlands, located at the start of the Fonias water stream.

Also make sure you visit Kremastos, the largest waterfall in the Mediterranean Sea,  whose waters fall directly into the sea from a height of 100 meters. Generally, the southern part of the island is full of waterfalls that fall into the crystal sea water of remote beaches you can reach only by boat. 

Insights Greece - Exploring Samothrace’s Natural Pools
Stunning waters year-round

If you are seeking more adventure you can also explore the wild mountains and the beautiful nature, after the waterfalls, you can also try climbing. Feggari is the highest peak of the island, while Sfentami is a hot spring in a mountain plateau, where you will be able to enjoy the theapeutic benefits of a natural spa.

Getting there

The best way to get from mainland Greece to Samothrace is via the port of Alexandroupoli in Northern Greece, which takes around 2 hours and is available year-round. During the peak summer season, from Athens, you can catch a ferry from the port of Lavrion.

Live Like a Local at a Village Farm in Crete

If you are looking for an authentic countryside getaway that will allow you to experience true Cretan hospitality and to become a part of a wonderful community during your stay- this destination is for you!

Vamos Fabrica Farm is located in a charming village in Chania and lies between the sea and the mountains, offering wonderful views and traditional architecture that blends in beautifully with nature.

Fabrica provides guests with a chance to become familiar with local agriculture and the rich traditions and culture that make Crete so unique and famous. Here you will also have the opportunity to take part in rural activities, to taste local products, delicacies and traditional cuisine- as you gain an understanding of everyday life on a local village. 

Owned by the friendly Frantzeskakis family, who warmly greet each guest- here you will not only get to know the Cretan way of life- you will also become a part of it.

The family’s aim is to showcase a lesser-known side of Greece that can provide guests with an authentic experience that also allows them to appreciate the slower pace of life. Owner Nikos and his wife Lola introduce guests to the beauty, nature, history, and style of cooking that is synonymous with Cretan village life and create an experience any guest will treasure for a lifetime.

The Farm

Featuring an organic olive grove, with fruit trees and vegetables, birds and farm animals, flowers and herbs- here smells and colours come to life. You will also find a small stone-built theatre, where you may meet a philosopher reciting a poem. On another day, you will bake homemade bread with Nikos or help him cook other dishes in the traditional firewood oven; and assist Lola in collecting eggs or picking some fresh vegetables.

You may also accompany Lola and collect some herbs and wild greens from the garden and make a homemade pie or pick some fresh oranges or other fruits to make marmalades or spoon sweets. Guests are also able to feed the farm animals and enjoy tranquility and peacefulness while relaxing by the Romantic Corner or lying on a hammock.

Fabrica Guesthouses 

The guesthouses are separated into “Fabrica Houses” and the “Fabrica Farm Houses.” The houses are made of white stone and the smell of thyme and oregano floats in the air welcoming every guest, who feels a sense of coziness and familiarity inside their room. The Farm Houses are built in the olive grove and are inspired by the rich Cretan Flora, with each guesthouse named after an aromatic plant. 

Cooking Classes

A cooking lesson day begins with a visit to the local bakery and grocery store. When you get back you will prepare several mezedes (appetisers) and main dishes. You also have the chance to learn about olive oil varieties and the philosophy behind Cretan food. With the help of local and experienced housewives, participants prepare traditional recipes using fresh and local ingredients. Some of the dishes include cuttlefish with fennel, escargots with crushed wheat, stuffed vegetables, dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves), kalitsounia (sweet cheese pies), tzatziki, a braised rooster with spaghetti, lamb with stamnagathi (pine chicory), pies, and many more. 

While food is the main aspect of most of the cooking classes, guests also have the opportunity to chat, listen to live music, drink local wine- as they learn the secrets of Cretan cuisine. When it’s all done, everyone sits together around a large table and they enjoy a feast as well as dancing and singing- the Cretan way! 

Wild Greens Lessons

If you plan your trip around the beginning of spring, you will have the chance to visit different places around the farm, collect wild greens and herbs and learn how to cook them, and taste local and traditional recipes that are based on these fresh ingredients.

Soap Making Workshop

Learn how to make handmade soap with pure ingredients. Based on the olive oil- which is produced by the Frantzeskakis’ family in their biological cultivated olive grove- you will also use a variety of essential oils and herbs, to make soaps that you will love. 

Grape Harvesting

The grape harvest is held during the first ten days of September. This is done in small or larger groups of people who are interested in living the experience of harvesting, which takes place in the family vineyard located at Kasteli, an area between Kalyves and Almyrida.

Natural Skincare Workshop

Learn how to prepare creams and other skincare products based on natural and pure beeswax. It begins with a walk around the biologically cultivated olive grove and farm where you will collect aromatic plants and learn about their properties and uses. Then, using essential oils, plants, and vegetable oils, and herbs- you can create your own personalised products.

Botanical Farm Tour

Held all year round, this unique experience brings guests in touch with aromatic and medicinal plants of Greek flora. Stroll around the farm and learn about some of the plants and their properties. Here you have the chance to observe them, smell, touch, and collect some of them, while learning about their properties and uses, their connection to Mythology, their importance in people’s daily life, and their involvement in traditional medicine.

A: Vamos Apokoronou, Crete

Luxury Seaside Hotel Set in Mani

Nestled in a historic olive grove and boasting breathtaking sea views and private gardens; 100 Rizes Luxury Seaside Resort offers guests an eco-chic natural hideaway. 

Inspired by the region’s striking stone buildings, this luxury hotel blends modern comfort with the feel of a traditional Greek village. Enjoy views of the majestic Laconic Gulf with a glass of wine from your private suite. Stroll among the 100 scented olive groves that lead you to the freshwater pool. Or make your way to the boutique hotel’s sandy beach, which is only a few footsteps away. 


Just three hours drive from Athens, only 1.5 hours from Tripoli and one hour from Sparta, 100 Rizes gives guests the opportunity to travel around Mani and visit the breathtaking sightseeing in south Peloponnese. It’s located 20 minutes from Gytheio, the main town, overlooking a private cove next to Kamares beach; only 3km away from the historical village of Skourari and 20 km from Areopolis town the capital of Mani.

Style & Feel

Consisting of four luxury designed buildings and 30 rooms in total, extended in a typical area of Mani’s wild landscape, this traditionally built hotel is the perfect mix of old world meets new. Honouring Mani’s distinct architecture, the elegantly designed interior spaces with modern aesthetics gives the visitor the impression of a traditional village, with stone buildings, upscale luxury facilities and all modern comforts. 


The 30 rooms continue the hotel’s nod to its natural surroundings. Exposed brick walls give each one a cosy, rustic-chic feel and frame glimpses of water, trees and sky. With earthy tones and soft materials, the rooms are warm and inviting. 

Insights Greece - Luxury Seaside Hotel Set in Mani

Food & Drinks 

The Lupino Restaurant blends traditional and contemporary Mediterranean dishes prepared with the best local products and exquisite ingredients. Here the chef invites guests to a gustatory experience through the heritage and flavours of the Mani peninsula. You can enjoy cocktails, classic aperitifs and a customized selection of snack menus offering tempting delectable light meals and freshly prepared salads. Dishes served during lunch are bright, fresh, stunning and complete, ensuring to satisfy any craving; and wine lovers can discover the best wines from the exclusive list.

Ideal for…

Couples, business trips and anyone who wants to explore the beautiful Mani area. Not only is the hotel in prime position for relaxation, but it’s also only a short drive to some of the peninsula’s most alluring sites. Discover the spectacular flooded Caves of Diros. Walk along the seafront before savouring just-caught octopus in a taverna in Gythio. Swim in sapphire waters in Limeni. If you’re after on-the-doorstep seclusion, head to nearby Skoutari. It is the ideal getaway for guests seeking peace, seclusion, privacy, quality service and strict hygiene. 

Facilities & Services 

  • Outdoor pool
  • Indoor heated pool
  • Private beach area with Sunbeds & Umbrellas
  • Spa treatment rooms 
  • Sauna
  • Restaurant 
  • Bar 
  • Lounge
  • Gym facilities
  • Manicure & Pedicure room
  • 24-hour front desk 
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Bar
  • Sun terrace
  • Garden
  • Luggage storage
  • 24-hour business centre
  • Heating
  • laundry services

A: Anatoliki East Mani, Peloponnese 

10 Best Things to do on Symi Island

Located in the Dodecanese, Symi island is known for its colourful picture-perfect town, ranked a national monument for Greek architecture.

Symi boasts natural beauty- with its secluded coves (scattered throughout the island) enchanting beaches (accessible by boat); and in contrast to its rocky coastline, the interior of the island is forested with cypresses and conifers- making it a stunning destination.

After a recent trip to this breathtaking island, here are my tips on the Best Things to do in Symi!  

1. Get lost in Symi’s main town 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Symi’s beautiful port

Start by the harbour, named Gialos, where pastel-coloured Venetian mansions beautifully fill the town. When you think that you have seen it all, climb up several steps (450 to be exact) at Kali Strata in order to reach the Chorio, the village-like old part of town. If you are not a fan of exercise, there’s a five-minute bus that leaves every hour but you’ll miss the magic of admiring the charming houses on your way up and the picture-perfect view of Symi. At the top, there is the Kastro, which used to be an ancient acropolis and its old walls became part of the castle built there by the Knights of the Order of St John in 1407. Make sure you are there in time to enjoy the sunset from this spot.  

2. Hop on a boat tour around the island

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Sail around the island

A daily cruise around Symi is a great way to see all the secluded beaches and coves. The traditional boat, POSEIDON, offers daily cruises from the Gialos. Captain John, the owner, (lately along with his son Thodoris) has been touring around the island for the last 20 years and knows all the hidden beauties. He is also a great chef, as he is also preparing the menu during the tour. It departs from the port at 10:30 a.m. and returns at 17:30 p.m. The itinerary depends on the weather but normally you will be able to swim to the majestic beaches of St. Georgios, St. Vasilios, and Fokospilia. Inside this cave, there is a hidden beach where you can swim and (if you are lucky) see the seals that live there. The buffet is served at Seskli island on tables under the trees. 

3. Meet Mr. Takis Psarros, a local artisan

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Explore the town on foot

You won’t notice anything different from the outside, since you will see a typical store, full of leather goods in the town’s main port. But look closer. Inside the shop, you will find Mr. Psarros working on his amazing leather artwork. His designs are truly unique but the most extraordinary part is the procedure. Millions of burnt dots on leather; and countless hours of creation compose the solitary work of art that is created by the talented pyrographist. He is the only artist in Greece who designs pieces using the method of skin pyrography. Mr. Psarros holds a Guinness World Record for the largest pyrographic “Poseidon and Amphitrite” with 11.000.00 dots, which required two years’ worth of work. 

4. Visit the Monastery of Panormitis

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Monastery of Archangel Michael

It may seem like an Italian town filled with mansions boasting magnificent sea-views from their balconies but in reality, it’s a holy Monastery of the 18th Century, dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Set against a stunning backdrop of pine-covered mountainsides, the monastery welcomes the ferries by a loud bell sound- as they arrive and depart. You can also admire the wonderful chandeliers and the silver-leafed representation of Archangel Michael, Patron Saint of Symi, and protector of sailors. There is also a small museum and if you climb some steps, you can see the cells where the monks live and where many pilgrims choose to stay.  

5. Enjoy delicious dishes at Haritomeni while enjoying the sunset

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Restaurants found all around the port

Haritomeni restaurant is perfectly positioned in Upper Symi, an ideal spot to watch the sunset. Head there in the evening before the sun is about to set and sit on the terrace. Besides the stunning view of Symi harbour, the food here is absolutely delicious, even the simplest dishes taste amazing at this family-run tavern that serves traditional Greek dishes using the freshest local produce available.

6. Buy a Sea Sponge 

The inhabitants of Symi were the first Greeks to work as sponge divers. They were the pioneers who also taught other islanders how to dive, process, and trade the sponges. That’s why many international travellers who visited Greece in the Middle Ages believed that sponges only came from Symi. We visited Dinos Sponge Centre, the oldest sponge shop of Symi (since 1939), and met Mr. Dinos and his son, who explained to us many things regarding natural sea sponges that are animals and not plants as most people believe. We chose the appropriate sea sponges for our body and face for loofah use, bath time, and exfoliation- as they have top-notch exfoliating, circulation-boosting, radiance-enhancing abilities

7. Enjoy life at the beach 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Symi boasts breathtaking beaches with crystal clear waters

If you want to stay in Gialos, Nos beach is the perfect deal. A small piece of paradise that offers sun loungers, parasols, a shower, and a café -restaurant. A few kilometers away, you will find Gyala beach with a canteen that serves the tastiest country potatoes. Nimporio is another small beach, in the nearby bay, with sun loungers and a tavern; access is by boat or by road. Nanou is a picturesque pebble beach in a green landscape with cypresses, hidden behind high hills and crystal-clear water. Marathounda is a narrow bay with many goats running around. Agios Nikolaos is a popular beach with sand and pebbles and natural shade. The best beaches are Agios Vasilios, Agios Georgios, Dysalonas where the cliffs drop steeply behind the beach with its deep blue waters. The 300-metre high, vertical rock that stands behind this beach creates a majestic landscape. Don’t miss Agia Marina. Take a taxi boat (we took Pan. Ypakoi boat) it has a new restaurant and a small island straight opposite the beach with a church, that you can reach by swimming. 

8. Eat at Manos Fish Restaurant 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Beauty on every corner

This taverna is a unique experience thanks to its owner. Mr. Manos is some kind of entertainer for his clients, along with his parrot Markos. He will narrate stories of glorious nights at his taverna with celebrities who sing and dance until the morning. The photos outside the bathroom are the evidence. The seafood here is another experience! Don’t forget to taste “symiako garidaki” (small shrimp of Symi).  

9. Have a drink at Symi’s main town or along the port

You will spot them during your stroll around the picturesque alleys of Symi Town, and visit them at night. The bars with a great atmosphere in Symi include Tsati, Achinos, Vapori, Charani, Los and Yaghta. They won’t disappoint. 

10. Admire 1900 Hotel 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
1900 Hotel

We met the architect Dimitris Zografos, who decided to restore the old house of the Mastoriadis family and convert it into a boutique hotel, under the name “1900 Hotel”. Mastoriadis was the person who brought the first autonomous diving suit (“scafandro” in Greek) to Greece and Symi. Dimitris Zografos tried, through careful and thoughtful restoration, to keep its heritage alive. The house has been left merely intact. The main rooms of the house have been seamlessly transformed into four elegant suites (1901, 1902, 1903 and 1904), steeped in history.

How to get there 

Ferries depart from Piraeus port about three times a week and arrive at Symi after approximately 20 hours. It might be more convenient for you to reach Rhodes by plane (a one-hour trip from Athens) and then travel to Symi by ferry from Rhodes (the ferries are almost daily). Symi is also connected by ferry with Kalymnos, Patmos, Leros and Tilos.

Where to stay 

Insights Greece - 10 Best Things to do on Symi Island
Polina at the main port

Limani Life:  Right on the promenade of the port, an old mansion has been transformed into six comfortable, minimalist aesthetic rooms in pastel colours and nautical touches. 

The Old Markets: Housed in a restored building in the old market of Symi, just 400m from the port. Highlight the breakfast served on the terrace with majestic views.  

Iapetos Village Hotel: Colorful houses, a tropical garden and a pool with stone arches, this hotel is like a tiny village of a children’s fairytale. 

Where to eat in Symi  

Manos Fish restaurant for fresh fish. Bella Napoli Trattoria Italiana, for pasta and pizza. Charitomeni restaurant for a delicious meal with a sunset view. Taverna restaurant International, a traditional Greek taverna. Pantelis, a great gastronomic destination. O Tholos for great food by the sea. 

Many thanks to Deputy Mayor Mr. Nikitas Gryllis and the Mayor Mr. Lefteris Papakalodoukas for making this press trip happen!

*Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou ©