10 Reasons to Visit Ano Koufonissi

Ano Koufonissi is the smallest inhabited island in the Cyclades- but what it lacks in size it makes up for in natural beauty, authenticity, and genuine Greek island hospitality.  

Part of Koufonissia, which comprises Ano (Upper) and Kato (Lower) Koufonissi; is separated by a narrow strait and the island of Keros. 

This stunning little isle is actually located between Naxos and Amorgos and boasts breathtaking sandy beaches, emerald green coves, and striking sea caves. Small enough to walk around in a day, this doesn’t mean you’ll be ready to leave after 24 hours- on the contrary- Ano Koufonissi allows visitors to relax, unwind and experience traditional Cycladic Island life without the crowds; leaving you wanting more. 

Keep in mind, cars are not allowed on the island, but you can easily get around by walking, cycling, and small boats. So apart from treating yourself to lazy days on the beach, here’s our list of the best things to see and do when visiting Ano Koufonissi!  

Insights Greece - 10 Reasons to Visit Ano Koufonissi1. Stroll around the charming capital Chora and discover tiny treasures including small boutiques with folk art, handmade jewellery by local artisans and a range of traditional fisherman’s hats. Roam the cobblestone streets and wander through picturesque alleyways filled with colourful shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants. Make sure you take a seat at one of the seaside taverns and enjoy a long lunch or dinner while watching the sunset. 

2. Discover several sea caves at Pano Koufonissis North Cape.

3. Dive straight into the turquoise waters for a memorable swim at any of the following beaches- Finikas, Fanos, Ammos, Italida, Pori, Charakopou, Parianos, and also add the tiny beach of Gala to your list – you won’t be disappointed! 

4. Savour freshly caught fish, octopus and sea urchins at one of the local seafood taverns while also drinking a shot of “rakomelo,” as the locals do. 

5. Also make sure to try the locally made Xynomyzithra (a goat’s cheese served with honey as a dessert, or added to salads). Other local dishes include Patatato (beef casserole in tomato sauce with potatoes), as are the traditional sweets Pasteli on lemon leaves and Xerotigana (sweet dumplings). 

Insights Greece - 10 Reasons to Visit Ano Koufonissi

6. Visit Saint Nicholas’ small church, which offers beautiful views of nearby islands. Saint George’s and Panagia’s churches are also definitely worth a visit. 

7. Don’t miss a dip in Piscina, a natural pool, surrounded by rocks- it features the most beautiful turquoise waters. Dive from the top straight into the pool for an unforgettable swim. 

8. For a great cultural experience and to get to know the island’s history head over to Nikitas Simos Folklore & Archaeological Collection, exhibited in the garden of Villa Ostria in Agios Georgios, it is set in a well-preserved stone building that was built in 1852.

9. Also visit the Communal Folklore Collection with displays of household and kitchen utensils, farm equipment, traditional garments, furniture, embroidery and various ornaments that highlight the island’s history, customs and traditions. 

10. Don’t leave before enjoying an Aperol Spritz at Mylos  (a traditional windmill that has been turned into a cool concept store/ all-day bar), or Sorokos Bar, which is also set right by the water. 

Insights Greece - 10 Reasons to Visit Ano Koufonissi

Getting there…

From Athens, Koufonissia is only reachable by ferry from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina. The closest airport is located on Naxos island with daily domestic flights from Athens. From Naxos, you can take a ferry to Koufonissia, as well as some other islands in the Cyclades.

Main Image by Mylos Bar ©

Stunning New Hotel in Paros Ready to Open its Doors This Summer 

Parocks Luxury Hotel & Spa, a stunning new 5-star hotel nestled on the east coast of Paros, is getting ready to open its doors this summer. 

A unique hideaway facing the infinite blue of the Aegean Sea, this peaceful retreat is located in Ambelas, only a few steps from a beautiful beach and close to the upbeat town of Naoussa- making it the perfect spot to experience all this beautiful Cycladic Island has to offer. 

Parocks blends contemporary luxury with traditional Greek island architecture, allowing the rocky landscape- that meets the sea- to take centre stage. 

A discreet colour palette of earthy tones, along with the wide use of natural materials define the interior design of Parocks, which is the work of leading Greek interior design firm Stones and Walls. Inspired by the natural surrounding environment, the clean lines and minimalist decor creates a feeling of peace and tranquillity.  

Parocks features five buildings that are spread across the property that also boasts a pool, spa and restaurant. The 19 rooms and 8 suites are ideal for unwinding after a full day exploring the island; with each one decorated in a soothing Cycladic style, they all come with a private outdoor dining area, pool, or jacuzzi. 

The panoramic outdoor area of Parocks Restaurant is the perfect spot to have breakfast, lunch or dinner- with guests being served creative Greek and other Mediterranean dishes based on local ingredients. And for those in need of some extra pampering, the Parocks Spa features an indoor pool, steam room, sauna, treatment rooms and fitness facilities, offering a true oasis of rejuvenation and wellness for its guests. 

A: Ampelas, Naoussa, Paros

Discover Milos’ Most Beautiful Beaches

Milos, with its beautiful beaches, has now become one of Greece’s most sought-after summer spots. 

This Cycladic island of volcanic origin features over 70 stunning beaches – from Sarakiniko, the most famous thanks to its unique lunar landscape, to Kleftiko, with its crystal clear waters- you really are spoilt for choice here! 

What makes these beaches so unique is their interesting rock formations that create an impressive landscape, and although you can’t go wrong with any of them- when visiting Milos these are the spots I highly recommend for an unforgettable swim! 

-Start off at the one-of-a-kind, lunar landscape of Sarakiniko which is featured on countless postcards (and for a good reason). 

-Then make your way over to the beach of Firiplaka for crystal clear waters and breathtaking rock scenery as its background. A huge sea boulder divides the organised part with a beach bar and sun loungers (for rent) from the “untouched” side. 

-Tsigrado is a magical beach that owes its existence to perlite (a type of obsidian from the volcano of Firiplaka) that can be reached by boat or by climbing a rope ladder. 

-Add the caves of Papafragas to your wish list; a long-narrow fjord-like inlet featuring blue-green waters and grey-white rocks. Swim under the caves of Papafragas, alongside the ruins of the prehistoric town of Fylakopi, while listening to the hum of the Aegean Sea, and the turquoise waters rising beside you.

–  If you prefer sandy beaches then make your way over to Agios Konstantinos. Also known as Alogomandra, it features soft, fine sand and is the perfect place for a quiet swim. 

– Don’t leave Milos until you’ve been to Fyropotamos, a small settlement with a lovely beach and shady trees. On the right side of the beach, you will find the “Syrmata”, which are colourful and unique- highlighting the raw beauty of Milos.

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

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

Extra tip: take a tour around Milos in order to discover the famous bay of Kleftiko with crystal clear waters and perfectly white rock formations in the background, the underwater sea caves of Sykia, -among others- and certainly the uninhabited island of Polyegos with exquisite waters. I would strongly recommend choosing Thalassitra, a replica of the dominant early 20th-century, traditional Milos craft. The captain cooks (onboard) ten authentic Milos recipes in Sifnos clay dishes- making it a really memorable experience for more reasons than one. 

All Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou ©

Mini Guide to Ithaca Island

Ithaca island the birthplace of Odysseus, is set in the Ionian Sea and flies very much under the radar compared to its neighbouring islands Kefalonia and Zakynthos, however, we suggest you put Ithaca at the top of your Greek island holiday list. 

Boasting stunning blue beaches, verdant green landscapes, charming villages, breathtaking views, and Venetian architecture; there is plenty to see and do when visiting the island home of Homer’s mythical hero who found peace on an island that also leaves its visitors feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after spending time here. 

What to see

Vathi, the capital of Ithaca is a beautiful spot featuring deep blue waters, natural charm, and traditional Ionian architecture. Filled with taverns, cafes, restaurants, all-day bars, museums, and boutiques, this is the main part of town where visitors have great options for wining, dining and shopping. 

Perachori, Frikes, Stavros and Anoghi are charming and authentic villages that offer wonderful views over the island; it’s also the perfect place to sit at a traditional kafenion (cafe) and catch the locals sipping slowly on their Greek coffee while chatting away. 

Insights Greece - Mini Guide to Ithaca Island

-The caves in Ithaca are a must: check out the Cave of the Nymphs (legend has it this is where Odysseus hid the gifts of the Phaeacians), Evmaios Cave in southern Ithaca, and the Loizis Cave are also worth a visit, Loizis is named after a man who became very wealthy from selling gold coins he found in this very cave. 

Kioni a stunning fishing village is by far a stand-out! Here you’ll find gorgeous villas filled with bougainvillea, quaint taverns and cafes as well as beautiful restaurants and waterfront bars- the perfect place to catch the sunset. 

– The Monastery of Panagia tis Kathariotissas, the Protector and Patron Saint of the island is situated at an altitude of 600m in the center of the island. From here you will enjoy breathtaking views of the island and Vathi.

Where to Swim

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches and bays on Ithaca and some of our favourites include: Filatro (organised beach with sunbeds), Skinos (a gorgeous secluded beach), Gidaki (which can only be reached by boat), as well as Aetos, Agios Ioannis and Sarakiniko. 

Where to eat

Dine at Ageri tavern at the tiny port of Frikes; we also recommend O Batis, Kantouni, Serirines and Tsiribis– here you will find a great range of freshly made Greek dishes. For a cocktail or aperitif head to Spavento Café Bar, Rhapsody, or Lea’s Beach Bar in Sarakiniko.  

Where to stay

Art hotels, boutique hotels, luxury villas with private pools, check out Levendis Estate, Peratntzada Hotel, Adastra Ithaca Luxury Suites, and Familia a 19th Century olive press converted into a boutique hotel.  

How to get there 

There is no airport on Ithaca island, the closest is Kefalonia airport and there are no direct ferries from Athens to Ithaca, but you can reach Ithaca from Astakos, Kefalonia and Lefkada. You can also reach Ithaca from the port of Kyllini in the Peloponnese (just over 3 hour’s drive from Athens). 

Travelling Through Greece Over Summer Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Greece has officially announced that travelling throughout the country from May 1st will be a whole lot easier, as Covid 19 vaccination or recovery certificates will no longer be required, and mask rules relaxed in time for the peak summer holiday season.

Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris on Wednesday outlined the roadmap from May 1 through to August 31, confirming that domestic Covid passports will be scrapped with the rule applying to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and to both indoor and outdoor areas, including museums, archaeological sites, restaurants, taverns, cafes, bars and other venues. 

Plevris said that the requirement to show a Covid pass to enter bars, restaurants and other public venues would be withdrawn on May 1 and from June 1, mask rules will be relaxed in most venues, with a few exceptions – likely to include healthcare settings – this will be outlined in the coming days. 

He added that the removal of international entry requirements, where visitors must show proof of either vaccination (including a booster if their second dose was administered more than 270 days before), recent recovery from Covid, or a negative test to visit Greece – are also under consideration. 

For all the latest travel requirements to Greece head to travel.gov.gr

Stunning New Hotel Opens in Sifnos 

A stunning new hotel has opened its doors on the island of Sifnos. Featuring a rustic chic design, NOS Hotel & Villas is set amongst rugged natural beauty – making it the ideal intimate hideaway. 

Located on Faros and within walking distance to some of Sifnos’ best beaches, NOS offers 18 suites, set across four stone buildings- all with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the 17th-century Monastery of Panagia Chrysopigi; an emblematic landmark of the island. Featuring bright and airy spaces, the suites effortlessly flow onto private courtyards, terraces and balconies allowing for seamless indoor/outdoor living.

Designed by Athens-based K-Studio, the property is inspired by nearby authentic villages.  This is mainly highlighted by the natural materials used throughout the space- including stone, marble, and lime mortar. With smooth finishes and earthy décor throughout- the suites feature ceramic basins and woven stools that have been made by local craftsmen, as well as original artwork created specifically for the hotel by local artists.  

The property also offers an on-site restaurant with a delightful menu created by award-winning Executive Chef Athinagoras Kostakos. The eatery is set on a dreamy terrace, while dishes are made with ingredients sourced from local producers, offering guests Mediterranean flavours with a modern twist. There is also an impressive wine cellar filled with handpicked varieties from the hotel’s sommeliers, who have carefully chosen reds and whites from all over Greece and other parts of the world. 

Only 200 m from Faros Beach, 300 m from Fassolou Beach, and less than 1 km from Chrysopigi beach – it’s the perfect spot for those who love the sun and sand. NOS Hotel & Suites also features free private parking, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre, an open-air spa, as well as a bar, and a garden; plus a 24-hour front desk, 24-hour room service, a shuttle service, and free WiFi throughout the property. 

A: Faros, Sifnos 

Baba Au Rum Heads to Santorini for Summer 

Athens’ award-winning Baba Au Rum bar will be opening its doors at the Grace Hotel in Santorini on April 15, marking the beginning of a unique and exciting summer season.

Thanos Prunarus and the team of Baba Au Rum, a leading multi awarded Rum & Cocktail bar in downtown Athens, are getting ready to introduce local and international visitors to 363 Bar by Baba Au Rum- redefining the fine drinking scene in the Cycladic islands, by creating an exclusive range of cocktails for their guests to enjoy while overlooking the famous Caldera. 

“One of the best bars in the world travels to the Cycladic island overlooking the Caldera to elevate evenings with premium cocktails, curated by the spirit connoisseur himself and offering a fantastic experience in the Cyclades’ most beloved Grace Hotel Auberge Collection,” announced management at the Grace Hotel. 

Along with the opening of 363 Bar, Grace Santorini also welcomes the exciting launch of Varoulko Santorini, with Michelin star chef Lefteris Lazarou getting set to serve his famous dishes including the exquisite squid with pesto Genovese, an emblem of Lazarou’s creativity, as well as the humble monkfish. 

Grace Hotel is an exclusive boutique hotel in Santorini, perched above the world-famous Caldera with breathtaking views and breathtaking sunsets. Innovatively refurbished rooms and suites showcase a contemporary style, combining cutting edge, bespoke design alongside traditional handcrafted pieces whilst the luxurious bathrooms offer double vanity units with marble carved basins and spacious rain showers with mosaic feature walls. 

A: Imerovigli, Santorini 

A Guide to Romantic Skiathos

Sporades Islands became increasingly popular right after the release of ‘Mamma Mia!’. You see, the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi with the turquoise waters and the bleached-white beaches that viewers fall for is nothing else than a curated concoction of scenes from Skopelos island and from Damouchari beach in Pelion.

But while Skopelos is the centre of the action, the visitability of the neighbouring island of Skiathos increased as well, all the more so because it lies just half an hour away and tourists can kill two birds with one stone by visiting both of them even within the same day.

Skiathos is a romance-infused destination mirrored in the number of weddings and honeymoons that take place here culminating in August each year. The island combines everything newlyweds are looking for in a honeymoon: secluded beaches, luxury hotels, fine dining and lots of romantic spots to enjoy the sunset. It is quite possibly the ultimate couple’s destination without breaking the bank!

Here’s our guide for a romantic getaway to Skiathos!

Welcome drinks at Bourtzi

Start married life and set the tone of your visit to Skiathos with a few drinks at Bourtzi. Bourtzi is an old fortress set on a small peninsula that extends into the sea between the old and new port of Skiathos Town. It was built in the 13th century and has since saved the island many times against its enemies and pirates’ attacks. Nowadays, Bourtzi hosts one of the best bars in town. It has great cocktails and nibbles to eat and it also offers the best airplane spotting and sea views. Don’t forget to take a selfie in the toilet mirrors (hint: there are no mirrors just endless sea views, something visitors adore about this place!).

Agios Nikolaos Church and Clock Tower

Getting to Agios Nikolaos Church just before sunset is one of the best things to do when in Skiathos. To get there you climb around 100 steps through century-old alleyways, past jasmine-filled gardens and the occasional stone-built bar that has bougainvillea-covered walls. It is all worth it though as once you are on top you have the best panoramic views of the town, new and old port.

Romantic dinner at Scuna restaurant

Scuna is the place to go for a romantic dinner by the seaside. We visited on our second night on the island, after a long tour around the beaches on the north side of Skiathos. We were ravenous and eager to find a quiet spot for dinner and this place did not disappoint! The food was exceptional, there was a chef’s touch in every dish and the whole restaurant vibe was full of Greek aromas with dried oregano bouquets hanging from the ceiling and Greek wine bottles on display.

Visit Skiathos Kastro

Not everyone wants to relax on a sun lounger for their honeymoon. Why not do something different and visit one of the oldest and most historical sites on the island, instead? The Kastro (castle) of Skiathos are the ruins of a medieval fortified site on a rocky setting lying on the northern side of the island. It was founded in the 14th century and its main purpose was to save the locals from pirate raids. From the day it was built, it was occupied by Venetian and Turkish rulers before it was given back to the Greek people in the 19th century.

Unfortunately, Kastro has been abandoned and left to its own fate for many centuries and as a result, nowadays only two churches have been saved (Gennisi tou Christou and Agios Nikolaos).

A visit is well worth it, any time of the day as you get the best views of the sea waves crashing on the rocks and the vastness of the Aegean Sea.

Walk around the port

Skiathos has a long port that is divided into three different areas: there is the old port, the Municipal Port and the Paraliakos port with the best views of Chora!

Explore the old port, which is located right next to Bourtzi, and have a few drinks at the local bars while watching the travellers chatting to the organisers of the island hopping day trips. Here, is also the place to book your tickets and take a boat to go to Lalaria beach is accessible only by sea.

The Municipal Port is basically the main port and the one you see when arriving on the island from the Greek mainland. This is the base for the lifeguard and also where the majority of the island’s restaurants are located. All ferries depart from here and this is where ferries to Skopelos depart from.

Last but not least, is the Paraliakos Port which is basically a stretch of the Municipal Port. As it is on a curve, it offers fantastic views of the main port and Chora.

Papadiamanti street

Papadiamantis Alexandros was an influential poet and Skiathos native. His work tells the story of people in 19th-century rural and urban Greece with adventures set around the Mediterranean and rich plots involving captivity, war, pirates and diseases.

His house (turned into a museum) is on the main cobbled street of the island, which locals in his honour have now named after him. Being the Highstreet of the island there is a good selection of clothing stores, bars and souvenir places to explore. On a night out, the street is so crowded, that you will potentially stumble upon people over and over again so it’s best to visit during daylight.

The island beaches

Just like any other Greek island, Skiathos has plentiful stunning beaches to visit but there’s no doubt that the most beautiful ones are on the northern side of the island. Somehow, these are the less-visited ones, too, making them ideal to visit if you prefer something quieter and less touristy.

Renting a motorbike is something that I highly recommend before you go on a beach exploration pilgrimage as some beaches are difficult to get to by public transportation or even a car.

Even though the most famous beach on the island is Koukounaries, closely followed by Lalaria beach, we opted for the less-visited ones like the magnificent Troulos, Kanapitsa and Krifi Ammos. Try having breakfast at Troulos beach with the pair of swans greeting tourists every morning as they swim in the sea, a truly unforgettable experience!

Iera Moni Evangelismou tis Theokotou

This monastery is a must-see when visiting Skiathos. The impeccable views of nature and tranquillity of the place will make you feel relaxed and content regardless of your religious beliefs. Try visiting in the afternoon when there are not so many visitors and enjoy the company of the monastery cats giving you a tour of the place!

Shopping in Skiathos

Skiathos has plenty of seasonal, summer stores that sell anything from hand-knitted scarves to white linen dresses and handmade olive soaps. Allow yourself to get lost in the cobbled streets and have a look around the shops. Don’t forget to say ‘hi’ to the locals, they are always up for a chat.

 Skiathos nightlife

Any antonym of the word ‘boring’ would describe Skiathos nightlife! There are nightclubs, bars, beach bars and late-night tavernas scattered all over the place offering the best in music, entertainment and cocktails. If you are indecisive just go for a walk through the old port, pick up a place with the comfiest seats and order a drink! The views of the port, attentive staff and sea breeze will make you fall for it.

Some extra tips:

-Book your accommodation as early as possible. Unlike the other Sporades, Skiathos Island had only one town, Chora, with not so many places to stay on the rest of the island.

-Rent a motorbike, the best way to explore the island and get the best experience.

-If you are staying for more than a week, then consider a day trip to Skopelos with the ferry boat. It’s a short ride and totally worth it.

Have you ever been to Skiathos?

Images By Anastasia Fountouli ©

New Assouline Book Captures the Spirit of the Greek Islands 

Assouline’s new hardcover book brings the Greek Islands to life using glorious colourful photography and text that gives a real sense of nostalgia.  

Curated by Athens-based businessmen/ art collector/ restaurateur Chrysanthos Panas, and photographer/ travel writer Katerina Katopis-Lykiardopulo- the latest book in Assouline’s collectible travel series captures the unique spirit and mythology of the Greek islands.   

From the Cyclades to the Dodecanese, the new hardback book celebrates the beauty, serenity and diversity of the Greek islands- showcasing a range of stunning beaches, natural landscapes, rich history, and friendly locals- making it a lovely gift for those who escape to the Aegean at every opportunity.

Beautifully presented, readers are invited to explore over 300 pages that are filled with authentic architecture, ancient ruins, cliffside monasteries, volcanic rims, striking azure waters, and a laid-back Greek island vibe- depicted in the striking images and carefully chosen words that will have you mesmerised for hours. 

“Venturing on an Odyssey of their own, the author and the photographer boarded a traditional Greek sailboat and set out to capture the calming atmosphere, quintessential characters and breathtaking architecture of these gems of the Aegean. A spectacular journey re-created in the pages of Greek Islands,” says the publisher. 

Display it on your coffee table along with Mykonos Muse and Athens Riviera– Assouline’s other colourful Greek titles from this highly sought-after travel series. 

Greek Islands by Chrysanthos Panas and Katerina Katopis-Lykiardopulo will be released in April 2022.

Assouline.com

7 Top Easter Destinations in Greece

After two years of lockdown, Easter 2022 is the perfect occasion for reconnecting with Greece’s traditional spirit. Lamb on the spit, folk music, free-flowing wine and plenty of good “parea” and “kefi” should do the trick. Add to that a beautiful location with interesting Easter traditions and you have yourself a wonderful trip to look forward to!

Here we take a look at some of the best Easter holiday destinations around the country that you really shouldn’t miss!

Patmos

Greece’s holiest island, where St John the Evangelist wrote The Apocalypse, is especially ideal at Easter for fans of Greek Orthodoxy. In the picturesque Chora you can see the local re-enactments of the Last Supper and Washing of the Disciples’ Feet; during the liturgy, a priest from the monastery of St John the Theologian, who re-enacts the role of Jesus, disperses water droplets on the legs of two monks, representing Christ’s disciples, after which there is a procession through the town. On Easter Sunday on the Dodecanese Island, it’s well worth attending the atmospherically rich Second Resurrection church service, during which the gospel is read in seven languages. 

Insights Greece - 7 Top Easter Destinations in Greece
Leonidio

Leonidio, a seaside town in the eastern Peloponnese, carries out the unusual tradition of releasing hundreds of balloons into the sky at midnight on Holy Saturday, as soon as the priest chants ‘Christ has risen’ (Christos Anesti). The tradition, which began in the late 19th century, is vibrant and colourful, offering a unique experience that even schoolchildren are involved in preparing from the start of the year. The town’s Epitaphios (the funeral bier of Christ, containing a large icon depicting the burial of Christ and heavily decorated with flowers) processions are also very scenic, as locals decorate streets with thousands of bitter oranges (between 2-3,000) that have been hollowed out and lit from the inside with candles. On Easter Sunday Leonidio holds the Feast of Love ceremony in its main square with Tsakonian dances and more balloons released into the sky.

Insights Greece - 7 Top Easter Destinations in Greece
Monemvasia

Also in the Peloponnese is the magical seafront fortified town of Monemvasia, where on Good Friday the epitaphios procession passes through the medieval cobblestone roads past candle-lit chapels and houses, including the once governor’s mansion (during the Venetian era) Ardamis Guesthouse. Throughout the Easter period, in Monemvasia, you’ll hear the echoes of church liturgies echoing through the streets. On the afternoon of Easter Sunday, the town carries out a tradition of re-enacting the burning of Judas, usually in a captivating ambience. 

Insights Greece - 7 Top Easter Destinations in Greece
Image by Polina Paraskevopoulou
Rhodes

The island of the Knights has an Easter tradition that involves tree stumps being gathered and stacked into a huge pile of wood that is set alight on Holy Saturday, a few hours ahead of the Insurrection ceremony. Called ‘Kalafunos’, this ritual represents the burning of Judas.

Insights Greece - 7 Top Easter Destinations in Greece
Kalamata

Not for the faint-hearted, Kalamata’s ‘Saitopolemos’, a ‘war’ of lit cardboard tubes filled with gunpowder- is famous Greece-wide for how loud it gets, how long it goes on, and how many people choose to participate despite annual accidents and even deaths. Thought to date back to the end of the Ottoman occupation and honouring Greeks who fought in the War of Independence, the event is certainly polemical. In Kalamata the burning of Judas tradition is actually a blowing up of Judas and takes place in the areas of Avramogiani and Rachi. 

Insights Greece - 7 Top Easter Destinations in Greece
Corfu

Famous for their clay pot-breaking tradition, Corfu’s locals annually enjoy (often joined by Greek and foreign tourists) throwing their water-filled vessels, decorated with red ribbons, off balconies onto the street, where they smash into smithereens. The custom, thought to have begun during the Venetian occupation, is followed by a musical procession by the Ionian island’s brass bands, with a performance of a musical piece titled ‘Fear Not, Greeks’. 

Insights Greece - 7 Top Easter Destinations in Greece
Hydra

One of the jewels of the Saronic Gulf, Hydra makes a great Easter getaway. The island enjoys a unique tradition of having the epitaph enter the sea on Good Friday in the fishing village of Kaminia, which is 10 minutes from the main port. This tradition is a way of blessing the waters and the seafarers. After the procession, people gather around to eat seafood in nearby tavernas and houses.

Insights Greece - 7 Top Easter Destinations in Greece

 

Beautifully Restored 19th Century Beach House in Patmos 

At a tranquil bay on the island of Patmos, you will find a breathtaking 19th Century beach house that’s been beautifully restored and designed for guests to unwind, relax and take in the stunning sea views.

Within steps from Merikas Bay, the seafront villa “Merikas” is ideally located- as it’s just a three-minute drive from the island’s port and 10 minutes away from Chora, allowing guests to easily explore the island. 

Inspired by the traditional architecture of Patmos, this exceptionally designed house offers guests privacy, tranquility, and all the modern comforts- without losing its authentic and traditional charm.  

With respect to the island’s rich history and culture, the beach house has been carefully restored using mostly local materials and the chic interiors and decor (designed by the talented Studio Krokalia in collaboration with Studio Pale) include boho style furniture and decor pieces custom made by local artisans. 

The holiday villa features one bedroom, two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a dining area and a separate living area that opens up to a beautiful terrace- where guests can enjoy the majestic views of Merikas Bay and Skala harbour. 

Upstairs is where the spacious bedroom is found, with an ensuite and a private balcony. There are also two sofa beds in the living room- sleeping four guests in total. 

The property also offers an outdoor garden dining area, BBQ, private parking; as well as WiFi, laundry, and a fireplace for those who wish to stay here in the cooler months. 

Combining simple elegance, tradition, comfort, and privacy, this holiday home is perfect for a summer stay in Patmos.  

Merikas Beach House 

Images Courtesy of Studio Krokalia ©

Rhodes Island Officially Opens for Tourism Season 2022

Rhodes, the largest Dodecanese island, officially launched the tourism season for 2022 on Sunday March 27, with the first charter flights landing at Rhodes International Airport “Diagoras” and hotels opening their doors to welcome international visitors.

Nine flights were scheduled for Sunday bringing tourists from Frankfurt (Germany), Bristol (UK), Bergamo (Italy), Stansted (UK), Charleroi (Belgium), Manchester and East Midlands (UK) and finally, the last charter arrived from Bologna (Italy).

A total of 38 charter flights are expected to arrive on Rhodes in the last few days of March while many flights are scheduled to arrive in the month of April.

Rhodes is one of Greece’s most popular all-year-round destinations thanks to its beautiful beaches, clear waters, castles and ancient civilisations, as well as its gourmet restaurants and traditional tavernas serving local delicacies.

Home to one of the best-preserved medieval settlements in the world, the Old Town of Rhodes has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site; as well as the Colossus of Rhodes- a statue of the Greek sun god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes in 280 BC- it is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Greece’s leading carrier Aegean Airlines currently has three direct flights from Athens per day to Rhodes, and there is one overnight ferry route from Athens to Rhodes, which is a 16.5-hour trip.