Greece to Open All Year Round for Tourists

After being named Europe’s top destination for 2021 at the World Travel Awards, Greece has announced it will not only focus on the peak summer season but will also be ready and willing to welcome international visitors all year round. 

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias made the announcement in a recent interview with CNN, during his time at the international tourism trade fair at the World Travel Market (WTM), in London.

According to the Minister, Greece’s tourism board is working hard to “win over” every traveller, offering a new tourist experience, and at the same time promoting new destinations including more untouched islands, both small and large, the mainland, and city breaks.

Insights Greece - Greece to Open All Year Round for Tourists
Greece proves it’s more than just a summer destination

Minister Kikilias said, “Tourism is the locomotive of the Greek economy, something that proves again this year, in the midst of a pandemic, and brings new jobs that we aspire to be of better quality and better paid, enable through the 320 million euros of the RRF of the Ministry of Tourism for infrastructure, ports, marinas, upgrading of hotel units, for digitization, green development, and a sustainable system of the sustainable tourism product.”

The Minister stressed there is more to Greece than just a few popular islands. “It doesn’t always have to be to the two or three branded places that people discovered in the 50s and the 60s,” he said, adding that Greece has many beautiful destinations that he believes will appeal to tourists from the UK, the US, France and beyond.

Concerning infrastructure in specific popular destinations including Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes to name a few, Kikilias said that Greece has 320 million euros from the Recovery and Resiliance Fund (RRF) to improve its infrastructure and build new infrastructure where it’s needed.

During his time at WTM London Minister Kikilas also met with a range of international tour operators, travel agents, and airline companies from Great Britain, the USA, and France and signed a number of new deals for 2022.  

And although the country will be open to tourists all year round, the official tourist season in Greece will commence in early spring (March-April). And with high volumes of bookings already taking place, 2022 is expected to be a very successful year for Greece’s tourism industry.

Complete Travel Guide to Leros

A small, authentic, undiscovered island, located in the northern Dodecanese; Leros boasts charming harbors, coves and inlets protected from the winds.

There are also shipwrecks, a war tunnel museum, a natural port (one of the largest in the Mediterranean) that transports you to Italy, four marinas, pristine nature, different types of architecture, and very rich history. Are you ready to explore it?

What you need to know before you arrive

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Leros is a tiny island on the Dodecanese

-Leros is a little island in the Dodecanese, located between Patmos and Kalymnos. Thanks to its location, Leros is perfect for island hopping to Patmos, Kalymnos, and Lipsi.

-Leros has a population of about 8500 inhabitants, which makes the island very distinct. 

-From 1958 to 1995, Leros was home to one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Europe. The island was economically dependent on the mental hospital since entire families worked there as guardians, but the hospital’s terrible living conditions affected the locals working there.

-During the junta of the Colonels, the island was used as a place of internal exile for political protestors.   

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Stay at a locally owned apartment

Getting there 

You can reach Leros island by sea or air. Ferries from Athens to Leros depart from Pireaus about four times a week. The trip lasts approximately 8 hours. Leros is also connected by ferry with Rhodes, Patmos, Kos, Kalymnos and Lipsi. During summer, ferries run between the islands of the Dodecanese almost every day. Leros Municipal Airport receives only domestic flights from Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. The flight from Athens to Leros lasts 50 minutes. 

Where to stay- An ideal area to stay is in Alinda or Panteli.

Tips for getting around

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Hire a car or Vespa

Leros has a bus network that connects you with the busiest places. Yet we recommend renting a car or motorbike in order to explore the island at your own pace and visit places you can’t reach by public transport. We rented our car from MOTOLAND in Panteli, founded in 1996 by Mr. Ilias who has been involved in the car and moto market of Leros for the last 15 years (Tel. +30 22470 26400).

Bear in mind that there are a lot of Vespas on the island. Plus, the employees of the municipality move around on a Vespa, a culture left by the Italians. There is even a motorcycle club, under the name of MOL. 

Best time to visit- July and August are the two months in Leros when most travelers arrive on the island. Also, the weather temperature peaks during this period. On the other hand, June and September are not so busy and still quite warm, so they are the ideal months to enjoy the island.

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Nefeli Hotel near Agia Marina

Where to sleep

Nefeli HotelIt is located in a peaceful spot next to Agia Marina town, very close to the beach of Kritoni in Leros. 

Alea Mare: This renovated hotel right by the sea is set in the beautiful village of Alinda. 

Irene Hotel: Just 70metres from the beach of Alinda, this hotel is ideal for families. 

Panteli Beach Studios: Located at the feet of the picturesque Platanos village, just a few meters from a sandy beach. 

Where to eat

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Enjoy some of the freshest seafood at Milos

Milos restaurant: Located in front of a traditional windmill, with the breathtaking view of Agia Marina, this restaurant specializes in seafood and pasta recipes cooked with modern culinary techniques. It’s one of the best seafood restaurants on Leros if not the Dodecanese. 

Psaropoula: A family-owned and run seafood taverna since 1962, set right by the water, on the beach of Panteli.  

El Greco: A traditional taverna in Panteli, right on the sea; serving traditional recipes from Leros combined with modern Greek bistro cuisine. 

Dimitris o Karaflas: Set in Spilia, which lies between Panteli and Vromolithos; they serve tasty food and offer a nice view. 

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Enjoy traditional meals around town

Sotos: Located in Drymonas, come here for delicious fish appetizers. 

Petrino: Perfect for grilled meat in Lakki. 

To Paradosiakon: Housed in a historic Italianate mansion on the waterfront of Agia Marina, this is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. 

What to eat

Gavafes, a tropical fruit (citrus-flavored type of guava grown only on Leros), was brought over by Greek-Egyptians; and has a very intense aroma. 

Patsavouropita (yogurt syrup cake)

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Delicious Patsavouropita

Pougkakia (almond and mandarin pastries)

Ladotyri, a local cheese

Salted kolios (fish)

Soumada. Don’t pass up the opportunity to quench your thirst with this locally produced drink! 

Where to drink

Calvo Café-Pub in Agia Marina, set in a beautiful old red building right by the sea. 

Meltemi, right on the sea in Agia Marina.  

View cafe-bar-restaurant, located at the castle, overlooking Agia Marina.

Apothiki Night-Club for Greek music. 

Where to swim

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Stunning turquoise waters

Dyo Liskaria: Charming windless cove with deep blue waters. An organized beach with shops nearby. Chill at Zephyros Beach bar. 

Alinda: One of the largest beaches of Leros. Organized beach with blue waters, shops and tavernas nearby. 

Panteli: Famous beach of Leros. Here you will find one of the largest beach bars on the island, while nearby there are other shops and mini markets.

Agia Kioura: An isolated sandy beach with blue waters surrounded by nature. Take with you water, food and an umbrella. Don’t forget to visit the church Agia Kioura. 

Vromolithos: A popular sandy beach with facilities next to the local settlement. 

Agia Marina: One of the most famous beaches of the island with shallow, clear waters.

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Agia Marina

Xirokampos: Quite a large, sandy beach with deep waters that are suitable for diving. Near Xirokampos there is a small rocky beach, Panagia Kavouradena, for those seeking privacy and tranquility.

Agios Spyridonas: A small beach with sand and pebbles, that stands out for its clear blue waters and the shipwrecked boat on the shore.

Krithoni: Well-known organized beach with clear waters, fine pebbles and umbrellas. There are also tall trees around. 

Koulouki: These are three consecutive coves, with fine, light sand, cool waters, surrounded by imposing pines and lush vegetation. At the middle beach, there is a snack bar with snacks and drinks.

Merikia: Beautiful, quiet beach near Koulouki, with crystal clear waters and large tamarisk trees that protect from the sun.

Discover history

-According to myth, Leros island was where the ancient Greek goddess of hunting, Artemis, used to go hunting, thanks to the island’s large deer population.

-During the Byzantine period, Constantine the Great, incorporated Leros into the theme of Samos, and many magnificent Christian churches were built as well as the castle and the Panagia (Blessed Virgin) church on the hills.

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Explore historical sites

-In 1314, Leros was occupied by the tyrannical Knights of St. John of Rhodes who governed it until the Turks invaded and took command of the entire Aegean archipelago. 

-After the independence of Greece in 1829, all the Dodecanese islands were ceded to Turkey by the London Protocol in exchange for Euboea.  From 1912 to 1943, the island was occupied by the Italians and during this time, the intention was to develop Leros into an Italian naval base. Over several decades important defense work was carried out and military installations were built with a new deep-sea port created at Laki. Many buildings were demolished and, in their place, grand buildings were erected in the new, modern style that is now associated with the Fascist architecture of the 1930s.

-During World War II, the Greek Sacred Battalion, together with the British alliance liberated the island from Italian occupancy. However, after almost 50 days of bombardment from German air raids, the Germans went on to occupy the island until the end of the war in 1945. This was further followed by a two-year occupation by English armed forces, which culminated in March 1948, with Leros and the whole of the Dodecanese finally being united with Greece.

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Charming villages

Must visit villages – Leros is dotted with picturesque villages. The most popular of them are Alinda, Panteli and Agia Marina. 

Culture/traditions of the island

-During the first two weeks of August, the wine festival of Leros is held in Xirokambos, where you can taste some –Lerian wine and enjoy traditional dances and local musicians of Leros.

-Every August, the Municipality of Leros organizes the Alindia festival, featuring athletic and other cultural events.

-The three Moon Festival is held in June, July and August (one for each full moon) with artists from all over Greece displaying their work in charming buildings of Leros. 

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Bougainvillea filled island

-The Feast of Trata is held every year in September in Panteli, where the fishermen cook their fish and offer them to guests. 

-In August, the celebration of Drymonas takes place on the local beach, where a Lerian cuisine festival is held with plenty of wine, food and dance, to the sounds of traditional and folk music.

-Gourna is the representation of the traditional threshing that takes place, free traditional appetizers and wine are offered with the sounds of a lyrical feast.

-One of the major events in Leros is the feast of Agia Marina on July 17th, which lasts two days and also the glorious celebrations of the 15th of August, when thousands of pilgrims arrive in Leros that day, at the church of Panagia of Kastro, the patron saint of the island, in Platanos village.

Do as locals do…

Dance at Disco Diana. Open from 1978 until the beginning of 2000. In 2019 it reopened with a disco ball and music from the ’90s. Its name (Diana) means Artemis, the Goddess of hunting, who is connected with Leros. 

Insider tips- If you are departing by ship at 10:30 pm for Piraeus, before leaving head to “Leon” at the port for the tastiest souvlaki.

Ideal time to spend here?  Leros is a small island and you won’t need too long. Three days should be enough to see everything, except if you want more time just to really relax. 

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Long days of R&R

Favorite part?  The most picturesque site on Leros is the windmills in Pandeli, on the way to the castle. 

What to avoid? 

Don’t try to find nightlife in Lakki, there is not much happening. The nightlife of the island beats in the heart of Agia Marina. 

Sometimes buses do not stick to the timetable. Avoid waiting at the bus stop if you have another option. 

Top activities

Scuba diving and snorkeling. Leros is gradually developing into a popular scuba diving destination in the Aegean Sea, due to the rocky coasts, the emerald water, and the old shipwrecks in the surrounding sea bottom. Popular Leros diving sites are the large Queen Olga Destroyer at the port of Lakki, the Anti-Submarine ship in the bay of Partheni and the wreck of German bomber Henkel-111 in the bay of Blefouti.

Here are some diving centers in Leros: Hydrovius Diving Center is a PADI resort on Leros island. 

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Landmark windmills

Camping and Diving Leros club is situated in the southern part of the island, really close to a quiet, small beach, ideal for diving or snorkeling. 

Hiking. There are trails all across Leros. One of the most charming routes is from the village of Xirokambos, in the south, to the Cape of Diaporo. It takes between an hour and an hour and a half. Along the way, you’ll spot an old Italian military building with wall paintings created by soldiers during World War II.

Where to shop 

Aspronisi boutique is a chic concept store with Greek designers’ creations and a range of accessories.

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Chic concept store

Ageri island boutique has exclusive Greek fashion brands, handmade accessories, unique art and home decor items. 

Fegaropetra stocks handmade jewellery and accessories. 

Keramika Lerou (Artemisio-Sifounios Pottery) has amazing pottery that are made in the shop by Mr Sifounios Makis. 

To Leriko stocks gifts, handmade jewellery and clothing. 

What to see

-The Medieval Castle, originally built by the Byzantines on the site of an ancient temple and then restored by the Venetians. 

-The flour mill at the port of Agia Marina, an architectural model of a 20th-century windmill. 

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
An island filled with rich culture

-The Historical and Folklore Museum, housed in Bellenis Tower, on the way to Alinda. It includes photos from the Second World War, traditional instruments, old maps, and manuscripts, among other artifacts.

-The lovely chapel of Agios Isidoros, on the islet of Alinda that is connected to the land by a narrow passage. Built on the site of an ancient temple, it offers nice views, especially in the sunset.

-The church of Prophet Ilias by the sea, beneath the Castle of Panteli. 

-The church of Agia Marina, made of stone with two bell towers. Tradition says that fishermen found an icon of the Virgin Mary here while they were looking for crabs.

-The Castle of Xirokambos, built in Medieval times on the site of an ancient acropolis. 

-The Archaeological Museum, housed in a Neoclassical building in Agia Marina that dates from 1882. It houses collections of prehistoric findings, small statues and ceramics from the Geometrical era.

-The War Museum, which opened in 2005 and housed in a tunnel built by the Italians during the Second World War. 

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Polina discovering parts of the town

-The War Memorial in Lakki, the port of Leros, commemorates the attack of German bombers on the Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga, during the Second World War.

-The Ecclesiastical Museum, housed in the Castle of Panteli. It hosts an ecclesiastical collection with Byzantine icons, gospels, candlesticks, and holy items as well as an archaeological collection with statues and vases.

-The Aerofono is an acoustic wall. The military employed blind people, who were thought to have better hearing capabilities, in order to listen to military movements in the area.

-The church of Agia Kioura. Political prisoners, including Manolis Glezos and the visual artists’ Kir. Tsakiris, Ant. Karagiannis and T. Tzaneteas that were imprisoned in a large military facility near the church painted icons on the walls of the church in 1968. The paintings are protected by the Ministry of Civilization as a work of art.

Take a day trip to…

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Sail to nearby islands

 Discover islands with turquoise waters like other Robinsons with the traditional boats “Barbarossa” and “Agios Georgios” that leave daily from the island’s capital, Agia Marina. You will enjoy ouzo and local handmade delicacies on the boat – as if you have escaped with friends until you find yourself on the soil of Aspronissia, Makronisi and Tiganakia. The few residents of Arki, Lipsi and Marathi will welcome you like family. Sometimes on your return, if you are lucky enough, you may enjoy the company of dolphins. 

What to do

-Enjoy a wine tasting experience at Hatzidakis Winery, where you can discover the whole process of winemaking from the grape to the barrel. Mr Giorgios Hatzidakis himself will explain everything to you. himself. Certainly, you will taste different kinds of wine served with local mezedes.

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Admire the Italian influence

-Admire the special architecture that has been influenced by the Cycladic islands but also by Italians and Alexandrians. Lakki, the capital of the island was designed by Italians and the most notable landmarks are the cyclical market with the clock tower, the church of St. Francis of Assisi, the lovely barracks on the edge of the waterfront, the theatre, and the hotel ‘Roma.’

-Learn about the history of the psychiatric hospital on the island. Italians during their occupation built small districts of unique buildings for the Italian Admiralty. Many years later, in 1957 the Greek government decided these abandoned buildings be converted into a psychiatric hospital. The bad conditions were highly criticized especially during the ’80s and ’90s and Leros island was stigmatized as a “shrink island” for a couple of decades.

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Magical sunsets

-Visit Merikia tunnel, around Lakki, which was the maritime administration of Italians, who remained in Leros for 31 years (1912- 1943). During the Second World War, the Germans tried to recapture Leros due to its strategic and geographical location by bombarding it for 52 days until they finally conquered it.

-Watch the retro vehicle show, held every summer, or drive a vintage car or motorcycle around Leros. 

Can’t leave until

You catch a boat to the tiny, uninhabited island of Αrchangelos, where there is only one taverna with amazing home-cooked Greek food and a sandy beach. A pure idyllic location. You need to arrive on your own boat or call the restaurant to ask them to pick you up with their boat.

Did you know? 

Insights Greece - Complete Travel Guide to Leros
Views from up top

-The story of the famous novel “Guns of Navarone” is based on the Battle of Leros, and Leros island’s coastal artillery guns that were built and used by the Italians and subsequently the Germans. 

-Many local songs of Leros are among the most famous nisiotika (island) songs of Greece (“Pote Tha’nixoume Pania”, “Pos to Trivun to Piperi”, “Mes tou Aegeou ta Nisia”). 

-The poet Giannis Ritsos was exiled to Partheni. It was here that he was inspired to create the oeuvre “18 lianotragouda tis pikris patridas” that was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis along with the magnificent “Ti Romiosini min tin klais”.

-Lerikos is the name of a local dance. In addition, the dance Issos is performed in Leros island. 

*Special thanks to Mr Manolis Mathioudakis, Chairman of the Hoteliers of Leros for his valuable help in making this trip happen. 

Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright) 

Bringing A Slice of the Mediterranean Home

Yana Frigelis, founder of the popular lifestyle blog NoMad Luxuries, is a talented writer and an avid traveller. Her passion for discovering new places, meeting talented artisans, and sharing hidden gems is the inspiration behind an exciting new next chapter of her life.

Having recently moved to Athens, Yana launched The NoMad Edit, a beautiful online shop with carefully sourced treasures, recipes, and itineraries; along with travel resources that are perfect for anyone heading to the Mediterranean or for those currently craving an Aegean summer.

“NoMad Edit invites people to the Mediterranean; colourful markets, days leisurely spent seaside and sunset dinners alfresco. This is an online experience that lets you take a slice of the Mediterranean home with you,” says Yana.

Spending time travelling across Greece and other parts of Europe, Yana and her team discovered a range of uniquely curated and designed pieces, including glassware, woven baskets, jewellery, and art. IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently caught up with Yana, to chat about her incredible travel experiences, favourite Greek destinations, and her fresh and exciting new business venture.

Tell us about yourself. Where were you born and how did you end up making Athens home?

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago by my immigrant Serbian grandparents, making English a second language to me. Since my father is Greek, and my mother Serbian, I grew up as a third-culture child. Trying to navigate three different cultures and languages was confusing, to say the least. This “out-of-touch” feeling fostered an ongoing exploration of my own identity and more so, a hunger to see the world and learn about other cultures. To be curious and to be accepting. It took me many years, but I finally feel that I can belong anywhere. After studying international business and linguistics at university, I went on to work in the corporate world. With over 10+ years of work experience and in need of a creative outlet, I launched NoMad Luxuries, my personal blog. After years of planning and preparing, I relocated to Athens, Greece with my dog Palmer in September 2020, to launch the NoMad Edit, a lifestyle concept boutique with a  Mediterranean ethos and to focus on the international real estate and hospitality market. The community I built with NoMad Luxuries continues to inspire and support me in this major life transition and I’m incredibly excited for this next chapter.

What part of Greece is your father from? 

My father is from the Peloponnese- where I spent most of my childhood summers. He is from a small village, Arxaies Kleones, whose name translates to the Ancient Kingdom, where my father was born. A village of far more olive trees than the 800 residents.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The art of storytelling is perhaps my favorite part. It’s allowed me to connect with so many people around the world – people from all different backgrounds, cultures, languages, and I’ve built amazing relationships because of it.

What are some creative sources of inspiration for you? 

My travels are imperative for me – the excitement of discovery fuels my creativity. I love connecting with people and hearing their stories. But truly, it could be anything – from hunting out hidden gems, unique aesthetics, a delicious meal with an intriguing conversation to my vintage interior magazines, a good playlist, and a piece of art that speaks to me. I’m highly observant by nature so my surroundings play a big role in my overall mood. I take the energy around me very seriously.

Insights Greece - Bringing A Slice of the Mediterranean Home

You have just launched The NoMad Edit. Tell us more. 

The NoMad Edit is an online boutique, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a lifestyle concept, explored through found treasures, travel journals, unique projects, and our own designs. We’ll have sporadic collections of globally collected pieces that will be shared as our team travels across the Mediterranean and beyond, allowing us to source uniquely curated and designed collections with creatives and artisans alike. Stories and experiences of our travels, recipes, itineraries, and the people we meet along the way will be shared through our journal.

I’m so very excited to bring The NoMad Edit to life. I wanted to create an online experience that let our community take home a slice of the Mediterranean lifestyle while inspiring them through our travel journals, photographs, and the stories they tell. The positive feedback so far has been overwhelming.

Our first collection is meant to transport you to Summers on the Aegean. Inspired by our Mediterranean roots and the simplistic and wholesome approach to life, food, and overall well-being. The NoMad Edit was always meant to be more than just an online shop, it was meant to be an online experience that draws you into the effortless world of the Mediterranean.

 A few of your favourite holiday spots around Greece? 

There is so much more to Greece than what meets the eye and sure, while we all associate Greece with Summers on the islands, and rightfully so, there are incredible hidden gems to discover. I spent two weeks exploring the trio of wild and untamed Serifos, quaint and charming Sifnos, and otherworldly and romantic Milos. It was the perfect opportunity to visit the Cyclades without the overcrowding of August tourists. While I love those lazy beach days, I especially love exploring parts of Greece most don’t hear about. In late Fall, I explored the Pelion region in Northern Greece. It was so charming and different from the Greece I had come to love. Last year, I went to explore the depths of Mani, swam in Limeni, ate gelato in Gytheio, and laid my head under the stars in the olive groves. For a much-needed reprieve from the Summer heat, I escaped to the mountains of Parnassos and spent a weekend hiking, warming up by the fire, and even catching the first rainfall in what I recall being months.

What neighbourhoods do you love exploring in Athens?

Psyrri for its carefree, urban vibe; Makrigianni for its proximity to the Acropolis and neighbourhood feel; Kolonaki for an old-world vibe of neoclassical buildings and delicious cafes and Pagrati for its hip and trendy shops. You can find me frequenting places like Philos, housed in a former, neoclassical mansion in Kolonaki. They happen to have one of the best brunches in Athens. Or Drupes and Drips, a spritzeria in hip Koukaki; this standing-room-only cafe-deli is the perfect stop for an aperitivo and a spritz. In the Summer, I occasionally sneak away to The Margi on the riviera where I spend the day between taking dips and working al fresco. Or I’ll catch a flick at Cine Thission. This open-air cinema has been screening films since 1935 and has views of the illuminated Acropolis. Quintessential Summer activity for Athenians.

Where do you shop for unique homewares in the Greek capital? 

It’s a Sunday ritual for me to wake up bright and early and go for a walk through the Monastiraki Flea Market. Keep in mind, the prices are generally inflated but you can still walk away with some good deals. Be ready to haggle – it’s an expected dance in this part of the world! Lately, I’ve really been drawn to hand-made ceramics which we carry for The NoMad Edit.

Insights Greece - Bringing A Slice of the Mediterranean Home

You’ve mentioned you are a foodie. What are some of your favourite dishes/recipes?

I’ve found that the Mediterranean diet suits me; heavy in vegetables, fish, nuts, and olive oil, and when it comes to Greek cooking, simple is best. Some of my favorite dishes are what we call ‘ladera’ or ‘cooked in olive oil’, like briam – a mix of eggplant, zucchini, okra, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. A Greek ratatouille, if you will. Xoriatiki salata (Greek salad), Greek village salad, is on the menu at least once a week and usually accompanies a filet of baked sea bass. For comfort food, I love a hot bowl of Trahanas- a porridge-like meal commonly made to feed farmers, and typically cooked with a tomato-based sauce that can be served in a variety of ways. My personal favorite? With savory cheese.

Can you share some of the most memorable spots to eat in Greece?

I recently spent a weekend in Mani and watched the sunset over Limeni while sitting at the famous O Takis. Which, may I add, served some of the freshest, grilled sardines I’ve ever tasted. CocoMat Hotel on Serifos had seafood giouvetsi on their menu that was out of this world. For foreign cuisine, I frequent Veri Table for an intimate vibe and delicious French fair and Seychelles for locally sourced ingredients and elevated, traditional Greek dishes. It’s nearly impossible not to include Matsuhisa on the list for their delicious sushi and Asian cuisine. Part of the Nobu family, the hefty price point makes it a place for celebration and the location? The best in Athens.

What destinations do you recommend for A) an island getaway? B)  a mountainous/village experience? C) wellbeing/ spiritual retreat? D) a foodie holiday? E) a city escape? 

Insights Greece - Bringing A Slice of the Mediterranean Home
Yana in Delphi 

For an island getaway, I tend to gravitate towards under-the-radar islands. I happened to really love Sifnos last Summer – it checked all the boxes for me. I’m also a repeat fan of Antiparos – the boho and effortlessly cool sister to trendy Paros; for a village experience that just so happens to be in the mountains? Biasedly, I go back to our family village in the Peloponnese- it also happens to be in Greece’s wine country. For a well-being fix? I’m a big fan of Hamam Athens where I have a membership and frequent for a good steam. Otherwise, I’ll head to Lake Vouliagmeni for a year-round dip in its healing waters. I’ve also been itching to get back to Euphoria Retreat that’s nestled in the Taygetos mountains near-mystical Mystras. For a foodie holiday? You’ll eat well anywhere you go in Greece. Markets are my favorite way of experiencing a new city; people from all walks of life, local foods, and the exchange of money are quite telling of a culture. See a taverna on your road trip? Make a stop and check it out. Go for a walk through the central market of Athens and pop into one of the restaurants hidden in the back. Ask for the daily special not on the menu. For a city escape, I tend to visit the port city of Nafplio – the Venetian influence makes it one of the most romantic in Greece and by far, a personal favorite. If you don’t have that much time, simply head South to the Athens Riviera and you’ll feel like you’ve instantly escaped the chaos of the city.

A few of the places on your list for future getaways?

I’ve been dying to go to the Dodecanese, especially Patmos and Symi. My love for the Peloponnese is an ongoing adventure and I take every opportunity to explore the peninsula. Likewise, I’ve been wanting to harvest saffron in Kozani for quite some time now and will be heading back to our village for the annual olive harvest. I also have plans to visit Corfu soon to meet with suppliers and explore the Italian-esque vibe I’ve been craving.

Top 12 Things to do in Thassos

If you are looking for a stunning island filled with charming villages, traditional local cuisine, adventurous activities, and breathtaking beaches surrounded by lush greenery- look no further than Thassos. 

This emerald green island escape is located in the Northern Aegean and offers visitors a wonderful range of boutique hotels, authentic local delicacies, great hiking trails, and rich culture and history. With a unique landscape that can’t be found anywhere else on the Aegean, Thassos is an ideal Greek island experience.

Here are the Top 10 Things to do in Thassos 

1. Discover Local Culture & History 

Insights Greece - Top 12 Things to do in Thassos

There is so much history to explore on Thassos, a place that boasts loads of silver, gold, and marble material. To get a feel of the island’s past, firstly, make your way to the Archaeological Museum, then visit The Kalogeriko, a two-story building that belongs to Mount Athos’ Vatopedi Monastery and has now become a museum. Also head over to the Acropolis in Limenas, which is home to a 5th Century BC theatre overlooking the sea. Finally, visit the ancient Marble Quarry to find out more about the island’s famous stone. 

2. Stroll Through the Mountainous Villages 

Set along lush mountain greenery are villages that offer a taste of traditional island life. Whether on the coast or inland you’ll discover beautiful little villages all over the island, such as Agios Georgios, Alyki, Theologos, Kallirahi, Kastro, Kazaviti, Koinyra, Limenaria, Maries, and Panagia. Here you’ll find charming cobblestoned alleys, stone mansions, and fantastic sea views. 

3. Explore the Capital, Limenas

The capital Limenas is the most popular spot on the island, where you will find a range of hotels, eateries, cafes, and shops. This is Thassos’ link to the mainland and its capital since antiquity. Be sure to see the ancient agora; the sanctuaries of Herakles, Dionysos, Artemis, and Poseidon. Then walk through the central market and the small harbour by the beach. At night, sit at one of the many restaurants or bars and enjoy the views.

4. Be Adventurous

The island is ideal for anyone wanting to be adventurous- with a range of options for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding in Skala, and diving in Panagia Island shipwreck. Discover the scenic roads from the beaches to the lakes, and footpaths around the villages.  Try trails like Maries to Prinos, Panagia- Potamia-Ypsario, Kallirahi-Prinos, or Xrisi Ammoudia-Limenas, that can be enjoyed on foot or by mountain bike. For outdoor sports, Thassos is also ideal with scuba diving at Pefkari, water skiing at Chrysi Ammoudia, windsurfing at Paradise beach and boat rides to the most remote beaches. 

Insights Greece - Top 12 Things to do in Thassos

5. Dive into Giola Lagoon 

Giola Lagoon known as “Aphrodite’s Tear” in Thassos is one of the world’s most beautiful natural swimming pools – separated from the sea by a narrow strip of rocks, it looks like a pool of crystal clear water, carved into a coral reef that rises above it. This beautiful natural rock pool on the south coast of Thassos has now become one of the most popular spots on the island because of the experience of swimming in it and the mesmerizing contrast of its water with the wild and rocky landscape surrounding it. 

6. Swim in the Most Emerald Green Sea 

One of the main drawcards to Thassos is the breathtaking beaches. There are so many gorgeous coves and bays to choose from- some are easy to reach, while others require some effort but they are definitely worth the effort. Make sure you add to your list the following: Paradise, Glifoneri, Makriammos, Chrysi Akti, Arsanas, Chrysi Ammoudia, Agios Antonios, Alykes, Trypiti, Skala Potamia, Paralia Limena, Pefkari, Skala Raxiou, Saliara, and Marble beach. 

7. Explore the Cave of Drakotripa

If you have time visit the renowned cave Drakotripa in Panagia. Only 7 km’s from the main town, Dragon Cave (Dracotrypa Cave) literally means dragon hole. The cave is full of impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The cave was named after a stalactite that had the shape of a dragon. 

8. Take Part in the Summer Festival

Insights Greece - Top 12 Things to do in Thassos

If you are lucky to be here during the annual summer Kavala-Thassos Festival, make sure you go! Guests are able to experience local music, dance, food, and traditions at a stone theatre. If you have a chance to watch the representation of the ‘Thassos wedding’, you’ll witness the revival of ancient Dionysian traditions through local wedding customs. 

9. Eat Your Way Around Town 

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to wining and dining in Thassos and for some authentic local dishes, we recommend you head to Limanaki, Agorastos, Tavern Mouses, and Leonidas. For some of the best seafood head to Symi Restaurant. For taverns by the sea check out Beautiful Alice at Aliki Beach and Skidia Tavern is also right on the water. For delicious local desserts try Pastry; and Panetteria is also great for its wide range of sweets. For after-dinner drinks make your way to Karnagio, Street Cafe, Marley Beach Lounge, Oasis, or Natura.  

10. Taste Local Cuisine 

Thassos cuisine is mostly known for its seafood; including its mouthwatering sardines, anchovies, prawns, squid, octopus; as well as fish including sea bream and red mullet. As it’s a mountainous island, the meat is also very good, with taverns serving a variety of goat and lamb dishes. Thassos is also famous for its olive oil and has its own distinct wrinkled olive, the Thassian Throuba Olive, which produces a great extra-virgin olive oil with low acidity. The sweets of Thassos have a special flavour originating from their secret ingredient, Thassian honey. The most well-known among these is the walnut sweet, made of local walnuts that are picked early in the spring. Other sweets are made from fig, pumpkin, orange, rose, and quince.

11. Stay in Style 

Insights Greece - Top 12 Things to do in Thassos

Thassos has a wide range of accommodation to choose from- from family-owned apartments and villas to five-star hotels and resorts. We recommend you check out Meli SuitesAlea Hotel, Thassos Hotel, Ilio Mare Resort, Thassos Grand Resort, Orama, Villa Teresa, and Aeolis Enavlion Hotel. 

12. Visit Nearby Kavala 

If you are wanting a day trip away from the island, the beautiful city of Kavala is only 35km from Keramoti port and has a wonderful history and local culture. You can get there by ferry in about an hour and 15 minutes. 

Getting there 

It takes one hour to fly to Kavala international airport from Athens. From there, you can reach the island by ferry from the port of Keramoti—just 15 minutes from the airport to the island capital of Limenas. Otherwise take a ferry from Kavala to Thassos, as mentioned above it takes a bit over an hour. 

Visiting Athens’ Stunning Lake Vouliagmeni

This natural spa lake with fresh spring and seawater is a spot where the water is warm in summer and winter, making it a popular spot year-long. We suggest you give yourself an unforgettable all-day experience at Lake Vouliagmeni, in the idyllic setting of the Athenian Riviera, half an hour away from Athens city centre. 

History of Lake Vouliagmeni 

These natural hot springs with labyrinthine underwater caves were formed in what was, in prehistoric times, a huge cave. The imposing rock, thermal waters, the labyrinthine underwater tunnels and the lush vegetation now create a unique geological phenomenon. The lake’s present form was created after the roof of the cave fell due to erosion caused by the high temperature of the running water. The lake has now been declared a natural monument and belongs to the pan-European network of protected Natura 2000 areas.

Swim at the Lake 

The stunning emerald waters remain at a temperature between 20 and 29 degrees Celsius all year round. Embraced by red rocks, the lake water gushes from springs 50 to 100 metres deep and is constantly being renewed both by the thermal springs and the sea. 

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens' Stunning Lake Vouliagmeni

Natural Pedicure

Here you can also have a natural pedicure as the sea is full of Garra rufa fish—also known as the Dr. Fish that nibble off dead skin. The indigenous and natural inhabitant of the Lake, the small Fish Spa, allows visitors one of a kind peeling experience as the fish take on the task of relieving the skin of its dead cells while offering a relaxing massage treatment.

Healing Properties 

At the edge of the Lake, near the rocks, you will find a labyrinth underwater cave. Among the 14 tunnels which make up the cave, there is one reaching 800 metres in length, one of the longest in the world and there is also a huge stalagmite in the cave. 


The aquatic paradise of Vouliagmeni Lake is home to many beautiful living organisms. Among them, a kind of sea anemone called Paranemonia Vouliagmeniensis stands out, as well as species of sponges and mollusks that portray the perfect balance of the lake’s ecosystem. 

Eat at Lake Vouliagmeni  

After your refreshing swim in this magical setting make your way over to the local all-day cafe/restaurant and have a leisurely late bite at Nero, which serves coffee, and sweets, as well as a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. 

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens' Stunning Lake Vouliagmeni

Private Area 

If you are after some much-needed time out, make your way to the ‘Privè’ Area, which has comfortable sunbeds and deck chairs, private service, and a variety of delicious menus and drinks. This space is designed to provide an exclusive area for individual guests and small groups of visitors.


The area around the Lake is lined with sunbeds and umbrellas, which offer moments of relaxation and wellness. The Lake also provides lifeguarding and medical services, parking, playground, Wi-Fi, lockers and dressing rooms, plus showers with hot water and access for people with disabilities. 

Opening Hours

Lake Vouliagmeni is open 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm. 

Getting there

The easiest way is to hire a car and drive from Athens to Lake Vouliagmeni, making your way through the Athens Riviera neighbourhood. Alternatively, there are bus lines- 115 Glyfada – Vouliagmeni – Kitsi,  117 Glyfada – Vouliagmeni – Vari, 122 Metro station ‘Elliniko’ – Saronida and KTEL Attikis Athens – Sounio (by coastline). 


5 Best New Places to Eat in Athens

Despite its ancient age, Athens is always blossoming with novelty of every kind – edible and drinkable being among the most exciting forms.

After a year of home delivery Athenians are rejoicing that they can be their good, old extrovert selves and spend endless hours dining out under the sky while watching the world go by. Here are the five hottest new food places to visit ASAP.


Near the Varvakios Market, you’ll find Dopios (Skouleniou 1 in Aghio Theodoroi Sq), which is themed on Asian cuisine and meze dishes and has a menu created by well-reputed chef Christoforos Peskias. Try almirikia boiled greens with Japanese-style oil and lemon sauce, or black garlic sauce (skordarlia) with popcorn shrimps. Although culturally playful the meze restaurant aims to showcase authentic Greek products made by local producers and small farms.


Greek street food served from a food truck in an old parking lot-turned pebble-covered eating space is what you’ll find at this new alfresco eatery in Metaxourgeio (Avdi Square, Iatrakou 4). Chef Gogo Deligianni invites guests to seat themselves on colourful barrels and soak up the summery Athenian vibes. Try the grilled meatballs (keftedakia) or soya sloppy joes with dairy-free mayo for vegans, the fish n chips and salad with strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and graviera cheese, and sip an icy cocktail. 

Cherry Blossom 

What’s a 50s American diner doing in the centre of Psyrri (Lepeniotou 26)? Cherry Blossom is like a time travel machine with checkered black and white tile floors, waitresses in A-line skirts, and cute neon signs. It serves American classics like burgers with gooey cheese pouring down the side, tall ice cream smoothies, sticky ribs, and fried eggs on stewed meat. Good old-fashioned comfort food a la Americana for anyone tired of souvlaki.


At Tzoutzouka in Rouf (Meg. Vasiliou 32) you shouldn’t expect the food to be artfully presented and perfectly Instagrammable, but you should definitely expect it to be flavoursome and authentic. Local recipes with bolshy creative touches by chef Argyro Koutsou evoke feelings of childhood nostalgia in Greeks and are made using lovingly grown, high-quality local ingredients from small farms. Try the fava from Schinousa with fresh pickled calamari, lemony giouvetsi with Tinos country sausage, and stuffed aubergines.


More of a wine bar than a restaurant, this new place on the roof garden of Utopia Hotel (Ermou 46) overlooking the Acropolis, Lycabettus, and the Athens Metropolis Cathedral serves a great variety of protected designation of origin (POP) products along with over 100 Greek wine labels. The all-day menu includes dishes as varied as finger foods, snacks, cheese, and cold cuts platters, burgers, scrambled eggs, and prawn dumplings.

20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki

Dazzling deep blue waters, lush pine forests, luxurious hotels, award-winning fine dining restaurants, small coves with fish tavernas, chic beach bars, archaeological sites, traditional villages, and Holy Mount Athos; Halkidiki promises a wonderful getaway for all! 

Set in the prefecture of Macedonia, Halkidiki (birthplace of famous Greek philosopher Aristotle) is divided into three peninsulas- Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos- also referred to as the “three legs.”  

Just an hour’s drive from Thessaloniki, it’s the perfect coastal getaway for locals in Northern Greece and the best way to get there is by driving along the provincial road 25, which begins from Thessaloniki International Airport and becomes more and more beautiful as you go along! 

Discover the 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
Sail around Halkidiki

1. Be adventurous 

Halkidiki offers many paths for mountain biking and hiking walks around the peninsulas on woodland tracks and along coastal pathways. The forests of Mount Holomontas in the centre of Halkidiki are the perfect escape destination for travellers who want to explore nature,  including hiking trails, horseback riding, or hit the many mountain biking trails of Olympiada on Athos. 

2. Explore a charming fishing village 

Nea Fokea, a picturesque little harbour busy with fishing and sailing boats, offers beautiful views from its seaside promenade and an amazing sandy beach. Boasting a range of cafes and taverns on the seaside, it’s a charming spot with traditional narrow streets and home to some very important historical monuments, including the Byzantine-era Saint Paul’s Tower and Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

3. Visit a historic site  

Arnea is a place that features Halkidiki’s traditional past blending in nicely with its modern-day vibe. The Ministry of Culture has declared Arnea a historic site because of its rich history and its important examples of traditional Macedonian architecture. Make sure to visit the Historic-Folklore Museum of Arnea, which is housed in the historic mansion known as the “Yiatradiko”. Also check out the old village school dated back to 1872, the small church of Agia Paraskevi, the church dedicated to Agios Stefanos and in Arnea you can learn about old-time crafts such as weaving. 

4. Get up close to Petralona Cave 

Named one of the most stunning caves in all of Europe, Petralona features stalactites that sparkle in the dark. What’s even more special is that hidden among the stalagmites, is a 700,000-year-old skull of an early human (Archanthrapus) that has been discovered. Aged 30-35 years, he was considered elderly for that time.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
Visit one of the many vineyards

5. Set foot on Aristotle’s hometown 

Macedonia is the birthplace of one of the greatest Greek philosophers. Near the village of Olympiada you will come across Ancient Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle. In the village, you’ll find the Alsos of Aristotle, a park with a compass, pendulum and prism, highlighting Aristotle’s work that has become famous worldwide. 

6. Travel to Nikiti 

Stroll through the narrow paved alleys and admire the beautiful stone villas with their charming courtyards filled and blossoming flowers. Make sure to check out Agios Nikitas stone church and then to go down to an area that has a big red maple tree and sit at one of the local taverns and enjoy some traditional dishes. 

7. Dive into the deep blue sea 

Halkidiki offers an unlimited choice of water sports including windsurfing, water skiing, scuba diving, snorkelling, canoeing and kayaking. You can also hire a boat and sail around Mount Athos, or visit the Drena islet. 

8. Enjoy local delicacies 

Visit one of the many agricultural farms where you can take part in a cooking class and learn to prepare local dishes using fresh local produce. Halkidiki is famous for its olives, high-quality olive oil, artisan bread and gourmet cheeses, as well as for its traditional sweets and pastries. Whether in a traditional tavern, a local bakery or a gourmet restaurant, make sure to try as much of the local cuisine as you can. One of the best places to staple local delicacies is on the village of Arnea, famous for its honey, jams, wine, and tsipouro (as are most of the villages in Halkidiki).  

9. Become a beekeeper for the day 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
Holy Mount Athos

The region is also well known for producing honey of the highest quality and if you want to experience something different head to the Mountain Holomontas in the centre of Halkidiki, where a friendly beekeeping family welcomes and invites you to visit their place, up to the mountain. Here they will show you what it takes to be a beekeeper; as you can be dressed in a beekeepers suit, to live and take part through all the special process of beekeeping. 

10. Walk through the vineyards 

The vineyards of central Halkidiki stretch from the low hills near the sea and the grape varieties are cultivated to produce the white Regional Wines of Halkidiki including Roditis and Sauvignon Blanc. The red Regional Wine of Halkidiki is produced from the Xinomavro, Grenache Rouge and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties. One of our faves is the Metochi Mylopotomas wines, which are from Mount Athos. 

11. Sample Halkidiki’s first-ever handcrafted beer 

Visit Seven Seals Microbrewery in the small town of Ierissos, where you can taste the first-ever local handcrafted Halkidiki beer. Located on the east coast of the Akti peninsula, Seven Seals recently opened to the public and is the perfect place to quench your thirst on a hot day.

12. Explore the Peninsula of Kassandra

Kassandra is Halkidiki’s popular peninsula famous for its buzzing beach bars and annual festivals. Make sure to visit Afitos, the traditional and most beautiful village of Kassandra. Located on the north-eastern side, Afitos has many historical Greek Orthodox churches, stone houses and cobbled alleys. Also, make your way over to the thermal spa of Agia Paraskevi, which offers rejuvenating treatments in its saunas, hydro massage facilities and hammams. 

13. Wonder through Sithonia

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
Ekies All Senses Resort

With so many places to explore, visitors here are blown away by the small secluded bays that are surrounded by lush trees and other vegetation on Sithonia. Make sure to visit the village Parthenonas, which features stone houses, great local taverns, a museum, splendid sea views and magical sunsets. Porto Koufo village is also a great spot to taste freshly caught fish. At night make your way over to Nikiti, which has a chic new promenade lined with classy restaurants, all-day cafes and boutiques- here you can enjoy a drink while admiring the spectacular view. 

14. View Mount Athos from a distance 

The third finger is Athos, home to one of the most sacred monasteries in the world, Agios Oros- a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Athos is made up of 24 monasteries, which can be viewed by sea on a coastal cruise; this is the only way for women to see the area as no women are permitted at Agios Oros- only men aged 18 and over are permitted to visit (and require permission before arriving). You can however visit Ouranoupoli the closest village to Agios Oros, which has a beautiful view of the islands of Ammouliani and Drenia. It also features the Byzantine tower of Prosforios and some local taverns and cafes.

15. Splurge on a luxury hotel

Halkidiki has a range of hotels to choose from and is home to many five-star luxury hotels that have become a popular option for many international guests. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
Swim in the deep blue sea

Danai Beach Resort: Tucked away in its own little pocket of golden beach and pine forest in Nikiti, it includes a range of restaurants and private beaches.  

Grecotel Margo Bay: With views of Kassandra Bay, rooms come with private balconies. The hotel has a range of restaurants and bars set by the water.

Eagles Palace: A family-owned, 5-star beach resort set next to the monastic state of Mount Athos, it features 157 rooms, suites and bungalows, plus a private sandy beach. 

Ekies All Senses Resort: This luxury hotel has a beachfront location on the Gulf of Vourvourou in Sithonia and offers a beach bar, romantic sunsets and sea views.

Sani Resort:The family-run Sani Resort sits on an ecological reserve stretching across 1,000 acres, with endless golden beaches and is one of the most popular resorts for families. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
Kavourotipes Beach

16. Swim in the bluest of blue waters 

The list of beaches in Halkidiki really is endless and here are some that need to be added to your list- 

Chrouso – Paliouri, Kassandra

Kavourotripes/ Orange beach – Sarti, Sithonia

Agios Mamas- Kassandra

Mikro & Megalo Karydi beach – Vourvourou, Sithonia

Kryaritsi beach – Sykia, Sithonia

Kalogria beach- Nikiti, Sithonia

Kallikratia beach – West Halkidiki

Alykes beach – Ammouliani

Gerakini beach – Gerakini, Sithonia

Kriopigi beach- Kallithea, Kassandra

Trani Ammouda – Ormos Panagias, Sithonia

Komitsa beach – Nea Roda, East Halkidiki

Ammouliani Beach- Aristotelis

Ouranoupolis Beach, Aristotelis

Platinitsi Beach- Sithonia

Agios Mamas- Kassandra

Bassoulas Beach- Kassandra

Tigania Beach- Sithonia

Neos Marmaras- Sithonia

Agia Paraskevi- Kassandra 

Agora Beach – Kassandra 

Porto Koufo – Sithonia 

17. Lounge around a beach bar 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
Fresh dishes at Tomata

Halkidiki is renowned for the many cool beach bars that are packed with locals and international visitors each year over summer. For those who love the buzzing vibe add these ones to your list- Manassu Beach Bar, MOA Beachbar, Orca Bar, Molos Seaside Bar, Agistri Bar, KOHI Beach bar, Navagos, Yalla Beach Bar, Agios Ioannis Beach Bar and Talgo Beach Bar.

18. Taste some of the most superb dishes 

There is no shortage of great places to eat in Halkidiki, a place that boasts many award-winning restaurants. For all the foodies, these won’t disappoint- Tomata at 
Sani Marina, French restaurant Squirrel, Water Restaurant also serves French cuisine in Sani, check out Bubo Fine Dining, Marina in Potidea, Alexis at Sani Resort, H Marigoula in Polygiros and Boukadoura in Nikiti. We also highly recommend Oceanidis seafood tavern and Massalia in Nea Fokea and one of our absolute favourites is Sousourada in Afytos, which serves seasonal food made with locally sourced produce. 

19. Jeep around town 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to do in Halkidiki
Diaporos Islet

Explore Halkidiki on a Jeep safari through the hills of the Kassandra or Sithonia peninsula, this is a great way to explore all the charming villages and remote beaches. 

20. Sail to a secret island 

The beauty of the Diaporos and the surrounding tiny islets is a local secret that is shared only with those who often visit the area of Vourvourou for their summer getaways. This is an area that can only be experienced by boat, and those who do so, do not regret it.

Getting there

The airport closest to Halkidiki is Thessaloniki, from here we recommend hiring a car and making your way from there. Otherwise, you can catch a bus line 79A, which connects with KTEL Halkidiki. 

Top 10 Things to Do in Loutro

With one of the most impressive backdrops in Crete, the quaint and picturesque fishing village of Loutro promises a Greek island getaway full of swimming, delicious local cuisine, hiking, and loads of R&R! 

The main reason to spend time in Loutro is to unwind and slow down. Boasting a unique waterfront filled with whitewashed villas, blossoming bougainvillea and charming seaside taverns, this Cretan destination (that can only be accessed by sea or on foot) is the ideal place to de-stress while enjoying the Greek island life.

We have put together a list of the Top 10 Things to do in Loutro!

1. Enjoy the simple things in life

Insights Greece - Top 10 Things to Do in Loutro
Sail around Loutro

When travelling to Loutro you don’t need much. Pack lightly and enjoy the fact that you don’t need to dress up or impress. In Loutro, visitors go from a long swim at the beach straight to a tavern for lunch, back to the beach before making their way to another great local restaurant to eat dinner before heading back to their hotel to sleep (and repeat the same thing the next day). Loutro is all about keeping things simple and enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds you. The tiny village is quite easy to explore on foot. Loutro is shaped in such a great way that keeps everything and everyone connected.

2. Sail the day away 

Take in the stunning sea, which ranges from light turquoise to deep navy blue. There’s no better way to appreciate the pristine sea of Loutro than hiring a boat and sailing along the coast. This way you can reach some of the gorgeous remote nearby beaches where you can swim, dive, and snorkel to discover the Lybian sea. A cheaper option is hiring a kayak or canoe and make your way over to the nearby beaches of Glyka Nera and Marmara.

3. Experience the unforgettable Imbros Gorge

Insights Greece - Top 10 Things to Do in Loutro
Imbros Gorge

Less crowded and shorter than the famous Samaria, Imbros Gorge is the perfect spot for those who want some adventure for the day, while taking in the striking landscape. Take a day off from the beach and catch the ferry to Chora Sfakia, then take the bus that heads towards Chania and stops off at the entrance of Imbros. This is truly an unforgettable experience for anyone who loves being close to nature.

4. Hike the Aradena gorge

For those after a more challenging hike try the Aradena Gorge, which is surrounded by high red stoned walls. Keep in mind the hike can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours (depending on experience) but the effort is worth it. From here you can go bungee jumping off Aradena Bridge; this is the tallest bridge for bungee jumping in all of Greece and the second tallest in Europe! 

5. Head to the Cyclopean Walls 

From Anopoli’s main square, continue to Agia Ekaterini where you will come across the remains of the Cyclopean Walls that once surrounded the city. From this spot, you can admire the panoramic views of Loutro and the open sea off the coast of Crete.

6. Visit the Venetian castle 

Insights Greece - Top 10 Things to Do in Loutro
Venetian Fortress

Known as the Venetian Castle of Loutro, this abandoned fortress overlooking the bay from above offers some magical vistas. Enjoy walking through the scenic and mountainous valleys and gorges.

7. Stroll around the tiny village

Loutros’ tiny village, with its quiet vibe, is filled with lovely narrow alleyways that lead up to the mountain. During the seaside walk, you will come across many fish taverns, cafes, and friendly locals who will show you what Cretan hospitality is all about. You will also come across a few shops that have items made by local artisans, including sandals, jewellery, ceramics, and other art. Also, make sure to sit down at one of the cafés and enjoy a Greek coffee while taking in the breathtaking landscape. 

8. Swim all day and night 

Insights Greece - Top 10 Things to Do in Loutro
Crystal clear waters

If you love to swim, Loutro has you covered. Within walking distance are beaches such as Loutro Bay, Timios Stavros Beach and Ilingas. Also, make sure you get across and swim at the incredibly beautiful Glyka Nera and Marmara Beach. Around 700 meters west of Loutro, you will find the small beach of Finikas as well as Lykos

9. Taste local delicacies

Make sure to stop at one of the many bakeries to sample Cretan Paximadia that are semi-sweet biscuits or rusks with star anise. If you make your way over to the historic settlement of Anopolis, you will be able to try a hot Sfakian pie filled with goat cheese and drizzled with delicious thyme honey, also make sure to try famous Cretan Kalitsounia and Boureki. And don’t leave before having a shot of Tsikoudia (Cretan specialty). 

Insights Greece - Top 10 Things to Do in Loutro
Eat at one of the local fish taverns

10. Try some of the best Cretan food 

Our fave places to eat at are Pavlos for their fresh seafood, and be sure to taste their homemade Sfakian pita. Head to Stratis for their grilled meat and Notos is a small family-run taverna with a huge range of fresh vegan and vegetarian dishes and a gorgeous little terrace. Blue House is also a lovely family restaurant, where you can enjoy a range of Cretan cuisine. And for a drink and casual light meal, head to Akroyiali, which is the only beach bar in Loutro.  

Insights Greece - Top 10 Things to Do in Loutro
Villa Niki

Where to stay 

Madares is a family-run hotel with panoramic views of the Libyan Sea, Villa Niki is a great place to stay in the village, with wonderful views of the bay, and the mountains. Porto Loutro is one of the bigger hotels but still offers friendly, family-like hospitality. At Daskalogiannis Hotel you can also expect great service, traditional Cretan hospitality, and sea views. 

How to get there 

In order to reach Loutro, you first need to make your way to Chora Sfakion. Boats to Loutro depart from the port of Chora Sfakion daily during peak season and the boat trip is about 20 minutes. 

Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

The culturally rich and cool Athenian neighbourhood of Psirri is packed with precious antiques, talented local artisans, authentic Greek tavernas, boho bars, charming cafes and loads of visitors who come here time and time again to enjoy a spot where the modern world blends in beautifully with old-time charm. 

With so many eateries to choose from, we’ve rounded up 16 of the best restaurants and taverns in Psirri, for your next visit to the Greek capital! 

Arodou– This mezedopolio also has a live band for guests to enjoy platters of dishes while listening to traditional Greek music. 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Voliotiko– A traditional tsipouradiko, it serves authentic Greek dishes and flavours, which are served indoors or in the charming courtyard. 

Oineas Restaurant- Has a mix of traditional and modern dishes that are based on fresh, seasonal produce. 

Stou Mamma– By far one of the more modern taverns in the neighbourhood when it comes to both decor and dishes; as the chef takes traditional recipes and adds modern twists.  

Krasopoulio Tou Kokkora– Once a historic music tavern, this long time local favourite serves homemade dishes, including the chef’s “plate of the day.” 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

I Orea Penteli – Known for its grilled meat platters, this authentic taverna also serves great side dishes to add to your mains. 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Avli– A lovely spot where you can eat authentic dishes (cooked over a gas stove) in the charming “Avli” (garden). 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Lithos–  With both indoor and outdoor dining spaces, Lithos is a mezedopolio, where you can enjoy traditional Greek food and live music. 

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Kafenio Tis Ivis– This tsipouradiko is popular amongst locals, who come here to catch up with friends in a casual setting.  

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Atlantikos– For the freshest seafood in the heart of Athens, this psarotaverna has a huge range of grilled fish, octopus and lots of other seafood. 

Taverna Tou Psirri– Traditional tavern with indoor and outdoor areas, with a range of meat, seafood and vegetarian plates to choose from.   

Odos Aisxylou– If you are searching for a traditional grill house, this is it. Any meat you can think of is grilled to perfection and served with a side of your choice. 

Nikitas – One of the most popular taverns amongst locals and international visitors, Nikitas’ has a great reputation for both its food and service.  

Insights Greece - Top 16 Eateries in Psirri

Gostijo– This is the only kosher restaurant in Psirri, serving Sephardic Mediterranean cuisine.

Mavros Gatos– It’s a small, hole-in-the-wall, authentic Greek tavern serving a range of classics from dolmadakia and moussaka through to crispy pites (pies) and homemade sweets. 

Oinopoleion Cookhouse– A great choice if you are in search of an old-style tavern (surrounded by greenery) that serves good food and has live music.  


Top 12 Things to Do on Patmos Island

Patmos is an island where you feel a sense of peace as soon as you arrive. With the old town, the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, and the Cave of the Apocalypse, all named UNESCO-protected monuments, Patmos not only attracts those seeking a rich spiritual and cultural experience but also those who want to holiday on an authentic Greek island with a cosmopolitan feel.

Local and international artists, authors, fashion designers, business people, academics, and thousands of pilgrims arrive here each year to take in the natural beauty of the island, as well as its laid-back yet chic style. Although it’s located in the Dodecanese it features a Cycladic look with its whitewashed mansions, pretty beaches, and lots of lovely spots to wine and dine.

Here are the Top 12 Things to Do when visiting Patmos

Insights Greece - Top 12 Things to Do on Patmos Island
Holy Monastery of Saint John

1. There are around 360 churches on the island, and you can definitely sense the island’s unique spiritual energy as soon as you step off the ferry. Patmos is known around the world as the island where around 95 AD Saint John the Baptist wrote The Revelation, in a cave that can now be visited in the island’s Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse. Also make sure to check out the Monastery’s museum next door, containing a number of ancient texts and religious items dating back hundreds of years.

2. Patmos’ capital and main town Hora, is filled with charming alleyways, beautiful chapels, and lush courtyards. If you walk through the small streets you will come across whitewashed homes and mansions that belonged to very wealthy families, including the Nikolaidis Mansion, which has now become a museum. Hora also offers gorgeous boutiques, and a wide range of restaurants, taverns, bars, and cafes to suit all tastes.

3. Also spend time at Skala Town and the charming village of Kampos, which both have a unique beauty and are perfect places to bump into locals who make visitors feel welcome. The port town of Skala is where most people head to at night, as soon as Hora goes quiet after a certain hour. Skala is filled with lots of shops, tavernas, and all-day cafes and bars, where you can grab a drink and enjoy the town’s squares and charming little streets. Among the many sights of Skala are the ruins of the ancient acropolis and the convent of Zoodochos Pigi. 

Insights Greece - Top 12 Things to Do on Patmos Island
Skala Town

4. It’s definitely worth making your way around the bay of Skala to the 18th-century Monastery of Panagia Koumana, one of the Holy Seats (or Kathismata) of the island, serving as hermitages for monks. This one was built against a rock on of a hermit’s cave.

5. Swim at Agrio Livadi, Psilli Ammos, Plaki, or the pretty little bay of Vagia. Then head to Lambi, which has a great little tavern right on the beach. Livadi Kalagorion is perfect for a peaceful swim as well as Livadi Geranou. Make sure you also add Kambos and Petra to your list.  

6. When it comes to eating, there are plenty of options from casual eateries to fine dining. We recommend Apocalypsis Restaurant, Astir, Ostria Taverna, Oklaca Italian Restaurant, Kyma for seafood, Pernera for great vegan and for something sweet make your way to Glykaki Patmos. If you have time also try Pandelis on Marathi islet (you can only reach by boat) and Giakos Pantheon. 

7. For an after-dinner drink head to Thalami, Stoa Bar, or Koukou. 

8. For a very special evening, make a reservation at Nautilus and watch the sunset while sipping on your favourite beverage and tasting some modern Greek flavours. 

9. Get up close to Patmos’ iconic windmills, which have been operating for the past four centuries. The one windmill is a museum. Organic flour is ground there, with the milling process open to the public. The second windmill turns wind power into electricity. A contemporary use that benefits the island, for sure! And the third windmill focuses on water. Ever since they have been the true power of the island and its people. 

Insights Greece - Top 12 Things to Do on Patmos Island
Petra Beach

10. Explore the Nunnery of the Annunciation, a convent that started off as a small chapel with a hermitage until 1613 when Nikiphoros, an abbot from the monastery of St. John the Divine, renovated the building and dedicated it to Luke the Evangelist. The nunnery is home to over 40 nuns who always pray for and support their local community. The sisters also grow their own vegetables and herbs, make honey and create Byzantine embroidery called the”spitha” (spark). 

11. Make a note of visiting the gorgeous nearby islets Makronissi, Aspronissi, Tiganakia, Arki, and Marathos that are all visitable by boat. From Skala, boats leave daily for all the isles. They are quite remote but offer good taverns, crystal clear water, and beautiful coves to swim in. 

12. If you are looking for some Greek jewellery, sandals, or art, head to Ivli, Thanos, White Greek Designers Store, Kapopoulos Art Gallery, or Tourlou Art Shop. 

Stay at

Insights Greece - Top 12 Things to Do on Patmos Island
Stay at a historic house by Chora Patmos 360

There are some great accommodation options on the island and for some wonderful villas check out Patmos Eye, for boutique-style hotels head to Petra Hotel Suites to Patmos Aktis Hotel. And the beautiful range of historic houses by Chora Patmos 360 is a wonderful choice that is sure to make your stay here extra special. 

Getting there 

Patmos does not have an airport and is reachable only by an eight-hour ferry boat trip from Piraeus port, which departs Athens about 3 times a week. Patmos is also connected by ferry with Rhodes, Kos, Leros, Lipsi, and Kalymnos. 

Greece Officially Opens its Doors to Tourists

Greece is officially welcoming international visitors for the Greek Summer Season 2021, as of today, Friday, May 14. 

Domestic travel and lockdown restrictions have also eased, however, certain rules still apply. 

Here is all you need to know! 

International Travellers to Greece

Only  international visitors that have filled out the Passenger Locator Form can travel to Greece. The submission of the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) by all passengers of international flights to Greece is compulsory. This rule applies to all travellers (including all children over 5 years old).

They are also required to have a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test (performed less than 3 days) or a certificate stating they have recovered from the coronavirus. 

Travelling by Plane and Ferry 

All people in Greece (this includes residents and foreign visitors) will be allowed to travel to the Greek islands by plane or ferry with  one of the following:

• a vaccination certificate (stating that 14 days have passed since full Covid- 19 vaccination.)

• a negative PCR test performed less than three days prior. 

• a negative self-test taken 24 hours prior to travel.

• a negative rapid antigen test taken 24 hours prior to travel. 

Please note, those who have recovered from Covid-19 can present a certificate issued two months after their recovery. And passengers who prefer to travel with a negative self-test must present the negative result before travelling, via

Travelling Around Greece by Car

• Authorities are strongly recommending people take a Covid-19 self-test before travelling by car between mainland regions in Greece. This is optional and people travelling by vehicle will not be checked.

Lockdown Restrictions 

Many lockdown restrictions in Greece are easing as of today, Friday, May 14.

They are as follows: 

• Greece’s new curfew will begin at 12:30 am until 5 am.

• requesting permission for movement via SMS to 13033 and 13032 will no longer be required. 

• restrictions on domestic travel between islands and regions have been lifted. However, rules are in place regarding travelling between islands by ferry and plane (please see above). 

• retail stores will reopen with a rule of one customer per 25 square meters in stores. 

• museums across the country will reopen on May 14.

• open-air cinemas will reopen as of May 21.

• outdoor live cultural events and shows in outdoor areas (all guests required to be seated) will begin on May 28.

*All images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Eateries Reopen in Greece, Organised Beaches Next

After nearly six months of being shut, cafes and restaurants across Greece finally reopened their doors for sit-down service on Monday, May 3, a day after Greek Orthodox Easter.

As per the new rules, only open areas of restaurants and cafes will operate, until May 15, 2021. Distances between tables and seats are required, and no music is allowed on the premises.

Customers in restaurants and cafes are also strongly advised to wear their masks while seated and when they are not eating or drinking, however, this is not mandatory. 

The nightly curfew has now changed to 11 p.m, with eateries allowed to remain open until 15 minutes before curfew (10:45 p.m). 

Local residents will still need to use the SMS authorisation code for movement by sending an SMS (to 130 33). This will no longer be required after May 15, when international travel begins.  

Authorities have also announced that organised beaches in Greece will reopen on May 15, when the country opens up to international tourists, as locals in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry slowly begin to prepare for summer season 2021. 

*Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)