Ermoupoli, the Most Aristocratic Town of the Cyclades

Without a doubt, the majestic capital of Syros and the prefecture of the Cyclades will fascinate you. From the moment the ferry approaches the port of Ermoupoli, you will sense the incomparable beauty.  

If Ermoupoli was a woman, she would be an aristocratic one at that, modern and at the same time traditional, with the charm of a past era. Some days you will see her walking in all her beauty and in a classy manner; dressed in a long gown, carrying an umbrella to protect her pretty skin from the sun. You will discover aspects that reveal her delicate elegance, her sweet romance, and her gentle origins. On other days she will inspire you with her independence, strength, and will for life and adventure. Then you will catch her smiling at the countless flashing lights from the decks of the ships like a movie star. The lady of Ermoupoli begins her day with a coffee at Ermou Street, then swims in vast green-blue waters at Asteria beach, tastes traditional flavours during a late lunch before wandering the small charming streets like a young child in a candy store. And when the sun is preparing to dive into the sea, she slowly rides her bicycle along the pretty promenade, where everything looks beautiful and few things stand out; the stunning architecture, the warm sun, and the magic of the sea. 

Insights Greece - Ermoupoli, the Most Aristocratic Town of the Cyclades
Wander around the most beautiful town in the Cyclades

In the afternoon you would find her devouring loukoumia (Greek sweets) at the square, under the imposing building of the Town Hall. Then she tests her luck at the casino. She would also be a culture lover and find joy in the theatre, museums, painting, and photography exhibitions. She would read Roidis and Manos Eleftheriou and she would listen to Markos Vamvakaris. After all, he wrote a song for her, the famous “Frankosyriani” with the Greek lyrics “Mia fountosi, mia floga echo mesa stin kardia. Les kai magia mou cheis kanei fragkosyriani glykia” – “I have a flush, a flame in my heart. As if you did magic on me, sweet Frankosyriani.” (Catholic girl from Syros).

The city of Ermoupoli is the lush fruit of the hard labor of local refugees who came to the island after the Revolution of 1821 from Chios, Psara, Kassos, Kydonia, and Smyrna. Syros was another “land of promise” for them because the war had not touched the island as it was under the protection of France. Ermoupoli means “The City of Hermes”, the God of commerce and in fact, it was the primary port of Greece. During these years the population reached 14,000 and Ermoupoli had one of the first post offices in Greece, a hospital, an opera house, the oldest high school in Greece and a private school for art and culture, a municipal orchestra, the historical Neorion Shipyards, an orphanage, a sanitarium and much more. But above all, it had the most amazing 19th-century architecture, very different from the rest of the Cycladic islands. In other words, “Greece was reborn in Syros,” as the late politician Eleftherios Venizelos once said. 

Insights Greece - Ermoupoli, the Most Aristocratic Town of the Cyclades

The first landmark you should definitely visit is the majestic Syros City Hall, designed by famous German architect Ernst Ziller, the most impressive Town Hall of all Greece. Its inviting design draws architecturally on three different styles: Tuscan, Ionic, and Corinthian. It dominates the historic Miaoulis square, one of the largest marble-covered squares in Greece, since 1898. The Town Hall now houses the courts, the land registry, the archaeological museum, and other various public bodies and municipal services.

Another significant attraction of the city is the Apollo Theatre, an extraordinary building of 1864 that is said to be a miniature of the Milan Scala but in reality, it’s the colour that connects the two theatres. The Apollo Theater first opened its doors with an Italian theater troupe, which among other performances staged the famous Italian opera La Traviata. Apollo’s stage has hosted great operas and operettas and also holds local amateur theatrical plays, cultural events, and the annual ‘Ermoupolia’ summer festival.

And this is just the start. The Cycladic Art Museum, the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the church of Agios Nikolaos, the church of Resurrection, the Industrial Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and the Vaporia Quarter will make you realise why this place is a living museum and Syros is an island for all seasons.

Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou © (Copyright) 

Top 10 Non Touristy Things to do in Santorini

Let’s admit it. Santorini is a dream destination that you should experience at least once in a lifetime.

The caldera views, the picture-perfect alleyways, the white and blue domes, the cave hotels, the gorgeous sunsets, all form an insanely unique setting that blows your mind away. But if you want to really enjoy the island, avoid visiting during high season; in order to escape the crowds that spoil the romantic (and not only) ambiance. Beaches are not the highlight of the island, so you can easily visit in April, May, or October. 

Once you step foot on this amazing volcanic isle, here is what you should not miss:

1. Stay in a cave hotel 

An unforgettable experience- quite pricey but totally worth it while visiting Santorini. What cave hotels can offer you is magical, a feeling that you are part of the Cyclades, that you are in the heart of the Greek islands. I don’t know if words are capable of describing this greatness, the feeling I had staying in a cave house, where I imagined that time stopped, just enough to enjoy these moments and to embrace my surroundings. Especially in the bedroom, the sensation was completely serene, so I could hang together with Morpheus for hours without a care in the world.

2. Spend a few days in Pyrgos, the most picturesque village of Santorini 

If you are seeking peace and stunning views, then Pyrgos it is. A hilltop village built around a Venetian castle, it features tiny whitewashed alleyways and an off-the-beaten-path charm. Moreover, Selene, one of the most highly-rated restaurants in Greece is located here (enjoy the dining balcony during summer).

3. Go hiking from Fira to Oia

This was also one of the most picturesque parts of my trip and the best way to experience Santorini’s natural beauty. This hike is 6 miles one-way and passes through Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. Along the way, you will find spectacular ocean views. The best time to start this trek is in the morning, or in the afternoon, so as to reach Oia at the moment of the sunset. You can start the trail from central Fira or Oia.

4. Find Skaros Rock 

Well, it’s not difficult to find it since it’s a wonderful destination for hiking and certainly one of the best spots for photography in Imerovigli. It’s a rock formation and collection of ruins, next to a monastery, known as the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti; it remains in use on the cliffs below the rock feature.

5. Wine tasting at Santo Wines 

Did you know that even the flavour of wine in Santorini is influenced by the island’s volcanic ground? It creates a unique flavour difficult to find elsewhere. Additionally, vine trees are often formed into circles and grown on the ground to protect the crop from strong ocean winds. Santo Wines in Pyrgos is the largest winery on the island and considered one of the leading vineyards in Santorini. 

6. Jump off a boat into hot springs

Every day traditional boats leave from old Fira port for a boat tour to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni surrounded by warm dark waters, the volcanic hot springs are known for their therapeutic benefits. Don’t wear your favorite swimsuit in order to enjoy the hot springs, after a hike around the rim of an active volcano.


7. Visit a Monastery that resembles a fortress 

The Prophet Elias Monastery is known for being the highest point from where you can admire an exclusive view of Santorini. The monastery is surrounded by four small chapels, resembling a fortress from the outside. It’s one of the best places to reveal your Insta-famous side.

8. See a movie at an open-air cinema

Open Air Cinema Kamari (or Cinekamari), established in 1987, is actually considered by The Guardian as one of the 10 best open-air cinemas in the world. Surrounded by trees, in a fairytale-like garden with a beautiful bar, you can watch a movie under the stars. Dreamy, right?  

9. Visit a unique bookstore

Inside a quirky architectural wonderland that seems like a hobbit home, you can find a paradise for book lovers. Atlantis is not the average bookstore that you have in mind. Having been included in several lists of the most picturesque bookshops in the world, it has book treasures mostly in English, but also in Greek, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Chinese.

10. Visit Emporio village

Located just 12km from Fira, the largest village of Santorini, overlooking the beaches of Perissa and Perivolos, is a charming traditional settlement with old windmills, blue-domed churches, picturesque little streets, and a 15-century fortress- definitely worth seeing! 

Highlights of Metsovo

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

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

Insights Greece - Highlights of Metsovo

Top Things To Do

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

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

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

Insights Greece - Highlights of Metsovo

Best Places To Eat

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

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

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

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

Timeless Villas in the Heart of Tinos

Right in the heart of the traditional mountain village of Triantaros, on the beautiful island of Tinos, you will find a luxury housing complex that overlooks the Aegean Sea.

Consisting of seven timeless villas designed by well-known Greek architectural firm Kordas Architects, Triantaros Villas feature a contemporary twist to the long-lasting traditional Cycladic architecture, with direct reference to the loci of Tinos, both in architecture and interior design.

Insights Greece - Timeless Villas in the Heart of Tinos

The “easy living” spaces of the interiors are simple, timeless, and elegant and consist of living spaces from 125 sqm to 180 sqm; they also include terraces and balconies that feature rustic-chic wooden pergolas and gardens. There is also the option of a pool, available with Villa Estia.

Each villa has been built with high-quality standards using high-end materials- including the latest thermal insulation, premium Italian floor tiles- and they offer exclusive features such as underfloor heating for the cooler months. 

The prime location is home to the south-facing complex that basks in the steep topography on the west entrance of Triantaros, beneath the village road, the church, and the traditional Village Taverna.

Designed and built with the spirit of traditional Cycladic village architecture, each villa has spectacular, unobstructed views of the Aegean Sea and some of the other Cycladic Islands nearby, as well as of the neighbouring village Berdemiaros.

Natural stone walkways enclosed by natural stone walls give access to all villas, terraces, and gardens, where you can sit back and capture the spectacular sunrise and sunset each day.  

A spacious parking and garden area (approximately 850 sqm) is placed directly on the west side  of the villas (accessible via a small bridge). Up to two parking spaces per Villa are available.

The villas also feature luxury fitted modern kitchens, generous living and dining areas, an open fireplace, brick-built sofas, and plenty of storage space. The living areas are entirely laid out with high-quality tiles and with three already sold, there are four currently on the market. 


Tinos is the third largest island in the Cyclades, easily accessible by ferry from the port of Rafina in Athens; it’s also a short boat ride from Mykonos island. With its 40 architecturally traditional villages and countless wonderful beaches, Tinos is an authentic island and known as one of the most spiritual islands in all of Greece. The stunning island is also filled with plenty of traditional taverns and shops that serve local delicacies and dishes. 

Evrytania, Greece’s Undiscovered Gem

Rising over 1000 metres high and popular year-round among adventure sports and nature lovers, Evrytania is lush, scenic and varied, with bubbling streams and snow-clad forests; an ideal destination for hiking, climbing, rafting, trekking and much more. 

Soaring above the capital of Karpenisi is Mount Tymfristos (also called Velouchi), with its popular ski centre. Here you’ll find delicious rustic cuisine here, as well as a wide choice of comfy B&Bs where you can cozy up by the fireplace and watch the snowfall. Although, being a mountainous region, much of the cuisine is meat-centred, Evrytania is widely known especially for its delicious river trout. 

Best Places to Eat

-To Spiti Tou Psara (on the provincial road that goes from Karpenissi to Prossou) for delicious grilled or butter-fried trout. Trout is also great at Fresko, where you can also buy it to take away.

-River Art Cafe-Restaurant is a most unusual as well as flavoursome stop for anything from breakfast to full-fledged local feast in a quirkily artsy ambiance.

-For trout as well as local game head to ultra-rustic and cozy Hagiati for homemade stews, pies and hilopites pasta.

Don’t leave Evrytania without trying: Local prosciutto ham (made by Allandika Stremmenou) and cheeses made by Koutroumanou such as creamy, zingy katiki cheese, mild myzythra, graviera and the local star cheese, tsalafouti. 

Cover Image GTP – Greek Travel Pages

A Tranquil Getaway in Zakynthos

Boasting stunning views of the island from a hillside location, this unique 5-star hotel in Zakynthos is the ideal getaway.

Located on a lush green hill in Tsilivi, a small village on the island, Olea All Suite Hotel evolves organically around an impressive, 4000 sqm pool that marks the tranquil, relaxing feel of the entire space.  

Calming water is Olea’s main element; present in various forms throughout the hotel, seamlessly connecting the indoors with the outdoors with streams and pools flowing between island-like clusters of tropical-modernist cube structures, communal areas under skylights, hidden gardens, and historical olive trees.

Insights Greece - A Tranquil Getaway in ZakynthosLocation

Set on a picturesque hill and surrounded by layers of lush greenery, it is within walking distance of Tsilivi resort, 10 minutes from Zakynthos town and the airport; and it’s very close to the nearby village and the sandy beaches. 

Character & Style

Inspired by the island’s beautiful landscape and the calming effect of water, leading Greek architects Block 722 created a sprawling hotel featuring 93 suites revolving around a stunning pool that resembles a lake. The result is a contemporary, peaceful retreat that combines Mediterranean architecture with tropical modernism, seamlessly blending into the relaxing natural landscape that surrounds it.

Insights Greece - A Tranquil Getaway in ZakynthosRoom Types

All 93 suites boast modern charm and a romantic ambiance; they all feature outdoor living spaces with impressive views of the hotel’s surroundings, allowing guests to relax while enjoying views of the Ionian sea or the hotel’s lavish green gardens.

The Superior Suite Swim Up and the Superior Water Suite offer a shared pool, while the Executive Suite, the Honeymoon Suite, and the Presidential Suite come complete with a private swimming pool. 

Food & Drinks 

The hotel’s three restaurants and three bars serve a wide variety of culinary delights that celebrate Greek and Mediterranean cuisine with a modern spin. Enjoy a fine dining meal at Omikron, or for a more laid back vibe head to Cocoon Restobar, while Flow Wine and Dine serve creative Mediterranean dishes; while O Bar and F Bar serve a fantastic selection of Greek and international wines and signature cocktails.

Insights Greece - A Tranquil Getaway in ZakynthosFacilities 

A big part of the Olea experience is their dedication to wellness, with their Royal Spa offering soothing therapies using special aromatic and essential oils therapies using Mediterranean herbs. With indoor and outdoor pools, cryotherapy, hammam, a fully-equipped gym, a beauty salon, and a yoga pavilion, there is plenty of places to unwind and soothe the body, mind, and soul. 

Ideal for… Couples in search of a romantic getaway, solo travellers, or groups of friends in search of a wellness retreat and a place that offers complete privacy and moments of peace and quiet. 


  • Free WiFi
  • Free parking
  • Private check-in/check-out
  • Concierge service
  • Luggage storage
  • Ticket service
  • Tour desk
  • Express check-in/check-out
  • 24-hour front desk


Glimpses of Beautiful Grevena

You’ll find mushrooms, mammoths, and a gorgeous warm valley in and around this wonderful western Macedonian town.

Officially designated the City of Mushrooms in 2007, because of the 2000 varieties of mushrooms that grow here, Grevena’s entrance is decorated with a giant statue of a hand full of the flavoursome fungus, and there are also restaurants dedicated to the variable ingredient. The Vasilitsa Ski Resort in the Pindos mountain range is another reason visitors flock here during winter, while year-round visitors can enjoy the outdoor adventures- and incredible beauty of the Valia Calda national park, one of Greece’s most impressive.

Insights Greece - Glimpses of Beautiful Grevena

Top things to do 

– Visit the Mushroom Museum in Lavda village to feast on photographs, audiovisual materials, illustrations, and sculptures inspired by the area’s mushroom culture.

-Explore the Valia Calda, famed for its astounding biodiversity, with a multitude of bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species inhabiting thick beech and black pine forests and alpine meadows (that in spring blossom with 18 types of orchids!).

-Meet a 12-ton Mammoth skeleton at the Milia Municipality’s Natural History Museum – the mysterious creature lived in the region two millennia ago and international fans held a conference here a few years ago.

– During summer, the Greek Mushroom Festival takes place here, which is one of the biggest Mushroom festivals in Europe and attracts visitors from all over the globe. 

-At Eleftherias Square visit the stone clock tower, known as Plateia Rologiou, and Aimilianou Square is where you will find all the locals gather.

-Visit the Municipal Central Library located by the river where you will find discover a lot about the region’s history.

-Drive to nearby Mastorohoria, on the border of Kozani, a charming traditional settlement with stone-built homes and arched bridges. Sit down at one of the Karelia and enjoy a traditional Greek coffee. 

Grevena mushrooms

Best places to eat

-Sworn mushroom-lovers always stop at cozy Avlais, where the star ingredient can be enjoyed in endless traditional and inventive renditions. 

-Mushrooms are also honoured at Perdika, where the menu also offers plenty of meat options like wild boar stew and grilled meat platters.

-If you have a sweet tooth don’t miss out on Achilleas’ Bougatsa and for coffee or cocktails head to Fuit Art Cafe.  

Don’t leave Evrytania without trying: Manitaroproinda Grevenon sells everything you can conceive of related to mushrooms – from liqueurs and cooking powders to desiccated mushrooms and truffle oils. 

Getting there

From Athens, drive west along the Olympia, Ionia, and Egnatia motorways, it’s around a five-hour drive. From Thessaloniki, it’s around 180 km and it’s roughly a one-and-a-half-hour drive. 

Staying in a Renovated Windmill on the Island of Kea

A beautifully renovated windmill on the lesser-known Cycladic island of Kea is the ideal place to stay if you are looking for a unique and authentic experience in Greece. 

This wonderfully renovated windmill villa stands in the area of Koundouros, in an elevated position that boasts unobstructed views of the sparkling blue sea and surrounding countryside, which at sunset is magical.

A five-minute walk takes guests to a pebble beach just below the villa, while just a short drive away you can enjoy wonderful beaches with umbrellas, sun loungers, water sports, food, and drinks, including the sandy beaches of Koundouros (ideal for families) and delightful Koundouraki. There are also a number of charming villages in the area, such as Pisses, with its lovely sandy bay, mini-market, and a traditional taverna serving authentic local dishes.

Insights Greece - Staying in a Renovated Windmill on the Island of Kea

Built on a private plot, the Mill on the Hill featured the impressive old windmill itself, lovingly restored to provide all modern comforts, along with three independent guest houses. 

The windmill is laid out over three main levels, plus a recently built extension at ground level to accommodate the air-conditioned TV room and a fully equipped kitchen. On the ground floor, there is also a cozy living room with a fireplace and storage space.

The first floor features one double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. There is another double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom on the second floor, which connects with the air-conditioned attic that has two single beds; ideal for children. 

Right next to the windmill are the guest houses. The first has a double bedroom, air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom, and veranda access. The second has two double beds, an en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning and opens onto a pergola-shaded veranda. Situated just behind and slightly above the first two, the third guest house has a double bed and sofa bed, air-conditioning, and an en-suite bathroom. The guest houses have spacious outdoor areas for outdoor dining or relaxation and, like the bedrooms in the windmill, you can enjoy majestic sea views. 

The natural slope of the hillside means the private land surrounding the property is on different levels, offering guests a variety of choices for outdoor activities and socialising. At the lowest level, there is a large, private, seawater swimming pool with loungers; the ideal spot for soaking up the sun and a refreshing dip at any time of day.

Visiting the Beautiful Giola Lagoon in Thassos

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.

According to Greek mythology, Giola was created by Zeus as a lagoon for his wife Aphrodite to bathe in. 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. 

With water warmer than the sea beside it and the colours constantly shifting from shades of blue and green, visitors come here for the perfect Instagram shot. Laying on the rocks or diving into the water, it’s just as wonderful to sit back and take in the view across to the uninhabited island of Astiriotiko opposite the lagoon. 

Giola Lagoon

Carved into the southeast coast of Thassos, several kilometers from the village of Astris, Giola is approximately 20 metres long and over 15 metres wide. It’s enclosed by rock terraces that rise up to eight meters high, creating great platforms from which visitors can jump and dive into the crystal-clear water, which is refreshed by waves from the sea.

This stunning natural pool is where thousands of local and international visitors gather each year to swim and to take images as the location is popular amongst photographers who want the perfect shot of someone jumping from the rocks into the pool. 

Located near the village of Astris, it may not be the easiest place to get to as there is a dirt road you must take and an off-road vehicle is highly recommended. This seaside gem is quite a trek, but for those willing to make the journey, you will definitely be rewarded with an incredible natural pool to soak in the gorgeous views of the sea. The scenery along the 10-15 minute walk is part of the wonderful experience. Keep in mind there is a bus service available to Giola during the summer months.

Insights Greece - Visiting the Beautiful Giola Lagoon in Thassos

Even though many think it’s a beach, it is in fact a natural seа lagοon and the Aegean Sea rinses its shores and fills the pool with water. But since the pool is separated from the sea with a rock wall, the water in the lagoon is much warmer, making it much more pleasant to swim in.

If you decidе tо visit Giοla for а swim, remember that you will need to leave your bеaсh tοwels on the rоcks and thеre is nο sаnd, shade, sunbeds or umbrellas at Giola, so make sure to pack your hat, sunscreen, and water. A tavern recently opened up nearby, where you are able to eat lunch or dinner, otherwise, pack snacks with you as there are no other shops nearby. 

Getting there 

The way to this little slice of heaven is a tad tricky and in order to arrive at Giola, drive from Poto to Astris. After the hotel Aeria you will find a sign directing you to Sirens. Turn left and follow the dirt road. After a while, you will get to a beach. From there you leave your vehicle at the car park and you need to walk. There are many signs with arrows showing the direction. As mentioned above, it is recommended that you hire a high four-engined or an off-road vehicle, and the distance from the main road is about 2k

5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

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

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

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

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece


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


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

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

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Nymfaion, Florina

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


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

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

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Agoriani, Parnassos

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


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

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece

Stemnitsa, Arkadia

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


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

Insights Greece - 5 Fairytale Villages in Greece
Monemvasia, Laconia

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


* Try locally produced fruity wine.

*Try Matoula’s homemade recipes for local tastes. 

Feeling inspired? Which fairytale escape will you choose?

10 Things to do on Skyros island

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

1. Get lost in Skyros Town

Insights Greece - 10 Things to do on Skyros island

While Skyros is not included in the Cyclades islands, its Chora has a Cycladic aura with a steep hill-rock -underneath the dominant Byzantine Castle- scattered with white houses, narrow alleys, and bougainvillea. It appears as though Chora is “observing” the island from above. Through the stone paths, you can explore the simplicity of the landscape and meet locals by day and night, while soaking up the traditional architecture and the wonderful panoramic views that stretch out to the horizon. 

Extra Tips: For a traditional Greek breakfast or brunch (featuring local products) head to “Manna,” located in “Chora.” For the best Skyrian dolmades (made with a touch of goat’s milk) go to the charming taverna “O Pappous ki ego” (my grandfather and I) where one generation of family recipes follows another. The owners also own a great seafood taverna at Linaria (the main port of the island, which is a charming fishing village) called “Marigo”. 

 2. Enjoy the must-visit beaches of the island

Insights Greece - 10 Things to do on Skyros island

The charming villages Magazia and Molos, a 10-15 minutes walk from Chora have the most famous sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters and some beach bars, such as the premium “Kavoures” and “Ammoudia”. For long lunches head to “Istories tou Barba” or “Stefanos”. Agios Petros beach lies 16 km northwest of Chora; cedar trees growing over the rocks complete the charming scenery. On top of the hill, there is the chapel of Agios Petros. If you get hungry try the taverna with the same name “Agios Petros” featuring local delicacies and nice meat dishes. Close by here, there is another quite famous beach- Atsitsa, dotted with rocks along the water and shallow sea. Kalamitsa Beach is one of the largest of Skyros with beautiful clear waters. After your swim, eat at the soothing terrace of taverna “Mouries”, beneath mulberry trees planted by the owner’s grandfather. The creative interior is adorned with horse-themed artwork, and you can watch Skyrian horses on the family’s farm across the road. The unspoiled
Kirapanagia and Kalogria, two long and sandy beaches 12 km from Chora, are ideal for sunbathing. While Pefkos at the western side of Skyros is a pebble and sandy beach. Make sure you have lunch at “Stamatia” tavern. Nearby beaches are Acherounes Beach and Aspous, which are more suitable for children. At Aspous, savor fresh fish at “Asimenos”. 

3. Visit the settlement of “Pouria” in the afternoon

Insights Greece - 10 Things to do on Skyros island

Located very close to Chora, this area that seems to have jumped from a painting offers spectacular scenery with a restored mill dominating the ruins of the ancient quarry of the “Skyrian Stone” – famous during the Roman times. The quarry occupies a large part of the coast, creating an image that travels the visitor to another era. Next to the quarry, you will find the small church of Agios Nikolaos, carved into the rock; one of the most photographed sights of Skyros. Sit at the café of Mylos “Anemomylos”, during sunset, to enjoy the spectacular colours of the sky. 

4. Make a round trip of the island 

From Agios Petros beach you can drive around the island by car. The duration is approximately 45 minutes from there. It’s a dreamy route through the pines from Atsitsa to Pefkos. Make a stop at Agios Panteleimonas to experience the amazing view of the islets Skyropoula and Valaxa. Return to the central road to reach Linaria, Chora, and then back from Aspous. 

5. Discover the island’s best-kept “secret”

Insights Greece - 10 Things to do on Skyros island

There are endless sea caves with stalactites (Xyloparati, Mantroucha, Pentekali, Diatrypti, Gerania) in the vicinity of the harbour. Small boats organize excursion trips to these caves, passing through the arched openings in the rocks outside the port of Linaria. By boat, you can also visit the small islet of Sarakino (or Sarakiniko), with its beautiful sandy beach of Glyfada and turquoise-colored water. 

6. Watch the sunset of Skyros from its best spots 

The best places to enjoy a magnificent sunset are from the beach of Kalamitsa, the church of Agios Panteleimonas, the beach of Atsitsa, the harbour of Linaria, and Brooke square (aka Immortal Poetry square*). 

* The English poet Rupert Brooke died at sea while serving in the Royal Navy during WWI. He was buried on Skyros because it was the nearest port. His statue in the center of the square symbolizes Immortal Poetry. 

Extra tip: If you want to enjoy the full moon, Magazia is the place to go. 

7. Savor lobster pasta at Stelios Fish Tavern

Insights Greece - 10 Things to do on Skyros island

This is a must-visit tavern and an unmissable experience. Famous for its lobster pasta, which comes packed to the brim with super fresh lobster meat. Ask for Manolis, the owner (the son of Stelios), he is one of a kind. His mother cooks all the amazing dishes. The fish tavern is located at Gyrismata Beach. Try the velouté fish soup and the crab salad as well. In the end, they bring you loukoumades with an entire bucket of NuCrema (Greek-style Nutella). 

8. Go for drinks at Chora

For a drink head to the harbor where you will find Kavos bar. Here you will enjoy your cocktail overlooking the enlightened harbor. Also try Agora all-day café, famous among the locals. 

9. Visit Kores, the most contemporary shop on the island

Insights Greece - 10 Things to do on Skyros island

Owned by a wonderful woman, Yianna, and her 3 daughters, this shop has a unique selection of special creations at affordable prices, all chosen and/or designed by Yianna. The pieces have both an artistic and Greek theme about them. Here you will find jewellery, clothes, bags, sandals, etc. 

10. Enjoy an evening at Kavos Lounge Bar 

Located on the north side of the bay of Linaria, above the port of the island, built on a hill,

Kavos is famous for its beautiful environment but also for the way it welcomes the ships arriving on the island. From 1994, when it first opened until today, when the ships arrive at the port, it “plays” loud music and specifically “Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss, offering a spectacular welcome to the visitors of the island, who remain speechless and impressed, not only by the loud sounds but also from the image of the spectators who turn on the lighters and create a unique and bright display.

10+1. Don’t leave Skyros until you take a photo with a Skyrian horse. This rarest and oldest horse breed (that is quite shorter than other horses) can only be found on Skyros. You can see them at several farms that exist on the island, such as the Skyros Island Horse Trust.

Images by Polina Paraskevopoulou © 

Complete Guide to Pelion 

Located almost directly between Athens and Thessaloniki, Pelion is a place that very few foreigners seem to know about. You’ll find very few crowds here and in some spots, locals-only- as this is by far one of Greece’s best-kept secrets.

You could drive around and see a lot of Pelion in one day, but if you have the chance we recommend you take your time and split your stay between the east and west and the mountains in the north, and explore as many of the charming villages as possible to get a feel of the local culture and traditions. Stroll through cobbled lanes and explore old stone mansions, tiny churches, and numerous water fountains; as you stop off and try enticing local products from small stores and taste authentic dishes at the taverns scattered around the village squares.

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

The whole region of the Pelion Peninsula is very lush and green, with so much nature to explore. There’s a wonderful mountain for hiking, gorgeous beaches to swim, and rocky cliffs that offer magnificent views of the region. And if you are a foodie, you can spend your entire time here eating your way around as you taste some of the most mouthwatering dishes. 

How to get there 

If you prefer to fly, the closest airport is Nea Anchialos Airport, about 30 km from Volos. Buses from Athens to Volos depart from Liossion KTEL Bus Station and it takes around 5 hours. From Thessaloniki, buses depart for Volos from Macedonia KTEL Bus Station and it’s a 3-hour trip. KTEL buses connect to various villages. If you have hired a car from Athens, you can drive via the National Highway Athens-Thessaloniki and it takes about 5 hours.

Getting around

In order to really explore the Pelion Peninsula, the best way is to have your own car. Public transport can not get you to all the places we mention below and with so much to see, you’ll definitely want to get around at your own pace. 

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 
Portaria @annetravelfoodie

Best time to visit

Verdant and mountainous, and blessed with a beautiful coastline, the peninsula is wonderful for touring around and exploring- no matter what time of the year it is. In winter, when it snows, people come from Thessaloniki and Athens to ski down Mount Pelion. In summer, people from all over Greece come here to swim in the most crystal of clear water. It’s great in spring when the lush green is greener, the flowers are blooming and in the autumn, the colours of the forested mountain slopes are stunning and you can see an apple, walnut, and chestnut trees shed their fruits.

Things to do

-Take a ride on the legendary old steam train of Pelion (popularly known as Moutzouris). This train started working in the late 19th century and played a key role in the development of Pelion.

Centaur’s Path in Portaria village is a hidden gem in Pelion, surrounded by splendid nature. The path is marked with red circles on stones, so as not to deviate from it. There is also a fountain with drinking water and some benches for visitors to rest before continuing their journey.

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

Spring of Manas is found in Portaria, in a forest with dense vegetation, really close to Centaur’s Path. The unspoiled natural surroundings are breathtaking, and there are some lovely bridges that help you cross the small stream.


Greek School Museum is the name given to the old school where the famous freedom fighter (against the Turks), Rigas Valestinlis-Feraios attended. This building, also known as the School of Rigas, was also the school of other famous Greek personalities. Nearby, there is the Library of Zagora which has more than 15,000 old books and manuscripts.

The Museum of Folk Art and History of Pelion is housed in the Topali mansion, beneath the central square of Makrinitsa. The mansion was built in 1844 and looks like a fortress. It hosts items depicting folklife on Pelion.

The Museum of Worry Beads (Komboloi) is an appendix of the same museum in Nafplion. It presents the history and variety of worry beads, which is a huge part of Greek culture.

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

Spiritual sites 

The historical Church of Agioi Taxiarches in the square of Milies was founded in the 17th century and was renovated in 1741. Inside, there are some unique frescoes with scenes from the Bible. Church of Agia Marina in the square of Kissos stands under tall plane trees and the Church of Panagia, established in 1767 is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin. It has interesting architecture and a tall bell tower, with bells from Odessa. The Byzantine Monastery of Agios Lavrentios was established in 1378 on the ruins of an older monastery. It played an important role in the Greek War of Independence and also deserves a visit. 

Adventurous things to do 

Mountain Climbing: soft slopes and easily accessed peaks make Mount Pelion a popular destination for hiking lovers and weekend mountain climbers. Two mountain shelters, one at Agriolefkes and the other at Agios Georgios of Zagora are very popular amongst locals. 

Skiing: In Agriolefkes, near Hania, there is also a great resort for skiing lovers.  

Mountain biking: with an abundance of mountain routes and trails this area is ideal for mountain biking.

Canyoning: this is one of the most popular activities available here as you can explore unknown lakes and ravines. 

Cycling: bike along many of the area’s winding roads, which offer striking views of the sea below. 

Kayaking: enjoy a sea kayaking trip along the coast. The scenery is gorgeous, especially going along the crystal clear water.

Sailing: the closest island to the Pelion Peninsula is Skiathos, which you can reach from the port of Volos. The waters around this island are an amazing place to go sailing.

Hiking: most of the trails link old villages and will lead you past beaches, along abandoned railways. The best hiking is around Mount Pelion in the northern part of the peninsula.

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

Must visit traditional villages of Pelion

Portaria is one of the most modern villages of Pelion, located at the foot of Mount Pelion, it’s the first village you come across when driving from Volos. Here you will find a range of luxurious hotels, restaurants, tavernas, cafes, bars, and shops. 

Zagora is situated on the eastern slopes of Mount Pelion, with a great view of the Aegean. Zagora has four districts, all meeting around the central square of Agios Georgios, having taken its name after the adjacent small church. Here you will find the famous 18th Century Public Library, which nowadays operates as a lending library with many and great, rare books. 

Vyzitsa boasts stone-paved alleys, mansions, lush greenery, and stone fountains. Climb up its central cobblestones alley heading for the central square or walk around the picturesque neighbourhood of Argyraiika, and go hiking to Milies or to the coastal village of Kala Nera.

Makrinitsa is known for offering one of the best panoramic views to Volos and the stunning Pagasetic Gulf has retained the traditional Pelian architecture and construction. Its lovely stone-paved alleys, enchanting fountains, and lovely plants, all make Makrinitsa one of the most breathtaking destinations of Pelion. There are also unique art cafes and galleries run by talented local artisans displaying their beautiful creations. 

Pinakates is a remote village that boasts majestic views; its small central square sheltered under a big plane tree combined with its authentic scenery lures locals and visitors alike.

Tsagkarada lies 500m above sea level on the eastern side of Mount Pelion, along a densely

wooded area, looking out to the Aegean. Here, you feel close to nature with an abundance of chestnut and plane trees. Sit and have a coffee at the central square of Agia Paraskevi, where the great Plane Tree, which is ten centuries years old is the main feature. If you are here during November, make sure you visit the Chestnut Festival, where you can enjoy grilled chestnuts as well as other local delicacies, plus traditional music and dance. 

In Milies, you can visit the craft museum and the library, and make sure to have lunch in the taverna at the old railway station.

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

Beaches of Pelion 

On the eastern side of the Pelion peninsula, there are some gorgeous beaches with mesmerizing waters. Mylopotamos, Fakistra, and Agios Ioannis are some of the most popular beaches here. Also check out Chorefto, Potistika, and Damouchari- they are just as striking as each other.

Don’t leave until you…

-Experience a day trip around the Pelion Peninsula to visit the Sea Caves of Thetis. You’ll leave from either the port of Chorefto or Agios Ioannis. From there, head north and discover an uninhabited and truly unspoiled coastline as you explore the stunning sea caves with your guide and even have the chance to swim and snorkel in some of them along the way.

-Stop by a welcoming little women’s cooperative in Vyzitsa where a wonderful selection of seasonal jams, marmalade, spoon sweets, and other products are produced. You can sample many of the products and support the Women’s Agritourism Cooperative in Vyzitsa. Visitors can buy all the handmade products, while also watching how they’re made.

-Attend a cooking school such as Kritsa in Portaria. You can learn how to make local dishes based on organic farm produce (which also supplies the restaurant). Pick your ingredients before making spetzofai (Pelion’s famous casserole of local sausage, green peppers, and grated tomatoes).

-Buy some local herbs and spices from Myrro in Portaria. Try the teas, herbs, and spices – sourced from Pelion, and other small Greek suppliers from the rest of Greece. 

-Visit Karaiskos Farm an organic farm that produces lots of fresh fruits and vegetables,

such as potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, eggplants, pumpkins, peppers, radishes, and more. They also keep chickens and produce their own eggs. You’ll learn how to use fresh food to make tasty regional dishes and family recipes during your class on the farm. 

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

Where to eat 

Starting off casual, try the best bakery in Pelion- Korbas, Milies –and taste the delicious eliopsomo (olive bread). Run by the same family for three generations the bakery is famous for its cheese bread, biscuits, pies, and homemade pasta. 

El Resto-Bar: Located in the Agapitos Villas this is a cozy spot serving up a variety of modern dishes and Greek-inspired cocktails and authentic spirits (Tsipouro being the main one).

Taverna Paradisos: This traditional Greek tavern right on the sea offers a range of local dishes including meat and seafood.

Anapodo Platani: A creative and modern restaurant, this is the place to go if you want to try some Modern Greek cuisine. 

Dipnosofistis Restaurant Bar: Has been operating since 1992 on the old road that leads to Mylopotamos beach, at a beautiful estate covered with fruit trees and plants.

Kardamo: With wonderfully rustic decor, this tavern is nicely situated on the hillside of Markinitsa, with splendid views way down from the mountains to the seaside of Volos.

Taverna Meintani:  The locals refer to this taverna as Niki’s (name of the owner) who has been cooking here for over two decades. Eating at Niki’s is like being invited into her cozy home; she grows all of her fruit and vegetables, before baking, stewing, or preserving them in sugar syrup. 

Apolafsi, Makrinitsa: head here for the best restaurant with a view! 

Aggelika, Mylopotamo: this is one of the best fish restaurants in Pelion. Set above the turquoise waters of Mylopotamos beach, this restaurant was set up by a fisherman and named after his daughter- needless to say, the fresh catch of the day is a must-try! 

Six Keys, Afyssos: This is a high-end modern Greek restaurant that offers fine wining and dining. Dishes here, devised by Greece’s superchef Ioannis Baxevanis, showcase unique local ingredients while providing creative twists on traditional Greek favourites. 

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

Local delicacies & dishes

Many authentic Greek products can be found in Pelion, including extra virgin olive oil, local house wine, vinegar, golden thyme honey, fruit liqueurs, a wonderful variety of herbs and teas, and many sweets and jams. Pelion is also famous for its chestnuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts.

The most famous fruit of Pelion is fyriki, a type of small apple that is largely cultivated in the traditional villages of the area and they turn it into a nice spoon sweet.

The traditional specialties of Pelion include a white bean soup called Fasolada, cheese-bread called Tyropsomo, olive bread- Eliopsomo, high-quality meat as many locals are involved with cattle breeding and Spetsofai, a spicy dish with peppers and sausage cooked in tomato sauce. Also try the Kapamá roast stuffed lamb with greens, rice, and herbs, oven cooked for 3-4 hours. Also try the Boubári roasted sausage – stuffed mutton sausage with rice, minced meat, greens, and herbs, oven cooked with potatoes; and Anthákia – Zucchini blossoms, stuffed with rice and herbs, cooked in a casserole or fried with cheese stuffing. And for a vegan delight, Tsitsiravla is a vegetable dish of pickled tender leaves. 

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

To drink

Anna na Ena Milo, Milies, with its art-plastered walls, single-origin coffee, and sixties music is a cool spot to grab a Frappe. Try the homemade cakes and pies and sit in the glass-roofed verandah for a spot of people-watching. Also check out: Cafes Mirtillos, Agna Di Cafe DiVino, Art Cafe Makrinitsa, Ylien, Aeriko, and Antico.  

For some great wine, head to Milea Winery and Anapodo Platani Wine Bar. The magnificent building is an old café of the traditional architectural style of Pelion, which has been converted into an elegant yet homely wine bar with vintage chandeliers and wooden handmade marble top tables. 

Insights Greece - Complete Guide to Pelion 

Where to stay

Kritsa Gastronomy Hotel: If food is one of the main reasons for coming to the Pelion Peninsula (and it should be), then consider staying right on Karaiskos Farm at the Kritsa Gastronomy Hotel. Just like the farm itself, the hotel is family-run and sustainably operated, and the majority of its delicious food comes right from the organic farm next door. 

Sunrise Tsagkarada: The hotel is locally run in a sustainable building, and it uses all kinds of eco-friendly products during day-to-day operations. The hotel is also beautifully designed and has a fantastic pool with incredible views.

For some more boutique hotels check out Archontiko Sakali, Amanita, Lotus Tree, and The Old Silk Store

At Agios Lavrentiοs, Magnesia, a 19th-century oil mill has turned into a luxurious guesthouse, keeping all the traditional elements of the original stone building. “Palio Eleotrivio” is located next to a small river. Its large rooms are characterized by the warmth of combining wood and stone and the great care the owner showed in equipping them.

Anovolios Boutique Hotel is found in the beautiful village of Agios Georgios Nilias, in Pelion, and has a unique view of Pagasitic Bay, Evia Island, the Sporades islands, and surrounding mountains.