Qatar Airways has announced it will launch flights direct to Santorini, starting June 7, 2022- just in time for the peak summer season.
This famous Greek Cycladic island will be Qatar Airways’ third Greek route along with Athens and Mykonos. The airline will also relaunch its seasonal flights to Mykonos during the same week.
The three flights per week will operate every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday.
“We are pleased to add Santorini to our global network in 2022, with this exciting new destination joining Athens and Mykonos to become our third gateway to this beautiful country. This expansion will further solidify our relationship with Greece,” said Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker.
The Qatar flights will be operated by Airbus A320 aircraft, with 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy Class.
The schedule is as follows:
Saturday and Sunday – Doha (DOH) to Santorini (JTR) – departs: 7:50 arrives: 12:20
As the flawless facade of Kavala city presented itself when we were approaching the city, one of my friends exclaimed “It feels as though we are on a ferry approaching an island, doesn’t it?” We didn’t have to respond to her question as she already knew the answer. Kavala may be on the Greek mainland, but it most certainly has that island vibe!
Once popular for its tobacco trade, Kavala boasts a remarkable collection of buildings scattered around the city, where people used to trade, process, and store tobacco in the 20th century. The city has everything you could want for a weekend getaway: a picturesque facade with colorful houses, a bustling waterfront lined with traditional Greek tavernas and cobbled streets built amphitheatrically around the bay to stroll through in the evenings.
Our travel guide to Kavala will help you get the most out of visiting this beautiful city!
How to get there and around
Situated Northeast of Thessaloniki, Kavala’s port is a focal point in the region of Eastern Macedonia and the entry to Eastern Greece, rightly known as ‘The Thermopyles of Macedonia’. You can fly directly from Athens, drive to it from the mainland or take the ferry from one of the islands.
Getting there by air: Kavala International Airport “Alexander the Great” (KVA) is located just 30km outside the city. It serves daily flights from Athens and International flights from England, Germany, Italy and other European countries. Flying from Athens takes an hour and costs a bit less than 100€.
Getting around by car: Hire a car and make the 150km journey from Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece. The journey takes about 2 hours and the ride is quite pleasant as you get to see more of the Aegean and Chalkidiki’s seaside.
Getting around by public transport:Macedonia bus station in Thessaloniki runs bus routes from Thessaloniki to Kavala about 10 times per day. The ticket costs 16€ and the ride duration is 2 hours and 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the ferry boat from Thassos and/or Limnos island.
A few ways to ways to soak up Kavala
Ouzo & seafood at the seafront.
The promenade along the waterfront is a lovely place to start exploring Kavala; the air is laden with the aroma of freshly grilled fish and seafood, and people at the ouzeries linger around tables, toasting their glasses and saying ‘Opa’ every now and then. We recommend Apiko, an old-school traditional restaurant with views of the port and the main street.
Get a Greek island feel on the mainland!
Walk around the 16th-century Aquaduct
A walk through the ‘Kamares’ (meaning Arches in Greek) will convince you that Kavala was once a prime city! The Aquaduct is the most characteristic monument in the city, the grandiose arches are 25m tall and have a length of 270 m stretching along the Old City.
Visit the Castle
Enjoy the panoramic views from the top of The Castle of Kavala! Built to protect the city from pirate attacks, the castle of Kavala is one of the city’s most popular destinations to visit. To get there you need to walk through narrow, uphill alleyways, passing old houses and exchanging pleasantries with some of the locals feeding the stray cats. Tip: pack some lunch with you, find a spot to sit and enjoy the views of the city and the port.
Wander through Panagia (Old City)
Wandering through the narrow streets of Panagia will take you a few centuries back as the old tobacco buildings in the area give you the feeling of having instantly travelled in the past. The majority of these beautiful buildings once belonged to tobacco traders – the legacy of the days when exporting tobacco fueled Kavala’s prosperity. Here, you will also find Muhhamed Ali’s house and the Imaret, a Muslim seminary built in 1821 to educate the less fortunate of the city regardless of their religion that has now been converted into a hotel.
Explore the Tobacco Museum
With artefacts and archived material relating to the cultivation and production of tobacco, this museum uniquely presents the history of technology and economy in Kavala and the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
Visit the City Hall
Resembling a miniature Hungarian tower, Kavala’s City Hall is most definitely one of the prettiest buildings in Greece. This Gothic revival building belonged to Hungarian tobacco trader Pierre Herzog, who used it as his residence and place of business. The building was purchased by the Municipality of Kavala in 1937 and since then it houses the City Hall.
Swim at Kalamitsa
Kalamitsa is the nearest beach to Kavala, it has a long sandy stretch and clean, shallow waters that make it ideal to visit with young children. There is a free car park just opposite the beach, plenty of changing rooms to use and cafes to have a nibble if you feel like doing so. There is also Batis beach next to Kalamitsa but the beach opening to the sea is much smaller and often too crowded to find a spot.
Direct flights to Greece from the United States and Canada will begin a lot earlier and end later this year, as Greece aims to extend its tourism season for 2022.
Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias this week announced that direct flights from the United States to Greece will begin on March 7, earlier than any other year.
Following a meeting with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt at the Ministry, Kikilias also revealed that this summer American Airlines will operate 14 direct flights every week between eight large US airports and Athens International Airport.
“This amounts to a vote of confidence in our country by a key market, which adds high value to Greek tourism,” said Minister Kikilias.
Direct flights from Canada to Athens will also launch on April 2nd. This was announced by the Greek Tourism Ministry on Wednesday, following a meeting between Minister Kikilias and Canadian Ambassador Mark Allen.
The direct flights from Canada will extend to the end of November for the first time, which is also part of the Tourism Ministry’s aim to extend the tourism season in the country.
Kikilias emphasised that more international visitors from the United States and Canada are expected in Greece in 2022, following the recent lifting of mandatory coronavirus tests for fully vaccinated Americans, Canadians and Australians (which came into effect on February 12, 2022).
Greece is gearing up for what is expected to be an outstanding year in travel for the entire country.
The Greek Tourism Ministry is anticipating the sector will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, as officials are working closely with industry leaders to ensure it’s a record year across the board.
In 2019, over 33 million visitors arrived in Greece, up from 24 million in 2015, making it one of the most visited countries in Europe and the world.
And according to Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, this year will see a booming comeback with new projects including upgrading important tourism infrastructure, setting up a crisis management task force, and new training programs for tourism professionals.
The Ministry also stressed the importance of highlighting Greece as a year-round destination, extending the tourism season, promoting lesser-known destinations, attracting higher-quality tourists, promoting cruise travel, attracting tourism investment, as well as focusing on sustainable tourism practices.
So far, the government has approved projects including upgrades to tourist ports, development of winter and mountain tourism, development of wellness and health tourism, training programs for tourism employees, agri-food and gastronomy tourism, diving and underwater tourism as well as making beaches more accessible to those with disabilities.
According to trade publication Travel Pulse, a recent survey by tour operators worldwide revealed key travel trends and top destinations for 2022, with Europe leading the way. Italy is currently ranking as the number one place of interest, Greece, and France tying second, and Ireland coming in at number three.
In another report just released by Greek tourism research group Tourix, Athens is also attracting more and more interest from the United States, Israel, and Cyprus.
The Greek Islands may be a vibrant oasis offering a cornucopia of pleasures, but we strongly suggest getting off the beaten path and heading to Mani — the central peninsula of the Peloponnese. Behold the marvel that is Limeni: Stone-built houses, turquoise waters, and colourful caiques (quintessential Greek postcard, anyone?) that are well worth the trip.
Preserved by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Limeni is a place where natural beauty, coastal vistas, and history combine. Located just minutes away from Areopolis and Gythio and in close driving proximity to Kalamata, this tiny traditional fisherman’s village is one of Mani’s best-kept secrets waiting to be explored.
What to See
Monastery Evretrias (Panagi H Vreti)
Must visit destination
This catholic church built in the 18th century, dating back to 1731, belonged to the Mavromichali family. Overlooking the seaside with its iconic bell tower, it’s definitely worth a visit (and an Insta-post).
Adventure with a side of crystal clear waters? Whether it’s scuba diving into the big blue, paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, or simply an intimate sunset cruise you crave, Mani Water Sports is a recreation centre right on the “beach” that will fulfill your adrenaline needs. Paralia Dexameni is more like a natural rock formation (like a natural swimming pool), so if you’re looking for a “proper” beach – you may have to drive further to Foneas, Alypa, or Gerolymenas.
Just a 5km drive away is the village of Areopolis (in fact, Limeni is the seaport of Areopolis). This traditional village pervaded with stone-built houses has grown into a flourishing town filled with buzzing cafes, bars, and restaurants and if you’re lucky enough to be there on the weekend — a lively open-air market takes place in the main square every Saturday- you don’t want to miss it!
One of the most iconic places to visit and stay is at the Mavromichalai Hotel, built directly on the water’s edge. Now converted and restored into a luxury hotel, the Tower was the first residence of Limeni-raised Petrobey Mavromichalis, the last Bey (or ‘Prince’) of Mani and chief leader of the Maniots during the 1821 Greek War of Independence. Offering six exclusive rooms, all with unobstructed views of the picturesque bay and village of Limeni, visitors also have the opportunity to visit the tower and the tomb where the famous maniacal military leader is buried.
Luxury, history, and a private beach area with a sun terrace. Ah, where do we sign? Pirgos Mavromichali (or Tower Mavromichali) is a historically restored 18th-century stone tower, turned family-owned boutique hotel overlooking the Gulf of Messiniakos. The hotel provides practically everything you need for an enjoyable stay in Limeni, including an exclusive restaurant and bar overlooking the turquoise waters.
Where to Dine & Drink
Prefer to live on the edge? Watch the fishing boats chug up and down the bay from your perch at taverna “O Takis”. Famed for its exquisite fresh seafood and its Insta-worthy sunset, “O Takis” is one of the best seafood restaurants in the Peloponnese. P.S. Ask for the Lobster Pasta, cooked with Takis’ “secret” recipe for two!
If you’re craving Traditional Mani cuisine then “To Mavromichaleiko“ in Areopoli is your stop. Charming wooden tables and stone-built walls fill this family-owned taverna in Areopoli. We recommend their specialty: Hand-made pasta served with Maniatiko cheese, fresh farm eggs, and “siglino” (Mani salted pork). Trust us, you won’t leave unsatisfied.
This two-story stone building, located just above the water, houses one of Limeni’s fave cafes and restaurants – Teloneio. Whether you’re looking to enjoy your coffee where the water breaks, or a quality feed to see the sunset, you won’t be disappointed. We recommend the smoked sausage from Mani wrapped in grilled capsicums — delicious!
After the sun sets in Limeni, make your way to Bukka Bar in Areopolis. Adorned with a giant fuchsia bougainvillea wrapping the entrance of the stone building, Bukka Bar serves some of the best (and most original) cocktails you’ll sip. You can’t go wrong with ‘Grandma’s Choice’.