Timeless Silk Accessories Made in Northern Greece

Emmanuelle Silk is a refined Greek brand based in Komotini, Northern Greece.

Each unique piece is created for women who discreetly want to make an elegant difference, by wearing silk accessories designed to add a hint of contemporary sophistication to any outfit.

We recently had a chat with the founder Emmanouella Kouroudi about her designs and the influence her hometown, as well as worldwide travels have on her creations. 

Emmanuella, you are a well-travelled woman who has achieved a lot in such a short time, please tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Komotini and upon completing my studies at the Department of Physics at the University of Crete, I moved back to Komotini where I started working in our family business, the Thrakika Ekkokistiria – Cotton Ginning Mill in Greece. In 2015, I also founded my collection of silk accessories, “Emmanuellesilk”. Job aside, I’m keen on exercising daily and I’m also an avid traveller- I love to explore new places and immerse myself in different cultures.

What does your typical workday look like?

In the morning I head over to the office where I deal with all my work for Thracian Ginning, make appointments with partners and clients, and talk to the whole Emmanuellesilk team that I manage. My collaborations for Emmanuellesilk are based on daily communication with the team, as most of my partners are based in different locations. Some afternoons you will also find me at our store in the centre of Komotini, where we sell our silk accessories.

What was your inspiration for Emmanuelle Silk?

The idea was born in the summer of 2015. It combined my love of fashion with my family’s business experience and the “inheritance” of Metaxourgia Tsiakiri SA, which passed into my hands. All these gave life to my vision, to produce and create fine silk accessories for women who want to make a difference elegantly and discreetly.

How did you feel the first time you held an Emmanuelle Silk creation? 

Seeing one of your creations come to life is a matter of great pride –  each accessory we make has its own story and is unique. 

Tell us about the importance of silk in the area of East Macedonia and Thrace.

During the period of the Ottoman Empire, Soufli was a strong economic, political and cultural centre. Its rapid development is attributed to sericulture, which has been the economic lifeblood of the region for many decades. After the treaties of 1922-23 Eastern Thrace and Romilia came under the ownership of the newly established Turkish state. Thus, Soufli lost most of its acres, which were vast meadows, the exclusive food of the silkworm. In addition, sericulture and the silk trade came under the Greek legal and fiscal regime. This resulted in a gradual decline in production and exports to European countries. The discovery and spread of artificial silk fibre permanently and irreversibly interrupted the course of sericulture.

In 1993, the production of cocoons amounted to 5,000 kg from 800,000 kg in 1908. Despite this, Thrace persists and tries, participating in programs, working groups, and creating partnerships with institutions and the state, so that Greek Thracian silk can once again acquire its place on the world map.

How have your travels influenced your designs and brand aesthetics?

Every trip is a new experience. You get to meet new people, see different cultures and taste new flavours. By doing so, you realise that luxury has more to do with what radiates from within than the money you have. 

A silk scarf has always been the ambassador of feminine elegance. With the passage of time and changes in fashion trends, the scarf gained ground and has turned into a timeless accessory for all women, of all ages and styles.

I think the silk scarf reflects the personality of every woman who wears it. There is no correct and elegant way to wear it, as long as it makes you feel good! A turban on the head, a knot around the neck, and a simple throw around the shoulders – it defines different personalities and styles.

Does living in Komotini inspire you in any way?

In Komotini lies my main source of inspiration- my family and my friends.

If a friend from abroad were to visit Komotini, where would you take them?

I believe the best way to get to know a place is through the eyes of a person who lives there. So, when my friends visit, I don’t do anything different from what I do in my everyday life. You start with a nice Greek coffee and brunch in the town square, eat food by the sea of ​​Arogi or Maroneia, take a walk in the city park and go out for a drink at the local hangouts with countless students, ending up with bougatsa in the early hours of the morning. If you are a nature lover, the options are also endless. I also love a beautiful hike in the Rodopi mountains, followed by food and wine in a traditional tavern.

Images Courtesy of Emmanuellesilk

“Eleftheria” Celebrations in Komotini

On the 14th of May 1920, Komotini was freed after centuries of Ottoman and Bulgarian occupation.

It was one of the last cities that joined the newly established Hellenic Republic after the country’s independence. To commemorate this, every year in May, the people of Komotini celebrate the Freedom of Thrace in a row of festivities called “The Eleftheria”. Starting on the second day of the month, the festivities last for 16 days with several events taking place around the city including traditional dances, exhibitions, feasts and more.

This year an extra special event takes place, the International Conference on the 100 Years of Komotini’s Freedom which was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions for the past two years, consecutively.

Here is the program of anniversary events for the 102 Years of Freedom in detail.

Monday, May 2
8.00 p.m. In the streets of the city starting from the Tobacco Warehouse up to the square, bagpipers of the Laboratory of the House of Tradition and Folklore “Philotechnes” will play music across the city.

Tuesday, 3 May
8.30 p.m. Cultural Movement
Mikros Diakomos presents the play “Minotaur”.
It is a musical performance with elements of performance and dance.

Wednesday, 4 May
6.30 p.m. Read of the book “Deceiving Time” written by Anastasis Vistonitis at the local public library, Tsanakleios School organized by the Directorate of Secondary Education of Rodopi.

8.30 p.m. The Cultural Movement of Rodopi
organises a Jazz Concert with the 14-member Big Band “Allegro” under the direction of Nikos Ieronymos.

Thursday, 5 May
6.30 p.m. A presentation on “Konstantinos Karatheodori in Smyrna on the eve of the Asia Minor Catastrophe”. A history lesson presented by the Karatheodori Museum on the life, work and educational activities of Konstantinos Karatheodori, the famous Greek mathematician of Einstein. The event takes place at Tsanakleios School.

9.00 p.m. Live with the band “Endless Stream” at the city’s Central Square.

Friday, 6 May
10.00 a.m. The first GREEN FEST, a festival underlying the ecological issues are planet is currently facing, organised by The Youth and Volunteering Center “Exagono” of the Municipality of Komotini in collaboration with the Directorate of Primary Education of Rodopi and FOLLOW GREEN takes place. The event includes educational floor games and interactive actions for the environment such as the importance of recycling and the negative effects of sea pollution. The event is mainly for the students of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 9th and 13th High School of Komotini.
Moreover, vegan food cooked by the students of the Public vocational school of Komotini in collaboration with the Association for the Care of People with Special Needs “Agioi Theodoroi” will be available to the public.

07.00 p.m.
The formal opening of the Conference for the 100 years of Komotini’s Freedom with Konstantinos Hatzopoulos presenting “The entry of the Greek army in Thrace and the integration of the region in Greece”
The conference will take place at the Papanikolaou Foundation, from 6-8 May.

9.00 p.m. A live music concert – Tribute to the great composer Mikis Theodorakis with Giannis Kallaris “In the Dream the Balcony” will take place at the Komotini Summer Theater. The mixed choir of the Association of Evrites of “E.CHO” participates.

Insights Greece - "Eleftheria" Celebrations in Komotini

Saturday, May 7

9.30 a.m. The second day of the Conference for the 100 years of Komotini’s Freedom at Papanikolaou Foundation.

12.00 p.m. A presentation on “The 1st POCKET PARK IN KOMOTINI” at the Intersection of Vyronos and Makedonias streets.
The Municipal Council of Youth of Komotini with the Youth and Volunteering Center “Exagono” contribute to the transformation of an abandoned space into a cradle of greenery, a pocket of green! The members of the Municipal Council of Youth of Komotini, volunteers and citizens will meet at the site where the park will be created and will make the first tree and aromatic plants planting.

8.00 p.m.
Folklore dance groups from the area will dance under the music of the local band “Thrakomelo”.

8.30 p.m.
Myrsini Latzouraki Theatrical Workshop “On Stage” presents the play “Flight 1702 08, Kosovo” at DIPETHE Komotinis.

9.00 p.m.
The “Evmolpos” Choir under the direction of Mr. Sakis Vargemetzidis will sing at the Cultural Movement.

Sunday, May 8
9.30 a.m.
Last day of the Conference for the 100 years of Komotini’s Freedom at Papanikolaou Foundation.

9.00 a.m.
The Youth and Volunteering Center “Exagono” in collaboration with the Mountaineering Association of Komotini and the Panhellenic Association of Foresters and Natural Environment Managers, plan educational hiking on the beautiful and picturesque trails in the areas of Nymfaia, Parcharia, Neromuloi. The meeting point where the excursion will start is The Great Heroon (Spathi). During the hike, a representative from the Forest Service will share with the participants their knowledge and useful information regarding the flora of the forest. After the hike, there will be a climbing demonstration at the Symbols. The action is supported by the Greek Red Cross.

11.00 a.m.
The House of Culture, Tradition and Folklore “Philotechnes” celebrates World Dance Day at the courtyard of I.N. Annunciation of the Virgin.

8.30 p.m.
Myrsini Latzouraki Theatrical Workshop “On Stage” presents the play “Flight 1702 08, Kosovo” at DIPETHE Komotinis.

Monday, May 9
6.00 p.m. “Exagon” in collaboration with the Ecological Group of Rodopi, grO2be and the ORGANIZATION EARTH is planning an open dialogue about Nature for those with ecological concerns. The event takes place at Pandrosos Museum of Natural History.

06.00 p.m.
Opening of an exhibition of Thracian artists at Papanikolaou Foundation. The exhibition will last until the 14th of May.

6.30 p.m.
Tribute to the Mayors of Epirus of Komotini at the Tsanakleios School.

Insights Greece - "Eleftheria" Celebrations in Komotini

Tuesday, 10 May
10:00 a.m. At the Vegetable Gardens of Komotini (OAED)
“Exagono” in collaboration with the GI (Earth) Organization, the Spores of Rodopi and the support of environmental organizations of the city, plan the “From the field to the plate in a sustainable way”, an interactive way for people to learn more about food production and waste.

7.30 p.m.
Presentation of the novel “Tracca The Witch of Thrace” by Nagia Dalakoura in collaboration with KLEIDARITHMOS publications and the DIMOKRITIO bookstore at the Byzantine castle of Komotini.
Marika Pournara, a local lawyer, will talk about the book.

8.30 p.m.
Traditional song concert with Theodosis Abatzianis
“With two homelands in the heart,” A journey to the ends of the Universe guided by the song at the central square of Komotini.

Wednesday, 11 May
6.00 p.m.
Annual photo exhibition of the Photographic Group of Komotini at the Tobacco warehouse. The exhibition will last until the 18th of May.

7.00 p.m.
Festive Byzantine Music live concert at the Papanikolaou Foundation in collaboration with the Association of Friends of Byzantine Music of the Metropolis of Maronia.

8.30 p.m. REX
Concert with Zoe Tiganourias and Michalis Sourvinos. The two distinguished soloists masterfully combine the sounds of their musical instruments (accordion & guitar) in a program based on the Nuevo Tango of Argentina (celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the unique Astor Piazzolla), but also in masterpieces of great composers from Europe and America to their own compositions. Stelios Generalis also participates in percussion.

Insights Greece - "Eleftheria" Celebrations in Komotini

Thursday, 12 May
6.30 p.m.
Book presentation for “The first rains” by Spyros Kiosse at the Tsanakleios School.
Tassos grew up in a popular provincial neighborhood of Komotini in the late ’70s, a transitional period for Greek society. A short story about adulthood, with all the innocence and tragedy that characterizes the most critical period of human life.

7.30 p.m.
“1922 -2022: 100 years since the Asia Minor catastrophe” at the Papanikolaou Foundation. Speech by Mr. Nikolaos Intzesiloglou, Emeritus Professor of History, Philosophy and Sociology of Law.

9.00 p.m.
“Here to stay” is a live concert with the magnificent Eleftheria Arvanitaki at the central square.

Friday, 13 May
10:30 a.m.
Official raising of the historic flag of the city by the Mayor of Komotini, Ioannis Garanis at the Central Heroon (Spathi). Representatives of the Local Government, the authorities of the XXI Armored Brigade and the Honorary Military Procession will be present. A Memorial prayer and laying of wreaths will follow.

07.00 p.m.
Reception of the holy icon of the Mother of God of the holy monastery of Panagia Faneromeni Vathyrryakos.
Reception of the icon and its procession to the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos of Komotini, where a vespers with a bread class will be held.

8.00 p.m.
Folklore dance groups will dance under the melody of the band “Orpheus”.

9.00 p.m.
Speech about the Freedom of Thrace by Prof. Angelos Palikidis, Associate Professor of History Teaching, Department of History & Ethnology, Democritus University of Thrace at the Papanikolaou Foundation.

Insights Greece - "Eleftheria" Celebrations in Komotini

Saturday, 14 May
7.00 a.m. Doxology at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin. After the eulogy, the solemnity of the day will be recited. Laying of wreaths at the Central Heroon and a parade of The Cultural Organizations, the students, the Armed Forces and the Greek Police will follow.

8.00 a.m.
2nd “Brevert Eleftheria Thrace” 2022 at the Central Square. The event with the international code title “Brevet Eleftheria Thrace” has received an official license to organize events Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRM) and has been part of the official international calendar ACP program since September 2020. It concerns the crossing of 210 km through many five local houses and five different municipalities (Municipality of Komotini, Municipality of Arriana, Municipality of Maronia Sapon, Municipality of Vistonida, Municipality of Iasmos) in two Regional Associations of Rodopi and Xanthi.

8.00 p.m.
Dance groups are accompanied by the band “Lalitades of Rodopi” at Central Square.

Sunday, 15 May
11.00 a.m. At the west entrance of Panthrakikos Stadium, the Equestrian Club of Komotini is waiting for the public to show them their four-legged friends.

9.00 p.m.
Concert with Georgia Ntagaki at the Central Square.
With her beautiful melodies, songs and lyre, Georgia Ntagaki travels and enchants the people of Komotini with her band.

Insights Greece - "Eleftheria" Celebrations in Komotini

Monday, 16 May
7.30 p.m.
Since 1977 the International Museum Council has been organizing the International Museum Day at the Folklore Museum of Komotini. The aim of this year’s theme of celebration “The Power of Museums” is to highlight the role of museum spaces in the issue of Mental Health in the difficult times of modern society.

Tuesday, 17 May
9.00 p.m.
Concert with the band “As Old” at the Central Square.

Wednesday, 18 May
7.30 p.m.
Revival of chant in the streets of the city and around the Komotini Club starting from the Central Square.
Organization: Cultural Association of the Byzantine Fortress of Komotini. The “Evmolpos” Choir participates.

The program is presented by journalist Irini Tsakiri.

Images of Komotini by Anastasia Fountouli ©

Top Must-See Landmarks in Komotini

If there is one word to describe Komotini that would be multiculturalism. Here, west meets east, the past and the present coexist uniquely and there is always a legend to be told about its historic sites. Komotini, with its natural beauty and traditional elements, has something to accommodate everyone but did you know that it also has some of the finest Greek architecture?

Let’s go on a tour around the city looking at some of the city’s finest architectural pieces that can give us a glimpse into the socio-economical status of Komotini’s past, how people lived, what were their habits and financial situation, and even what jobs they held.

Entering the city from the west, visitors will come across Mansion Dermertzoglou, a one-storey building boasting a variety of Greek neoclassical features. The building’s aesthetic reflects the unique taste of its first residents; the main pillars featuring Doric capitals support the richly decorated pediment and the balconies are decorated with clam-shaped banisters making the most eye-catching facade.

Just a few meters away at Tsanakli street is the start of The old Greek historic district of Komotini that has three buildings with unique stories- The Old Library, Zoidis mansion and Eliades mansion. Those 19th-century mansions depicting a card postal, are declared protected monuments under the Greek state legislation making the street a blast from the past as they cannot be taken down or altered. Nowadays, the building of The Old Library houses K.Karatheodori S.A, Zoidis mansion is a famous cafe bar and Eliades mansion is an uninhabited building.

On Dimokritou and Sofouli corner, visitors come eye-to-eye with the iconic Lesxi Komotinaion, a cafe with a rich history that has been open to the public since 1921. The high ceilings, crystal pendant lights and staircase are a testament to its neoclassical architecture, built during the Ottoman domination in Greece. The building is a declared monument of cultural heritage in Greece that testifies to the history of Komotini.

On the other side of Dimokritou street, visitors see a grandiose, peach coloured building with green sash windows, Tsanakleios School. Built in 1906 from funds provided by Nestoras Tsanakleios, a tobacco merchant from Komotini, this used to be an all-boys school that later turned into the Old University Rectorate and it currently hosts the public library. Even though the building has changed many uses since the day it was built, perhaps the saddest one is from when it used to be an orphanage.

Situated in the middle of the renewed area of Komotini on Sofouli street, where once the river run through, is a 150-years old church, the Metropolitan Church of the Assumption. Built during the Ottoman empire, the church lies almost half a meter under the current street level, as there was a building height regulation stating that anything Greek built during the days of the Ottoman empire should not be on a higher level than the Turkish buildings. Near the temple is a part of the Byzantine wall ruins, as it is also across the street.

Komotini Fortress once used to be the centre of the Jewish community. The Byzantine walls had large wooden doors that closed every night for the safety of the residents. They protected the community but also separated the two different worlds living in Komotini. Nowadays, the remains of the 4th-century walls, scattered through the city centre are a reminder of a sad era filled with wars and plunders.

Dating back to the Ottoman era, The Old Market of Komotini is another must-see when in the city. Clusters of old, traditional shops, neatly lined in the cobbled streets make this area one of the most intriguing ones. Here, shops are filled with antique treasures waiting to be discovered, locals gather together to share their news and there is a distinct aroma of freshly grounded coffee in the air.

Located just off Ermou Street is the historic Clock Tower. Originally built in 1884, the Clock Tower was restored and went through an architectural intervention in 1950 resulting in its current form. It is a meeting point for locals and it marks the start of Ermou street.

Next to the Clock Tower lies Yeni Mosque (New Mosque) dating back to 1585. This is a place where the muezzin calls the Greek Muslims to pray five times per day and where the Muftiate of Rhodope Prefecture is housed. What is interesting about this building is that opposed to what its name suggests, it is in fact the oldest mosque in the city!

On Kouloglou street there are two buildings of high importance and architectural uniqueness: at 6-8 Kouloglou street is the famous Skouteri mansion that nowadays hosts the museum of Komotini and at Kouloglou and Seferi corner is the Cultural Centre of Komotini. Both buildings are designated as historic monuments that require a special state of protection. 

Agiou Georgiou street is another place of architectural interest. There lies the building of the Educational Society of Komotini (Ag. Georgiou 26) and The Folkore Museum divided between two identical buildings facing each other, the Peidou mansion on Agiou Georgiou 13 and the Psara mansion on Agiou Georgiou 22. The last two buildings display a typical example of local folk architecture and have been restored as exemplary. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, between 9.00 – 13.00. Visitors can contact 2531025931 for information and organized guided tours.

In Komotini’s central square, Plateia Eirinis, visitors come across a cultural heritage building designed by the architect Othonas at the beginning of the 20th century. The building features yellow walls with arched balcony doors, wooden shades and a mixture of Byzantium and neoclassical architectural elements. In 1933 it was bought by Nikolaos Papatheodorou and it was turned into a hotel, Astoria‘, in 1934. 

The Thracian Cultural Center and Thracian Conservatory are set in the renovated building of the Tobacco Warehouse. The building was renovated more than a decade ago and it has four floors with many large rooms that are used for multiple events and purposes either by the Municipality of Komotini or by cultural and social Associations.

Images by Anastasia Fountouli ©

Komotini Like a Local

Born and raised in Servia, a small town set between a lake and the mountains in the region of Kozani, Anastasia Fountouli was drawn to nature, gardening and her family’s vegetable patch. So, it comes as no surprise she went on to study Agricultural Sciences at the University of Thessaly in Volos.

“Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of this experience was that through meeting people from different countries, I was inspired to travel abroad and immerse myself in different civilisations,” says Anastasia who continued her studies in England and later on moved to Scotland for her PhD all while travelling around Europe.

“What began as a fun, one-year adventure, resulted in a life in the UK for a little over a decade. After all this time, I now consider Scotland as my second home,” says Anastasia. 

Once the uncertainty of the pandemic hit, she began to re-evaluate her life, and, “it soon became clear to me that I had to return back to Greece. Once the travel restrictions were lifted, I quit my job, flew to Volos and I found myself in my old flat contemplating what my next step should be. Then, totally unexpectedly and on a night I didn’t even want to go out, I met my now-husband.

 “Our attraction was instant, and our chemistry was so strong we both knew we were made for each other. Saying ‘yes’ to his proposal was the easiest decision I ever made in my life. Once I got pregnant, we decided to move to his city, Komotini and the rest is history. If there is one thing I have learned so far is to take the risk, it’s worth it!”

Since 2007, Anastasia has also been a popular lifestyle blogger, sharing travel, restaurant, and fashion tips with her loyal followers who are inspired by her beautiful images and recommendations. Over the last year, she has shared a lot of stunning photography, footage and information about her new hometown, which she has fallen in love with, and is keen to share with the rest of the world.

We recently had a chat with Anastasia about her new life in Komotini, as well as where to go, what to see and the best places to eat when visiting this pretty town in eastern Thrace.

Firstly, please tell us when you started blogging and more about Natbee’s travels.

Natbee’s is an extension of my childhood habit of journal writing but with a modern twist! It started in 2007 as a way to keep in touch with family and friends and flourished while living abroad. I write about my travels, hotel and restaurant recommendations and, so far, people enjoy following along! Essentially, I am the brand, I photograph everything myself, I write and edit the articles and I come up with the creative side, too. It is a one-woman band but I love it! The blog has constantly evolved as my life was evolving and it was nominated for the ‘Best Newcoming Blog’ award in the 2012 Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, for the ‘Best Fashion Blog’ award in the 2013 Company Magazine Blog Awards and got a spot in the Top 10 Scottish Blogs list. At the same time, I was a travel contributor to The Gaudie newspaper and Trend Aberdeen magazine which persuaded my love for travel writing and photography even more. 

How would you describe your new hometown to those who have never heard of this charming city?

A hub successfully mixing Western and Eastern civilisation; from mosques to Christian churches, tell-tale signs of modern Greece and the Ottoman Empire are all over the city making Komotini’s cityscape and architecture exceptionally unique. Much like London, in Komotini people come from different backgrounds and religions and they live here harmoniously, tasting each other’s cultures through friendship, food, and trade -a thing that I love the most about living here. 

What are the must-see monuments and historical sites of Komotini?

In no particular order, if visiting Komotini, you must visit the Tsanakleios School (that’s the pink building you often see on my Instagram), the Yeni Mosque with its Clock Tower, Ermou Street and the surrounding cobbled streets where the traditional shops belonging to the Greek Muslim minority are tucked away, the ruins of the 4th-century Byzantine wall, the Byzantine fortress of Komotini, the Old Temenos (also known as Eksi Mosque) and last but not least the central square with the adjacent park that features The Central Heroon, Spathi, a monument dedicated to the fallen WWII heroes.

What would you recommend for cultural and leisurely experiences in Komotini?

Komotini is known for its large number of museums making the city a meeting point for history aficionados. The Constantine Carathéodory Museum tells the life story of the man who is known as Einstein’s mathematician, the Archaeological Museum exhibits pieces from the Neolithic to the Byzantine period and reveals much about the prehistory and history of the Aegean Thrace and Komotini; and the Folklore Museum displays a collection of ecclesiastic items, traditional dresses and various materials. There is something for everyone’s taste really! If, however, escaping the crowds is your thing, there are also beaches with fine sand to visit in less than half an hour’s drive away. Located just outside the city, Mesi Beach and Fanari are two of my favourites. The stretch of sand of Mesi beach would make many Greek islands jealous: it goes for a mile and on a sunny day, the azure waters make it impossible to resist a swim. Fanari Beach runs down from the port of Fanari village up to the nearby village of Arogi. In summer it is a top tourist attraction and it has a handful of bars and restaurants to sit and relax when the heat gets too much.

Favourite restaurants and cafes?

Visiting Komotini is like going on a gastronomical pilgrimage! Visitors can enjoy Greek coffee at cafes hosted in old buildings, ‘Varosi Art Cafe’, ‘Gecko’ and ‘Lou.Ki’ are just a few of them. As for food, try the local cuisine at ‘Kapsouli’ and ‘Elia kai Duosmos’. Then for dessert, there is ‘Nedim’, possibly the most famous patisserie in the city that has a sterling reputation for its Turkish desserts.

Any local dishes or delicacies visitors should try?

I’d definitely go for Bougatsa at ‘Takis’, Lahmacun at ‘King Food’ and Kazandibi at ‘Nedim’.

Your favourite day trip(s) from Komotini?

Situated between the beautiful cities of Xanthi and Alexandroupoli, the sandy beaches on the south and the mountain of Nymfaia just a short drive away, we are spoiled for choice! My favourite day trip would include a drive to the city of Xanthi for a wander around the Old City and a spot of shopping. Then, on my way back I would go through Porto Lagos, have a quick stop at the Monastery of Saint Nicholas and end up at Fanari village for a cocktail at the beach just before the sunset.

What do you love most about living here?

The friendly people and its long cycle lane going through the city centre. It makes mobility for a new mum with a buggy so much easier. 

A few of your overall favourite destinations in Greece?

The magical land of Crete has to be on the very top of my list -the history, the people and the food make this island irresistibly attractive. Santorini and Corfu are next. Santorini for its magical sunsets, white-washed houses with blue-painted doors and abundance of wineries, and Corfu for its Venetian vibes, colourful cobbled streets and luxury hotels. But Greece is not all about the islands as the mainland has, too, so much to offer and even more. I have a soft spot for Macedonia as it has a strong history and a lavishness of things to do and places to visit comprising of mountains, lakes and beaches. It is no surprise that the saying ‘like Halkidiki nowhere’ has been posted all over Instagram over the past decade as the crystal-clear waters and evergreen beaches of this part of Macedonia make this place unmissable.

You recently became a mum. Are there any places you can’t wait to visit with your baby girl? 

My list is never-ending! Be it the travel restrictions, or my new, tiring role, there hasn’t been a time that I have dreamed of travelling more than now. This pent-up wanderlust has created that compulsion to write meticulous travel itineraries which I am hoping we will go on the soonest as possible. One of them includes a Balkan road trip where we will be visiting Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro. Fingers crossed we make it happen.

Discover more about Natbee’s travels and Komotini here.

Images by Anastasia Fountouli ©