Greece and Italy Named Europe’s Best Destinations for 2021

Rich history, authentic cultural traditions, breathtaking landscapes, stunning islands, azure waters, delicious food – with so much in common- it’s easy to see why Greece and Italy are Europe’s leading travel destinations!

Greece, with its resurgent travel and tourism economy, was voted ‘Europe’s Leading Destination’, at the prestigious World Travel Awards, which took place this month. The awards are widely regarded as the “Oscars of the travel industry” and with Greece having a strong summer season (despite the pandemic) proved to be the most desired destination.

Greece’s Tourism Minister, Vassilis Kikilias, announced: “Greece managed the pandemic and followed medical and travel protocols in the best possible way, proving to the world that it is the most beautiful but also the safest destination. This international award for 2021 comes to confirm that when it comes to tourism we are champions in quality and the travel experience.” 

The results followed a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands. Votes were cast by travel industry professionals and the public, with the nominee gaining the most votes in a category named as the winner.

 “Our winners represent the very best of Europe’s travel and tourism sector and my congratulations to each of them. They are all playing starring roles in leading the travel and tourism recovery,” said Graham Cooke, Founder, World Travel Awards.

Italy was a runner-up at these awards, however at the 25th Readers’ Choice Awards (RCA), which were also announced this month, Italy took first place with Greece ranking second on the list of ‘Europe’s Best Overall Destinations’ for 2021.

The annual American Readers’ Choice Awards are organised in the US by Worth Publications and the bi-monthly travel magazine Recommend. The coveted event recognises excellence among destinations, hotels, resorts, travel agents, cruise lines, airlines, and more.

The awards were determined based on the vote of over 135,000 readers, who participated in an online poll during July 8 – August 31, 2021; and are given to countries, travel/tourism agencies, and companies around the world that have established themselves in terms of excellence while attracting the strong interest of the global tourism industry.

Bringing A Slice of the Mediterranean Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

What part of Greece is your father from? 

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

What do you enjoy most about your work?

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

What are some creative sources of inspiration for you? 

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

Insights Greece - Bringing A Slice of the Mediterranean Home

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

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

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

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

 A few of your favourite holiday spots around Greece? 

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

What neighbourhoods do you love exploring in Athens?

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

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

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

Insights Greece - Bringing A Slice of the Mediterranean Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

Created by Alexandra Heard and Heleena Trahanas, ALEX AND TRAHANAS is a stunning Australian lifestyle brand, which is the result of Heleena and Alexandra’s love for “the staggering beauty of summer on the Mediterranean.”  

The classic label features garments, accessories and entertaining pieces inspired by their travels to Europe and beyond- where they visit frequently to source the finest of fabrics, materials and production methods.

IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with both creators about their successful brand, their latest collection, as well as their love for the Greek islands. 

Tell us about your lifestyle brand. When was it launched and what was the concept behind it?

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

ALEX AND TRAHANAS was launched in 2017- aiming to bring the Mediterranean to Australian waters. It is curious about how we undertake life’s every day and special ceremonies, and is driven to create pieces that elevate these moments through quality timeless design.  Our passion for travel and culture inspired us to create a platform in 2017, which allowed us to share collectable pieces and experiences.

What inspires your creations and how would you describe your designs? 

The Mediterranean inspires the brand throughout. We really wanted to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Australia and create our own little Europe through the curated world of ALEX AND TRAHANAS which includes; linen garments -designed and made in Australia, ceramics from the south of Italy to elevate life’s delicious ceremonies of effortless long rolling lunches, along with collaborations with artists and designers we admire. ALEX AND TRAHANAS is a way of life, a way of being, which echoes life lived in the Mediterranean.

What do you love most about what you do?

We love that work and play are intrinsically connected, it’s a way of life, we love what we do.

What are a few of your favourite pieces from your latest fashion collections? 

We love it all! We’re excited about some new pieces we’ve added to our tablescape, such as our Roman Banquet candle, 100% beeswax, handmade in Bondi. This is a collaboration with one of Australia’s most talented creatives, Tony Assness. We’re also excited to continue our jewellery collaboration with Louise Olsen- together we’ve designed some new earrings inspired by Chifferi pasta. We’ll also be whisking through summer wearing our new Ischia dress and Fruittivendelo unisex shirt and shorts.

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

Some of your beautiful creations are inspired by Greece. Tell us more about those?

We’re definitely drawn to the calming palette of blue and white, which is so prevalent in Greece, it brings back memories of all the beautiful seaside spots.

Where are your pieces made? 

Our ceramics are handmade by artisans in Puglia, in the south of Italy. They are all hand painted, making each one of a kind. We also work locally with artists such as Louise Olsen whom we collaborate with to make jewellery, and also Tony Assness who makes our 100% beeswax candles in Bondi, Sydney.

Heleena, tell us about your family connection to Greece? 

My grandparents migrated from Greece. My family are from the Peloponnese, from Tripoli, Selianitika and Akrata.

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

How often do you travel to Europe and what are some of your favourite summer destinations in Greece?

We travelled twice a year to Europe to source new treasures, we are always seeking out to find pieces to build the Mediterranean lifestyle in Australia. We love Milos and Hydra, the more untouched islands.

Over the last few years you’ve visited Sifnos and Hydra, where would you recommend to eat, drink & swim? 


Swim: Poulati, Vathi, Platos Yialos.

Eat: For lunch we recommend Cheronissos Fish Tavern and Manolis in Vathi. For dinner  head to Taverna Chrisopigi in Perivoli and To Xryso in Artemonas.


Swim: You can find little beaches all along the small island of Hydra, boats are frequent or you can walk. Mandraki, Spilia, Castello, Vlychos Beach.

Eat: To Pefkaki for lunch, Kodylenias, Techne Restaurant, Xeri Elia.

Drink: Hydronetta, Sunset Restaurant.

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean


What are a few key pieces from your collections that you always pack with you when visiting the Mediterranean?

Our white aloe-vera infused Italian linen Summer Shirt Dress, the navy Aperitivo Dress, the striped Giorgia dress from our collaboration with Masseria Moroseta, as well as our aloe-vera infused Italian Linen Shirt and Summer tailored shorts (the perfect set). We always work to an effortless, throw-on, beach-to-apertivo uniform on our European summer travels.

You also love entertaining. What are a few of your favourite dishes/desserts you enjoy making for family and friends?

We do! We actually live for it. Each time we entertain we select a cuisine or particular region, and explore recipes which originate from there. For the most case, everything we make is for the first time a part from a few cuisine-specific classics such as prawn saganaki and Spanakopita (for Greek menus) and fresh pasta (for Italian menus). Dreaming up the menu is our favourite part  – there is always lots of back and forth sharing of recipes, images and ideas. We think a lot about the balance of dishes to make up a truly delicious occasion and about the mouth-watering flavour and texture combinations. Recently we enjoyed making a grilled squid, cavolo nero, chili, garlic and parsley dish from our good friend David Lovett, as well as an almond granita which was so elegant and refreshing after a sprawling dinner party feast.

Insights Greece - Timeless Lifestyle Brand Inspired by the Mediterranean

What are some of your tips for simple and elegant table styling when entertaining? 

Table styling should be fun and relaxed, never stuffy. Think about textures, linen, abundance, statements and lighting.  When the table is set in a gorgeous mix of colours, heights, shapes and textures it really sets the tone for the occasion. Enjoy the ceremony of styling the pieces you’ve collected over time. For us, it’s Apulian hand-painted ceramics, Italian wine tumblers and colourful water glasses by Bitossi and a linen table cloth, sometimes layered with a table runner from Puglia.

Where would you like to explore next for work and play? 

Andros, we can’t wait!