Ultimate Travel Capsule Wardrobe for Autumn ’23

Exuding elegance and ease – these new-season pieces can effortlessly take you from day to night. 

Whether you’ve planned an entire week of visiting amazing museums and eating at some of the Greek capital’s hottest new restaurants, or heading up North to experience Thessaloniki’s impressive attractions and lively bars – we’ve put together a versatile autumn travel capsule wardrobe to cover your entire stay!

From classics – including a trench coat and boots to this year’s must-have leather skirt and Mary Janes – our editors’ picks are both practical and stylish. 

Long Sleeve Top

Looking for the perfect layering essential to add to any fall outfit? Basic long-sleeve tops have you covered! Go for either white or grey, as these neutrals can be worn with everything else in your luggage – and never date. 

Jeans

No wardrobe (closet or suitcase) is ever complete without a pair of jeans. Whether you prefer a high-waist, straight-leg, or boot-cut version, you can never go wrong when paired with chic sneakers during the day and fancier shoes for a night out.

White Shirt

Roll up the sleeves, pop the collar, or button it all up—no matter which way you like wearing it, a crisp white shirt is another essential layer that adds instant style to everyday jeans or trousers. 

Leggings

We aren’t talking about the ones you workout in – we mean these chic vegan leather leggings you can wear to brunch, a day of sightseeing, or a late-night dinner. Pair them with your basic long-sleeve top, blazer, sneakers – and you are set to go! 

Riding Boots

Boots are perfect when travelling, as they offer comfort and versatility. And we can’t go past these timeless black riding boots that can be worn with ease – adding extra warmth and polish to any outfit. 

Denim Shirt

This relaxed shirt has become a staple in everyone’s wardrobe as it’s the perfect transitional piece. And don’t think twice about wearing denim on denim- as the fashion world’s obsession with denim is at an all-time high. 

Lifestyle Sneakers

Every traveller needs a cool pair of sneakers that are practical, comfortable and chic. Paired with leggings or jeans – they can be worn on your way to the airport, for long days of sightseeing, and any casual outing.

Blazer

Another must in our mix of travel staples is the classic blazer, which has become our ultimate layering tool. Throw it over anything and you will look sharp and sophisticated in a matter of seconds.

Turtleneck

Versatile and flattering, a turtleneck is a must-have addition this time of year as not only does it keep you warm- but you can also easily dress it up, or style it casually for everyday wear.

Trench Coat

A classic trench instantly elevates any look and this water-repellent trench is ideal for those rainy days. Pop it on and stylishly make your way around town, ticking off all the must-visit spots on your list!

Leather Skirt

Easily wearable throughout your entire travels, a leather skirt adds a touch of luxury to your capsule wardrobe. We love pairing ours with a feminine shirt and ballet flats.

Mary Jane Flats

Blending comfort and style – Mary Janes are an eternal classic that you can wear sitting on a plane, walking around a busy departure lounge, or while enjoying an aperitivo with uninterrupted views of the Acropolis.

Main Image Courtesy of Zara 

Chat With Luxury Travel Expert Cleo Anderson

Cleo Anderson, a luxury travel expert, and the Principal and Founder of multi-award-winning PR agency The Anderson Group, recently landed her own travel show with LUXE.TV.

In less than a year since its premiere, the talented media personality has already won ‘Broadcast Media Host and Producer of the Year 2023’ for ‘Wanderluxe with Cleo Anderson’ at the Influential Businesswoman Awards.

From carefully sourcing the finest stays in the world – to place inside each impressive Oscar nominee gift bag, to finding unique ways to launch new products for high-end brands – no two days are the same for Cleo, who loves travelling the world and sharing her 5-star experiences. 

We recently had a chat with Cleo about luxury travel, her time filming LUXE.TV in Athens, as well as her favourite getaways. Read on to discover more. 

What have been some of your career highlights so far?

I feel that anyone who builds something of their own and sustains that over some time has managed to do something that many do not, so for me that is an overarching accomplishment. Lately, there have also been some really exciting highlights, including being hailed a luxury travel expert in Forbes in 2020, which was fantastic. Early on in my PR career, landing the UK contract to do the PR for Monte Carlo SBM’s 150th Anniversary was a career highlight, as they are such a revered brand in the hotel world. Being crowned the Luxury Travel Curator for The Oscar Nominee gift bag has been great, too, but landing my travel show with LUXE.TV – ‘Wanderluxe with Cleo Anderson’ – has been the pinnacle of my career to date and is a dream job – it’s something I have wanted to do for a while.

As owner of an award-winning luxury PR agency, what do you enjoy most about your work?

I love the variety in terms of the types of clients we work with; working with luxury hotels, I will often visit and stay to get a feel for what they have to offer. I have visited a myriad of places like Cambodia, Bali, Turkey, Vietnam, and Monaco on client visits, which has been great. We also work with some gorgeous luxury products; recently we worked with a standout luxury olive oil made in Greece, which we did a fantastic global PR campaign for. Whether it be working on a campaign for gourmet vegan chocolates or a boutique hotel in some remote place, no two days are the same, so it’s never boring.

Insights Greece - Chat With Luxury Travel Expert Cleo Anderson

When did your passion for travel begin?

In the early days, it was a trip I did with a group of friends and my sister – we went to Miami’s South Beach. That was my first transatlantic girl’s trip and that piqued my interest in world travel. Shortly after that, I went to Thailand with another group of friends, and it became a habit to visit new places when I was able. Once I started, I realised that I was born to travel the world.

In the year 2023, how would you define “Luxury Travel”?

People are travelling more than ever after being grounded for so long, and I believe that luxury travel is about the individualised, bespoke travel itinerary. For me, that’s what 2023 travel is all about following the pandemic.

What type of travel experiences do you think people are currently searching for?

I feel that it has given people a new perspective on life, and I think that people are looking to tick off their big bucket list trips. People want to live their lives more fully than before.

Insights Greece - Chat With Luxury Travel Expert Cleo Anderson

What have been a few standout hotels you’ve recently visited?

We work with a company in Germany that converts lighthouses into luxury boutique hotels – one such hotel in the Canary Islands, Spain is Faro Cumplida. That stay was fantastic, and the location is great. Al Sahel by Anantara in Abu Dhabi was also an enjoyable stay; Anantara is one of my favourite hotel brands, and Al Sahel, in particular, is a nature lover’s dream. The dwellings have a ‘glamping’ feel – luxury on the inside, with a gorgeous setting and a much-needed plunge pool for the heat. I have memories of sitting on the patio with my morning coffee and watching the wildlife -deer, peacocks, and more – stroll past me completely unfazed. It was beautiful.

On the Athenian Riviera, Dolce by Wyndham in Vravrona was a pleasant find. It’s a delightful family resort, but many people don’t know that it also has a handful of private villas with your own private butler, private pool and stunning sea views. I stayed there during filming, and we feature the villa on the show. It was a gorgeous stay. I also love the Four Seasons Astir Palace

One of your most memorable getaways?

I remember a stay at a hotel called Argos in Cappadocia; the location is like nowhere else on earth. The terrain is out of this world, and the landscape is incredible. In the mornings you can watch scores of hot air balloons rise into the sky and I loved going up in a hot air balloon myself one morning, with a champagne and strawberries breakfast laid out once we landed. It is a unique place and a must-see for anyone who loves travel.

Insights Greece - Chat With Luxury Travel Expert Cleo Anderson

Tell us more about your new travel series ‘Wanderluxe With Cleo Anderson’.

It’s a brand-new luxury travel show that premiered on LUXE.TV earlier this year, with 462 million subscribers in 65 countries. Each episode features different ways to enjoy luxury, from exclusive hotels and resorts to unique experiences in each location. The show is available to watch in Greece on Cosmote TV and Vodafone, as well as other channels. The cinematography is beautiful, and it’s a dream to film.

Your first series is based in Athens. Can you share some of your favourite experiences filming in the Greek capital?

We feature several gorgeous places, including a penthouse with Acropolis views. It was beautiful to wake up to that historical view in the morning after filming – I never get tired of it. Walking around Plaka and filming there was stunning; the Greek people were really hospitable and interested in what we were doing, so it was fun. We also enjoyed going out to sea – we wanted to highlight the things that people don’t seem to know about both Greece and Athens; being in Greece is not just about visiting the islands – the Athens Riviera also has a lot to offer and it’s so close to the city centre.

Insights Greece - Chat With Luxury Travel Expert Cleo Anderson

What are a few of your favourite Greek islands?

Visually, Santorini for me is the most elegant and beautiful island. I also enjoyed Mykonos – walks around the island are just lovely. In my teen years, I would visit Skiathos and Rhodes with my sister each year, so I’ve been coming to Greece for some time and know it pretty well. There are always more places to explore, which is what I love about Greece.

What do you always pack with you when travelling?

I always have my laptop so that I can keep up with work – it’s my portable office. A good face and body moisturiser is a must and is always in my bag. My portable speaker by Bose goes everywhere with me, especially if I’m going to be poolside. Vaseline for my lips is essential – the small tins with cocoa butter are perfect. I also switched from sugar to Stevia last year, so I always keep liquid Stevia in my bag for my coffee in the morning. When travelling I also make sure I have a chic bathing suit or two with me – in Athens, I really enjoyed swimming in the sea.

Finally, if you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?

St Barth’s had been on my bucket list for so long and that’s where one of the next episodes was filmed. As I’m half Caribbean, I feel right at home there!

Sparta’s Museum of Olive and Olive Oil

This beautifully designed museum located in Sparta invites visitors to discover the rich culture and history surrounding Greece’s famed olive and olive oil production – from prehistoric times to the early 20th century. 

Housed in a two-storey, industrial stone building the Museum of Olive and Olive Oil is a place where you will also learn about olive oil’s many uses as this area is one of the main olive-producing locations of Greece. 

Insights Greece - Sparta’s Museum of Olive and Olive Oil
Learn all about Greece’s famous olive

For each historical period, guests are able to learn about the contribution olives and olive oil have made to Greece’s economy and the way in which Greeks use it in their everyday life- from its health and beauty benefits to its influence on Greek mythology, religion, art, and technology.

On the lower floor, you will find post-byzantine technology of the olive mills and a section about domestic and industrial soap-making. In the open-air exhibition, visitors can get up close to the three different oil press machines, one prehistoric, one Hellenistic, and one from the Byzantine era.

The upper floor highlights the first testimonials of the olive as well as its contribution to Greece’s economy and shows written testimonies dating back to the 14th century, on Linear B inscribed tablets, while there are also exhibits of rare fossilized olive leaves approximately 50.000-60.000 years old, that were found in Santorini. 

Insights Greece - Sparta’s Museum of Olive and Olive Oil
View different oil press machines

Throughout the space, you will also see an impressive wooden double press with a winch from the neighbouring village of Xirokambi, and an olive press from the island of Lefkada, which documents the survival of animal power in the 20th century, as well as models representing the functioning of engine-powered olive presses. And at the end of the visit, you will be given details of archaeological sites to olive oil production in the Peloponnese if you wish to continue your journey of olive and olive oil discovery. 

Information

Hours: 10  am to 6 pm (March 1st – October 15th)

10 am to 5 pm (October 16th – February 28th)

Admission Fee: 2€

Address: Othonos-Amalias 129, 23100 Sparta

Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns

Areopoli in the Peloponnese is one of the prettiest towns in Greece. Boasting a small historical centre, charming stone houses, cobblestone alleyways and prominent tower houses- it’s worth adding to your list if you are searching for a destination filled with authenticity, history and culture.  

Centrally located in the heart of Mani, it has now become an attractive destination year-round thanks to its friendly locals who keep their traditional taverns, cafes, shops and hotels open summer and winter.  

History of the Town

Insights Greece - Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns
A pretty town in Laconia | Image by Valantis M

Aeropoli played a huge role in the Greek War of Independence and took its name from the Greek God of War “Ares”.  In fact, the people of Aeropoli were the first to raise the banner of the Revolution in Mani. This symbolic white decorated flag (with the Revolution’s symbols) is now exhibited in the Historical Museum of Athens.

Areopoli’s Architecture

The traditional architecture of Mani is highlighted throughout the town via its traditional stone, a raw material found in the cobbled streets, the churches, the houses and the towers of Aeropoli; it’s displayed everywhere you look in the “fortified settlement”. Stone was used not only as it was a material found in abundance throughout Mani but also because it provided the necessary protection for locals who were “hidden” by the eyes of the pirates.

Things to See in Areopoli

Insights Greece - Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns
Taxiarchon Church

Church of Taxiarches- the beautiful metropolitan church of Taxiarches was built by the family of Mavromichalis. Located in the centre of the city, at the historical square of the 17th of March 1821- it was right here where locals declared the revolution against the Ottoman Empire. Built with well-processed stones, it stands out with its impressive five-storied bell tower. The church’s dome features ten sides and the five-sided arch of the altar area is decorated with small marble columns and marble arches.

Pikoulakis Tower- has three storeys, with a strong, two- storey tower-house. Here you will also discover  the impressive Byzantine Museum of Mani and the Church of Agios Ioannis, built by the Mavromichalis family (check out the lovely wall paintings that date back to 1746.)

Mavromichalis Tower is a four-storey tower surrounded by a large building complex and a tall enclosure, rendering it a real fortress; for many years it served as a school.

The Pirgos (Tower) of Biroulakaou and Pikoulaki.

-At the central square of the village “Platia Athanaton” you will come across the statue of Petrompeis Mavromichalis, the famous chieftain and offspring of the Mavromichalis family.

Things to Do in Areopoli

Insights Greece - Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns
Cobblestone alleyways

-Stroll around its stone-built alleys that are filled with beautiful bougainvillea and charming homes that reveal so much about the town’s rich history. Hidden between the picturesque streets of Areopoli are many churches large and small, dating from the 17th to the 19th century. Many of them still retain part of their murals and icons. Make sure you sit at a kafenion that’s filled with locals chatting away and enjoy a traditional Greek coffee and a delicious dessert. 

– Visit the Caves of Diros, which are among the most important natural sites in Greece and with great archaeological significance. The caves hidden among rugged rocks have revealed Palaeolithic finds- recent excavations at Apidima brought to light a human skeleton from 300,000 years ago, known as Tainaros Man. Access to these caves can be gained over the rocks by the sea to the left of Limeni. Driving south from Areopoli, it is 8 km to the village of Pirgos Dirou, where the road forks off to the underground caves.

-Not far from Areopolis, you will find Limeni, a seaside village where natural beauty, coastal vistas, and history combine. At Limeni, there are plenty of gorgeous places where you can swim, eat and stay at.

-If you are in Aeropoli on a Saturday, check out the open-air market in the main square with a lot of locals selling their organic produce and traditional delicacies. 

-Only 1.5km away you will find the village Sotiras also known as Kouskouni. It is an amphitheatrically built village with a beautiful view of Areopoli.

Dishes to try in Areopoli 

Insights Greece - Visiting Areopoli, One of Greece’s Prettiest Towns
Traditional taverns

In Areopoli and in the wider area of Laconia you will find many traditional restaurants serving dishes and specialties of the Mani district. The main ingredient is pork- mainly roasted suckling pig, sausages, and salt pork, which you will find on most menus. The local specialty Sigklino is salt-cured pork, which is smoked and later boiled with olive oil and oranges. Also, try the Pasto (another cured pork meat that is smoked) and Hilopites– homemade pasta accompanied by local cheese. the local Xorta  (wild greens) are also amazing. Mani is also known for Kagianas, which are fried eggs with tomato and cheese and Lalagia- fried dough strips.  Around the central square, there are a lot of traditional restaurants and cafes where you can taste these dishes and more delightful delicacies. 

Getting there

Around a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Athens, and an hour and 15-minute drive from Kalamata. Ktel Laconia runs three daily buses from Athens to Areopoli (a 4.5-hour trip) via Sparta and Gythio.

Main image courtesy of Web Greece 

Greece Set to Welcome Digital Nomads

Greece has tabled a bill in parliament aimed at drawing digital nomads to the country.

Like many countries around the world, Greece has entered the race to take advantage of the huge increase in remote workers caused by the pandemic and their spending power.

The bill, prepared by the Ministry of Migration, foresees that non-Greek residents will be able to stay in the country for a period of up to 18 months and work with foreign-based employers.

Initially, those applying for the visa can qualify for a 12-month stay, and then a six-month extension will be possible.

Among the conditions that must be met is providing proof that the digital nomad will be in work for the duration of their stay by producing an employee contract. Evidence is also needed that the remote worker earns enough money to get by without burdening the country’s social security system.

Specifically, they will be required to show a monthly income of at least 3,500 euros.

Recent research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed that the Greek economy could benefit by 1.3 billion euros if the country attracted 100,000 digital nomads annually and they stayed in the country for an average of six months.

The bill also includes changes being made to Greece’s Golden visa scheme in a bid to make it more competitive.

This article was first published here. 

For more Real Estate News & Views on Greece and Europe’s South, head to The Greek Guru.

Experience August Full Moon at The Acropolis Museum 

As the midsummer August full moon rises over the Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum invites locals and visitors to experience this annual event at their  wonderful courtyard. 

Officials from the Acropolis Museum have announced visitors are being offered the opportunity to enjoy its exhibits as follows:

Insights Greece - Experience August Full Moon at The Acropolis Museum 
Acropolis Museum

Saturday 21 August 2021

On Saturday 21 August 2021, the Museum exhibition areas will remain open from 8 am to 8 pm with free entry to all visitors, on the occasion of the Museum’s participation in the “Greece 2021” initiative.

The Museum second-floor restaurant will be open until 12 midnight and visitors will be able to enjoy the moon from the terrace for dinner/drinks (phone reservations: +30 210 9000915).

Sunday 22 August 2021

On Sunday 22 August 2021, the Museum exhibition areas will remain open from 8 am to 10 pm. The second-floor restaurant will be open during the same hours.

Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in the gallery talk “Afternoons in the Acropolis Museum”, where they will be introduced to the fascinating stories hidden in the treasures of the Museum’s galleries:

  • English: 6 pm (2 simultaneous talks)
  • Greek: 8 pm (2 simultaneous talks)
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Participation: Limited to 10 visitors per session. For registration, please refer to the Information Desk at the Museum entrance on the same day. First-in first-served.
  • Health protection measures: It is necessary to wear a mask (not provided by the Museum) and to use the whisper guide system headsets (provided by the Museum).
  • Cost: The general admission fee to the Museum is required (10 euro).

Saturday and Sunday morning gallery talks, “Marathon – Salamis. In traces of myth and history” and “Walking in the ancient neighbourhood of the Acropolis Museum” will be held as usual.

For more information head to theacropolismuseum

Visiting the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery in Meteora 

The Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ is the largest and one of the most spectacular monasteries not only in Meteora but all of Greece. It stands atop the highest rock pillar in the area and was founded by Saint Athanasios Meteoriti in the early 14th Century. 

Insights Greece - Visiting the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery in Meteora 
Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Every year thousands of pilgrims arrive at Meteora, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks is a holy site where monks settled on these ‘columns of the sky’ from the 11th century onwards. Twenty-four of these monasteries were built, however today, only six monasteries remain open- the Grand Meteoron being one of them. 

Great Meteoron Monastery 

This particular monastery remains “suspended in the air” (meteoro), because of the cliff formation of a gigantic rock on top of which it was built. The Great Meteoro Monastery or “Megalo Meteoron” is dedicated to the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior and is decorated with beautiful 16th-century frescoes.

There are three chapels at Great Meteoron Monastery: The Chapel of John the Baptist, the chapel of Saint Constantine, and Saint Helens, of which the latter was built in 1789 and is characterised by its polygonal domed basilicas. The third chapel of the monastery is dedicated to Saint Athanasios. 

Insights Greece - Visiting the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery in Meteora 
Monastery of Great Meteoron

Icons inside the Church

Take time to view the artistic details of some of the best samples of post-Byzantine art of Greece, found inside the church. As you enter, there are two carved wooden icon-stands, the left is of Agios Anastasios and on the right is the icon of the Transfiguration of Christ. There is also an icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary) and Saint Nicholas from the 14th / 15th Century. You will also see icons of Saint John the Baptist, the Annunciation of the Theotokos, and the Archangels. 

History of the Monastery 

The Great Meteoron is a male Monastery built on the greatest rock of the complex, the Platys Lithos or Playtlithos before the mid-14th century. In the past, monks used scaffolds in order to get supplies to them and they would climb the rocks to reach the monastery. Afterward, nets with hooks, baskets and rope ladders, or even wooden ladders of 40 metres long were used. 

Insights Greece - Visiting the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery in Meteora 
Monks dedicate their lives to preserving the monastery

Monks of the Monastery 

Monks devoted to Christ, have dedicated their lives to the monastery and hold building materials on their backs, spend hours renovating, restoring, and preserving the monastery, honouring its beauty. As a result, every year, pilgrims and tourists come here by the great mission undertaken there, making Great Meteoron one of the most visited monasteries of Greece.

Exploring the Great Meteoron Monastery 

Visitors can admire the beautiful architecture, which includes a cellar with skulls of monks that have passed, and an impressive balcony. The cellar also houses a wonderful folk museum that includes exhibits taken from historical everyday life. Along with the ossuary, explore the main church and its 15th and 16th Century Byzantine frescos and murals. The monastery’s rectory doubles as a museum with artifacts of monastic life and religious relics. Explore the ancient kitchen for a glimpse into the past and into everyday life in this sky-scraping environment.

Insights Greece - Visiting the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery in Meteora 
The monastery’s library

Don’t miss 

-Seeing the reliquaries, as the monastery keeps with respect holy relics of many and great Saints of the Orthodox Church.

-The garden of the monastery of Great Meteoron, which offers amazing views of the surrounding landscape.

-The monastery’s museum, where historical artifacts and religious icons of importance are on display. 

-The library that’s filled with treasures of books and manuscripts, including Byzantine and post-Byzantine era manuscripts and documents, as well as books concerning the function of the monastery. The monastic library is one of the wealthiest of its kind.

-The collection of the gold-embroidered cloths which is kept in the monastery, they are rich and very remarkable. 

-Silverware that dates from different periods (16th -19th century) and depicts various Saints and other decorative themes.

August 6th Feast Day of Transfiguration of Christ

Insights Greece - Visiting the Transfiguration of Christ Monastery in Meteora 
Icon of the Transfiguration of Christ

The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on August 6. This great Feast commemorates the transfiguration or metamorphosis of Christ on Mount Tabor when our Lord appeared in His divine glory before the Apostles Peter, James, and John.

Tips for visiting

-At the entrance of the monasteries, clothing is provided only to women. Men are not allowed to enter if they are wearing shorts above the knee or sleeveless shirts. In any case, dress appropriately.  

-The Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Great Meteoro has over 300 steps. 

-The monks do not allow anyone to photograph the interiors of the churches and especially the icons, or any of the museums located inside the Meteora monasteries. You can, however, take photos or videos in the gardens and outdoors. 

-Check the opening hours of Meteora monasteries here.

Getting there

The most convenient way to visit Meteora from Athens is by car and the most scenic is by train. The duration from Athens by train is 5 hours (transfer at Paleofarsalos), by bus (KTEL) is 4.5 hours (transfer at Trikala) and 3.5 hours by car. From Thessaloniki by train, it takes 3 hours (transfer at Paleofarsalos), by KTEL is 3 hours (transfer at Trikala) and 2.5 hours by car. 

Messinia’s Annual Navarino Challenge to Take Place in October 

Greece’s award-winning sports tourism event the Navarino Challenge will return in October 2021 for its 9th consecutive year. 

Through its global message “sports unite people”, the event, which will take place between 15-17 October, will offer international and local visitors the opportunity of discovering the beauty of the Messinian landscape and the history highlighted by sporting events for people of all ages.

Insights Greece - Messinia’s Annual Navarino Challenge to Take Place in October 
Kayaking in Messinia

According to organisers, the event follows the ideals of the Olympic Movement, contributing towards the development of a peaceful and better world without any discrimination, and through sports, promoting the benefits of exercise. Navarino Challenge is said to promote the Olympic ideal- highlighting that the important thing in life is not to triumph but to compete.

More than 30 sporting activities will take place at Costa Navarino and Pylos, with the presence of elite Olympic athletes alongside amateur athletes of all ages and abilities. Among the more than 30 sports activities and 10 Olympic sports, there will be competitions in hurdles, taekwondo, basketball, long jump, kayaking, cycling, beach volleyball and more. 

Participants from Greece and abroad will also have a chance of running in the Greek Half Marathon, in Voidokoilia along the picturesque coastline to Pylos. This is the only running route that combines sand, soil, and asphalt. For those who prefer something less challenging, there is also a 10km and 5km trail runs. 

Stay At Costa Navarino

The famous resort has designed a special accommodation package which includes rooms, sports/wellbeing activities, delicious local dishes, and delicacies, plus access to Costa Navarino’s facilities. For more information on accommodation packages check out costanavarino.

*For more information on the sporting events head to navarinochallenge.

Athens’ Unique Politiko-Cuisine Charcuterie

In 2014 Evripidou St, the “spice street” of Athens, became even more sensorily exciting with the opening of the restaurant-deli Ta Karamanlidika Tou Fani, located in a old lovely stone house with a pretty, naturally-lit courtyard.

Insights Greece - Athens' Unique Politiko-Cuisine Charcuterie
Perfect breakfast

Through this restaurant, a few years ago a second one opened on Ermou 119, as Fanis Theodoropoulos of the Arapian family, who came to Athens after the fall of Asia Minor in 1922, aims to honour the culinary traditions of the Byzantine ‘patromageireio’. 

Being amongst the Greek Orthodox community from Turkey with origins in Cappadocia and Cilikia, who were known as Karamanlides, Theodoropoulos lovingly entices and satisfies the appetites with a whole host of meze and main dishes.

Both at the original restaurant on Evripidou and the new one on Ermou, artfully-made, freshly prepared and deeply flavoursome specialty dishes include pastourmas of beef, kavourmas (a terrine cooked with spices and egg), soutzouk, salamis coated with various spices, hams and aged PDO cheeses. The cured products are made by partner/producer Paraskevas Sarimiboyas at the Sary workshop in Drama, where even the Xinomavro vine leaves used for their juicy, tender dolmades are grown.  

Insights Greece - Athens' Unique Politiko-Cuisine Charcuterie
A must for all foodies

I had the pleasure to visit the newer restaurant (accompanied by the wonderfully vibrant and Athens-savvy Livin’ Lovin’ tour guide Katerina Tsipiti who introduced me to the new place), try some of the flavours and interview Theodoropoulos, who joked that soon his family will be permanently locking him out of the house as he dedicates so much time and effort on perfecting the two restaurants. He also explained that the main difference at the twin restaurant on Ermou is that it has a wood-fire oven where fluffy, lightweight pies and breads are baked on the spot, which is why it’s called “to ergastiri” (the workshop). 

We tried a delicious taramosalata with Greek bottarga, rice-only dolmadakia, kavourmas, beef pastourmas pie and spinach pie, accompanied by icy tsipouro. Apart from many types of raki, tsipouro and wines, the restaurant also serves a satisfying variety of Greek craft beers. Turkish dessert lovers shouldn’t miss out on baklava, Kiounefe and kazan dipi, made with pure butter, as well as phoney and sesame pasteli, baklava, rice milk and homemade jams.

Many thanks to Livin‘ Lovin tours Athens. 

A: 41 Evripidou str., 10554, Athens; 119 Ermou str., 10555, Athens

Bring Greek Summer Into Your Life in a Few Easy Steps!

Like Greek sunshine, Greek-style makes life brighter. There’s nothing like the elegance and summery joyousness of designs inspired by traditional and classical Greek symbols, colours, shapes, and textures to enrich your home and personal style. 

Here, IN+SIGHTS GREECE has made an expert selection of the best accessories, items, and homewares that spell Greek Summer like nothing else and can be bought online with one click.

Home Décor

The use of ceramics for practical and decorative purposes dates back to antiquity, and a trip to the Archaeological Museum will travel your mind to designs regaling elaborate stories or featuring incredible creative designs. Kerameio.gr presents a wonderful variety of ceramics to use, decorate and even wear. 

The Cycladic Art Museum shop features numerous ceramic objects that can be used for serving food or decoration. For ceramics, we especially like the bold Greek blue and white summer colours of designs by Paola Navone. 

 At the Benaki Museum shop you’ll find elegant candle holders inspired by ancient Athenian columns created by WAKS, ceramic sous verre by Eleni Kanellopoulou and several items celebrating the Bicentennary of the Greek War of Independence of 1821 by Elena Votsi, who designed the Olympic medals in 2004, including ceramic plates, cups and other items. Also by Elena Votsi are cushions with the Greek flags and the evil eye. 

Accessories

Maybe dressing Greek-style from head to toe is a little extreme but adding playful and stylish Greek accessories for the beach can be fun. 

We Design have used the fishmonger’s paper, traditionally for wrapping fish, to make an apron, bag and pareo. They have also made several Greek-themed items that one can construct, like the 3D Olive Tree.

Postfolk have taken a traditional ‘kendima’ design and turned it into an original beach towel named Eudaimonia through digital embroidery and hand-finished stitching. 

Ancient Kallos have designed a one-piece and a bikini swimsuit featuring the traditional Akrokeramo design. 

Cyclades have designed several beautiful cashmere and silk-blend scarves that can be worn day or night, featuring Greek-style colours and designs.

At Musitsa you’ll find a range of straw bags, including ones to ward away the evil eye.

Footwear:

Greek sandals have always been a la mode – from ancient times to the 60s when they had a fashion renaissance the likes of Aristotle Onassis, The Beatles and Elizabeth Taylor wore them to today, when designers like Pantelis Melissinos, whose father Stavros immortalized them with his craftsmanship, continues today to hand-craft a grand variety of styles. We like both the classic designs and his playful and artsy ones. 

Insights Greece - Bring Greek Summer Into Your Life in a Few Easy Steps! Vibi Venezia For Aigion’s shoes made with vintage material designed by Yiannis Tsarouchis can be found at the Cycladic Art Museum shop.

Ancient Greek Sandals offer an incredible selection, but we can’t go to the beach without their Ikaria design in Jelly. 

Ergon Mykonos’ espadrilles are a VIP favourite, and we can’t choose which design we like the most! Espadrilles and more espadrilles that are 100% cotton, hand-crafted, and uniquely Greek. 

Jewellery

TWY – Contemporary Sculptural Jewelry is wearable art that is hand-crafted 99.9% silver and guarantees you’ll shine in the sun with modern, Greek-themed necklaces, rings, and bracelets. 

These handmade bracelets by B612 at the Benaki Museum are completely unique, combining hand-woven fabrics with silver and gold.

Complete Guide to Elafonisos

Don’t expect any major sightseeing, must-sees, or special activities in Elafonisos. This tiny island that’s like a little piece of paradise is the destination to spend endless hours on the beach, taste fresh Greek food, and a place where you can truly relax. To sum it up, there is no room for stress on Elafonisos!  

What you need to know before you arrive

-There is only one gas station on the island with prices up to 20% above the rest of Greece. 

-There is no bank branch on the island, only two ATMs for withdrawing money (in fact, one operates only during the summer months).

-The only pharmacy on the island is located in the port of Chora (tel. 2734 061363). 

Getting there

You can reach Elafonisos either by car or bus. There is only one access to Elafonisos, from the port of Pounta, near Neapolis in southern Peloponnese. You should follow the route to Tripoli and Sparti, then you reach Monemvasia and finally Molaous region. From Pounta, you can get into the ferry in your car and in 10 minutes you will step foot on Elafonisos. 

Where to stay- Either in Chora or on Simos beach.

Tips for getting around

Transportation in Chora is by foot. On the contrary, you need a car or motorbike for the beaches, as there is no public transportation on the island. Alternatively, you can take a taxi. There are two taxis in Elafonisos. Mr. Giannis (tel. 0030 6983065066) usually takes the transportations from Athens to Elafonisos and vice versa. For transportation within Elafonisos, you can call 0030 6951484989. 

If you are fit you can also rent a bike, since the farthest asphalt point from Chora, is at 6 km.

Best time to visit

During summertimeJuly is the best month, in my opinion, because, there is enough life on the island. Mid-September because the beaches are not so crowded, the weather is good and the prices reasonable. If possible, avoid August because that’s the peak season for all Greek Islands. Even then, Elafonisos feels way less crowded than other islands.

Climate- Elafonisos has a typical Mediterranean climate. The summers are hot and dry, and the temperature is mild in the winter.

Where to sleep 

Capari Suites enjoys a privileged location in the greenest part of Elafonisos, offering beach and mountain views. It also has a swimming pool. 

-The stone-built Elafonisos Resort is located at a distance of 500m from the beach. It also has a swimming pool.

-Faros family hotel is ideal if you want to stay in Chora. The owner is very friendly and the prices even “friendlier”. 

-If you are into camping or just don’t want to leave Simos Beach, you can stay at Simos Camping Elafonisos. Located right on the beach, it provides all the necessary facilities, including restaurants and bars.

Where to eat Antonis Tavera, next to the picturesque fishing boats, you can taste delicious dishes with fresh fish and exquisite seafood, based on traditional recipes with local virgin olive oil, cooked with care from the mother of the owner. 

Quarter, an Italian restaurant on the coastal road with pizza made in a wood-burning stove with fine handmade dough and fresh handmade pasta.

The Butcher’s Grill for delicious souvlaki, a variety of meats, and ribeye.  

For typical Greek souvlaki also try Trakena.

Ta nisia tis Panagias, is a traditional restaurant with a terrific view and a gorgeous sunset. We recommend the shrimp spaghetti, fish soup, or rooster in red sauce. 

What to eat- The fresh fish is abundant on the island and especially lobster, which is a local specialty and is cooked in various ways at the tavernas of the island.

Where to drink

Stin Akri, an all-day café-restaurant with delicious breakfast and brunch options during the day and tasty cocktails at night. It is located opposite the church-a landmark of Elafonisos.  

Where to swim 

-Simos is the most famous beach in Elafonisos. And not by chance. Located on the southern side of the island, Simos with its exotic waters and the vast golden sand seems like paradise on earth. Part of this beach is naturist.

-The bay of Lefki is found on the way to Simos, on the southern side of the island. -Sarakiniko is a large bay with soft sand and crystal water. It is located next to the popular Simos beach.

-Kalogeras is a nice beach near Kontogoni Cape. It has crystal water and part of a submerged ancient town is found close to this beach.

-Kontogoni, a long beach on the northern side of the island, close to the port.

-Ta Nisia tis Panagias, a similar scenery to Simos with sand dunes and turquoise waters. From there you can see the islets ta nisia tis Panagias (Greek for Virgin Mary islands) that gave name to the beach. 

-Pavlopetri beach is on the coast of Laconia facing Elafonisos rather than on the island itself. Located a stone’s throw from Pounta Port, it’s super easy to visit either before taking the ferry to Elafonisos or on your way back from the island. Apart from crystal clear waters and endless stretches of golden sand, this beach offers visitors the unique opportunity to swim among the ancient ruins of the oldest submerged city in the world.

-The seabed between Pavlopetri Islet and the homonymous beach is dotted with an ancient settlement’s ruins dating back to 2800 BC. The remains of this ancient city are visible with basic snorkelling gear.

Discover history  The first historical examples of the culture of Elafonisos are very old, because of the oldest submerged state in the world, Pavlopetri. The important position of Elafonisos was an advantage for pirates and barbarians to attack the ships passing through Elafonisos and Kythira. Moreover, this position was responsible for the occupation of the island and its domination by a number of peoples such as Arabs, Franks, and Saracens.

The island took its recent form after the devastating earthquake of 375 AD, which destroyed Pavlopetri city and divided Elafonisos from the rest of the Peloponnese. The first name of the island, as it is depicted on maps of antiquity, is Onou Gnathos, which means donkey jar, apparently from the shape of the island, and today’s name due, as the name reveals, to the existence of deer on the island.

Must visit villages – Elafonisos is an hour from the castle of Monemvasia and a little over an hour from Gythion. 

Cultural traditions 

Elafonisos, despite being a small island, has many local traditions and customs. Some of the most important are: 

Feast of Saint Spyridon (Patron Saint of Elafonisos) on 12th of December. People of Elafonisos honor the protector of the island, at the Holy Temple of Saint, at the port of the island. 

Every summer during a three-day celebration, from the 6th to the 9th of July, Elafonisos honors the anniversary of its liberation (6th of July, 1850) and celebrates the religious anniversary of the inauguration of the Holy Temple of Agios Spyridon. During these days a number of events take place such as the Festival of Traditional Dances with dance groups from Greece and abroad, which started in 2016. 

During the last ten days of August, Elafonisos celebrates the feast of fishermen. The event includes local dances from dance groups, live music, and plenty of food and fish in honour of its visitors. Often there are also presentations and projections of the folklore and nautical history of the island. 

Insider tips- When there is a strong headwind, go to Lefki beach.

Ideal time to spend here? 3-4 days in order to completely relax by the beach. 

Favorite part? The exotic beach of Simos with golden sand and pure water, what else? 

What to avoid? In July and August, don’t even think of arriving without booking a room in advance. 

Top activities 

Scuba diving and snorkeling: Τhe undersea wealth is enormous and the waters remain unexplored. 

Water sports and kite: Ideal winds and points near the beaches create the perfect conditions for Elafonisos to be named as an ideal place for surf, windsurf and kite.

Hiking: Elafonisos has six hiking and three cycling routes. If there is one you should certainly experience it’s the one that starts from Chora (the port) and ends at the highest point of the island, the village of Vigla. From here you can enjoy the stunning views of Cape Tenaro, Kythira island, and Cavo-Malia. 

Where to shop 

-“Lafonisi Gift Shop” for fun summertime shopping. 

-“Dia Chiros” where Frini Manafi creates handmade jewellery and handmade interior decorations.  

-“Para thin Alos” where you can find nice men’s and women’s clothes and accessories.

What to see 

-The main church of the community is Agios Spyridonas, which is built on a tiny separate piece of land which is connected by a bridge over shallow waters to the rest of the island. –

-The church of Panagia Katonissiotissa (Assumption of Mary) built on a hill in the ruins of an old Byzantine temple in 1895. In the interior of the sanctuary, there are old hagiographies. Yοu can find tombs and another finding of Mycenaean civilization around the church. 

The Cave of Simos located next to the beach of Simos. According to the legend, the island was born from there. You can reach it through a smooth path from the road. Beware of the bats inside. 

Lake Strongyli, located on the beach of Pounta is one of the most important wetlands in the Peloponnese. During Spring you may see flamingos, reeds, mallards, and the rare, endangered species of sea cedar.

Take a day trip to

The stunning castle town of Monemvasia and the countless hidden gems of Southern Lakonia, such as Kastania Cave and Cape Maleas. A trip to Elafonisos can also be combined with Kythira, an off-the-beaten-path island off Southern Peloponnese’s coast.

What to do

-Elafonissos Town is the main village and center of activities for the island. This is where many accommodations, taverns, and shops are found. The ferry from Neapolis arrives there.

-Moreover, one of the best things to do in Elafonisos is to drive (or cycle or walk) the island’s ring road. The latter connects all villages and beaches, offering breathtaking views at every turn. It takes less than half an hour to drive the full circle.

Alternatively, you can experience the tour of Elafonisos by boat. You will have access to magical waters, otherwise inaccessible. Search for the cave of Carandrea. 

Can’t leave until

You take some underwater photos. Get a camera suited for diving pics because these emerald waters are so clear and beyond imagination. 

Special thanks to the Municipality of Elafonisos and the Mayor Mrs. Efstathia Liarou for the realisation of this press trip. 

Visiting Athens’ Stunning Lake Vouliagmeni

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

History of Lake Vouliagmeni 

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

Swim at the Lake 

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

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens' Stunning Lake Vouliagmeni

Natural Pedicure

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

Healing Properties 

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

Seaworld 

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

Eat at Lake Vouliagmeni  

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

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens' Stunning Lake Vouliagmeni

Private Area 

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

Services/Amenities  

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

Opening Hours

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

Getting there

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