Marketing Greece: Our Summer Destinations
For the last two years the Marketing Greece team has been taking the readers of DiscoverGreece.com on a journey through all the wonderful Greek destinations. This summer was no exception as the site was once again full of articles and images of blue waters, sandy beaches, ideas for water sports and summer events on the Greek islands.No wonder, really, when there are so many options for the visitor to combine to put together the perfect holiday experience.
A mountain on mainland Greece, the myriad attractions in Athens and Thessaloniki, the unique beaches of the Peloponnese and Crete, emerald waters in the Ionian, the blue Aegean, white Cycladic alleyways as well as the verdant Dodecanese… the list is endless!
So where did WE choose to go this summer? The mountain or the sea? North, South or Central Greece? We have gathered our best moments and we reveal them to you right now. And if you haven’t visited some of these places yet, this will give you plenty of ideas when it comes to planning your next holiday.
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I chose this particular destination due to the combination of lush vegetation and the impressive beaches it offers and the truth is that it far exceeded my expectations.
The pine trees reach all the way to the beach and as a result the waters have absolutely stunning colours, not forgetting, of course, the trails through the forests, which are equally as gorgeous.
The south of the island is full of beaches and coves with Kastani, Panormos, Milia and Stafylos being the most famous. On all these beaches the sun sets into the water and not surprisingly everyone flocks there at dusk to enjoy this wondrous sight!
Zagorohoria – Zitsa
There are many unique places to visit on a 4-day trip to Ioannina and Zagorohoria, all of which made it into my programme.
However the most impressive of all is Theogefyro, a natural bridge of outstanding beauty over the river Kalamas.
Tip: Definitely grab a coffee or a bite to eat at Mylos right next to the river, 2 minutes from Theogefyro!
Prefecture of Lasithi – Crete
Crete is gorgeous from tip to tip and Lasithi encapsulates all the elements that make the island so exceptional. My favourite moment was the visit to the atmospheric and thought-provoking island of Spinalonga, followed by fresh fish at Plaka, directly opposite. Don’t forget to try Ksigalo, a creamy, slightly sour cheese spread, traditionally made in Sitia, and kohlii -yes, they are snails but don’t knock them till you’ve tried them. And, of course, wash it all down with plenty of raki, a local tipple.
Aegina was the ideal summer option for me due its proximity to Athens. I like the combination of the urban summer experience (Athens Riviera) and Aigina, an island only an hour away from Athens. The recipe in a nutshell? It has to be quiet relaxing holidays on beautiful sandy beaches mixed in with a little exploration of what nature has to offer. Craving the first dive in the crystal clear waters of Aigina was one of the best moments of my holiday.
Klima beach is one of my favourites on the island, an ideal spot for starting your day. An evening activity I highly recommend to nature lovers is a hike along the footpaths of Aigina searching for the old Eleonas – the olive grove – the kind of landscape that takes you back in time. After the hike there is no moment more enchanting than the sunset at Aiginitissa.
This summer has been full of sea and mountain. How could I possibly resist the Pozar thermal baths in Almopia? Or the great tasting fish in enchanting and rugged Mani? Or the ouzo of Varvagianni in Lesvos?
So this summer I visited, as you might have guessed, verdant Almopia, Lesvos and Mani. Totally different places and yet they somehow reminded me of each other. Perhaps it was the style of nature I came across in all three destinations, perhaps the welcoming and jovial locals who opened their doors for me at every turn and made me feel instantly at home!
In Almopia you should definitely take the hiking trail to the Kounoupitsa waterfall and spend a few relaxing moments in its cool waters when you get there.
In Mani, beyond the enchanting Gerolimenas and before you reach Vathia, pause at a village named Alika and discover the hidden beach of Almyros.
On Lesvos, take your afternoon dive in Hrousos.
This summer, I spent a very eventful week living and working as part of a team on board a catamaran, which sailed from the southeast of Attica to the verdant Ionian isle of Kefalonia.
With fellow shipmates from Germany, Austria, Italy, the US and the Czech Republic and a hardy and experienced skipper at the helm, we bravely set sail from the port of Lavrio on the 50-foot Lagoon catamaran in a storm measuring force eight on the Beaufort scale, eventually dropping anchor off the Saronic island of Poros.
From there we sailed through the engineering marvel that is the Corinth Canal, hiked up to ancient Delphi to seek inspiration, moored at the tiny, peaceful islet of Trizonia and even found the time for a serious discussion about the issue of ocean pollution. We then passed under the world’s largest suspension bridge – the Rio-Antirrio – beyond which point the turquoise seas of the Ionian beckoned us on to Odysseus’ Ithaca and then, our final destination, Kefalonia.
Not only was it an incredible experience to meet with like-minded individuals from around the world and sail to these destinations, but I also learned about new ways of working and pitching ideas and experienced a huge creativity boost in a relaxing environment on the high seas.
Patmos has a magic about it, an unadorned charm and many hidden secrets that draw me there: an afternoon walk along the alleys of the Hora, playing peek-a-boo with the sunset, a morning dive in the crystal clear waters of Kampos, the carefree bars of the Hora and the overwhelming tranquility of the cave of the Apocalypse.
Take a walk down Adamas harbour and choose a sailing trip that takes your fancy. There are plenty to choose from. There’s no better way to see the magically changing colours of the many ores found in the rockface of Milos. Stop off in the bays of Arkoudes and Sikia for a spot of snorkelling. And if you’re on a day trip, you’re bound to reach the iconic former pirate hangout of Kleftiko on the southwestern tip. It’s picture perfect and reachable only by boat.
On Andros the best view of the island can be found at the square of the “Unknown Sailor”. Nothing beats gazing out to sea at the lighthouse enjoying almond flavoured ice cream from “Ermis”!
There is only one place for the best fish on the island! The little tavern of “Kapetan Nikolas”
Chania – Crete
Loutro – What can anyone say about this earthly paradise? The whole experience stays indelibly etched on your mind. Getting to Ano Hora Sfakion is a glorious challenge in itself, and once you’ve made it, waiting for the boat to take you to Loutro, it is well worth trying, on the very sound advice of the locals, the famous rusks, bread sticks, cookies and fresh oven baked delicacies at “DOUROUDOU”. Any or all of these tasty morsels should rightfully be accompanied by a traditional Greek coffee. When you get to Loutro, the spectacle is magnificent. The waters are the clearest you have ever seen; despite a depth of 10 metres, you can still admire the sea bed. Naturally Loutro is ideal for water sports such as canoeing with the evocative view of the village in the background. If you are in a group of 2 or 3, why not give the pedal boats a go too?
Balos Even getting to Balos beach is a stunning experience. You have to drive along 8km and then walk down 2km, which is actually quite manageable. Mind you, it can be a bit of a job getting back up again! Perhaps only the Caribbean is a match for the magnificent landscape of Balos. The combination of sea and lagoon gives you the opportunity for moments of relaxation either in cool or warm waters. As for the inevitable question of where ‘the best spot for a selfie’ might be … well, basically, you’re spoilt for choice!
Seitan Limani – Best tip: A beach near Chania airport. So, if you are travelling by plane, a last dip in the clear blue waters of this tiny cove is the best way to bid farewell to the paradise of Chania.
Rhodes: History, myth, monuments, beaches, nature, gastronomy… all on a single island
At the foot of the Acropolis of Lindos, the beach of Agios Pavlos with its crystal clear waters offers dreamy moments of relaxation while in the Medieval Town of Rhodes, history and legend lend some of their splendor to the present day and the fairy tale continues…
Enjoy an ice cream at Gelo Blu in Lindos and a meal at Koukos in Rhodes main town.
Kalamata: Because there is no place like home… Beautiful, hospitable, generous and full of surprises, the Messinian capital is always ready and willing to sweep you off your feet…
The mountain villages of Messinia are well worth a visit. There, time refuses to hand over to the present… Walk up the 3km-long traditional cobbled street of Biliovo that links the village Altomira with Sotirianika, and a take a trip back through the centuries.
Canal d’ Amour for the sunset on Lefkada
I picked this particular island for the variety of its features: a combination of the luxuriant Sporades and the arid Cycladic landscape.
If you want to eat well, the best thing to do is consult a local, they really do know best! The “Milos tou Balabani” is one of these places you want to go to again and again! There, food is combined with a wonderful idyllic landscape. Best time to go: at dusk. Favourite beach? Pefkos, a beach hidden by the verdant nature with azure waters you want to swim in for hours!
The best sunset (and breakfast) is to be experienced at “Anatolikos Anemos”. The fresh air (this place is at one of the highest points on the island) and the endless blue spreading out in front of you give the coffee a special taste!
Best tip: 1. “Kyra Popi” on Aherounes beach, 2. The walk up the steps at the end of the town to the Faltaits museum, with another dizzying view of the island to enjoy from on high.
The best moment on the island? When you first see the lush nature, the white beach and the turquoise waters. Unique, magical combination!
Best Kept Secret: Agiofili. A beach so beautiful, even Porto Katsiki would go green with envy!
Not only is Rethymno a gorgeous town in its own right, with its historic old sector and Venetian citadel adding to the charm, but it also, very importantly, combines the mountains with the sea. An afternoon trek on the peaks of Amari is mere minutes away. The view from the chapel located above Meronas will take your breath and your imagination to another place entirely. From there you can see the dam that serves a number of local rivers and the rugged and imposing natural expanse of the Psiloritis park.
Triopetra: This sandy beach lies south of Rethymno via Akoumia village. The sunset there is something to behold, as a great crimson ball plays hide and seek behind the mountains before diving into the sea.
If you stay on the beach for longer than you had planned or you are looking for a place with good traditional food, on the way from Akoumia to Triopetra you will find a traditional family tavern with warm-hearted people. Try their “Antikristo”, meat roasted according to time-honoured methods, and wash it down with plenty of raki.
Karystos is a stone’s throw away from Athens- you can go by boat from the port of Rafina-and will definitely offer you a respite from the noise and hustle of the city.
Best tip: It takes one hour from Rafina to get to Marmari, ten minutes away from gorgeous Karystos. The best sunset can be seen on the sandy bays of Agia Paraskevi. There you will definitely be able to enjoy the tranquility and crystal clear waters of this delightful location.