Archive of ‘Greece’ category

Crete in October

Crete in October
Crete in October
 

Crete in October

Crete in October
Crete in October
 

Crete in October
Crete in October

Crete in October
Crete in October
 

Crete in October

Crete in October

Crete in October
Crete in October
 

Crete in October

Crete in October

Hotel: Lavris hotel 

While I was strolling the streets of Paris at the end of September, an invitation to join a group of journalists for a press trip in Crete organized by the Greek Tourism board in Vienna landed in my inbox. Needless to say, I jumped in joy! I can’t hide my love for Paris, and at the same time, I can’t hide my love for the Greek islands as well…

What I am going to say right now may sound strange but this was an invitation I was expecting! Why? Because for the past 2 years, I had the chance to visit Crete in October and somehow this trip became a habit that I wanted to repeat every October.

Not bad at all, if you think that in many parts of Europe it starts getting quite chilly and you hop on a plane with Aegean airlines, that brings you to a place where the sky is blue, sun shine bright, and you can still wear sandals and summer dresses and go to the beach! Who wouldn’t accept this invitation, right?

Apart from the fact that in Crete, summer lasts longer, this island has so many things to offer to visitors year around.

Below, you will find a list with things to do, where to eat, and places to visit in Crete. Those are the things we did during the press trip and hopefully they are a great source of information or source of rough itinerary for you when you start planning your next travel to Crete.

I would like to point this out, that Crete is a place to visit year round and not only in summer because of its mild climate and because there are plenty of activities that you can do, apart from going to the beach. Check out the flights of Aegean Airlines that flies you to Crete here!

During the press trip, we did many great things but I think that the best part was kept for the end: horse riding by the beach (thank you Maria Lavdaki for organising this extra activity for me)! Our press trip ended in the most beautiful way and I was the happiest!

Thanks to the Greek Tourism Board, Aegean Airlines, and Region of Crete for making this happen! Very grateful to be invited to join!

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Portes Mykonos

Portes Mykonos

Portes Mykonos

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All photos were taken by me

When I landed in Athens at the end of August, I knew I would spend a few days in the capital city to see my family and friends. But for the rest of my time there, I had no plans on where to go. All I knew was that August wasn’t exactly how I would have liked it to be. But then again, there is nobody to blame for this. It’s me who decided to go on vacation in September instead of August…but I have a bunch of good reasons for it.

My initial thought was to visit Spetses and Hydra. But then somehow I remembered how much I miss the Cycladic white washed houses, so Mykonos won. It is after all the perfect picture island, and I knew I would never get bored. Apart from that, last year when I visited the island, I left with a feeling that 3 nights were not enough and made up my mind to come back soon again.

This year I stayed at Portes Mykonos Suites and Villas. Portes Mykonos had exactly what I expect to find in any hotel: exclusivity and privacy, along with a sense of peace and serenity. I especially loved the people working there who became my friends, room with walls all made of glass which served as the reception, late afternoon light, and amazing interior and exterior designs that reminded me of Dior Cruise fashion show in LA. What else do you need for the perfect holidays? Hope you get the chance to experience this beautiful property yourself.

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Zagorochoria

Zagorochoria

Zagorochoria

Zagorochoria

 
 

 

 

 

 

At the end of May, I joined a group of journalists and together we flew from Vienna to Athens with Aegean Airlines on a press trip organized by the Greek Tourism Board.

I actually joined two trips powered by the Greek Tourism Board in the course of the last two months. Let me make it a little bit more clear for you.

On the first press trip we visited Athens, Ioannina, ZagorochoriaSivota, Parga, Paxoi, and Antipaxoi. After that trip ended, I came back to Vienna for a few days and then left again for Karpathos for the second press trip. Yeap, I am lucky, I know!

On the first trip, Athens was actually just a stop over, because there is no direct flight from Vienna to Ioannina. The two first photos of this blog post were taken at Grecotel Cape Sounio, where we had a welcome lunch by the pool. I loved everything about this short visit at Cape Sounio. The 5 star resort is situated in an idyllic location and has great views of the sea and Temple of Poseidon. They treated us to delicious Greek mezedes. We couldn’t have started the press trip in a better way. It got me immediately into Greek spirit and in the mood for holidays (although this trip wasn’t 100% for pleasure).

After the welcome lunch at Grecotel Cape Sounio, we went back to the International airport of Athens to take the flight to Ioannina (3rd photo of this blog post). We arrived quite late in Ioannina and spent the night at Hotel du Lac. Many thanks for the lovely welcome and dinner. If you ever find yourself in Ioannina and you are looking for accomodation you might want to check out this 5 stars hotel.

The next day we drove to Zagorochoria. Zagorochoria is a cluster of 48 traditional picturesque villages in the Zagori region. Here, we found very friendly locals who did anything they can do to ensure we had a nice time. This is something we have to mention and appreciate. What was the first thing we did once we arrived? We went for rafting in the Voidomatis river. Although I am not so much into sports, as you might have already guessed, I was excited to try out this adventurous activity. It was very nice and I was pretty sure that it would be so beforehand!

My hotel in Zagorochoria was the Aberratio Boutique Hotel. My room was very beautiful and the owner was such a warm-hearted person. My photos will give you a taste of how Zagorochoria is and what you should expect from this place, but if you need more info, please check here and here.

Now if you wanna know what I would choose if  I had to choose between mountains or sea, I would go for the sea. Blame it on my origin. My mother comes from a Greek island and I grew up in a city that was surrounded by water, Athens. I like blue hues more than green hues. I like to listen to the sound of waves. I like to dive in the sea and swim with the fishes (and sometimes with the sharks like in the Maldives). And after all, I am pisces. However the itinerary I describe in this blog post is for people who are seeking both: sea and mountains. I think it’s a great combination and you will definitely not get bored.

I am so happy that I had the chance to visit all those beautiful places and to feature them all now on The Viennese Girl blog. I hope I will always be able to show you more places from my homecountry, Greece, and inspire you to visit them for yourself.

If you have any question, please leave a comment and I will get back to you asap.

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Karpathos island

Karpathos island

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Karpathos island

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Karpathos island

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Karpathos island

Karpathos island

Karpathos island

Karpathos island

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Karpathos island

Karpathos island
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Karpathos island

Hotel: Alimounda Mare

If the first day of June already finds me on a Greek island, this is a sign that this summer is going to be great”. This was one of the thoughts that crossed my mind upon arrival at the airport of Karpathos island.

Even though I grew up in Greece, I never had the chance to visit Karpathos. With my family and friends, we used to always spend summers in Samos, where my mom has a family house there. I can’t tell you enough how happy I was, when the official Greek Tourism board invited me to join a group of journalists and gave me this chance to finally visit Karpathos island, take some photos and publish them on The Viennese Girl blog.

Things that I truly loved in Karpathos island during my stay:

  • everything about the traditional village Olympos.
  • the restaurant Under the tree in Finiki. The owner cooked for us something I will never ever forget in my life. It was one of the best dishes I have ever eaten: Crab Salad!!! To die for!
  • waking up to the seaview from my hotel room every morning.
  • a little bit of “me time” on the last day and discover the island on my own. I looked for green soaps made of olive oil to buy, treated myself twice with iced coffee latte in a cafe called Anoi all day bar in Pigadia (the town of the island) and ate lots of Yogeat Frozen Yogurt.

If you consider spending your summer holidays in Karpathos island, make sure to book your tickets with myAustrian Holidays that flies you directly from Vienna to Karpathos twice a week until the 28th of September this year.

And just to get you in the mood for Karpathos, watch this video.

I gathered a few extra travel tips that might be useful for your holidays in Karpathos:

Restaurants we visited in Karpathos: Mama Maria in Pigadia, Under the Tree in Finiki, Petalouda in Arkassa, I zoi ton Aggelon in Pigadia, Kafe Skopi of Manolis in Mesochori.

Car rental companies: BudgetSofias car rental, Makris Travel in Pigadia.

Karpathos Diving Center Dinos in Pigadia

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Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania

Trip to Chania

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When I got the invitation for the trip to Chania, three things came immediately to my mind: amazing food, amazing weather, and generous warm-hearted people. It was impossible to say no to the invitation. Even with back pains, I packed my luggage (I have two, one was already packed with clothes from Paris) with summer clothes and a swimsuit, and left for my home country, Greece.

I never thought that in the mid of October I would walk barefoot in the sand in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, in Balos, and that I would still be wearing white summer dresses while the rest of Europe was freezing cold. Now I know. I know a place where there is still summer while winter has already begun in Vienna. Two flights with Aegean from Vienna to Chania, and I welcome summer back to my life!! Don’t hate me for this. With my little photos on Instagram, I wanted to take you on a journey, and to let you know a little bit more about this beautiful part of the world (which I guess you all know already).

At the airport in Athens, I was glad to meet a group of like-minded young people with whom I would spend the following days. During my stay in Chania we stayed at Minoa Palace. Note here that the hotel’s breakfast was amazing (I am drooling over it right now, it’s better not to think about it). Our daily schedule was based on the “senses”: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. We heard Cretan traditional music. We visited so many beautiful places like the Kalathenes village, Chora Sfakion, and the fishing village of Loutro. We touched and smelt Cretan herbs at the Botanical Park. We had wine tasting and unforgettable dining experience at Salis restaurant. We ate sea food at Apostolis restaurant and had our last dinner at Santa Marina beach. Not to mention the full moon we saw on our last night in Chania’s old town. Especially that made it more difficult to leave Chania the next day.

Oh yes! I ate a little bit more than I was supposed to. But we were in Crete. When they put in front of you five dishes of fresh lobsters with spaghetti and traditional Cretan cheese pie, you just cannot resist the temptation. If you plan a visit to Crete, you can rest assured that the Cretan people will treat you right.

Thank you Discover Greece and Aegean Airlines for bringing back summer to my life. Even for a few days. It was beautiful.♥

 

Skiathos and Skopelos

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Hotel in Skiathos: Skiathos Palace
Hotel in Skopelos: Skopelos Village Hotel 

You can’t imagine how happy I was for going back to Greek islands. I still remember being so excited while waiting for the departure at Vienna International airport. Together with a group of journalists, we flew directly to Skiathos island for a press trip organized by the Greek national tourism Organization. The plan was visiting and discovering Alonissos, Skiathos and Skopelos which automatically means: amazing landscape, warm hearted people, and good food. Yay!

I have never been on the Greek islands in May. When I was living in Greece, I used to visit the islands mostly in July and in August, but after spending a couple of cold months in the Central Europe, my desire for sea and sun together with my wanderlust was urgently calling for a cure and absolutely could not wait until June or July. I also realized that, not only June and July, but May as well, is a perfect month to visit and have holidays in Greece (pleasant temperatures and not that much crowd in places).

Once we arrived at Skiathos, we took the boat to Skopelos, that famous island where the musical Mamma mia was filmed. The three islands are connected by boat. So if you visit them, fly to Skiathos and take the boat. The boat trip from Skiathos to Skopelos lasted about an hour. In Skopelos, the people of the island who would later give us a tour in the following days welcomed us warmly with local delicacies. In the days that followed, I soaked all in: the good company of my new friends, blue of the sea, green of the nature, amazing view from my hotel room at Skiathos Palace and of course my favourite fried potatoes, a lot of kalamarakia and the famous Skopelos cheese pie, known as Skopelitiki Tyropita.

In Skopelos, I did something for the first time in my life: scuba diving (say yes to new experiences)! Visit Kostas & Ines at Skopelos Dive Center. Kostas explained to me everything about my first dive in the sea in order to enjoy the trip under the water the most and stay safe at the same time. What an amazing experience that I definitely recommend to others.

In this blog post you can see photos from my visit in Skiathos and Skopelos. My Austrian friends continued their travel to Alonissos but I didn’t. I had to go back to Skiathos and take the airplane to my next destination. The adventure would go on in Mykonos! ♥

Mykonos, the picture perfect island

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Upon my arrival in Mykonos, everybody was asking me the same question: “first time here”?
No, it wasn’t the first time visiting Mykonos, the picture perfect island. The first one was many, many years ago. My first visit, I recall, was based on a lie. I lied to my work and said that I was ill and left with a friend for a weekend in Mykonos, the picture perfect island.

This time, my friend Edisa and I got a little bit crazy during our stay in Mykonos because of all the beauty around us. We loved roaming around and let our instinct drive us through the alleys of the little town. If you visit Mykonos, pay attention to the details around you. You will notice that residents of Mykonos take care of their island. They really have a good taste about everything, they keep their island polished and this is a considerable reason to love them, right? With my camera, I tried to catch all that beauty, architecture and details as well.

In one of those photos you will see Petros, the pink pelican. Petros is the cutest bird I have ever seen. I had a quick conversation with the woman who takes care of him. She told me that there were three pelicans on the island. Now there is only one left. She set Petros free every morning and before the sunset, she is looking for him to bring him back home. If she doesn’t find her, she can’t sleep. Having and taking care of an animal is a big responsibility and this adorable animal left me to touch him and caress him. The woman pointed out that Petros doesn’t let anyone caress him. I guess this was a good sign that Petros and I became friends. What a pity I couldn’t pack him and take him with me to Vienna. : ) We also saw many dogs and cats on the streets of Mykonos. It seems that they were all taking naps and I am sure they were also annoyed by tourists like me who wanted to take photos of them.

Mykonos has the reputation worldwide of being a party island but for me and the way I conceived it, this island is something more than that. No doubt that here you can party until dawn, but this island has something special that you cannot describe with words. We had the chance to feel that “special” thing in the air, also thanks to the unbeatable hospitality at our boutique hotel Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge. Four days on this island resulted in more than 4.000 photos. That’s the reason that makes me call Mykonos the picture perfect island. The worst thing you can do is visiting this island without your camera, or forgetting your battery/memory card at home.

And as we are talking about the cosmopolitan flair of Mykonos, there is a lot happening in Athens as well. After Mykonos I came back to Athens to visit my parents. I would like to mention an event held by my friend Chrysanthos Panas. The Italian fashion desiger, Valentino, together with Giancarlo Giammetti and their good friend and jet setter Micaela Calabresi Marconi, visited Athens on Friday, March the 25th. They decided to visit Athens, for a three day city break so that they could see the beautiful city during the springtime – until now they have only travelled in Greece on summers. My friend, Chrysanthos Panas, owner of Panas Sophisticated Hospitality, Greece’s leading company of entertainment facilities and hospitality welcomed them and showed them the most important attractions of Athens. Among them, the renovated and historic restaurant Zonars in the centre of Athens, which now exhibits authentic paintings of Picasso, Matisse and Giacometti. Valentino and his company dined in Zonars on their first night in Athens and were thrilled with its amazing atmosphere. Giancarlo Giammetti signed his book “Private” and Valentino signed his book “At the Emperor’s Table”. On the second night they chose Athens exclusive members’ club Salon de Bricolage. Valentino loved the Salon de Bricolage crowd, which he said was full of “stylish and quality people”. Photos of the event here.

Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge

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It was Edisa’s birthday and she wanted to do something special. I told her that I would be in Greece for a press trip organized by the Greek National Tourism Organization but I could extend my stay in my homeland if she wanted to come and find me in Greece. I suggested that we could go to Mykonos. And this is how our little adventure started…

I flew from Skiathos to Athens and from Athens to Mykonos. I hate morning flights that forces my bell to ring at 05.00 am but on the other side, who cares if you are about to spend a couple of days at Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge in Mykonos with the company of a good friend? Once I arrived, a member of the staff picked me up from the airport with a white Jeep with beige leather interior and offered me a hot towel to clean my hands. I still remember some details of the service, small gestures like this, provided by the hotel that made our stay at Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge special, unique and above all unforgettable.

When I stepped in, I was offered a welcome drink and another member of the staff came to me with a map explaining some things about the island. Once I entered Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge, the first glance at the breathtaking view over swimming pool, beach, and all this romantic oasis that surrounded me had me thinking…. Why I haven’t discovered that place earlier? It was time for me to breathe easily and unwind. Edisa came on another flight a few hours later.

In the days that followed, we did all kind of things that belong to what someone would call as dreamy holidays. We relaxed in a 5 star Mykonian suite, savored amazing Greek food, took many photos, did funny things, made new friends, talked to strangers, and discovered hidden paths in the city of Mykonos. But most of all we were pampered from the hotel and felt like two small princesses. What I really really loved from our stay at Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge was that the staff surprised us pleasantly every now and then by being very generous and friendly to all the guests, the privacy of our suite, the dinner from the restaurant’s Chef, Athinagoras Kostakos (could he cook like this for me everyday…?), and the music from the bar…!!!!! It felt like everything was unfolding very naturally and effortlessly. We didn’t have to worry about anything, we were in good hands.

But then comes that day when you have to leave a place you don’t want to leave. Hmm… Hopefully we will get back soon to discover their beach club “Bill & Coo Coast Suites” that Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge launched to celebrate their 10 years anniversary.

Obviously we fell in love with Bill&Coo Suites and Lounge. Who wouldn’t? ♥

Weekend in Athens

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The last weekend of October I found myself in Athens much earlier than expected thanks to #theathensworld team who invited me to celebrate the World Cities Day together with them and many other Instagrammers. Once I arrived at the Athens International Airport, the taxi driver brought me directly to Kolonaki where I had dinner with the whole group who had gathered there. The next day, on October 31st, began at The Museum of Cycladic Art and after that we walked around the city center and headed to Plaka where several street events and celebrations of all kinds were happening at different spots around the city center.

Here are a few travel tips, that were also included in our program, if you plan to visit Athens:

Niceneasy (Bio restaurant), Salon de Bricolage (Bar restaurant), City Bistro, Balux Cafe (Cafe Restaurant), the oh so fabulous ARK (Bar restaurant) where I had the best cocktail in my life called Shibuya Martini, and of course you want to go to Lukumades.

and here is a video with a small interview that I gave to MTV Greece.

The weekend in Athens was just awesome. The weather could have been a little bit warmer but nevertheless I had a great time, made new friends, and ate the best food. Sunday was a free day, so I had the chance to see friends and family again. The highlight of the whole trip, I have to confess, was the taxi driver who picked me up from the airport. He is the person you want to wait for you in the airport! He was very kind and had nice stories to tell and I have been told that he brought the other guests to the Lykabettus, once they landed in Athens, so that they can get a first impression of the capital from above.♥

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