Simplicity in Santorini, Greece.

Butterytravels

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Santorini, first named “Kalliste” meaning ‘most beautiful’, and I believe it is. You might enjoy it more at its warmest; in June through to September, especially if you’ll want to see some of its beaches. Santorini also has a collection of churches and historical ruins to look at. The whole island could be considered historical ruins, as it is built on top of the remains of the volcano that erupted on the island in the late Bronze Age (A long time ago!) It was one of the worst in the world.

I’ll start by telling you my personal favourite thing to do while at Santorini, the hot springs! You can have a tour of a volcano, which is very impressive, although it’s still active and a little bit scary, it will release fumes every so often. After this, you have a relaxing swim in the hot springs. The sulphur in…

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An authentic Greek village, Paleos Panteleimonas!

          Do you want to discover another kind of Greece which will surely impress you? Visit Paleos Panteleimonas village! It is located at  43 km from Katerini, in the massif of Mount Olympus, at a height of 500 m above sea level. One cannot fail to admire this touristy village adorned with amazing old  wooden beamed stoned  houses.

Marvellous Paleos Panteleimonas

        A bit of history! During the 60’s the village was abandoned. Fortunately it was  restored  a few years ago in order to preserve  its charming style typical to Olympus region. Another unique characteristic is that all houses have overhanging upper rooms and balconies. Now it’s a picturesque destination, an open air traditional museum which displays a bit of Greek culture. It is worth knowing  that in 2003 it became a national heritage museum.

        How to arrive there? From the E75 highway go past the Artemis Hotel (there’s a little road near the hotel) where it appears a suspended road. ( I recommend you to stay here overnight- it’s comfortable, clean, cheap and overmore from the balcony it provides a spectacular view of the  sea shore) Take that road and go ahead!

       The road climbing to the village winds its way past rich forests with chestnut, beech and arbutus trees. After a few km you’ve reached your destination. Indulge your eyes with the stunning view of Thermaikos Gulf. Futhermore, you can catch the glimpse of another spectacular worth seeing attraction, the medieval castle of Platamon which is situated in a strategic position. Be mesmerized by the beautiful blue Aegean sea!

 platamon

      Start your visit! You’ll be welcomed by 2 different  guides, 2 dogs which are used to accompaning all tourists. Despite the fact that they are big, they are unagressive, so  don’t be afraid! Follow the narrow streets which are surrounded by wonderful houses! I ensure you that at every house you’ll want to take a break so as to admire it and take a remarkable photo.

        In addition, you’d probably feel not to leave this  place and you’ll stay at a guesthouse which caters for every demanding visitor.On the other hand, you’ll discover different statues, patterns,architectural elements at every building. In spite of these elements,the village is decorated in the same style.  You’ll enjoy this relaxing stroll combined with a little session of shopping (souvenirs which you’ll like immediately). I can say that this village will also inspire you if you are thinking of building your own house. On the spur of the moment, you’ll say: I want to own this house!

      In the central paved square, there is a venerable plane tree, the old church of St. Panteleimonas, the old school house  and some very good traditional restaurants (tavernas) serving tasty food and refreshing drinks. Have a sit and taste a bit of tsipouro  made of barked tree, grown on Mount Olympus. And get inside the little church, a beautiful example of simplicity.

 

       All in all, I hope that my article will encourage you to add this destination on your bucket list! Keep calm and visit Paleos Panteleimonas! Thanks for stopping by!

Take advantage of Athens in one day!

           Athens one single day, can it be possible to see  not-to-miss spots? Of course yes! If you think that’s easier said than done, you are a bit wrong. As far as I’m concerned, I succeeded in doing this. Through this post, I’ll let you know how. Athens, here we are!

           Firstly I want  to present  my opinion(I think that it will be yours too) about Athens. Like all big cities and capitals,Athens is characterized by hussle a bussle atmosphere but on top of that it is chaotic, sprawling, stressful due to dangerous traffic, and to narrow streets unproper to all drivers. So pay attention if you want to drive! Use a GPS otherwise you’ll get lost! We had the luck of staying in a 3-star hotel (Niki  is situated in the proximity of Piraeus Harbour-15 min far way) which was just next to a parking lot. It was clean enough,comfortable and we paid 45 Euro for a triple room/night.

           But all the negative points are counterbalanced by the historical legacy which is so amazing. Spreaded all over the city, stunning reminders of Classic Antiquity will appeal to you because they are well-preserved,impressive- a true lesson of history. Have an insight into  bygone eras which had abundly left their mark over  the birthplace of democracy and the capital of arts. Now let show you what you can do in one day in Athens so as not to miss the essence of this interesting capital. Keep calm and visit Athens!

           Start your day at the Acropolis and you won’t regret it! It is recommended to be visited in the morning taking into consideration that it will be hot on the Sacred Rock and the sun will burn you (I was in August). Must take you some bottles of water, hats and sunglasses to protect against the sun! Make a complete tour of this landmark! Admire the Herodes Atticus Odeon which every year holds different performances. On top of that, let your sight be awarded with a breathtaking view over the extensed and crowded Athens.

Herodes Atticus Odeon

         Then climb the stairs while admiring the small but lovely Temple of Athena Nike- Victory. Mingle in the crowd of different tourists from all over the world and expect to hear all the world’s languages. A melting pot! And take a guided tour to learn  about their remarkable history! Enter into the Propylaea gateway after going past the Nike temple.

Propylaea

          Don’t be surprised to see a lot of stones but don’t focus on them and follow your way to the most spectacular and most important temple in the world, the Parthenon which is the best reminder of Antiquity.Take some photos of the Parthenon so as to keep this souvenir alive! Have a look over the borders of the Sacred Rock and pinpoint the remarkable Herodes Atticus Odeon. Looking further, you’ll be impressed catching the glimpse of the Zeus temple. And the last but not the least is the Erechtheion whose Caryatids cannot help but move you a bit.(the originals woman columns are preserved inside the New Acropolis museum- it is near the Acropolis).

The Parthenon

ErechtheionView of New Acropolis Museum

          Say goodbye to Acropolis and travel by subway to the next tourist attraction! National Archeological Museum!!! Meanwhile, you’d like to stop at the Syntagma station where  archeological sites are displayed to the happiness of passers-by.

Metro station

         Continue your “trip” by metro and stop at Omonia station where you’ll have to answer locals how to get to the National Archeological Museum. Finaly in front of the building (the exterior may come across to you as dated in comparison to the  well-known museums) and get inside. Pay your entrance and indulge your eyes not only in the masterpieces of the Antiquity but in the eclectic variety of many periods of Greek history- Cycladic, Mycenean and classical Greek periods representing gold and metal work, marble statues and bronze work.  Explore all the statues, everyday life objects. What you’ll be  impressed with is the Golden Masq of Agammemnon, the Jockey of Artemision, the statue of Poseidon and other highlights. Wander around the remains of a great civilisation and admire the wonders of art. Notice that every first Sunday of the month there’s no admission. Worth visiting! It will take you some hours depending of how much these wonderful colections appeal to you.

         the jockeyPoseidon

          Again in the metro! Yes because you might arrive at the Syntagma Square, the place of the Parliament and the changing of their guard called evzones( their fascinating clothes- white kilts, black and red clogs, shoes with pompones). The changing takes place every hour when they hold  a performance which gathers a lot of tourists interested in watching such strange representations.Take some photos with these soldiers and be prepared for welcoming the pigeons which are used to coming to your arms in the hope of getting some food.

Evzones

         

          

           Cross the street and have a stroll in the park which will lead you to the famous Ermou Avenue, the paradise for shopaholics. Brand label shops or unknown shops! I have to say that if you don’t have the luck of discounts, the prices are a bit high. For a snack and for a break, stop at McDonald’s outlet which is just at the corner of the street. You should expect to encounter black men persuading you to buy their fake  Louis Vuitton, Chanel bags, items and so on.

ermou-street

          Either you are a window shopper or a person who wants to go in a shopping spree, this boulevard is for you! Next to the Ermou Avenue there are the Monastiraki neighbourhood and the old historical place- Plaka. Plaka attracts a lot of tourists eager to buy  souvenirs, food delights, or people who are hungry (you can take a sit at some tavernas- little restaurants where you’ll taste their traditional food- I have written more about this in the article about Aegina). Regarding shopping, you can purchase different interesting souvenirs (from bracelets to Greek sculptures or souvenirs representing the landmarks of Athens).You’ll be fed up with so many stores of souvenirs but you’ll enjoy spending your last hours in Athens. You can also look at the Acropolis at night. It’s so picturesque! Take again the metro and head towards your hotel.

Monastiraki

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           Athens is a city to everybody’s taste due to the large variety of things it offers. Add it to your bucket list and discover it bit by bit! I hope that my tips and my article in the whole will be useful to you. Thanks for stopping by!

 

Aegina island is no more a secret among tourists

            It’s  needless to say that all Greece is spreaded with lovely islands that will make you think long and hard which one you should go to. But let’s make it easier and come with me in Aegina island, one of the Saronic islands which  provides something for everyone, from sights of historical interest, several lovely sandy beaches, good places to eat some traditional dishes, to churches for those who want to go on a pilgrimage.Overmore, it’s the perfect destination for those who love pistachio.(there’s a pistachio festival in September). Let’s say hello to Aegina island!

Aegina

 

          

           How to arrive there?

           Well, I  arrived at Athens by car after a lot of tollpays on the highway and there, at the Piraeus Harbour (all you need is to find a  tall black building-there’s the 8 Gate) I embarked  on the Hellenic Seaways Posidon ferry designed  for people(9 Euro) and for cars(24 Euro). Firstly I  indulged my eyes in looking at the harbour which was full of ships, cruise ships (the superb MSC Splendida),yachts and so on. The voyage took me 1 hour. And finally I reached my destination (Aegina town’s harbour which is also the capital of the island). Overlooked  from the deck, it gave the impression of a nice quiet place. Here we are!

Our ferry

Piraeus Harbour

                       aegina harbour

aegina

                   My first contact with the island

          Once you are in the town you should have a stroll on the harbour and buy some  Mediterranean fruits directly from a boat. I was welcomed on the deck to choose my fruits which were delicious and cheap (especially fresh figs- yummy). An open air grocery! Crossing the street , I was impressed of such variety of tavernas (little Greek restaurants) whose waiters inssisted on me to have a  sit at their taverna. So persuasive and annoying! Afterwards, I went to shopping stopping at some stalls for souvenirs – some bracelets with meandros (typicall  sign to Greeks) or with the blue eye. But the most important thing on the island is pistachio which is merchandized at a very large scale in different forms: dried,salty,artificial opened. Worth knowing-it’s cheap 10 Euro/kg.

aegina_market

               Accommodation

            I opted for Agia Marina village (it’s on the other side of the island but it’s at 12 km far away from Aegina town) which is so touristy and on the same time welcoming and little. I had to search my accommodation and finally I chose to stay at “Sunny beach” Hotel which offered me such a picturesque view from the balcony (the sea combined with green pines). Not to mention that it was 2 minutes far away from the sea shore. Wonderful! The price was low,cheap (30 Euro one double room/night with breakfast). 

from the balcony

         Where should you eat?

         I’ve tried 2 restaurants in Agia Marina (Faros and the Rock).Both restaurants lived up to my expectations but I suggest you to go to the last one and order grilled octopus(it was so appetizing and tasty) or a mix of sea food or sword fish, all accompagnied with their traditional drink Ouzo (it’s strong) and Tza Tzi ki salad made of cucumber, yogurt (another Greek dish). One day I tasted Souvlaki ( a kind of chicken meat or pork and vegetables grilled on the skewer). For dessert I ordered Kadaif, a kind of sweet noddles with vanila ice cream, whip cream(it originates from Turkey). Another option is to eat in Souvala fishermen’s village.

         Sunbath and swimming!

         Agia Marina provides a large beach equipped with chais-longues,umbrellas(5 Euro). During summer and autumn the water is warm enough for swimming thinking that it’s not deep and the sand is fine. Nevertheless,I’m not sure if you’d like to go to Agia Marina beach taking into consideration that its counterpart Aegina, has better beaches because they are a bit more animated and cleaner. It’s up to you! In addition  there’s also Moni Island that will meet your requirements ( you’ll have a great experience-rocky landscape and crystal clear emerald water). Are you lonely person who prefer not so crowded beaches? Vagia is the best option for you.

agia_marina_beach

 aegina beach

moni island beach

         It’s time for visiting!

        The most important tourist attractions in this island are Aegina town , Afea’s Temple(of great archeological interest), Saint Nektarios Monastery, Paleochora, Perdika and  Souvala villages,the church of St. Minas. I’ll present you each sight so as to discover this marvelous island bit by bit.

        Afea’s temple is the icing on the cake of Aegina Island. It came across to me as a stunning example of ancient architecture set in a beautiful forested area which offered breathtaking panoramas over the entire island. (8 Euro) Worth visiting!

         Aegina island isn’t famaous only for pistachio but also for Saint Nektarios Monastery which is a very spiritual and peaceful place, good for pilgrimages. This huge church welcomes Christians especially Orthodoxes who generally come here for healing, praying. It is said that this widely known saint works wonders. Go to the new church(downstairs), the Saint’s Tomb and the little old church where holly oil wafts through the air(upstairs). And don’t forget to buy some icons and ask for holy oil. Important to know!!! This Saint is a curer of cancer (if only you believe in God and pray).

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          Paleochora! I founded about this risky place full of old churches spreaded on the abrupt hill. It is risky because of the possibility to encounter poisonous snakes. But for adventure-seekers not frightened about snakes and wanting  to dominate the island and to have a spectacular view, Paleochora is on their bucket list.

          Beside all these things mentioned above, buy Oleander  and Bougainville small tree. Both plants are eye-catching due to their colourful flowers (pink,white,red).

Bougainvilia

oleander

            All in all what impressed me a lot about Aegina island was the behaviour of Greeks who all  days were talking, dancing and didn’t worry about their future. I think that their relaxed approach to everything should be implemented by all of us. Furthermore, learn a bit of their language such as Yasas (Hello)  or Kalimera(Good Morning)!

           Try the Aegina Island with what’s related to it! Aegina will  keep on capturing the hearts of those who visit it and come back each year. Thanks for stopping by!