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Back Again to huge Naxos

My dear readers, as promised I gave Naxos another opportunity  to show me its beauty … and that amazingly happened last Summer.naxos portara

As you know I had the opportunity to visit Naxos long time ago – and it even was by chance! I did not properly planned it and it happened that I spent 1 night in Naxos where we: got lost, had our motorcycle broken &  got lost and slept in the most awful room I ever booked ;) But sometimes if you are a traveler, in August and you have not booked anything … well it may happen :)

This time though I was prepared :) and started already at beginning of April to look for info about a) where to stay, b) what to visit and c) where to eat !

I must admit that with great surprise Naxos seems to have lot of fans so – it was extremely  easy for me to look for info and get bet tips ever from my colleagues. Eleni, Andreas and George helped me to plan my perfect first vacation with our little daughter Carmen in the beautiful island of Naxos.plaka naxos

First question was – where to stay ! The island is pretty big and I really  had no idea about where to stay ….  The only thing I remembered from my previous trip was about a long bay with lot of nice houses, villas right facing the sea …… in  Plaka beach –   strongly suggested by my dear friends too :) – that was of course my choice !

Plaka is a very long beach that has many hotels, studios and villas right facing the beach – so very convenient if you are staying there and you have also your accommodation at 50 mts distance :) All restaurants, shops are located at the very beginning of Plaka that makes all the area then pretty quite and relaxing …. only a dirty road runs all along the coast , where  people enjoy walking night and day  listening to the sea and watching the stars in the night …..

Second question – what to see.  (Please also have a look at my previous post where talk about what to see). Here below you will find additional info mostly about Villages that I had no time to visit during my previous stay in Naxos.

First of all consider that Naxos is really huge- it is the biggest island of Cyclades …..  If you are looking for an island with lot of history and many nice villages to visit, Naxos could be your right choice !naxos chora sepia

First of all I considered all suggestions that my friends  gave me and we visited all villages and places they  strongly recommended us.
Naxos has lot of mountains and many beautiful villages well hidden :) but the village  I loved best was the one called Apoiranthos – with amazing  Chora, castle, fantastic view and beautiful houses most of them made of marble that make they shine under the sun, making your walk even more interesting.

At the beginning nice shops welcome you  – herbs shops, ceramic shops and then you a sweet and salty smell is leading you to the chora …. a nice “creperie” and 2 restaurants are waiting for you to spend some time there ….   In Apoiranthos we had a nice lunch in a very characteristic restaurant with an amazing balcony and view   – I cannot remember the name of it but it is the second (and last) you find on your left

Another village we liked is Filoti – have a walk and visit the old brewery.  Kynidaros is another village pretty far from the Chora but it is worth visiting mostly for dinner at Vasiliarakos Restaurant . This restaurant is very famous for its sausages ! You should know that the owner of the restaurant is a butcher and from one side you find the shop and from the opposite side the entrance to the restaurant. The entrance of the restaurant located in the main square of the pedestrian Chorakouros

Dimitra Temple – already described in my previous post is worth visiting – and last but not least the Kouros Statue at Melanes Village – huge ancient statues of young men that have been abandoned by the sculptors long time ago.

Beaches – Apart from Plaka that  is really nice, huge, quite but quite windy …..  my favorite beach is Mikri Vigla also because even in windy days it is repaired and you can enjoy the beach. We had amazing time there with Carmen enjoying the sea :)

Third and last questions – Where to eat – Restaurants – well .. forget about fish if you come to Naxos (apart from the port area) – Naxos is very famous for its meat, goats and sausages. I strongly recommend to avoid the Chora / castle area that is very nice for a walk but too touristic for dinner …. If you are looking for nice restaurants and real greek and good cousine I strongly recommend Axiotissa Restaurant, close to Mikri Vigla – for me the best of the island :). At Plaka you can find Picasso – a Mexican restaurant to try if you are tired of Greek food and also do not forget Waffle in Plaka for a nice dessert and icecream! you will love them !

Have a look at my comment on trip advisor

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g580192-d2279609-Reviews-or10-Axiotissa-Naxos_City_Naxos_Cyclades.html#REVIEWS

 

I strongly recommend this island to families, people that have pets since beaches are huge and you can easily find a place to lay down with your dog – without annoying anybody.

Ciao !

 

φιλακια !

Ancient Olympia

My dear readers
this post is dedicated to a trip I did some months ago – when I had the opportunity to visit the fascinating Ancient Olympia.
I always wanted to go there – since for every inauguration of every Olympic Games everything takes place there. The Olympic flame is lighted there and then comes to Athens to the Stadium.

Some info about Ancient Olympia – ελλ. Αρχαία Ολυμπία

The archaeological site of Ancient Olympia is located on the North West coast of  Peloponnese – at about 5 hours trip from Athens with the car. There is no airport close to Olympia.

There are 2 ways to go there from Athens:
1. taking the motor way till Patras and then keep on until  you get to Olympia
2. go down to Tripoli and then drive local roads. This seems to be the easiest and shortest way – that is what we did
In case you do not have a car and you are not doing a tour of Peloponnese  please consider that there are also  connections with KTLE buses  from Athens. Have a look at my post “travel to Greece” to find the link.

The Archaeological site of Olympia is famous for the ancient Olympic Games  and had a religious essence since all games  were dedicated to god Zeus.
Athletics (men)  from all Greece were coming there to participate to the Olympic Games and all hostilities and wars were stopped for this event.
First Olympic Game took place on 776 B.C. with the first full moon of August. Since then they took place every 4 years until they have been stopped in 394 A. C.

What to see
The Archaeological Site is very impressive and pretty big. It will take you at least half day to visit all of it and the rest of the day you should visit the Archaeological Museum.
In the Archaeological Site you can visit

Zeus Temple
Other Temples and also where Fidia created the majestic statue of Zeus
Olympic Stadium – so much impressive ! In order to enter you need to pass through a vault. It has the capacity of 20,000 spectator  I strongly suggest to go early in the morning when hopefully nobody will be there. You can really see and feel the majesty of the place and may take some pics as if you were one of the Athlete
Archaeological Museum that is considered one of the best in all Greece. It is located at about 200 mt from the entrance of the Site

Let’s go to my trip
We visited Olympia and the Archaeological site of Olympia some months ago. For personal reasons we travelled close to it and we decided to spend there the night to visit this beautiful place the following day.
The trip was pretty long – as stated before it took us about 5 hours of car to get there. Part of the trip was with the high way until Tripoli  but most of it with on local roads.

The city of Olympia is pretty small and mostly consists of one road – Praxitelous Kondyli –  where you can find souvenir shops. On the ways connected to this road you can find hotels, tavernas and bars.
There is a huge parking place where you can leave the car, from where you can easily get to the Archaeological Site of Ancient Olympia – at walking distance of about 500 mt.

The first thing we saw was the hotel ! Really a nice surprise ! All Trip Advisors suggestions helped us to decide to book  Best Western Europa – located on top of the hill, with fantastic view at all surrounding and also with view to a big swimming pool. Spacious rooms and super delicious food !!! and amazing breakfast
http://www.tripadvisor.it/ShowUserReviews-g189487-d227386-r120571668-BEST_WESTERN_Europa_Hotel-Olympia_Peloponnese.html

Since it was already pretty late we decided to have a quick look at Olympia, to understand how big it was and be ready for the next day.
I must admit that it was not Season so many places were closed and therefore also the city was pretty deserted – still Olympia consists of one road full of shops ….
We were looking for a nice place to have dinner …. but nothing really grabbed our attention and …. following TA suggestions .. we decided to have dinner at the Hotel ! Best Choice Ever !

The next day we finally visited the Archeological Site of Ancient Olympia and surprise ! since it was low Season and Sunday we did not pay the entrance !
As soon as we were entering I was so much fascinated to see all that green. Full of tress surround and cover the Archaeological Site – making nice shadows where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of the place.

Ancient Olympia is really pretty big therefore it will take you some time to visit it. The Olympic Stadium was really impressive and while I was there I was trying to remember the inaugurations that I used to see in TV in previous years.

We took many pictures of the place and as always my husband Kostas was my personal tourist guide that was explaining to me every single detail and I really enjoyed it :)

After that we visited the very nice and interesting Archaeological Museum – so many things to see and so much to learn.

At about 4pm we were ready to leave for Athens  – after a very intense day of history and beauties.

Φιλάκια

 

 

 

Kalavryta

My Dear Readers Kalavryta !

I do apology  for my long silence … I know … it’s a very long time that I am not updating my blog with new posts…. BUT I think  I have a very good explanation and excuse :)
I am expecting a little small italo – greek princess …. and in the evening I have been very very tired in the past few months ………..

But today I feel very well and ready to write my next post concerning a trip I did in  October in Kalavryta !

Some info about Kalavryta    – ελλ. Καλάβρητα
Kalavryta is a nice town located in the north of Peloponnese, on your way from Athens to Patras.
You can reach Kalavryta both with the car of with a train (COG train :) )
It’s about 2 hours by car from Athens ! Frankly they say that there is the highway until Diakofto …. still from Corinth …. the highway is still under construction …… so …. you know … be careful !

Nowadays it is mostly famous for his Helmos Ski Center   – located only 15km from the small town. Many friends of mine are now going there to ski :)
Still Kalavryta is also unfortunately famous for a very sad episode that happened at the end of the  II World War – the Holocaust that happened 13 / 12 / 1943

Let’s go to my trip
Beginning of October we decided to spend a relaxing weekend up in the mountains ….. you won’t believe me …but I really needed a break from the sun .. from the sea … and I had a strong need to see “my mountains” …. ok  … I come from the Alps …. so pretty different from Peloponnese and from Kalavryta mountains … still I can confirm that it has been very nice !
Kostas suggested me to spend a weekend at Kalavryta – even if it was low season – and mostly to enjoy the nice trip with the COG train from Diakofto

I was so excited ! I already knew this destination since most of my friends here go frequently there for ski !

One Saturday Morning we left Athens for a relaxing weekend :)

Since it was low season and we couldn’t of course ski – Kostas suggested to do the very extraordinary trip with the COG train ! Believe me it was like going to Gran Canyon ! So exciting and mostly unique! I read somewhere that it is considered as one of the 6 most beautiful route in the world …..

After a couple of hours we arrived in Diakofto – that is where you take the  COG train, we bought  our tickets and …. we started our little journey through  the Gorge of Vouraikos, at an altitude of about 720m   – destination Kalavryta !
As I stated before the trip is unique ! it was really fantastic – we went through really impossible and beautiful places ! we could’t stop taking pictures ! and at every corner we were even more surprised !
We even saw people that were walking on that valley – following the train railways ……
The trip is pretty long for the distance that covers .. since the train goes very slow ….. Once arrived in Kalavryta we visited the center, had lunch and then back to Diakofto !

ps the cost of the ticket is pretty expensive – If I am not mistaken return is about 32 euros per person – and frankly the most beautiful and unique part of the trip is the first half  – where there is also a Train Station and Restaurant. If it is Spring / Summer Time I suggest to buy the ticket only for the first stop and then come back on foot! I guess it is the best way to enjoy the beauty of this place !

Back to Diakofto we went (again) to Kalavryta.

The next Morning we visited the Museum of Holocaust of Kalavryta …… that is right on the main road, where the School was located ……. Well … be ready for strong feelings … for listening to sad stories of families destroyed by the atrocity of the War ……
On Saturday 13th December 1943 the German Nazi troops entered this small town ….. looking for Greek partisans. Since they didn’t find anybody …. – they gathered the WHOLE population ….   they gathered the men on top of the hill and shoot at them, one after the other  … while tried to give fire to all children and women that they closed inside the school of the town …….. Fortunately women and children escaped …. but the male population  …. did not survive …
Germans before leaving burned the entire town ……..

There is a statue in the garden of the museum where you see a woman with her children … that went to take the dead body of his husband …. if I think about this I still cry ……
On your way to the ski center you will also find the hill … where there is the commemoration of the Holocaust.

After the first day of pure relax and fun ….. we left Kalavryta a little bit … sad ….. there were even shops in Kalavryta with articles, signatures collected to ask Germans to pay for what they did in Greece during the II World War … it seems that they still haven’t paid their debts …….. at least in Greece …….

I strongly suggest to go to Kalavryta in Winter for ski and in Summer for relax ! and I strongly suggest to try the COG train !

filakia !

Back again to …. Monemvasia

Kalo mina!  (kalo mina is our best wishes when a new month comes) My dear Readers Monemvasia !

It has come the time to tell you about our last Summer destination … the amazing and sacred castle of Monemvasia …….

Please have a look at this post in order to have all the information about Monenvasia and how to get there

http://www.sunnygreece.it/2010/monemvasia/

Let’s go to my trip

As anticipated our last summer destination was Monemvasia.

We decided to come back to this byzantine castle because the last time we only spent an afternoon there   … and we missed almost everything ….

  1. First of all we missed to visit the old  Kastro
  2. Secondly we missed to have a swim at famous Portello
  3. And lastly we missed to spend the night inside the walls of the Katro …. a magic experience ……

Of course this year we did it all and we promised to come back again :)

When we arrived and we entered the only entrance for Monemvasia I was so excited !! We succeeded to find a room in the middle of august, inside the castle .. only for 1 night ….. in a brand new hotel …. We had our survival luggage  (all area is fully pedestrian … and you need to walk up and down … so you know …. try to bring few stuff with you) and I think that we looked like a little bit lost  :) ……you know …..  we were looking for the indication of our brand new hotel – Likinia. But we have been so lucky because a pretty girl Panagiota … saw us …. and she was so kind to lead us to the hotel …….

The hotel was a very nice surprise …. (I love to be surprised by beautiful hotel ….. ) – it was located at the opposite site from the entrance, completely brand new hotel ….. and the owners Kyra Voula has been so kind with us …. she even showed us 3 rooms and she let us choose the best ! Of course we had the top floor room, with nice balcony and view to the sea ….. This winter we will have the room on the first floor …. pretty huge with nice chimney J.

http://www.tripadvisor.it/ShowUserReviews-g285708-d2150954-r116345095-Likinia_Hotel-Monemvasia_Peloponnese.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT 

We left our fabulous room and went immediately to have our last swim of our Summer Vacation at the very famous Portello ! thanks God it was not windy therefore we could enjoy some time in the water (there are only rocks and if there are waves it could be pretty dangerous …. ) and after that we started to visit the beautiful kastro of Monemvasia – taking thousand of pics ….

The Kastro was exactly how I remembered, actually even more beautiful. Now most of the houses are completely renovated, there were many cats … flowers … nice shops ……

We walked first all around the Kastro, waiting for the sun to go a little bit down… in order to start our visit to the old Kastro, on top of Monenvasia ……

The way to the old Kastro is pretty easy (with proper pair of shoes)  still long and in Summer I strongly suggest to visit it early in the morning or late in the afternoon ….. From there you have a fantastic view of Monemvasia, of the Coast  and you will find the famous Church of  Agia Sofia  – that has an Octagonal Plan – as Agia Sofia at Konstantinopolis

After all this visits and taking thousands of pictures  we really need a break and we went to a fantastic club in order to have a happy hour ….. Enetico This place was outstanding ! huge terrace ! view to the sea ! funny little birds looking for food …. and I found a fantastic straw hat that I wore and Kostas took the fantastic pics of Ursy super Star that you will below ….. You cannot imagine my disappointment when I asked if I could buy it but the owner told me that unfortunately she couldn’t give it to me ……  those hats were handmade … and due to the crises the lady that produced them closed her shop in Athens … so those fabulous hats could not have been replaced …….. and I had to leave it there … still I have the amazing picture :)

In the evening we had an amazing dinner at To Kanoni (strongly recommend to book the table with view) and then we went back to our super romantic hotel ……
http://www.tripadvisor.it/ShowUserReviews-g285708-d2089673-r116349279-To_Kanoni-Monemvasia_Peloponnese.html#REVIEWS

We had amazing time in Monemvasia and we will for sure come back again this Winter…. there will be very few people … we will listen to the wind passing through the houses … we will enjoy a nice lunch / dinner … and then light our chimney ……

I strongly recommend to anybody to go to Monemvasia, a couple of nights could be fine – but try to stay inside the castle ! otherwise you will miss most of it

ciao !

Filakia