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Agistri

My dear readers,

today I am very excited because Ι want to dedicate this post to special people  that recently I had the opportunity to meet where I work. They came to Greece for work with lot of questions marks, doubts and maybe also fear after all bad news they heard about the situation here in Athens  and despite all the crises and really tough time this country is experiencing  they are really enjoying it and get the best out of it and of the people. Honestly I think that when they leave they will really miss this chaotic city  and most of all the people –  and  David, Kat and Daniela we will miss you too.

Some info about  Agistri– ελλ. Αγκίστρι

Agistri is a very tiny island, usually not taken into consideration from tourism – since everybody prefers to stop in the very close and bigger island of Aegina. Agistri is the smallest island in the Saronic Gulf with an area of only 14 sq km.

It’s only 1 hour with the speedy boat from Piraeus and connections are not so frequent as per Aegina – therefore before organizing any excursions you carefully need to check the time schedule.
The island is small – with lot of hills and so many pine trees that are reflected in the blue waters.
In Agistri there are 2 main ports – that are distant only a few km one from the other – but you need to pay attention since the flying dolphin is arriving at one port – Megalochori – while the ferry boat at Skala.
The best way to move and visit the island is with the scooter – but if you are strong and brave rent a bicycle and enjoy :)

What to see
the island is very small so if you have a scooter in 1 day you can visit almost all beaches.

Skala is the main town with lot of tourist attractions – beaches, hotels, tavernas, umbrellas on the beach  – main life on the island is spent there. It has a very nice church that dominates the town. In Skala you take the ferry boat to Piraeus.

Megalochori is the small town where the flying dolphin arrive – even here you can find shops, hotels.

Beaches
There are nice and organized  beaches in Skala, Megalochori, a small beach in Skliri and the very outstanding beach of Chalikiada – where we went.

There are many nice places and beaches to see  – but since we rented the bicycle we did not visit them … so I leave it to your fantasy :) or you can have a look at this very helpful website on Agistri

http://www.agistri.com.gr/today/?lang=en

Let’s go to my trip
As I told you at the beginning of this post – this post is dedicated to special people that shared with me this trip.
A couple of weeks ago I suggested to have a day excursion to one very close island – to spend some time together and to welcome Summer ! Since my colleagues know that I am pretty and expert on trips in Greece, they decided to trust me and to come to this island that nobody knew :)

Agistri was the first island that came in my mind. Actually I had already been there with my husband – this is the first greek island I visited with him – when I met him the first time for work and he decided to bring his “italian colleague” to a Greek Island. I must admit that Kostas has been a real kamaki ! But at that time I did not know this word and not even the existence of greek Kamaki … so I really thought that it was a common and nice greek custom to spend time with colleagues :)

So – let’s say that I already had a positive memory of this island  and I wanted to go again but this time with my new friends and I think that I will go again with Kostas …. it is really very nice and romantic !

At 8.30 in the morning – people from Italy, UK, South Africa and USA met at Piraeus Port (us) and we started this exciting experience :) – what a nice company !
The trip was very nice – it was not windy so I didn’t suffer the sea ….

When we arrived in Agistri it was still pretty early and we had all day in front of us. We arrived at Megalochori and from there we took the public  bus that was waiting for us and we went to the nice little town of Skala. We had no idea about where to go … what to do …. a colleague of us Christos strongly recommended us to go to one beach first and then to have lunch in one taverna … and since he knew it better than us – obviously we followed his instructions :)

Thanks to a very kind lady that provided us with all indications (and my very fluent greek ahahah ) – we rented 5 bicycles  for 5 euros each ! WOW it was fantastic … actually I had no idea I still remembered how to ride a bicycle. All of us looked like teenagers and we had so much fun with our first hill …… let’s say that our enthusiasm was till high … but we had no breath and we started complaining and laughing – altogether.

Luckily the beach of Chalikiada was not very far to reach – we only rode for about 10′ and then left the bicycle and started this new exciting experience .. looking for the suggested beach …. walking in the middle of forest (still with view to the sea) – as Kat said – we really needed a machete to clean it up – but finally – at the end …. we got it and when we arrived the view was so outstanding that we had to stop to full our eyes with such a beauty and already started taking the first of many pictures ……
Honestly that path for going down to the beach was not very clear to us … and after guessing from where we should go …. I politely asked the people that were on the beach already – the way to go down.

If you are coming to Agistri and you want to go to this fantastic beach I strongly recommend you to wear comfortable sneakers – and a sport dress + bag – let’s say this is not one of the easiest way to go … and if you do not pay attention you may risk to seriously hurt yourself !

I have no idea how but we managed to go down the hill  and get to the beach –  Adam and David have been very helpful and gentlemen with us. With our great surprise mostly everybody were naked …. but we didn’t care and decided to spend there our day :)

The first thing all of us did was to go into the water – we took off our shoes and dresses, put some sun cream and in 2 seconds we were in the water – enjoying our day trip !
The water was so appealing and the place so beautiful that we spent almost 1 hour and the half inside it – just talking, swimming and having fun. Our friends from USA and South Africa told us that it was the first time they could really swim and stay in the sea …… and where so happy ! David even told me that it was strange that no sharks were approaching to us (thanks’ God!) and he really felt free in the sea for the first time in his life !

We spent very great time in Chalikiada and at around 2pm we started being a little bit hungry … and sadly we decided to leave the beach … but still with great expectations about the taverna with view to the sea and delicious food suggested by Christos !  the SMS said – in Skala you will find this hotel / taverna that is the best in Agistri .… so we went down to the hill (with such pleasure this time) and arrived in Skala we asked for indication ….

With our surprise … the taverna was on the way that we just left … and we had AGAIN to take the bicycle and go up to the hill ….. it was so hot .. and we were so exhausted. … still we were strong and we managed to do it ! Personally I was not riding anymore but going on foot – holding the bicycle ahhah – still I came to the beautiful taverna of Alkyoni
http://www.alkyoni-agistri.gr/home

When we came there the smell was so nice …. and we were almost starving :)
They gave us a huge table that all of us could sit with view to the sea. … and I think I had one of the most delicious food I ever had in the tavernas on the sea …….. The owner even invited us to get into the kitchen to check the fish

We had great time ! with fantastic view too !!!

After launch our day was pretty over …. we went back to Skala, gave back the bicycles and went to the beach to have the last relax time, drinking milk shakes and caffee’ frappe’

It has really been a great day and I am so thankful that they decided to share this experience with me !

Agistri is a very nice island for a day excursion or even 2 days for relax ! I strongly suggest to visit it if you have some time in Athens :)

Φιλάκια

 

ps Thanks Adam for joying us :)

 

Pet Friendly Hotels in Greece

My dear readers, i decided to dedicate this post to travelers that love their pets and want to share their holidays with them :) , so Pet Friendly Hotels in Greece

 

As a lover of pets (maybe my first word was “daddy, I want a puppy” ) I always found it very difficult and sometimes even embarrassing to travel with my lovely pets ….

 

Maybe it happened that  I found a very nice hotel – perfect in terms of location and costs … and when it came to ask if I could travel with my dog … well … most of the time the answer was .. “I am very sorry .. I do really apologize but our policy does not admit dogs / cats / pets in general ….”

 

So frustrated and annoyed because I cannot understand why there is no limitation to rude people that eventually even cause damages in the rooms …… and sometimes do not even pay the bills  – I had to look after another hotel … or  look after a cat sitter / dog sitter promising Italian dinners for free for one year :)   or worst ….. leave the dog / cat to the kennel :(  – and I left for holidays with my heart broken …..

 

I am not talking about years ago … it just happened a couple of weeks ago …. I booked a long weekend in Sifnos  for June and I cannot bring with me my very educated cat – PEPE – because they do not accept animals …So you know … I am now looking for a CAT sitter for 1 weekend in June !!!!

 

Last year I went to Turk and Caicos –  a very exclusive island in the Caribbean see …. – and imagine … on the beach there was a woman that was having so much fun with her dog … and I thought that that place was I place where I wanted to live  …… that place was a paradise for men and for pets :) too

 

So yesterday I decided that it was now the time to dedicate a post where my readers could quickly find info about pet friendly hotels in Greece

 

The first thing I did was surfing online and I found interesting sites that you will find below. Then of course I asked to the most trustful  source – the Greek EOT that with great surprise came back to me after only a couple of hours !!!  and also another trustful source –  a friend of mine Andrea – that is a British shorthair breeder that  travels a lot since he does lot of expositions – helped me on that :)

 

Happy holidays with your “pet” friends :)

 

http://www.bringfido.com/destination/country/greece/

 

In the following sites you need to include “with animals”

http://www.grhotels.gr/EN/TouristGuide/FindHotel/Pages/SearchHotelFull.aspx that is the site that EOT game me :)

 

other well known sites for booking:

http://www.booking.com/

http://www.expedia.it/Atene-Hotel-Hotel-Con-Animali-Ammessi.0-0-d178231-tHotelconanimaliammessi.Guida-Viaggi-Filtro-Hotel

 

Loutraki

Dear Readers
recently I visited the town of Loutraki, a sea resort close to Athens – at about 1 hour with the car.

Some info about  Loutraki   – ελλ. Λουτράκι

The small village of Loutraki is very close to Corinth and it faces the huge Gulf of Corinth – actually in order to get there you need to go along the narrow Canal of Corinth.

The village is famous for the Casino and also for the Natural Thermal Waters.

 

Let’s go to my trip

One very sunny and warm Sunday we decided to go and visit the close sea resort of  Loutraki. Usually for that occasions I prefer the beautiful city of Nafplio but since we had been there recently many times, we decided to cross  the Corinth Isthmus and visit the nice town of Loutraki, famous for its SPA with Natural Spring Waters and for the Casino.

The town develops all along the huge Gulf of Corinth. There are plenty of bars and tavernas all along the nice walk close to the beach.  The beach is really long – I think more than 3 kms – and it’s with lot of small pebbles.

The beach should be organized in Summer and there are plenty of showers all along the beach.

We had a walk there, we enjoyed the nice weather and the sun and of course our Frappe’ at the end.

Honestly I found Loutraki a little bit  abandoned – buildings need to be renovated and it was quite sad …. maybe because we went there in low season and it may be much better in Summer. For sure this is not as beautiful as Nafplio – still it is a nice place for having a walk and enjoy nice food or good coffee at just 1 hour from Athens.

I was told that there beautiful beaches close by – that I shall visit in the next future

 

Ciao !

φιλάκια

 

Hydra

Hydra port

Hydra port

Dear readers

recently I had the possibility to visit Hydra with my mum …..

Actually I was looking for a very chic, nice and extremely beautiful island to spend a long weekend with my mum that was coming to visit me from Italy ….

 

Of course she likes Athens … but as every big cities after a while you need a change …. and the good thing is that from Athens in only a couple of hours of trip with the ferry you get to places that look like  as they were 20 / 30 years ago … as time hasn’t passed  …  and one of this timeless place is Hydra …….

 

 

Some info about  Hydra  – ελλ. ‘Υδρα

Hydra is a beautiful island in the Saronic Gulf – at about 2 hours with speedy boat from Piraeus. It lies right between Poros and Spetses, close to the coast. It’s a very picturesque island, with nice and completely renovated mansions, build with their typical stones and with red-tiled houses. All alleys are stone-paved and the most outstanding thing about Hydra is that there are no cars – any kind of motorizes vehicles are forbidden …… the only way to move is on foot or with nice donkeys that you can find in the port or with taxi boat

 

What to see

 

Town of Hydra – the nice town of Hydra is located in a natural port. It’s surrounded by beautiful mansions, build in 19th century. Most of the houses are build with Grey – thick stones or are ochre and red painted. The town surround the natural port and from the top of it you can enjoy a fantastic view to all the bay and also to the coast.

The town is full of stone-paved alleys, that lead you to many squares and hidden churches. Main life is spent on the port – where you may find most shops and tavernas but also inside the town you may find unspoiled and beautiful places to have a coffee or eat.

In the town you should visit the Historic Museum of Hydra, the nice mansions and of course you can see the bastions with cannons – Hydra used to play an extremely important role against the Turks for the protection of Greece.

 

From Hydra there are 2 paths that you can take  in order to visit the island, one path on the east side leads you to Mandraki, the other path on the west leads you to Kamini and then Vlychos beaches.

Both paths are close to the coast and you can enjoy a fantastic view to the sea and also to the countryside.

Mandraki is a small complex of houses where there is also a nice small beach.

Kamini is a very small fishing port  – at about 1km from Hydra.  It is between Hydra and Vlychos. Just after the port you can also find a nice small beach with pebbles

Vlychos Beach – this small complex houses with the nice beach is about 40 minutes of walk from Hydra, a walk in the real countryside …. . As most of the beaches in Hydra Vlychos is a pebble beach with crystal clear waters with nice tavernas.

 

 

Let’s go to my trip

Since my arrival in Greece everybody was telling me that I absolutely had to visit Hydra … honestly I tried several times to book an hotel there … but it seemed that even not in high season all hotels were fully booked …… even 2 months in advance ……

My mother was coming to visit me and again I tried to see if I was lucky and could find some place to stay … and maybe due to the fact that March is not the “best” time to visit an island – it could be too windy and cold –  I was lucky and found a very nice hotel to spend our long weekend.

We arrived in the beautiful island of Hydra after 2 hours of speedy boat in early afternoon  … our trip was very nice, there was no wind and I also had the possibility to see the port of Poros …. that I will visit soon …

 

As landed we straight went to our hotel – that was a real surprise for us … – hidden in the heart of Hydra, still very close to the port ….-  we left our things and then went straight to have our lunch in the port … in one fish tavern …..

Well… the only things you can do in Hydra is eating and walking …. and again eating and again walking – always taking your time and relaxing yourself – and of course take thousand of pictures !!  This  it is exactly what we did during our stay there ….

We ate delicious food – we spent our evening drinking nice cocktails and we walked, walked, walked and again walked…. all along the island and also up and down in the town ….

 

The first day we walked to Mandraki where I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life ! The walk was very nice with so many cats all along the path …. If I knew I would have brought some food for them ……. next time :)

 

The following day we had a fantastic cappuccino at Hydronetta – beautiful bar on a rocks facing the sea – and then we walked towards Kamini first and then Vlychos beach.

The way to these beaches is very nice … with lot of nature, fields and flowers and we also found horses that were free to walk and run there …. lucky of them !

We had lunch in a very nice tavern in Vlychos sitting in front of the sea ….. listening to the waves ….

On our way back to Hydra we finally visited all the town .. going up and down all the stairs ….the paved alleys ….  and again taking thousands of pics  and in the evening we enjoyed nice food and a delicious “lemon crème Brule’ ” in one nice tavern in the heart of Hydra to krifo limani” – quite hidden but very beautiful …..

Unfortunately I couldn’t visit any museum since everything was close …. next time I will for sure :)

 

We really loved this island and we really relaxed ourselves …… If I can compare this island with an Italian location .. I could compare it to Portofino ….. très chic ! the port … the shops .. the fact that there are no beaches but nice rocks …… also the people reminded me the tourism of Portofino ….

 

I strongly suggest anybody to spend at least a weekend in Hydra – very chic island  in the middle of Saronic Gulf (still maybe not the best place if you are looking for sandy beaches).

It could be a little  more expensive than other destinations but it worth it ! and don’t forget to book a lot in advance !!!

 

Ciao !

φιλάκια

 

ps a special thank you to my friends Giannis and Sylvia that provided me with all the info I needed in order not to miss anything in Hydra !!!

ps 2 For the ones that would like to know we stayed in Angelica VIP hotel http://www.angelica.gr/ that I  recommend

http://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/angelica.en-gb.html?tab=4&aid=304142&rid=763796734&label=review_am

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g189493-d639685-r101768419-Angelica_Hotel-Hydra_Saronic_Gulf_Islands.html#REVIEWS#CHECK_RATES_CONT