Friday, July 29, 2011



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Chania Holidays is something you will never forget.
Chania port, is located on the North coast of the island on the Western Side of Crete. This side of the island is a lot calmer than the Eastern side of the Island. The tourism in this region is picking up but due to its distance from the famous archaeological sites and lack of long sandy beaches right by the city centre, famous resorts have settled on the other side of the island.
This city is the second largest on Crete. It was for a while the Capital of Crete but the title was given back to Iraklion in the early 1970s. Its old town is a beautiful blend of Venetian architecture, lively café culture, intoxicating aromas and character. It has been claimed the most attractive city on Crete, with the backdrop of Mountains and extensive views of the Mediterranean. The combination of the Modern with the old town definitely adds to its character and uniqueness. The Modern part of the city is spread out with spacious roads, while the old town is a combination of narrow alleys and half derelict Venetian buildings that survived the wartime. The Old town area is relatively small and mainly along the sea front.
This area even due to its remote location from beaches and the main sites, is home to some resorts, luxury hotels as well as camping sites and even youth hostels. So you will be able to find whatever type of accommodation you are looking for. You can even find a few places in the Old Town!
A little bit about Crete:
Crete is approximately 2 and a half times the size of Majorca. It is the biggest and most southerly Greek Island in the Mediterranean. The Island has numerous beaches, magnificent mountains, luscious valleys, tiny villages, large cities, fortresses, archaeological sites, unique customs and fantastic History. Due to the island's diversity and its size Cretans feel that it is a state in its own right. This is also emphasised by the fact that locals speak a slightly different dialect of Greek.
Crete was home to the first European Civilisation, the Minoans, who ruled the island as early as 2000 BC. Their history and influence on the island as well as on the island's culture is evident everywhere.
It is truly an amazing place, a little land of its own. One that is full of places to discover, things to see and do. It also offers the largest variety of what ever you would expect to find on a Greek Island. Your Holidays in Chania will be something you will forever cherish.

In the Old Town within the Kasteli District there are signs of life dating as far back as the Neolithic Era. However, as with most areas of Crete, Chania was also a Minoan City.
After the Minoan period Chania became an important city-state Capital in Classical Greece. Its domain stretched from the waterfront to the feet of the White Mountains. Its name was Kydonia and it was constantly at war with other Cretan states. It even issued its own coins in the 3rd Century AD.
The area was further occupied by Arabs during the Byzantine Era. This period isn't very well documented, however around 961 BC the Byzantine Empire took control once again of the city and fortified it to prevent the further invasion of the Arabs.
After the fall of the Byzantine Empire within the region the island was then sold to the Venetians for mere 100 silver marks. To begin with the Venetian rule was strict and oppressing however, the relations between them improved and their cultures intertwined.
The walls that had been built to keep the Arabs out did not stand the force of the Ottoman Empire, so in 1645 the Ottoman Empire took over the area that was now flourishing under Venetian rule. The Greeks eventually rose against the Empire in 1821. The conflicts between the Turks and the Greeks in Chania led to losses from both sides.
In 1898 steps were put into motion to unite Crete with the rest of Greece. Chania remained a semi-autonomous state during the negotiations. However it wasn't until 1913 that Crete became officially part of Greece. This is another reason why the Cretans feel that Crete is an autonomous state.
A little bit of Cretan History:
Crete is where the earliest of Europe's civilizations, the Minoans, settled, however, there are signs that life has existed on Crete for more than 130,000 years. As many people have heard that the Minoans spread and took over other islands as well as parts of Mainland of Greece. There is evidence that they were incredibly advanced for their time and were in the centre of the Maritime Trade from 2000BC. It is said that this civilization survived various natural disasters that destroyed, homes, palaces, which they rebuilt and some of them remain for us to admire today.
The Island has seen a lot of changes, a lot of civilizations and different occupations. The Island has been ruled by its own people, the Minoans and the Mycenae. It has been taken over by the Venetians and the Ottoman Empire. In more recent years it was split into four sectours between the UK, Italy, Russia and France when they were fighting to maintain their power of the Island.
This land's history is packed with tales of Mythology. It is claimed that the father of all the Olympian Gods, Zeus, was born on this tremendous island, on Mount Ida. Zeus also destroyed a giant Lizard that was threatening the Island. Crete is also where the tales of the Minotaur derive.
The bull was worshipped by the Minoans and it was celebrated in the construction of palaces like Knossos. There are a few variations of the myth about the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. The best known includes the Prince Theseus, a very complicated maze and the death of the Minotaur at the hand of Theseus.

This is probably the most famous site on this enormous island. It is approximately 140 km from Chania so it is quite a drive or bus ride but if you make the trip you will not be disappointed. The area was first inhabited in 7000 BC; the palace that remains however was rebuilt in 1350 BC after being destroyed in 1700 BC. The construction itself was excavated in on several occasions beginning in the late 1800s and ending in 1931. The site is huge and in excellent condition. You can always tag along side one of the tour groups wandering around the palace and site, in case you miss something.

-Nautical Museum of Crete
This museum houses a collection of model ships, as well as other naval ephemera showing the history of Greek Navigation. There is also a section on the battle of Crete in 1941.
-Byzantine Museum
The collection is not huge, but it is very interesting. It has a collection of mosaics, icons and jewellery from this period.
- Archaeological Museum
This museum has in its collection a number of artefacts including:
- Minoan finds from Chania
- Prehistoric finds from caves
- Minoan items from various sites in the prefecture
- Finds from graves of the Geometric period
- Finds from the city of Chania, dated to historic times
- Finds from other towns of the Chania prefecture
- Coins, Jewellery, Sculpture, inscriptions & Mosaics

You should also walk around the city and visit the Mosque of Janissaries, the Cathedral, the Minoan Excavation and the Centre of Traditional Folk Art and Culture.
Water sports are very popular in this region especially Water polo. The Team from Chania have remained in the primary league of the Greek National Teams for decades.
There is also a very active mountaineering, rock climbing and walking society. Check out the Chania Mountaineering Club.
Things to do
The Beaches of this Town lie on the West part of the Town. The closest beach is the city beach, it is crowded but clean.
-Golden Beach, 1 km from the city centre, it is as its name long golden sandy beach, but because of its close position to the city it becomes very crowded.
-Agioi Apostoloi Beach is to the West about 7km and is a sandy beach that is in total about 3 coves.
-Further along is Kalamaki Beach another sandy one.
There are many beaches in the region but there are not many ones that are very close by. Please check with your hotel or the locals for the best places to swim because this constantly changes and the locals always know a few more secrets,
There is a wide selection of little shops selling traditional Cretan artwork, leather, jewellery, embroidery, woven goods and replicas of artefacts and Icons. You will also find a number of larger shops in this city, clothes shops, accessories, shoes, beauty items, books etc. If you come across some local products, grab a jar of honey, a bottle of Cretan wine and if you can some of the local cheese.
You should also take a walk through the Agora (the market) and have a look around at what is on offer.
Samaria Gorge is located 43 km from the city of Chania so it would take approximately one hour to get there by car. It is a unique experience to take a hike in this gorge and is something you will carry with you forever. It would take about 4-6 hours depending on how quick you are to pass through the "Samaria Gorge". We suggest you start very early in the morning before it becomes too hot.

Chania has a good reputation for its Nightlife and a perfect place for your Greek Island Holidays. Being a good size city it has a lot to offer the visitors and the locals. The west side of the Town is where the party happens. The streets are filled with young people walking around, going into to bars, clubs, etc. This is the lively side of town. People party to all hours of the morning. The bars and clubs play all sorts of music, anything from Cuban to Live Greek Music. Take your pick and wander on in and enjoy yourself.
Of course there are areas within the town that are low key where you can enjoy a quiet drink by the sea front.
Where to wine and dine:
Crete is known for its delicious and fresh food. You must try the local food and ask for what is traditional in
Chania. Grab a glass of chilled raki or a nice cold beer.
There are a number of restaurant and tavernas along the Harbour; these are slightly pricey. The cheaper more traditional food is found in the back streets and around the Market (Agora). If you want a light dinner you can grab a snack in a café or go to an ouzeri and have some meze with a glass of ouzo or local wine.
Enjoy your holidays in Crete! Best of Chania Holidays

"Zorba the Greek" director has left us at the age of 89

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Final farewell for "Zorba the Greek" director

ATHENSGreece's art and film community bid a final farewell Thursday to Greek-cypriot director Michael Cacoyannis, best known for the hit film "Zorba the Greek", who died in Athens aged 89.
Composer Mikis Theodorakis, who did the music for a number of Cacoyannis' films, was in the front row of mourners at the Orthodox ceremony in a central Athens church strewn with white flower crowns sent by friends and fans.
"Today we say goodbye to a great creator who brought Greek culture to the rest of the world," Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou told the solemn gathering.
She hailed Cacoyannis' cinematic achievements but also his work in theatre and cinema education via a foundation he created in Athens.
Also present were Greek and Cypriot political representatives, other directors and actors like Antonis Kafetzopoulos, Costas Ferris and Constantin Giannaris.
Dimitris Papaioannou, choreographer of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics, was also present.
Greek actress Irene Papas told Greek media that Cacoyannis had joined "the grand theatre of the immortals", while Ta Nea newspaper said the director, through Zorba the Greek, "did more for Greece than any tourism bureau in the world".
Born in Cyprus on June 11, 1922, Cacoyannis shot to fame with the triple-Oscar winning "Zorba the Greek" in 1964, an adaptation of the Nikos Kazantzakis-penned novel which starred Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates and Irene Pappas among others.
He was also feted for the film "Electra", based on the Euripides tragedy, which received two awards at Cannes in 1962.
The director died at the central Evangelismos hospital on Monday where he was admitted 10 days earlier.


Thursday, July 28, 2011


Holidays in Crete will not be complete unless you visit the beautiful traditional and picturesque town of Chania!
Holidays in Chania will truly be something you will cherish! The port the town the little streets will amaze you!

Since 1973 we have been selling holidays to Chania! Book with the leading specialist in holidays to Greece & the Greek Islands!

An article from
Prefecture of Chania
The Prefecture of Chania (also spelled Haniá) is the western most division of the island of Crete. The Prefecture of Rethymno forms its eastern border, whilst sea lap its remaining areas. The inhabited islands of Gavdos and Gavdopoula, which are located at a distance of 20 miles south from Chania, in Liviko Sea, also come under Chania.
The major cities of the prefecture are Chania, the capital of the prefecture, and Kastelli in Kisamos. Among the most important villages are Paleochora and Kantanos in Selino, the Chora of Sfakion in Sfakia.
The Prefecture of Chania provides tourist services and activities of all kinds, satisfying all the choices. The city of Chania maintains unaltered all of its characteristics, from the time of the Venetian Rule up until today.

The region of Chania is dominated by the impressive White Mountains (in Greek: Lefká Óri) and its famous National Park, which occupy the largest part of the region.
The White Mountains’ National Park, expanding around Samaria Gorge, is the biggest and most imposing gorge in Greece. You need about seven hours to cross it but the rich landscape and rare flora and fauna will definitely reward you. There are also many other smaller gorges for you to hike (Aradaina, Agia Irini, Imbros and Polyrhenia) as well as beautiful walking trails (from Hrysoskalitissa to Elafonissi, from Palaiohóra to Souyiá and from Ayia Rouméli to Hóra Sfakion), which make Chania a beloved destination among nature enthusiasts from all over the world. On the edge of a gloriously scenic turquoise lagoon lies the islet of Elafonissi with its ancient-old Cedar Forest.
Need more action? Go mountaineering on White Mountains (there are 4 shelters), climbing on the amazingly vertical slope of Mt. Gigilos, or canoying down the Kládos, Sapounás and Thérissos gorges.

Turquoise waters lap against the white sandy beaches, that lie to the west of the city: Hrissi Akti, Ayia Marina, Áyioi Apóstoloi, Máleme, Kalathás, Stavrós, Plataniás, Kolympári, Falássarna, Ayia Rouméli, Souyiá, Ammoúdi, Fínikas, Vótsala, Loutró, Áyios Pávlos, Pahiá Ámmos, Fragokástello and Gávdos are only some of the beaches where you can bask in the sun. On the islet of Elafonissi, a beach with crystal clear waters and white sand dunes will take your breath away! The whole area forms part of the NATURA network.

A plethora of religious and cultural festivals take place all year long, inviting both locals and visitors to experience the Cretan way of celebrating. Local products have their own prominent position in Chania’s cultural life: participate in the Chestnut Festival in Élos, the Rosewater Festival in Foúrni, or the Wine Festival in Voúves. In May takes place a glorious commemoration of the Battle of Crete in all the municipalities of the region. The Agricultural August is an exhibition of Cretan agricultural products and folklore artefacts. Also, several festivals, conferences or sport events (Venizeleia athletics competition) are organised between May and September, most of which are hosted at a beautiful outdoor theatre located in the east bulwark of the Old Town (“Anatolikí Táfros").
No visit to Chania is complete unless you have sampled traditional local specialties: eggs with stáka, Cretan kalitsoúnia (sweet mini cheese pies), lamb served with spiny chicory, dácos (the traditional hard Cretan bread accompanied with tomato, mizithra cheese and plenty of virgin Cretan oil), snails boubouristí(popping fried snails), haniótiko bouréki (patty from Chania, a vegetable specialty), kserotígana (honey dipped spiral pastries) wedding cookies, dry bread wreaths, yraviéra cheese (full fat sheep’s cheese with appellation of controlled origin), sweet smelling anthótyros from Sfakiá (fresh, soft, white cheese made of either sheep’s or goat’s milk), fresh stáka butter (the cream of the butter) for the Cretan wedding rice (rice cooked in meat broth), roasted goat or sea food delights – special ingredients blended in delicious sea-urchin salads, or divine fish soups! Accompany your dinner with a glass of deep-red Cretan wine, the divine marouvás, or drink after your meal an ice-cold rakí, a traditional Cretan spirit distilled from pomace, with a delicate aroma of ripe grapes.

Chania (also spelled: Haniá)is the capital city, a place where different civilizations have flourished throughout the centuries. Wandering around the Old Town’s maze-like alleys with the beautiful Venetian mansions, the fountains and the elaborate churches will help you discover well-preserved historical monuments.

The city of Chania is built on the area of Minoan Kidonia, at the end of the homonym gulf between Akrotiri and Onicha peninsulas. It was the former capital city of Crete (from 1847 until 1972). Nowadays, it is the second largest city of Crete after Heraklion and capital of the homonym prefecture.
Chania includes the old and new city. It is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in Greece and for food lovers, it's a paradise!
Get familiar with the city of Chania by wandering around in its streets, visiting its museums and admiring the different architectural styles presenting the historical route of the city.
After Arabs and Byzantines it was conquered by Venetians in 1252 and was given to Turks in 1669, later it was annexed to the rest of the Greek State on December 1913 under the administration of Eleftherios Venizelos and King Konstantinos the 1st. The old town is an integral settlement with visible boundaries set by the Venetian walls surrounding it.
Chania has daily boat connection with Piraeus port from Souda port (7 km). Chania is also connected with Athens by airplane which you can take from Akrotiri airport 15 km E of the city.
The old town is built around the Venetian port and is also a relatively integral area where Venetian buildings and later Turkish elements compose a unique architectural style. Due to the historic center of Chania with its Venetian walls defining the borders between the old and new city and its ramparts, the city has been pronounced as preserved. It consists of five connected districts surrounding the Venetian port.

Its design was made by Venetian engineer Michelle Sammichelli. The Lighthouse is located at the end of the rock protecting the port from the north. It was built in 1570 by the Venetians and reconstructed in 1830 by the Egyptians and from there on preserves its current state.
On the east of Palea Poli is Splantzia (or Plaza) district built on the former Turkish district. Here you will see among others Aghii Anargiri church, the only Orthodox church which had the permission to operate during the period of the Venetian and Turkish occupations. You will also see the Sintrivani square.
Neoria (or Chiones) district on the northeast side is located in the area of the former port of the city and of the Venetian ship yards of 14th and 16th centuries from which it also took its name.
Kastelli district is in the center of Palea Poli (Old Town) west of Neoria. It is the exalted location of the Byzantine citadel where “palatso” (palace) of the Venetian commander and the lodgings of Pashas of Chania were later built. Venetians used to call the area Castello Vecchio.
On the southeast of the old city lies the Hebrew district or else Ovraika. It reminds us the times when the developing Hebrew community of Chania was obliged by the Venetians to move to a delimitated area called judeca where two synagogues were operating.

On the boarders of Ovraika, in Chalides Street, you will see the Folklore Museum of Chania and Aghios Fragkiskos church (14th century) which houses the Archeological Museum of Chania. On the north side is the Turkish bath (chamam). In the south side of Ovraika and on Skridlof Street lies the so called Stivanadika (from stivani, the Cretan boots). Among the shops selling leather items and souvenirs survive some traditional shoe ateliers.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

7 day Classical Greece Tours, Tours in Greece


Greece is known for its ancient history dating back to 2,500 B.C. it is an ideal place to go on different tours and be amazed by all the ancient sites you visit.
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A very nice article from

These are your favourite archaeological sites!
Delphi, Knossos, the Acropolis of Athens and Olympia are among the archaeological sites that left the most lasting impression on those who visited them. Let’s stroll around these archaeological sites again and reawaken some great memories!

Is one of the most impressive archaeological sites anywhere, and the ancient Greeks believed that it was the center of the world. Whoever visits Delphi is bewitched by its mysterious sacred character and feels the resonating presence of the ancient oracle.
Visitors should bear in mind that Delphi was the most important oracle in the classical Greek world. Kings and ordinary citizens, generals and politicians came to consult the oracle during the nine warmest months of each year.

Nowadays, even though “The carven hall is fallen in decay; Apollo hath no chapel left, no prophesying bay, no talking spring, the stream is dry that had so much to say”, many visitors still come to this amazing place. The grandest building at the site of the oracle is the Temple of Apollo, destroyed in 373 BC by an earthquake. The sacred precinct was arranged around the temple on different levels; the Sacred Way, a wide steep path, passes in front of the votive offerings (treasuries, statues, stoas and altars) dedicated to Apollo. The most prominent among these are the Treasury of the Siphnians and the re-constructed Treasury of the Athenians.
Take the path that leads to the Stadium in the highest part of the ancient site – the view is stunning. It is here that the Pythian Games were held every four years. The visit continues on to the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, where the enigmatic Tholos stood, a fine marble rotunda whose purpose remains unknown. A short distance away is the celebrated Castalian Fountain; in this spring, Pythia (the priestess) and all who arrived in Delphi for an oracle had to bathe in order to purify themselves.
The end of the visit to Delphi is best topped off by a visit to the archaeological museum, which displays some masterpieces of the art world. Especially rich in Classical sculpture, the museum contains the famous charioteer bearing on his head the victor’s fillet (ribbon).
Nevertheless, he shows no sign of anticipation or triumph to the thousands of visitors that keep coming to the museum.


In the suburbs of Heraklion (Iráklio) (6 km SE) Crete the most famous archaeological site of the Minoan civilisation has been brought to light, thanks to the massive excavations carried out by Sir Arthur Evans.
The palace of Knossos was not just a royal residence but also the political and ceremonial centre of Minoan culture. It covered nearly 22,000 sq. m. and contained storage rooms, living quarters, religious areas, and banquet rooms. Its mazelike structure brings to mind the legendary Labyrinth that held the Minotaur.

A visit to the palace starts from the entrance of the west wing, which led to the throne room in the central court. It was here that the almighty prince of Knossos received visitors from all over the world, or his counselors and courtiers in order to decide on state affairs.
You can see the extensive storerooms (also called magazines) with the large pithoi (clay vases) that once held the famous Cretan olive oil. Next to the storerooms, in the north wing, is the “Customs House” and further to the east the workshops of the skilled Minoan craftsmen. In the east wing you can appreciate the splendor of the royal apartments: the Queen’s megaron with an example of the first flushing toilet system adjoining the bathroom and the Shrine of the double axes.
To the south the palace enjoys a superb view of Mount Júktas, which was sacred to the Minoans. The great South Propylon (monumental gateway) faces a fertile plain with orchards and olive groves.


Climbing up to the rock of the Acropolis, visitors are overwhelmed with awe and admiration for the architectural masterpieces built on this eminent archaeological site. The visionary building program of a charismatic politician, Pericles, was superbly carried out thanks to the incomparable skills of a great artist, Phidias. The whole project led to the creation of an invaluable art treasure, making Athens a universal benefactor of mankind.
South of the entrance to the Acropolis stands the charming temple of Athena Nike in the Ionic order; it was built in commemoration of the victory of the Greeks against the Persians. There is a superb view as you pass through the exquisite but unfinished Propylaea of Mnesicles: the Parthenon, the most splendid architectural achievement of classical Greece. The architects of this unique temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, patron of the city of Athens, were Ictinus and Callicrates, while Phidias acted as supervisor for all the architectural and artistic works for the Acropolis in Athens.

Opposite the Parthenon is the Erechtheion, with the renowned Caryatid Porch at its south end. Descend the south slope of the Acropolis to continue your visit.
To your right is the most ancient theatre in the world, the Theatre of Dionysus. Above the theatre is the Stoa of Eumenes, which provided shelter to theatregoers in the event of bad weather. Next to the Stoa lies the once roofed Odeion, built by the wealthy Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife Rigilla. Nowadays it is a venue for Athens Festival events.
There is access to the Acropolis for the disabled on the North Slope: platforms, gently inclined ramps and a special lift provide access to the archaeological site. At the top of the Acropolis, specially surfaced paths have been laid to assist those touring the monuments. Just 800 feet from the Acropolis, the new Acropolis Museum brings together all of the surviving artefacts ever found on the site.
Replicating the natural light and atmospheric conditions found on the Acropolis, the Museum’s architecture allows you to view simultaneously the exhibits and the place from where they originated.

At the confluence of the Rivers Alpheios and Kladeos, next to the conical Kronios hill, is ancient Olympia, the shrine of Zeus, in whose honour the Olympic Games were held every four years. Specially renowned in antiquity, Olympia still fascinates thousands of travelers each year that are lucky enough to visit the archaeological site.
The temple of Zeus (5th c. BC) rises prominently above the ancient site; it used to house the chryselephantine statue of Zeus, a masterpiece of Phidias and one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Nearby stands the temple of Hera (Heraion-7th c. BC), one of the oldest peripteral temples in ancient Greece.
Next to Heraion the remains of the Philippeion, an impressive circular monument built by the king Philip II of Macedon, are still visible. Around the two temples the public buildings and accommodation for the Olympic Games were erected. Starting from the south of the temple of Zeus, you can see the Bouleuterion (Council House) where the athletes took the oath, the Leonidaion, a hostel for distinguished visitors, the Palaistra (“the wrestling school”), the Gymnasion, built for athletes of various sports to practise and the Prytaneion, where the ten hellanodikai (umpires) sat.

To the east there is an imposing Stadium that could accommodate 45,000 spectators. It is clear that the shrine of Zeus was designed especially with the Panhellenic festival of the Olympic Games in mind.
Next to the Stadium you can stroll along the line of treasuries built by other Greek cities to contain their offerings. You should not miss the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, one of the greatest museums in Greece. It boasts spectacular masterpieces of ancient Greek art. Among its exhibits on display you can admire the pediments of the temple of Zeus, the famous Hermes bearing the infant Dionysus by Praxiteles, the Nike of Paionius and its unparalleled collection of bronzes.
Finally, stop off at the Museum of the Olympic Games, which features a collection of artefacts from the modern Olympics, plus plenty of photos and documents from the revival period and a nice summary of each host city for all summer games.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

7 day Grand Tour Greece, Tours in Greece, Private Tours Greece, Greek Tours


Excellent cultural tours all around Greece and the Greek Islands by Best of Greece Holidays

Today’s visitors to Greece have the opportunity to trace the “fingerprints” of Greek history from the Paleolithic Era to the Roman Period in the hundreds of archaeological sites, as well as in the archaeological museums and collections that are scattered throughout the country.
The first traces of human habitation in Greece appeared during the Paleolithic Age (approx. 120000 - 10000 B.C.).
During the Neolithic Age that followed (approx. 7000 - 3000 B.C.), a plethora of Neolithic buildings spread throughout the country. Buildings and cemeteries have been discovered in Thessaly (Sesklo, Dimini), Macedonia, the Peloponnese, etc.
The beginning of the Bronze Age (approx. 3000-1100 B.C.) is marked by the appearance of the first urban centers in the Aegean region (Poliochni on Limnos). Flourishing settlements were found on Crete, Mainland Greece, the Cyclades and the Northeastern Aegean, regions where characteristic cultural patterns developed.

At the beginning of the 2nd Millennium B.C., organized palatial societies appeared on Minoan Crete, resulting in the development of the first systematic scripts. The Minoans, with Knossos Palace as their epicenter, developed a communications network with races from the Eastern Mediterranean region, adopted certain elements and in turn decisively influenced cultures on the Greek mainland and the islands of the Aegean.
On Mainland Greece, the Mycenean Greeks –taking advantage of the destruction caused on Crete by the volcanic eruption on Santorini (around 1500 B.C.)- became the dominant force in the Aegean during the last centuries of the 2nd Millennium B.C.. The Mycenean acropolises (citadels) in Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Thiva, Glas, Athens and Iolcus, then comprised the centers of the bureaucratically organized kingdoms.
The extensive destruction of the Mycenean centers around 1200 B.C. led to the decline of the Mycenean civilization and caused the population to migrate to the coastal regions of Asia Minor and Cyprus (1st Greek colonization).
After approximately two centuries of economic and cultural inactivity, which also became known as the Dark Years (1150 - 900 B.C.), the Geometric Period then followed (9th - 8th Century B.C.). This was the beginning of the Greek Renaissance Years. This period was marked by the formation of the Greek City-States, the creation of the Greek alphabet and the composition of the Homeric epics (end of the 8th Century B.C.).

The Archaic Years that subsequently followed (7th - 6th Century B.C.) were a period of major social and political changes. The Greek City-States established colonies as far as Spain to the west, the Black Sea to the north and N. Africa to the south (2nd Greek colonization) and laid the foundations for the acme during the Classical Period.
The Classical Years (5th - 4th Century B.C.) were characterized by the cultural and political dominance of Athens, so much so that the second half of the 5th Century B.C. was subsequently called the “Golden Age” of Pericles. With the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C., Athens lost its leading role.
New forces emerged during the 4th Century B.C. The Macedonians, with Philip II and his son Alexander the Great, began to play a leading role in Greece. Alexander’s campaign to the East and the conquest of all the regions as far as the Indus River radically changed the situation in the world, as it was at that time.

After the death of Alexander, the vast empire he had created was then divided among his generals, leading to the creation of the kingdoms that would prevail during the Hellenistic Period (3rd - 1st Century B.C.). In this period the Greek City-States remained more or less autonomous, but lost much of their old power and prestige. The appearance of the Romans on the scene and the final conquest of Greece in 146 B.C. forced the country to join the vast Roman Empire.
During the Roman occupation period (1st Century B.C. - 3rd Century A.D.), most of the Roman emperors, who admired Greek culture, acted as benefactors to the Greek cities, and especially Athens.
Christianity, the new religion that would depose Dodekatheon worshipping, then spread all over Greece through the travels of Apostle Paul during the 1st Century A.D.
The decision by Constantine the Great to move the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinople (324 A.D.), shifted the focus of attention to the eastern part of the empire. This shift marked the beginning of the Byzantine Years, during which Greece became part of the Byzantine Empire.

After 1204, when Constantinople was taken by Western crusaders, parts of Greece was apportioned out to western leaders, while the Venetians occupied strategic positions in the Aegean (islands or coastal cities), in order to control the trade routes. The reoccupation of Constantinople by the Byzantines in 1262 marked the last stages of the empire’s existence.
The Ottomans gradually began to seize parts of the empire from the 14th Century A.D., and completed the breakup of the empire with the capture of Constantinople in 1453. Crete was the final area of Greece that was occupied by the Ottomans in 1669.
Around four centuries of Ottoman domination then followed, up to the beginning of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Numerous monuments from the Byzantine Years and the Ottoman Occupation Period have been preserved, such as Byzantine and Post-Byzantine churches and monasteries, Ottoman buildings, charming Byzantine and Frankish castles, various other monuments as well as traditional settlements, quite a few of which retain their Ottoman and partly Byzantine structure.
The result of the Greek War of Independence was the creation of an independent Greek Kingdom in 1830, but with limited sovereign land.
During the 19th C. and the beginning of the 20th C., new areas with compact Greek populations were gradually inducted into the Greek State. Greece’s sovereign land would reach its maximum after the end of Word War I in 1920, with the substantial contribution of then Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos. The Greek State took its current form after the end of World War II with the incorporation of the Dodecanese Islands.
In 1974, after the seven-year dictatorship period a referendum was held and the government changed from a Constitutional Monarchy to a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy, and in 1981 Greece became a member of the European Community/Union.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011


Best of Greece is one of the Oldest Holiday Specialist to Greece. You can receive expert advice from our people who have all worked on holidays to Greece for many years of have even lived in Greece many years!

An excellent article by the Telegraph!

Greece: Insider's guide to the northern and central mainland
So much to see and so little time, but in Greece you can do it all. Robin Gauldie looks at the northern and central mainland.

Northern and central mainland
For walkers, beach bums, culture vultures and explorers, central and northern Greece – between the Gulf of Corinth and the country’s northern borders – takes some beating. The high and barren Pindos mountains of Epirus offer the most spectacular high-country hiking, while the lush green slopes of the Pílion peninsula offer gentler walks. The Halkidiki peninsulas have the finest beaches and some great purpose-built resorts. Thessaloniki has urban culture, and there’s a full menu of ancient and medieval sights.

Best beaches
Halkidiki’s beaches are the best on the mainland but the resorts on Kassandra, westernmost of Halkidiki’s peninsulas, are rammed, all summer, with the new bourgeoisie of Russia and Bulgaria, reinforced at weekends by convoys of SUV-driving urbanites from Thessaloniki. Escape them at the semi-private beaches of the Sani Resort complex or head east to Vourvourou, on a shallow, near-landlocked blue lagoon with a long, sandy crescent beach. You need to wade out a good 100 yards before the water rises above your middle, so it’s warm, calm and great for children.
The place to stay is Ekies All Senses Resort (23750 91000; ; from £80 per night). With designer-decorated rooms right on the lagoon, you can almost imagine yourself in the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean. There’s a pool, a bar, a superb restaurant, a activities including yoga, and Wi-Fi connectability (at a price). Still further east, the Eagles Palace Hotel & Spa (23770 31101; ; from £150 per night) stands in glorious isolation a on its own beach, with water sports including scuba and wind surfing, a private sailing yacht, and motorboats for hire.

Best hills and mountains
The best high-country walking in Greece is in the Zagoria region of the Pindos mountains, among deep gorges, mountain pastures and treeless summits. Mount Olympus is a steep but not-too-demanding hike (you need to allow at least one night in the bunk-bedded mountain hostel on the way up and another on the way down).
The Pílion peninsula offers less challenging walking, along cobbled mule-tracks through semi-tropical, woodlands with a dip in a perfect Aegean cove at the end of the day. Jill Sleeman knows the cobbled mule-paths and lovely villages of Pílion like the back of her hand and leads half-day and longer walks; she also offers tranquil bedrooms in The Old Silk Store, her pretty old mansion at Mouressi, high above the turquoise sea of the east coast.

Perfect days out
Cruise around Mt Athos. Only pilgrims and scholars may visit the Holy Mountain, but its amazing monasteries can be seen on a day cruise from Ouranoupoulis. In Thessaloniki, the extraordinary gold and ivory treasures discovered in the tombs of Alexander’s ancestors are the highlight of the world-class Archaeological Museum, centuries-old Byzantine icons have pride of place in the Byzantine Museum, and the sprawling Modiano and Vlali markets are a feast for the eye, with great piles of fruit and vegetables, weird fish and shellfish, and dozens of different kinds of olive.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011




An interesting article by the Telegraph!

Greece: Insider's guide to the Peloponnese, Ionian Islands and Crete
Robin Gauldie reveals the best beaches and resorts in the Peloponnese, Ionian Islands and Crete, both off the beaten track and right in the mainstream.

The Peloponnese
There's lots of variety in southern Greece. Ancient Olympia, Corinth, Mycenae, Epidavros and Tiryns lure classicists, while medievalists are drawn to the crumbling castles and Venetian-Byzantine ghost towns of Mystras, Monemvasia, Koroni and Methoni. The pretty harbour town of

Navplio – all red tiles and pastel stucco – is the perfect base for exploring the antiquities of the Argolid. The tower-villages of the Mani peninsula stand in a world of their own, and for

Best beaches
Stoupa and Kardamyli, next to each other on the south coast, are small, low-key resorts. Krani, west of the regional airport at Kalamata, has turned into a purpose-built resort of mid-priced apartments and small hotels. Almost undeveloped sweeps of sand can be found around Pílos, on the west coast.
Perfect days out

From Navplio, rent a car to visit ancient Mycenae, Argos, Tiryns and Epidavros, four of the most impressive archaeological sites in Greece and – for much of the year – surprisingly uncrowded.
Perfect packages

Ionian Islands
There's more to the Ionian than overcrowded Corfu. Cephalonia has postcard-pretty villages at Fiskardo and Assos, though it's short of great beaches. Its tiny neighbour, Ithaki, has the prettiest little harbour town in the Ionian but, like Cephalonia, it's beach-poor. Levkás is the place for windsurfing and sailing holidays, with yacht flotillas cruising through an archipelago of tiny islands that includes the Onassis clan's private bolt-hole, Scorpios.
Best beaches
Zakynthos has the Ionian's best beaches, at Laganas and Kalamaki, which inevitably draw the crowds. Vasiliki, on the south coast of Levkás, is a low-key little resort with a long sweep of uncrowded sand and shingle. Skala, near the southern tip of Cephalonia, is another relatively undiscovered stretch of sand and clean pebbles stretching down to bright blue water.
Perfect days out

The Ionian Islands aren't over-endowed with must-see attractions, but the glowing blue lake inside the Melissani cavern in the centre of Cephalonia is worth a visit. For a longer excursion (involving an overnight stay) take the ferry from Zakynthos or Cephalonia to Killini on the mainland, then travel by bus or taxi to the ruins of ancient Olympia, about an hour's drive away.
Best beaches
Crete's best beaches are on the south coast. Matala – once a hippy haven, still agreeably laid-back – has a crescent of yellow sand; those in search of an all-over tan hike over the headland to nearby "Red Beach". Heading west, Plakias has a huge stretch of shingly sand, Sougia stands on a long strip of clean pebbles, and Paleochora has a sheltered, shallow sandy bay, good for young children.
Perfect days out

The island's top attraction is Knossos, the ancient Minoan city excavated and (somewhat imaginatively) reconstructed by Sir Arthur Evans. Roman-Hellenistic Gortyna, near Matala, is worth a look, but the island's other big Minoan site at Festos is an anti­climax.
Perfect packages


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Best of Santorini



Kefalonia is one of areas for holidays in the Ionian Islands! We believe that one can truly enjoy unique Greek Island Holidays here!
This article by the Telegraph is truly excellent and we wanted to share it with you!

Kefalonia, Greek Islands: the perfect break
With its unspoilt beaches drenched in autumn sun, Kefalonia is ready to celebrate its patron saint with an island-wide party
says Oliver Smith.

Why go?
The setting for Louis de Bernières' fabulous novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Kefalonia's myriad appeals include magnificent, rugged scenery, friendly locals, a certain rural charm, and some of the best beaches in the whole of Greece. And despite the success of the novel – and the subsequent film adaptation – it remains mercifully unspoilt by mass tourism.
The largest of the Ionian Islands, it never feels crowded, even in high season on the photogenic sands of Myrtos, or among the swanky, marina-side restaurants of Fiskardo.
During August, the heat can border on the unbearable, but visit the island in the coming weeks and you'll be rewarded with temperatures in the mid-20s, even quieter beaches and cheaper accommodation.
Or you could wait a little longer and time your trip to coincide with the second feast of St Gerasimos – Kefalonia's hugely revered patron saint – on October 20, during which his incorruptible remains are paraded through the streets in a gilded sarcophagus, and the island descends into raucous celebration.

Get there by…
Plane. Thomas Cook , Monarch and Thomson operate charter flights to the island from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Stansted.

In the affluent villages of the Livatho peninsula, south of the capital Argostoli, and within reach of the sandy beaches on the south coast. SunIsle Holidays (0844 4820202; has availability throughout September and October at several private villas in the region, including the Villa Abas in Spartia (from £1,161 per week; sleeps eight) and the Villa Battus in Trepazaki (from £1,205 per week; sleeps eight). Both properties sit in quiet, rural surrounding and have sea views, swimming pools and modern kitchens. Prices do not include flights.
The three-star Panas Hotel (from £471 per person per week, including flights), on the south coast, is a good budget option. Rooms are basic (sporadic hot water and spartan décor) but they offer the essentials (air conditioning, balconies, sea views) and the location is superb: beneath the charming village of Spartia, close to several good tavernas, and a stone's throw from a quiet beach backed by dramatic limestone cliffs. Book through SunIsle.
The Kephalonia Palace Hotel (0030 26710 93190;, next to Xi Beach, on the south coast of the Lixouri peninsula, is ideal for unabashed luxury.
Spend the morning…
At Myrtos Beach. Backed by almost sheer cliffs and lapped by unfathomably turquoise waters, it is one of the world's most photographed stretches of sand. It fills up with boisterous Italians from around noon, so arrive early to claim a sun lounger (7.50 euros for a pair).
Geologists will be keen to visit the Melissani and Dhrogarati caves (7 euros each), near Sami, on the east coast of the island, but they are overpriced, and a little underwhelming.
Have lunch…
At the Castle Café, found beneath the ruins of the 16th-century hilltop Castle of St George, near the small town of Peratata. Offering sandwiches and traditional snacks, it is set within a gorgeous, shaded garden and commands stunning views across the south of the island. It is run by an amiable Greek gent – whose mother tends the flowers – and his English wife, who is rather secretive about her recipe for spicy baked feta. Burn off your meal by inspecting the aforementioned Venetian fortress (Tue-Fri 8.30-7pm, Sat-Sun 8.30am-3pm; free).
Spend the afternoon…
At the monastery of Ayios Gerasimos (8am-1pm, 3pm-8pm; free). Nestled in a verdant valley a few kilometres to the north east of the castle, the monastery is modern, having been rebuilt in a Byzantine style following the devastating earthquake of 1953 that levelled the original 16th-century structure. The interior is adorned with colourful biblical scenes, and behind the building lies a small chapel, where svelte visitors can squeeze through a hole in the ground and inspect the caves where St Gerasimos is thought to have spent endless hours meditating.
Two annual feasts celebrate the saint's life, on August 15 and October 20, during which the monastery is overrun with worshippers.
A trip to the nearby Robola winery (the tipple of choice for the drunken Father Arsenios in de Bernières' novel) is worthwhile – not least for the free tasting.
Have dinner at…
A taverna. With their plastic chairs, paper tablecloths, lukewarm dishes (Greeks believe hot food is bad for the stomach) and feline visitors, these traditional Greek restaurants can feel like much of a muchness, but a few stand out. The Waterway bar and grill, on the beach below Spartia, has a lively atmosphere and sea views, and Tassia (, in Fiskardo, is good for lobster and Kefallonian meat pie.
Spend the next day…
Exploring the Lixouri peninsula. Kefalonia's second city, and the surrounding villages, bore the brunt of the 1953 earthquake, and it still bears the scars. Goats, chickens – and the odd eccentric-looking local – potter around the farming region, where ruined homes and subsided fields still dot the landscape.
Make for the rust-red sands of family-friendly Xi Beach, on the south coast, which offers watersports and a couple of smart tavernas, or wild Petani Beach, on the west coast, which rivals Myrtos for its spectacular location.
Finish the day at the Monastery of Kipoureon, which occupies a dramatic cliff top location on the west coast of the peninsula, and where each evening a score of tourist join the Orthodox priests to watch the sun set.
At all costs avoid…
Leaving the airport without a vehicle. Owing to its mountainous terrain and meagre public transport, this is an island best tackled by car. A portable satnav also comes in handy – the Garmin Nuvi 1690 comes with preloaded Greek maps (

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Friday, July 15, 2011


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We found this very interesting article about the Peloponnese in many different pages of VisitGreeceGr. We think that this will be a very interesting read for all the Greece Lovers and the people who love to explore, or would love to explore the Peloponnese.

A truly amazing area which has something for everyone! Amazing Beaches, Fantastic Culture, Ancient History, Mountains, Villages, Byzantine Villages, Truly everything one would like to do can be found in the Peloponnese.

Monuments from every period of the eventful Peloponnesian history, great archeological sites such as ancient Olympia, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Tirynth, Byzantine churches, unique settlements and amazing castles, natural beauties such as mountains, forests, rivers and caves surrounded by the sea, beautiful beaches, sandy and smooth coasts on the west – rocky and dentelated on the east, make this part of Greek land ideal for holidays, touring, sports and connecting to the history and culture. It is not accidental that especially during the summer season many tourists arrive in Peloponnese from all over the world to travel around it. Such trip is very popular and well known.

Peloponnese with its gulfs in Korinthos, Patrai, Saronic, Messinia, Argolida and Lakonia looks like a plane tree leaf and that is why it was formerly called "Morias". It has dry climate on the east, cold, snow and rich vegetation in its central and mountainous parts and rain and heat on the west.
People settled in Peloponnese from the middle Paleolithic era (circa 100.000 years B.C.). The Greek civilization began during the Copper era and after 2000 B.C. came in the area the First Greeks. Few centuries later, Mycenaeans are the center of Greek world. Excavations verify the legend of Homeric Mycenaean, while the ruins in Pylos match the references for the well known King Nestor's palace in west Peloponnese.
In 1200 B.C. Dorian and Aetoli arrive in Peloponnese and construct Korinthos, Argos and Sparta. The Olympic Games where athletes from all over Greece participate take place in Olympia every four years. After centuries Fillip the Macedonian arrives in Peloponnese and then the Romans. In 393 B.C. the Byzantines abolish the Olympic Games, in 1294 arrive the Franks and later the Turks. In 1827 after the sea battle in Navarino ends the Ottoman/Egyptian occupation and Peloponnese becomes the first part of new independent Greece.

Municipality of Korinthia
The Prefecture of Corinth is the first one that a visitor runs into, as he comes from Attica and is well-known for the great variety of choices it offers: charming massifs, beautiful coastal areas and significant archaeological sites for sightseeing. The beaches of Korinthiakos, Saronikos and Loutraki are quite developed from a tourist point of view. The arable land of Corinth is fertile and its inhabitants are also in, agriculture, cattle-breeding, poultry farming, light industry and tourism. The Corinthian raisin is famous in the region
Activities throughout the prefecture
Watching of the Akropolis Raly. Special routes pass from the mountainous regions of Ag.Theodoroi.
In Zeria, in the location “Oropedio”, there is the shelter “Zeria A” and in the location “Portes” the shelter “Zeria B”, which constitute stopovers for excursions in the beautiful mountain for every kind of activity:
Off road routes by jeep.
Excursions with Enduro bikes.
In coastal areas: swimming, aquatic sports, tennis, basket, volley ball.

The capital of the prefecture is a remarkable administrative, commercial, financial and cultural center of the region. The center of the town has wide streets, parks, squares and a picturesque harbor with fishing boats. Beautiful pedestrian walkways lure visitors for a stroll, to drink a cup of coffee and shop, whilst around the city there are monuments, museums and historical sites.
Corinth is inhabited since the Neolithic Ages, as it is evidenced by the settlement of 5000 B.C. that was discovered in the area of Korakou, while in Antiquity it was one of the biggest and greatest cities of Greece. It played a key role during the Peloponnesian War and after 200 B.C. it became the capital of the Achaean League (Achaiki Sympoliteia), whilst under Julius Ceasar’s rule it became the capital of the province of Achaia. Its medieval history is connected with its impressive fortress, the Acrocorinth (Akrokorinthos). In 1858 a strong earthquake destroyed the city, which was rebuilt with good antiseismic specifications and a good town planning plan, 9 km. north from the ancient town. In the place of Ancient Corinth there is a small, cute village, the Old Corinth. It is located 84 km W of Athens.
What to see in the city:
The pedestrian walkway of Pylarinou Zografou.
The Cathedral of St.Paul the Apostle.
The Ecclesiastical Museum.
The Historical-Folklore Museum which includes 3,500 costumes of the 18th and 19th century.
The building of Law Court.
The statue of the Archbishop Damaskinos (1890-1949).
Web site of the Prefecture of Corinth:
"Halkyon (Alkyonides) Days of Discourse and Art”, in February.
"Pavlia”, 24-28 June.
Fairs of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, on 15 August, and of Agioi Anargyroi, on 1st July, in Ancient Corinth.


Remains of Nero's canal project in 1881
Several rulers in antiquity dreamed of cutting a canal through the Isthmus. The first to propose such an undertaking was the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC.[1] He abandoned the project due to technical difficulties, and instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland portage road, named Diolkos. According to another theory, Periander feared that a canal would have robbed Corinth of its dominating role as entrepôt for goods.Remnants of the Diolkos still exist next to the modern canal.
The Diadoch Demetrius (336–283 BC) planned to construct a canal as a means to improve his communication lines, but dropped the plan after his surveyors, miscalculating the levels of the adjacent seas, feared heavy floods.
The historian Suetonius tells us that the Roman Dictator Julius Caesar (r. 49-44 BC) projected, among other grandiose engineering schemes, a canal through the Isthmus. He was assassinated before he could bring the scheme to fruition.

The Roman Emperor Nero (r. 54–68 A.D.) launched an excavation, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe and removing the first basket-load of soil, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards. The Roman workforce, consisting of 6000 Jewish prisoners of war,[14] started digging 40–50 m (130–160 ft) wide trenches from both sides, while a third group at the ridge drilled deep shafts for probing the quality of the rock (which were reused in 1881 for the same purpose). As the modern canal follows the same course as Nero's, no remains have survived.

The modern attempt at construction began in the 1870s following the successful opening of the Suez Canal. A French company was hired to build it, but due to financial difficulties, the company ceased work after only the two ends had been dug. Finally, in 1881 the Hungarian architects István Türr and Béla Gerster, who had also been involved with early surveys for the Panama Canal, were hired to plan a new canal. A Greek company led by Andreas Syngros (the main contractor being Antonis Matsas) ultimately took over the project and completed it in 1893.
It is prominently featured in the 1967 spy film La Route de Corinthe where an antagonist, after being pushed over the high cliff of the canal cut, hits the wall several times during his fall before ultimately entering the water.
On April 7, 2010, Australian daredevil Robbie Maddison performed a motocross jump over the canal.

Municipality of Arcadia
The Prefecture of Arcadia is geographically located at the center of Peloponnesus, has large mountains (Maenalus, Parnon and many others) and is washed by the Argolikos bay and the Myrtoan Sea. It presents remarkably varied natural contours , landscapes of unparalleled beauty, areas of extreme archaeological interest and historic locations. It was first inhabited by the Arcadians, one of the most ancient tribes of Peloponnesus, who created great cities.
Activities throughout the prefecture
Ski at the top of Ostrakina, in Maenalus. It has 6 ski runs, 3 sliding lifts, chalet, ski and snowboard schools (information: 27960-22.227).
Climbing in the location “Plateau of Ostrakina”, where there is a shelter (information: 27960-22.227, Hellenic Climbing Society of Tripolis: 2710-232.243).
Mountain bike in very beautiful trips in Maenalus and Parnon.
Motocross. The region is known to all those who love the sport.
Rafting and kayak in the region of ancient Gortyna, in the bridge of Atsiholos and in the rivers Lousios and Ladonas.
Trecking in the 32 national path, which is a branch of the Ε4 European path. It starts from Vitina, passes through Zigovisti, Dimitsana, Paleochori, the monastery Philosophou, the “Secret School”(kryfo scholio), the Agios Ioannis Prodromos monastery and Karitena and ends up in Gythio.
Canyoning in the riverside areas of Lousios.
Swimming in the indented beaches with the deep blue waters.
Excursions with enduro bikes

Municipality of Laconia
Major tourist destination, which combines well-known sights, such as the medieval Mystra, the tower city of Monemvasia and the tower houses of Mani, with landscapes of exceptional natural beauty, such as the Diros caves, Mt.Taygetus and Cape Tenaro.
It was already inhabited from the Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods, whilst later the tribes of Leleges, Achaeans and Iones were settled. The Dorians arrive in 1100 B.C. and make Sparta as their capital, which for centuries, along with Athens, constitute one of the most powerful cities-states of Ancient Greece, until its conquest by the Romans and, later on, by the Francs and the Turks.

Be the knight or princess of your childhood fairytales in the Byzantine town of Mystrás!
Visit the mystical tower town of Mystrás, and let yourself be captivated by this destination’s medieval splendour.
Wander around the castle city and sense through the silence the city's sheer grandeur: the Palace of the Despots (Anáktora), the Houses of Laskaris and Frangopoulos, the beautiful Cathedral of Saint Dimitrios and the impressive Monasteries of Our Lady Pantánassa, and of Οur Lady Perivleptos.

Stroll leisurely through the Kástro (the Frankish Castle), the Upper Town and the Lower Town whose architecture creates a dreamy setting. With your mind’s eye visualise Frankish princes and princesses living in palatial mansions; foreign delegations arriving bearing gifts, and peasants, pilgrims or traders filling the bustling streets.
Mystrás’ historical importance is tremendous. In the 14th century Mystrás became the seat of the Despotate of Moreas, whereas in 1448 the last emperor of Byzantium, Constantine XI Palaeologos, was crowned here. A visit to the Archaeological Museum will help you get a deep insight into the rich history of the area. Come and live the dream!

Unveil a medieval mystery!
Monemvasiá, founded by the Byzantines in the sixth century, is a breathtaking medieval tower town located on the south-eastern coast of the Peloponnese.
Take the opportunity to explore this mystical stone-built settlement, nestled at the edge of a big rock by the sea, and immerse yourself in a unique medieval atmosphere!

Upon entering the castle, your journey through time begins.
Peer into the history of the fortress –the so-called “Gibraltar of the East”–, which was occupied by the Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Venetians, and the Turks in the past.
Wander around its narrow cobbled streets, and admire the beautifully restored stone buildings. Taste culinary delights at a fine restaurant on the roof of a tower house, and spend a romantic night at a stone-built tower. The “Kástro” (castle) is divided into two parts, the lower and upper town.
In the lower part of the town, explore the ruins of the historic buildings situated there – among which the Muslim Mosque, a preserved 16th century building housing the Archaeological Museum–, as well as the magnificent Byzantine churches.
In the (uninhabited) upper part of the town, you will come across the remains of old Byzantine buildings. A rocky twisty path leads you to the Fortress of Youlás offering an outstanding view of the city!

Studying the forces that in passed times built structures and forms, we awake in our modern self its most real world. Aris Konstantinidis: a prominent Greek architect of modernism
Architectural Heritage preserves the rich diversity of cultural changes through space and time. Through its monuments history is transformed into powerful, living images. Traditional settlements are not just residential complexes; they are “vessels of life”, according to the Greek architect Aris Konstantinidis. Featuring high quality architecture, these centuries-old residencies are also very important local tourism resources closely tied to the natural environment. In this way, Protection coexists with Development striking a sustainable balance between the two, teaching us that the relationship with tradition should be the one of Rebirth.
Traditional settlements in Greece form an integral part of the Greek culture and heritage. As dynamic creations of real life –and not as ruined monuments– they are beautifully restored and carefully arranged to shelter tourist accommodations (guest houses, museums, restaurants), or other public uses (community offices, handweaving workshops, etc.). Having assumed their former glory, these old residencies are part of Greece’s natural scenery: interventions in the static structure are limited to the minimum necessary; new equipments are harmonically adapted to the original architectural structure; modern interventions are “absorbed” by the strong traditional character of the buildings; heating systems are adjusted to local climatic conditions; fireplaces are used in mountain areas instead of electrical heating units; floors are paved by local stone or ceramic slates; and pin wood is selectively used in wooden interior fittings.

Váthia is located in the southern part of Laconian Máni; it belongs to the group of settlements called "Inner Villages" (Mésa Horiá). On the top of a 200m high hill, Váthia is a dense, stone-built settlement consisting of 144 buildings grouped into four distinct neighbourhoods. The architectural style of the buildings and the village's spatial organisation reflect the struggle between Máni families competing to settle on the hilltop, Váthia’s dominant strategic point during the medieval times.
The main buildings architecture reflects different time periods: (1) one and two-storey old Máni houses, constructed before 1840; (2) two, three and four-storey “tower-houses” built during the 1840-1870 period; and (3) one and two-storey “modern houses” built during the 1890-1915 period.
As you walk through the village’s cobbled paths, you realize that each neighbourhood is organised as a self-governing unit, encompassing a war tower, a church, fortified dwellings, private streets, and “dark” meeting points, called “roúyes”.
With the mind’s eye, visualise the armed clashes fighting to defend their territory and rise to power. Decipher the code: The densely structured neighbourhoods and the characteristically high, stonework buildings express this fierce desire for control.
As history meets architecture, the starkness of the rugged landscape pampers our senses: ancient olive trees and wild, endemic, flowers grow on the slopes of the hill; imposing rocky mountains dominate the area; rough midnight blue sea reaches the shores; unexplored bays and sharp curves form Máni's spectacular coastal scenery.
Short sightseeing excursions will take you to Areópolis, the capital of Máni, where stone buildings are also renovated; to the Diros caves, a spectacular –and still unexplored– natural site, one of the earliest inhabited places in Greece; or to Yeroliménas, the tourist port of Máni. Further to the southernmost point of mainland Greece, Cape Taínaron is located; your spiritual quest will lead you here, to the cave of Hades, the god of the dead, and the ancient temple of sea god Poseidon. This memorable trip concludes with a visit to Gýtheion, and the isle of Kranái: here, the Tzanetákis-Grigorákis restored tower, symbol of the Greek War of Independence, hosts the Historical and Ethnological Museum of Mani.

Municipality of Ilia
The Prefecture of Elia combines mountain and sea and it has notable holiday settlements, with thick sand, deep blue waters and pine trees that reach up to the sea, elements that make a unique landscape for holidays, sun and swimming, while the most important archaeological sites (Olympia, Ilida) attract tourists from all over the world.
The ancient city Elis had the oversight of the Olympic games and was once the center of the region during ancient times. After the siege by the Francs (1210), Elia became the center of the Principality of Moreos and enjoyed great prosperity.


In the western Peloponnese, in the "Valley of Gods", lies the most celebrated sanctuary of ancient Greece, and the birthplace of the most important athletic mega-event of all times; the Olympic Games. Olympia is one of the most well known tourist destinations in Greece, and one of the most powerful brand names worldwide.

Olympia is easily accessible from other areas of interest of Greece. It is less than 4 hours away from Athens and only 1 hour from Patras port, or Kalamata airport. There are numerous daily buses and trains that connect Athens to Olympia. Another option for getting to Olympia from Athens is to take one of the many sightseeing tours available out of Athens.
Experience living history through the priceless, but mainly free of charge offerings of the area
The visitor can walk though the impressive ruins of the area where athletes trained and run in the ancient stadium; just as the ancient Olympians did after their victory 3000 years ago. They can also visit the museum and get the chance to see some unbelievable sculptures such as the sculpted decoration of the temple of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the famous Hermis of Praxiteles and the statue of Nike of Paionios.
Visitors can also enjoy festivals such as the Ancient Olympia International Festival and the Alfios River Eco-festival, where they can explore the magnificent natural environment of the Alfios River, Kato Samiko’s unspoiled beach that is only 18km away or enjoy the natural Kaiafas Thermal Spa. They can also have the option of taking part in activities such as walking along the promenade, and sports such as biking, rafting, kayak, kite-surf, etc.

Olympia can also become your base for your ventures to the border region. It is only 33km from Katakolo port and village, 30km from the Temple of Apollo Epikourios, 30km from the Temple of Aphrodite, 57km from Ancient Ilida, 60km from Chlemoutsi Castle and many others.

Everyone can visit Olympia. Olympia Hoteliers offer quality rooms, for a comfortable stay in a peaceful area and at affordable rates. Do not miss the chance to win a free one-night stay in luxury accommodation by participating in the global campaign of Ancient Olympia. Visit and with a few clicks, the trip to Ancient Olympia can become even closer. The contest will have 7 winners each week, until the end of 2011.
Visiting the city of Olympia will become one of the most memorable experiences you can ever have in Greece.
Top 10 Museums and Sites
Olympia Archaeological Site
Archaeological Museum of Olympia
History of the (ancient) Olympic Games Museum
Museum of the Modern Olympic Games
Pier de Coubertin's Monument
Temple of Apollo Epikourios
Temple of Aphrodite
Ancient Ilida
Chlemoutsi medieval Castle
Nestor's Palace
Top 10 Culture and Festivals
Ancient Olympia Festival
Olympia International Film Festival for Children & Young People
Alfios river Eco-festival
Andritsena traditional village
Monastery of Sepetou
Ancient Ilida Festival
Chlemoutsi Castle Music Festival
The Andravida horse show
Local feasts ( panigiria)
Monastery of Kremasti
Top 10 Nature and Sports
Alfios River
Activities in Olympia valley
Kato Samiko Beach
Kaiafas Thermal Spa
Lagoon of Kotychi & Strofilia Forest
Nedas' Waterfalls
Zacharo beach
Water Sports
Katakolo port and village
Kakovatos village

Municipality of Achaia
The Prefecture of Achaia, one of the largest of the Peloponnesus region, in terms of its area and population, is full with remarkable mountainous and coastal landscapes. Here one can find the mountains Panachaikos, Helmos and Erymanthos as well as some of the most beautiful beaches of the Corinthian Bay. Achaia is one of the most historical regions of Peloponnesus and the coastal gateway of Greece towards Europe.
Activities throughout the prefecture

Climbing and hiking in Panachaikos, in the location “Psarthi”, where there is the shelter “S.Gerokostopoulos” (information: -Patras (the Peloponnese): In Helmos, in the location “Diaselo Avgou”, you will find the shelter “Leontopoulos” (information: The Kalavryta Climbing, Skiing and Mountaineering Society 26920-22.611). Several outings in mountainous regions are organized from here.
Ski and snowboard. In Helmos, in the location “Vathia Laka”, a ski resort is operating with 12 runs, 5 sliding and 2 overhead lifts, a skiing school, restaurant and coffee houses (information: 26920-24.451-2).
Paragliding, near Kalavryta, where there are fields for take offs.
Climbing, in the trailing fields of Alepochori, Spartia, Santomeri and Kalogria (information: -Patras (the Peloponnese):
Excursions with Enduro bikes, in the mountainous routes of Panachaikos

History and Tradition…
Visit the historic town of Kalavrita, the most exciting winter destination of Peloponnese built on the slopes of Mt. Helmos!
A dreamy setting with picturesque squares, stone-paved streets and cute little houses welcomes the romantic souls! The trademark of Kalavrita is its small train, the “Odontotos” (a rare example of a fully functional cog railway). Its 22 km journey from Kalavrita to Diakofto is one of the most spectacular rack & pinion rail trips! The narrow gauge tracks follow the Vouraikos River through tunnels, over water-falls, along cliffs and through forests of pine and oleander.

The tragic history of Kalavrita reminds us the darkest side of human nature; in 1943 German occupying troops murdered all male population over the age of 14 and burned the town…Visit the memorial built to honour the dead, a large white cross on the top of the hill where the villagers had been executed, as well as the Municipal Museum of the Holocaust of Kalavrita where you can see exhibits related to the history and the traditions of the town.
Kalavrita is associated with another glorious era of Greek History; nearby is situated the famous Monastery of Agia Lavra, where the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire was launched in 1821. It’s here that Germanos, archbishop of Patras, raised the standard of revolt.
Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Monastery of Mega Spileon (Monastery of the Great Cavern) built in a giant cave and admire its wonderful frescoes and mosaic floors; explore the Cave of the Lakes, a true wonder of nature whose walls are ornamented with colourful stalagmite and stalactite formations.

Winter sport enthusiasts should definitely go to the Kalavrita Ski Center, one of the most renowned in Greece thanks to its modern facilities: 7 lifts, 12 slaloms, a snowboard park, a special slalom mogul and a snow tubing park! On its premises there are fancy cafeterias and restaurants where occasionally fun parties take place!
Need more adrenaline rush? In the vicinity of Kalavrita you can follow hiking trails, hike down the Vouraikos gorge, go mountaineering, climbing, off-road driving, mountain biking and parachuting!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011




ThIs is a very interesting article on Paros! Most information is coming from VisitGreece and from! We hope you enjoy it!

Best Of Greece specializes in Holidays to Greece and the Greek Islands! We have a passion for the Island of Paros and you can be sure that we will offer you the best type of holiday to fit your needs and desires!


Paros beckons.

Unrivalled natural beauty, beaches with crystal clear waters, unrivalled Byzantine footpaths connecting traditional villages and breathtaking landscapes make Páros, located at the heart of the Cyclades, one of the best loved holiday destinations in Greece.

Parikía (Parikiá), the capital of Páros, is a beautiful Cycladic village with whitewashed cubic houses and impressive neoclassical mansions. A well preserved 13th century Venetian castle stands proudly on a hill at the centre of the village offering an amazing view of Parikía. In the capital you can also admire an important ecclesiastical monument, the 6th century church of Panayia Ekatontapyliani, also called Katapoliani. The name “Ekatontapylianí” means the church with 100 gates (“Ekató Pýles” in Greek), one of which is a secret one! Don’t miss the chance to visit the baptistery (4th century AD), one of the best preserved baptisteries in the Orthodox East, and the Byzantine Museum. The Parikía Byzantine Museum is housed on the ground floor of the church. Its exhibits include icons, wood-carved iconostases and other heirlooms from various monasteries and churches on the island.

The Archaeological Museum displays exhibits from the island’s monuments (such as the Sanctuary of Asklipios and Pythios Apollonas, Delion etc.), including part of the "Parian Chronicle”, a chronological table of the 3rd century BC with references to important events and personalities of antiquity.
The marble quarries at Maráthi, where the famous Parian marble used to be extracted, were in operation from the 3rd millennium BC up to the 19th century. The mining galleries along with remains of 19th century industrial buildings are still preserved and can be visited!

Meet the villages!
• Wander through beautiful traditional villages like Náoussa, a colourful village, where the ruins of a Venetian fortress stand at the entrance to its small harbour. Léfkes is located at the highest point of Páros and enjoys stunning views of the island. The village is set up in the mountains and is surrounded by a rich green landscape. It has very well preserved Cycladic and neoclassical buildings, beautiful squares and narrow marble alleys. The Museum of Aegean Folk Culture at Léfkes offers a tour of the culture of the Archipelago; discover the Aegean world through its exhibits, which include pieces related to the architecture, traditional trades and geology of the islands.
Márpissa, founded in the 15th century, is a traditional village with a distinctive medieval character. It is located on a hill, a few kilometres away from the famous beaches of Loyarás and Písso Livádi. You can also visit the impressive Monastery of Ayios Antonios (17th century) on the hill of Kéfalos, where the ruins of a 15th century Venetian castle stand, and enjoy a wonderful view of the sea. Petaloúdes is an area of stunning beauty near the village of Psychopiana. The habitat is rich in vegetation and running water, with tall plane trees, laurels, wild olive trees, and carob trees covered in ivy that play host to the butterfly species Panaxia quadripunstaria.
What about beaches?
• Sun-drenched beaches, like Chrissí Aktí, Santa Maria and Poúnda, welcome sun-loving visitors who want to enjoy the crystal clear sea, the sun or even their favourite water sports! Every year Chrissí Aktí is the venue for the Windsurfing World Championship. On the sea bed at Alykí beach, to the southwest, you can explore the ruins of an ancient town!
• Don’t miss the opportunity to live experience an exhilarating touring all around the coast of the island by canoe or kayak! Enjoy the unusual natural landscape with impressive white rock formations on Kolymbíthres beach. The beach of Kalóyeros, surrounded by red and green clay rocks offers a really effective spa for free! Cover your body with clay and let it dry in the sun; after a while rinse yourself in the sea and your body will feel softer than ever!
Discover the island’s stunning beauty by hiking! Walk along “strátes”, the trails created by farmers to help them cross the island and transport their goods. It’s like stepping back into history. Here are two itineraries you might like to try:
• The Byzantine Léfkes-Pródromos trail, paved with marble paving stones most of the way, takes an hour to walk. It starts from the verdant village of Léfkes and crosses slopes with cultivated terraces and a small Byzantine bridge. The final destination is to the beautiful village of Pródromos with its impressive maze-like alleys.
• Starting from the village of Márpissa, with its Byzantine churches, 17th century houses and quaint windmills, walk towards Kéfalos Hill and Áyios Antónios Monastery. Going uphill along the cobblestone path, you will come across the ruins of the Venetian town of Kéfalos and the Castle. At the top, enjoy the view over the eastern part of the island and visit the Monastery of Áyios Antónios with its gold-leaf wood-carved iconostasis.
• Alternatively, you can discover the island on horseback! There are two horse-riding centres, one by the sea, at Ambelás, and one at Ystérni. Ride around the coast, along the sandy beaches or take a detour inland – a great way to see for yourself some of the most beautiful spots on the island!


BRONZE AGE (3200 - 1100 B.C.)

Three great civilisations emerged during the Bronze Age (3,200 – 1,100 B.C.) within the geographic area which comprises modern day Greece: the Cycladic Civilisation (3,200 – 2,000 B.C.), the Minoan (or “Pre-Cretan”, 2,000 – 1,500 B.C.) and the Mycenaean (1,600 – 1,100 B.C.). Remnants of a Pre-Cycladic settlement were discovered on the “Fortress Hill” above Paroikia and significant finds dating to the same period have been discovered in other areas of the island as well (Kambos, Dryos, Koukounaries, Plastiras, Glyfa and Farangas). During the Minoan dominance of the Aegean, Paros was an important strategic and commercial centre for the Minoan state. At that time the island was primarily populated by emissaries from Crete. According to Myth the leader of the occupation force was called Alkaios, he built the first city in the location of today’s Paroikia and called it “Minoa” (Royal City). With the gradual decline of Minoan Crete the power of the mainland Mycenaean dynasty increased. The remnants of a Mycenaean Acropolis were discovered on the peak above Koukounaries (near Naoussa) as well as on the “Fortress Hill” above Paroikia.
GEOMETRIC PERIOD (1,100 – 700 B.C.)
At the turn of the 10th Century B.C. an expedition from Arcadia (Peloponnesus), led by Paro, settled on the Island and named it for their leader. Soon after, Ionian colonists joined the population (from what is now the coast of Asia Minor) and the island evolved into a significant naval power. The export of marble brought the island wealth and their agricultural activities developed as well.
ARCHAIC PERIOD (700 – 480 B.C.)
In 680 B.C. a Parian colony was established on the island of Thassos in order to exploit the gold deposits along its shores. The renowned sculpture workshops were created and the 7th century B.C. heralded the bloom of lyric poetry headed by Archilohos (the “Warrior Poet”) considered equal to Homer. To the east a new power was emerging: the Persians.
The Parian oligarchy was called upon by the Persians and a large deployment of the island’s army joined the Persian naval assaults on various Hellenic city-states. With the defeat of the Persians (480 B.C.) the Athenian fleet, led by Themistocles, reached Paros and the island was forced to become a member of the Athenian Alliance. During this period the most famous Parian sculptors, Agorakritos and Skopas, were plying their craft. The city of Paros (in what is today Paroikia) had over 50,000 residents, wonderful homes and temples, a theatre and a stadium. By the end of the Classical Period Paros had become a member of the Macedonian Alliance until the death of Alexander the Great.
From the death of Alexander utill his heirs were subdued by the Roman Empire was a period of conflict and great upheavals for Paros. New kingdoms were striving for control of the Cyclades and for many years Paros fell under the rule of the Ptolemys.
ROMAN PERIOD (167 B.C. – 330 A.D.)
Paros, the other Cycladic Islands, as well as large regions of mainland Greece became extensions of the Roman countryside. Development was halted and Paros became a place of exile.

BYZANTINE PERIOD (330 – 1204 A.D.)
According to remnants of early Christian churches and gravestones Christianity reached Paros around the 4th century A.D. The first church of The Holy Virgin “Ekatondapyliani” was built at that time under the orders of Saint Helen. From the 10th century onward Paros became an epicentre for pirate raids which were catastrophic to the island.

Paros was inducted to the Aegean Duchy (1207) and was passed down among the fortunes of various Venetian families. The residents of the island were reduced to serfs, working the land for their new masters, while still at the mercy of marauding pirates. Naoussa became a Pirate base and during that period the castle/fortresses of Kefalou (Marpissa), Naoussa and Paroikia were built.

With the siege of the island by the notorious pirate Barbarossa (1537) and the ensuing desertion of the island by its inhabitants the Venetian Occupation drew to a close. The desecrated island was ruled by the Turks from 1560 and during the Russian-Turkish Wars (1770-1777) the port of Naoussa was used as a base by the Russian fleet, from which they could control the Aegean.

Paros played an active role in the Greek Revolution (1821). The Cyclades, Peloponnesus and mainland Greece formed the nucleus of the new Hellenic state. The island was particularly hard hit by the German occupation and at the end of WWII many islanders were forced to immigrate to Piraeus and later abroad to find work. Around 1960 came the dawn of a new period of development for the island and its, now primarily tourism based, economy.