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Yesterday — 29 September 2023TRAVEL ENGLISH

Photo Exhibition: Momentary Lapse Οf Α Shutter

The art establishment, T.A.F./The Art Foundation is preparing to unveil the “Momentary Lapse of a Shutter”, opening on October 5, showcasing the works of the photography group “Spontaneous Shooters”. This distinctive photographic exhibition, put together over the past year, will brings to light the overlooked facets of our city through the lenses of 42 photographers. Viewers are invited to explore the delicate dance between human existence and the urban settings in which they exist, via a medley of photographic techniques.


Inspired principally by street photography and the serendipitous moments captured during their wanderings – and under the mentorship of photographer Andreas Kamoutsis – the Spontaneous Shooters group has ventured to define their own photographic voice, articulating it through the visual vernacular and the art of photography itself.

The displayed pieces delve into a myriad of elements surrounding us – from fleeting shadows to asymmetric portraits displayed in a rich colour spectrum, imbuing Athens with a seldom-seen aura of intrigue. The photographs aim to encapsulate how the passage of time reshapes our perspective of the city. From ever-evolving shadows shaped by the setting sun to uncommon portraits revealing people’s internal state, this exhibition, sponsored by Fujifilm Hellas, will celebrate the beauty and intricacy of both our city and its people.

The Spontaneous Shooters group invites us to discover the capital in a new light, to unearth those silent details that often go unnoticed, and to contemplate how they shape our lives and human experiences. It’s a beautifully nuanced approach to photography that accentuates the role of art in discerning beauty in the everyday and within the essence of humanity. Admission is free.

More information on the Spontaneous Shooters:


Opening: Thursday, 05 October 2023 | 19:30

Duration: 05.10.23 – 08.10.23

Opening Hours: Thursday to Sunday | 12:00 – 22:00

Address: 5 Normanou, Monastiraki

Curated by: Giorgos Koutsouvelis, Andreas Kamoutsis

Sponsored by: Fujifilm Hellas

Participants: Andreas Anthimos, Alexandra Katanou, Alexandros Markantonatos, Andreas Spinos, Aimilia Matoulea, Apostolis Andriotis, Antonis Goltzos, Aris Kaplanis, Aris Kokkas, Aphrodite Mamae, Anna Maria Ferhagen, Aria Heinonen-Riganas, Anna Papaioannou, Yiannis Maistros, Yiannis Varelas, Giorgos Boulasidis, Giorgos Goufas, Giorgos Papandreou, Giota Pouman, Giorgos Kanakis, Dimitris Meidanis, Efi Lialiou, Elsa Tsagkli, Theofanis Sofianidis, Katerina Manitsa, Katerina Margariti, Katerina Niasoudi, Cleanthis Bantis, Manolis Soulos, Maria Beli, Maria Kolyvaki, Maria Chioti, Panagiotis Papatheodorou, Panagiotis Karageorgos, Olga Alexopoulou, Sissy Theodosopoulou, Stelios Proestakis, Stelios Mantaleros, Sotiris Theodosiou, Teti Mylona, Christos Antonopoulos, Christina Sapounaki

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Hiking Athens’ Hills

While Athens may have lost its cherished rivers, its hills remain, enriching the city’s topography. These hills offer breaths of fresh air, threads of culture, and are always a splendid choice for a wander right in the heart of the city.


The iconic Acropolis Hill serves as a focal point. To its north rises Lycabettus Hill, crowned by the renowned Chapel of St. George, with the Chapel of the Holy Isidores slightly further down. At an old quarry sits the newly reopened Lycabettus Theatre, which during balmy summer evenings, will once again serenade us with melodies. Both children and adults always enjoy the ascent by cable car, or even by the picturesque trails.

At Areopagus and the Observatory

To the northwest of the Acropolis, a rocky hill standing at 115 metres high was, in ancient times, the operating ground for the judicial body, particularly the Council of the Areopagus. It was on this hill that, in 51 AD, Apostle Paul first proclaimed Christianity to the Athenians. A spot with an impeccable view of the Parthenon and Lycabettus hill.

Adjacent to the Hill of the Nymphs or Observatory, stands the country’s oldest research institution, the National Observatory. This neoclassical edifice was designed by Theophil Hansen. The historical telescopes are accessible to all those who remember to gaze up at the sky. In antiquity, at the hill’s peak, there was a sanctuary dedicated to the Nymphs, guardians of vegetation and fertility. The grand Temple of Aghia Marina, on the hill’s east, was built based on plans from Ernst Ziller.

Pnyx: the Landmark of Athenian Democracy

In the neighbouring Pnyx hill, the People’s Assembly convened, debating on all important matters of Athenian democracy. Here, on this sacred soil, luminaries and laypeople spoke, pivotal decisions were made, and momentous speeches were delivered. On the northern slope of the hill, remnants of homes, cisterns, and stairways of the Ancient Demos can still be found. Nearby stands Ag. Demetrius Loubardiaris, truly one of Athens’ most enchanting churches. Its visionary architect, Dimitris Pikionis, undertook extensive conservation work, using parts of ancient marbles and other structures from the palimpsest of Athenian history to build it, and adding wonderful cobblestone paths lined by pine and olive trees in the surrounding area, leaving an indelible mark upon the area.

The Monument of Philopappos

Gaius Julius Antiochus Philopappos, a prince from Commagene in Syria and a benevolent patron of Athens, erected his funerary monument, bestowing his name upon the hill and the surrounding area. For lovers of Athens, this monument stands as a beacon, keeping Philopappos’ legacy alive for over two millennia. Crafted between 114-116 AD from white Pentelic marble, it stands atop a 3-metre base. Over the ages, the monument has faced alterations, but in 1957, archaeological investigations revealed a burial chamber within, suggesting its dual role as a mausoleum.

From Skouze Hill to Strefi Hill

Two iconic hills of Athens, popular for strolls and introspection. Skouze Hill, located near Sepolia, is crowned by the church of Ag. Emilianos. Its name harkens back to a time before the Greek War of Independence when the Skouzé family owned vast stretches of the land. Another eminent elevation is Strefi Hill, nestled between Exarcheia and Neapoli. This hill too, owes its name to a family, the Strefis, who once owned significant tracts in the vicinity. In the 19th and 20th centuries, a quarry operated here, significantly altering the hill’s topography. However, after the conclusion of its operations in 1920, and having already been under state ownership since 1914, afforestation began. Today, it belongs to the Municipality of Athens and is graced by an open-air theatre, a basketball court, a children’s playground, and a charming taverna where you can stop for meze.


The Tourkovounia mountain range is an intriguing geographical division that splits Athens, offering its slopes as a canvas upon which beautiful neighbourhoods, with distinctive city views, have been painted. Places such as Galatsi, Filothei, Psychiko, along with parts of Athens like Kypseli, Polygono, and Girokomeio, touch these hills. The range’s ancient name was Lykovounia.

Its modern name, Tourkovounia, has historical roots; it’s believed to either stem from a Turkish cemetery once located there or, according to another version, because it was where the troops of the Turkish Pasha Omar camped before Athens was liberated. From 1937 to 1976, the area was home to quarries, which significantly transformed the landscape. Today, one can find delightful spots for walks, and within the Attiko Alsos, there’s a restaurant and café awaiting visitors.

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The Magnificent Seven: Top Museums of Athens

Athens, the cradle of Western civilization, boasts an impressive array of museums that showcase its rich historical tapestry. At the forefront is the New Acropolis Museum, where treasured artefacts from the Ancient Acropolis are displayed, elucidating the city’s influential classical era. The Cycladic Art Museum delves into the enigmatic world of the ancient Cyclades, featuring distinctive marble figurines and artifacts. The Benaki Museum, on the other hand, offers a panoramic journey through Greek history, culture, and art. Together, these institutions, among many others that we present here, guide you to discover how Athens created its indelible mark on European culture and democracy.


The New Acropolis Museum: Internationally regarded as one of the most complete and modern museums of its kind, the Acropolis museum is certainly unique. In many places the floor is transparent, leaving excavation sites below in plain view. The first of the museum’s three floors is home to objects from the slopes of the Acropolis. The second houses collections of objects from the Archaic period of Athens (7th century BC-480 BC) and the third has exhibits from the excavations and restorations carried out on the monuments of the Acropolis.

On the third floor, visitors can see what the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon would have looked like at the time of its creation. The temple’s original architectural pieces, the metopes and pediments, are displayed alongside replicas of marbles that have been destroyed or are held in museums abroad. The museum café has a view of the Acropolis. Guided tours are available.

Address: 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Phone: +30 210 9000900-1

National Archaeological Museum: The National Archaeological Museum in Greece is a must-see for any history buff or culture lover. With over 20,000 artifacts, the museum offers an in-depth look at Greek civilization from its earliest beginnings to the end of ancient times. Housed in a grand, neoclassical building from the late 19th century, the museum’s 8,000 square meters of exhibition space holds five permanent collections: the Prehistoric Collection, the Sculptures Collection, the Vase and Minor Objects Collection, the Metallurgy Collection, and the Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities Collection. The museum welcomes thousands of visitors each year and offers guided tours for people with hearing impairments.

Address: 44 Patission Street, Phone: +30 213 214 4891, 213 214 4889

Benaki Museum: The Benaki House is a neoclassical building between Vassilissis Sophia Avenue and Koumbari Street, built in 1867. The Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece was established and endowed by Antonis Benakis in memory of his father Emmanuel Benakis, it was housed in the Benakis family mansion in the city center. The museum is dedicated to showcase Greek art, culture and history, it has a vast collection of Greek art pieces dating from prehistory till modern times, it also has a sizable collection of Asian art, it is also a hub of cultural activities and exhibitions. The main museum was re-opened in 2000, and since then it has had a focus on Greek culture through different eras, creating satellite museums for specific collections.

Address: 1 Koumbari, Kolonaki, Phone: +30 2103671030

Museum of Cycladic Art: Housed in two separate buildings connected internally, the main building and the neoclassical gem Megaro Stathatos.

The Museum of Cycladic Art, located in the heart of Athens, is a vibrant cultural institution dedicated to showcasing the ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus. With a particular focus on Cycladic art dating back to the third millennium BC, the museum offers a wide range of temporary exhibitions that explore archaeology and modern and contemporary art, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about important 20th and 21st century artists and the connections between ancient cultures and contemporary art. The museum boasts an impressive collection of over 3,000 artefacts of Cycladic, Ancient Greek, and Ancient Cypriot art, which provide insight into the cultural developments and interactions that occurred in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean from the 4th millennium BC to the 6th century AD.

Address: 4 Neophytou Douka, Syntagma, Phone: +30 21 0722 8321

New National Gallery: The collections of the National Gallery (also known as the Museum of Alexandros Soutsos) moved to a new, large, state-of-the-art building at in 2021. The National Gallery of Athens, a must-see for art lovers, as it features works by European master painters such as Rembrandt and Picasso, but the real reason to visit is to witness the evolution of modern Greece through the works of its most prominent artists. The collection covers a wide range of themes and styles, from post-Byzantine years to key moments and personalities of the 1821 Greek War of Independence. It features more than 1,000 works from notable modern Greek painters, spread out across a minimalist and chic decor. The lighting gives the impression that the paintings are almost luminous..

Address: 50 Vasileos Konstantinou Street, Ilisia, Phone: +30 21 0723 5937

National Museum of Contemporary Art: The museum is located in the former brewery building in Koukaki neighbourhood (near the Syngrou Fix metro), a short walk from the Acropolis, and the building’s design and minimalism of the exhibition spaces add to the overall experience. Promoting innovative and experimental artistic movements through painting, 3D artworks, photography, new media, architecture and industrial design. The museum not just a place to admire art but also to reflect on timeless themes and pressing issues of our epoch. There are regular temporary exhibitions but the permanent collection of 172 works from 78 international and modern Greek artists is the major attraction.

Address: Kallirois Ave & Amvr. Frantzi St, Phone: +30 211 101 9000

Byzantine and Christian Museum: The winter residence of the Duchess of Plakentia resembles a Tuscan Renaissance villa. It was designed by the architect Stamatis Kleanthi and completed in 1848. The museum, showcasing religious artefacts from the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine and later periods. With over 25,000 artifacts dating from between the 3rd and 20th century AD, the museum is a treasure trove of Byzantine and post-Byzantine art and culture. The artefacts are from throughout the Greek world, as well as regions where Hellenism flourished. The museum aims to not only exhibit but also acquire, preserve, research, and educate about the artifacts on display.

Address: 22 Vasilissis Sofias St, Phone: +30 21 3213 9517

There are several small museums in Plaka:

The Museum of Folk Art and Tradition (6 Ag. Chatzimihali)
The Jewish Museum (39 Nikis)
Museum of Greek Children’s Art (9 Kodrou)
The Melina Mercouri Foundation (11 Polynogotou).

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Autumn Escape to Naxos with Culture Editor Tina Mandilara

The splendours of Naxos seem even more entrancing in the autumn months, with less crowds and more quality time to relish the genuine vibes of this newly popular Cycladic island. Naxos boasts timeless villages, ancient sites that have withstood millennia of change, tavernas serving wonderful food, and a culturally rich tapestry of delightful aromas, tastes, and sights. Visitors quickly understand the impressions of the historian Herodotus, who once penned a heartfelt tribute to the island, praising its myths, wealth, and the impressive statues of Kouros that adorn the temples across the Cyclades, shining brilliantly through the annals of time.


Prominent on the island stands the Venetian castle at the capital’s peak. From medieval times, fortified homes stand shoulder to shoulder, still holding their ground, accompanied by majestic towers scattered across Naxos. These towers still bear the crests of families like Delaroka, Sanoudou, and Karavia. The commanding, angular silhouette of the Portara, at the harbour’s entrance, appears to symbolically divide the two aspects of the capital – the wilder side known locally as Grotta and the more tranquil region called Vintzi.

On one hand, there’s the agricultural side, deeply rooted in the land and its boundless offerings, reminding us of the unique gifts this once Ionic land bestows. On the other, there’s a lighter aspect, one deeply intertwined with the sea, its melodious songs, and oral tales. The latter evokes memories of my father sharing stories with me, filled with Fellini-esque whimsy, jests, and the playful spirit that permeates the island.

The Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis once remarked that he experienced two of his most carefree years in this very place. “Away from the tumultuous cycle of blood to which Crete was bound, finding a shelter from the winds in Egares, on an island,” that he described as “abounding in sweetness, profound tranquility, the kind faces of its people, heaps of melons, peaches, figs, and a very gentle sea.” You’ll be able to connect with Kazantzakis’ word pretty quickly, as soon as you see the smiles of the people in the always lively village of Kynidaros, or the friendly young faces welcoming you in refined Chalki with its beautiful Vallindra distillery – a place where you can taste the exquisite kitro liqueur, and learn its history. Or even in the tranquil inhabitants of remote Moutsounas, who’ll share the island’s secrets in a way that no guidebook can.

This version of Naxos is most palpable in autumn, not just because the beaches grow quieter, but because the villages truly come back to their authentic life. Savour delectable meze dishes and local cheeses at Platano in the main square of Filoti. Wander into secluded Byzantine churches like Panagia Drosiani from the 7th century, adorned with its unique decoration. Hike up the slopes of Mount Zas, letting nature’s fragrances envelop you. Collect tiny shells from the deserted Kastraki beach, with its few remaining surfers. Visit the Archaeological Museum in the Chora without the queues. And late in the evening, buy fresh, warm bread from Kyra Voula’s wood-fired oven in Apeiranthos – a village, much like Kynidaros, that never truly sleeps.

The shores of Naxos stretch far and wide, connecting Ag. Prokopios to Agia Anna, Mikri Vigla, and Kastraki. They have pristine turquoise waters, inviting sandy beaches, and countless hidden delights – including flamingos lurking in the lagoons. Imagine being in paradise; well, you might as well be, especially when you come across the Taverna Paradiso. This place sits right on the sand, its iconic tamarisk tree and lanterns evoking images from countless postcards.

There’s always a taverna that you’ll stumble into in Naxos that boldly reflects the island’s deep-rooted connection with gastronomy, one of the island’s most seductive qualities. Cheese that’s sourced directly from local producers, greens and vegetables from nearby gardens, and local wines and citron (or ‘kitro’) distilled on the island, delineate its culinary landscape. For here, food is more than sustenance; it’s a marker of culture. Each village boasts at least one family-run taverna known for its signature dishes, which often originate in the vision or know-how of distant ancestors.

While in most islands the sea provides bountiful fish and fresh seafood, in Naxos, the unique landscape and predominantly mountainous villages have naturally shifted the focus towards meat. Goats reign supreme, seen almost everywhere on the island, yet lamb, beef, and pork are not to be overshadowed. Even in the most secluded taverna, one can taste diverse preparations of these meats, often reared and prepared by the restaurateurs themselves with a reverent dedication.

Here, ingredients are revered, echoing the sentiment of Naxian Iakovos Kambanellis, who once remarked, “We are fortunate to have been born here and, as children, no matter the circumstances, to have first witnessed the world and life – in a place that, in my feeling, gifted us with an invaluable existential backdrop.

Naxos Town

Naxos Town (Chora) is not simply a splendid testament to a tapestry that has interwoven various cultures over time, but it also stands as a gentle reminder of Naxos’s multifaceted identity and its intrinsic beauty. Stories persist of the ancient Dionysus, who legend has it, secluded his beloved Ariadne in palaces on a tiny isle linked to the mainland. These tales feel ever-present, as if the heroes within them might still breathe among us today.

There’s a temple which many believe might be dedicated to Apollo. It was never completed due to a war between Naxos and Samos, but its imposing entrance, known locally as Portara, remains. It stands as a sentinel, accompanying some of the island’s most breathtaking sunsets. Even now, it’s an unparalleled spot to watch the sun dip below the horizon, perhaps while sipping a cocktail or indulging in contemporary Greek cuisine at Barozzi (Phone: +30 2285027672), with a menu curated this year by Gikas Xenakis.

Top Stops in Naxos Town

Those craving authentic charcoal-grilled octopus, in the age-old fashion, can always rely on Steki tou Valeta (Phone: +30 2285022335). There’s excitement too as Apanemi (Phone: +30 2285926787), renowned for its fresh seafood and fish, has relocated from distant Moutsouna to the town. Nearby the Portara, one can find Naxos Apothecary (Phone: +30 2285025186) managed by the acclaimed Naxian, Giorgos Korres. Here, one can explore fragrances, savour candles scented with the essence of Naxian soil, and discover all about the island’s abundant gifts that, over the years, found their way into various bottles made in the first pharmacy the family ancestor opened. I never miss trying my favourite scent, Koronos, named after my ancestral homeland, when I visit. The establishment also boasts a restaurant featuring Greek and Naxian dishes (Phone: +30 2285026787). Overlooking the sea and harbour are the rooms of the luxurious Portara Seaside Luxury Suites (Phone: +30 6946434061) with their distinctively designed interiors, making it the perfect haven when staying in Naxos Town.

However enchanting other places may be, there’s a unique charm to walking through the picturesque alleys of the Castle, where Venetian lords once tread. The imposing wooden door still stands proud, introducing visitors to a vivid castle town filled with charming homes, narrow lanes, and delightful shops. This town was once a formidable bastion in the heart of the Aegean, largely established by the Venetian Marco Sanudo. It’s well worth a visit to the striking Delaroca Tower (when open), the Archaeological Museum, and the recently renovated renowned Ursuline Monastery. Close by is the romantic Avaton 1739 (Phone: +30 691234567), situated on the terrace of the Old Ursuline Monastery, while the Like Home Bar (Phone: +30 6942830326) in the Old Town is a classic spot for a drink.

For those seeking a hearty morning or a relaxed afternoon with a refreshing cocktail made from local citron, the sofas at the Kitron-Café Cocktail Bar (Phone: +30 2285027015), roughly halfway along the coastal road towards the town, come highly recommended. But to truly grasp the essence of Naxos, from various products to straw goods and farming items, one must visit Tsimblakis’s general store (Phone: +30 2285022230). Established in 1938, it’s stocked with local goods and Naxian cheeses, including the legendary male heads and gaviera cheeses. Also located in the town are two popular Athens establishments: the Musique Cafe (Phone: +30 2285027278), known for its fresh meats and tasty cheeses, and the Waffle House, renowned for its consistent queues and in-house dairy production. Furthermore, the Rendezvous (Phone: +30 2285022266) is the locals’ go-to spot, and it’s essential to visit for their loukoumades.

More Places Not to Miss in Naxos

The Sacred Site of Iria, Sagri

While the Archaeological Museum and the renowned archaic Kouroi in Melanes offer historical allure, the sacred site of Naxos’s city in Iria, Sagri holds its own charm. This sacred site is believed to be dedicated to Dionysus and Demeter, with twin temples situated amidst the serene beauty of nature. Initially home to four temples, today only the archaic period temple (circa 580 BC) stands, upon which a church was constructed in later years.


Kastraki reveals a different side of Naxos, distinct from the bustling haunts of Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna. Beyond the wild waves beckoning ambitious surfers, and overlooking the vast beach, sits a traditional dwelling surrounded by a beautifully quaint courtyard – Axiotissa (Kastraki, Phone: +30 22850-75107). This establishment is a haven for those who cherish authenticity, evident in the proprietors’ character. Their menu becomes a canvas, painting a narrative that renounces pretentious expectations, excessive profits, and clichéd dishes. This inventive tavern, run by Yiannis Vasilas and Sofia Dimakopoulou, celebrates every facet of Naxian life: from the winds that course through the corrodor between Paros and Naxos, delivering fresh sardines they serve stuffed with capers, to the soil nurturing okra in their garden, presented in a spicy, oven-baked rendition or fried with yogurt.

At Axiotissa, even the humblest of ingredients ascend to greatness, harmonising with organic materials sourced from Greek independent producers or inspired by the island. Consider, for instance, the slow-cooked organic chickpeas with onions and saffron baked in a wood-fired oven. Everything is cooked in their olive oil, made from local “askoudes”, the term Naxians use for large olives. True to its organic ethos, one wouldn’t find commercial beverages at “Axiotissa”. Instead, the wine list has expanded to include organic and biodynamic wines with designated origins.

Try a unique kebab, grilled in their distinctive manner, or the Syrian beefsteak made of minced beef, infused with graviera cheese, peppers, onions, and accompanied by potatoes, pitta, kimchi, and tahini salad. But, more importantly, request the Book of Axiótissa which reveals the taverna’s creative journey, and its history, traditions, and most importantly, the core values of the land, all expressed through the contemporary, playful outlook of this vibrant place that has existed in the island for 20 years.


Kynidaros, as many know, is the village that never sleeps. Especially during the summer nights, you’d see locals lost in games of backgammon in their courtyards, and children sprinting carefree along the uphill alleys in the early hours, all evoking a sense of boundless freedom. It’s precisely this ambience that made me so deeply fond of the village, where my grandmother’s home was. A place synonymous with play, joy, and melodies, given that violins never stop playing here, in the hometown of Konitopoulos. One reason locals rarely ventured to Kynidaros, which has maintained its genuine character, was its inaccessibility; it took until the 1990s to pave the main road leading to the village.

Our primary entertainment was the local café. As kids, we could indulge in the delectable fried potatoes with cheese, while the adults savoured meats reared by the Klouvatos family. Over time, the café expanded. Grills were stationed in the rear garden, which soon brimmed with extra tables, drawing more visitors eager to taste arguably the finest grilled meats on the island. Giorgos Klouvatos, famously known by the nickname “Vasilarakios” – at the taverna Tou Vasilarakiou (Phone: +30 22850-43088) – (in Naxos, nicknames are plentiful and almost mandatory), mastered the art of cooking meat, serving up dishes rivaling the most upscale gastronomic meat restaurants in Athens.

Here, special dry-ageing refrigerators take pride of place. If you ask, the owner will gladly share his secrets regarding the meat maturation process. His skewered meat is renowned, the local ‘gardoumia‘ (as the inhabitants of Naxos call it) is exquisite, while his lamb chops are always impeccably grilled. Even the potatoes sprinkled with cheese could be considered as indulgent as the gratifying dessert. And don’t forget to ask for some of his signature cheeses, like the sour cheese, even after your main course.


In one of the village’s most secluded spots, surrounded by the imposing mountains that once made the Naxians wealthy through emery mining, lies Korónos. Alternatively referred to as the crown jewel of Naxos’s mountainous villages. Some of its houses lay in ruins, while others remain untouched by time. Korónos holds true to its original character, free from the influence of popular travel guides and untouched by the trends of global Instagram enthusiasts. This very authenticity can also be found in Matína Mandilará’s tavern, commonly known as “Platsa” (Matína-Stávros-Platsa, Korónos, Phone: +30 2285051243). This eatery alone offers a compelling reason for travellers to undertake the journey to this distant yet distinguished village centre.

Here, you’ll find a taverna hidden in the heart of the village, shaded by trees and a beautiful vine canopy. Its setting resembles a theatre backdrop from another era, frozen in time. Similarly timeless is the quality of its dishes, boasting the homemade taste reminiscent of a bygone age. Inside, walls adorned with old village and family photos bear witness to the freshness of the meats, all sourced and prepared by Matína herself. She also dons the hat of a butcher when necessary. Despite her ceaseless daily efforts in the kitchen and beyond, she’ll always greet you warmly and serve dishes crafted from the freshest ingredients available that day. Among her staples are some of the finest lamb chops you’ll ever taste, fluffy fried potatoes, and her very own house wine. If you’re lucky, your meal might end with refreshing watermelon, cool cherry juice freshly made by her, and, of course, the essential spoon sweet. Truly a dreamy experience.


One cannot traverse Naxos without setting foot in Apeiranthos—or as locals endearingly refer to it, Aperathou. This village stands as a testament to the island’s rich mountainous heritage, a picturesque embodiment of tradition with its stone-crafted architecture. Erected between two imposing 17th-century towers, the settlement captivates its visitors with its Venetian architectural influence. Its inhabitants have ardently maintained its authentic character, evident in its charming alleyways, arches, and delightful nooks.

This village is not just about its aesthetic charm. It’s renowned for its weaving traditions, where you’ll find numerous crafts still flourishing. There’s the 17th-century Bardani Tower to marvel at, as well as the restored Zevgoli Tower from the same era. If you’re inclined towards history and nature, the village has a whopping four museums—the Archaeological, the Folklore, the Natural History, and the Geological.

In the heart of the village sits the now famous Lefteris (Phone: +30 2285 061333), reminiscent of classic Greek tavernas, as if plucked straight from an old Greek film. Its balcony offers unparalleled views, while its courtyard is shaded by pergolas draped in grapevines, providing a refreshing canopy. Here, the culinary delights range from generous slabs of steak to a renowned stuffed beef patty with Naxos cheese, and lamb dishes, invariably complemented by stuffed courgette flowers, greens, and a fresh salad that boasts raw courgette and the finest cheeses from Naxos—all sourced from their own garden.

At Lefteris, and indeed throughout Apeiranthos, one must sample the local Rosto – a stuffed vegtable dish with garlic and occasionally wild herbs, rice, and raisins, slow-cooked to such perfection you feel like you’re having a psychedelic experience. For dessert, their galaktoboureko (custard pie) or the cheese pie drizzled with local honey is highly recommended. And before you depart, make sure to visit Mrs. Voula’s wood oven—one of the few remaining in the Cyclades. Impressively, the taverna remains open even at midnight.


Just beyond Chora, set amid trees and the beauty of nature lies Egares, a village treasured by Kazantzakis. Here, one can find the traditional Taverna tou Hari (Phone: +30 2285062266), a spot loved by both visitors and locals. Those in the know flock here, drawn by the promise of dishes that range from the freshest goat to seasonal game like rabbit stifado. Besides the hearty and fresh dishes such as the rustic salad with sour cheese and fresh greens, one must try the extraordinarily generous omelette, handcrafted by Mrs. Eugenia, Haris’ wife. Made with at least ten free-range chicken eggs and fried in fresh olive oil with Naxos potatoes, it’s an omelette experience quite unparalleled.

If you have room for more, the rooster with pasta promises another moment of culinary delight. The tavern isn’t merely traditional in style but also embodies a true family spirit. Since 1988, all family members have shared the responsibilities, upholding the tavern’s esteemed reputation on the island. Also worthy of note is the village sausage, prepared from a variety of meats such as goat, beef, or pork.

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Before yesterdayTRAVEL ENGLISH

The New Circular Economy Blueprint for the Attica Islands

The adoption of a Circular Tourism Economy Strategy for the Attica islands can lay the groundwork for the development of an innovative management tool for what they can offer the tourist market. The endorsement of such a strategy, with the objective of executing specific measures, is set to significantly bolster sustainable tourism on the Attica islands. This will pivot around four mainstays: judicious management of water resources, energy conservation, green waste management, and eco-friendly mobility, with the ultimate aim being to uplift the quality of life for both locals and tourists alike.


This initiative is geared towards supporting the island municipalities of the Attica region (comprising Angistri, Aegina, Kythira, Poros, Salamina, Spetses, Hydra) as well as the coastal municipality of Troizinia-Methana.

Shifting Towards a Circular Tourism Model

In this context, a regional strategy is being introduced on the islands with the aim of transitioning to a more circular regional tourism model. The purpose is to alleviate environmental pressures on the fragile island ecosystems from ever-increasing tourist influxes. Moreover, this approach promotes the gathering and exchange of available solutions and knowledge to support the development of circular policies and best practices in the tourism sector.

It’s worth noting that tourism in the Attica islands is a primary productive activity. This is evident both in the number of businesses – with 24% of businesses in 2021 being in the sectors of dining, hospitality, and travel agencies – and in the number of employees, with 27% of employment in the same sectors for 2020. However, this isn’t uniformly distributed across the eight municipal units. Specifically, regarding mobility pressures, a significant proportion of visitors pertains to highly developed holiday residences, tied with car access and usage.

Traffic congestion problems encountered are typically related to visitor access during peak periods to the destination’s main settlements, especially at certain times (most frequently during afternoon and evening hours when accessing dining, leisure, and accommodation areas). Furthermore, ports are busiest during ship departure and arrival times. Given the nature of tourism related to marine leisure during daytime, traffic is dispersed throughout the destination. Yet, during the evenings, the traffic is concentrated around major dining, leisure, and dense accommodation areas.

Viewed through an optimistic lens, the proximity to Athens and Piraeus means that many of these destinations – like Aegina, Angistri, and Poros – are ideal for visitors seeking short stays, achievable without reliance on private cars.

Pathway Restoration with Purpose

Indeed, the demands and expectations of a new generation of visitors, by now more attuned to sustainable mobility, are the very factors shaping the region’s evolution. Across all the islands, tourism is increasingly intertwined with hiking and cycling routes. This trend has catalysed the restoration of once-abandoned traditional pathways. Such modes of exploration represent an alternative tourism avenue, attracting visitors for extended stays. This not only smoothens the peaks and troughs of seasonal tourism but also alleviates strain on transport infrastructures. Moreover, the region has for years started to embrace ‘sustainable mobility’ practices. This includes limiting or excluding car use, integrating coastal marine transportation, and reviving pedestrian routes that have been preserved and are now primarily frequented by visitors.

More than Just Tourism

There’s also a growing strategy to intertwine tourism with other productive resources and sectors like agriculture, local produce, cultural or nature-centric tourism, among others. The destination is immensely rich in heritage.

Over 350 buildings, temples, or monasteries are officially designated as monuments or architectural heritage by the Ministries of Culture and Environment. Entire villages or islands, like Hydra, are recognised as ‘archaeological sites, historical locales or landscapes of extraordinary beauty, or even marine archaeological zones’. However, it’s interesting to note that despite such wealth, the majority of metropolitan visitors remain unaware of these destination’s existence. Similarly, many who visit are oblivious to these natural or cultural resources and the destination’s unique blend of tourism with agricultural production and alternative tourism.

Engaging with stakeholders has illuminated a notable gap: a limited awareness around the concept of circularity. This shortfall is paralleled by a noticeable dip in local business innovation and digital transformation. There’s a growing recognition of the role circular economy can play in tourism; it’s emerging as a tool for both economic growth and environmental rejuvenation. In a recent assessment of the island region’s circularity, data revealed a circularity index of around 44%. This places the destination at the midpoint of the ‘Beginning Pro-Activist’ scale‘, indicating that the area is just embarking on a journey to embrace circular economy principles within its tourism sector.

In terms of collaboration, the destination is ranking high within the ‘Basic level of collaboration‘ category. This suggests the first threads of a collaborative network involving all key stakeholders are being woven. Beyond the untapped potential and an increasing awareness of the limitations of the outdated model – both in terms of resources and infrastructure, as well as sustainability – there’s a silver lining. The current phase sees an urgent need to initiate multi-layered planning or introduce innovative management across all pillars. Another positive sign is the rising awareness amongst entities about the essential need for networking and cooperation.

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Koutsomiti and Kounoupi: Astypalaia’s Exotic Edge

Thanks to its beautiful sea and myriad of islands, Greece has established itself as a wonderful international travel destination, its identity infused with the endless blues of the southern Aegean and the iconic white houses of the Cyclades. In such a landscape with such great diversity, it’s inevitable that some spots will stand out more than others because of their especially distinct characteristics.


Although the islands have their own features reflecting an authentic Greek identity, there are some places in Greece that look like exotic destinations from across the planet, (without the palm trees). Two such places can be found in the southern Aegean, just off the coast of Astypalaia island. These are Koutsomiti and Kounoupoi, both uninhabited islets with sublime waters, which remain relatively unknown to most, as visitors typically focus on the island’s more popular beaches.

Turquoise Waters and Seductive Seclusion

The islets are both are considered as a single entity, positioned southeast of Astypalaia and administratively falling under its jurisdiction. Koutsomyti is the smaller of the two, spanning an area of 0.459, while Kounoupi is relatively larger, boasting an area of 1.30

Koutsomyti is closer to Astypalaia, its beach on the southern part of the islet near the strait that separates it from its rocky neighbour, the islet of Tigani. It’s hard to miss, especially with its wooden structure on the coast, set up to serve Astypalaia’s as a watering area for their goats, which are often brought here to graze. The beach itself is pebbly, and while its appearance might be somewhat ordinary, the waters are a deep shade of blue and crystal clear, offering a unique ambiance distinct from any other part of the island. If underwater adventures appeal to you, make sure to come equipped with a snorkel and mask.

Kounoupi lies to the south of Koutsomyti, about 5.6 nautical miles from Astypalaia’s port, with several smaller rock islets scattered between them. Apart from Tigani, you’ll also spot Moni, Fteno, and Chondropoulo. The beach at Kounoupi is particularly pretty as it essentially forms a narrow land strip that connects the northern side of the small island with the south. But it’s not just the land that impresses; the waters too are remarkably clear, with a refreshing crystalline quality and mesmerising shades of turquoise, creating the illusion of a natural pool set within an enchanting landscape.

Both Koutsomyti and Kounoupoi are part of the European Natura 2000 network, honoured for their ecological significance. Furthermore, Koutsomyti is recognised as a Special Protection Area, as it offers sanctuary to rare birds such as shearwaters, black petrels, and Aegean seagulls that use the island for breeding. The Kounoupi islet, on the other hand, is the habitat for Mediterranean monk seals, loggerhead turtles, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and green sea turtles.

Getting to the Islands

Given their remoteness and the fact they are uninhabited, Koutsomyti and Kounoupoi need to be reached by boat. Indeed, many private vessels make their way here during the pinnacle of the Greek summer in July and August, with people diving into their beautiful waters and enjoying the serene and lovely views.

If you have your own boat, reaching these islands is easy. Should you aim to anchor at the beaches, do bring along the necessary equipment such as umbrellas and mats, since the beaches have no tourist infrastructure, although a wooden shack operates on Kounoupi during the summer, renting out a few sunbeds and selling drinks like coffee (both frappé and traditional Greek coffee), soft drinks, beers, and some light bites.

If you don’t have your own boat, there’s the option to visit the islets through tourist routes offered by various boats and caiques that in summer, daily set sail on day trips from Astypalaia, for instance, from Pera Gialos. However, do keep in mind that your time on the islands will be limited by the excursion timetable.

Read also:

Discovering Koundouros, Kea’s Serene Bay

Argilos: Crete’s “Natural Spa”

Avlemonas: One of the Mediterranean’s Most Scenic Fishing Villages

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Athens Welcomes New Outdoor ‘Book Space’

Opened in Eleftherias Park on September 23, the Athens Book Space is a striking glass and metal structure brought to life by the Athens Municipality. More than just an architectural statement, it offers a bookish sanctuary (with complimentary Wi-Fi) for all who visit. And this modern-day reading nook is not just about books, the municipality says; it’s an invitation to reset the city’s pulse by fostering an environment for knowledge and community spirit.


With architectural elements echoing the grandeur of Athens’ Agora, its design concept is a nod to the past, featuring the lines of elegant colonnades and classical façades. The Athens Book Space, which marries the world of print and pixel, aspires to become a key literary hotspot.

Blending the solemnity of a traditional library with contemporary flexibility, this space has the potential of becoming a new beacon for literary enthusiasts, who can use it for free. By presenting an ID, passport, or driver’s license, visitors can dive right into print and digital resources on-site, use the available e-readers, or even connect via their personal gadgets. The eclectic library houses both Greek and international works, with plans to soon include audiobooks and resources tailored for the visually challenged.

With the backing of the Athens Municipality, the new project is set to significantly boost the cultural appeal of the already popular Eleftherias Park. Its prime location along Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, near the Megaro Mousikis metro station, makes it easy to reach. Whether you’re hopping off the train or sauntering from the bustling city centre, it welcomes all to delve into the world of words.

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7 Exquisite Brunch Spots in Athens

Around a decade and a half ago, the brunch trend commenced a – then relatively small, yet popular right from the start – vibrant existence in the historic Greek capital, luring hungry Athenians to artsy, buzzy, colourful spaces for sumptuous mid-morning meals. By today, an impressively large variety of Athens’ restaurants and cafes have incorporated exciting, artfully made dishes inspired by the brunch tradition into their menus.


Some of these places sought to meld brunch favourites with the richness of a more comprehensive meal, while others became iconic for their distinct dishes, and a few managed to serve outstanding food at appetizingly accessible prices.

For Athenians, brunch has expanded to beyond just being a weekend delight, often hunted for after a late night out, when certain drinking choices create a huge appetite for indulgent foods. Nowadays, numerous local haunts in Athens serve a wondrous range of brunch options throughout the week, from exquisite eggs Benedict and Greece-inspired dishes like kayana to delightful sweets and pastries that pair perfectly with top quality morning coffee.

And whilst brunch spots can be found across the vast landscape of the Greek capital, from Voula to Kefalari and from Nea Filadelfeia to Zografou, the heart of brunchland beats most vibrantly in the city centre. It’s here, irrespective of the season, where people from all corners of the city converge for a leisurely stroll and a stop at these premier venues. It’s about more than just food; it’s where engaging conversations flow amongst families and friends, often accompanied by a side of maple-syrup drenched pancakes.

Here are the top tried-and-tested brunch spots not to miss.

ANÄNA : Athens’ Contemporary Coffee Retreat

A stone’s throw from the Monastiraki metro station (Athinas Street exit) awaits ANÄNA, an urban cafe with distinctly European vibes. High on its list of draws is, undoubtedly, one of the finest coffees you can savour in the city.

Perhaps the allure of this hangout is its splendid inner courtyard, set within an arcade. It quickly became a favourite not just for leisurely weekend afternoons or post-work wind-downs, but also for those hurried mornings before work, when time is pressing, yet you crave an impeccably brewed coffee in a stylish paper cup and a scrumptious breakfast bite.

The coffee variety here is vast, with blends sourced from places as diverse as Kenya, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Brazil. To accompany your brew, fresh snacks abound: think sublime cheesecake, fluffy cinnamon rolls, and those talked-about lemon and strawberry rolls that have half of Athens buzzing. Moreover, there’s a selection of bars, chocolates, freshly squeezed juices, and of course, a brunch menu that’s well worth your appetite. From poached eggs, omelettes, kagianas (a tomatoey Greek scrambled eggs), to an excellent avocado toast, ANÄNA promises fresh and delightful meals for all. Its design and ambience evoke memories of chic spots one might discover in Barcelona or Berlin.

Address: Praxitelous 33, Monastiraki, Athens

New Hotel: Athens’ Brunch Phenomenon

There’s a legend in Athens that suggests the city’s denizens developed a fondness for the American brunch tradition when the restaurant at the iconic New Hotel, just a breath away from Syntagma Square, began to serve delightful dishes inspired by this philosophy every Saturday and Sunday. It’s later than what one would typically consider breakfast but slightly early for lunch. Brunch remains a global dining trend, and its appeal is very much alive in Athens.

The brunch at New Hotel has always been seen as a “must-try”. Its offerings are dynamic, periodically refreshed, yet certain staples, like organic eggs and pancakes, remain perennial favourites.

What’s the buzz about? You shouldn’t miss their handmade pastries, freshly baked daily at the hotel’s bakery. The vibrant salads and open sandwiches are also worth a taste, especially the one with goat cheese. And, the desserts? They’re genuinely exceptional.

The New Hotel’s brunch is served on weekends from 12:00 noon until 5:00 in the evening.

Address: Filellinon 16, Syntagma, Athens

Minu: A Delicious Oasis in the Heart of Psyrri

Situated at the end of Sarri Street in Psyrri and merely a stone’s throw from the Thiseio train station, Minu elegantly blurs the lines between an all-day café-bar, a curated concept store, and a florist.

Stepping into Minu is akin to taking a brief countryside sojourn without leaving the city’s embrace. The sensation only deepens when you take a seat in the establishment’s back garden, a serene escape from Athens’ urban hustle. Indoors, spaces are also luxuriantly draped in lush greenery.

Weekends at Minu buzz with activity, largely attributed to their commendable brunch offerings. Do indulge in the ‘egg bowl’, a delightful blend of poached eggs, avocado, and a hint of chilli flakes. Complement it with their tempting sweets, which pair impeccably with Minu’s outstanding coffee. For those with a penchant for botany or looking to spruce up their balcony, consider procuring one of the unique plant pots on sale, adding a dash of verdancy to your daily living.

Address: Sarri 50, Psyrri, Athens

Neratzia: Where Athens Meets Parisian Charm

Set within an enchantingly restored neoclassical building from the 1930s lies Neratzia café bistro, a venue that seamlessly weaves the pulse of Athens and authentic Greek flavours with a hint of Parisian allure.

In the heart of Koukaki, a district that retains its position as one of Athens’ most vibrant and bustling neighbourhoods, Neratzia captures the essence of old-world Athens. The interiors are elegant, with tastefully chosen furnishings enhanced by vintage undertones. Here, you can savour aromatic coffees and indulge in delectable brunch dishes presented in generously hearty portions.

Traditionalists will delight in the trachanas dish, a nod to the Greek culinary heritage. The contemporary side of the menu is not to be outdone, offering choices like burgers, bruschettas, and open sandwiches. And naturally, no brunch is complete without pancakes. A must-try is their Greek-style pancakes drizzled with honey, sprinkled with feta and a dash of cinnamon – they are simply exquisite.

The menu also boasts an extensive selection of wines and signature cocktails, for anyone seeking the hair of the dog or the start to a spirited new day.

Address: Zan Moreas 6 & Veikou, Koukaki, Athens

Hippy Hippo: Feel-Good Pleasures & Authenticity

Two summers ago, an inviting all-day café and restaurant made its debut on Zinni Street in Koukaki, conveniently located near the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Since its inception, Hippy Hippo has swiftly carved a name for itself, becoming a steadfast favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. Beyond its doors, guests are greeted with a warm embrace, reminiscent of the Athens of bygone eras; a comforting haven where everyone feels effortlessly at home. And whilst the ambiance beckons, it’s the fare that truly captivates.

Though Hippy Hippo has only graced the Athens dining scene for a mere two years, certain dishes have quickly become iconic, drawing diners from all corners of the city. Among the must-tries are the bite-sized pancakes, lavishly smeared with warm Nutella and berry jam, and the exquisite Eggs Benedict served on artisanal bread with Naxos graviéra cheese. The kagianas also has a unique twist, cementing its place on the list of favourites. From vibrant salads and crispy fried eggs atop toasted bread to wholesome bowls, burgers, and decadent desserts, there’s a dish to suit every palate.

For those lingering into the late afternoon, Pavel Dobrovolski’s signature cocktails provide the perfect segue from day to evening. Here, in the heart of Athens, let the vibes of this urban enclave envelop you as you immerse yourself in the Hippy Hippo experience.

Address: Anastasiou Zinni 37, Koukaki, Athens

Spook: A Slice of Modern Minimalism

On Dimofontos Street in Ano Petralona, an all-day hangout spot boasting sleek lines and minimalistic design quietly awaits behind vast glass façades, inviting visitors into a contemporary and luminous haven.

At Spook, the day begins early. On weekdays from 8 am and weekends from 9, both regulars and newcomers pause here for a hand-held coffee as they set forth to their daily tasks in the city centre. Some might grab a quick croissant or a cereal bar to kick-start their day. As the hours advance, linger awhile and delve into a delightful array of dishes that includes refreshing super bowls brimming with yoghurt and fruits, sandwiches layered with delectable cheeses and eggs, and a variety of tasty, health-conscious snacks.

Spook embodies the quintessential friendly neighbourhood cafe where familiar faces greet you by your name. It’s the place where you’d pop in after a stroll with your dog, where Sundays meld into leisurely brunches and hearty conversations, and where Saturday evenings are punctuated with wine or cocktails that flow into the late hours.

Address: Dimofontos 10, Ano Petralona, Athens

Underdog: A True Brew Experience in Athens

If you’re on a quest for exceptional coffee in Athens, all paths converge at Underdog. The varieties on offer span beyond the boundaries of Thiseio, drawing aficionados from across the city eager to sample the distinctive blends that are the hallmark of Underdog.

The city’s buzz about this much-discussed downtown venue is entirely warranted. It’s not just about the sublime coffee, perfect for enjoying whilst meandering beneath the Acropolis, but also the brunch offerings that have come to be the talk of many a weekend afternoon.

From their menu, it would be remiss not to mention a brunch classic, globally revered: the illustrious Eggs Benedict draped in hollandaise sauce. Egg enthusiasts will undoubtedly be thrilled. You can have them accompanied by guacamole, paired with bacon, or garnished with salmon. Beyond that, Underdog’s repertoire includes tempting salads, a delectable burger, and pancakes that come in four delightful variations.

Address: Irakleidon 8, Thisseio, Athens

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Germany, UK, and France: Greece’s Top Tourist Markets

During the January-July period, inbound tourist traffic rose by 21.9%, reaching 16.17 million travellers compared to 13.26 million during the same period in 2022. Specifically, air travel increased by 15.5%, while arrivals via land border stations surged by 45%. During this period, travel from EU-27 countries amounted to 9.72 million tourists, marking a 20.5% rise from the same timeframe in 2022, whereas tourist traffic from countries outside of the EU-27 rose by 24.1%, totalling 6.45 million travellers.


Travel from Eurozone countries saw a 14.1% increase. Conversely, travel from EU-27 countries outside the Eurozone rose by 35.3%. In particular, arrivals from Germany increased by 11.4%, totalling 2.3 million travellers, and those from France increased by 12.4%, amounting to approximately 1 million.

Concerning non-EU-27 nations, tourist traffic from the United Kingdom increased by 3.2%, reaching 2.1 million travellers, and from the USA, there was a notable rise of 43.5%, bringing the figure to 737.4 thousand travellers.

In July, incoming travel numbers reached 6.1 million travellers, marking a 15.8% increase compared to the same month in 2022. Specifically, air travel increased by 9% from the previous July, while road border crossings surged by 36.2%. This growth in inbound travel was attributed to a rise from both EU-27 countries, increasing by 18.7%, and non-EU-27 nations by 11%. More specifically, travellers from the Eurozone amounted to 2.29 million, up by 12%.

There was a 29.9% rise in travel from EU-27 countries outside the Eurozone, equating to 1.59 million travellers. In particular, travel from Germany grew by 16.1% to 746,400 travellers, while France saw a modest increase of 0.5%, amounting to 372,500 travellers.

Regarding nations outside the EU-27, UK arrivals slightly decreased by 1.4%, registering at 802,000 travellers, whilst the US displayed an increase of 10.6%, equating to 209,100 travellers.

Furthermore, from January to July, travel revenue displayed a 20.2% uptick compared to the same period in 2022, totalling €10.3 billion. This trend was attributed to a 14.7% rise in revenue from EU-27 residents, reaching €5.65 billion, as well as a 27% boost from non-EU-27 countries, rounding up to €4.4 billion. More specifically, revenue from the Eurozone stood at €4.55 billion, an increase of 15.1%, while earnings from EU-27 countries outside the Eurozone went up by 13%, culminating in €1.1 billion.

Notably, Germany’s contributions rose by 7.0% to €1.72 billion, while France’s surged by 23.9% to €782 million. Outside the EU-27, revenue from the UK experienced an 11.9% increase, totalling €1.62 billion, and the US contributions expanded by 33.8%, resulting in €737.8 million.

In July, travel revenues witnessed an elegant surge of 15.1% compared to the same month in the previous year. More specifically, revenues from residents of the EU-27 countries rose by 11.3%, reaching a sumptuous €2.29 billion.

In contrast, earnings from residents outside the EU-27 realm experienced an even more notable rise of 20.3%, translating to €1.78 billion in July 2023, a marked increase from the €1.48 billion in July 2022.

This upward trajectory in revenues from the EU-27 inhabitants can be attributed to a 12% uptick from those residing in the Eurozone, amassing €1.75 billion in July 2023 compared to €1.56 billion in 2022. Furthermore, the inflow from those in EU-27 countries but outside the Eurozone zone rose by 9%, accounting for €544.9 million.

Turning our gaze to the more prominent nations of origin from the Eurozone, German contributions augmented by a modest 2.1% to €581.4 million, while the French proved more spirited with a 14.9% leap, contributing €322 million. Venturing beyond the EU-27 boundaries, the United Kingdom made its presence felt with a 17.3% uplift in revenues, amassing €764.3 million. Across the Atlantic, the USA displayed a restrained growth of 0.9%, contributing €214.4 million to the coffers.

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Spanish Serves as a Bridge to the World

It’s no exaggeration to suggest that whenever we venture into a foreign land, our earnest attempts, however modest, to converse in the local tongue are often met with warm smiles and genuine appreciation. Even if our pronunciation falters, or minor mistakes are made, linguistic connection offers a profound insight into a place’s culture. It plays a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of its reality and the practices of its people.


If overseas journeys stir your passion, you might have a list, perhaps tucked away, detailing the destinations you ardently wish to one day explore. Europe, with its majestic cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, remains an optimal choice for a short sojourn. Yet, your heart might yearn for more distant, exotic locales. Another continent perhaps, typically bathed in warmth, where fragrances linger sweet and strong, and where the remnants of ancient and grand civilisations abound. Imagine a week amidst Mexico’s breathtaking landscapes, a honeymoon in Cuba, or an immersive experience amidst the towering peaks of Peru’s Machu Picchu. Or an unforgettable journey through Argentina or Colombia, truly aligning yourself with the ethos and spirit of Latin America. Otherwise perhaps, a dive into the enchanting beaches of Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, or Honduras.

We often remain oblivious to the fact that these splendid countries, each with its distinct character, share an essential common thread. That is the exquisite, melodic, and ever-so-articulate Spanish language, spoken by nearly 580 million people worldwide. Spanish serves as the bridge drawing these diverse cultures, peoples, and nations closer, binding them together on this vast globe.

If you’ve ever felt the pull to be a part of this expansive tapestry of cultures, rest assured, it’s never too late. The Cervantes Institute, the official state institution for the propagation of the Spanish language, offers courses throughout the year. These are led by distinguished professors and can be attended in person or online. Beyond any doubt, you will not regret it! Not only is Spanish the official language of 20 countries, making it invaluable for your travels, but it’s also closely related to several other languages, rendering it useful should you decide to expand your linguistic horizons further.

Who hasn’t dreamt of delving into the captivating cultures of the Incas or the Mayas? Or perhaps visiting iconic museums like Madrid’s Reina Sofia or the Prado National Museum? Not to mention the breathtakingly beautiful architectural works of Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona. It’s worth noting that Spain ranks third in the world for UNESCO Cultural Heritage sites. To speak fluently in the mother tongue of these nations gives you an unquestionable edge in understanding and immersing yourself in the places you visit. This linguistic competence enriches your travel experience, making it both more meaningful and enjoyable. After all, every journey that incorporates the local language is a superior and more fulfilling adventure.

The Cervantes Institute commenced its journey in Greece in 1991. This was the year when, for the first time, Spanish-speaking tutors with specialised training began instructing in small cohorts, achieving rapid and effective learning of the Spanish language among their students.

Currently, across the world, more than 100,000 students turn to the Cervantes Institute either for an initial encounter with the Spanish language, to refine their skills, or even — why not? — to attain the DELE certificate, an official testament to their exemplary knowledge of the Spanish language. At first glance, this may seem an overly ambitious endeavour. But with a little time and plenty of support from your tutors and co students you’ll be good to go in no time.

In Athens, as well as at its branch in Thessaloniki, the Cervantes Institute offers courses catering to all ages and proficiency levels, in alignment with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Importantly, enrolment includes complimentary access to the most prominent Spanish library in Greece: the Juan Carlos Onetti Library of the Cervantes Institute in Athens. Furthermore, it allows participation in a rich array of cultural events, all centred around the Spanish-speaking culture. We welcome you to find out more.

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Dining in Kastellorizo: Top Addresses for Local Delicacies

The island’s gastronomy primarily hinges on the fresh fish and seafood abundantly caught in its waters – anchovies, sea bream, red mullet, sea bream, grouper, swordfish, as well as the exceptional tiny shrimp, octopuses, squids, lobsters, and prawns. This is followed closely by the local meats, predominantly goat. Kastellorizo’s traditional dishes include young goat stuffed with rice, fragrant herbs, and oven-baked (chiefly during Easter), and goat stuffed with bread crumbs, pilaf with onions, mint, and tomato (known as saytia).


Other local favourites include salantourmasi, onions stuffed with rice and aromatic herbs and spiced with cumin, and the ever-popular octopus meatballs, stuffed squid, and chickpea meatballs.

A signature sweet from the island is katoumari, a round sweet pastry made of dough spirals coiled, snail-like, into one another, pan-fried and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon-clove powder.

Another distinctive dessert is the strava, or rolls of pastry filled with walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon-clove, fried and syrup-soaked. Other sweet offerings include spoon sweets like little figs and soumada, a non-alcoholic beverage made from almonds and sugar syrup.

Since World War II, no wine has been produced on Kastellorizo. The enforced mass exodus from the island in that period resulted in the desolation of all vineyards. Since then, sadly, viticulture has not rebounded.

Now let’s take a look at some of the absolutely top places to dine at in Kastellorizo, if you want to be sure to eat where the locals and others in the know eat the best of the island’s cuisine.

Alexandra’s Place

Seaside tables, fresh fish, and splendid seafood mezes await you here. You’ll sample chickpea meatballs, octopus meatballs, octopus stew and fresh squid. For those partial to meat, try the traditional oven-baked young goat stuffed with rice.

Address: Megisti, Kastellorizo Harbour, Phone: +30 2246 049019

Old Time

A little taverna with tables gathered under the shade of a vine trellis, with lovely views of the sea. Delicious homemade dishes, both meat and fish, are served.

Address: Kastellorizo, Mandraki, Phone: +30 2246 049363


A finely-tuned fish taverna with tables right on the seafront. Popular among the yachting crowd, and priced accordingly. They prepare their seafood well, offering dishes like seafood pasta, freshly cooked tuna, and tiny shrimp in a spicy red sauce. Efficient service.

Address: Kastellorizo, Harbour, Phone: +30 2246 049370

To Paragadi

A family-owned seafood taverna right by the sea, complete with its own traditional boat. The offerings include an outstanding soup, delightful chickpea fritters, oven-baked aubergines, and shrimp from Symi. If fortune favours, one might witness a grand sea turtle meandering right before them. Courteous service accompanies.

Address: Kastellorizo, Harbour, Phone: +30 2246 049396

Billi’s Restaurant

Set against a backdrop of gentle waves, Vasilis masterfully grills fresh fish (and meats) while Mrs Despoina prepares delectable dishes, including pasta with Symian shrimp and oven-baked aubergines.

Address: Kastellorizo, Harbour, Phone: +30 2246 049224


A charming, quaint taverna on the cobblestoned square offers traditional homemade dishes, both fish and meat. Be sure to try the goat, the grilled octopus, and the stuffed onions.

Address: Kastellorizo, Agios Georgios Square, Phone: +30 2246 049206


A grill house located within the market, it offers shelter from the wind in a rather picturesque setting, balancing out its lack of a view. They serve skewers, meatballs, sausages, kebabs, all flavourful, well-prepared and at reasonable prices.

Address: Kastellorizo, Agora, Phone: +30 2246 049138

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4 Cretan Villages to Gain Traditional Landmark Status

The challenge of safeguarding traditional settlements is multifaceted, challenging and heavily influenced by urban and architectural planning and environmental factors. To maintain, protect, and promote a traditional settlement along with its architectural heritage, one must employ modern construction methods without compromising the elements of tradition. The broader region of Sitia, the easternmost point of Crete, stands as a testament to unchanging core elements of its cultural and natural surroundings.


Sitia impeccably preserves the unique features of its mountainous, agricultural, and coastal environments, while at the same time safeguarding its ancient traditions and rich cultural wealth in a manner few places can claim. Settlements listed as ‘traditional’ have retained their historic visual identity and local authenticity. In essence, within these built environments, urban, architectural, and construction characteristics should largely remain untouched. In Greece, there are 800 settlements that have been officially designated as traditional.

The Municipality of Sitia is one of the four municipalities within the Regional Unit of Lasithi, boasting a population of 18,318 inhabitants and covering an area of 633.22 Towards the southeast of Sitia town, one can find the mountainous villages of Katsidoni, Sitanos, Karydi, and Vrysidi, also known as Magkas. Each of these settlements possesses a distinctive architectural and cultural singularity, along with historical significance.

To highlight the distinctiveness of the four settlements, making them focal points not only within the Municipality but also across Crete, the initial step taken was to record their aesthetic and architectural character. The goal is the preservation and enhancement of the unique historical, aesthetic, architectural, economic, social, and environmental attributes of these settlements and to integrate them into both a local and broader framework of protection and development. Concurrently, provisions will be made to officially designate these settlements as ‘traditional’, as well as zones of particular beauty for areas, places, landscapes, and natural or human-made formations, whether they lie within or outside these settlements.

The settlement of Katsidonio, built at an altitude of 560 meters, holds special archaeological value. Ancient tombs from various epochs have been discovered there, and on the settlement’s hill, the ruins of a peak sanctuary persist. This also goes for the settlement of Sitanos, where the renowned Exo Latsidi cave – one of Crete’s largest – can be found, adding even greater recognisability to the Geopark of Sitia. Within the same settlement lies the abandoned Zakanthos, with a Minoan farmhouse to the southwest, and in the vicinity stands a spring of exquisite beauty dating back to the Ottoman Period.

Another noteworthy settlement within the Municipality is Karidio, the seat of the community bearing the same name. It boasts two significant caves: Peristera (located at Platývolou) and Katofygi (located at Limniólakkou). The former is considered one of the most important caves on Crete. An incidental discovery from the area, a stone axe, now resides in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Finally, Vrysidi or Magkasa, is a settlement where houses of traditional stonemasonry architecture are preserved. To the west of the village lies a cave with traces of Neolithic habitation, such as stone axes, obsidians, bone needles, among others.

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Free Entry in Celebration of Athens’ ‘Living Heritage’

Greece is opening its doors to its rich history. Every archaeological location, museum, and historical monument will be accessible without charge, marking the European Heritage Days celebration. To honour the event, Greece offers its unique twist on the European motif of “Living Heritage,” interpreting it as “Yesterday’s Legacy Today.” An initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission the European Heritage Days are organized annually since 1999.


This year is particularly momentous, as it commemorates two decades since the inception of the 2003 UNESCO Convention, aimed at preserving Intangible Cultural Heritage. The theme this year serves as a reminder of the intrinsic value of heritage, its ties binding communities, and the legacy of traditions and crafts handed over from one generation to the next.

Participants and viewers over the next few days can expect a diverse array of activities. They’ll be introduced to Greece’s vibrant traditional dances, songs, and age-old festival customs from across its varied regions.

Food enthusiasts can indulge in authentic Greek delicacies, celebrating both daily meals and festive cuisines. Craftsmanship, spanning the domains of maritime activities, pottery, olive cultivation, traditional fishing methods, and more, will be showcased. Furthermore, stories steeped in local folklore, age-old games, and treasured toys will be on display.

Adding an artistic touch to the celebrations are temporary exhibitions, showcasing visual arts and photography. Moreover, visitors can benefit from guided tours across Greece’s cherished landmarks and museums, spotlighting places steeped in historical narratives and memories, all pivotal to local Greek communities.

European Heritage Days Greek Highlights

At the Acropolis Museum, there’s a family programme called “Deciphering the Present with Stories from Yesteryears“. Here, children between the ages of 6 and 12, accompanied by their guardians, will journey through the museum’s relics, viewing them through the lens of a young Athenian girl from the 5th Century B.C.

The Marathonas Archaeological Museum presents a family-centric program titled “Unravelling Ancient Threads: Textiles and Attires“. Families will embark on a curated museum tour, delving into a child-focused exploration centred on the age-old craft of weaving.

Over at the Kozani/Aiani Archaeological Museum, there’s an event themed “Oenology: Tracing its Roots and Modern Footprints“. Participants will have the privilege of savouring local wines while partaking in a discourse on antiquated botany and the art of vinification.

Finally, the “Mozart’s Fabled Strings” event is slated to unfold at the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights on Rhodes. This will feature a soulful violin concert and the debut display of Mozart’s renowned Costa Violin in Greek shores.

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Exploring Oreino Village in Eastern Crete

Eastern Crete bears a distinctive visage. In particular, the Lassithi region offers a remarkable landscape, marrying coastal proximity with established urban settlements such as Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Ierapetra, and mountains that rise beyond 2,000 metres in altitude, like Dikti. This terrain is also peppered with valleys lush with olive trees.


Due to its unique geomorphology and the prevalent high temperatures that tend to linger even after summer’s end, this region is dotted with plateaus and canyons. Yet, it’s sparse when it comes to significant rivers — most being seasonal streams — and visible running waters. However, there are a few natural springs which locals utilise for irrigating their crops.

For these very reasons, the village of Oreino stands as a noteworthy exception in Lassithi, appearing verdantly amid a pine-rich forested expanse. Furthermore, while it has evaded the trappings of mainstream tourism, it beckons visitors year-round, being in close proximity both to Lake Skafi and the Gorge of Red Butterflies, a name that invariably captures the imagination of those who hear it.

The Pines and Lake Skafi

The village goes by the official name ‘Oreinon’, a nod to the archaic purist language of yesteryears, although locals also know it as ‘Orno’. Situated at an altitude of 623 metres, it is positioned at the base of Lassithi’s mountain, Afentis, which majestically rises in the village’s backdrop, towering to a height of 1,475 metres. As of the 2011 census, the village was home to 101 residents, though these figures await an update based on the latest ELSTAT census.

Historically, Oreino’s existence stretches back significantly, with potential origins tracing to Byzantine times. In its earliest days, the settlement was located atop the hill of Kastri, but in time it relocated to its current site. The village’s first mention in written records dates to 1368 when the Venetians referred to it as ‘Orno’. Contrary to what one might expect given its unique location, it isn’t a bustling tourist hub. It remains a quiet, largely undiscovered haven.

Those who do venture to Oreino for a visit are immediately captivated by its landscape. Many speak of this area as a natural sanctuary where lush pine-covered surroundings meet the entrance to the stunning Gorge of Red Butterflies and neighbouring Lake Skafi. The mere presence of Lake Skafi on an island that, despite its size, boasts few lakes, lends a distinctive character to the region.

It’s well-known that Crete has only one natural freshwater lake, Lake Kournas in Chania. This highlights that Lake Skafi is man-made, its creation a result of human intervention in the local environment. A concrete channel brings waters from the surrounding mountains to the lake, with the Goulas stream playing a mediator’s role.

The name of the lake is derived from its shape, which is often said to resemble a boat when viewed from above. Access to this picturesque location is straightforward, facilitated by a dirt track that originates from Oreino, extending southwest for about three kilometres, leading you towards the aforementioned pine forest. The waters of the lake remain clear and refreshingly cold, even during the height of summer. In particularly warm spells, one can observe many seizing the opportunity for a rejuvenating dip.

The Gorge of the Red Butterflies

The Gorge of the Red Butterflies might not be as renowned as the Ha Gorge, for instance, but those who’ve traversed it consider it amongst the most scenic in Crete. Its distinctive name, unsurprisingly owes to its population of red butterflies. Once, these butterflies were myriad, but in 1993 a devastating fire significantly reduced their numbers. Now, 30 years later, while the vegetation has regenerated, the red butterfly population hasn’t fully returned to its former size. However, if fortune favours you, you may still spot a few flitting amidst the surrounding shrubs and bushes as you navigate their natural habitat.

The gorge begins at Oreino and concludes at the coastal village of Koutsouras, a favoured holiday destination for those from Lasithi. The journey spans approximately 6.5 kilometres and is estimated to take around four hours on foot. Informally, this trek can be segmented into three distinct parts. Initially, the gorge is at its most verdant. After about an hour, the landscape shifts, transforming into a more mountainous terrain punctuated with pockets of agriculture, including olives, wild olives, and carob trees. As you progress, the towering mountains become increasingly dominant, presenting rugged cliffs with limited vegetation, yet commanding in their stark beauty.

The path, generally speaking, is straightforward. It is well-signposted—signage one should adhere to with utmost precision—and is suitable even for novices, provided they maintain good physical health. One must account for the return journey, especially if planning a return to Oreino. Only if one intends to meticulously explore the emerging waterfalls will expertise and specialised equipment, such as ropes, be necessary. During summer, the heat is palpable and the waters of the gorge tend to dwindle. Conversely, in winter, conditions can be more challenging, necessitating heightened caution and perhaps a deeper hiking experience. Hence, autumn and especially spring are deemed the most opportune times for visits—when waters are still abundant and a plethora of wild flowers bloom in various hues.

As for the water sources, they originate from the Ampleia plateau, high up on the neighbouring Thrupthi mountain. They meander serenely through the main square of Oreino before penetrating the gorge. Once there, some magnificent waterfalls are formed—one, for instance, cascades from a height of 15 metres—alongside small pools which mirror the surrounding verdant vegetation. Locals refer to these pools as ‘kolympes‘ or ‘vrondes’. Notably, the last three waterfalls, towards the Peristeriona area, are considered among the most beautiful in Crete, at least by those who have had the privilege of witnessing them. Beyond these natural wonders, the route presents two ancient chapels—now locked—dedicated to Lord Christ and Saint Dimitrios. These have stood since Byzantine times in Crete.

How to Reach Oreino (and a Wonderful Taverna)

Oreino is situated within the broader area of Ierapetra – the most populous town of Lasithi – from which it lies just under 30 kilometres. Anticipate a drive of approximately 35 to 40 minutes to reach this destination.

Many visitors to the area typically approach it as a day trip, basing themselves in Ierapetra. This is mainly because, as previously mentioned, Oreino is not a hub of tourism and thus lacks accommodation facilities. Nonetheless, its mild winters render Oreino an attractive destination throughout the year. Accessing the village is straightforward: once past Ierapetra, you simply need to head north-east along the provincial Kato Chorio-Sitia road, which runs directly through Oreino. From the village, another route also commences, linking it to Thrypti.

A key reason to visit Oreino, aside from the beauty of nature, is undoubtedly its cuisine. While the village may only boast a single café and one tavern, named “Orno” (Phone: +30 697 324 1863), the latter’s reputation for traditional Cretan dishes has resonated widely across Lasithi, drawing many to its tables. The menu includes delicacies such as snails with coarse grain, mizithropita (cheese pie), staka with eggs, and a variety of slow-cooked dishes – notably, the stuffed vegetables and the young goat baked in a wood oven are exemplary. Even their dakos (a type of Cretan rusk) is homemade, many vegetables are sourced from their garden, and it would be remiss not to sample their raki.

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Zagori Added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List

In an unprecedented move, a special fragment of Greece’s modern heritage has been newly inducted in UNESCO’s World Heritage list, marking a significant milestone for the country. This noteworthy inclusion took place at the 46th session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh. Zagori was first nominated for the recognition last year.


Zagori, within the Pindus mountain range in Epirus, is a region with 46 traditionally built and beautifully maintained villages, known as Zagorochoria, which are scattered gracefully across the foothills and slopes of the Pindus range. The area attracts hikers, rafters and nature lovers, as well as travellers seeking a cosy spring-winter escape staying in lovely boutique hotels and B&Bs.

Greece’s Culture Minister, Lina Mendoni, expressed her delight at the news, underlining its significance as a positive indication of global recognition of Greece’s more recent cultural heritage beyond ancient Greece or the Byzantine era.

Mendoni further noted that the international body has acknowledged the remarkable universal value of Zagorochoria’s architecture, which serves as an exquisite example of the endurance and intermingling of Byzantine and Ottoman architectural influences. This acknowledgment pays homage to the site’s authenticity and integrity, crucial elements that warranted its inclusion on the World Heritage list.

Zagori’s induction into this prestigious roster not only marks a new chapter in how Greece is seen on the global stage while also opening a gateway for more visitors to explore and appreciate the wealth of Greece’s modern cultural heritage on the mainland.

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Northern Greece: A Stroll Along the Banks of Aliakmonas

The Ottomans called it ‘Ince-Kara’, the Slavs gave it the name ‘Bistritsa’ (swift river), and in ancient Greece it was known as “Aliakmon”, which in modern times evolved to Aliakmonas. Regardless of its name, the majestic river dominates as the longest watercourse in the country, stretching an impressive 297 kilometres. It has swathed the northwestern expanses of Greece until a dam was erected in the 1950’s in the village of Agia Varvara in Imathia, which gave it a stable riverbed and prevents flooding.


In its current form, the river starts from the Grammos mountains near the Greek-Albanian border, and makes its grand exit into the Thermaic Gulf of Thessaloniki, traversing through the regional units of Kastoria, Grevena, Kozani, and Imathia.

Naturally, such a sizeable river has multiple faces and is loved for a multitude of activities that can be enjoyed along its banks. Rafting enthusiasts arrive there from around the country to get their thrills especiall on the route that begins at the Felli of Grevena and reaches all the way to the intersection with the Venetikos tributary. Nature lovers flock to the part of the river in the national park alongside the Axios, at the border between Grevena and Kozani, and especially love the area that flows past the Rymnio bridge. The autumn, before the onset of the heavy rains and the typically biting cold of western Macedonia, is the ideal time to witness its beauty.

Near Rymnio – Beautiful Waters and Stunning Imagery

In semi-mountainous Kozani, at an altitude of 330 metres on the shores of the artificial Polyfytos lake, Rymnio village is home to 161 inhabitants (as per the 2011 census), living very close to the regional borders with Grevena. Notably, it stands as the only settlement in Kozani to the east of the flow of the Aliakmonas from this area, with the Rymnio bridge extending over its waters for 615 metres, a length that positions it as the second largest of its kind, following the more renowned High Bridge of Servia-Neraida, which spans 1,372 metres.

Even though Rymnio was only officially mentioned around 1918, it is presumed to be far older, a fact evidenced by its post-Byzantine church of Aghios Athanasios, the village’s key historic monument, officially declared as a preserved site, which houses frescoes dating back to the mid-16th century. The bridge, inaugurated in 1976 to the west of the inhabited area, is oriented towards Aiani and replaced an already existing passage for people and animals across the river, which had been bridged over back in 1955 with a metallic, net-like structure.

Thanks to the river’s waters, the landscape surrounding Rymnio is abundant with lush vegetation. The river maintains relatively cool temperatures in the region during the summer, yet the most ideal times to truly appreciate the surrounding nature are spring and autumn. In spring, there is an explosion of greenery, and the banks are covered with flowers, while in the autumn one can delight in the beautiful hues of orange, brown, green, yellow and red, which create enchanting visual combinations along with the blue-green, flowing waters. Meanwhile, at its length, Rymnio bridge offers a magnificent view of the surroundings for anyone crossing it by car – and it’s not uncommon to see drivers slowing down to take a moment to admire the scenery.

The environs of the village offer plenty of enticing routes for hikers too. Towards the hinterlands, situated on the opposite side of the Aliakmonas River, lies the stunning Rymnio waterfall, as it’s named on Google maps. This natural spectacle forms part of the picturesque Trigoniko gorge (or Katerina), extending eight kilometres across a relatively gentle terrain graced by rushing streams, sheer rocks, and lush trees. The journey begins in the village of Metaxa Servion, with the trail leading towards Rymnio, where the Polifitos Lake begins to take form.

Another wondrous location steeped in idyllic scenery is Anavryta Rymniou, which is located between a plane tree forest and babbling mountain springs, serving as a favoured retreat spot for inhabitants of the neighbouring villages. Moreover, beautiful expanses adorned with plane trees can be found to the south of the bridge, reaching as far as the Ilariona dam, approximately eight and a half kilometres southwest of Rymnio. At certiain times of the year, visitors here can almost feel as though they have stumbled upon a coastal haven, rather than the highlands of western Macedonia.

Furthermore, in the vicinity is a beautiful wetland habitat, home to an abundant variety of flora and fauna, flourishing along the banks of the Aliakmonas River. This welcoming river provides sanctuary for birds, particularly those species that stop to rest there during their migrations. Notably, the waters are also home to an endemic species of fish, the ‘mavrotsironi‘, a creature not found anywhere else in the world.

How to Get There

While Rymnio holds the distinction of being the only village in Kozani situated east of the Aliakmonas River, it is not situated too far from the capital of the same name. A mere 28 kilometres separate them, with the well-known town of Servia lying even closer, at a distance of 15.5 kilometres to the southwest.

Starting from Kozani, head in a south-southeasterly direction, targeting the border with Grevena. The journey is quite straightforward, traversing well-maintained asphalt roads. Follow the provincial road of Servia-Aiani, which will guide you to your destination within approximately 30 minutes. This remains the preferred route for most visitors to the region, coming here for a day trip, particularly since Rymnio lacks the touristic development observed in other settlements near Kozani, such as Neraida, around the artificial Polifitos Lake, like.

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Discovering Koundouros, Kea’s Serene Bay

Those who know and love Kea, also known as Tzia, know that the island’s proximity to the Attica coastline makes it a prime choice for brief escapes, whether it be for a weekend or even longer. Kea harbours the picturesque capital of Ioulida, a mere eight kilometres from the port of Korissia, where travellers can indulge in unparalleled lobster pasta, a staple of the local cuisine, or venture towards the lush oak forests through splendid trails ideal for the avid hiker.


Without a doubt, your itinerary should feature a visit to Koundouros, located within the eponymous bay and the sheltered cove of Kavia. This haven is consistently awarded the Blue Flag, because of its remarkable beauty and clean waters, complemented by views of the characteristic, wonderfully restored Cycladic windmills that stand in the settlement above it.

A Beach Where Summer Lingers till October

Koundouros isn’t extensively vast in terms of its coastline. It is flanked by a namesake settlement, mere metres above sea level, with the aforementioned windmills, some of which have in recent times been repurposed to serve as holiday homes. According to the 2011 census data, 17 permanent residents inhabit this place, a figure that presumably represents the summer period when the population burgeons due to an influx of vacationers.

The area harbours a rich history, stretching back 2500 years. It was once home to Nerissos, a coastal settlement serving as the port for Poïessa, one of the four cities constituting the ancient Tetrapolis of Kea. Modern Koundouros, however, remained relatively unknown until the 2000s, when it began to embark in vigorous touristic development. Consequently, it has transformed into one of the most loved beaches in Kea, acquiring a cosmopolitan flair and a reputation as a secure anchorage for both luxurious and more modest vessels.

Certainly, the geographic positioning of Kea’s southwestern coast plays a pivotal role in the charm of the final destination, notably endowing the bay of Koundouros with a location naturally shielded from the northern winds. Its scenery remains quintessentially Cycladic, and the landscape changes only slightly inland, in Kea’s oak forest, thought to be a remnant of ancient woods.

The main attraction for holidaymakers undoubtedly lies in Koundouros’ mesmerising azure waters, which deepen gradually, and the lovely experience of swimming under the shelter of the stone-built, traditional Cycladic windmills. Furthermore, the rocky surroundings have created a splendid seabed that’s ideal for diving and snorkelling. If you like exploring underwater, make sure you come prepared.

Due to the rapid development of recent years, Koundouros has now become one of the more frequented coasts of Kea: particularly during summer weekends, the influx of visitors can be somewhat overwhelming for those seeking peace and quiet. If you’re seeking a less populated swimming experience, head to nearby Kambi, where there are a series of coves offering greater privacy. Conversely, with the summer season lingering into autumn, Koundouros remains popular until October, but it is far less busy than the rest of the summer and thus far more enjoyable.

How to Get to Koundouros

Koundouros is easily reachable, at around 16 kilometres from the capital, Ioulida, and approximately 20 kilometres from the port of Korissia. Heading southwest and following the provincial road that connects Korissia, Poisses, Koundouros, and Kato Meria, anticipate a tranquil drive of about 20 to 30 minutes. A local bus service operates throughout the summer, offering a convenient route from Poisses to Koundouros.

At Koundouros you will find a beach bar that rents umbrellas and sun loungers, which, together with the fact that its waters are shallow, makes it especially attractive for families holidaying with young children. If you prefer to lay your towel on the sand in a less crowded area of the beach, head to the eastern part of the beach where you can find natural shade under the tamarisks there.

Read also:

Argilos: Crete’s “Natural Spa”

Avlemonas: One of the Mediterranean’s Most Scenic Fishing Villages

Niokastro: The Celebrated Jewel of Messinia

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‘Thessaloniki Wine Selfie’ on September 24-25

‘Thessaloniki Wine Selfie’ will take place in the vibrant northern capital for its third consecutive year, in its 2023 rendition presenting a curated selection of 300 wines, hand-picked by the vintners themselves as their most representative offerings. It will showcase winemaking techniques, regional varietals, and winemaking philosophies.


The selected bottles will be elegantly arranged in thematic order, scrutinised and maintained by the specialised team at Wine Style, ensuring they are kept at optimal temperatures conducive to serving. Each wine will be accompanied by a self-standing Plexiglass card, detailing all the pertinent information a visitor needs to know, as the winemakers will not be present at the tastings.

Participants will be immersed in this unique wine journey on September 24 and 25, hosted within the rustic and charming Warehouse C, situated at the vibrant Port of Thessaloniki.

The ‘Thessaloniki Wine Selfie’ caters to a congregation of wine aficionados and enthusiasts, but also opens its doors to professionals in the field including merchants, importers, and purchasers.

Furthermore, it extends an invitation to sommeliers from selected hotels, in addition to representatives from restaurants, wine bars, beach bars, and clubs from across Northern Greece, fostering a vibrant hub of cultural and commercial exchange amidst the backdrop of Bacchic delights.

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6 Athens Bars to Lift Your Spirits Post-Holidays

It is a time when there’s a refreshing chill in the air after a long, swelteringly hot summer, and we are slowly but surely transitioning to autumnal clothes but can certainly still enjoy being outdoors for hours on end. This is the season to hang back at wine bar tables on pedestrian streets where we hear the soft (or very loud) strains of music wafting from the bar’s indoor speakers, in neighbourhood squares or in the courtyard of a favouirite bar, sipping a cocktail as we engage in people watching and animated chats about the latest cinematic releases and political outcomes.


We know the weather will soon turn chilly and we will have to bung up indoors, so we want to make the most of this mildly tempered season by hanging out with friends outdoors at the lively, trendy, atmospheric and welcoming six bars we have selected for you here.

Lot 51

Strategically placed in Ilisia, a stone’s throw away from landmarks like Michalakopoulou, Queen Sofia Avenue, Mavili Square, and the Athens Concert Hall, is a place that has somewhat become an ongoing favourite, always buzzing with patrons.

Lot 51 has managed to become both a transient and a staple hub for our evening rendezvous or weekend coffee catch-ups. With the city’s ambient noise humming in the background and sporadic lights casting a warm semi-glow on the pavement, you’ll find yourself sharing summer anecdotes and contemplating autumn resolutions among a relaxed crowd with a delicious drink in hand.

We must note that Lot 51 is also well worth visiting in the daytime and is famed for its remarkable Arena 51 coffee – robust and aromatic, so tantalizing that you’ll find yourself ordering a second cup as soon as the first one is drained. It also serves a good breakfast and brunch, with generous servings of eggs and fluffy pancakes topped with sinful things like chocolate.

Address: 24B Papadiamantopoulou, Athens, Phone: +30 2111155024

Junior Does Wine

Just off Michalakopoulou street, on Maïandrou st in Ilisia, this quaint wine bar has all the right elements to become your favourite haunt this autumn – and indeed, throughout the year.

Junior Does Wine is the brainchild of three good friends: Giorgos Katsaros, Nikos Dousis, and Christos Spyropoulos, who have cultivated a space with a uniquely hospitable and amiable vibe that will win you over from the very first moment you step on their turf.

Outside, on the pavement facing a little park, several tables beckon for relaxed conversations with friends or perhaps the most romantic rendezvous of your life so far. Inside, those eager for the onset of winter vibes can find solace at the beautiful marble bar, with a look reminiscent of a Parisian bistro, in a place with undeniable urban charm.

As is to be expected, the wine list here is nothing short of expansive and impressive, with staff always at hand to assist and guide your choices, based on your personal preferences. At Junior Does Wine, you will find a curated selection of 60 wine labels available by the bottle, with 15 of these also offered by the glass. Complementing the wine is a menu offering a small yet delectably diverse array of quick bites such as the exceptional bruschettas with toppings that change with the seasons, made with freshly-sourced ingredients – the perfect accompaniment to a splendid wine-loving evening.

Address:  5 Maiandrou, Ilisia, Athens, Phone: +30 210 722 2883

Eprepe Bar

In the heart of Kypseli, in the pedestrianised zone of Agias Zonis and a stone’s throw from Fokionos Negri and Patision streets, this chilled bar has been steadily winning over a dedicated and varied local crowd.

The bar’s name, Eprepe (meaning ‘It was necessary’ in Greek), is immediately noticeable thanks to the characteristic and highly Instagrammable neon sign gracing the wall just above the bar. Inside you’ll find a fresh and inviting ambience, complete with tall blue velvet stools and a contemporary industrial vibe.

Eprepe Bar’s creators are the very same team that runs super popular Seychelles in Metaxourgeio, who shared the frustration of not being able to find a bar that served great drinks as well as accompaniments that were more imaginative than the usual nuts, popcorn or crisps. Therefore, they have made tasty and creative bar nibbles a top priority here, which definitely gives you something to look forward to.

Renowned for its discerning selection of wines and tasty cocktails, it goes beyond bar snacks and offers exciting pairing suggestions, bringing forth small dishes laden with savoury mezedes that promise to harmoniously match your drink of choice.

Address: Agias Zonis 1, Kypseli, Athens, Phone: +30 2108644910

Beauty Killed the Beast

In one of Athens’ most animated nightlife-friendly neighbourhoods, this well-frequented haunt magnetises savvy locals and bright-eyed visitors to its outdoor tables, be it for a casual brunch, an indulgent dinner or just a few well mixed drinks.

Having first thrown open its doors in 2017, this place finds its home in a stunning neoclassical building from the 1930s. The remarkable renovation it has undergone, complemented by fresh and contemporary decor and playful vintage furnishings, have unequivocally played a pivotal role in establishing it as a much talked about meeting point.

Visiting here promises a sensory experience. You’ll be charmed by the pedestrian walkway that lies at its forefront, an ideal spot for people-watching as you immerse yourself in the ambience of one of Athens’ most colourful places. Carefully scan the sophisticated cocktail list, which caters to a wide array of tastes, irand try some bites from the diverse and tempting food menu, as there is a myriad of dining options, from refreshing salads to swift servings of tacos, pizzas, and pastas.

Address: 14 Paramythias Street, Kerameikos, Athens, Phone: +30 210 5240117

Line Athens

Currently one of the most trendy venues in Athens, Line in Kato Petralona boasts a list of much talked about cocktails. Yet, it is not just its beverages that draw people here; the venue itself, with a minimalistic and disarmingly charming aesthetic, is where the Zoumboulaki gallery once lived. Moreover, it offers the rare chance to taste a unique grape-less wine, made from fermented fruits without any additional ingredients, as well as a nomadic brewed beer. The food also stands out, offering an exceptional dining experience curated under the expert guidance of Chef Pavlos Kyriakis.

In short, it is entirely understandable that this bar, with its industrial-themed interior and a sheltered inner courtyard, is always bustling with patrons eager to enjoy what it has to offer. So enjoy a walk to Kato Petralona and see it for yourself.

Address: Agathodaimonos 37 and Orestou, Kato Petralona. Phone: +30 210 3421311


Beloved, classic and sophisticated, Galaxy is not just another bar in the heart of Athens. It’s built a reputation as an artistic haunt, a steadfast stop either before or after a theatre evening, the ideal choice for a first date, or the perfect spot to enjoy a quick coffee during a break.

You will find it in the arcade at 10 Stadiou Street, or more precisely, in the arcade directly opposite the statue of Kolokotronis – a landmark which some like to believe doesn’t point towards the city but guides people towards Galaxy. Fine whisky lovers find great solace here, as the bar serves a great array of quality labels. Sit back and peruse photos of eminent writers such as Odysseas Elytis, Giorgos Seferis and Ernest Hemingway, heroes of Galaxy’s owners and regulars alike.

Many might suggest that Galaxy is essentially a winter venue, a haven for those evenings when the cold truly sets in and the search begins for a warm, atmospheric hideaway. Yet, the truth remains that the experience at Galaxy, with its leather seats at the bar, small dishes accompanied by graviera cheese and spicy mustard, or toasted bread served with butter, constitutes a ritual that transcends seasons and time. In fact, the onset of autumn provides an additional incentive to visit.

Address: 10 Stadiou Street, Athens, Phone: +30 2103227733

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