A mountainous country with thousands of islands, a great food destination, a melting pot of ancient and modern culture, and a place where you can relax and enjoy pure nature.
Greece is an all year round destination that offers off the beaten track experiences for all.
Stay in a private villa and enjoy the amazing view, surf on the island of longevity, taste the divine elixir in a classic winery, enjoy a holistic experience in an organic farm and join the aesthetic revival of the ancient times with the contemporary objects you can take back home.
Whether you are a solo adventure seeker, or you travel with your family and friends, here are some ways to see some of the best places and try something special.
PELION: Welcome home!
Remember “Mama Mia” the movie where Meryl Strip and the cast was dancing on a wooden little bridge at a tiny port surrounded by beautiful green trees and crystal turquoise waters? A Hollywood production was filmed here so this place must be a hit, right?
Pelion is one of the most outstanding destinations in the country. A high mountain sitting in between two seas, - the Aegean Sea and the Pagasetic Gulf- with great biodiversity and beauty, amazing sceneries and picturesque villages with stone build mansions, hundreds of beaches with golden sand and crystal clear waters, waterfalls and rivers and one of the richest floras in the Balkans.
You will meet endless forests of oak, maple and chestnut trees, delicious delicacies based on local food products, such as meat and fresh fish, homemade spirits, marmalades, sweets, and a big variety of fruits.
It is the place where you can snowboard and ski from December to April at the very well organized ski center and scuba dive and kite surf or wind surf in the summer.
Situated in the central part of the country Pelion is an all year round destination, ideal for families, adventure lovers and fans of nature and wellness.
The best way to explore the outstanding beauty and scenery of Pelion is to stay at Pelion Homes -private villas.
Four beautiful villas, built at a unique location overlooking the Aegean Sea and the Pagasetic Gulf, 600m above sea level.
Every day you will experience striking sunsets; the cloud formations and the sun reflections are just magical.
You will love the unique view all year round as you pamper yourself with the most modern facilities.
Every villa has two, three or four bedrooms and can accommodate from 2 to 10 people. Private parking, washing machine, fully equipped kitchen, flat screen TV, BBQ, fireplace etc. are just some of the things you just take for granted. The style and design is inspired by the traditional architecture whereas they provide all modern facilities, ergonomic and design.
There is also an organic farm, a spacious land of 4000 square meters and special activities and wellness retreats that are about to launch later this year.
The nearest beach is just 20 minutes away and the most beautiful villages are just a short drive.
IKARIA: Long live and Surf!
According to CNN and Dan Buettner people live happy, long lives on this island. Maybe it’s because of the strong red wine that the ancient God Dionysus gave to the locals. Maybe it’s just because they just have a different perspective on life; all that matters is to live life to the fullest every minute of it, not to stress and worry about a thing. Small detail: nobody really cares what time it is…
Most people that come to Ikaria for the first time plan to stay for one week, but for some reason they finally stay a whole month. Ikaria is an experience on its own. During the summer feasts connect locals and visitors with a secret, strong bond. They eat, drink, dance and celebrate like there is no tomorrow!
This is the place where you go to buy bread from the bakery-that does not open earlier than 10-11 am –you enter the shop, choose the bred you want, leave the money and take the chance; the owner is outside enjoying his first morning cup of coffee. Even trade is a matter of kindness and trust.
You may see kids playing in the narrow streets at the squares of the villages at 1 pm; it’s a different world here that can really change your life.
On this island of 99 square miles you will meet astounding variation: healing thermal springs, pre-historical pine and oak forests, high mountains, rivers and crystal blue waters with long golden, sandy beaches.
At the beach of Messakti, just 10 minutes walk from Gialiskari village there is one of the most famous surfing spots in the country. A peaceful yet popular beach where you can enjoy your coffee or a beer at the beach bar, swim or relax listening to uplifting reggae music or surf and enjoy other amazing activities.
Ikaria Surf School is a school that functions under the philosophy of sustainability. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced surfer this is your Greek surfing paradise. Fun is a high priority and the certified surfing professionals and collaborators provide guaranteed results and advanced security standards.
Surf lessons are held by experienced instructors certified by SurfingGB and ISA, using video analysis for the technical improvement of students. You can also have your experience and training captured in photos that are taken by a professional photographer.
You will also find junior lessons and equipment to rent for body boards, surfboards, snorkeling, cycling and SUP boards.
Don’t miss the special offers that combine accommodation at the hostel/apartments within walking distance from the beach and surf lessons.
Do Yoga at the beach, Hiking in collaboration with experienced local path guides that are not even on the map, mountain biking and coastal bike tours.
At the end of June get ready for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the beach and in the beginning of July take a deep breath and enjoy “Yoga and Surf” - a very special retreat among other great programs and happenings that take place here.
ATHENS: A Piece of Art Experience
How would you feel if you lived like an Ancient Greek artist for a while? The Makah of an aesthetic revival is right in the centre of Athens in an elegant showroom where creativity and design is all that matters.
The Attic Black Shop took its name from the black glaze of classical Attic pottery in the 6th and 5th century BC. Back then their creators often signed those Attic black vases giving them extra value as they were in a great demand in Athens and abroad.
Imagine yourself being able to create objects inspired by that great era. How about taking home with you some unique pieces of art for your every day use or for presents for your loved ones?
This shop is the place to be for art lovers. You will find some really unique stuff from jewellery, to all kinds of decorative items all inspired by a glorious past. It is unique, as you find out why it was so hard to reproduce the Attic Black glaze;
Since Renaissance important ceramists like J. Wedgewood and other archaeologists in Europe and US could not work it out.
Eleni Aloupi, founder and owner of Attic Black shop, worked it out and it’s all about the carefully chosen and laboriously processed natural clays. She solved the mystery in 1993 and after great research and experimentation she revived the ancient technique of classical Attic pottery.
So today you can experience this technique, as this showroom is pretty much a modern interactive museum, full of fun and enthusiasm.
Don’t miss the great educational toys that come in wonderful packaging with all the info you need to know. They are totally safe for children, as they don’t contain any toxic substances or small parts.
Also, pay attention to the objects that are reproduced based on the original ones that are found in the museums or auctions around the world. “Thetis” participates in the European network “Witness the Past” aiming at addressing the problem of illicit trafficking of antiquities. You may also order-decorated vases of unknown provenance sold at major auctions worldwide at prices 2-5% of the prices at the auction.
Contact Attic Black Shop and Thetis if you would like to have a special event with your friends at their workshop and make your own collection of vases or learn all about this great ancient art.
METSOVO: A great escape in Katogi Averoff winery
North Greece has some of the most beautiful mountain villages and little towns. Metsovo is a well-preserved and vivid small town built in 1100m above sea level and sits between Epirus, Thessaly and Macedonia.
It has a great reputation in traditional gastronomy, offers an outstanding variety of local food products, such as cheese and other delicacies. It is, also, known for the natural and unspoiled beauty of the mountains, the ski resort and the wild forests of oak trees. The local’s lifestyle is a mix of traditional and modern, they are friendly and they love to share with visitors their secrets of wellbeing.
One of their great secrets is the wine that is made at the Katogi Averoff winery.
The history of this place goes back the late 50s when Evangelos Averoff planted Greece’s first Cabernet Sauvignon vines and bottled the first wine at his home.
His vision was to make Pindus abandoned slopes into vineyards. He created one of the country’s most celebrated and elevated vineyards, built a small winery just at the outskirts of Metsovo and established Katogi SA in 1989. Soon the winery became famous for its red wine and won many international awards.
Moreover, they were one of the first Greek wine-makers to embrace unique methods of growing and making wine.
You can experience the history and the awesome aromas of red and white wines of Katogi Averoff by visiting this highly rewarded winery. Join the 30-minute tour to the winery; learn the fascinating insights into the wine’s charm and secrets kept inside 1200 oak barrels.
A guided audio & visual tour is rounded off with wine tasting and eclectic cheese.
At the winery shop you will find rare and collectible bottles for sale.
Beside the winery lies a beautiful stone built mansion, the Katogi Averoff Hotel with 15 spacious rooms surrounded by trees, herbs and big yards. Open fireplaces, an elegant lounge area where you can enjoy your breakfast and other delicacies are just some of the highlights.
You can book your tour to the winery, your wine tasting or your accommodation all year round at affordable prices and enjoy the great selection of wines at one of the most amazing food and drink destinations in the country. Cheers!
LACONIA: The secrets of the Spartans!
Leave your stress back home, as here is your best chance to balance body and mind. This Organic, Agrotourism farm & Guesthouse offers you exactly what you need the most: Eumelia that simply means Harmony.
Enjoy hand picked activities all year round such as grape harvest in September, as olive picking in the winter and so many adventures such as mountain bikes, canoe kayak, hiking, yoga, wellness retreats and events of wellbeing etc.
The organic farm is designed along the principles of Homeodynamic and Biodynamic agriculture and you’ll taste the difference right away.
Feel like a hero in an eco fairy tale, as the beautiful simplicity, the energy and the great surrounding are just outstanding.
Eumelia is an ecological guesthouse where sustainability is a way of life. Geothermal heating and cooling and natural waste management system are just some of the small details that make really big difference. Enjoy life in a peaceful environment where you feel absolutely connected with nature.
If you love cooking and great food products here is your paradise. Check out the seminars, events and workshops that take place where you learn to create your own olive oil, make olives and olive paste, marmalades and handmade soaps; taste great wine and local herbs, taste every ingredient of the local dishes and meet some organic products from Mountain Taygetos, Mystras, Mani, Monemvasia and Ancient Sparta.
Once you taste it all, you will know what made Leonidas and the Spartans so strong.
Eumelia is located at the village of Gouves in Laconia, a great area where you can also explore and experience picturesque villages and wonderful nature that combines mountains, seaside and great culture and history.
Written by Villy Manolia