There are fantastic facilities for hot springs in Greece. The practice is dating back to ancient times.
The country has these amazing thermal spa locations where the combination of the essence of nature, minerals, and water, mix with the senses and relax and heal you.
These healing mineral springs are thermal water spas. Hot springs are areas with warm water springs where you soak your body.
The effects of that raw nature force come through the pores of your body.
There are around 700 natural hot springs all over Greece. From these, 84 are known to have healing properties.
However, not all have spa facilities, so to enjoy and relax. These are mentioned in our post, and they host hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.
Soaking into hot springs in Greece is not something new or a trend. The same concept dates back to ancient Greece.
A great physician of antiquity, Herodotus, established the exact methods of balneotherapeutic (the treatment of disease by bathing in mineral springs) practices.
So, hot springs in Greece were used not only to relax but for therapy too. Greeks were not the first to find out about the properties of mineral-rich waters.
Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, and Indians knew about that far before. Ancient Greeks first thought that some deity or supernatural being was related to the healing properties of hot springs.
The practice goes as back as to Asclepieia. These related to locations and shrines dedicated to the god Asclepius. A series of treatments related to water was conducted, and most of these installations were close to thermal springs or rivers.
Despite being rooted deep in history, hot springs in Greece start coming into the awareness of people in the last ten years, and gradually better spa installations are built around them. Here is a paper/study for hydrotherapy in Ancient Greece.
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The Best Hot Springs in Greece
Here is a good number of hot springs in Greece where the water is considered extremely good and healing for the body.
Almost all are in places of exceptional beauty, green and quite serene.
Hot Springs at Greek Islands
Kythnos. Here the thermal spa is inside an old hotel in the city of Loutra.
Ikaria. The spa is in a semi-building, part cave, facility. The feeling after 20 minutes in the water is quite relaxing. You can second it with the hot room where the water drips quite warm from the walls on your body — a massage and soak at the same time.
Santorini. This one is not so organized, but the active volcano heats the thermal springs.
Pozar Thermal Baths. Located in Northern Greece, works all year round and is rather famous for its open facilities in winter. The open-air pool (there is an indoors too) is next to the waterfall and the river. Brave ones try the hot & cold soak in the waterfall. Known from the antiquity, the proper soaking in hot/cold is said to benefit the body. The whole complex is very modern, and you can spend an entire day there. It is very close to the ski resort of Kaimaktsalan. It also hosts thermospa hot tubs and hydrotherapy centers and rooms.
Thermal Springs of Thermopylae (Fthiotida). Who is that person that has never heard of 300 of Leonidas and the battle of Thermopylae? That is the place. This place hosts a thermal waterfall!
Kamena Vourla. Equally known for many years (like Edipsos) Kammena Vourla is a well-known little city, famous for its thermal spas.
Loutra Ypatis (Fthiotida). Located in a luscious green environment in a very serene place.
Platistomo (Fthiotida). For some reason, the rumor is that the thermal spring waters of Platistomo are curing issues that are related to nutrition/digestion.
Lagadas (Northern Greece). Same here, as in almost all thermal springs, you can enjoy hydrotherapy treatments of great variety.
Smokovo (Thessaly). Located on Mountain Agrafa at an altitude of around 450 meters. Amazing green.
Kanistra (Chalkidiki). Revealed after the residents blasted the rocks and the spring came forth. Very modern with thermal pools, saunas, steam baths, showers, hot tubs, etc.
Krinides, Kavala. These hot springs are at 170 kilometers from the city of Thessaloniki and 17 kilometers from the town of Kavala and 19 kilometers from Drama. They go back to the Byzantine era.
Hot Springs in Peloponnese, Greece
Loutraki. A fantastic facility with ample indoor and outdoor pools. It is close to Corinth.
Kaiafas. Close to ancient Olympia and very close to the town of Pyrgos is the thermal spa of Kaiafas. There is an old story about this place. One of the Centaurs (Nessos) washed his wounds, caused by the arrow of Hercules.
Methana. Still, in Peloponnese, are the thermal spa of Methana. Historians said that a volcanic explosion occurred in the area. Probably they got their qualities to that activity.
Killini. An accessible tourist location with beautiful beaches and excellent resorts, plus picturesque villages, also combine this quality with a healing thermal spa.
Sum up of Hot Springs in Greece
If you are a fan of such activity, then do include it in your itinerary. As said, all such springs are located in places that also have unparalleled natural beauty. That is not by chance.
In ancient times all such thermal spas were in places were beautiful nature, running waters, and serenity was considered an essential part of healing and rejuvenation.
Have you visited one of these hot springs or one that is not listed? Feel free to send it over, and we will fill it in!
In case you are in Athens, and you are looking for a Turkish bath (Hammam), then read this.
Are you into sports travel for fun? Are you in the United States? Sometimes you need to mix things up with your vacation and try out something or somewhere new.
If you love sports, why not head somewhere to celebrate your favorite sports, specifically? From iconic venues to museums, there’s no shortage of things to do.
It could be your love for horse racing, the major league, auto racing, and all kinds of sports events that drives you. Follow your passion.
Choose top quality tour operators, arrange your hotel reservations and ground transportation, and get ready for your best travel experience or simply book for a travel planning package including all these. Either preferring winter games or summer games, some ideas and trips will fit you right.
Just choose the most suitable sports travel package and off you go.
So, where should sports lovers of all kinds head for a vacation?
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Sports Travel Ideas for New York
In general, New York City has a lot to offer. But it’s also a sports lover’s paradise. It is the headquarters for several leagues like the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL.
The city also has several professional teams, including the Yankees, the Mets, the Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets, the Giants, the Jets, the Rangers, and the Islanders, among others.
So it’s a great place to catch a game (or several).
Even if you can’t catch a game, you could visit Yankee Stadium or Madison Square Garden to check them out. Madison Square Garden, in particular, is home to the Knicks and Rangers.
It also hosts several college basketball tournaments, pro wrestling events, and concerts. Additionally, tennis fans must head to the site of the U.S. Open, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Springfield, Massachusetts Sports Travel Options
This is a more unconventional vacation spot, but it’s the perfect destination for basketball lovers.
But for now, check out who’s already made the cut by visiting the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Hall of Fame museum attracts nearly 200,000 visitors every year. The museum celebrates everything about the game both in the U.S. and abroad.
Pros, amateurs, coaches, and the WNBA are all represented. Besides interactive exhibits, there’s also the Jerry Colangelo “Court of Dreams,” where you can shoot some hoops.
When you’re done at the Hall of Fame museum, check out some of the other things that Springfield has to offer. Visit Forest Park, the Springfield Science Museum, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden (Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield), and the Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.
Charlotte, Sports Travel in North Carolina
For NASCAR fans, Charlotte is where you must be. The city is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which features NASCAR history, famous drivers, interactive exhibits, classic and present-day cars, an iRacing simulator, and special events.
With all there is to do, the museum is sure to please both NASCAR fans and non-fans alike.
If you’re more into basketball and football, check out the Spectrum Center, where the Hornets play, and the Bank of America Stadium, where the Panthers play. In your free time, why not play some sports?
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania City of Champions Sports Travel
Back in the 1970s, the city was nicknamed the “City of Champions” for all of the championships that the Steelers, Pirates, and Panthers won.
So it’s not only a great place to visit for current sports fans but also fans of sports history. One of the absolute must-tour museums is in the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. That is located in the Heinz History Center.
The museum features interactive exhibits, sports memorabilia, and old game footage for a range of Pittsburgh sports.
Additionally, if you can’t catch a Steelers game, you should at least tour Heinz Field to get a more in-depth look at the history of the Steelers and where the Steelers play.
You can also tour PNC Park (where the Pirates play) and the PPG Paints Arena (where the Penguins play). And if you’ve got some time to kill, go for a bike ride in Frick Park or a boat ride in one of Pittsburgh’s three rivers.
Sports lovers deserve a great vacation, too. One of the above spots is sure to meet your needs — and offer you a great time you’ll never forget.
Multilayer will allow you to warm up quickly when you find yourself in cold parts of the trail and cool off while walking and sweating.
If you feel hot during the climb, remove the unnecessary layers immediately so that you do not sweat.
As soon as you feel cold, put on your extra layers. It is essential that your clothing is comfortable.
Over time, dressing and stripping will become a habit, and you will do it without thought.
On warm days, sunglasses or a cap and protective cream are required.
Bring a spare set of clothes to change after your hike is complete. Returning in dry, clean clothes is much more enjoyable.
The raincoat is always worn in a backpack, no matter the weather. Hiking equipment includes many more things, but for starters, it’s enough to know the above.
Socks are another garment that doesn’t get enough attention. Good socks are vital to avoid blisters and foot discomfort.
It makes little sense to wear a high-end boot and a low-quality sock. Your socks should be adapted to whether you wear a high-top boot or a hiking shoe.
Bring an extra pair, so if your feet sweat, you can easily change your socks.
It is advisable to buy those that are made of active material to prevent excessive sweating.
Get the Right Hiking Gear for Mountain Hiking
This part is essential because clothing and footwear are particular for this activity.
You can rent the equipment you will use if it is your first time. But if you can afford it, buy the equipment that will suit you perfectly.
It will be a good investment, especially if you plan to hike frequently.
The essential equipment you need for your first day of hiking includes shoes, a backpack, clothes, food, and drinks. The list of this equipment is further expanded depending on the weather and the difficulty and length of the track.
First aid packages and orientation accessories are mostly worn by guides, so if you go with an organized tour, you don’t have to worry about it.
Shoes are the most critical piece of equipment.
They should be tall, waterproof, and with firm soles. Inadequate shoes will do you more harm than good, so be careful when choosing.
Do you need a Hiking Backpack?
A hiking backpack should be made of somewhat waterproof materials. The size of the backpack is selected depending on the purpose.
The backpack should have a transverse strap across the chest that is easily adjustable as well as reinforcements at the hips to keep the load evenly distributed.
A hiking backpack is not necessary for first, more leisurely hiking tours, but it will make it much easier for you to climb as you cross the harder trails.
First Aid Kit for Mountain Hiking
Sprains, wounds, sunburn, blisters, insect bites, dehydration, or exhaustion are some of the situations that can occur on a day of hiking.
Having the right remedies will make the difference between being able to follow the route or having a terrible time and having to give up with all the consequences.
Your first aid kit must be waterproof and have several compartments in which to place bandages, creams, or pills in an orderly manner.
Adjust Your Challenge
Your first climb must be tailored to the beginner level.
It is advisable to hire a guide who is experienced and has already climbed the mountain you plan to climb.
Try hiking first on mountains that are rated as easily manageable.
Even if the mountain is marked as easy to climb, you still need to be very careful and careful while climbing. It is advisable to start early to be able to return before dark.
Join a club
If you know of a club or organization that does this activity, it is advisable to join. Clubs like this will give you information and guidance that is reliable.
Another advantage of joining a club is that there are opportunities to put together a group of climbers where you can learn from experts.
Rest every hour for 10 minutes
Take 10-minute breaks every hour because this break will help remove lactic acid from your legs.
Removing lactic acid is also vital for later rest – so be sure to adopt this advice.
What to Eat While Hiking?
For a one-day hiking trip, you can prepare sandwiches, and some hikers also carry cooked food, packed in smaller boxes.
Be sure to bring fruits (such as bananas), dried fruits, and something sweet, as your sugar may drop as you climb.
Bring enough water for the whole day. Some hiking trails have water sources, so before leaving, ask your guide about it.
What to eat the day before Mountain Hiking?
During a hike, the body is subjected to great effort, and it is necessary to provide it with the energy needed.
The day before hiking, it is good to eat high carbohydrate foods – cereal flakes, pasta, bread, rice, fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products, seeds, dried fruits, etc.
Advantages of Approved Trails
They are well marked, so you don’t get lost at any junction
The road is safe. There are no complicated areas that could put you at risk
You will be informed about the characteristics of the trail (distance, slope, recommendations, starting and ending points, etc.)
Approved trails have maintenance and control teams so that the path can always be in use.
There is more than one hiker who needed a rescue team because he has been lost, and the night caught him on a trail.
It is always better to start walking early than late. Whether you go alone, or if you are part of a group, it is easy to get disoriented and waste time.
If it gets dark, the conditions in which you hike will change – it will get colder, and visibility will almost be at zero.
You always have to leave a margin of error so that an injury doesn’t prevent you from getting home in time.
How to Be Fully Prepared for Mountain Hiking
Your endurance and strength will be tested in this sport, so you will need to make sure that your body can handle this physically demanding activity.
In hiking, you must make quick and precise decisions and assessments regarding your safety, your next step, and the like.
Training for a hike is not too different from the training of other athletes, but it must be closer to marathon preparation.
To enjoy the mountain and its surroundings, you mustn’t at any time be on the verge of exhaustion.
The method of preparation and training depends on the goal of your hike.
If the goal is higher, such as high altitude climbs, then the preparations must be more serious and done according to precise rules imposed by modern sports rules.
Research Information for Mountain Hiking
Research the material that contains useful information you are going to need.
You can read articles that incorporate different experiences of other hikers.
Don’t just read about hiking; find tips and tricks that will help you after the hike too.
Before you go hiking, do a good job exploring the trails that are right for you as a beginner. You can find this information in magazines that deal with this topic, but the internet is much more convenient.
Take a look, find sites and forums or Facebook groups for hikers, and do some research before embarking on an adventure.
Mountaineering, as an activity, can affect the natural environment.
If you want to continue practicing this sport, learn how to maintain mountain conditions. Be aware of the culture of the place in which the mountain is located.
Tips for Mountain Hiking You Shouldn’t Forget
Try to walk in smaller steps.
Keep up the pace, or accelerate gradually.
Lean forward while climbing a steep slope.
Do not raise your knees too high.
Keep track of your heart rate.
Never leave trash anywhere in the wild!
Come on time to the meeting place; many guides will not wait for you if you are late.
Bring extra batteries for the gear that needs such (i.e., GPS)
Have some snacks. Depending on long you will hike during the night you may get hungry
Benefits of Hiking
Night Hiking teaches you to know other traditional ways of life.
Trekking takes place in rural environments where ancient trades are preserved, which are increasingly unknown among urban areas.
People who live in those kinds of areas maintain traditions and lifestyles that can make you wonder about yours. There is life beyond the crowds and asphalt of big cities.
Night Hiking helps you manage stress.
The contact with nature, breathing fresh air, and listening to the song of the birds connects you with another dimension, far away from a stressful working day in the city. It is widespread to feel a sense of pleasure at the end of a hiking day.
Night Hiking helps you sleep better.
By controlling the levels of stress and anxiety, together with fatigue derived from physical exercise, hiking helps you fight insomnia. When you get to bed, you fall deeply asleep, and the next day you wake up full of energy.
It increases your environmental responsibility.
Hiking puts you in touch with Mother Nature and allows you to discover many of her secrets. Hiking helps you become aware of how important it is to preserve that. In the end, it is nature that put us here on this beautiful planet.
It allows you to discover new regions.
Hiking can take you to environments that you didn’t even know existed. Discover new landscapes, incredible enclaves, and idyllic surroundings that you didn’t even know were so close to you.
Social Benefits of Hiking
You meet new people: Hiking helps you expand your circle of friends and meet people.
During the march, there is always time to start conversations since the atmosphere is peaceful and relaxed, and everyone is more open than on a stressful day at work.
You can practice it with your family: Hiking, unlike other activities and sports, can be practiced as a family activity.
You can not only go with your partner, but with your children as well. However small they may be, you will always find a route tailored to all family members.
It teaches you to live with others: During hiking, you learn to help and live with others. It is normal to share water, food, or help others when they need it. A simple band-aid or some shared traveling rations can lay the foundations for a good coexistence and friendship.
Cons of Night Hiking
Don’t get lost or hurt: Be careful, it is not easy to find your way in the dark, so to follow a path in complete safety, it is good practice to follow paths that are well known.
If you want to go trekking at night on a path that you have never walked during the day, always rely on an expert guide.
In a dense forest, the view is reduced, so even the path that is well marked during the day is not so easy to follow at night.
The signposts that are arranged on the ground or the trunks at a distance are designed to be seen during the daytime.
During the night hike, you might miss some of them, so it is essential to have a flashlight with you.
The best tip here is to try and organize a hike on clear nights with a full moon.
Go slow: When walking in the dark, you should move slowly, stretch your arms forward in case of reduced vision, and pay close attention to where you put your feet.
Rushing during a time with reduced invisibility can only be hazardous.
Watch Your Pace: You must keep a steady pace that allows you to maintain an effort throughout the journey. If you have to climb a mountain, remember that you must also lower the speed and that if fatigue sets in, you are much more likely to suffer a fall or to twist your ankle. Relaxation, coupled with exhaustion, can cause you to lower your guard.
Tips for a Great Night Hiking Adventure
Bring a friend or go hiking in a group
The best advice that we can give you is to don’t go night hiking alone. Bringing friends can help in many ways.
It is good to have someone around, so you don’t get lost or to have someone to talk to. Also, if an accident occurs, you have people around you who can help.
Although hiking can be practiced individually, it loses many of the benefits derived from sharing experiences.
Going alone is only less safe since no one can help you in case you lack water, food, or have suffered some setback or have lost yourself in the bush.
Of course, there are other benefits to not going alone.
If you go alone, you must be very clear about the itinerary and check the route before leaving. You must tell someone the route you are going to hike.
Bring a Good Light Source
You must make sure that your flashlight (or headlamp) is working correctly and that you have stored a spare one and some extra batteries in a backpack pocket.
The type of flashlight is an important aspect. Even if you have a powerful flashlight, don’t underestimate the headlamp.
Trekking at night has the advantage of stimulating all the senses except the sight. If you start a trekking route at night with a torch in your hand, you will not be able to fully enjoy the walk because you will have to hold the light the entire hike.
That is very cumbersome if you love walking, supported by a hiking staff.
An LED flashlight can be the right answer to your needs. It has a high autonomy; it is light and small in size.
Also, a Led flashlight has an adjustable light beam with an intensity that can vary from 20 – 25 lumens for the most “open” paths and 35 – 40 lumens for more uneven tracks and in adverse conditions.
If you are in a group, avoid blinding your companions: if you have to turn to them, cover the light beam with the palm; otherwise, the sudden light of the flashlight can cause blindness, which can lead to injury.
Some extremes may even carry night vision goggles, but it depends on your budget, the terrain, and how adventurous you want it to be.
Another idea is to get a red light. That can be a headlamp or a flashlight where the red light is used instead of the white one. Red light is weaker than red, and your vision can be less affected during your walking.
Plan your Night Hiking Route
Even if you go with a guide, it is good to check the difficulty of the route, the distance and the unevenness that you have to climb.
This will allow you to carry the right gear or the amount of water you may need, for example.
Planning the route avoids having to improvise, something that is not advisable. Above all, you should assess whether you are qualified to do it.
It is also best to try a familiar trail than a completely unknown one.
The hands have contact with the outside much more than any other part of the body during a hike.
They are the part of the body most sensitive to the cold, along with the feet.
Some durable hiking gloves weigh nothing and can be very useful in the early hours of the day or when you reach the top of a mountain.
If you cross asphalt roads during your route, keep in mind for car lights. During the nighttime, objects seem far from what they are, but they are closer.
Are you ready for your first time night hiking? Have you ever done any?
Hiking Up The Ancient Castle of Kalyva, Xanthi Greece
Walking in the forests of Xanthi, feels like traveling back to the time, many centuries ago, when horses used to trot on the cobbled tracks among the green oaks.
Hiking to Xanthi’s ancient castles is a unique experience of contacting both with nature and Greek history.
As you lay your steps on the same path where the soldiers of King Phillip II of Macedonia walked, you can almost hear their armors clanging through the dense forest.
It is an easy route suitable for families, schools, or individuals.
The path is 3,8 km long. Parts of it are cobbled, and others are made of natural surfaces.
The starting point is located in Ano Ioniko; a small village 40km away from Xanthi city.
The village has exciting details of traditional architecture.
The area in which the visitors’ hike takes place is inside Rhodope’s mountain range national park.
The park is worth a closer look as it is the second in extent in Greece and quite rich in fauna and flora variety.
The castle was built around 340 BC at an altitude of 627m in Xanthi Prefecture.
It was used by the Macedonians and the Romans.
It became part of the fortification network that was developed by the emperor Justinian during the middle Byzantine period.
From the top of the hill where the castle is based, you can enjoy the scenery of Nestos river as it crosses the valley before it hides into the gorge.
All around, there used to exist castles and fortresses that supervised the crossings to the valley.
Golden eagles very often fly above the castle.
Nearby is the village named Kalyva, which needs a visit as it is an old settlement with the architectural value.
The most famous building is a house in the upper part of the village, which was constructed by a rich Turkish man before 1900 A.C.
An extensive network of paths leads to other beautiful landscapes and deserted settlements, which, once upon a time, were alive and thriving.
This info was provided by Eirini Kotsaki “Let’s Trek,” Mountain Leader & Forest Ranger, Paranesti, Drama, +30 6980211854
“The Ermario Summit” or “The Rocks of Abar Kaya,” Xanthi Greece
Here is another guest post from our friends at Xanthi, Greece, about “The Ermario Summit” (otherwise entitled as “The Rocks of Abar Kaya”), located at 1.441 meters.
Length: 4 km and 750 meters.
Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Altitude Slope: 240 meters.
Route Rating: Ascent – Easy.
Season: All year round, provided there are no snowfalls.
This route at Xanthi is a lovely one, and it is recommended for families as well.
If you don’t want to walk far away, halfway you will reach a farm which is different from the other ones.
It is a route of total length 4 km and 750 meters and more specifically 410 meters on an asphalt road, 140 meters on a concrete way, 1 km and 150 meters on a dirt road and 3 kilometers and 50 meters on a footpath with 240 altitudinal (uphill) meters.
The duration is about 1 hour and 50 minutes.
In the points where you have to cross the path, there are marking tapes and red clothes.
There is occasionally a mobile signal on the path.
Generally, it is classified as an easy route and can be performed by children aged over six years old.
The first part of the trail starts from the village and is known as the “Minas” path, was used by people years ago, to go to their fields and cultivate or harvest potatoes.
Xanthi is a small city of northeast Greece, near the border with Bulgaria and Turkey.
Starting from the city of Xanthi, you could follow the road to the small town of Stavroupoli. Then after passing the villages of Dafnona and Ano Karyofito, you end up, after a distance of 48 km in the mountain village of Livaditi at an altitude of 1.250 meters.
While you are on your way to Stavroupoli and, more specifically, at the height of Lykodromio at an altitude of 285 meters, you will notice that there is a right junction, which ends up in the village of Livaditi through Kallithea.
It is advisable to avoid this route from November to April because due to frequent snowfalls, the path closes, and it is difficult to get to your destination (this road is of minor importance and during the winter season snow removal equipment is not available).
Also, there is no telephone signal all the way, just on a few points.
This particular route is far more pleasant to be followed during the other months, from May to October.
Livaditis is the highest mountain village of Xanthi, with only eight residents.
The Nestos River Greece Straits
The Nestos river straits start from Galani village at Xanthi.
Length: 4 km and 100 meters
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Altitude slope: 113 meters.
Route rating: Cross and return on the same path
Recommended: In all mountaineering clubs of the country, families and all ages
Season: All year round
This path is the easiest and most-walked one in Xanthi.
The first 3.5 kilometers of the trail is along the river, while the other kilometers are in the Nature that absorbs you.
It is a trail of a total length of 4 km, and 100 meters are on a path. The duration is 1 hour and 40 minutes.
If you want help at this trail, email Georgiadis Vassilis, Porfillidou Ioanna at email@example.com
Livaditis Village Waterfall Greece
The trail is part of the international path E6, which starts from the village of Livaditi and, crossing a beautiful beech forest filled with streams of running water; it leads to the waterfall of Livaditis.
Length: 4 km and 610 meters.
Duration: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Descent: 419 meters.
Route rating: Cross and return on the same path
Recommended: In all mountaineering clubs in the country, as well as those with some mountaineering experience
Season: All year round, provided there are no snowfalls.
It is a path of total length 4 km and 610 meters and more specifically 1 km and 200 meters on an asphalt road and a 3 km and 410 meters path.
The walking duration is 15 minutes on the asphalt road and 1 hour and 20 minutes on the path.
Along the trail, there are signs of E6, but there is hardly any coverage for mobile phone networks.
Generally, it is classified as a medium difficulty route and can be performed by children over ten years old.
If you want to help you at this trail, also email Georgiadis Vassilis, Porfillidou Ioanna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mountain Biking in Xanthi Greece
As Xanthi is a city in northern Greece, in the last few years, a big network of mountain bike trails has been built.
These trails were first realized by a small number of local riders who started trail-building in the area circa 2003.
Since then, more progress has been made. In 2007 an internet blog was created so that an archive of the trails and the activities of the area could be maintained, being trail-building, the trails, and the races that were organized.
These trails (that are now also being used by hikers and trail runners) exist exclusively because these local riders put all their effort, personal time and money, building new trails and maintaining the old.
In 2009 “Mountain Active” was established, a non-profit NGO that aims to promote mountain biking in Greece and also promote Xanthi as a biking destination.
Mountain Active organized the Xanthi MTB Festival in 2009 that included Cross-Country and Downhill races and the CG Downhill Camp in 2010, a seminar with well known French athlete Cedric Gracia.
The same NGO also created and maintained “Xanthi MTB Park.” It is a skills training park for mountain bikes in private land, with multiple “lines” of jumps and obstacles, and has plans of expanding it further.
In cooperation with the local “Flowride” Bike Shop Mountain Active organizes biking trips not only in the vicinity of Xanthi but in other significant biking areas such as Mt. Paggaio, Leivaditis area, and Pamporovo Bike Park.
The trails of Xanthi have a variety of difficulty and generally fall into the “all-mountain/enduro” and “downhill” categories.
The access from the city is direct and easy, and some of the trails even end up inside the “old town” of Xanthi.
The access is via a paved road that leads to two of the areas Monasteries (Panagia Archangeliotissa and Pagania Kalamou). Then following a fire road for about 5Km, one reaches Xanthi MTB Park.
The leading network of trails is around that skills park in a radius of roughly 10Km.
The surrounding mountains are mainly wooded, less densely in higher altitudes, and more rocky in lower ones. Because of the low relative height, the area is almost “snow-free.”
The local topography allows for the quick drainage of rainwater so that the soil is not very muddy during the winter months.
All the above make Xanthi as a unique area that one can do mountain bike 12 months a year. The ideal season for mountain biking is Spring (April – June) and Fall (September – November).
For the remaining months, the activities are also relatively easy. The winter months are generally mild and wet, and the summer months are dry and hot.
There are 15 trails around Xanthi without counting the old hiking trails.
Apart from the trails around the city of Xanthi, there are also other significant areas with paths within the municipality of Xanthi.
The most significant of them is Leivaditis and Erymanthos on the Rodopi Range in the North, near the Greek –Bulgarian borders.
This area is unique due to its natural habitat. It’s a national park with virgin forests of beech, red fir, and birch.
All of the above compose a scenery very unique and pure that is met in only a few places in Greece.
The greater area of Erymanthos is mainly for “cross country” and “all-mountain” bikes and offers epic routes of many kilometers, adventure, and activities of the “climb and ride” type, with the highest peak of the area being 1825m (Gyftokastro).
Riders that visit the area must have adequate information or have a guide with them to avoid getting lost in the vast network of forest roads that in places is chaotic and leads to many dead-ends.
Also, the area has a lot of wild animal activity (for example, bears), and visitors must respect the national park regulations. The city, due to its altitude, is not accessible during winter because of the snow coverage.
For more information on the areas of Xanthi and Erymanthos and the organized bike trips, please contact the Xanthi MTB Park manager and owner of “Flowride” Bike Shop Vangelis Georgiadis.
Hiking in Greece can happen in numerous locations.
In northern Greece, between the Bulgarian borders and the Aegean Sea lies a land of legends and fairy tales, hidden in the mist that floats over mountains and lakes, waterfalls and gorges. This unique land is called Rhodope.
According to Greek mythology, Rhodope was the daughter of Strymon and the sister of Haimos. Rhodope and Haimos fell in love, and Evros was born. But they were so arrogant that ventured to call themselves Zeus and Hera.
Their hubris was never forgiven by Gods, who decided to punish Rhodope and Haimos by transforming them into the respective mountains.
Through Rhodope’s heart, the river Nestos flows sluggishly towards the Thracian Sea. During its long journey, Nestos sculpts Rhodope’s shape into scenic lakes, deep valleys, steep ridges, and impressive gorges.
Picturesque rocky landscapes, alpine meadows, and lush forests create the perfect scenery for activities like trekking, hiking, or mountaineering.
The best way for visitors to enjoy and admire this pastoral beauty is by walking on the same footpaths that once used to be the ancient trade routes that connected central Europe to the Byzantium Empire.
From the highest mountain in eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Falakro (2.232m), to the multicultural highlands of Xanthi, there are hundreds of kilometers of trails that scatter through Rhodope’s massif.
Trekking paths go through Norway spruce forests and oak forests mixed with other deciduous broadleaves, birch forests, Scotch pines, and perennial beeches.
Hikers experience a remarkable natural environment rich in fauna and flora like brown bears, wolves, Balkan chamois, deer, birds of prey, rare capercaillies, and a variety of orchids, fungi and many more.
60% of the European flora species can be met in Rhodope. One hundred thirty-nine bird species and 45 different mammals inhabit here.
There are footpaths for relaxed ramblers or demanding trekkers or anyone who likes bird watching or wants to explore nature.
Hiking tours take place all year round. In winter, snowshoeing tours and ski tours are organized for those who prefer snow.
In autumn, when the foliage of the trees reminds Van Gong’s painting, the paths are covered with golden yellow and brown leaves, setting nature is at its best for someone to ramble.
In spring, too, or in summer, trekking in greenish trails that lead you to cool waterfalls can be a lifetime experience.
And as you are standing on a stone-made bridge, you would not be mistaken if you think that you overheard a distant flute song or women’s laughter.
Don’t forget that you are indeed in Dionysus land where ancient gods and water nymphs are still roaming in the misty mountains of Rhodope.
Professional certified Mountain Leaders organize the hiking in Greece. The itinerary of each tour can be tailor-made to your needs.
Rock climbing activities are also possible.
This info was provided by Eirini Kotsaki “Let’s Trek”, Mountain Leader & Forest Ranger, Paranesti, Drama, +30 6980211854
We loved Chios Greece. The island has lots of outdoor activities, fantastic beaches, and great food.
Seven hours by ferry from Athens (or far shorter by airplane), and Chios Greece will reveal itself to the North Aegean traveler.
Things like the mastic tree and the roots of the Greek shipping industry have their origin weaved with this island.
Chios is not one of the mainstream destinations that are commonly found in various travel catalogs
Chios island is large, has tons of things to do, suitable for all kinds of travelers, and six days aren’t enough!
You will not have the chance to get bored. Every day will be a different experience. If you go to Chios Greece, you can make plans for comfortably staying there for ten days.
Here is our “log” of things we did and saw.
Table of Contents
The Villages of Chios Greece You Have to Visit
Our tribute to the island of Chios Greece starts with the three medieval Chios villages.
These are the well known Mesta, Olympi, and Pyrgi.
These three villages are Medieval villages. Mesta is exceptionally well preserved, while Olympi and Pyrgi have a mixed character of modern and medieval characteristics.
Mesta Village Chios, Greece
What was our first impression when we arrived in Mesta? It was like, “where is the entrance to the village?”
I mean, the whole village is built as a one-level fortress, so it has specific entry points which lock with iron gates (not anymore but they are there).
Visitors must try to get lost through its narrow pathways deliberately.
After a few minutes, you have the feeling of being lost in time and space.
We tried that after leaving our luggage at Ergani studios.
And that’s just a portion of Mesta.
Olympi Village in Chios
If you remember, through another post of ours, Olympi is close to the Cave of Olympi.
So, you can combine both. The village is also stone-built, but it has modern houses too.
Do you see how houses connect in all medieval villages? In the end, they consist of a single fortress, so all enemies were doomed.
Find some time to enjoy a refreshment under that shade.
Moving out of Olympi, you need to drop by Pyrgi. The concept -regarding decoration- is the same, but it has more squares with lots of shade.
Pyrgi, Chios Greece
Here the modern element is dominant, but the locals kept this geometric style in many places.
The whole village looks like it is in a transition from the old to the new.
Allow time for this square.
Old and modern, mix, and matched (?)
We spend lots of time going around and “getting lost” in these narrow pathways in all villages. But this is the way to explore and find small gems.
Volissos Village, Chios Greece
Volissos is a very serene and quiet village in the north part of Chios.
As you look at the town, it seems that it is divided into two parts.
The upper part looks like part of a castle, while the lower one seems a bit more “modern”.
The village is charming for a walk and to have your accommodation and base there. If you want quietness, this is the place to be.
You can walk up to the medieval castle. The view is breathtaking.
The upper part of Volissos, prior reaching the castle, is terrific, too, and it has kept the traditional style of the area.
Being in Volissos, you should go for swimming to a variety of beaches close to the village. Like the Managros beach.
The village of Limnia is very close.
Suitable for having an afternoon drink and lunch/dinner.
While there, try the tavern of Limanaki.
The owner is the fisherman himself, so you have a significant number of chances to eat freshly caught fish and Frutti di mare.
Exploring Chios Town (Chora)
Here we visited the Kampos Citrus Museum on the island of Chios. Adventures at Chios island are on a rampage! In this post, I read about two controversial things.
This is not just “another” museum! Citrus is far from that.
The Citrus museum part is just one of the things you can do at their multi-function premises.
Combine this experience with your visit to Chora of Chios (aka, the port city) since it is just 15 minutes from there.
We think that it is best to visit this place when you land on Chios or when you leave the island.
In the first case, you will have many different sweets to consume during your stay at Chios.
In the second one, you will be able to get many sweet gifts for your loved ones back home.
Well, we are not sure either for the latter since you may get them and eat them all before moving to your next destination.
The whole premises of Citrus museum consist of a recreational area (with many things to keep kids busy), the citrus shop, and the citrus museum, plus the citrus fields.
While at the “yard,” it is enjoyable to have a walk or sit at one of the many areas of it. They are full of green, vines, and flowers.
One of the buildings houses the Citrus museum. It has lots and lots of things to see and learn about.
Here, the Citrus cultivation and trade history all over the world is depicted, along with tools of the business.
You will spend lots of time in the museum learning about the history of citrus and how it is related to the growth of Chios.
Yet, at some point, you will want to visit the coffee/sweets house and shop.
You will want to try these different citrus-based products! Some of them have mastic flavor in them, too, like this coffee, for example.
We taste orange pie wherever we find it in Greece.
I thought we had a winner somewhere in Oreini Nafpaktia. Yet, this one takes the Gold medal for now.
If your sweet tooth is not yet satisfied, try these too.
The ones in the big jar are called “submarines,” and the other ones in the small plates are called “gliko koutaliou” (meaning a sweet that you eat with a small spoon).
We are sure that your tasting experience will elevate your appetite for more. Feel free to enter the shop and buy some. You know, to “bring back home”.
Well, that is a sweet experience. Right? Now, when you want to burn these extra calories, you can go to Anavatos village and walk uphill.
Outdoor Activities in Chios Greece
Chios Greece Mastic Culture
Mastic is a magical product that grows at the island of Chios island. That makes the mastic products of Chios known worldwide. It is known since old times that it helps in maintaining good health, healing ailments, and even dental caries.
During our trip to Chios, we wouldn’t miss this opportunity. We wanted to know about this excellent natural medicine and its history through ages.
Our guide for this adventure was Vassilis Ballas, owner of Masticulture, which offers Ecotourism experiences on Chios Island, Greece.
Vassilis returned to Chios, with his family, after many years and he knows his field. Along with the experience, he offers sea and cycling adventures.
It was an excellent opportunity to have this experience since it is near Mesta village, where we stayed for a couple of days (stay tuned for the article for the medieval villages of Chios).
Vassilis came fully prepared with a 4×4 vehicle carrying bikes, a sea-kayak, and lots of equipment, just in case.
In 5 minutes of driving, we arrived at the mastic field.
It was a beautiful one with lots of shading. You need to know that a tree is a bush. Mastic is not a “fruit”, but the extract, the tree uses to heal itself from wounds. Interesting, right?
Vassilis told us about the history of harvesting and how it expands back into worldwide history.
That white powder you see under each tree is used to prevent the extract from sticking on the ground dirt.
Here are the simple tools of the trade to harvest.
A preparation process is involved where the farmer “cleans” the trunk to be able to perform the “cut”.
Then, he creates small cuts on the trunk with a small tool. A farmer needs to know how many cuts to do and where and how often. The tree must be treated with care to be able to offer its goods for a lifetime.
The tree starts the healing process, and thus this juice is produced. As it flows, it creates more significant concentrations and falls on the ground. It is like pearls.
Here is a close-up. This one is not yet quite solid, and it can’t be harvested properly. At this phase, it is like a semi-liquid bubble. Like a pearl, right?
When mastic is thick solid, it is swiped from the ground. The farmer takes it through a sieve to clean up any small leaves and such, and it is made to the factory for further process.
Vassilis has a surprise for all his guests and clients, by offering local freshly cooked products of Chios for lunch, right there in the field.
Which, of course, is accompanied by some local wine.
That was an excellent way to start the day and get some energy before moving to the Mastic Museum.
We packed and left from the mastic field, eager to explore the newly inaugurated Chios Mastic Museum. The Chios Museum is created and functions under the provision of the Cultural Foundation of Piraeus Bank Group.
Sailing Around Chios Greece
Chios is well known for the upcoming of numerous Greek shipping magnates. It is an island with strong relations to shipping and sailing. When you are there, you have to allocate some days for sailing holidays.
So, after exploring Volissos and hiking through Kampia, this was another adventure for us. We knew it would be a lovely yachting tour, after looking at the website of Chios Yachting, but the reality exceeded far more what we thought we would experience.
This, especially when you have a great crew as we did. George and Maroussa is a guarantee of having a good time.
The boat was a 20mt one. Very comfortable for eight passengers. And so, our sailing holidays part began.
We sailed towards Oinousses. Then we stayed close to the area for some swimming, passed closer from Oinousses again, and then return.
Here are some friends following us, waiting for the boat propeller to bring some fish to the surface.
Sun was scorching, and whenever we were able to catch some shade, we did.
The famous mermaid outside, Oinousses island. Sailors sail by and pay their respect.
You’ve heard the story about the mermaid and the question about Great Alexander, right?
The story goes like that: A mermaid emerges out of nowhere and stops boats in the open sea, asking them if Alexander the Great is alive. It is a trick question, though.
You have to answer “Yes he does and he rules the world”. Otherwise, you kiss the bottom of the sea along with your ship.
On our way back, we stopped at Lagkada village.
A charming small village, nicely positioned with a great view. It is suitable for some refreshments and lunch or dinner and to enjoy a promenade walk.
We had some huge ice cream dessert after our lunch on-board.
We also had some time to explore Lagkada. Here it is.
Last but not least, we passed from Agios Isidoros.
A lovely chapel, well known for hosting lots of weddings. Isn’t it cute?
A few meters from Agios Isidoros chapel, there is a gorgeous beach with shade and stunning colors.
Ah, how time goes away fast when you have a good time.
We have been sailing for around 7 hours, and we returned to the port of Chios. This would be the end of our sailing holidays in Chios.
We were dazzled and had this sweet tiredness that emerges when you have a full of experiences day.
Such a beautiful island with so many things to do and experience. But that’s not the end of our Chios Greece adventures.
Hiking Kampia Gorge Route in Chios
Here is our adventure hiking through Kampia Gorge on Chios. As you see, our stories about Chios island will keep on coming.
Kampia is a simple village of Chios, which is known for its hiking along the gorge.
The hiking route ends to the beach.
So, anyone who feels hot has a way to cool down before going up again.
You need to be careful to find the Gorge entry from inside the village. Two big labels are showing that, yet the actual point is slightly tricky to locate it.
Either on your way down or after you return, you have to stop and admire the view from that location.
The whole route is mostly under shade (around 85% of it) and was well marked during the period we were there.
We didn’t have a guide, and it was easy to find our way.
Make sure to have time.
The route, if you take it slowly, can be 4 hours both ways. Add some beach time to that (if you like), some quiet time too, plus time to stop and smell the flowers.
What we liked a lot was this thing. At many locations, signs were labeling the flora of this area. This gorge is used for school trips too.
While doing this gorge, preferably wear long trousers or sweat pants (actually, you have to wear such in hiking anyway).
Along the path, in different places, there are things like vines with thorns. Well, it is nature out there, and you have to comply with nature.
The area has plenty of water too. It was mid-July when we were there, and there were small rivers and such.
Along the route are small ponds and many small bridges. These are mostly used during the months where water is high enough.
At the exit point and after 10 minutes walking you arrive at the beach!
There are some pretty beautiful churches there, and it is a lovely resting and picnic place.
To go back, you have two options.
Either to do the same route or walk the dirt roads at the left or the right of the gorge. We did the first one.
We went through the gorge again, so we are not very sure if these two roads land very close to the village.
And of course, we celebrated that by eating a couple of fruits, from the free-to-take pears tree at the gorge entrance.
It was nearly 20.30, and we were a bit tired. The next day we would prepare for a whole day sailing cruise.
Thus we went back to Spilia in Kardamila to get some rest in our beautiful room!
Agiasmata Thermal Baths of Chios
From our accommodating host (Castelli apartments), we found out that there is an installation of thermal baths, quite close to Volissos. The thermal baths of Agiasmata are well known for their benefits.
We tend to try such baths in every place we visit in Greece so that we wouldn’t miss the opportunity.
The ideal place to relax and revitalize.
Enjoying herbal teas, we took the opportunity to discuss with the people who voluntarily run this place.
One of them, George Chalatsis, provided lots of information for a variety of hiking paths in the area.
These hiking paths relate to important historical facts of Chios and the island’s role in Greek history.
The installation is very close to the beach, so you can combine this experience with hiking in the old trails (before), and swimming in the beach (after).
Hiking Chios Island: Trails in the Amani area
The Amani area is in the north-west part of Chios Island. It is a remote virgin area, ideal for people who want to relax and enjoy the sea, nature, and fresh food.
Follow the signed trails and visit the small sparsely-populated villages of the area where the locals will welcome you with a ”souma” (local spirit) drink.
Suggested Hiking Chios Trails: Amani area
Volissos – Malagkiotis Valley – Panagia Neromylon – Volissos
Location: Northwestern Chios Type: A leisurely walk through the plain of Volissos. Circular trail. Degree of difficulty: 1 – Easy Length of route: 8.826 m Time: About 2 hours and 30 min. Drinking water along the way: Yes Max. / Min. elevation: 140 m / 10 m The difference in elevation: 130 m Suggested starting point: Volissos Square Natural environment: Plain with olive trees and woodland, riparian vegetation.
There is a good number of historical places in this area. You will see:
The Church of Metamorfosi Sotiros in the center of Volissos
The city of Vasilika, site of the old Church of Agios Georgios. The church is closed because restoration work is in progress.
At a distance of 1.8 km. from Agios Georgios, we encounter four water mills. At the fourth water mill, there is a resting area equipped with wooden seats. The first mill has been abandoned, but we can see the well-preserved sluice and mill race.
Τhe chapel of Panagia Loutron or Neromylon and the fifth water mill
The Castle of Volissos
The village of Volissos
The traditional village of Volissos is situated at about 40 km from Chios, and it is built on the side of a tall and steep hill, at the top of which stands a medieval castle.
The castle was built during the Byzantine period, and in the mid-15th century, it was restored by the Genoese.
According to tradition, it is considered a project of General Velissarios (6th century); however, based on research is most possible that its construction dates back to the 11th century during a period of a general reorganization of the island. In the mid-15th century, the castle was restored by the Genoese.
The visitor can stroll through the narrow streets and the picturesque stone buildings and then rest in the traditional cafes and restaurants.
Near the village, there is a small port, Limnia, which has been transformed into a fish boat shelter. It is a picturesque small port, with local fish taverns and also a nightlife hot spot that attracts both tourists and locals.
From Limnia, it is straightforward to sail to Psara, where you can enjoy fantastic lobster and seafood.
In the area, there are many beautiful beaches like Managros, a sandy beach and one of the longest beaches of the island, with a total area of 40.000 square meters, Limnos, a long beach, with sand and small pebbles and Lefkathia, a little closed bay of exquisite beauty, between two small hills.
The visitor can find in those beaches chairs and umbrellas to rent as well as a variety of high-quality rooms and apartments, taverns and cafes.
Agios Giannis – Agio Galas
Location Northwestern: Chios Type: Hiking on mountain footpath Degree of difficulty: 1 – Easy Length of route: 2.540 m Time: About 45 min. Drinking water along the way: Yes Max. / Min. elevation: 400 m / 230 m The difference in elevation: 160 m Suggested starting point: Agios Giannis Natural environment: Typical arid land in Amani, with low vegetation, Spanish broom (Spartium junceum), and oaks.
This hiking trail links the village of Agio Galas with the settlement of Agios Giannis, which has been abandoned since around 1960.
It includes essential monuments of the island’s cultural heritage and natural environment.
Contact information for hiking tours and activities organizers:
Chios Cooking Lessons by RealChios.gr – If you want to know more about Chios and Mediterranean Greek cuisine, delve deeper into Greek food or love cooking, then join one of the Chios cooking lessons prepared by RealChios.gr, Elias Siolis
Hiking at the Malagkiotis Valley in Volissos Chios Greece
Volissos Chios, Malagkiotis Valley, and Panagia Neromylon at the Amani area – these odd-sounding names are your keywords to discovering one of the most exciting hiking trails of the north part of Chios island.
Apart from the eight signed paths organized by the Regional Unit of Chios, the island’s landscape offers a variety of natural and historical ways for the fans of hiking.
The route is: Hiking Volissos Chios –> Malagkiotis Valley – Panagia Neromylon – Volissos
This 8.826 km circular trail is accessible even to inexperienced hikers as it has a difficulty degree of “easy.”
It is also one of the most exciting paths, as it can be combined with a daily excursion to Volissos, the medieval village, and the capital of the north-west area of Amani.
The trail starts from the square of Volissos village, the biggest community of the Amani area, and a not to be missed spot, ideal for lunch, coffee, and swimming at its excellent seasides.
From Volissos square, walk through the olive trees of the Malagkiotis river plain.
In Chios, we encounter the typical Mediterranean ecosystems. Species include the wild olive, kerm oak, myrtle, and laurel. The wildflowers during springtime create colorful scenery.
Many species are rare and therefore protected, such as the orchids.
So far, in Chios island, more 110 species and subspecies of orchids have been identified, making the trails a site of interest for naturalists and fans of orchids.
Hiking through the path, follow the wooden signs to find the old watermills, with their infrastructure still visible.
Don’t miss the old chapels of Agios Georgios in Vasilika and Panagia Loutron, where you can have a picnic and rest. Agios Georgios of Vasilika has a striking façade with stone columns, arches, and an octagonal dome of red and white stone.
The trail will lead you past a fold, to the road that leads you back to the village.
Grab this chance to walk around the narrow paved streets of this lovely medieval settlement.
Visit the old castle, wander around the lovely squares, meet the locals at the village’s coffee shops (kafeneia), and don’t forget to taste the local souma (a spirit made from figs) and the bread that is made following an old, traditional, secret recipe.
Cultural Activities at Chios Greece
Exploring Chios Mastic Museum
The museum is not far from Mesta (around 20 mins, tops) and is close to Olympi village.
It is a very modern building in the middle of nowhere, which adds a “wild” tone to its overall beauty. Its role is to present the history of mastic gum, plus the ways it was (and is) grown, farmed and processed.
It is an excellent project and acts as a conference center, too (fantastic sound and visual installations).
We saw areas like these below were props, mannequins, and miniatures that were used to depict the process of harvesting and manual processing of this gum.
In many areas, posters are explaining the history of Chios and its relation to mastic.
The association of mastic producers of Chios donated a significant number of equipment, which is used to clean, polish, and package mastic.
Key point? Most of the machines are functioning! You press a button, and they all start working for several seconds!
And that is not all. The exhibition itself continues outside the building. We had the opportunity to visit the mastic field next to the museum and learn even more about its farming.
For us, it was another great experience to learn so many things about this great natural product.
Imagine that mastic is the “blood” of the tree which is offered to people, having all these fantastic healing applications.
Greece is great for many things. It is a blessed country with so many herbs and natural products to use for healing.
Probably that is why Mediterranean nutrition is considered one of the top to follow worldwide.
Exploring Cave of Agio Gala in Chios Island, Greece
In this area, there is a variety of things to do before and after exploring the cave.
First of all, you arrive at a recreational area with plenty of water, shade, and a cantine, that serves coffee, refreshments, and a complete lunch if you like.
The guys who run this area, offer recreational games during summer times that will keep the kids busy and happy.
We had some coffee and a local refreshment. We went there after our visit to the Arioussios winery, so it is relatively close to Volissos and Agiasmata.
However, this area has another exciting thing.
One is the cave of Agio Gala, of course, and the other is a church named “Panagia Agiogalousena” (freely translated as Virgin Mary of Holy Milk).
The Church of the Virgin of Agio Gala
In its turn, Agio Gala means Holy Milk. We suggest that you visit the church and then the cave.
The church has a terrific wood carved temple.
This is an extraordinary characteristic of Chios art. The minutiae are incredible. The artists have depicted many symbols of Christianity on it, but not only.
If you have an eye for detail, you will see pagan symbols and many more.
Behind the church -by going through it- there is another older one in a cave.
Behind the 2nd one, there is one more!
There is a cave there (quite cool we can say), which was used both as a church and a hideout.
Legend says that a noble lady was exiled by her father due to being infected with a leper. She found the cave, and she was cured by the milky stalagmites water.
This whole was -allegedly- a monastery too. Nowadays, the area around the church level acts like an exhibition area showing how monks used to live.
Walking a few steps down and outside the church, you arrive at the Agio Gala Cave entrance.
The cave itself was a “residence” in the prehistoric era, and many findings from the Middle and Early Neolithic period (6000 and 5000 BC) were excavated here.
It is not as rich in beauties as the Olympic Cave, but it is of great historical value.
You have to visit it and learn its story from the guides.
Beauty designed by nature itself.
We had lots of fun in both these areas of Olympi and Agio Gala, as we learned lots of things about the history of this place and of Chios itself.
Time was moving fast, as we were having a great time. We stayed a bit longer in the recreational area, and we visited the local art museum hosted there.
Around the museum, there are areas where kids can learn about the local flora too. Very bright and educational.
Visiting Ariousios Winery
When there is an opportunity, we always try to taste the local wines.
Before going to Chios Greece, we learned that there is the most famous winery.
It is also a visiting winery, so we grasped the opportunity to visit Ariousios Winery and taste some of their wines.
The guy who took us through the winery was beneficial and explained a lot about the varieties and how locals try to make this wine famous all over the world.
And yes, we tasted a white and a red one. It was a bit early in the morning, but we decided not to skip this opportunity.
Anavatos village, Chios
The old town of Anavatos is around 30 to 45 minutes’ driving time from Chora, Chios.
It is an abandoned village.
At the time we went there, there was one tavern and just that.
It is useful, though, since Anavatos is in the middle of nowhere. It is a beautiful area but without shops and such.
History claims that Anavatos was built for military purposes and seems to have that structure.
We visited this place to feel a bit part of its history.
It was nice to spend 1 hour or so there, yet many buildings are half-ruined.
It is better to visit this place as the sun comes down from the hills; Maybe after 18:00 and before 20:00. The light is better at that point for some great photos.
What are the Best Beaches in Chios Greece?
There are some places in Chios island where you crave to feel the water. Chios beaches have such energy and feeling that you are lured to merge your body with the sea slowly.
Two of them are marked as “must go”. Their names? Apotheca and Mavra Volia.
On a hot hot day, you almost hear the sound of your skin shifting from terribly hot to “God I feel so cool now”. We tried those two beaches, and we are happy to report back.
Mavra Volia Chios beach
This one is well known, and you will find it in many guides.
It is close to Emporio village. However, few know that Mavra Volia is not just one beach, but two. Well, I would say three, one next to another. You can choose which one you want to taste, or you can eat them all.
There is a kiosk there with refreshments and ways to spend time.
Maybe you want to sit and enjoy the view. It is an organized beach with cabins to change and outdoor showers.
This beach took its name from the black pebbles that are found all over the beach and inside the sea.
If you want to swim at the other beach, then walk that path you see above and go over the small cliff.
Over that cliff, you will see this one. As you see, the beach continues furthermore. We didn’t go there.
The overall feeling was very relaxing. We love such beaches where you can find showers to wash out the salt, especially when you have plenty of things to do after that.
Apotheca Chios beach
This is a different style of a beach. It is near Mesta village.
To go there, you arrive at the top of the hill where there is an activity station.
Just take the short path down, and you arrive at a beautiful secluded beach. Hector, who runs the water activities place, is a very calm person. He kindly provided the kayaks so we could have the experience of paddling along the coastline.
The beach is very friendly and not windy at all on the day we went there.
We decided to go to sea kayaking. The facilities provide scuba diving lessons and stand up paddling boards too.
When we arrived at Apotheca, we had the pleasant surprise of meeting George Halatsis and his wife, Filia. We’ve met this vivid couple (hikers, mountain climbers, teachers) at Agiasmata Thermal baths. We grabbed two of the kayaks and went out exploring.
Sun was coming down fast. We had some time for a short swim. This was one of the beaches where I didn’t want to stay out of the water.
These 2 are two beaches where you must go and swim. If you are an activities person, chose Apotheca.
Beach of Nagos
As mentioned, we wanted to get out and explore the closest beach, to cool down, and then to hike Kampia Gorge. So, we landed here at Nagos beach.
A pure beach, where you approach it via a small “secret” path. The water was very cool.
Exactly what we needed! We didn’t want to leave the beach, but we were determined to do the gorge hiking.
So we went back to Spilia, took a shower, and went out seeking the Kampia gorge entry point.
Where to Stay in Chios Greece?
When in Mesta, we stayed at Ergani studios. When you plan to stay there, hurry up, as there are just two studios. You won’t regret it. Check these photos below to understand why.
And here is our room with an indoor wooden oven and fireplace, which is an amazingly beautiful thing to see inside a room.
And when it was time for breakfast? Well, here is the elegant breakfast room with lots of yummies.
Lots of great food.
The whole place and our room were so great that we were eager to return after every adventure and just relaxed there.
When we went to the Kardamilla village, we stayed at Spilia Guesthouses. We landed at the town of Kardamila, and we would stay there for a couple of days. Kardamila is less than an hour from Volissos, so driving is short and pleasant.
Kardamila is a lovely and quiet village by the beach. There is Upper (Ano) Kardamila and Lower Kardamila.
And here is the main square of Upper Kardamila. Lots of shade, a couple of taverns, and some coffee houses. Very quite.
So, the guesthouses were we would stay, used to be a castle.
Kiki and Dimitris, who run this place, decorate it with furniture and items that are part of Dimitri’s private collection.
Staying there is like living in a comfortable museum, with all the amenities of a hotel.
Houses are big, comfortable, with great views and quite secluded.
You need a little bit of walking to get there (5 minutes) from where you park your car, but this place is special. This was our room!
In Volissos Chios, we stayed at Castelli Apartments. Our room was very well decorated and had a nice front-yard with flowers. Everything was very colorful. Fancy that?
If you want to take the ferry, keep in mind that it is a long ride to get to the island from Athens. For ferry tickets choose either this or this, Greek ferries service.
Take the ferry from Piraeus port. There are routes all year round, about 3 times per week. The trip Chios island lasts 9 hours (with relatively good weather). You can also travel to Chios from nearby islands including Lesvos, Mykonos, Syros, Ikaria, and Samos.
There are lots of things to do in Ithaca Greece. According to Homer, this island was the island of Odysseus.
Imagine being on the very island that is strictly related to one of the most famous travelers and adventurers in the books, after Hercules, Homer’s Ithaca.
Rich, in the essence of mythical adventure and man’s hope of immortality, this famous among the Greek islands destination, offers the magical ambiance of times past and the stories that light our imaginations.
Known as Odysseus’ kingdom, Ithaca stands as a symbol for spiritual quests. It symbolizes the discovery of the richness of all that each of us is and could become.
Find refuge from the humdrum of daily living in a magical adventure that holds adventure and inspiration that is only limited by the dimensions of your imagination.
Enjoy lounging on beautiful beaches and enjoying the perfectly scattered greenery of the landscape — a perfect culmination of wonder and breathtaking views.
Let’s see what you can do in the home of Odysseus.
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Things to Do in Ithaca Greece
The island has a little something for everybody. It belongs to the Ionian islands complex and has several hidden gems to reveal.
Sailing the Ionian islands, exploring, shopping, dining, hiking, taking in the culture and history of Greece, and total immersion into the mythical legends for an unforgettable adventure is possible on your trip to Ithaca.
Hike around the island. Here are two different proposals for hiking in Ithaca Greece:
Aetos – Acropolis of Alalkomenes
Perachori – Nymphs Cave
See the descriptions and photos from these two hiking routes, as provided by our friends from Ithacorama.
Ithaca Greece: Trekking Aetos Acropolis of Alalkomenes
There is an archaeological site to the right of the highest point of the main road from Aetos to Piso Aetos.
From the area where the church of St. George is, there is a steep path that leads visitors to the top of the hill (height 380 m to the ruins of “Acropolis of Alalkomenes” or “Castle of Odysseus”).
We walk from the wooden pavilion a bit to the right and behind the chapel. Follow the red signs that eventually lead us to a kind of a stone entrance with several stone steps.
We climb the stairs by following the red signs.
In less than halfway up the hill, the path branches off to the left.
Nearby, marked in red, there is a wall of massive stones.
It seems that this wall starts from the top to the bottom of the hill.
We return to the original path and remount following the red signs until you reach the top, the highest point of the citadel about 378 meters above sea level.
The small column you will see there is not an archaeological find but an elevation point located by the Military Geographical Service.
There you will enjoy a spectacular view of the entire part of North Ithaca with its odd shape, the Western torso of Kefalonia, and all the East Coast.
Length: 1,000 m
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Proposed hours: afternoon
Trekking Perachori – Nymphs Cave Ithaca Greece
Another great route in Ithaca Greece. Starting-point for this track is the old Panaghia’s church, above the cemetery, at the top of Perachori village.
After the church, at the corner of the main street, the old road goes right to Paleochora. Paleochora was the capital (“Chora”) of Ithaca Island in the medieval years (about 1500).
At the first fork, at the entry of a farm, go left (the right path goes to a small church).
After about 10 minutes walking, the Aghios Ioannis (Saint John the Theologian) church with the stone bell tower and the beautiful murals welcomes you.
The old street is easy and horizontal, but at some points, the stone-wall has broken down, and you have to be careful.
You are at the first bend of Paleochora, and the view of Perachori, Vathi, the coves round, also up to the Petaliatiko Mountain, is lovely.
Following the track, you will walk past old houses and ruins.
When you reach the second bend of the path in Paleochora, you will see the fantastic view of Dexa Cove. You are now in the center of the medieval city.
You can see a very old stone threshing-floor and a ruined house. The house is a double-story building, and it is massive.
Perhaps it was the headquarters in Paleochora (the house of the commander).
Following the path little downhill, you leave Paleochora. After some minutes, you will see a low sheep-pen and a second (newer) threshing-floor.
After that, go right and walk on the gentle slope ridge to two small churches (Aghios Andreas and Aghios Nikolaos).
Then you arrive at Nymphs Cave (Marmarospilia).
A stone path takes you from the Cave to the asphalt road.
Length: 3.000 m
Difficulty level: medium
Proposed hours: afternoon
Archaeological Sites of Ithaca Greece
The first people appeared in Ithaca Greece during the Neolithic Age. Over 30 archaeological sites tell more about who they were.
Is it possible that Odysseus’ palace exists in one of the yet to be excavated sites? Learn more about the ancient people inhabiting Ithaca by visiting some of these fantastic sites.
Elliniko: Region of Marathias
Laertes Property: In the region of Aetos
Evmaios Cave: Situated in southern Ithaca.
Tikti Crini: An artificial reservoir used in Mycenaean towns
School of Homer: In Agios Athanasios
Cave of the Nymphs: Where Odysseus hid the gifts of Phaeacians
Cave of Loizos: On the beach of Poli
Pilikata: According to history this is where the Odyssean city lies
Marathias plateau: Many different archaeological sites
Alalkomenes: Where the ancient Acropolis of the town of Alalkomenes is found
Sail the Ionian Sea from Ithaca Greece
There are many different locations to access by water. Choose from sailing or yachting, whichever suits your preference at the moment.
You’ll notice the different “feel” of the environment in the Ionian Sea as compared to the Aegean.
Ionian sea territory is described as a whole other Greece. You’ll pass through narrow corridors surrounded by tall cliffs with impeccable landscapes.
Sail to the many small islands that each have their unique charm.
You have your choice of day trips or planning overnight excursions to gain a fuller experience of the culture.
There are a host of yachting centers that cater to your resupply needs or for accommodating your overnight needs.
Don’t forget to view the loggerhead turtles and their egg-laying grounds.
Travel by sailboat to the enclosed bay of Kioni.
Enjoy the journey there, and when you dock, you’ll be amazed by the breathtaking scenery.
You behold a quaint fishing village with stone homes and lovely patios overflowing with flowers.
The waterfront is packed with amenities to please all tastes.
Visit the one of a kind coffee shop with a variety of beverage offerings.
You may enjoy dining at unique restaurants featuring tables on the water, followed by a visit to one of the stylish bars in this hamlet that began in the 16th century.
Beaches of Ithaca Greece
Magnificent sandy beaches await you. Explore the pebbled beach of Filiatro along with:
Explore Vathi and Lazareto in Ithaca
Vathi (the capital of the island) and Lazareto are nested in a bay with deep fjord-like waters.
Take an excursion to the 17th-century church in Lazareto, also known as the islet of the savior.
Take in the Ionian architecture featured in the hotels, shops, and other structures. It will flood your senses and to the overall experience of the island.
Enjoy world-class shopping at the various markets and shops featuring authentic Greek foods, beverages, artwork, and one of a kind gift items.
Stop in for coffee, enjoy lunch at one of the many cafe’s or visit the unique array of vendors.
Museums offer opportunities for viewing relics from the ancient past, artwork, and total immersion into the history and culture from past and present Greece.
Immerse yourself more in-depth into the history and culture of old Greece by traveling to the Katharon Monastery. You’ll find it to be a religious mecca.
It is also called the patron of Ithaca or the monastery of “Panagia tis Kathariotissas.”
It has been standing in Homer’s Niritos, the most magnificent location on the isle point since 1696, and you won’t want to miss it.
There is so much to see and do in Ithaca Greece.
Don’t miss the village of Anogi, also called Upper Land (Ano Chora), and is one of the oldest villages of Ithaca. Few know that it is the 2nd most crucial medieval settlement of Ithaca.
Visit the Byzantine church dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. It has new frescoes and worth seeing.
Where to Stay in Ithaca island?
There are some top selections, depending on the type of vacations you want to do and your company. Here are the top accommodation suggestions.
Romantic Escapes: The Perantzada Art Hotel in Vathi. White-washed rooms boutique hotel, classy, and pretty lovely private balconies are overseeing the bay of Vathi.
To the Beach: Choose the Captain Yiannis Hotel in Vathi. Fully equipped with kitchenettes, and great views to the Ionian sea, minutes from the beach.
You’ll want to plan and give yourself plenty of time to take it all in.
Ithaca offers something for everybody, whether you’re after an adventure, seeking rest, a unique experience of cultural immersion, or perhaps a little of each.
While snooping around the Cyclades, we wondered what the best things to do in Naxos, Greece was.
The island of Naxos has many beaches, but were there any other exciting locations we had to see? Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades. Therefore they had to be.
We asked the locals, and they suggested a lot of things.
We had to pay a visit to Chora (the capital and harbor or Naxos), to go and see Kouros statue near Apollonas village and the ancient temple of Demeter.
Here is the scoop about the best things to do in Naxos Greece.
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About the Island of Naxos Greece
The island of Naxos, unlike most in the Cycladic archipelago, has a source of freshwater and fertile soil, so everything is organically grown and served on your plate.
Naxians believe that life is meant to be lived to the fullest in the simplest of ways – peacefully and respectfully with a profound love for family, nature, and friends, both old and new.
Having such a vibrant culture and wild nature that offers such a great diversity around every turn, this lively island is the ideal destination to discover your very own piece of “Pura Vida.”
And indeed you will not miss the “kerasma of raki,” which is the raki drink on the house.
A passing by a local tavern- kafeneio (traditional village hang out place) always hides secret surprises and lots of laughter.
Locals are very hospitable and friendly and love to open conversations with the tourists where the jokes play a significant role in having fun and be happy.
Happiness is not a private affair: it can be more readily achieved in a society where like-minded people band together to help inspire one another’s the pursuit of happiness. Naxians are just like that; this runs on their DNA.
Local life is diverse, and people are remarkable in every way so that you will enjoy your journey in the mountainous villages.
Portara in Naxos Town Greece
The most famous iconic theme in Chora of Naxos is Portara.
It means a massive door. When you see it, though, you can’t afford to think of it as a stargate out of this world.
It is massive (around 6 meters high and more than 3.5 meters wide) and imposing.
Portara consists of four significant pieces of local marble. Each piece weighs several tons.
Perhaps due to the weight of these pieces, Venetians could not use it as a building material for the castle at Chora. They used several pieces from the rest of the temple, though.
According to mythology, it was here where Dionysus saw Ariadne.
He fell in love with her and kidnapped her to be his wife.
This is one of the essential art themes worldwide; the kidnapping of Ariadne.
The location of Portara is on a small piece of land called Palatia, which was once a hill but is now a separate little island connected to Naxos by a causeway.
The area of the castle is a typical island build with houses right next to each other, arches and narrow corridors, while suddenly secret squares and small gardens make their appearance.
Temple of Demetra in Naxos, Greece
This is located near Sangri. It is an organized archaeological place, and it is easy to get there either by car or a scooter.
The temple dates from the Naxos high point of 6th century B.C. (between 530 and 520 B.C). It is entirely made of white marble.
During the 6th century, the ancient sanctuary was turned into a Christian basilica church.
There is also a two-room museum where you can see exhibits of the ancient temple and the Christian one.
Kouros of Naxos, near Apollonas
As you approach the village of Apollonas in Naxos, Greece, there is an ancient quarry.
There, a 10m long unfinished statue is resting on the ground, maybe waiting for the sculpture to come and finish it.
It is rather impressive to acknowledge the size and proportions of it.
The village of Apollonas is a small picturesque quiet village where you can have coffee, lunch, or -why not- a swim to cool down.
These locations were no more than 30-40 minutes distance from our accommodation at Elaiolithos Luxury Retreat, so we organized the day around them, including swimming at sea near Chora.
Chalki (Chalkio or Halkio), Naxos Greece
One of the must-visit villages of Naxos is Chalki (otherwise known as Chalkio or Halkio). The town is situated in the center of Naxos.
It has some pretty beautiful sites inside the village, yet the secrets are around the town. If you are a hiking aficionado, then you will love this place and the hiking routes around.
There are some places inside Chalki that you will find since they are located in the main village square. We also discovered them, and we share them here.
You need to know that Chalki is situated in the broader area of the Tragea valley. This valley has been described as the “Mystras of the Aegean.”
Once you arrive at the Drimalia/Traghea area, you will see over four hundred thousand olive trees over a millennium old.
This area still holds many remnants of the indigenous culture, creating a unique personality that delightfully differs from the rest of the island.
Chalkio and the area around it, called the Byzantine Mystras because of its numerous amazing churches, is a world apart in distance and atmosphere – from the rest of the island.
Chalkio, Moni, Kinidaros, Filoti, Apeirathos, Koronos villages are ideal destinations for immersing yourself in nature. Here hiking, marble quarries, springs, emery mines, olive groves, and citrus fruits reign supreme.
Chalkio village is a treasure trove of history, culture, and art just waiting to be explored. It is a historic district that shines with its neoclassical architecture and grand Venetian towers with many galleries, taverns, cafes, boutiques, local groceries, and loom weaving shops-exhibitions.
Naxian hinterland offers visitors the rare opportunity to walk or drive among wild nature and have a long, fulfilling day.
Driving the road from Potamia to Chalkio, one can see the imposing Upper Castle, which is among the most photographed landscapes in the Aegean, similar to the Sarakiniko in Milos, where the landscape resembles a scene from the moon with the giant rocks and their unusual shapes.
Just off the road between Ano Potamia and Melanes villages, there is the “Kalamitsia” – The Jesuit imposing Palace worth a visit from all aspects.
A vibrant culture, eco-adventures, and local organic cuisine around every turn, Naxos is the ideal destination to discover your very own piece of “Pura Vida.”
Climbing Mount Zas, the highest in the Cyclades with a peak of 1004 meters, is a fascinating experience with all the Cycladic islands visible.
What is to see in Chalkio? Read along.
L-EcoArt Shop Gallery of Chalki
Visit the art shop (L-EcoArt Shop Gallery) of Helen Marakis.
That place is far from a souvenir shop.
It is more like an art shop, where it hosts the works of Helen Maraki (who worked as a decorator in New York for 30 years before coming to Naxos) along with the handpicked works of a variety of artists.
Here is a short-range of photos from the gallery. Helen was kind enough to allow us to take some.
Chalkio Handmade Marmalades and Herbs
Sitting at the stairs, creating embroidery art is Anastasia Maraki, sister of Helen (from the art shop).
Her unique shop is next to her sister’s gallery and is called “Nature and Art”.
Everything in there is homemade.
If you have a sweet tooth, then this is the place to buy “a few” things along with pretty good local wine.
The owner and her husband grow, collect, and make everything you see.
Vallindras Citrus Distillery in Chalki
This is one of the most popular things to see (and buy Citrus liqueur).
They produce their liqueur in the same way and with the same equipment since 1896.
Actually, in 1896, the liqueur became alcohol and citrus-based, while before that, the taste was a bit different.
The recipe is secret, and tourists flock there for a free sample taste of this liquid that is like silk on your tongue.
The Weaving Tradition of Chalki, Naxos Greece
As you exit the distillery, cross the “street” (walk 5 meters), and you will find the traditional hand-loom weaving workshop of Maria Maraki (named as “Maria Maraki Ifada”).
By the way, Maria is the mother of Helen and Anastasia, as seen above.
The creation of these handwoven loom textiles is a unique art that leaves most people amazed.
These were not just decorative creations but were weaved for daily usage. The women of Moni village keep the tradition through weaving and embroideries of spectacular beauty.
We caught one of them working on something new. This kind of work needs a significant amount of patience and skill.
Where to Eat in Chalkio
You have to eat the local “galaktoboureko” sweet and also eat at Kalliopi’s tavern.
Eat Breakfast & Snacks at “Kera”
With just a few tables to serve, this place has the most spectacular pies and “galaktoboureko” and “baklava” you will find in Chalki.
Their “galaktoboureko” is wildly famous.
Eat Local Naxos Food at Kalliopi’s Tavern
That is one great tavern inside the forest just outside of Chalki.
We had to mention it, though, since the place is amazingly beautiful, serene, and with delicious food. It is just 500meters after Panagia Drossiani, leaving Chalkio to Moni village.
After leaving the asphalt road, you may think you drive the wrong way (since the road becomes a dirt road) but keep ongoing.
The place will reward you! Everything you eat there is homemade or homegrown.
Go to Thalasea, Kitesurfing, and Windsurfing sports center based in Parthena bay, Mikri Vigla, Naxos, Greece. Our friends at Thalasea provide us with the following info.
The bay of Mikri Vigla Naxos has some of the strongest winds in the Cyclades, created by a venturi that is formed by the squeeze caused by Naxos and the neighboring island of Paros.
The island of Naxos, Greece, is a natural playground for kiteboarders and windsurfers thanks to its wide, shallow bay and the “meltemi”, a seasonal climatic system that creates great wind throughout the summer, from May-September, but often in October too.
Whether you are an experienced kiteboarder or windsurfer or just starting out, their surfing area is the perfect place to enjoy great wind conditions.
The kitesurfing courses are divided into 3 parts, according to the IKO instruction standards (International Kiteboarding Organization) and you will progress quickly and safely. In groups of 2-4.
Thalasea Beach Bar is in a beautiful setting with a bar, restaurant, comfy seats and sofas, a beautiful beach and loungers.
This multifunctional venue apart from being a sports center is a great, all-day place for lounging on the beach and enjoying your coffee, fresh juices, and amazing cocktails, before returning in the evening for Mediterranean cuisine and seaside drinks.
Where to Stay in Naxos Greece
We stayed at ELaiolithos Luxury Retreat. This eco-friendly place is located at the feet of Moni village, overseeing the Tragea valley.
It is hikers friendly, cycling-friendly and friendly in general. They also serve some great snacks in a separate area with panoramic views to the valley.
Far from the noise of Chora of Naxos but close if you want to visit.
It was our base for excursions all over Naxos and very relaxing to stay there.
We love hotels where we can relax far from the noise that comes with “hot seasons” and famous Greek islands like Naxos.
ELaiolithos opened for public in May 2017 when we were invited to go there and experience Naxos island.
It was the first time for us on the island. Helen, who runs this place, was both visible and invisible when needed, and we are sure she will be a massive success with this hotel.
Conclusion on the Best Things to Do in Naxos Greece
Naxos is an amalgam of myths and history, tradition, and spirituality. You can feel the vibrations of those energies by the minute you step your foot on the ground of the island.
If your idea of vacation heaven is to sip mojitos on a white sandy beach for two weeks or to stay within the confines of a five-star hotel or on the sun deck of a pool or a cruise ship that’s ok – it is lovely.
But for those whose luxury is only part of the holiday experience and also love to enjoy and to discover the delight of meeting new people and sharing their corner of the earth, then Naxos is a top destination because it combines everything.
Naxian people live the “now” in all means. Their general belief that life is too short for not having a good time every day, all the time, any season, and under any circumstances is met everywhere.
If you are fascinated by cultures, history, society, and you liberate yourself and step into the real life of the place you visit to have an authentic experience. Your visit to Naxos Greece will reimburse you in many different ways.
See your destination by driving in the mainland or by foot, enter the Naxian hinterland and discover its gems, by experiencing the local life, the spirit of the natural world and have access to the cultural and agricultural riches that this island has to offer.
Here you will come in contact with the authentic side of Naxos, the remarkable sights, the unusual smells, and its mesmerizing sounds.
This self-sufficient island produces everything and supplies also many adjacent Cycladic islands. Its people are very proud and hardworking.
Every house has its production of oil, meat, vegetables, fruits, poultry, cheese, raki, and wine.
Visitors can have this experience by going to the field with locals and pick with their own hands whatever each season produces. Therefore it is wise to visit the local villages and taste each one’s special delicacies and sweets.
Every village is a different experience in food and wine.
Everything on your dinner plate is grown and produced here, from root vegetables and greens to fruit, olive oil, herbs, preserves, traditionally made small-batch cheeses and certain meats.
Are you planning for the mystical island of Samothrace?
Dotted around the world are places of stunning natural beauty and peaceful silence best described as “hidden gems.”
Samothrace, a small Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea, is one of those places, also referred to as the island of the sanctuary of the great gods.
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What To Do in Samothrace (Samothraki)?
At only 178 km2 (69 sq miles), Samothrace packs a lot into its small size.
Bursting with picture-perfect views of vibrant green vegetation, lakes, rivers, mountains, and waterfalls, the island has a lot to offer the curious tourist and thrill-seeking adventurer.
With a small local population of under 3,000, its primary industry being fishing.
Here are some key points you need to have in mind to help you with your itinerary to Samothraki. Definitely do these.
Camping: You can go camping at the campsite of Therma.
Great Gods: The island is related to the worship of the Great Gods and to the Cabeirian Mysteries (that are similar to the Eleusinian Mysteries). There are temples related to that. Ask the locals for the myths.
The Tank of Samothrace: Discover that on the southeastern side of the island. An old tank that remains from the WW II.
Hike in Full Moon: Add more mystery to mystery. Hike to the highest peak of Mount Saos. Here, the legend claims that Poseidon sat to watch the Trojan War. The hike takes 6 hours. Ask the Mountaineering Association of Samothrace (called: Mount Fengari) for details and participate.
Admire the endless blue: Go to Prophet Elias village for the Panoramic views. From there you can see the islands of Limnos and Imvros, along with the sacred shores of Mount Athos.
Get drunk: Participate in the Tsipouro Festival at the settlement of Karyotes. There is plenty of food and dancing.
Swim in rock formated lakes: Go and swim to Vathres. These are lakes formed by waterfalls. The most popular ones are the Vathra of Fonias and Gria Vathra.
Heal: Visit the thermal springs and allow yourself to sink into waters with temperatures fluctuating from 30 to 100 degrees Celsius.
Samothrace is relatively undisturbed by the modern world and remains one of the last genuinely virgin islands of Greece.
Steeped in a long and colorful history, there is evidence of human activity on the island since Neolithic times.
Referred to in Greek mythology as the island of Aeolus, legend has it that Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, sat on top of the islands “Mount Saos” to watch the Troy war.
With pristine pebble beaches, crystal clear sea, abundant native wildlife, and migratory birds surrounding you in every direction, stepping into the island gives the impression of entering heaven on Earth.
Understandably, the island is often referred to as “the island of the sanctuary of the great gods.”
Samothrace welcomes the tourist with open arms.
For the traditional holidaymaker, a selection of top-rated hotels and traditional Mediterranean restaurants will please even the most demanding visitors.
For those looking to fully immerse themselves into the island and soak up the rich culture, museums, ancient stone castles, and churches are all available to visit.
Explorers, adventure lovers, and outdoor activity enthusiasts will fall in love with Samothrace island’s undisturbed mountainous terrain.
Mountain biking, paragliding, mountaineering, rafting, kayaking, trekking, crossing gorges, and diving are amongst some of the activities that can be experienced and enjoyed if you’re the sort of person who chooses the great outdoors over fine dining.
Although a small island, it is still divided into many small towns and villages.
Chora, the island’s capital, is a small but charming town featuring traditional buildings and narrow alleys that twist and turn through the picturesque Mediterranean vegetation.
It offers several popular restaurants, cafes, and stunning views over the sea.
Hike and Rapel Waterfall of Kremastos, Samothrace Greece
Here is a post from our friend Zacharis Aristeidis for this famous waterfall. Lets read his word describing his adventure.
Going down such a waterfall (in combination with the path to go there) is a unique experience.
We start a little after the beach of Pachia Ammos at Samothrace, and after 1 hour of walking, we arrive at the beautiful beach of Vatos.
There the canyon of Vatos ends.
After crossing the beach, we keep on going for another 2 hours at the wild and steep south side of the island.
The scenery here is entirely different.
Cliffs, carved hillsides, undergrowth and strange geological formations on one side, while you experience the infinite blue on the other side.
After we traverse a big part of the south side, we arrive at the beginning of Kremastos at an altitude of 300 mt.
The rappels are one after the other, with their peak being the last vertical and still long from the ground part. The last part of the rappel ends up in the sea.
Our return to the beach of Pachia Ammos happens with a boat since doing this by the coast is quite a “heavy” thing to do, and experience on mountain trekking is needed.
To perform the rappels 2 -at least- persons are needed with excellent experience in canyoning.
During the summer months, the amount of waters is minimal.
Visit Therma in Samothrace
Another famous town to visit is the town of Therma.
This seaside village is located about 14km from the port of Kamariotissa.
Despite being not much more than a small cluster of hotels, rental apartments, and tourist shops, Therma is frequently visited due to the stunning lush foliage and ancient forest that surround it.
For those looking to wind down, Therma also boasts several natural, mineral-rich thermal springs celebrated by tourists and locals alike for their rejuvenating and healing properties.
With its beautifully balanced mix of traditional villages, unspoiled landscapes, modern amenities, and a broad range of outdoor activities, Samothrace will appeal to a large number of people.
Whether you’re looking to find peace, solitude, and moments of pure bliss or looking to experience the excitement of this unique island in adrenaline-fueled outdoor pursuits, it is guaranteed to please all who meet her.
Finally, the island is widely known for a specific artifact: The Nike of Samothrace (Nike= Winged Victory of Samothrace).
This fantastic statue is known worldwide for its excellent form, which reveals the sense of action and triumph.
3 Best Beaches on Samothrace
There are not many beaches on the island of Samothrace but those that exist are pretty good.
Pahia Ammos beach: It is on the south, nearly 15km from Kamariotissa. It is a sandy beach with two huge rocks extending into the sea and some pretty dramatic cliffs to gaze upon.
Kipos beach: Covered with pebbles and about 1000km long. It is on the east side of the island. Waters are crystal clear and the overall feeling is peacefulness and solitude.
Vatos beach: A sandy popular beach, reached only with a tour boat. You can hike there too but it will take you several hours to reach it from Pachia Ammos.
How to Get to Samothrace island?
If you land in Athens, Greece, then the only way is to get to Alexandroupoli and take the ferry. That takes you to the main port of Kamariotissa. From there you can take local buses, taxis or rent a car to go to other villages.
Alternatively, you can take the train from Athens to Thessaloniki and from there to take the bust to Alexandropouli, or you can take the train from Athens, change to Thessaloniki, take another train and be in Alexandroupoli.
You can reach Samothrace via the Alexandroupli airport, either from Thessaloniki or Athens. Check the best flight options and price from here.
Where to Stay in Samothrace island?
There are quite a few options. One great value for money hotel in Kamariotissa (with a pool), suitable for families and one of our favorite, is Niki Beach Hotel.
What is the cheapest way to get to Samothraki from Athens?
If you rent a car or take the bus from Thessaloniki, then that is the cheapest way. The bus and car ferry via Thessaloniki costs from 65€ to 130€. It will take around 14 hours to be on Samothrace. It is best to land on Thessaloniki airport (if your airline supports that) and avoid going through Athens.
Is there a fastest way to get from Athens to Samothraki?
You can compare (depends on the season) flight tickets to get to Alexandroupoli airport and then take the ferry to Samothrace. That will save you lots of driving time but it may not be the cheapest way. The flight from Athens airport to Samothrace airport takes only 1 hour.
Which airlines fly to Alexandroupoli?
The Greek airlines of Olympic Air and Sky Express offer flights from Athens Airport to the airport of Alexandroupoli.
That is the spirit of this island, indeed. A fantastic island that is full of action!
Do you want to travel to Europe? Are you under a small budget? The Gods of travel took care of that already. There are plenty of cheap city breaks in Europe in different affordable European destinations you can choose from.
There is a secret list of affordable European destinations that frequent travelers know.
Countries and cities included in this list are considered a pivot point for your travel experience. Traveling through these cities gets you acquainted with the essence of Old Europe and its history.
We are here to share these secrets for the best cheap city breaks with you.
Cheap European Breaks in Prague, Czech Republic
Right in the heart of Europe, this spectacular city hides lots of secrets, even a medieval astronomical clock that seems to come from a fiction novel. Read a fascinating post for three days in Prague Itinerary.
What are the best things to do in Prague?
Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí)
Charles Bridge (Karluv most)
St. Vitus Cathedral (Chrám svatého Víta)
Jewish Quarter (Josefov)
Prague Astronomical Clock
National Theatre (Národní Divadlo)
St. Nicholas Church (Chrám svatého Mikuláse)
When to go to Prague?
To avoid large crowds, better go to Prague in spring and early fall (March-May) when the weather is mild. Avoid the holiday seasons (Christmas, Easter).
During May there is a range of important events taking place too: the Prague Marathon, Czech Beer Festival, Prague Food Festival, Prague International Music Festival.
Prague is fantastic among all European Destinations.
A stunning coastal city with great architecture, history, food, and museums (museums are free to enter on Sundays). The city hosts the UNESCO World Heritage Ribeira District.
What are the best things to do in Porto?
Dom Luís I Bridge
Sé do Porto (Porto Cathedral)
Jardins do Palácio de Cristal (Crystal Palace Gardens)
Avenida dos Aliados (Avenue of the Allies)
Estação de São Bento (São Bento Railway Station)
Mercado do Bolhão (Bolhão Market)
Porto’s fantastic beaches
Livraria Lello & Irmão (Lello Bookstore)
Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis)
Port Wine Tastings & Tours
Palácio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange Palace)
Fundação de Serralves (Serralves Foundation Complex)
Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis (National Museum Soares dos Reis)
When to go to Porto?
From May to September the weather is warm and sunny. Some significant events happening during that time are Optimus Primavera Sound, Serralves em Festa, Festa de São João, Regata dos Rabelos, Festival Mares Vivas.
Porto is one of the best summer European destinations.
There are plenty of things to do in Athens, despite Parthenon and Acropolis. Many prefer this city for two days itinerary but when you read posts like this one, this and this (all Athens section) you will understand that it is for much more.
Due to its geographical location and weather conditions, it is ideal for 10 out of 12 months.
All parks in Athens are free to enter and churches too. Free admission museums are:
The Museum of the History of Greek Costume
The Philatelic and Postal Museum
Railway Museum of Athens
Theatrical Museum of Greece
Natural History Museum of Maroussi
Athens University History Museum
Museum of Greek Folk Instruments
Centre of Folk Art and Tradition
Hellenic Children’s Museum
Free admission holidays
6th of March – Memory of Melina Mercouri
18th of April – International Monument Day
18th of May International Museum Day
5th of June World Environment Day
European Days of Cultural Heritage (The last weekend of September)
27th of September – International Tourism Day
When for Athens?
It’s in Greece! If you avoid December and January, then all other months are fantastic to go to Athens. Even in wintertime, there are ski resorts in less than 2 hours distance from Athens (two in Peloponnese and one in Parnassos mountain). There are options for hiking, all museums are open, and food remains excellent all year long.
Athens is one of the most fabulous European destinations, as it is a pivot point for the Greek islands.
City Trip to Valencia, Spain
Affordable and easy to reach with a high-speed train from Barcelona or Madrid. A coastal city, vibrant with history and museums. It is famous for its oranges too, so taste some while there.
What are the best things to do in Valencia?
Central Market (Mercado Central)
Fine Art Museum of Valencia (Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia)
Instituto Valencia d’Arte Modern (IVAM)
Albufera Nature Park (Parque Natural de la Albufera)
La Lonja de la Seda
City of the Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias)
When it is great to go to Valencia?
April to May is best, though there are plenty of visiting in the wintertime. Keep in mind that museums operate under short ours in the winter. Critical events in that period are The Superbike World Championship, Fiesta de San Vicente Ferrer, Holy Week, Festival of Our Lady of the Forsaken.
The city offers at a fraction of the cost whatever you expect to find in a European city. This is another city that emits mystery from Old-World, despite the growth of the modern building. Read this insider’s guide for things to do in Lisbon.
What are the best things to do in Lisbon?
Torre de Belem and Monument to the Discoveries
Feira da Ladra
Santa Justa Elevator (Elevador de Santa Justa)
St. George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge)
National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo)
Gulbenkian Museum (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian)
Monastery of St Jerome
Oceanarium (Oceanario de Lisboa)
Taste of Lisboa Food Tours
Lisbon By Boat
When is it best to visit Lisbon?
March to May and September to October is ideal, not excluding other months, too, of course. From March to early June, these events take place: Lisbon Half Marathon, Lisbon Fish & Flavours, Music Days in Belem, IndieLisboa, Festival de Sintra, Out Jazz Festival. On the other hand, the MOTEL X – Lisbon International Film Festival happens in September, while the Out Jazz Festival continues too (May to September).
Istanbul Archaeological Museums (Istanbul Arkeoloji Müzeleri)
Topkapi Palace Museum (Topkapi Sarayi Müzesi)
Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Chora Museum (Kariye Müzesi)
Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici)
Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)
When it is amazing to visit Istanbul?
Best go there from September to November and from March to May. In the first period, you will have the opportunity to attend these too: Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul International Puppet Festival, Akbank Jazz Festival, Istanbul Theatre Festival.
In the March to May period, these things happen at the Istanbul Film Festival, Istanbul Music Festival.
The March to May and September to November rule holds for Madrid too. The weather temperature is the main reason for this. Summer in Madrid is scorching due to the city’s geographical location. In Autumn, you can attend the Autumn Festival.
The city of Rome is a living, walk-through museum. It is an unbelievable destination suitable for all seasons (not so good when rains fall but still beautiful).
We have been multiple times in Rome with kids or not. It is suitable for going without kids too. Prepare for lots of walking as a car is useless in the vast historical center which covers most of the city of Rome.
What are the best things to do in Rome?
Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)
Church of San Luigi Dei Francesi
Santa Maria Della Vittoria
Ancient Appian Way
Basilica di San Clemente
Campo de’ Fiori
St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
Roman Forum (Foro Romano)
Gruppo Storico Romano Gladiator School
When is it wonderful to visit Rome?
Prices are lower from October to April. The weather is hot in summer, but Rome has free water fountains all over the city, and you will be amazed by the colors of the city with summer light.
You can find lots of affordable accommodations outside of the historical center, but it will still be close to it, so no worries. Better to go there with the sun than rain.
The cold will not be an issue with all the walking (if you plan for winter). Food is affordable if you avoid tourist restaurants.
From May to September, you can additionally attend these events: Formula E ePrix Championship, Carnival of Cultures, Fete de la Musique, Berlin Fashion Week, Lesbian and Gay City Festival, International Berlin Beer Festival, Berlin Marathon.
Berlin is at the center of Germany but also in the North of Europe so that any other months will be rather cold.
But, let me make it clear to you that being short of time cannot stop you from experiencing the flavor of Nepal.
There are a lot of things that you can do in Nepal and places to visit in Kathmandu within a short period.
In just three days, you can have a sight of Mount Everest and other high peaks with the help of Mountain Flight or Helicopter Tour, see the cultural heritage of Kathmandu and hike along Chisapani-Nagarkot route which is one of the hiking routes closest to Kathmandu.
You need to know about these activities, and the time they take to plan your short to Nepal and make it worthwhile.
You may exclude any of the activities on the list depending on your preferences in case you have a holiday shorter than three days.