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Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian island group in Greece, and that means there’s no shortage of things to do. The island is particularly known for its gorgeous natural beauty, which means that people should spend as much time as possible taking in the scenery. While here, visitors love spending time at the beaches, visiting some of the popular tourist sites, and in general appreciating all the island has to offer. It is also known for its rich culture and ancient religious history. One of the most famous sites on Kefalonia is the Lagouvarda Monastery. Here is all that you need to know about this ancient church before you set forth on your Kefalonia adventure:
History of Lagouvarda Monastery
Located in southern Kefalonia in the quaint village of Markopoulo, this monastery has a long and storied history. The monastery is most known for the myth that the annual appearance of its holy snakes bring good luck and protection to the island and its visitors. The legend dates back to 1705 when the monastery was under attack by pirates. The nuns allegedly prayed to the Virgin Mary, begging for protection from the pirates. The myth says that the nuns were turned into snakes in order to avoid being taken in as prisoners. The pirates only found snakes as they advanced on the monastery. In 1945, the church was ravaged by fire and then an earthquake caused severe damage in 1953. Despite all of the destruction, the legend of the holy snakes continues to attract visitors from all over the world.
Getting to Lagouvarda Monastery
There are two primary ways to reach the island of Kefalonia. The island’s airport services multiple routes to both Athens and Thessaloniki. These flights are each about one hour in length. During the busy tourist months, many other carriers service the island by providing routes to and from many European cities. You can also reach Kefalonia via ferry from various locations in Greece. Once in Kefalonia, the Lagouvarda Monastery is located approximately 30 kilometers from the capital city of Argostoli. Once in this bustling city, it is easy to find your way to the monastery either by guided tour or by renting your own vehicle.
What to Expect During Your Visit
The best time to visit the monastery is during the month of August when the holy snakes make their appearance. The small black non-venomous snakes are distinguished by the tiny crosses on their head and their cross-shaped tongues. Locals claim that the snakes appear every year on August 6 before retreating on August 15. The area comes alive as residents and tourists clamor to touch the snakes for good luck. Legend has it that bad luck will follow if the snakes do not make their annual appearance at the monastery. The highlight of the year comes on August 14 as residents and tourists gather with a festival celebration. Although you will encounter large crowds, this festival is a fun way to experience Greek culture.
While it may not be easy to reach this idyllic island and its famous monastery, you will be richly rewarded for your travels. The storied history of Greece and its welcoming culture are all on full display through the Lagouvarda Monastery and its holy snakes.
A trip to the idyllic Greek island of Corfu delivers all that you need for an amazing vacation for couples! This is one of those destinations that people flock to each year to enjoy all it has to offer. They come to enjoy the natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, quaint villages, and the delicious food and drink. Here are some activities to consider during your trip to Corfu:
Sample Some Wine
The expansive and fertile valley between Corfu Town and Ermone is ideal for grape cultivation and winemaking. Known as the Ropa Valley, this region is known for its production and export of Cabernet Sauvignon, Moschato, and Katigiorgis. Visitors to the region can stop by the Nicoluzo or Theotoky Estate to sample some of Greece’s best wines. A visit to either of these tranquil tasting rooms is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Corfu.
The island of Corfu offers ample opportunities to shop til you drop. While there are charming stores located in nearly every village, Corfu Town provides the most retail options. Regardless of if you are looking for handcrafted jewelry, exquisite leather goods, local ceramics, or other touristy treasures, the shops in this bustling town will provide what you need.
Get Married on Corfu
Love is in the air on Corfu. This Greek island paradise is famous for its stunning beaches and magnificent sunsets, providing a scenic backdrop for any wedding. Couples can choose to tie the knot on the sandy shores of the tranquil beaches or take it indoors with a palace wedding. If you are an Orthodox Christian, you may even be able to arrange to have a wedding in one of the beautiful Greek churches that can be found throughout the island!
Dine at Top Restaurants
The laid-back Greek way of life complements the many world-class dining establishments on Corfu. You and your love can enjoy a myriad of leisurely and romantic meals on this island paradise. Take the time to linger over a variety of cuisines, including authentic Greek food, Italian, and much more. You will find everything from premium multi-course dining experiences to casual beachside cafes.
Visit the Beach
There is no shortage of amazing beaches on this oasis. Sparkling clean water surrounded by lush greenery set the scene for a bevy of beach excursions. No visit to Corfu is complete without visiting the famous Paleokastritsa, known for its towering cliffs and abundance of sea caves. Myrtiotissa features pristine and unspoiled surroundings and is also one of Greece’s most popular nudist beaches.
Ipsos is also a great beach to try if you prefer to be where all the action is. This long sandy beach is complemented by a variety of cafes and shops conveniently located within walking distance. Or try Agios Gordios for its stunning rock formations, an abundance of soft sand, and convenience facilities.
Regardless of if you are looking for a variety of activities to keep you busy or the opportunity to connect with your loved one in a quiet setting, Corfu has all that you need to customize a romantic and meaningful couples trip.
Mount Athos is a peninsula in the Halkidiki region of Greece. Athos is known as the “right foot” of Halkidiki as well as the “Holy Mountain.” Access to this peninsula is restricted and special permission is required for access. Don’t fret though, there are still things you can do and see in the area.
The nearest airport is located in Thessaloniki. Getting to Ouranoupolis can be done via taxi, car, or bus from the bus station of Halkidiki, which is located south of Thessaloniki. When in Athos, most places can be reached by foot.
Visit the Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolis
If you’re visiting the area of Mount Athos, you won’t want to miss this piece of history. This Byzantine tower existed in 1344, but may be even older. In May of 1379, the despot (or king) of Thessaloniki was hosted at the tower and he would grant it exempt from taxes. During a 1585 earthquake, it is thought the tower suffered damage that required repair. More repairs would be needed after the tower suffered fire damage, which may have been caused by a fire during the revolution. Make sure you see this historical landmark when you’re in the area.
Grab a Bite to Eat
If you’re a seafood lover, you’re in luck. Around Athos you will find a number of restaurants that serve seafood and other Greek specialities. Vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free? You won’t be left out. Many of the restaurants in the Mount Athos area offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. No matter what your taste buds are craving, you’re likely to find it. Pasta, seafood, meat, Mediterranean, Greek, or European food, you’ll find it all. You can also enjoy coffee or tea at a café. Eating in Athos gives you the chance to try new and exciting dishes.
Hit the Beach
Arsanas Beach lies at the border of Mount Athos, where the old naval station of the Chromitsa Monastery separates the Holy Community from the rest of the area. The small beach of Arsanas provides a great view of Athos. The beach is located under the St. Archangel Michael monastery. The beach of Arsanas features cold, turquoise water and a sandy shore with rocky under the water.
Other beaches in the Mount Athos area include Nea Roda Beach and Stratoni Beach. Both of these beaches are located in the Akanthios Gulf area. If you travel by boat to Ammouliani Island, there are more beaches to explore, plus the added bonus of the view of the mainland, especially that of Mount Athos.
Athos, Greece is a place of beauty. While visiting the monasteries might not be possible for you (only men are allowed and need special permission), there are things to see and do. You can view the monasteries from a distance and get a feel for their importance. If you’re looking for a laid-back vacation where you can relax and move at your own pace, Athos is the place to be.
Thessaly is a region in Greece that is found on the east side of the Pindus watershed. Pindus is a mountain range that extends south of Macedonia to the Aegean Sea. Many rivers can be found throughout Thessaly. The Penios River runs through the entire region.
Thessaly is the perfect place for a family to experience together. If you enjoy outdoor activities, Thessaly is a wonderful place to indulge this passion. You can explore the plains and the mountains. The view from the mountains is stunning. No matter the season you choose to visit, Thessaly has plenty to offer you and your family.
Take a Tour of Meteora
When visiting Thessaly with the family, you can’t miss out on seeing Meteora. Meteora is a rock formation that is home to one of the largest complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. Six monasteries remain of the over twenty that used to be there. During the 9th century AD, a group of monks moved to the area and over the next few centuries, the monasteries would be established.
While you can certainly explore the area on your own, you might prefer a tour of Meteora. There are a number of tours your family might enjoy include a train tour, a walking tour, or a sunset tour. You can even take a two-day tour that includes Meteora and Delphi, but if you’re looking for something shorter, you can do a half-day tour of Meteora.
Take a Ride on “Smudgy” the Pelion Train
The Little Pelion Train (also known as “Smudgy”) is a steam train that goes from Volos to Melies, covering a distance of 28 km. This is a can’t miss activity when visiting Thessaly with the family. The train makes stops at the different villages and nature and historical spots as well as traveling through tunnels and over bridges. Riding “Smudgy” is an activity that your family won’t soon forget.
Spend an Afternoon at the Beach
Thessaly is home to a number of popular beaches, may of which are located on the eastern coast of Mount Pelion. Papa Nero Beach can be found next to the Agios Ioannis resort. The beach features turquoise waters and beautiful white sand. It’s no wonder this beach attracts the crowds that it does. Another beach you might be interested in visiting is Fakistra Beach. In addition to its two rocky capes and gorgeous turquoise water, the beach is home to remains of an old tower you can explore. Fakistra Beach is also where some scenes from the movie Mamma Mia! Were filmed.
When visiting Thessaly, Greece with the family, you don’t have to look far for things to do together. If you’re a family of history lovers, you’ll find the area abundant with museums. If you’re more into relaxing and enjoying good, local food, you’ll find plenty of beaches and restaurants to indulge in. No matter what you decide to do in Thessaly, you won’t be disappointed.
Sithonia is one of the three peninsulas of Halkidiki, Greece. Sithonia is called the “middle foot” of Halkidiki. The area is known for its resorts and rocky beaches. There are also some historical landmarks to be found. But if you’re looking to enjoy the nightlife in Sithonia, you’re luck. Here are some ideas for when you’re visiting Sithonia, Greece.
Enjoy the Local Bars and Lounges
Sithonia is home to a number of bars. If you’re looking to try new drinks, make new friends, and enjoy food, a bar or lounge is the place to be. A lounge may or may not serve food and liquor, but offers a relaxed environment if you’re looking for a place to be social. You will find pubs to be more crowded and you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for in terms of drinks. Enjoy one or both experiences in Sithonia, Greece.
Spend Time in Neos Marmaras
Neos Marmaras is a Cosmopolitan area. The small town draws tourists that want to enjoy its nightlife and natural beauty of sea and mountains. Neos Marmaras is located on the western coast of the peninsula. To get your night started, enjoy watching the sunset from the beach. There are beach bars, clubs, and cafes for your enjoyment. Neos Marmaras is known to turn into an endless party at night. If you’re looking for a high-energy way to enjoy the nightlife of Sithonia, you can’t miss out on the Neos Marmaras experience.
Check the Local Listings
You never know what events might be happening when you visit Sithonia. You can ask your hotel or resort if they have any information about events and if they have a list of things happening during your stay. There may even be a current events magazine that will help you decide what nightlife to enjoy as well as things to see during the day. You might be visiting at the perfect time to enjoy an outdoor concert, festival, or other show.
Enjoy a Romantic Meal
If you’re traveling Sithonia with your loved one, you will want to enjoy at least one romantic meal There are many romantic restaurants to be found in Sithonia. And there is nothing more romantic than a late dinner, with candles, and music at a local Greek restaurant. If you’re lucky, the restaurant may even have a space for dancing or a view that adds to the ambiance of the evening. Do you want to eat indoors or outdoors? You’ll find both options available around Sithonia. After your meal (don’t forget dessert!), take a stroll down the streets of Sithonia.
Sithonia is home to a variety of nightlife. Whether you want a quiet evening, romance, or more of a party atmosphere, you’ll find it in Sithonia. You won’t have to look far to find a bar, lounge, or restaurant to spend your time at. Experiencing Sithonia peninsula at night is like seeing the area for the first time.
Greece is a wonderful place to shop. Whatever you are looking for, you’re bound to find. You’ll likely come across things you didn’t even know you wanted. Exploring the various shops can be an adventure in itself. If you’re visiting Parga, Greece, you’ll find this is true.
Parga is a seaside town with an island-like ambiance. When you’re not enjoying the beaches and other nature the area has to offer, you will enjoy the shopping Parga has to offer. Here’s more information:
Shop for Souvenirs
If you’re visiting Parga and want to take home something to remember your time there with, or bring home gifts for friends and family, you will find what you’re looking for. Souvenirs don’t need to be bulky or expensive. You might prefer items like magnets with pictures of Parga on them, so they can be displayed on the fridge.
Postcards are also available, whether you want to send them right from Parga or take them home. If you enjoy fishing or know someone who does, you might want to take home fishing bait or hooks straight from Parga!
Buy a Special Piece of Jewelry
You can buy beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry in Parga. You will go home with pieces you know no one else is likely to have. Treat yourself to handmade necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. You will think of your trip to Parga every time you put them on. You’ll find a number of jewelry stores around Parga, so you can enjoy some window shopping before you decide what to spend your money on.
Indulge in Tasty Treats
While you’re in Parga, you must try the local baking. Take a break from sight-seeing and stop into a bakery. Whether you have a sweet tooth and want to try pies, cakes, pastries, or other sweets or prefer a sandwich or pizza, you will find what you’re craving. A big part of visiting someplace new is tasting the local food, so you don’t want to miss out on this experience.
Shop for Clothing
If you’re a fashion lover, you’re not going to want to leave Parga without checking out the selection of clothes they have to offer. Clothing is another lightweight item you can carry home as a reminder of your trip and get good use out of. Clothes can also make lovely gifts. Everyone loves to be unique when it comes to fashion, so why not bring home a few pieces from Parga.
Add to Your Art Collection
Don’t have an art collection? Once you see the artwork Parga has to offer, you’ll likely want to start one. The original artwork is colorful and a definite reminder of your trip to the seaside town. You will also be supporting local artists, which is an added bonus.
Parga is a beautiful seaside beach that offers beaches, history, and plenty of shopping. When you’re not admiring the landscape, relaxing on the beaches, or spending time on a boat, you will enjoy browsing the
Kassandra is a peninsula of Halkidiki, Greece known as the “left foot.” Kassandra is known for its white and gold sanded beaches and unique beauty. Kassandra offers endless fun and relaxation.When you want to explore what else Kassandra has, you’re in luck. The peninsula is home to a number of attractions you can’t see anywhere else and definitely shouldn’t miss. You don’t have to look far to find attractions of interest in Kassandra thanks to its history.
There are a number of options for getting to Kassandra, Greece. The closest airports are the Thessaloniki Airport and the Skiathos Airport. The closest ports include the Port of Neos Marmaras and Thessaloniki Port. Once you arrive at any of these locations you can get to Kassandra by taking a car or shuttle bus.
Visit the Sanctuary of Poseidon
Any lover of history will want to see the Sanctuary of Poseidon in Possidi. In antiquity, the area was called Ancient Mende. The temple was mentioned in Thucydides and documents of the Holy Mount Athos dating back to the 14th century. The sanctuary was active for over 1,000 years and was likely built by settlers from Eretria who thought of Poseidon as their patron god. Four large buildings, including a main temple, were discovered during excavations. The floor is terracotta and the walls were made of large pebbles. Explore what’s left of the sanctuary when you’re visiting Kassandra, Greece.
See the Cave of Petralona
The Cave of Petralona is architecturally and anthropologically important and fascinating cave. It’s also been a place of paleontological interest. It was discovered by a villager of Petrolona in 1969 while he was searching for sources of water. Rock formations in the cave resemble columns and giant cactus. Tools, fossilized bones and teeth of various animals, and a cranium were found in the cave. These items are now on display at the Paleontological Museum. The cave opened to the public in 1979. You can take a tour of the 10, 400 square meter cave, which is found approximately 50 km from Thessaloniki and just 800 meters from the settlement of Petralona.
Visit the Tower of Stavronikitas
Also known as the Tower of Sani, this tower dates from 1543. It was originally built to protect the dependency (“metochi”) of the Stavronikita Monastery. The tower stands eight meters tall, but it is believed to have been taller. The tower is thought to have been built at the Acropolis of ancient Sani. The city flourished until the Roman Empire. It may have been used as an observation post to watch for approaching pirates. The tower sits on a low hill that is shaped like a natural amphitheatre. If you’re visiting during the summer, you will want to take in the festival of artists that takes place there.
Visiting the peninsula of Kassandra is a wonderful experience with so much to offer. Don’t miss out on exploring some of the top attractions in the area to get the most out of your trip.
The Museum of El Greco, also known as El Greco Museum or the Domenikos Theotokopoulos Museum, is a celebration of Crete’s most famous painter. Domenikos Theotokopoulos, also known as El Greco was born in Crete in the year 1541. A renowned painter, sculptor and architect, El Greco was a highly influential artist of the Spanish Renaissance. His paintings are famous for their dramatic contrasts between light and dark, as well as the religious themes and thin figures.
Who Was El Greco?
At the time of El Greco’s birth, the island of Crete was a Venetian possession. Not much is known about the artist’s early years, and few paintings are left from this period. He left the island of Crete approximately 1560-1565 at the age of 20. There he learned about Renaissance painting and developed his talent. From 1570 to 1576, he lived in Rome, establishing a studio but success still eluded him. In 1576 he left Rome for Spain, first to Madrid and finally settling in Toledo. His most famous works come out of his Toledo period.
About the Museum of El Greco
The Museum of El Greco is located the village of Fodele, approximately 1 km from the center of the village. Here you will find replicas of El Greco’s major works as well as related documents. Although it has been disputed, this is widely considered to be the house El Greco was born in, as it was described as being 25km northwest of the town of Heraklion and next to a Byzantine Church. For many years the building was in ruins, but a grant from the Greek Ministry of Culture began the process of restoring it. In 1998, it was opened to the public for tours and remains so to this day.
Visiting the Museum
Although El Greco didn’t spend his whole life in Crete, he would describe it with fondness. He said, “The place where I was born is surrounded by orange trees, springs of drinking water and a Byzantine church.” The museum is located right at his birthplace. It is relatively small which makes it easy to fit into a day of sightseeing. The nearby area is quiet and serene, surrounded by orange, fig and pomegranate trees. Nearby you will find a quiet stream, stone water well, old taverns, and even an old Byzantine farm’s remains. The museum is open Monday through Sunday from 08:00-19:00, and the admission is only €2 (EURO). You’ll also find a selection of restaurants in the nearby area.
The Legacy Of El Greco
El Greco was an enormous influence on the later Expressionist and Cubist movements. He was ahead of his time, as many of his contemporaries didn’t appreciate his dramatic and unique style and merely found it puzzling. He defies categorization to this day, with many scholars maintaining that he belongs to no true school like other artists. In the 20th century, he began to receive the recognition he truly deserved, not just for the work itself but for the influence he has had on the art world in general.
The Museum of El Greco celebrates the famous painter’s roots, life, and legacy. While on the island of Crete, you won’t want to miss the chance to visit.
The stunning Santorini makes a stunning backdrop for your trip to Greece. This oasis mixes scenic natural beauty, an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, distinct white-washed buildings, and sparkling ocean waters set against the brilliant blue sky. Santorini will impress even the most discerning traveler. Before you set off on your Santorini adventure, you’ll want to consider having at least one of these experiences:
Watch the Sunset
You would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful place to take in an island sunset than on Santorini. All of the island’s natural elements combine to create romantic sunset viewing from all over Santorini. While there are a host of amazing places to catch the sun sinking into the ocean in the distance, the quaint village of Oia boasts a well-earned reputation as offering some of the most magnificent sunsets. Or take to the water to watch the day come to an end while on a sunset cruise. Wherever you decide to watch the legendary Santorini sunset, you will be in for a treat.
Experience the Caldera
A volcanic explosion over 3,500 years ago on the island of Santorini led to the creation of this natural wonder. Visitors from all over the world come to view this geological configuration. The 4-mile caldera is best viewed from either Oia or the capital city of Fira. Both locations offer a myriad of restaurants, hotel accommodations, and other amenities designed to deliver the perfect jumping off point for your caldera exploration. Visitors to Fira can even choose to ride a donkey to the summit of the caldera, providing breathtaking views along the way.
Visit the Volcano and Hot Springs
In addition to the caldera, Santorini also features two small islets of black lava. Nea Kameni is especially known for the healing waters of its hot springs. The high amount of sulfur in the Agios Nikolaos islet is heralded for its therapeutic powers. Because many of the villages of Santorini are located high on the towering cliffs, visitors can take in the sweeping views of the volcanoes and their islets. The island’s largest volcano, Palea Kameni, also features healing hot springs.
Go to the Beach
No trip to Santorini is complete without spending a significant amount of time at any of its many beautiful beaches. Vlychada Santorini features a long stretch of sandy beach complete with loungers perfect for putting your feet up and relaxing. When you are looking for a remote beach experience, look no further than Cape Columbo. This isolated stretch of beach is located 10 kilometers from Fira and boasts towering red cliff formations that overlook the warm waters. Or choose the famous Red Beach and its exceptional snorkeling opportunities under the distinct landscape of red and black volcanic rock formations.
Santorini is one of those islands that has a lot to offer. Although there is a lot to do, the scenery is definitely a standout. While here, you will want to make it a priority to visit some of these gorgeous places.
Mykonos Town, or Chora as the locals know it, is the main town on the Greek island of Mykonos and one that attracts travelers from all over the world. They come here to visit the cafes, churches, clubs, and beaches and to get a taste of the Greek culture in general. Besides browsing through the city and enjoying the culture, there are some activities to take in that you won’t want to miss. Here’s more information:
Your first stop in Mykonos Town is Little Venice. This romantic quarter is oozing with elegance; the view of the Aegean Sea from Little Venice can’t be beaten, especially at sunset. Artists and sailors call Little Venice their home, and plenty of artwork can be found here. Old world charm lingers here; many of the older homes have been converted into bars. Shopping, drinking, and photography are popular activities in Little Venice.
The windmills of Mykonos Town are what define its landscape an add extra charm. Mykonos is known to be a windy destination, though the windmills are no longer operated by the force of nature. While the windmills once used to create a bustling agricultural economy for Mykonos are no longer operational, they still stand today as a beautiful reminder of the town’s rich history. Some of the windmills are museums now; many of them are over 100 years old.
Visit Mykonos Town’s most photographed church and get a picture of your own at The Church of Panagia Paraportiani. The church’s name implies that it was located right next to the door of the castle. Panagia Paraportiani is a conglomeration of five smaller churches; the dome-shaped Virgin Mary church sits at the very top of the other four. The churches were all built at separate times in history; the latest was constructed in the 17th century. The white facade of the church contrasts beautifully with the azure sea in the background.
Return to the windmills for a visit to the Agricultural Museum. As previously mentioned, agriculture is an important part of the history of Mykonos Town. This museum is housed partly in the Boni windmill; it has a large collection of farming tools that the people of Mykonos Town used back in the day. The Agricultural Museum is an offshoot of the Folklore Musem; the Agricultural Museum is free to enter. Inside, you will be able to get a better look at the inner workings of the windmill.
Located in the Kastro neighborhood, the Folklore Museum houses a variety of antiques from the 19th century including furniture, ceramics, instruments, pictures, and textiles. The museum offers an intense look back in time to help visitors discover the history of Mykonos Town. There is also a remarkable collection of paintings here. There are so many artifacts in the Folklore Museum; you will want to allocate plenty of time to spend here.
Whether you come to Mykonos Town for its nightlife and history, or you just want to come and admire the people and blue waters, this place offers an escape for everyone. During your time here, be sure to take in at least one of these activities!