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In antiquity ethereal oils and other aromatic substances were used daily in lay and religious activities spanning from the meticulous care of the body to treatment of ailments and devotional practices. On the basis of information deciphered in Linear B tablets found in Knossos and Pylos, ethereal oils were extracted by perfume experts in Minoan Crete. The tablets testify that perfumery, aromatotherapy, cosmetics and pharmacology are deeply rooted in history.

Again, in the Linear B tables from Pylos we learn that ancient perfume experts produced oils scented with sage and wild pomegranate seeds. The “House of the Sphinx” at Mycenae yielded seven tablets with inscriptions of herbs. There we find the names of fennel, mint, coriander, celery, lentisk and cumin.

Through centuries of trial and error activities primitive man became aware of the medicinal qualities of plants and herbs. He identified herbs that could sooth a range of pains and cure diseases or prevent others. A lot of herbs/plants used for their medicinal qualities today, for example the sage, cedar tree and the leaves of the olive tree, were known to the Egyptians and found inscribed in papyrus scrolls.

For centuries the medicinal applications of herbs/plants were mainly confined to the treatment of wounds, since anything pathological was attributed to acts of gods. This attitude and practice changed with Hippocrates (460-370 BC), the famous Greek physician and father of medicine from the isle of Kos. His works that survived through the centuries include references for 237 plant species classified on the basis of their medicinal qualities. According to Hippocrates, saffron is used for wood cleansing, mallow for cataplasms, oregano to aid menstruation, pomegranate for ailments of the liver, sage for uterus infections and gastrointestinal diseases, Cretan dittany to aid laboring women and on wounds, quince to alleviate pains of the uterus, purslane as a laxative, and as an antiemetic.

In his work, “On the History of Plants”, Theophrastus, the Greek philosopher and scientist (327-287 BC), set the foundations for modern botany. He provides invaluable information concerning the pharmaceutical and aromatic qualities of a wide range of plants. Centuries later botany found its main exponent in the person of Dioscurides (c.512 AD). His knowledge of plants/herbs are astonishing, even to modern standards. In his book “De materia medica”, Dioscurides identified more than 500 plant species. Of note is the fact that 40 of these are currently used in pharmacology. The bulk of our knowledge of plants and herbs in ancient Greece comes from the works of Theophrastus and Dioscurides.

At a later time, Greek compilations of herbs and plants were systematized by Claudius Galinus (Galen, 131-109 AD), Greek physician and medical writer from Pergamum, Asia Minor. He recorded 304 medicines that were produced from herbs, wild greens, trees and fruits. With the fall of Rome, all knowledge about herbs/plants that had been accumulated through the previous centuries was disseminated to Byzantium (Constantinopole) and the Arab world, particularly to Persia. This knowledge was enriched and supplemented with native knowledge about species nad infusions to be epitomized in the book of Avisenna “Canon of Medicine” which was based on the principles of Galinus. Avisenna was an Iranic Islamic philosopher and physician of the early 11th century AD.

During the Byzantine period herbs and vegetables were associated with lower social classes, hence they were rarely served at the dinner tables of the upper class, kings and gourmets. On the other hand, this lowly and inexpensive diet was much appreciated by the common folk, poor and clergy. Harvesting/collection and supplying of herbs and vegetables were highly systematized by the clergy who observed strict tasting ruled for almost 180 days during a year.

References to chicory varieties, rocket, mallow, cabbage, leek, spinach, carrot, coriander, cress, lettuce and radish are found in the works of Johannes Konder (‘The Gardner and Daily Cuisine in Byzantium” and F. Koukoule (“The Life and Culture of the Byzantines”). In the same works, the rosemary, (spear)mint, fennel, oregano, saffron (coloring agent for vinegar), and pomegranate’s juice (particularly of the sour fruit variety) are cited as condiments.

During the Middle Ages – notwithstanding the negative associations this period brings to mind – herbs and vegetables flourished in monastery gardens and yards. In this sense the Middle Ages are considered the Golden Age of Botany. It is no accident that pioneering scientists – Paracelsus (Swiss physician and alchemist, 1493 – 1541), Nicholas Culpeper (English physician, 1616 – 1654), Parkinson (British physician, 1755 – 1824), William Turner (English anatomist, 1832 – 1916), etc., experimented with standard herbs and others imported from India, the Americas and China.

During the Middle Ages Cretan Agapios Monachos (or Athanassios Landos, cicrca 1660) published a botanical manual in Venice entitled “GEOPONIKON, An indispensable manual for the people”. In his book A. Monachos provides a range of practical medicines and instructions for the application of herbs, greens, fruits.

This specialist knowledge was hermetically kept and practiced in major monasteries around Greece (Mt Athos, Crete, Peloponnese, and Cyprus) in the years that followed. Practical botany was based on the observation and examination of the lush Greek country side. Approximately 4000 plant species were identified and their medicinal and culinary applications were recorded. Subsequently, this knowledge was disseminated to common folks and practiced widely by housewives in the country-side. Gradually, the term herbs were confined to those plants that, owing to their medicinal qualities, were used only for healing purposes.

Our ancestors loved to experiment with various tastes and fragrances. They relished fragrant bread, pies stuffed with vegetables/greens, honey, cheese, wines and herbs. Residues of wine, raisins, honey and barley were found inside a three-legged urn on Crete dating from 1190-1130 BC. In his manuscript “Singular Tastes of Wine”, physician and nutrition expert, Aegimelos (4th c. BC) form Helia provides scores of pie recipes with common wine where the leaves and fruits of sage had been soaked. In addition to the nutritional value of those pies, the ancient expert underlines their curative qualities. Sage infused wine in crocks was exported from the isle Cyme to Egypt in the beginning of 18th c. BC. This trade yielded significant profits to wine merchants since the wine was heavily priced owing to its therapeutic qualities. In modern Greece wine was mixed with sage fruits was associated popular gynecological cures. The practice of mixing spirits with herbs (e.g. thyme, rosemary, saffron,) extended t suck local drinks as “raki” and “tsipouro”.

Source: Myrsini Lambraki “Herbs, Greens, Fruit. The Key to the Mediterannean Diet, Third Millennium Press Ltd.

The post Herbs, Greens Fruit. The Key to the Mediterranean Diet appeared first on Travel Zone Greece.

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Travel Zone Greece by Stella - 2d ago

Let’s have a closer look at the major Ikaria villages, understanding their uniqueness and special place on the island. You will definitely fall in love with them!

First and foremost, Agios Kirikos is the capital of Ikaria. It is located on the southeastern part of the island, reaching the shores. The village was established more than 300 years ago, when the locals dedicated the place to Saint Kirikos. Its privileged location has allowed it to boast smooth accessibility to the land and sea, gathering many islanders to the old mansions and the traditional neighborhoods. In the area, you will also find many accommodation options, shops and entertainment. The hot spring of Asclepius, the main square with the picturesque cafeterias (called kafenia), the blue domed church devoted to the local Saint, the Folklore Museum are just few of the attractions that will captivate you.

Moving forward with Ikaria villages, Armenistis is another special place to be. Located on the northern part of Ikaria, this is a small fishing village worth exploring. There are only 70 inhabitants in the village, but each and every single one is important! The endless blue is what characterizes Armenistis, having transformed the area into a popular destination by the sea. Then, Karavostamo consists of an upper and lower village and is literally embraced by tall trees and greenery. Be sure to visit the Spring of Kalikas when you are there. Green ravines and watermills compose a thrilling canvas, hard to resist!

Evdilos is another amazing place on the island and definitely ranks among the major Ikaria villages to discover. Modern blends most wonderfully with classic and traditional, presenting an amazing outcome. Evdilos means “eye catching” or else “apparent”. And who can miss such beauty? It is the second port of Ikaria. Nas forms a small bay and its name most likely derives from Naos, which means Temple in Greek. Once you are there, stroll by the three filled gorge of the Chalares river. A unique spectacle!

Of course, other Ikaria villages feature Gialiskari and Kosikia, Karkinagri and Dafni, Vrakades and Prospera, Nelia and Faros. Be sure to squeeze as many of them as you can within your scheduled trip to Ikaria!

The post Ikaria Villages appeared first on Travel Zone Greece.

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Ikaria is an island of distinctive geothermal properties. What lies beneath the surface is sometimes even more precious than what meets the eye. To that end, ever since antiquity the Ikarians have identified the value of Ikaria thermal springs and they have made sure to put it to great use. Up to this point, both islanders and travelers have found amazing benefits to the use of such geothermal springs. The water is highly therapeutic, adding to the cure of diseases or at the very least the treatment of pain.

Therma is the main spa area of the island. This place has survived over centuries, with the hot mineral springs on the welcoming bay. Just a couple of kilometers from Agios Kirikos, the capital of Ikaria, Therma directly links to the ancient town of Thermae. To highlight the value of this place health-wise, the inhabitants had been called Asclepians. Asclepius was, after all, the God of Medicine in ancient Greek culture. The place where are the ancient ruins have been revealed is that of Chalasmena Therma. There, you could see the aqueduct and fragments of various marble bath tubs scattered all around. Although there are no solid findings from the ancient times, probably due to an earthquake that destroyed everything, the place boasts a holistic supremacy, in terms of natural healing.

Hydrotherapy still maintains an important part in the lives of the Ikarians. You can visit Ikaria thermal springs at Lefkada near Agios Kirikos, Apollo, Kratsas, Agia Kiriaki and so much more. Before visiting them, however, it is prudent that you follow some basic guidelines. According to what you seek from your visit, you should know the temperature of the water, as well as the radiation on site. In this way, you will be able to choose wisely as to the perfect healing place on the island. But whatever you do, it is a unique experience to see how Nature serves Healing so greatly on this island!

The post Ikaria Thermal Springs appeared first on Travel Zone Greece.

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Travel Zone Greece by Stella - 2d ago

Ikaria is one of the most beautiful islands of the Aegean Sea, embraced by the cobalt blue waters that blend in harmony with its unique coastline. To that end, there are multiple Ikaria beaches that will make your heart beat faster and your mind just blow up. A feast for the senses, a wonderful journey to the unknown, always welcoming you to swim and soak under the sun of the Mediterranean. Let’s have a look at some of the most spectacular beaches that will most certainly fuel your wanderlust for this summer…and any other summer to come!

Faros is definitely one of the most loved beaches on the island. It is located on the village bearing the same name (meaning Lighthouse in Greek) and stretches for a really long way. There are some small pebbles along the shore, only adding to the exquisite surroundings. The beach is somewhat organized, with cafes and restaurants, beach bars and shops on the promenade. You can reach this beach within 10 kilometers from Agios Kirikos, which ensures smooth accessibility for everyone.

Moving on with the most breathtaking Ikaria beaches, we could not forget Nas beach. You must have seen it on postcards and it should have been one of the reasons you have decided to visit Ikaria over the other thrilling Greek islands. The beach lies within short distance from the village of Armenistis and marks a unique fusion. The waters from Chalares river along with the Aegean Sea, they both meet there and the outcome is purely mesmeric. You are especially encouraged to visit the beach at sunset, as this is where it unfolds its beauty 100%.

Messakti beach is situated in Gialiskari and is indeed the most popular beach on the island. The golden sand and the welcoming umbrellas, the turquoise waters and the absolute serenity are all elements contributing to its popularity. You will find water sports facilities on site, as well as refreshing cocktails by the beach. Of course, due to the soft sand and the smooth accessibility, the beach is family friendly. And you can find whatever you need all around, at the different shops open till late at night.

Livadi is yet another amazing option, when it comes to the finest Ikaria beaches to explore. It is located on the northern part of Ikaria, composing an idyllic environment with its soft sand and a lagoon nearby. There are some cafes along the beach, but this does not deprive its secluded nature. Then, there is Kerame beach, just 10 kilometers from the capital. Again, golden sand and crystalline waters, lush greenery and tall rocky formations create a unique image.

Finally, we could not leave you without an exotic beach of Ikaria that captivates your senses at first sight. It is Seychelles beach, a secluded Heaven waiting to be discovered. You will fall in love with the transparent waters that change colors and shades throughout the day. And the formations of the rocks are equally thrilling. This is not a place for everyone, though…It is more like nature’s celebration for the privileged few who dare to explore!

The post Ikaria Beaches appeared first on Travel Zone Greece.

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Ikaria is an island of exceptional character and unique personality. The locals enjoy life to the fullest, through fine quality eating and drinking, as well as dancing and singing, laughing out loud. It is their mentality that contributes to the island’s longevity, since it seems that the Ikarians have discovered the secret of life. And to top it off, the islanders indulge in several Ikaria festivals throughout the year. These are special times, when everyone gathers to celebrate Saint name days, religious feasts and even cultural events.

Most of these Ikaria festivals take place from early May and stretch out to November. This makes a lot of sense, since during these months the temperatures are milder and there are more people visiting the island. Of course, there are some festivals or else panigiria that boast great popularity. August 15th  is the Assumption of Virgin Mary and in Ikaria this is a day worth remembering. Prophet Ilias celebrates July 20th at the settlement of Agios Kirikos. The Birth of Virgin Mary is celebrated September 8th at the villages of Kerame, Plagia and Ploumari.

As for cultural events, perhaps the most popular one is the Icarus Festival. Apparently, Ikaria has been named after this mythological hero. He was the one who overestimated his powers, in his anticipation to fly away. So he ended up having his wings destroyed. And as a result, he fell in the deep blue waters of the Ikarian Sea. To celebrate his memory, the islanders have held an annual festival ever since 2006. They celebrate music from all parts of the world, in a splendid mix. Although the event does not have a set date, it is typically held in July. At the same time, the International Chess Festival in Agios Kirikos also adds to the flair and value of these events.

The post Ikaria Festivals: Amazing Panigiria! appeared first on Travel Zone Greece.

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What Are Herbs?

According to the Oxford dictionary herbs are all the useful plants whose leaves, roots, stems and flowers are valued as food or medicines by dint of their aroma or other characteristic. This definition applies to a variety of plants that are used in foods, drinks, medicines, cosmetics, etc. however, in the last few centuries the term “herb” has been reserved strictly for a limited range of plants attributed with medicinal qualities and used for infusions, popular treatments, or as raw material in modern pharmacology.

Herbs and Their Medicinal Value

The distinction of plants into herbs, vegetables, greens and fruits is only a few centuries old. In antiquity, even up to the Middle Ages, the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese and the Hindus, attributed to plants therapeutic qualities and included them in their diet. Plants were consumed raw or cooked and combined with fish and meat dishes. In any case, it has been proved that the above plant categories maintain their active ingredients and therapeutic qualities even when cooked.

The Cretan nutritional model includes a wide range of plants (wild greens, vegetables, fruit and seeds) known as “herbs of the kitchen”. This qualification is used with the implication that these herbs, if consumed daily, promote health and long life. For a cook in ancient Greece or in the Middle Ages, the lettuce, saffron, bulbs, asparagus, radishes, even pomegranates and berries were in the same plant category as sage, marjoram, and dittany, although the former was not used for infusions. Extracts from ancient Greek texts prove that most greens, vegetables, fruit and herbs were attributed effective therapeutic qualities. Hesiod, for example, was urging the Athenians to consume nettles to shield themselves from common aliments for an entire year.

Centuries later, John Evelyn (1699) wrote, “It [the borage] is known to enliven the spirit of hypochondriacs and relieve the mind of people steeped in study…”. Borage was used in salads, as is the case today. Charlemagne, king of the Franks (742-814 AD) commissioned the compilation of a list of the most valued aromatic herbs and named the list “friend of the physician and the pride of the cook”. He then ordered that the herbs on that list be grown in his lush gardens.

The Myth of Goddess Flora

The bonds between our ancestors and nature (mainly plants) are not only by volumes of specialist works and literary extracts but also by myths, as is the case with the myth of the goddess of vegetation, Flora. In his book “The Flora of Greece”, chapter “Myth and Cult”, E. Bauman provides a wonderful description of the connection between nature, gods and people: “Goddess Flora was assisted in her tasks by the Horae (or Hours) the daughters of goddess Themis and Zeus and attendants to the Sun. the Horae were the three goddesses of seasons and of orderliness. Zephyr, representing the west wind, brought the Spring rains that were so valuable for the awakening of nature. The Oceanids, nymphs and daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, were protectors of their father’s marine kingdom and cared for all sea and river plant life. Where the nymphs were unable to attend, there Zeus rolled his thunders and lightning from the heights of Olympus, thus wetting fields and meadows with rain. Artemis (Diana), the goddess of the hunt and the moon, would cover plants with evening frost, while her brother Apollo showered plants with the invigorating rays of the sun…”

Modern epidemiologists, physicians and nutrition experts believe that herbs, wild greens and fresh fruits native to the Mediterranean are “loaded” with solar energy. The sun over the Mediterranean seems to exert a most beneficial influence on all edible plants with subsequent effects on human health.

Myths and legends concerning plants and their development are no accident but result rom the Greeks’ deep knowledge of their natural resources. The Greeks were mostly vegetarians with their daily diet consisting mainly of cereals, legumes, vegetables, wild greens, roots, fruit and fish. For the Greeks the term vegetable was reserved for all greens while the term herbs were reserved for spices/ the distinction is currently employed today in various parts of Macedonia and Epeirous. Ancient Greeks, as well as the ancient Romans, were able to distinguish over 1000 plant species and, therefore, had compiled scores of detailed descriptions concerning their particular qualities, as well as their kitchen and medicinal applications. Among the most prolific experts in botanical matters were Dioscurides, Theophrastus, Hippocrates, Antiphanes, Galinus (Galen), and Pliny.

Thephrastus, who had set up a pilot farm in Athens, provides handy onstructions for cultivating and growing fruit-baring trees, olive trees, almond trees and pot plants! Even Homer, whose monumental work does not make detailed gastronomic references, makes specific references to 36 plants and tree species in his Iliad and 44 in his Odyssey. Among those plants cited are the crocus, lentisk, leek, moss, wild carrot, prickly bush, mallow and poppy.

Equally significant are the gastronomic accounts bequeathed to us by Athenaeus (170-230 AD) in “Deipnosophists”. In his work Athenaeus talks about the emollient qualities of the mallow, the sub-acid taste of the sorrel, the vegetable texture of the nettle, the aphrodisiac qualities of bulbs, while there are also references to asparagus, fennel, caper, oregano, sage, laurel, rosemary, fig tree, grapes and pomegranates.

Households in ancient Athens maintained supplies of salt, oregano, vinegar, thyme, sesame, raisins, caper, eggs, salted fish, cress, figs, olives, olive oil, etc. an extract from comic poet “Alexi” says, “Place ground oregano at the bottom of the dish and use molasses for color”. The Greeks made considerable use of herbs as condiments for bread and stuffed pies (“Plakountes”). The most common herbs used in bread making were the spearmint, oregano, thyme, dill and nutmeg. According to Athenaeus, “roasted pasta with honey and olive oil are served over laurel leaves”.

Ancient Artemidorous, the disciple of Aristotle, described a piquant dish which consisted of tender meat, animal intestines and blood spiced with vinegar, roasted cheese, cumin, savoury, coriander, poppy seeds, honey, raisins, and sour pomegranates seeds. The Hellenistic and Roman cuisines had a lot in common with the ancient Greek cuisine and probably evolved into the modern Italian cuisine. Roman engraver Martialis left us with a list of meals that he prepared for his guests: for dessert: mallows, lettuce and leeks garnished with mint and rocket the aphrodisiac.

Resourceful Apicius, renowned organizer of gastronomic symbosia, had his meat dishes dressed with herbal sauces. For example, for boiled tuna he used a sauce made from “…pepper, thyme, aromatic herbs, onion, dates, honey, vinegar, olive oil, mustard”. His sauce for game boiled or broiled: “…8gr pepper, dried mint, 3 gr bog-bean’, and for fried courgettes:” …pepper, cumin, oregano, onion, wine and olive oil. Thicken the sauce in the pan with flour and then serve.”

Source: Myrsini Lambraki “Herbs, Greens, Fruit. The Key to the Mediterannean Diet, Third Millennium Press Ltd.

The post Herbs, Greens Fruit. The Key to the Mediterranean Diet appeared first on Travel Zone Greece.

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Alonnisos is an island of Sporades complex, world renowned for the wonderful landscapes and turquoise waters. You will be spoiled for choice, when it comes to Alonnisos beaches. There are options satisfying every single need, even the most discerning of travelers. Secluded or well-organized, remote or accessible and vibrant, they are all here and they are looking forward to welcoming you!

First of all, we start our list of the top Alonnisos beaches with not one, but two options within short distance! Megalos Mourtias and Mikros Mourtias (meaning Large and Small Mourtias) are two beaches right next to Patitiri settlement. Crystal clear waters and small pebbles, shade generated by trees and some taverns all around make a marvelous atmosphere. These beaches are located on the southern part of the island, along with Marpounta that is a bit more organized with umbrellas and boasts high cliffs embracing it. If you are looking for tranquility and relaxation, this is your place to be.

Then, it is time to visit Kokkinokastro or Red Castle. It sits below an imposing red cliff and the ancient settlement of Ikos. It is a rather secluded beach with white rocks and pebbles, right opposite the Red Island or Kokkinonisi. Excavations on the area have revealed findings from the Paleolithic era. Tzortzi Yialos is another fine option for swimming and diving, soaking under the sun and enjoying nature. Tall pine trees offer their shade and provide a refreshing atmosphere. There is coarse sand and some pebbles, while you should know that this is a beach resembling a lake, due to the lack of waves and strong winds. So it is ideal for families, too.

Those of you who prefer organized beaches, Chrisi Milia or Golden Apple Tree is an idyllic place to explore. It is sandy and provides the ultimate spot for water sports and activities throughout the day. There are umbrellas and sun loungers, along with some cafes and beach bars. Golden sand and pine trees complete the picture-perfect scenery. Then, opposite Chrisi Milia we find Milia. An equally breathtaking beach, formed by a lovely bay with trees and small pebbles. Located close to the famous resort of Steni Vala, Agios Petros is also featured within our list of the finest Alonissos beaches. Serene and lovely, with tall trees creating a refreshing ambiance, this beach offers exactly what you need to forget about everything and just appreciate the moment.

And of course, there are many other beaches in Alonnisos worth discovering. Glyfa and Agios Dimitrios, Tsoukalia with shells from antiquity and Spartines, Megali Ammos, Vithisma, Votsi, Leftos Yialos and so much more will compensate you for your choice!

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Alonnisos Chora was once the capital of the island. However, after a major earthquake that devastated Alonnisos back in 1965, the locals decided to migrate. So they turned to the port and formed their new, current capital at Patitiri. Both these places are interrelated, obviously, through the passing of time. They depict the past and the present in the most eloquent manner possible. And above all, they are equally breathtaking and inviting to all.

First off, let’s begin with Alonnisos Chora. This is a picturesque settlement located a mere 4 kilometers from the harbor. Built amphitheatrically, the Old Village offers wonderful views to the crystalline waters and the stunning surroundings. The whitewashed houses with red tiles and Medieval inspiration, the cobbled streets and the hospitable islanders, traditions that revive and churches that boost the unique spiritual character of this place make Chora a true sight for sore eyes. You are most welcome to walk past the restored houses and have a taste of spoon sweets, along with Greek coffee made with care and love. And the best part, this settlement is easily accessible via bus or using donkeys. You can also drive there from Patitiri, as it is a sweet and lovely route.

Then, we move forward with Patitiri. Its name literally translates to winepress and it highlights the long-lasting tradition of wine making in this particular place on the island. Unfortunately, this tradition has ceased abruptly due to catastrophic bugs that had wiped out the entire vineyards. Patitiri is the largest settlement on the island and the place where all the buzz is. This means that you will find many cafes and restaurants, bars and all kinds of shops, stores and super markets, banks and whatever you may need during your vacations. And this is where the buses start, taking you to Old Alonnisos and the National Marine Park. Plus, there is a beach with clear blue waters for you to enjoy.

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Alonnisos National Marine Park holds a special place in the European wildlife, preserving an unspoiled habitat for flora and fauna, marine and terrestrial species. It was founded in 2003 after long-lasting efforts from both local and international initiatives. Besides being the first marine park in Greece, another record is that of the largest marine protected area in entire Europe. The whole region is a member of MedPAN, which is short for Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean. Once visiting Alonnisos, you should not miss a visit to such an exceptional place!

The marine park is huge, featuring the island of Alonnisos and six smaller islands. They are called Piperi, Kyra Panagia, Skantzoura, Gioura, Psathoura and Peristera. There are also 22 even smaller islets completing the park, along with the sea area. Within Alonnisos National Marine Park, there are several exciting activities for visitors to indulge in. The entire experience is quite interactive, involving walking trails and swimming, snorkeling and even fishing and hunting. Of course, not all areas come with the same privileges and accessibility options, so you are strongly encouraged to check before choosing what to do next.

Among the most wonderful activities when visiting the park is to see the world famous Monachus Monachus Mediterannean monk seals. They are lovely creatures, unfortunately facing extinction. As a result, the park is a great shelter for them and there are volunteers going above and beyond to prevent this horrible scenario from coming true. Their reproduction takes place in the specific area of Piperi islet. The seals have found that to be a cozy place to rest and continue on their survival over the years.

Another amazing option is for you to swim with the dolphins in the crystalline waters of the Aegean! And then, you can walk around the evergreen scenery and admire the rare species of birds, plants and animals. Whatever you do, make sure that you enjoy every moment. It is you immersing within a place of unique natural beauty. Breathe in the fresh air, take a look around you and have lots of fun!

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Four underwater museums are going to be founded in the Pagasetic Gulf, as part of the European Union’s BlueMed project. This is an ambitious project, for sure. Its name is Alonnisos submarine museum project. Since the Greek seas hide so many mysteries, it is only fair that access underwater is going to reveal many of them and shed some light to the unknown. Doesn’t that sound amazing? In Thessaly, things are moving fast; the engines have started and the project has begun its implementation. Imagine, an innovative scheme for Greece and the world right in the heart of Greece, unveiling the past and its long kept secrets.

The first underwater museum, or to be more accurate a complex of underwater museums, will feature the oldest shipwreck ever discovered in Greece at Alonnisos submarine museum project. The shipwreck is located in the area of Alonnisos National Marine Park, more specifically Persitera shipwreck in the wider region. This shipwreck dates back to the Classical Era and the 5th century BC. The findings are impressive, featuring well over 3,000 amphorae from the Athenians that were meant to be used for commercial purposes. What is even more impressive than the actual items on display is the mastery of the shipbuilders, who have created everything with attention to the slightest detail.

Other major points of interest will be the Byzantine wreck on the islet of Kikinthos, the shipwreck at Akra Glaros dating to the Byzantine era and the wreck at Telegraphos from the 4th century AD. Visitors will get the chance to dive at a depth of approximately 40 meters below sea level, always accompanied by specialized divers and archaeologists to guarantee a pleasant, insightful and safe tour. Alternatively, they will be able to enjoy virtual tours and still enjoy the safety of the ground. And lastly, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the shipwrecks via boats with glass bottoms for a unique experience.

Focusing on “blue economy”, the Mediterranean countries and particularly Greece will be expanding tourist horizons and opening up to new opportunities in the field of hospitality. Stretching the high season for such activities, these initiatives represent a wonderful option for the future. And the ultimate winner is none other than the traveler!

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