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Athens, Greece is a city blessed with it all; an ancient capital with enviable famous sites, yet also some hidden spots, see my Insiders Guide to Visiting Athens for more.  Within half an hour you can be along the Athens Riviera and visit geological phenomenons such as Vouliagmenis Lake where you can swim in natural spa waters with Gara Ruffa fish.
Athens is also surrounded by three mountain ranges. One of them – Mount Parnitha –  is a densely forested area to the north of the city with a hidden secret: an abandoned royal estate.

Mount Parnitha – Athens

30km/19 miles north of Athens and you’ll come to a densely forested mountain range – although in recent summers, wildfires gradually take their hold such as in 2005 and 2007.  it has national park status and Parnitha’s highest peak sits at 1,413 meters/4,636 ft.  The peak houses a casino in which was once a hotel.  It offers magnificent views of the surrounding area and not only, but also out to sea and the nearby Saronic islands. It’s possible to reach the casino either by specially laid on bus from the city centre, you can drive but a popular way is by cable car.

Day Trip from Athens – Mount Parnitha Tatoi Royal Estate – Mount Parnitha, Athens

Only 30 minutes by car from Athens city centre, within the national park you come across the best reason for visiting Mount Parnitha, Tatoi – the abandoned royal estate of the original Greek Royal Family and the birthplace of King George of the Hellenes.
The property and its various farm buildings, even a designated cemetery for the old Kings and Queens of Greece, are spread out over 10,000 acres/4047 hectares where you can wander around and see, for example, the old winery, stables, pigsty’s and dairy.
It has a chequered past as the estate was:

  • destroyed by fire in the early 1900’s, possibly arson
  • taken by the Greek state when the Royal Family was banished from the country.
Mount Parnitha’s Tatoi Royal Estate – a Day Trip from Athens

In front of the main ‘palace’ itself is an empty swimming pool and the whole area – both the open spaces and woodland – makes for a wonderful place to walk around, hike on various trails and see an alternative side of Greece’s history.  Many Athenians come here from spring to autumn to picnic in the open fields around and whilst the actual buildings cannot be walked inside for safety reasons, it’s possible to get up close.

I loved my afternoon there and would go back in warmer weather for a picnic.

Tips:
  • Tatoi is free to enter – there is no ‘entry’ fee as such because it’s open land and abandoned buildings
  • Be sure to drive. It’s a 30 minute drive from the centre and also means you can go on and explore more of this mountain.
PIN for later Mount Parnitha’s Tatoi Royal Estate – a Day Trip from Athens Greece

The post Mount Parnitha and the abandoned Royal Estate – Athens appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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This post was originally written in June 2014.
It has been re-written and revised in May 2019.
There will be some affiliate links throughout, meaning I will earn a small amount of commission if you choose to use them, at no cost to you.

Symi island, Greece – where is it?

Symi is about an hour and a half away by catamaran from Rhodes.  There’s no airport there as it’s a small island, so you’d fly to Rhodes – either directly from many European hubs or via Athens – and why not spend a few days whilst on Rhodes? See my Things to Do in Rhodes article and furthermore, an Insiders Guide to Visiting Athens to get the lowdown  on alternative things to do if you (hopefully) choose to stay over in Athens for a city break too.

One thing that strikes you immediately upon chugging up to the harbour of Symi is the way the colourful Venetian and  Merchant’s houses seem to tumble haphazardly into the sea – ensuring a lot of ‘Ooohs!’ and ‘Ahhhs!’ from people on deck, prompting some tourists to forget they’re alighting there as they’re so busy taking photos.

Symi Harbour as seen from the incoming ferry

The harbour –  known as Yialos – is busy and the area consists of two parts: Yialos —bustling with tavernas, activity, cafés and hubbub. A great place to people watch, and to stay in the thick of things.

Guide to the Greek Island of Symi in the Dodecanese

Then there’s the Chorio—the upper town on the hillside.  It’s quieter, but also more traditional and a great place to watch and greet the locals.  This is where I stayed in a restored house – a beautiful ‘cave’ like dwelling, the Blue House: bedroom downstairs, steep wooden stairs to the living and kitchen area. It was just so, well, peaceful!  Leaving my house in the morning, I “Kali mera”d a Greek man as I walked past his open door and he called out to me:

Welcome to my island

My Little Blue House accommodation Where to eat on Symi Island – Greece

One thing I notice about Symi: there are a lot of expats here, but not the ‘gin and tonic’ brigade. They’ve established successful business—examples include the Olive Tree Café (think a lovely tea shop and cakes with Mediterranean snacks and a to die for view) in the Hora/Upper Town.

Olive Tree Cafe

And then the Secret Garden: an old house between the Hora and towards Pedhi beach.  Michalis and his Belgian wife Katya have transformed their dwelling into a courtyard cafe / bar serving breakfasts, crepes, mezes and open until – well – whenever the last person leaves, which could be 6am.

The Secret Garden

When in the Harbour, make sure you go to Pantelis Restaurant where you’ll be served the freshest seafood, possibly in all of Greece.

Fresh fish at Pantelis in Symi island – Greece Where to stay on Symi island Greece

I mentioned I stayed in a small house.  Symi is smattered with old Venetian Houses that are up for rent.

I also loved the Symi Thea Hotel – a family run place with rooms in a Neoclassical building with stunning views of the harbour.

Another favourite, and more luxurious option, is the Old Markets – an old agora trading place in the harbour converted to beautiful rooms.
The same owner has also restored and built a new property around the headland called Emporio.  It’s located in Nimborio Bay and is the place to come and completely unwind.

Greek Island Guide to Symi in the Dodecanese Tips for Symi
  • It’s perfectly safe to leave your door unlocked (maybe not wide open, but even then I wouldn’t be surprised if it was OK).
  • Be sure to visit the Hora – maybe climb the 400 steps of the Kali Strata from the harbour to the Square  in the early morning, or early evening.
  • Water: very limited!  Freshwater is shipped in erratically, and the desalination is used in the winter.  Recycle your water as much as you can – respect the environment and your host island.
  • Pedi: Be sure to visit this beach around the other side of the island.  Hitch a lift with the locals (like I did), it’s quite safe.
  • Architecture: the architecture here is stunning – Romanesque establishments which are a relic from the Italian occupation and wealthier times.
  • Download my Greek island packing list here

All opinions expressed here are my own, despite researching for various outlets such as Telegraph and Rough Guides

PIN for later A Greek Island Guide to Symi – Where to Stay, Eat & Tips

The post A guide to Symi island, Greece appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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The Greek island of Skopelos in the Sporadic chain of islands is famous for the filming of the first “Mamma Mia!” film.

Originally published in JAN 2012. Revised and updated in APR 2019

“Mamma Mia!” facts

Skopelos is less touristy than its neighbouring Skiathos, therefore quieter although it’s become busier in the years since “Mamma Mia!” – but not spoilt.

The shooting took place in August and September 2007 and lasted seven days – but the preparations for it lasted for more than 3 months) .

Filming also took place for 3 days at the neighbouring island of Skiathos with a total cast and crew of about 210 people. Skopelos hosted the majority of Greek filming .

Before my travel blogging days, I was fortunate enough to spend 8 days on the “Mamma Mia” island of Skopelos in September 2009, a perfect time of the year to go: the heat of the summer had burnt off leaving the sea beautifully warm and inviting – not to mention it being even quieter time due to most UK kids having returned to school.

How to travel to the “Mamma Mia” island of Skopelos

It’s possible to fly to Skiathos from various UK and European gateways and then take a ferry. A lot of charter flights go in the summer as you can well imagine.
Check Skyscanner (above) for some great deals.

As I was already in Athens (due to start a job teaching later that same month), I arranged my journey through Alkyon Travel.  They are a travel agency that organise a bus from Athens up to the ferry port of Agios Konstantinos in time to connect to your ferry (also pre-bookable via the travel agency but you must call or email them).  I COULD have booked accommodation through them too – but had already searched online and secured a lovely place to stay, just outside the main town for 25 Euros a night (don’t forget this is 2009).

In total the journey from Athens to Skopelos takes about 5 and a half hours by bus to the port and then ferry ride.  Incidentally, the ferry then continues on to the beautiful island of Alonissos.

Dimitris – the owner of the hotel – was there to meet me from the ferry and because he ‘knew’ someone – had arranged car hire for 15 Euros a day for me.  I love the way it works in Greece.

Mamma Mia Island – Skopelos Greece Mamma Mia on Skopelos

I spent my days wandering in the pine clad groves, sitting drinking coffee, swimming and, of course, locating some of the spots “Mamma Mia” was filmed.

Most of the filming was undertaken at Kastani beach in the South West of the island – as well as some shots on the mainland/Pelion region of Greece.

The scene where there’s the beach bar and Tanya (Christine Baranski) and chorus sing, the bar and jetty were built especially for the production and removed after filming.

The church of the wedding is real – Agios Ioannis – but not in use now and therefore used as a film location.

Skopelos – The Greek Island of Mamma Mia Fame – the wedding scene church PIN for later Skopelos – Discover the Greek Island of Mamma Mia Fame

The post “Mamma Mia!” – Skopelos appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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Zakynthos is a popular holiday island located in the Ionian sea / chain of islands on north west coast of Greece.  You can take a direct flight to Zakynthos from many European airports, or if you’re in Athens, it’s possible to take a bus to the port of Kilini and travel to Zakynthos by ferry.

There’s much to see and do on Zakynthos including a visit to the capital – Zakynthos Town, a trip to the famous blue caves and shipwreck beach and how about seeing how olive oil is produced, as well as visiting the less popular Keri Caves?

Accommodation on Zakynthos – Argassi Beach

Being a popular island, both with luxury and boutique clients and especially a package holiday destination, one place I particularly enjoyed staying in is the Windmill Bay Aparthotel in Argassi- part of the Windmill Hotels Zante that also offers accommodation down the road at Windmill Studios.

The Best Place to Stay in Argassi Zakynthos Greece

Note: I was a guest of Windmill Bay Aparthotel in 2018. All opinions and views are my own

Argassi beach is a very touristy destination, only 5km from the capital, Zakynthos Town and offers 1km of golden sand, water sports and the usual bars and tavernas that you’d expect to find from a package holiday destination.

Windmill Bay ApartHotel – Best Hotel in Argassi

I was lucky to base myself here for a short time. The Windmill Bay Aparthotel rooms are all actually 42 studio apartments sleeping between 2 -5 people with large bedroom, kitchen and dining area (equipped with hob to make light snacks, fridge/freezer, microwave, kettle, sandwich maker and cupboards to store everything) plus separate living area – and all have balconies with views to the pool and sea as Windmill Bay ApartHotel is right by the sea – great accommodation for couples and especially families.

My video gives you a much better perspective of the accommodation and how large it really is. As I was on my own, I felt like I should leave bits of clothing in each room to make the most of it!

At Windmill Bay ApartHotel Zakynthos Greece - YouTube

Windmill Bay Aparthotel is one of the best hotels in Argassi to base yourself if you’re looking for a beach holiday of pure relaxation, in a home away from home environment.

Booking

A lot of the UK (and Scandinavian) package holiday firms have Windmill Bay on their books such as TUI, Jet 2, Thomas Cook and Apollo – basically the firms that have direct flights to Zakynthos.  You can also book through Expedia and Booking.com, but you may get a better deal if you choose to book yourself directly with them. For example, regular deals come up such as 15% off in low season (May and October).

It’s not a place that is open throughout the year and tends to open whenever Greek Easter starts (Greek Easter is rarely the same time as UK Easter, so double check dates) and is almost always closed by November.

Anadalis Restaurant

For me, one of the highlights of my short stay was a meal at Anadalis Restaurant.  Opened in 2015, it’s attached to Windmill Bay and offers fine Mediterranean dining with a ‘twist’ where one can sit outside by the sea with gorgeous views across to Zakynthos Town.  Definitely a place for meat lovers, take a look at their menu.  Reservations are highly recommended as it’s not a place just for hotel guests.

Anadalis Restaurant – Windmill Bay Aparthotel – Zakynthos, Greece

All in all, as a best hotel in Argassi, Zakynthos – the Windmill Bay Aparthotel is a good choice for a week’s vacation if you want to relax and unwind with plenty of space and good value for money.

PIN for later Zakynthos Greece – the best place to stay

The post Best hotel in Argassi, Zakynthos – Greece. Windmill Hotels appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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In total there are roughly 6000 islands scattered across the Aegean and Ionian seas around the Mediterranean in Greece, and yet only 227 of them are inhabited!

Note: This post will have affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase anything through them, I will gain a small amount of commission at no charge to you.

Greek islands

The Greek islands are famous worldwide for their immense beauty, blue waters rivalling that of the Caribbean, relaxed lifestyle and whitewashed houses and churches with that pink/purple bourgainvillia growing all over a familiar scene.  In fact, a Bank of Greece survey – as revealed by amna.gr showed us that:

Over 27 million tourists visited Greece in 2017.

Bourgainvillia on a Greek island

And that figure can only be set to grow, given the country’s worldwide fame for its beauty.  
Islands such as Mykonos and Santorini are the most famous, with others such as Rhodes are also popular.  They are all cruise destinations and many islands are linked to the mainland ie: Athens and ports such as Piraeus, Rafina and Porto Rafti offer excellent ferry services.

But to my mind, it’s all about the journey too.  Cruises – whilst great for some – are a pretty impersonal experience – so how about sailing the Greek islands as a way to navigate your way around?

Check out my Insider’s Guide to the Greek Islands for some ideas of where you can sail to.


The Greek island of Leros – Photo by Pug Girl

Sailing in Greece

Many people know how to sail and do so in the Caribbean or other European destinations such as Spain, Malta, France and Italian destination such as Sicily and Sardinia.  Many have their own licences to sail and are looking to hire sailboats ranging in size and price.
And equally, many people don’t have a license, but don’t want to miss out on a sailing experience so are looking to hire a boat complete with crew. 

This is where Click and Boat comes in. 

Come and explore the Greek islands by sailing around them. Image © tom_crew

The company’s been operating Bareboat and Private Yacht chartering services for many years, with over 30,000 boats registered on their site.  

How does Yacht chartering work with Click and Boat?

Looking for boat rental and a sailing experience in Greece?  Owners of sailboats, motorboats, catamarans, RIB’s, Jet Skis and even Houseboats list their vessels with Click and Boat and those looking to hire head to the site to find their preferred vessel for their trip. 
As mentioned previously, prices range considerably and it’s possible to hire with or without crew. 
Specifics in the listing of the vessel include:

  • Number of people it can accept
  • Price per day
  • Size / Type of Vessel 
  • HP of the engine
  • Location of Vessel
  • A star and comments ratings/feedback

So if you’re on a Greek island for a day or two and fancy just cruising around its hidden beaches, you’ll no doubt be able to find a motorboat or RIB.

Perhaps you’ve flown long haul and spent a few days in Athens. My Insider’s Guide to Visiting Athens will give you some great ideas of where to visit, plus my top things to eat and drink in Athens will show you some of the best Greek food and where to eat it.

But more importantly, you might want to then hire a boat from Piraeus port and sail the Greek islands from the capital.  You could want a fancy sailboat or catamaran – with our without crew, depending on your level of experience, to really get the most out of your Greek island sailing experience. 

Wondering what to pack for sailing the Greek islands? My Greek island all round packing list should help – including links to clothes, travel guides, books and mosquito repellent. 

So what are you waiting for? Head to Click and Boat to make your reservation for your Greek island sailing experience – and beyond.

PIN for later Sailing the Greek Islands – the only way to see them. Images © NinasCreativeCorner, Mariamichelle and adamkontor

Header image © ludovicdewittebe

The post Sailing the Greek islands appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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Many of you know my other ‘job’ is as an author and my novel – Girl Gone Greek has been out for over three years now. I also love reading, especially novels about Greece.  Therefore I loved coming across Katerina Nicolas and her “Greek Meze” series.

Katerina has a degree in English literature and has worked in finance for years. She’s been penning a living for ten years, with finance as her specialty and three years writing for a bridal company.

She is the author of the Greek Meze series of novels; a humorous look at life in a Greek village with larger than life characters.
I’ve read all the six novels in the series so far and loved them so much, I wanted to interview Katerina to find out more about her and her inspirations

**Note: There will be Amazon affiliate links in this post, meaning if you wish to purchase, I’ll receive a small amount of commission at no extra charge to you**

Where do you live, and how long have you lived there?

I live just outside Stoupa in the Mani, near to the fishing village of Agios Nikolaos. I live in a stone house in an olive grove that I had built fifteen years ago. The cat decided to move in a couple of years ago after following my son home from a nightclub. He called it Houdini not noticing she was a girl, so she’s now Houdi. The resident tortoises have been in the olive grove forever.

What’s your favourite aspect to living in Stoupa?

It’s so peaceful and relaxed. The whole area is incredibly beautiful and very inspirational. It’s been a great place to bring up my son who’s now away at university – what better playground than the sea? I love to sit by the sea in Agios with an iced coffee, watching the world go by, knowing something completely absurd could happen at any moment and end up in the books.

What was your first Greek Meze series novel? And why entitle the series Greek Meze?

Book 1 is Goat In The Meze. As I was writing it I realized it would make a great series as there are so many eccentric characters to develop. The title is the last thing I came up with and once I’d settled on it, Meze seemed perfect to use for the series. I didn’t think anyone would mistake the series as meze cookbooks as the covers are too zany.

I have read all six novels – based in the fictional village of Astakos. How close to reality have you made the village? What influences did you have? 

I love that you’ve read all the books! Asktakos is visually inspired by the local village of Agios Nikolaos with shops, kafenions and tavernas based around the harbor, and the beach on the outskirts of the village – but as if it were in a more bygone era when donkeys and goats roamed the streets. The older characters in the book would have been around in the days before electricity, inside bathrooms, proper roads and all the other new-fangled modern conveniences arrived in the village. There are influences from other Mani villages too and their resident colourful characters.

I have found the characters hilarious and a joy to follow! We all know fiction occasionally resembles real life – but how close to ‘real life’ are the characters in the Greek Meze series?

Certain characters were inspired by real life with a hefty dose of poetic licence thrown in, but then took on a life of their own. Every off-the-beaten track Greek village will have its own bossy interfering Stavroula, the gnarled old fishermen who still think they’re Greek gods when they draw their pension (and still attractive enough to seduce a Masha), and a kind-hearted practical Soula. Lots of readers tell me they spot the characters when they are holidaying on a Greek island and they look out for the favourite fashion of hideous old lady dresses.

Many of the crazy things that happen in the books were inspired by actual events. One of my favourite moments was watching an ancient old man who could barely stand up unassisted drive his car into the back of another vehicle and then calmly start eating his tinfoil wrapped sandwiches, demanding someone bring a brandy to the now dented car to steady his nerves as the whole village erupted into yelling around him. I used that incident for Nitsa in the taxi. As far as I know, the fish van has only ended up in the sea once, but the Thomas character lost his van to the sea twice.

Any plans for a 7th book?

I’m currently writing ‘Hiking the Icon’, Book 7 in the series. I hope to have it available in January 2019.

Tell us one rare gem we wouldn’t know about Greece – given you live in a place in the middle of nowhere.

Where I live isn’t nearly as backwater as my fictional village as progress creeps in and it’s less in a time-warp than it was. But there are some locals who have delusionally persuaded themselves that chickens really are vegetables in order to brandish their nonexistent vegetarian credentials. Having once recklessly said they’d gone veggie they are stuck in the position of making it fact without losing face: it’s really an extension of the Greek loathing of following rules which means there’s always an ashtray under the ‘No Smoking’ sign and an on-going dispute over the ownership of a hundred-year-old olive tree or the paternity of a goat.

Thank you Katerina! I love Greece as much as you and certainly enjoyed you taking the time to be interviewed.
You can buy the Greek Meze series on Amazon   here, just in time for Christmas!

PIN for later Let Katerina Nikolas – Author of Greek Meze series – inspire you to visit Greece PIN for later Katerina Nikolas – Author of Greek Meze series talks Greece and the Inspiration behind her Books

The post Let Katerina Nikolas Inspire you to Visit Greece through her Greek Meze Series appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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There’s a hidden part of Athens that had always eluded me.  I had never been able to find it!  Anafiotika is the neighbourhood, a hidden gem located under the northeastern side of the Acropolis Hill, part of historical Plaka.  It’s like an island on the mainland.  It forms part of my Insider’s Guide to Athens as a recommended place to take the time to find when you come.

Originally published in March 2015, this post has been updated and re-posted in NOV 2018

History of Anafiotika

The neighbourhood came into being in the reign of Otto of Greece – the Bavarian prince who in 1832, became the first modern King of Greece.  Construction workers were needed to work on the King’s Palace, and they came from the island of Anafi, a tiny island in the Cyclades chain and with a population in 2011 of 271.

Up until 1922, inhabitants of Anafiotika were from Anafi island, then this tiny neighbourhood saw immigrants from Asia Minor start to arrive.

For archeological reasons, in 1950 many of the little houses were destroyed, and in 1970 the Greek state started to buy them.

Finding Anafiotika – A Hidden island in Athens Modern times

Today there are only 45 houses remaining. However, wandering through the alleyways and seeing this unique neighbourhood – planned so that it resembled a Greek island – really does make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.  Away from the noise and hustle bustle, I loved it there – and am glad I finally found it!

Up, keep walking up

I was instructed.  Yes, more than once locals would wave their arm in a vague motion that is so typical to the Greeks, in the direction of the Acropolis Hill.  This time – my third attempt I might add – I did just that, I found ways to keep walking ‘up.’  Not knowing if I should be walking through certain streets, I stumbled across more street art:

Streetart on the way to Anafiotika neighbourhood, Athens

until I realised I was going in the right direction when I turned the corner and saw this:

Tiny streets of Anafiotika in Plaka district of Athens

So let’s take a look at the simplistic beauty of this neighbourhood: a village within a city.

One of the many winding streets in Anafiotika – reminiscent of a Greek island Finding Anafiotika – an island oasis in Athens

As I mentioned before, finding Anafiotika isn’t very easy. Asking locals will be met with vague directions, so I hope you may find this map helpful:

Map courtesy of: http://www.greeceathensaegeaninfo.com/h-athens/areas-of/plaka.htm

Have you found Anafiotika, the island paradise in a capital city? Where’s your city island paradise?

PIN for later Come and discover Anafiotika – A Hidden Gem in Athens Finding Anafiotika – A Hidden Gem in Athens Greece

And don’t just take my word for it, check out Trip Advisor’s recommendations for Anafiotika and walking tours that you can take.

The post Finding Anafiotika – a hidden gem in Athens appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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**Originally written in May 2014, this article has been revised and updated in November 2018**

Mate, I’m so sorry! The plane was early

exclaims my guest as he exits the Arrivals Hall at Athens airport.  Before I can start to feel nervous, he plants a matter-of-fact kiss on the top of my head (not hard as he is towering over me), then we greet in the usual Greek way: one kiss on each cheek – and I direct him to his hotel.

Back in 2013, I had been tasked with looking after a movie star coming to Greece and taking part in a small Indie movie being filmed on the Greek island of Kea. British movie star Jason Flemyng is probably best known for his roles in Guy Richie directed films such as ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ and ‘Snatch’ (with Brad Pitt).  He’s also been in ‘X-Men’, among a variety of acting roles on both TV and film.  He really is eclectic, so my opportunity to spend some time in Greece with a movie star left me feeling both a little afraid (that I’d make an idiot of myself) and star struck.

Greece with a Movie Star – Jason Flemyng. Cinema image © Derks 24

But with the ease at which he exited into the Arrivals Hall and greeted me, I immediately felt at ease too. I marvel at how down to earth he is, and how he’s apologising for the fact that his flight is 45 mins early!  Yes, I can truly say that in my years of being in Greece, this is a first – and it’s the one time that I HAVE to be on time.

I had to ensure he made it to the port of Lavrio to meet the ferry to go to the Greek island of Kea where The Journey was completing its filming.

I love Greece.  Been coming on holiday since a kid.

Bourgainvillia in Greece

And I was impressed with Jason’s level of Greek too – he conversed well with everyone he came across.

Also on time was the driver from George’s Taxi, or George the Taxi Driver as he’s famously known.  In fact, this was the second time in less than 24 hours that something in Greece had been early.  Clearly Jason Flemyng brought good vibes with him.

Despite having spent all day filming, hopping on a plane and flying into Athens and with an early start to the ferry the next day, Jason insisted on sitting up at the airport hotel to discuss Greece, his love of the country and was one of those rare stars (not that I’ve met many you understand) that seemed to take more interest in you than wanting to talk about himself.

Greece with a Movie Star – on Kea island

Cast, crew – both in the UK and Greece have been incredibly supportive of this indie project of Lance Nielsen’s vision – an incredibly brave man, and one who has this knack and unknowing ability to pull together some amazing individuals who work well together. The result will be…well, just you wait.

Relaxing with some tremendous Greek food at the end of a long day of shooting for the cast & crew

And so, with the final scenes being shot in the capital, I feel proud to have been a small part of this crew, spend some time in Greece with a movie star and can’t wait to see the end product.  The title is apt, it’s been a spiritual (and physical) journey for all involved…many for the first time in Greece.

PIN for later A movie star visits Greece. Images © Derks 24 and Reissaamme

The post Greece with a movie star – Jason Flemyng appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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I wrote a post a while back about Do’s and Don’ts in Greece – guiding you all about some Greek customs and etiquette from an Athens resident, aka me.
It’s proven to be one of my most popular posts yet…and I enjoyed writing about Greece beyond the luxury hotels, beautiful islands and getting into the nitty gritty every day life observations.  Here, I expand a little more and give you some tips for travelling in Greece, and things to know before coming here…I hope you’ll find it useful.

Tips for Travel in Greece – Things to Know Before Travelling in Greece Images © Russell_Yan, nonbirinonko and Reissaamme Tips for travelling in Greece: weather Temperatures

Even though Greece is a country located in the southern Mediterranean sea and enjoys almost 365 days of sunshine, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s consistently hot here.
The hottest month is August where temperatures are said to average 29 degrees C (84 degrees F) but in reality, it can get much hotter than that, especially in Athens with the concrete buildings just absorbing the heat…and it can get up to 40 degrees C (104 degrees F).
It can also get cold in the winter, with January seeing temperatures at about 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) and there are also places that experience heavy snowfall, enough for the country to have ski resorts.  See my Mount Parnassos article for more information.

Rain

It can rain a lot in December through to February, and the Ionian islands on the west coast of the country especially see heavy rainfall, that’s why Kefalonia and Lefkada, for example, are so lush and green compared to other arid islands.

Photo by Ole Husby

April and May can be lovely times to visit the country as you get the opportunity to experience Greek Orthodox Easter (different from the Gregorian ‘west’ Easter calendar), depending on when it falls and have lovely weather for it, plus spring is always a nice time anyway.

Easter Photo by George M. Groutas Wind

The Meltemi Wind – a northerly wind that blows in July and August – can be really strong and whilst a good respite, don’t be fooled into not wearing suntan cream and beware that it can blow up big waves, making swimming in some places difficult (but great for windsurfers).

Photo by alastc


This Greek island all round packing list article will help you decide what to pack for an all year round visit to Greece.

Tips for travelling in Greece: Public Transport

When visiting Athens I would urge everyone to use the Metro. It’s clean, it’s cheap at €1.40 per 90 minute train ride (my Do’s and Don’ts in Greece tells you more) but I would urge everyone to keep hold of their valuables.  As with any city, pickpockets are rife and there’s a great guide here that offers advice about Defeating the Pick Pockets.

Photo by Ruth and Dave

I have some great recommended anti-theft travel items here that could help, and take a look at these recommendations too.


Don’t ride the donkeys!

Donkeys, along with olive trees and blue seas, are a part of every day Greek life, let’s face it.  But there’s been much in the news of late about how cruel it is to actually ride the donkeys.
Take Santorini as an example: From the port, where not only the ferries dock but also numerous cruise ships, up to the caldera is a very steep climb, so many people use the donkeys that are lined up.  But there’s a cable car now – so there’s no need to this.  There’s an article here about Tourists over 100kg no longer allowed to do this, sparking, quite frankly, a ridiculous debate about how this is discriminatory towards ‘large’ people and ‘who are they to make dispersions about weight?’  Well, it’s not about your weight, it’s about whether the animals are being treated fairly…we all know why you shouldn’t ride elephants in Thailand…now this has been exposed then we should also think twice about the riding of donkeys.

Photo by Lee Cannon Tips for travelling to Greece – Recommended reading

I was provided with a new style of guide to review recently, a guide to Greece – The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture, a great alternative guide to the usual hotels and restaurants ones and excellent in preparing you for things to know before coming here.
Written by Culture Smart, they specialise in guides about the customs and cultures of a place, leaving you to explore hotels and restaurants yourself via sites such as Trip Advisor (or my site, for example!).  I learned some things myself about Greek history through reading my Greek guide – and it’s a lovely pocket sized book.

I’d highly recommend it if you want to arm yourself with some knowledge about the country and its customs before you come on your vacation.

Click on the photo to take you to the site to buy, and apply the Discount Code LBB-40 at check out and you’ll receive 40% discount (and I’ll get a small amount of commission too, at no extra cost to you).

Culture Smart pocket size Guide book to Greek culture and customs

Naturally, I’d also recommend reading my novel ‘Girl Gone Greek’ to help you gain a more humorous, tongue in cheek look at Greek every day life.

What has your experience of Greek culture been? Share in the comments.

PIN for later Advice and tips for travelling in Greece. Images © WeeFee_Photography and Fuzz

Header picture image © Fuzz from Pixabay

The post Things to know before travelling to Greece appeared first on Life Beyond Borders.

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