Hot Tubbin With Europes Last Ottomans

If you're up for a Thracian adventure involving hot mineral baths, magnificent mountains, indefinable locals and the odd roast goat, then a day trip to Xanthi's Pomakohoria is the place for you. In Greek, the name means 'Pomak villages', after its inhabitants, the singular Muslim Pomak minority, whose placid villages are dotted across Greece's Rhodopi Mountains between Xanthi and the Bulgarian border. A curious relic of the borderless Ottoman centuries, the Pomaks spill across the frontier...

Lasithi Plateau Pieai Aaxiioy

The Lasithi Plateau, 900m above sea level, is a vast expanse of pear and apple orchards, almond trees and fields of crops. It would have been a stunning sight when it was dotted by some 20,000 metal windmills with white canvas sails. They were built in the 17th century to irrigate the rich farmland but there are less than 5000 still standing today and few of the original windmills are in service most having been replaced by less attractive mechanical pumps. The plateau's rich soil has been...

South To Trikeri

The southern part of the Pelion has a wide-open feel to it, with sparsely forested hills and countless olive groves. Before heading inland after Kala Nera or Tsangarada, the road skirts the little coastal village of Afissos, winds upwards through to the large, inland farming community of Argalasti, and then forks - the left fork continues inland, the right goes to the coastal resorts of Horto and Milina. From Milina the road branches southeast towards Platanias and southwest to Trikeri. From...

Agia Galini Aha Taahnh

Agia Galini (a-ya ga-iee-nee) is another erst while picturesque fishing village where package tourism and overdevelopment have spoilt much of its original charm. Hemmed in against the sea by large sandstone cliffs and phalanxes of hotels and domatia, Agia Galini can be rather claustrophobic. It is probably the most touristy southern beach resort, though inoffensive compared to the north coast. While it still gets lively during peak season, and has a great atmosphere at night, it has become a...

West Of Skala

Heading west of Skala you hit the big Astypalea outback. Here is a land of gnarled, bare and rolling hills with scarcely a sealed road to speak of. It's all driveable (just), but you'll need a solid 4WD or off-road motorcycle. An access road peels upwards northwesterly from Skala and follows the hill ridges past Psili Vigla to a road junction at Stavros after 6km. Head north and follow the sign to the so-called Kastro (Castle) near the Moni Agiou loanni, which is reached via a detour after...

Around Konitsa

The Bourazani Environmental Park ( 26550 61283 www.bourazani.gr adult child 10 6 Sfrom sunset), 14km west of Konitsa, educates about Epiros' wild things. It takes up a whole mountain close to the Albanian border, and includes a conference hall for environmental education and feeding areas for boar, deer, kri-kri and moufflon. You can see animals feeding at dusk via a bus tour from the adjacent Hotel Bourazani ( 26550 61283 burazani otenet.gr s d tr 70 105 110 (P) (B)), a good family spot that...

Co

It's a defining Cycladic experience. Bad weather can blow the schedule. Most seating is open deck, so when it's windy, brace yourself for some real rocking and rolling. In rough weather you'll know what's coming when the crew starts dishing out the see-through sick bags. If you're on deck, work out exactly which side of the boat is protected from wind and sea on each section between islands and stay there, or that bracing sea air may become a bracing Aegean Sea deluge....

The Shortest Flight

Forget inflight movies and meals when flying from Kasos to Karpathos or vice-versa. You barely have time to buckle your seat-belt before you're preparing for landing. At just five minutes, this Olympic Airlines Kar-pathos-Kasos sector is the shortest of the airline's routes. As you lift off in a Canadian-built de Havilland DHC-8 (Dash 8) prop aircraft, you'll barely have time to view the rugged coastline of Kasos slip away to your right as you skim across the waves to Karpathos airport at the...

Attica Attikh

Greater Athens and Piraeus account for the bulk of the population of the prefecture of Attica. The plain of Attica is an agricultural and wine-growing region, with several large population centres. It has some fine beaches, particularly along the Apollo Coast and at Shinias, near Marathon. Until the 7th century, Attica was home to a number of smaller kingdoms, such as those at Eleusis (Elefsina), Ramnous and Brauron (Vravrona). The remains of these cities con tinue to be among the region's main...

Wildlife Animals

Greece's relationship with its fauna has not been a happy one. Hunting of wild animals is a popular activity with Greeks as a means of providing food. This is particularly true in mountainous regions where the partisanship of hunters is legendary. Wild boars have been around since antiquity and are commonly the main game. One could argue that the culling of these destructive and cunning animals is a blessing in disguise. Despite signs forbidding hunting, Greek hunters often shoot freely at any...

FERRY

There are at least five ferries daily in summer and about four daily in winter, to and from Piraeus ( 11.60,2V2 hours), viaMethana ( 3.40, 30 minutes) and Aegina ( 7.30, one hour 15 minutes), two daily to Hydra ( 6, 50 minutes), and one to Spetses ( 9.60, two hours). Family Tours ( 2298025900 www.familytours .gr) handles tickets. Small boats shutde constandy between Poros and Galatas ( 0.70, five minutes) on the mainland. They leave from the quay opposite Plateia Iroon in Poros Town. Car...

Getting There Away

The bus station ( 27330 51229 Plateia Athanaton) is next to Europa Grill. There are buses to Gythio ( 2.30,30 minutes, four daily), which proceed to Athens ( 22.70), Itilo ( 1.20, 20 minutes, three daily Monday to Saturday, no service Sunday) via Limeni, Gerolimenas ( 2.90, 45 minutes), the Diros Caves ( 1.20, 15 minutes, one daily), Lagia ( 3.20,40 minutes, one daily) and Vathia ( 3.60, one hour, two daily). The tiny village of Limeni is 3km north of Areopoli on the southern flank of beautiful...

Around Delphi

Olive groves and clear skies mark the road south from Delphi, which stretches 18km to the Gulf of Corinth where it branches east to Kira (2km). This was ancient Kirrha, the port of Delphi, now a quiet suburb of the market town of Itea, with a long sand-and-pebble beach, very clean sea and good beachside camping. The town of Amfissa sits in the foothills 20km northwest of Delphi on the road to Lamia. Sacked in 338 BC by Phillip of Maced n, it's better known today among Greeks for its marvellous...

Road Signs

AnAroPEYETEAi h EiiOAOi No Entry aiwopeyetai h npoinEPAZH No Overtaking aiwopeyetai HITAGMEYIH No Parking The car motorbike has broken down (at ) to af-to nl-to mo-to-si-Wef-ta cha-la-se sto To auioKiviiTo ii poioouK iCTia yalaoi axo to af-to nl-to mo-to-si-Wef-ta dhen per-nl- bras To auioKiviiTo ii poioouK iCTia 6 vnaipv i pnpo(.

Fight For The River

Conservationists, industrialists and villagers are waging a debate over the government's construction of a 135m-high hydroelectric dam near Mesohora village on the upper River Aheloos in the South Pindos range. The EU-funded irrigation project has been stalled in the Greek courts for years. The government built the dam first, then did the environmental studies. As a result, the Greek courts have denied permits. Ifthealreadyconstructed dam sallowed to begin operation, the ecological effects...

The Greek Diaspora

Greece was until recently a nation of emigrants, with more than five million people of Greek descent living in 140 countries. The biggest migration waves were in the 15 years before the Balkan Wars, after the 1922 Asia Minor purge and in the postwar aftermath in the 1950s and 1960s. The largest Greek communities abroad include an estimated three million in the US and Canada. Melbourne, Australia, claims to have the third-largest population of Greek-speakers in the world (300,000), after Athens...

Columbus Of The Red Earth

Despite being one of the world's greatest seafaring nations, Greece's Renaissance sea captains didn't get to the Americas - right According to a theory long propounded by some Greeks (and foreign philhellenes), great explorer Christopher Columbus was no Italian from the streets, as the conventional wisdom has it rather, he was a Chios-born Greek, of noble Byzantine descent. While the argument can't be proven, it is intriguing. Born at a time when the Ottomans were conquering Byzantium, the...

Symi

It's one of the most popular day-trip destinations from Rhodes. It's also a popular holiday destination in its own right. Like other islands in the southern Dodecanese, it's rocky, mosdy dry, postcard pretty, and a popular port of call for yachties and other sea-struck travellers. The island's past was once a different call. Shipbuilding, sponge diving and commerce were the island's mainstay economies now it's tourism and more tourism. You could perhaps be...

Livadia Aibaaeia

Livadia is the main village and port, though not the principal village (capital) that honour belongs to Megalo Horio, situated 8km northwest of the port. Livadia is a sleepy, pleasant enough place, though it can get hot. In the vil lage you will find most services and shops, as well as most of the island's accommodation. All arrivals are at Livadia. The small port is 300m southeast of the village centre. Tilos has no official tourist bureau. The Bank of the Dodecanese has a branch and an ATM in...

Corfu Activities

Naturally enough, the best activities in this part of the world relate to water. If you're not fortunate enough to be sailing in the region on a private yacht, several companies offer yacht charter services, flotilla holidays or sailing lessons, including Corfu Sea School 26610 99470 www .corfuseaschool.com Marina Gouvia). For exploring coastal coves, renting a motorboat is the only way to go. Many places such as Marina Gouvia, Paleokastritsa and Kalami rent out boats. You can dive in the...

The Sweet Life

Greeks prize few things more than their sweets. The zaharoplasteia (patisseries) of Thessaloniki are particularly famous for their traditional Eastern-flavoured delicacies, sinfully French-style sweets and some truly iconic local creations. While many of the Ottoman-era offerings are now common throughout Greece, Thessaloniki's discerning locals are particularly demanding in their pursuit of the sweet life, as becomes clear at the following well-polished, inviting zaharoplasteia, most of which...

Andros Anapoe

Big, beautiful Andros is a mere two hours by ferry from mainland Rafina and is a rewarding escape for those who want a less-tourist-logged Cycladic world. It's the most northerly island of the Cyclades and is the second largest after Naxos. Satisfyingly remote in places, Andros boasts neoclassical mansions and Venetian tower-houses that contrast with the rough unpainted stonework of farm buildings and patterned dovecotes. Handsome stone walls, made up of a unique pattern of irregular slabs and...

Sleeping

Wild camping is not permitted on Koufonisia. There is a good selection of domatia and hotels, and Koufonisia Tours ( 22850 71671 www .koufonissiatour5.gr) organises accommodation on the island. Koufonisia Camping ( 22850 71683) This camping ground has been behind the tree-lined beach at Harakopou to the east of Hora for many years. At the time of writing it was reported that the ground would not be opening in 2007. We advise checking ahead for 2008 and 2009. Lefteris Rooms ( g 22850 71458 d tr...

Midrange

Hotel Agnanti ( fax 24240 22722 www.skopelos.net agnanti s d tr incl breakfast from 45 65 90 (El (D) Theo and Eleni run the show at this inviting 12-room hotel on the far bay, with ceiling fans, traditional ceramic and wood decorations, plus a paperback lending library. Perivoli Studios ( 24240 24480,6974120450 www .skopelos.net perlvoll d tr 60 70 ) These stylish self-catering studios occupy a traditional building just off the ring road, each with a terrace overlooking an orchard of olive and...

Information

ATMs can be found outside Vichos Tours midway along the main harbourfront and in the main square. The post office is along the main road, 50m from the main square, on the right. Municipal Tourist Office ( 22870 22445 www.miios -isiand.gr S 8am-midnight mid-Jun-mid-Sep) Opposite the quay one of the most helpful offices in the Cydades. Terry's Travel Services ( 22870 22640 www .terrysmilostravel.com) Friendly, helpful service goes with a great love of the island here. Help with accommodation, car...

Agia Roumeli Aha Poymeah

These days most travellers just pass through Agia Roumeli waiting to catch the boat to Hora Sfakion. It's pleasant enough for a stopover, although the surrounding mountains can make it very hot and stifling. If you've just trekked through the gorge and you're in no hurry to leave, there are quite a few decent places to stay and eat. Farangi Restaurant (S 28250 91225 mains 4.50-8.50) has excellent Cretan specials and there are some tidy rooms (d tr 30 35 (S)) above the restaurant. Gigilos...

East Coast

Thasos' east coast has the island's most famous long sandy beaches, and they do get packed in summer nevertheless, it's less built up than the west coast and has a more relaxed feel. It also has some unique mountain villages and great natural attractions. The curious road signs on the main road near the inland mountain villages of Panagia and Potamia, referring to (Thasos) Limenas as Limin, date from a time when Panagia was the island's capital and Limenas just its harbour the word Limin is the...

East Of Skala

To the east of Skala is the easterly wing of the 'butterfly' - the waist being marked by a narrow isthmus that barely joins the two halves of the island. Marmari,2km northeast of Skala, has three bays with pebble and sand beaches and is home to Astypalea's Camping Astypalea ( 2243061900 camp sites per adult tent 6 4). Though it only operates from June to September, this tamarisk tree-shaded and bamboo-protected camping ground is right next to the beach and has a caf and a minimarket. Steno...

Sleeping Eating

Camping Atreus ( 27510 76221 atreus1 otenet.gr camp sites per adult tent 6 3.50 SApr-0ct 6)) A well-equipped, shady camping ground on the edge of town on the main road from Fihtio. The friendly owner, Pandelis, speaks English. Hotel Klitemnistra ( 27510 76451 www.klitem nistrahotel.gr s d trind breakfast 35 40 40 ) This place has half a dozen clean, comfortable rooms, some with great balconies overlooking pretty rolling hills. Wi-fi access is available. The friendly Australian-Greek owners can...

Gas Taioi

Gaios, on a sweeping, east-coast bay, is the island's small and well-equipped capital. Its pink, cream and whitewashed buildings line the bay, and the town's main Venetian square, swamped with the inevitable bars and caf s, abuts the waterfront. The island is cosseted from the open sea by the nearby fortified islet of Agios Nikolaos. Panagia Islet, named after its monastery, lies at the northern entrance to the bay. The main street (Panagioti Kanga) runs inland from the main square towards the...

Aristi to the Papingo Villages

The most memorable Zagorohoria experience for many is the drive up the vertiginous, ribboning northern road to Megalo Papingo and Mikro Papingo. If you're coming from Vitsa or Ano Pedina, the secondary road will join the main road running up from Ioannina. After heading west through Kato Pedina, follow the main road northwards until it branches after 4.1km take the right branch to get to Papingo. Aristi, the last village before Papingo, features the lovely Monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa,...

Evia the Sporades

In a nation known for its magical islands, Evia and the Sporades are not exactly household names. Some would be surprised, in fact, that Evia is an island at all. Joined by a short bridge at Halkida, and separated from the mainland by a narrow gulf, it's one of those places that seem to be hidden in full view. Only a couple of hours from Athens, Evia's busy gateway resorts get their car loads of weekend visitors. But across the island, the pace is slower and the landscape pristine for long...

Info

Glossa 20min 8 4-6 daily SkopelosTown 35min 12.50 4-6 daily Excursion boats make full- and half-day trips around the island ( 9 to 20, approximately four to six hours), and usually include a visit to Cape Kastro, Lalaria Beach and the three spilies (caves) of Halkini, Skotini and Galazia, which are only accessible by boat. A few boats also visit the nearby islets of Tsougria and Tsougri-aki for swimming and snorkelling. Check out the posted daily schedules at the old harbour, or contact...

Mam J J A So N D

The wind is a mixed blessing it reduces humidity, but plays havoc with ferry schedules and sends everything flying - from beach umbrellas to washing hanging out to dry. The western Peloponnese, western Sterea Ellada, southwestern Epiros and the Ionian Islands escape the meltemi and have less severe winters than northern Greece, but are the areas with the highest rainfall. The Northeastern Aegean Islands, Halkidiki and the Pelion Peninsula fall somewhere between the Balkan-type...

Peloponnese

The Peloponnese (pel-o-pon-ih-sos) is the stuff that legends are made of. Numerous myths were born and borne out here - it is where many a Greek god or hero strutted their stuff (and aired their bodies). Today this region is far from a fable. It boasts historical sites, with classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, Byzantine cities, and Frankish and Venetian fortresses. You can rub shoulders with the ghost of Agamemnon at Mycenae, mighty redoubt of a once great civilisation, or flex your muscles...

Mytilini Town Mytiahnh

Easygoing Mytilini, the port of Lesvos, is kept lively year-round thanks to its capital status and irrepressible student population. The laid-back attitude to life in Mytilini reflects ingrained political preferences (Lesvos was long a bastion of the left), but even more so, perhaps, its love of food, drink and the arts on an island known eternally for its poets and painters, its olive oil and wine. As with most Greek port towns, the action is centred on the waterfront however, Mytilini boasts...

Skala Xkaaa

Patmos' port town is Skala (ska-la), a bright and glitzy place, draped around a curving bay and only visible from arriving ships once the protective headland has been rounded. The port bustles and large cruise ships are often anchored offshore, while smaller ones heave to at Skala's harbour. Once the cruise ships and ferries depart, Skala reverts to being a fairly normal, liveable port town. It has a wide range of excellent accommodation and restaurants, and all the island's major facilities...

Vasiliki Baxiaikh

Two types of people come to Vasiliki the tanned and toned, and the sedate. Vasiliki is the centre of watersports and is considered the windsurfing location in Europe, due to distinct thermal winds. But it's not all fast sailing the winding waterfront, with the eucalyptus and canopy-covered eateries, provides a tranquil environment in which to relax, unlike the unpleasant stony beach. Caiques take visitors to the island's better beaches and coves including Agiofylli Beach, south of Vasiliki....

Wind Farm Debate

Gauging which way the wind is blowing is becoming trickier on Skyros, where a controversy is heating up between vocal residents and the Greek Orthodox Church, which quietly began negotiations in 2005 with a mainland contractor and a government regulatory authority. At stake whether to establish a massive wind farm (at an estimated cost of 500 million) on the southern half of the island to meet the EU's request that Greece utilise renewable energy to provide 20 of its needs by 2010. If the plan...

Central Lefkada

The spectacular central spine of Lefkada, with its traditional farming villages, lush green peaks, fragrant pine trees, olive groves and vines - plus occasional views of the islets - is well worth seeing if you have time and transport. The small village of Karya is a bit of a tourist haunt but it boasts a stunning square with plane trees, around which are tavernas and snack bars. Karya is famous for its special embroidery, introduced in the 19th century by one-handed local woman, Maria...

Sami Surrounds Iamh

Sami, 25km northeast of Argostoli and the main port of Kefallonia, was also flattened by the 1953 earthquake. Its exposed long strip is made up of tourist-oriented caf s, but beyond this it's an attractive place, nestled in a bay and flanked by steep hills. It promotes itself as the gateway to Kefallonia. Indeed, it provides an enjoyable introduction or stopover it has several monasteries, ancient castle ruins, caves, walks and nearby beaches that reflect the region's ancient and rich history....

South Of Corfu Town

The coast road continues south from Corfu Town with a turn-off to well-signposted Ahillion Palace ( 26610 56245 adult concession 7 5 S 8.30am-3pm Nov-Mar, 8am-7pm Apr-Oct), near the village of Gastouri. In the 1890s it was the summer palace of Austria's Empress Elizabeth (King Otho of Greece was her uncle). The beautifully landscaped garden is guarded by some elaborate statues of mythological heroes. Be sure to climb the stairs to the right of the villa to the marbled terrace for a view through...

Kalavryta Kaaabpyta

Perched at 756m above sea level, Kalavryta (kah-ia i-vrih-tah) is a delightful resort town offering fresh mountain air, gushing springs and a tree-shaded plaza. There is something of a miniboom going on here as Kalavryta evolves into a resort town for wealthy Athenians, who arrive in numbers on weekends and during the winter ski season. Two relatively recent historical events have assured the town of Kalavryta a place in the hearts of all Greeks. First, despite plenty of evidence that fighting...

Around Agios Kirykos

Some 2km northeast of town are the popular hot springs ofTherma ( 69771 47014 admission 5 S 7am-2.30pm & 5-9pm Jun-0ct), believed to cure many ailments. Along with the airport, Ikaria's eastern tip boasts the 2km-long Faro Beach, 10km north along the coast road, and the 3rd-century BC fortress of Drakanos (cur-rentiy being excavated), which sponsored religious rites dedicated to Eilythia, a minor pregnancy-promoting deity. While a few tavernas hug the beach, it remains blissfully quiet...

Water Taxi

The small boats ( 22460 71423) Konstantinos and Irini do trips ( 10 to 15) to many of the island's beaches, leaving at 10.15am and 11.15am respectively. Gialos, Symi's port, is by all accounts a visual treat. Neoclassical mansions in a harmonious medley of colours are heaped up the hills flanking its harbour. Behind their strikingly beautiful fa ades, however, many of the buildings are derelict. It is a slightly claustrophobic place and can get unbearably hot in summer. The town is divided into...

Around The Island

Lipsi has quite a few beaches, all within walking distance of Lipsi village. Some are shaded, some are not some are sandy, others gravely and at least one is for nudists. Getting to them makes for pleasant walks through countryside dotted with smallholdings, olive groves and cypress trees. The minibus services the main ones. Liendou Beach is the most accessible and naturally the most popular beach. The water is very shallow and calm the best beach for children. It's 500m from Lipsi village,...

Skopelos Town

Skopelos Town is one of the most captivating ports in the Sporades. It skirts a semicircular bay and clambers in tiers up a hillside, culminating in an old fortress and a cluster of four churches. Dozens of other churches are interspersed among dazzling white houses with brightly shuttered windows and flower-adorned balconies. Skopelos Town's waterfront is flanked by two quays. The old quay is at the western end of the harbour and the new quay is at the eastern end, used by all ferries and...

Nikos The Designer Honey

Bees have been integral to the life of Nikos Reppas. Since the age of three, his job in his family's long-running honey business was to smoke the bees out of their hives while his father collected the honey. 'Bees have been my family's work for 200 years he boasts proudly. Now, he says he takes a long drag on his hand-rolled cigarette and leans lazily forward to stir his strong espresso -his fourth for the day , he has had another 37 years' experience in all aspects of the honey industry from...

Cut Above The Rest

Male travellers who may have 'let their hair down' during their vacation should razor on down to the small village of Kouramades, 5km southeast of Pelakas. This tiny place is home to a highly respected and dare we say eccentric barber, Mr Yiangos Hytiris 26610 54258 . Since 1949 Mr Hytiris has been servicing hirsute clients who come not only from around the island, but as far away as Athens. He is well known for his quirky barber's shop, which is housed in a distinctive rust-coloured building...

GAVDOS rAYAOX

Gavdos, in the Libyan Sea 65km from Paleohora, is the most southerly place in Europe and is the island for those craving total isolation and peace. The island has three tiny villages and lovely, unspoilt beaches, some of which are accessible only by foot or boat. Gavdos attracts a loyal following of campers, nudists and free spirits seeking natural beaches, long walks and laid-back holidays. There are no hotels but quite a few people rent rooms and tavernas. Until the late 1960s Gavdos had...

Back To Mastic

One day, 32-year-old Vasilis Ballas and longtime girlfriend Roula had had enough they decided, as one does, to quit their well-paying jobs in hectic Athens' IT sector and move to a small village in southern Chios, to cultivate mastic trees. 'Our friends thought we were crazy,' chuckles Vasilis, whose ancestors came from Mesta, the enchanting fortress town at the heart of Chios' Mastihohoria. 'But now many of them are saying, I wish I was brave enough to do what you did Cultivating the trees was...

Spili Xiihai

Spili spee-lee , 30km southeast of Rethymno is a pretty mountain village with cobbled streets, rustic houses and plane trees. Its centrepiece is a unique Venetian fountain, which spurts water from 19 lion heads, though its recent refurbishment was ill-advised. Bring along your own containers and fill up with the best water on the island. Tourist buses regularly stop in the town during the day, but in the evening Spili belongs to the locals. It is a good spot for lunch and a great base for...

Painting

The lack of any comprehensive archaeological record of ancient Greek painting has left art historians to largely rely on the painted decoration of terracotta pots as evidence of the development of this art. There are a few exceptions, such as the famous frescoes unearthed on Santorini and which are now housed in the National Archaeological Museum pi20 in Athens. These works were painted in fresco technique using yellow, blue, red and black pigments, with some details added after the plaster had...

Ithaki IAKH

Diminutive Ithaki is the diamond of the Io-nians. It is believed to be the mythical home of Homer's Odysseus, where his loyal wife Penelope patiently awaited his homecoming. This tranquil island is two large peninsulas -joined by a narrow isthmus - with sheer cliffs, precipitous mountainous passages and pockets of cypresses and olive groves. Nestled around this compact gem are beautiful fishing hamlets tastefully rebuilt after the 1953 earthquake and discreet pebbly coves. Monasteries and...

BUS

The main KTELAchaia bus station 2610623 886 Othonos Amalias has buses to Athens 16.20, three hours, every half-hour via Corinth 10.80,1 Yi hours Pyrgos 8.40, two hours, 10 daily Ioannina 19.70,4' i hours, at least two daily Kalavryta 6.80, two hours, at least two daily Kalamata 19.30, four hours, two daily Tripoli 16, hours, daily and Thessaloniki 37.90, seven hours, four daily . Buses to the Ionian Islands of Lefkada 13.80, two weekly, three hours and Kefal-lonia leave from the KTEL Kefallonia...

Hidden Beaches Of Eastern Samos

Despite being only a few kilometres from Samos' capital, the jagged eastern coast is rarely visited by tourists, making it perfect for adventurous, off-roading swimmers and sun worshippers.Thesul-try beaches here are frequented only by locals and the tiny coves along the coast by very few. A regular car or motorcycle will suffice for most of this route, though the complete day-tour requires a 4WD. Set your odometer at Vathy Samos port and drive northwards, passing the Pythagoras Hotel on your...

Around Agathonisi

Megalo Horio is the only village of any size on the island. Somnolent and unhurried for most of the time, it comes to life yearly with religious festivals Agiou Panteleimonos 26 July , Sotiros 6 August and Panagias 22 August , when, after church services, the village celebrates with abundant food, music and dancing. There are a series of accessible beaches to the east of Megalo Horio pebbled Tsangari Beach, pebbled Tholos Beach, sandy Poros Beach and pebbled Tholos Agios Nikolaos Beach, close...

Air

Aegean Airlines www.aegeanair.com City 2810 344 324 fax 2810 344 330 Leoforos Dimokratlas 11 Airport office 2810 330 475 Olympic Airlines www.olympicairlines.com City 2810 244 824 25 Avgoustou 27 S 8am-3pm Mon-Fri Airport office 2810 337 203, 2810 397 129 Olympic and Aegean each have at least five flights daily to Athens from 75 from Iraklio's Nikos Kazantzakis airport, as well as daily flights to Thessaloniki from 106 . Olympic also flies to Rhodes from 89 . Both airlines have regular special...

Nisyros neypos

There are not many islands in the Aegean that sport their own dormant volcano. Nisy-ros i-see-ross has one, though it's less active now than it was in its eruptive past. This almost round island of pumice, rock and lush vegetation is a bit of an anomaly because of its inherited geology. Other than that it's a thoroughly pleasant destination for individuals who want a quiet vacation on an island that still looks and feels totally Greek. The beaches are not so hot - that's a fact -but you can...

Pigadia Imtaaia

After being spoilt with the picturesque harbours of Symi, Chalki and Kastellorizo, Pigadia pi-gha-dhi-ya , Karpathos' capital and main port, does not immediately grab your attention. It's a modern town and is attractive enough in its own way, but without any eminent buildings or sites. Much of the cement-based architecture was erected during a boom in the 1960s and '70s. Upon further investigation, however, Pigadia is a pleasant and busy town. It is built on the edge of Vrondi Bay, a 4km-long...

Sights Activities

Many of Kastoria's Byzantine churches were originally chapels attached to arhontika. Most are locked find a caretaker to enter. External frescoes are visible, however, at some churches, such as Taxiarhia of the Metropolis Plateia Pavlou Mela , south of Plateia Omonias, with its 13th-century fresco of the Madonna and Child above the entrance. It also contains the sacrosanct tomb of Pavlos Melas, the main Greek military leader associated with the 1904-08 'Macedonian Struggle' Makedo-nomahos . The...

TRAIN

Trains are operated by Greek Railways Organisation Organismos Sidirodromon Ellados www.ose.gr , always referred to as the OSE. You'll find information on fares and schedules on the website. Information on domestic departures from Athens or Thessaloniki can be sought by calling 1440. The biggest problem with the Greek railway network is that it is so limited. There are essentially only two main lines the standard gauge service from Athens to Alexandroupoli via Thessaloniki, and the Peloponnese...

Arahova Apaxba

Arahova ah-ra-ho-vah is built on a rocky spur of Mt Parnassos at an altitude of 960m. Arahova is primarily a winter resort for skiers, and for Greeks it is very much the place to be during the skiing season. Prices in winter reflect this trend and some restaurants close in summer. It's only 12km from Delphi, and a good alternative base from which to visit Ancient Delphi. The main street of Arahova is flanked by shops selling embroidery, hand-woven goods, flokati rugs and various other...

Ancient Zakros Apxaia Zakpoi

The smallest of Crete's four palatial complexes, the Palace of Zakros 28430 26897 Kato Zakros admission 3 S 8am-7.30pm Jul-0ct, 8.30am-3pm Nov-Jun was a major port in Minoan times, maintaining trade links with Egypt, Syria, Anatolia and Cyprus. The palace comprised royal apartments, storerooms and workshops flanking a central courtyard. The town occupied a low plain close to the shore. Water levels have risen over the years so that some parts of the palace complex are submerged and are occupied...

Eating Drinking

Dining in Thasos Limenas has become both more bland and more expensive, as beachfront restaurants bank on location to save them from innovation. The drinking scene is more sedate than at the coastal beach resorts, though satisfactory watering holes do exist. I Pig i Grill Room 25930 22941 Central Square mains 5-7.50 S dinner This friendly, central restaurant next to a spring can seem to blend in with other nearby eateries, but is a cut above when it comes to Greek meats seafood mezedhes and...

Moni Kaisarianis

Nestled on the slopes of Mt Hymmetos, 5km from the city, the 1 lth-century monastery of Kaisariani Map p155 210 723 6619 Mt Hymettos admission 2 S buildings 8.30am-2.45pm Tue-Sun, grounds 8.30am-sunset is a peaceful sanctuary. Built on the foundations of an ancient temple, the dome of the church is supported by four columns from the ancient temple. The walled complex has a central court surrounded by the kitchen and dining rooms, the monks' cells and the bathhouse. The domed katholikon main...

Hiking The Zagorohoria The Grand Tour

To see the Zagorohoria at its most spectacular, get off the roads and into nature. You don't necessarily need a guide, but get an update on conditions from the EOT p327 or EOS p329 in loannina first. And definitely get the map, Anavasi Mountain Edition's Pindus-Zagori 1 50,000 8 , available in loannina, Monodendri, Papingo and in some guesthouses in other villages too, or on the Anavasi website www.mountains.gr . Armed with this information and tough hiking boots, a compass, sunscreen, sticks...

Nikolopoulos Andritsena Library

You don't need to be a reader to appreciate this stunning legacy of Nikolopoulos at this library 26260 22242 admission free S 8am-3pm Tue-Sat . In 1838 he donated 4000 rare books -then one of Europe's largest private collections, including a book from 1502 and a 1657 Bible with rare binding - to his father's home town to establish a school. The nearby village of Stemnitsa donated another 4000 books and today the collection is on display, along with manuscripts from Greece's 1821 Independence...

West Coast

Escapist Sithonia has better beaches, more spectacular nature and a more relaxed feel than Kassandra. The southern end and eastern coastline have beautiful beaches outside high summer, they're yours. The coast road loops around Sithonia, skirting wide bays, climbing into pine-forested hills and dipping down to the resorts. The west coast has good stretches of sandy beaches between Nikiti and Paradisos, notably Kalogria Beach and Lagomandra Beach. Beyond, NeosMarmaras is Sithonia's largest...

Sanctuary

The ruins of the sanctuary are less crowded than the theatre. In the south is the huge kata-gogeion, a hostelry for pilgrims and patients. To the west is the large banquet hall in which the Romans built an odeum. It was here that the Festival of Asclepieia took place. Opposite is the stadium, venue for the festival's athletic competitions. To the north are the foundations of the Temple of Asclepius and next to them is the abaton. The therapies practised here seemed to have depended on the...

Nfw

Beach and some good spots for snorkelling. Just before the camping ground, on the opposite side, a signposted path leads up to the ruined fortress of Paleokastro. Xirokambos is home to Leros' only camping ground. Camping Leros 22470 23372 camp sites adult tent 6.50 4 has tent sites that are interwoven into a shady olive grove. Look for it on the right 3km from Lakki. There is a small restaurant and bar on site, and you'll also find Panos Diving Club 22470 23372 www.lerosdiving .com D here,...

Around Zakynthos

Whether you're a culture vulture or sun-seeker, the best way to see the island is to hire a car and go exploring. Loggerhead turtles see boxed text, opposite come ashore to lay their eggs on the golden-sand beaches of the huge Bay of Laganas, a National Marine Park on Zakynthos' south coast, whereas party animals frequent Laganas, the highly developed, somewhat tacky resort. Keri Beach at Limni Keriou not to be confused with Keri village further south is a more attractive option, but the beach...

South Of Mytilini

Although it gets relatively few tourists, the small, olive-groved peninsula south of My tilini has several unique attractions. A long pebble beach 7km south on the coastal road opposite the airport hosts a decadent beach bar, Kohilia 6978773203 S8am-3am . Pulsating with house and techno music, and frequented by swimsuited students lounging on colourful couches and four-poster beds, Kohilia is a chilled-out hang-out on summer days by night, however, it attracts several hundred young pleasure...

Ikapia Ypni

It will be a long time before Ikaria is paved over and packaged, and the locals seem to like it that way. Yet with therapeutic hot springs as radioactive as the communist sympathisers once exiled here, this laid-back island of stark ravines, windswept desert trees and shimmering waters lapping on white-pebbled beaches is starting to be discovered. Not to worry most of the roads are still made of dirt, the bus service is almost nonexistent and no one wakes before noon. Ikaria...

Agia Kyriaki Aha Kypiakh

This is the last stop on the Pelion Peninsula, a winding 5km drive down the hill from Trikeri, or a quick 1km walk down a cobblestone path. This fishing village sees few tourists, and the bright, orange-coloured boats are put to good use by a hard-working population of around 200. There is one domatia and a couple of fish tavernas next door, facing the opposite shores of Evia. PALIO TRIKERI I1AAI0 TPIKEPI If you really must go that one step further to get away from it all, then head for this...

Pothia Iioia

Pothia poth-ya , the port and capital of Kalymnos, is a fairly large town by Dodecanese standards. It is built amphitheatrically around the slopes of the surrounding valley, and its visually arresting melange of colourful mansions and houses draped over the hills makes for a particularly photogenic sight when you first arrive. However, Pothia is a brash and overly busy town and its nightly parade of preening motorcyclists can make for some nerve-rattling noise pollution, while dining out or...

Corfu Kepkypa

Corfu - or Kerkyra ker-kih-rah in Greek - is the second-largest and the greenest Ionian island. It is also the best known. It was Homer's 'beautiful and rich land', and Odysseus' last stop on his journey home to Ithaki. Shakespeare reputedly used it as a background for The Tempest. In the 20th century, writers the Durrell brothers - among others - extolled its virtues. With the nation's highest rainfall, scores of vegetables and herbs thrive here, especially in spring. With its beguiling...

Rock Climbing

Meteora has been a mecca for European rock climbers for several years. Climbers of various skill levels can choose routes from over 100 peaks and towers with names like the Tower of the Holy Ghost, the Corner of Madness and the Iron Edge. There are about 700 routes in all, covering 120 sandstone towers of the Meteora. The style is clean or traditional face climbing, and rates a '5' on the UIAA international scale. Best times weather-wise are roughly mid-March to mid-June and mid-August to...

EATING

There's no shortage of eating options in and around Kardamyli. Kafe Plateia 27210 72642 An authentic kafeneio coffee house . Vangelis, the owner, serves great Greek coffee. Handily located opposite the bus stop. Taverna Dioskouri 27210 73236 mains 4.50-8 A safe, nothing-over-the top option, except for the view, that is it overlooks the sea from the hillside just south of town. Ta Kumaristria 27210 73250 This place is known for its live music 8pm to 11pm , along with the hospitable host who...

Maps

Unless you are going to hike or drive, the free maps given out by the EOT will probably suffice, although they are not 100 accurate. On islands where there is no EOT office, there are usually tourist maps for sale for around 1.50 but, again, these are not very accurate. The best overall maps for coverage are published by the Greek company Road Editions 210 345 5575 www.road.gr Kozanls 21 amp Amfipoleos, Votanikos, Athens , whose maps are produced with the assistance of the Hellenic Army...

Skyros Carnival

In this wild pre-Lenten festival, which takes place on the last four weekends before Kathara Deftera Clean Monday - the first Monday in Lent, 40 days before Easter , young men don goat masks, hairy jackets and dozens of copper goat bells. They then proceed to clank and dance around town, each with a partner another man , dressed up as a Skyrian bride but also wearing a goat mask. During these revelries there is singing and dancing, performances of plays, recitations of satirical poems and much...

Around Parga

Nekromanteio of Afyra XcKpouavicio TtiQ Aipitpai The ancients feared it as the gate of Hades, god of the underworld for visitors today the Nekromanteio of Afyra 26840 41206 adult 2 S 8.30am-3pm is just the labyrinthine ruin at the end of a beautiful boat ride down the coast and up the Aherondas River. To ancient Greeks, the Nekromanteio was an oracle pilgrims made offerings of milk, honey and the blood of sacrificed animals in order to communicate with the spirits of the dead. The remnants of...

Pop

An island that forgot it was attached to the mainland, Parga is the only true resort of the Epiros Riviera, and one that has something for everyone. Set inside a curving bay crowned by a Venetian castle and flanked by golden beaches, Parga is an aesthetic pleasure, with its exquisite aquamarine waters balanced by lush green olive-clad hills, little islets and white-plastered houses stacked on winding, flowery streets above a colourful waterfront whose caf s and bars come roaring to life in...

Lihnos Parga Greece

Enjoy Lichnos Parga

To Waltos Beach 1km Waltos Camping 1km Willa Avgi 4km X J To Utopia Studios 300m Golfo Beach 450m Enjoy Lihnos Camping 4km Lihnos 4km -y. - Bella Wista.Studios amp Apartments 4km Nekromanteio of Afyra 21km Preveza. 67km Agricultural Bank 1 B2 Citibank Commercial Bank of Greece. 3 B2 International Travel Services 4 C1 Medical National Bank of Greece 6 B2 Post Office 10 B1 sleeping San Nectarios Hotel 13 C2 eating q Excursion Boats to Pax 23 C3 located near the bus stop. Simple domatia are on...

Around Naxos Beaches

Conveniendy located just south of the town's waterfront is Agios Georgios, Naxos' town beach. It's backed by hotels and tavernas at the town end and can get very crowded, but it runs for some way to the south and its shallow waters mean the beach is safe for youngsters. The next beach south of Agios Georgios is Agios Prokopios, in a sheltered bay to the south of the headland of Cape Mougkri. It merges with Agia Anna, a stretch of shining white sand, quite narrow but long enough to feel...

Lipsi Village

Hugging the deep harbour, Lipsi village is a cosy community of white-painted and blue-shuttered homes that have an immediately good feel to them. All boats dock at Lipsi Port, where there are two quays. The ferries, hydrofoil and catamarans all dock at the larger, outer jetty, while excursion boats dock at a smaller jetty nearer the centre of Lipsi village. The Anna Express docks close to the large main church in the inner port. It's a 500m walk from the outer jetty to the church. The post...

Moni Dafniou Mov Aacpviou

The 11th-century Dafni monastery 21058 11558 Leoforos Athinon , 10km northwest of Athens along the busy road to Corinth, is Attica's most important Byzantine monument, and is on Unesco's World Heritage list. The monastery was badly damaged by the 1999 earthquake and it was still unclear at the time of research when it would reopen. The monastery stands on the site of an ancient Sanctuary of Apollo along the route of the Sacred Way that ran from ancient Eleusis to the Acropolis. The temple was...

Sissami Sealand Pigadia

Able and, most importantiy for a longer stay, have room to breathe. There are plenty of choices when it comes to eating. The waterfront establishments tend to be hit and miss when it comes to quality, though there are some exceptions. Maka-rounes home-made pasta cooked with cheese and onions is the local speciality. I Zoi ton Angel n s 22450 22984 Apodimon Kar-pathion mains 5-7.50 Overlooking the harbour and set around a balcony running along the building, this quirky littie eatery does some...

Gerolimenas to Porto Kagio

RspoA.i i va lt jcpoq II6pT0 Kayio South of Gerolimenas, the road continues 4km to the small village of Alika, where it divides. One road leads across the mountains to the east coast, and the other goes south to Vathia and Porto Kagio. The southern road follows the coast, passing pebbly beaches. It then climbs steeply inland to Vathia, the most dramatic of the traditional Mani villages, comprising a cluster of closely packed tower houses perched on a rocky spur. It's well worth stopping to...

Damouhari Mouressi

Ntamoyxaph amp moypeh The picturesque hamlet of Damouhari is next to a rambling grove of olive trees that borders a pebble beach and protected cove, perfect for swimming. In the old days, the trees shielded the buildings from passing pirate ships. According to local lore, the village got its name from the expression 'dos mou hari' give me grace . The little church of Agios Nikolaos contains several fine frescoes. Damouhari is also the starting point for a beautiful 3km walk to Fakistra Beach....

East Coast Surrounds

To its detriment, the east coast is mainly associated with Nydri, once a fishing village but now an unattractive strip of tourist junk shops with a questionable beach. The coastal areas around Nydri have been affected by insensitive development, but it doesn't take much to avoid this venture inland and you're in another world - scattered villages, local tav-ernas and good walks. Nydri is unavoidable if you want to access the islets of Madouri, Sparti, Skorpidi and Skorpios, plus Meganisi....

Trikala Tpikaaa

Trikala free-kah-lah sits 66km west of Larisa, between Karditsa and Kalambaka. It was originally Trikki, as mentioned by Homer, and the reputed birthplace of Ascle-pius, the god of healing. It's an attractive and bustling agricultural town through which flows the River Litheos, and it's a major hub for buses. While provincial Trikala's attractions hardly warrant a special trip, it boasts a lively nightlife and serves as a gateway to the South Pindos mountain resorts to the west.

Around

Kos' main road runs southwest from Kos Town, with turn-offs for the mountain villages and the resorts of Tingaki and Marmari. Between the main road and the coast is a quiet road, ideal for cycling, which winds through flat agricultural land as far as Marmari. The nearest decent beach to Kos Town is the crowded Lambi Beach, 4km to the northwest. Further round the coast, Tingaki, 10km from Kos Town, has an excellent, long pale-sand beach. Marmari Beach, 4km west of Tingaki, is slightly less...

Pandoheio Canadas 2721021436

Pandoheio Ca adas 27210 21436 s d tr 20 28 29 This small guesthouse, 22km from Sparta, is perched on the upper slopes of the Taygetos Mountains at an altitude of 1250m. The rooms are basic but offer great mountain views. The restaurant mains 3.50 to 7 is a major attraction, turning out delicious homemade treats such as pork sausages. Hotel Taygetos 27210 99236 fax 27210 98198 s d tr 30 40 46 The Taygetos has a superb location at the very top of the Langada Pass. It also boasts a good restaurant...

Merihas Mepixai

Merihas meh-iee-hass does not have a lot going for it other than a bit of waterfront life and a slightiy grubby beach. But Merihas is a reasonable base and has most of the island's accommodation options. There are better beaches within walking distance north of the quay turn left facing inland at Episkopi and Apokrousi. Domatia owners usually meet boats and there are a number of signs along the waterfront advertising rooms alternatively enquire at Larentzakis Travel Agency opposite . A lot of...

Korissia Kophxxia

The port of Korissia koh-ree-see-ah is a fairly bland place, but there are enough tavernas and caf s to pass the time. The north-facing port beach tends to catch the wind. There is an ATM next door to the Art Caf and also near Hotel Karthea. The Piraeus Bank with ATM is behind the beach. There is a small ferry ticket office next to the car-rental agency on the waterfront. Art Caf 22880 21181 internet access per30min 3.50 s 8.30am-midnight On the waterfront. Tourist information office 22880...

Sougia Xoytia

Sougia soo-yah , 67km from Hania, is a tiny laid-back beach resort with a wide curve of sand-and-pebble beach and a tree-lined coastal road. Sougia's tranquillity has been preserved largely because of archaeological remains at the eastern end of the beach which prohibit development. It lies at the foot of a narrow, twisting road that also deters most tour buses and passing traffic. There are a few small complexes of rooms, a few tavernas, a couple of lazy beach bars, two beach clubs and a small...

Palamidi Fortress

This vast and spectacular citadel 2752028036 adult concession 4 2 S 8am-7pmsummer,8am-3pmwinter stands on a 216m-high outcrop of rock with excellent views down onto the sea and surrounding land. It was built by the Venetians between 1711 and 1714, and is regarded as a masterpiece of military architecture. Within its walls stands a series of independent bastions, strategically located across the hill. The most important, and best preserved, is the western Agios Andreas Bastion, which stands at...

Book Accommodation Online

For more accommodation reviews and recommendations by Lonely Planet authors, check out the online booking service at www.lonelyplanet.com. You'll find the true, insider lowdown on the best places to stay. Reviews are thorough and independent. Best of all, you can book online. It's difficult to generalise accommodation prices in Greece as rates depend entirely on the season and location. Don't expect to pay the same price for a double on one of the islands as you would in central Greece or even...

Moni Megalou Spileou

MONH MErAAOY SI1HAAI0Y A steep path leads up from Zahlorou to the Moni Megalou Spileou Monastery of the Great Cavern admission free . The original monastery was destroyed in 1934 when gunpowder stored during the War of Independence exploded. The new monastery houses illuminated gospels and relics, and the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, which, like numerous icons in Greece, is said to have been painted by St Luke. It was supposedly discovered in the nearby cavern by St Theodore and St...