After a 2.30 hours’ road trip from Veria (along with a stop to overview Florina) and you reached the shores of Little Prespa! As the road descents towards the lake basin, the eye stretches to the vast bean fields that extend up to the riparian reeds and the wet meadows! That’s where the happiest cows graze! Pelicans, lagons, cormorants and herons in low flights over the waters! The area is protected due to the rare biodiversity of the wetland which is home to one of the largest colonies of silver pelicans. An ideal place for bird watching!
Leave the car in the open space near the lake and walk on the 650 m long floating footbridge (built in 2000) that connects the mainland with Agios Achilleios, the remote island in Lake Mikri Prespa. In the unique settlement of only 23 permanent residents of the island stand only 11 houses. Some in ruins… Cars are not allowed on the island and the locals moor their boats in the port of the settlement. A kiosk / mini market and a small cafe will serve you fine.
Take the path to the basilica church of St. Achilles. You will soon see one of the largest basilicas in Greece that gave the island its name and stands there since the 10th century. You will be impressed! Today, in the surrounding area of the archeological site, the cultural events “Prespeia” take place every August.
The island is ideal for hiking! The circular hiking route that starts from the lakeside settlement in Agios Achilleios and passes through the basilica of Ag. Achilles, leads from one end of the island to the other, overlooking each side of the lake. On the way you come across the churches of Agios Georgios (15th century) and Agios Dimitrios (14th century)
On the hill above the settlement stands the modern church of Ag. Achilles that offers panoramic views.
Take the uphill road between Mikri and Megali Prespa leading to Psarades, a village on the banks of Megali Prespa! Time to taste the local delicacies. Don’t leave without tasting fresh carp, trout or roaches, fresh from the lake. Florina peppers as well of course! Their meat dishes are super, too. We have eaten well at “Syntrofia” (tel. 23850-46107, www.syntrofia-prespes.gr) and at “Paragadia”.
Before leaving Prespa, take a boat trip to Megali Prespa setting off from Psarades. The cruise to Triethnes, on the water border between Greece, Albania and FYROM, and the visit to the hermitages with the rock paintings hanging above the lake, will be unforgettable.
Move on to the unique village of “Agios Germanos”! No luxury, no restored mansions! A real movie scene with its abandoned houses! Be sure to enter the old church of Ag. Germanos right at the square with the most remarkable hagiographies. Visit the watermill (read here: https://www.spp.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=6%3A2010-03-04-13-52-03&id=190%3A-europa-nostra -2016 & lang = en) and the Information Center of the Society for the Protection of Prespa. If you feel like having a bite, enter the “Tzaki” (tel. 23850-51303), which bakes in the wood oven. This time we chose the dreamy courtyard of the Guest House”Agios Germanos” (Guest House Agios Germanos, see here: http://prespa.com.gr/). Some homemade sour cherry dessert accompanied our coffee… The day ended sweetly before the return trip!
Do not underestimate the mountainous Halkidiki. Not even in winter. Great routes and villages that it’s time to put on the schedule, with Arnaia appearing first in line. Beautiful Arnaia, built at 600m. at the foot of Holomontas Mt., named “Liarigovi” in the past, preserves to this day both its wonderful natural environment and the traditional character of the settlement and is the most beautiful village of Halkidiki.
Restored houses, traditional mansions, unique examples of Macedonian architecture, cobbled alleys for unforgettable walks, traditional cafes and restaurants, take you on a journey through time in a setting of fairytale beauty. We found it very interesting that after the general restoration of many buildings, informational signs with a brief history of each building have been posted on the walls of about a hundred historical buildings of Macedonian architecture enlightening the visitors with details! Visit the Folklore Museum, tel.: 2372 350100 open: 10.00-14.00 ) housed in the famous “Iatrou” mansion, and the unique Textile Museum, tel.: 2372 351100, open: 9.00 – 13.00). Entrance €2 – single ticket for both museums which are in the same neighborhood.
Further down, in “Horostasi” you will see the School of 1871, the so-called “urban school of Liarigovi” today’s Town Hall. Be sure to enter the Historic Holy Metropolitan Church of Agios Stefanos (open almost all day). You will be impressed by the unique, artistic, wood-carved iconostasis and the transparent floor.
You will have a delicious and traditional meal at the square at “Platanos” tavern. Opposite, at “Aristotelous” cafe, enjoy your coffee next to the plane tree and next door, around the corner, taste 5 types of the award-winning “Georgaka” honey and excellent “mundovina”. Go to “Passalimani” café for nice cocktails and the musical evenings it hosts.
Life flows at a calm pace in Arnaia, with tradition elements overflowing the place and magically transporting you to other times. We enjoyed every hour we spent strolling around its cobblestone streets dinning and having our coffee near the gurgling water under the plane tree in its historic Square.
Walks in Arnaia
The residential area of Arnaia, rich in images and great examples of traditional Macedonian architecture, definitely needs one or more walks to be revealed. Only by walking will you recognize its importance, but also the dozens of reasons why it was designated a “Historical Site” by the Ministry of Culture.
Starting from the main square, whichever street you take you will need between 10 and 20 minutes at most to complete a very interesting walk. The Municipality has designed 6 distinct walking routes with the aim of serving visitors and making it easier to get to know the architectural wealth of the settlement. All routes start and end radially in the central square revealing both the near and far corners of the settlement. The shortest walking route (10 minutes) is the one marked in red on the map and passes through “Gerogianni” Square and “Kari Pazari”. The longer ones, such as the green and the yellow, lead to the northern edges of the historic center, reaching Horostasi and the church of Agios Stefanos.
What to see
Even today, Arnaia preserves samples of an old local society in terms of its urban planning and architectural character. The settlement did not develop on top of some organized pre-existing settlement. It is old, without an urban plan and densely built. According to tradition, the inhabitants who returned to the city after its destruction by the Turks began to rebuild the settlement around the squares. The houses are very close to each other and without yards, to protect them from the wind and keep them warm during the winter. There are no free spaces within the building fabric. There are narrow, cobbled streets and squares that make up an attractive combination of the beauty of the surroundings and tradition. The core of the settlement is the central square, the “market”, where there is a large plane tree through which drinking water flows. Around the square and the main street, where public services, banks, shops and dining areas with traditional cafes and taverns are concentrated, the commercial center of Arnaia is developing. In the alleys that start radially from the central square, creating smaller squares and neighborhoods along the way, one can admire the rich traditional reserve that this unique settlement has. South of the central square, in the district of “Gannoudena”, is the famous “Iatrou” Mansion, which functions as a Historical-Folklore museum and further on the Textile Museum. The most remarkable examples of Arnaia architecture are gathered in this district. Houses built after the disaster of 1821, painted in strong indigo or ochre, form beautiful neighborhoods.
Going down the main road from the square you will find yourself in front of the famous School of 1871, the so-called “urban school of Liarigovi”. It is the most well-built school of the 19th century in Halkidiki and since 1990 it houses the Town Hall. Next to the Town Hall is the church of Agios Stefanos, a three-aisled basilica with a famous bell tower dating from 1889. The church was completely burned down twice. During the reconstruction and renovation works, the existence of three older buildings was revealed inside the church: a large three-aisled early Christian basilica dating from around 400, a small one-room Byzantine church from the 10th – 11th centuries and a large rectangular post-Byzantine building from the 16th – 17th century. It is the only temple in Greece that works for the needs of the faithful while it is built on antiquities of great value – and indeed visible, since there are special glass panels on the floor of the temple, which allow you to see the illuminated and specially designed archaeological site and the findings that were discovered under the temple! In the famous bell tower of the church opposite the Town Hall and Agios Stefanos is the old inn and today “Alexandrou’s” guesthouse in two beautifully restored buildings. This whole area used to be the center of the village, the so-called Horostasi. The cruciform church with a dome of Aghii Anargyri, painted in 1919 by monks of Mount Athos, is also noteworthy. The imposing building of the Primary School with its huge courtyard is also of interest. It is a typical example of school architecture of the 1930s.
You see “her” as you approach sitting comfortably on a creek at the eastern feet of Vermio. “She” sees you as you ascend the road to the entrance to the city. Around the slopes with lush vegetation and at the end of the road is the Agios Nikolaos grove, designated as a Landscape of Special Natural Beauty.
The town welcomes you with the watermill on St. George’s rock emphasizing Naoussa’s relationship with water and its contribution to the development of textiles, with waterfalls and sculptures referring to the natural beauty and brilliant tradition of Naoussa in wine and agricultural production.
Continue to the left to Naoussa’s Park. Enter through the stone arch entrance. On the left is the summer municipal theater gazing the plain. The 30 acre park has been there since the late ’50s. Lush, with artificial lakes, wooden bridges, streets, a fountain and benches to rest enjoying unobstructed views of the plain! Arapitsa, the river of Naoussa, flows to the south. You can see the precipice with the waterfalls or move on to the opposite bank of the river where the textile buildings that once thrived in the city are located.Today they are a municipal property that house civil services, a nice café-bar (Boston’s). The former factory across the street is now a cultural events venues building (ERIAS). Car parks are located on either sides of the park. On the road above the park (also known as “beach”!) you will find many bars, cafes (“Neon”) and taverns (try “Paradosiako”). You are close to the centre and Karatassou Square with the obelisk which is 11 meters high and ranks among the 10 tallest in the world. Walk up the street to the Town Hall. The trademark of Naoussa, the Clock Tower in front of the Town Hall, was built in 1895 with limestone and is 25 meters high. It still maintains its original clock mechanism.
Move on to the old quarter of the city, the “Alonia”. A few streets in all in this plebeian neighborhood, with a few old houses having survived from the modern recontstruction. They are typical of the town’s characteristic architectural style with the “sahnisia”, keeping up with the Macedonian style, made of limestone, adobe and wood. Stop and drink water at the fountain under the crooked plane tree. Here is also the remarkable building of the “Galakia” school.
Cross to the other side of the city, along the river, to the ‘Batania’ and ‘Pouliana’ neighborhoods. Some few two-storey, larger inner-city buildings belonging to more affluent families survive here. From the “Batania” walk up the cobbled street towards the church of Metamorphosis, stop at the ‘Vlach Folklore Museum’ (Sofroniou 23) and admire the renovated building of the “Gennitsari and Boules” Group – ex sesame mill of Makis in “Pouliana” and the imposing- although abandoned nowadays -former roller mill, a building belonging to Chr. Matthaios.
A trail on a paved pedestrian street on the lush banks of the Arapitsa River with rushing waters and spectacular waterfalls from the ‘Batania Bridge’ ends at the site of the sacrifice of the Naousaian women, the “Stoubanoi”. It’s the site of the sacrifice of the Naoussaian women who jumped in the chasm and into the waters of Arapitsa holding their children in order not to fall into the hands of the Turks, in April 1822. The city’s uprising against the Ottomans was paid with heavy blood tax. After the Holocaust of Naoussa, as the bloody suppression of the revolution, was named, the Greek State gave the town the name “heroic”. Stroll around the area with the panoramic views and the noise of water falling into the chasm forming waterfalls. Walk across the wooden bridge which remains at the same point as the old bridge that connected the two banks. It is under the modern bridge. Raise your eyes towards the abandoned industrial buildings that once functioned as cotton mills, with their tall smokestacks testifying their location and the reminiscent of its rich industrial past. They once produced the famous Naoussa blankets, “flokates” (long haired handmade blankets) and yarns.
You won’t find old churches in Naoussa since they were all burned down in 1822 at the city’s holocaust. The only temple that survives is the small Temple of Prodromos. One of the old churches (built 11 years after the Holocaust), is the church of the Virgin Mary (Dormition of the Virgin Mary) is worth a visit for its impressive wood-carved ceiling. What you will see everywhere, often under centuries-old plane trees, at squares and crossroads, are fountains old but also new that cool passers-by with their icy cold fresh water. The Municipality of Naoussa, besides being the largest forested municipality in the country is also well known for its many water reserves.
Get to know the cultural heritage of Naoussa at the Historical and Folklore Museum. It is located next to the church of Agios Dimitrios. It includes the collection of the Naoussa’s Lyceum of the Greeks (10 Agios Dimitriou Street, tel: 2332021713) and see the Wine and Vine Museum, housed in the city’s first winery, at the home of John Boutaris (17 Chatzimaloussi, tel: 2332029800), founder of the company of the same name.
Naoussa is famous for its wine and tsipouro and that’s something you should definitely taste. Take a break to drink a glass of local wine in a tavern. The special variety of this wine is ‘Xinomavro’, which is a Designation of Origin of High Quality (PDO).
The label “Naoussa” has received many awards in the country and abroad. It was one of the first wines in Greece to be bottled. It goes without saying that the area is full of wineries that you can visit, especially during the grape harvest so you can attend the process of distilling the ‘tsipouro’ in the “kazania”.
Do not miss it! And of course, depending on the season, taste and take home with you local fruits (apples, peaches and cherries).
Naoussa is also famous for its traditional carnival and the custom of “Genichari and Boules”, which attracts a large number of visitors each year. Visit during Carnival Season!
WHERE TO EAT
- Where ever you choose to have a bite you have to taste traditional dishes of Naoussa: ‘gavopsara’, ‘mantza’, ‘batzio saganakiι’ και ‘sarmades’.
Paradosiako (“Παραδοσιακό”) http://www.tavernaparadosiako.gr/ (tel. 23320.29132)
Oinomagiremata (“Οινομαγειρέματα”) (τηλ. 2332 023576)
Σπονδή (“Spondi”) https://www.facebook.com/spondhnaoussa (tel. 2332022233 at the main square)
4 Seasons (“4 Εποχές”) https://www.facebook.com/tesserisepoxes.estiatorio/ (tel. 2332026221)
Gerania (“Γεράνια”) https://www.gerania.gr/ (tel. 23320 25174, 23320 21922)
Harama (“Χάραμα”) http://www.estiatorio-xarama.gr/ (tel. 2332021125)
Sfendamos Wood Village (“Σφένδαμος”) https://sfendamos.gr/ (tel. 23320 – 44844)
Agonari (“Αγκωνάρι”) http://arxontiko-agonari.gr/ (tel. 2332 044 588)
Keeping a low profile, without boasting for its virtues, Sifnos reveals very quickly its rich qualities! It’s picturesque, with a valuable gastronomic inheritance, rich in folk art and tradition, architecture, aesthetics and natural beauties which are everywhere around you.
Do you like walking around? Start with a walk along the “Steno” in Apollonia. Especially during afternoon/evening hours. Everyone’s there at that hours! Have a drink while listening to fine music, make your purchases…. Don’t miss the unique strolling around the alleys of the medieval “Castle” settlement. Follow the descended the stairs to the chapel of “Eftamartyros”, perched on a rock emerging from the sea. You will be compensated! Still not enough walking? Walk from Apollonia to Artemonas through the narrow streets, taking pictures at every corner / courtyard / door way that suddenly looks more scenic than all the others and reach Artemonas with the magnificent neoclassical buildings, the bougainvillea houses and the elaborate ceramic pots that decorate the chimneys (flaroi). Are you a real hiker? Sifnos has a well organized network of trails with maps and all (100 km) – www.sifnostrails.com
Do you like swimmming? Of course! You don’t have to go far! Covering all tastes and at short distances you can reach every beach. Sandy ones (Kamares, Platis Gialos, Apokofto, Glyfo, Fasolou, Vathi, Herronissos – the furthest …), rocky, for dives from rocks (Panagia Chrisopigi, Seven Witnesses / Castle …). Organized … in Kamares, Platis Gialos and Vathi and you will find everything at your feet . Or maybe you and the beach trees (Glypho) and then settle there for hours. If you fancy a boat tour you can have it, too. You will discover small lonely bays just for you.
Do you want to eat well? You came to the right place. The path was well shown by Tselemendes the first Greek cook to publish a cook book! You will traditionally eat: “mastelo”, capers’ salad, dishes with “manoure” and local “mytzithra” (local types of cheese) and of course “revithada”, the famous chick peas soup. Do you want more modern dishes, gourmet cuisine, appetizers, Italian cuisine? There are top choices in every field, hosting excellent restaurants in narrow streets, verandas, courtyards with immense views …
Do you love sunsets and sunrises?
“Chrysopigi” church on the cracked rock, with her bell tower, is the perfect scenery to see the sun rising up, coloring the Aegean sky. Then sunset at “Agios Simeon”, at the highest point of the island. You can see the church from “Kamares”. At night it’s illuminated looking like a spacecraft! In the evening it “dives” in orange. Do not miss the sunset view from up there!
Do you want to entertain yourself? Drink your cocktails at the bars along the “Steno” in unique settings. See if your visit comes upon a local feast “Panigiri” at some chapel or the “Tselemendes festival” or some other event organized by the superactive Cultural Association of the island. Be informed about the cultural events of the island on their pages: https://www.facebook.com/PSSifnou/ , http://sifnosps.gr/
Lots of things to learn about Sifnos on the most accurate web tourist guide
Where the unique charm of Sifnos comes from, it is up to each one of you to discover. Look for its hidden gems and take with you what will make you want to turn back over and over again.
We stayed at Meropi Rooms & Apartments . We also highly recommend Nymfes Hotel both in Kamares
We TRIED & we liked: “Maiolica” in Platis Yialos (modern Mediterranean cuisine- fantastic!!!)
“Drakakis Cafe” in Apollonia, (small dishes – very good)
“Cayenne Restaurant Art Gallery” in Apollonia, (more gourmet, slightly expensive but it’s worth it- perfect)
“Okyalos” in Apollonia, (We had wonderful Sifnian dishes)
“Mamma Mia” in Apollonia (Italian cuisine) (very good)
“Doloma” Bar in Apollonia (on a nice corner)
“Kitrino podilato” in Artemonas (for a nice dessert or coffee in a lovely courtyard)
“Smaragdi” in Artemonas (we had a nice breakfast)
“Syrma” in Kamares (delicious breakfast on the beach) . Free sun loungers!
Beach bar “Old Captain Bar” in Kamares. Really nice shadowy setting, great music, good service.
“Kyma” beach bar in Kamares. Nothing special. The sunbeds are charged for 3€ each
We tried “loukoumades” at “Three blond angels”. . Average for our standards.
WE VISITED the ceramics workshop of Yiannis Apostolides, on the road from Kamares to Apollonia. Do not miss it!
At the high mountains of Zacharias Papantoniou we met the beauties of Evritania during Holly Week, when the peaks and the spruce-covered slopes were still waiting for spring to come and liven them up. Plane valleys, canyons and vertical cliffs everywhere…. Water rushing along rivers, torrents and waterfalls. A place for those who love nature. Numerous trekking paths in a most imposing scenery … A few visitors here around these days. The definition of calmness! Few smoking chimneys, as the weather was demanding it especially in the morning.
Evritania and Karpenissi are not exclusively winter destinations. Although it’s considered the “Switzerland” of Greece and it is mainly known for its ski center, Velouchi mountain and the surrounding area are a great destination all around the year. It’s an ideal spring and summer destination especially for those who love walking in nature. The land here also boasts of its great history and folklore, which has been depicted in the many folklore and historical museums of its villages.
We stayed in Megalo Chorio, in the Guest House “Archontiko“, (tel: 2237041414 – 6977389078). We found ourselves with a wonderful room view and a fantastic host, Panayiotis who served us the greatest handmade breakfast and leaded us with information and suggestions about places worth seeing in the area. Thank you Panayiotis!
We tried and suggest:
Walk around the narrow, cobbled streets in Megalo Chorio, which is built at the foot of Mount Kaliakouda, in a lush landscape, 20 km from Karpenissi and at an altitude of 720 meters. The village with its traditional architectural mansions, its narrow streets and its abundant running waters is one of the most beautiful villages in the prefecture. Stop at the church of Agia Paraskevi and the chapel of Agios Thanasis, just before the entrance of the village, offering a stunning view. At the bottom of the village take the path to the left leading to Kefalovrysos. Proceed a little in the ravine with the high planes and bridges. The village played an important role during the Revolution of 1821, with many battles taking place here. The revival of the past of Megalo Chorio, is well depicted in its Folklore Museum, which is housed in an old stone mansion of three levels, completely renovated. The exhibited material is an offer of the Megalochorites, showing the representations of Megalohoritic House, the traditional occupations of the residents, household utensils and agricultural tools, folk art objects, traditional costumes and a library with more than 5000 titles of various thematic categories. (Open at weekends – tel : 2237 041502). Stop at the square with the incredible view for food or coffee. For dinner we were suggested “Vakaki” and galaktoboureko in “Karveli”. But we ate at Nasiopoulos, in Neo Mikro Chorio. He is famous for his meat dishes, but we ate Lenten dishes because of the Holy Week. Tasted indifferent.
Walk to Neo Mikro Horio and Palaio Mikro Chorio (altitude 900 m), on the slopes of Mount Helidona, opposite Megalo Chorio, at 3 km distance between them . A place of great historical significance, as here on December 1942 a battle took place between the rebels of Aris Velouchiotis and 2000 Italians. The rebel conquerors burnt alive and executed 13 people. This battle is considered pan-European as the first battle of resistance against the fascist regime. In Palaio Mikro Chorio there is the Historical and Folklore Museum, which is housed in the building of the former Primary School, where you will see videos of the village’s history and a very remarkable library. (Museum Tel: 22370 – 41023- Information: http://www.mikrohorio.gr/ and http://info-karpenisi.gr/karpenisi-portal/tourism/sights/preview.jsp?id=11. On its beautiful square you can eat or enjoy your coffee. Studio Merses hotel is also a point of magnificent view.
An evening walk to Karpenissi, which was recently groomed and changing its “aura” as its most central streets were paved and the square Markou Botsari, with the church of the Holy Trinity was reformed, adding positively to its image! Otherwise it is not famous for its beauty but only for its hills and for the surrounding nature: at the foot of the imposing mountain Velouchi, with numerous trekking / hiking trails, and the ski resort.
Head to the famous monastery of Panagia Prousiotissa (17km – 20′ far from Megalo Chorio). Cross the village of Gavros (fresh trout served from the local fish farm) and enjoy the nature along the way. The road passes from a point where the valley broadens and Karpenissiotis river meets Krikelopotamos and give birth to Trikeriotis river (at Dipotama as the locals say) and continues along with the flow of Karpenisiotis to the location of “Kleidi”, passing beneath the huge rock which is so impressive that makes you unconsciously bent. Perched on the rocks above the gorge, the monastery is known for the miraculous icon of the “Virgin Mary Prousiotissa”, which originates from Proussa (Bursa) of Asia Minor and is presumed to be the work of the Evangelist Luke. In 1821 the monastery was a refuge for many fighters, George Karaiskakis, Markos Botsari e.t.c.. Climb the hill of the stone clock to enjoy the breathtaking view to the Monastery and the canyon.
And once you get here do not turn back! At the edge of the village, you will find the gorge of Mavri Spilia (Black Cave), a wild and exciting setting, a path that passes through waterfalls and bridges and leads to a cave over a double waterfall. 30′ hiking on a path through the woods! Next to is the “Stremmenou” salami shop, where a great prosciutto is made.
Return from the same street. After Dipotama, on the left, the road leads to Chelidona (8 km from the junction). Pulses go up on every turn of the road admiring the landscapes. A dreamy route on a road hit by continuous landslides. A unique pass over the river is an iron bridge bailey-painted with wooden beams – which we would hesitate passing if we hadn’t seen a car passing by the moment we arrived! Read more about the unique Chelidona (meaning: swallow bird) here: http://www.greek-crossroads.gr/en/evritania-helidona-village/
Noon finds us in the picturesque Koryschades (5 km far from Karpenissi), having a nice coffee at Villagio overlooking the fir covered slopes, next to the National Resistance Museum, where the National Council of Free Greece met on May 14, 1944. It is housed in the building of the Primary School and houses remarkable material of the time with photographs of the great photographer Spyros Meletzis and newspaper clippings to remind us that the Mountain Government was set up here in 1944. Check the opening hours (Museum: 2237024996). Particularly impressive are the old mansions and the church of Agios Athanasios (1865). There is another cafe and tavern in its lovely square.
The other villages sound impressive mainly by their names: Klafsi, meaning “cry” (nice plateau with cafe and tavern), Voutiro “sounding like the greek word for butter”, Nostimo, (meaning “tasty”) … Ideal for a mini road trip. It is worthwhile to drive/ walk around them and enjoy the journey. Besides, the distances from the main road are so short!
The day ends with a delicious dinner in Messostrati (tel: 2237 041118) cooked by Mrs Antigone, on the way to Meg. Chorio. Rooster with noodles and green pie … We fully recommend!
We wanted to see Lake Kremasta before we left. The largest artificial lake in Greece was created after the construction of the Kremasta dam in 1965, concentrating waters from four rivers: Acheloos, Agrafiotis, Tavropos and Trikeriotis. Panagiotis suggested the route to Fidakia (village built at 980 meters) and Tsagaralona location with the unobstructed view of the lake. After a 35′ drive from Karpenissi we reached the entrance of the village. Paved alleys, old stone houses, blooming courtyards, all characteristically clean and tidy. The picturesque square with the imposing church of the Birth of the Virgin complete the image of the preserved settlement built in a magical spot. Opposite the church tavern “Ochalia” offers food and coffee and accommodation as well in the homonymous hostel on the other side of the settlement, under the hill with the threshing floor. It is obvious that the people are united by the love and care for their village! A little further down to the “Tsagaralona” location, enjoy the amazing view to the lake, and if the weather is “dry” you’ll take impressive photos.
The senses awaken in Evritania. Everything we explored this weekend is engraved in our memory and photos and written here for those of you that wish to follow the same path. The natural beauty of the area does not end there. And we long for the next time we return here to discover the rest of its beauty.
- We set off from Veria. We needed 2 hours to get to Karditsa region and 30 minutes to the end of Central Greece Highroad (very well-built road with cafe and Shell station) at the exit to Makrakomi. ATTENTION at this point because there is neither a junction nor a shaped exit. You will need to revert. (Drive at a low speed and follow Google maps instructions) There is no signage and you are in danger of finding yourself on the stream to Karditsa !!! From then on, the road is slow. Another one hour for 60 km.
- We paid adout 9 euros for tolls
- Read more on the official websites: www.karpenissi.gr and www.evritania.gr
EXTRA (information we collected from the internet)
> For rafting, canyoning, organized trekking, mountain biking and other activities, contact Trekking Hellas Evritania (22370-25.940, 6978-187.863, www.trekking.gr) and Ef Zin (22370-80.150, 6945-396.808, www.active.com.gr).
> The ski resort is located in Velouchi (22370-21.112, www.velouxi.gr) and has 18 ski slopes, a snowboard track and 4 off piste routes.
> For the Toronto trails look for the local map or contact Gerasimos Palaios (6944-151-508).
> For children there are two wonderful places for activity: Salon (22370-24.606, www.saloonpark.gr), with climbing tower, archery, air passage, riding etc., and the brand new Karavaki Park (22370-24.614, www.ninemia.gr/park), within the hostel Ninemia bungalows resort, at the 7th km of the national road Karpenissi – Prousou. This is an extremely interesting and original park, where the theorems and laws of science meet their practical application through impressive interactive games. Of great interest is the fact that everything is made of everyday materials, proving that physics is next to us. The Archimedes screw and spindle, the principle of maintaining the spin, Einstein’s theory of relativity and a whole host of other phenomena are framed by fine toys such as labyrinth, air passage, trampoline etc. Recycling department, livestock farm and sports facilities complete the ultimate educational and yet entertaining experience.
Taken from KATHIMERINI newspaper
Amorgos! You step your foot on the island, having seen a bunch of pictures that have stunned your mind and are urging you to see for yourself! And you do it!
You arrive at Katapola, a natural, sheltered port with the three settlements, “Katapola”, the harbour, “Rachidi” in the middle and “Xylokeratidi “ across the bay. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it in numerous shops that cover all your needs (supermarket, bakery, cafés serving breakfast, taverns, even laundry … see suggestions below) along with the renovated Municipal Camping. Stay here (“pension amorgos”– at the port) and you’ll have everything you need at hand! From here you will also take the boat that leaves every half hour for the nearby beaches of the bay. Later walk along the beach, enjoy the sunset on the benches along the coast and choose one of the picturesque taverns in “Xylokeratidi” to taste the Amorgian cuisine (try at “Youkali”). You will walk in the alleys of the settlement, walk past “Panagia Katapoliani”, a monument of the island and the fountain of Katapoliani that brings drinking water from the mountain !!!.
In “Rachidi”, you will see the neoclassical building of the Primary School and the imposing parish church of Ag. Georgios. And if you feel like walking a little further, then take the dirt path after the settlement of Katapola to the west, and you’ll arrive at Ai Giannis who sees over the whole bay, with the statue of Erato, gazing the sea every day. Walk east ways, crossing “Xylokeratidi”, with its houses descending into the sea, and you reach the picturesque chapel of “Agios Panteleimonas”, with the homonymous beach and the Maltezi beach just below (20’ easy hike- wear a hat though). Take your swimsuit with you! You might want to dive into the wonderful waters! Alternatively take the boat and reach Maltezi beach (boats in front of Cafe Kamari, for 4 € both ways) that is sheltered and organized, though small and crowded. You can take your dives in “Kato Akrotiri”, a 2nd beach at 150m. far from the port to the west.
Next thing you do is rent a car (we did so in (Αsset rent a car) and start to get to know the island. You can also get the KTEL (bus) of course. There are frequent routes to all destinations. See what’s in your interest!
Beaches 2 beaches left and right of the harbor with sand and some municipal umbrellas Maltezi (sandy – few deck chairs – from 20′ hike, 5’ by boat /4 € return ticket)
“Kamari” (must taste the handmade pies of Mr. Giorgos), “Honey and Cinnamon”, “Teleion” Sweets / Crepes “Pothiti’s sweets”, “Elychrison”
Explore Kato Meria
Scattered villages in the southwestern part of the long shaped island are spread depicting the strong rural element of the island. The road from Hora passes through “Agios Georgios the Valsamitis” and Markiani and suddenly you feel a scene change, away from the island’s touristic profile. On your left, the view of the endless blue of the sea and on the right, the hinterland with the dry fields, small valleys and the farmhouses. Drive through the villages of Kamari, Vroutsi, Arkesini (one of the ancient cities of the island), Kolofana and Kalotaritissa (26 km from Chora). On the way you will definitely stop to see “Olympia” ship wreck in the bay before Kalotaritissa. Carefully hike down the path to the beach. Don’t be lazy! It’s worth the effort! Driving further on, you reach the sheltered bay of Kalotaritissa. From here, boats take you to the islet of Gramvousa (uninhabited today) with the virgin beaches of crystal clear waters! In case you want to stay here for a swim, some sun loungers and umbrellas (8 € per set) as well as a canteen will make your stay more comfortable. Otherwise, you may need an umbrella of your own. The beach is sandy and the waters wonderful!
Close by is “Paradisia” bay and the chapel of Agia Paraskevi with its popular festival where the local dish “Patatato” (baked goat meat with potatoes) is served, a special traditional dish of the island.
Should you feel hungry, “Marouso” tavern at Arkesini will host you in their yard! Taste the rooster dish! It’s in a family portion! Mind your order! One serving suits for two! Prices are more than reasonable!
In the same area is the beach of “Mouros”, their “best” beach as they say. And they are right! Fine sand and pebbles on the beach, under high rock formations. A scenery unique in its entirety, with incredibly turquoise waters and sea caves for exploration. You will walk a bit on the path that goes down there. Take an umbrella with you! A free parking space and a fish tavern high on the plateau will serve your needs.
Kalotaritissa beach (sandy – few sunbeds – 8 € the set with umbrella / canteen) Gramvousa beaches (sand and fine pebbles – boat from Kalotaritissa) Paradisia beach (sandy – small canteen) Mouros beach (sand and fine pebbles – downhill path – 5 ‘descent / 10’ ascent – free parking and tavern high on the plateau)
“Marousso” tavern, in Arkesini
On the way to Aegiali you make a stop at “Agios Pavlos” bay with Nikouria, an uninhabited islet opposite the beach where you can get by a boat from the impressive beach of Agios Pavlos that resembles an earth tongue entering in the sea with the turquoise waters. A hotel is right on the pebbled, sheltered beach. Another 5 km distance and you reach the second port of the island, Aegiali, which is in fact a village complex. There is “Ormos” (otherwise Yialos – the center of Aegiali) with the harbor pier. Just over “Ormos”, on the slope, lays the settlement of “Potamos” with a breathtaking view, while above the hill, “Langada” and “Tholaria”. “Ormos” bay, with many hotels/cafes /restaurants/ souvenir shops and bars will cover your needs. You will sunbathe on the longest sandy beach of the island (there are no sunbeds but many “armyrikia” to offer you their shade if you like). Eat at the “Port of Kyra Katina” in the narrow alleys. Choose “Ormos” in the evening if you are looking for a bit of nightlife at a more intense pace! Do not imagine anything too intense though! The island is best suited for quite holidays and is ideal for camping lovers.
In “Tholaria” (3 km from Ormos), near the site of Ancient Aegiali, you will wander in the traditional arches, the narrowly whitewashed alleys with cafes and traditional restaurants and in “Langada” (4 km from Ormos) you will be urged to stop for a photo shot at every wonderful corner or door at the paved square on the eastern entrance of the village! Visit during sunset hour, when the panoramic view becomes even more magnificent. Driving down, the “Holy Trinity” chapel, wedged in a rock cavity, will surprise you on the way!
All villages are an excellent example of Cycladic architecture with traditional tavernas and local bakeries with Amorgian delicacies, traditional Amorgian roasted raki, accompanied by amorgian dishes such as goat, thyme honey and the famous Amorgian fava with capers.
Aegiali beach (sandy – inside the settlement – many shady trees) Levrosos beach (next to Aegiali beach – sandy – hike on the path after the long beach or drive Agios Pavlos beach (pebbled – hotel with beach bar- access by car) Nikouria Beach: (sandy – opposite Agios Pavlos – by boat / hour from Agios Pavlos or Aegiali
“The Port of Kyra Katina”, Ormos “The tavern of Nikos”, Lagada
The jewel of the island is “Hora”, with the 13th century Venetian castle, built at 65 meters height also hosting the church of Kyra Leoussa in it. Take the key to enter the castle (ask at café “Helios”, at Lozza Square) and carefully climb the narrow stone staircase. Admire the view from the loopholes towards Hora and the surrounding islands, especially near the sunset.
Walk on the narrow, cobbled alleys, up and down paved steps, past numerous churches and through the two squares, Lower and Upper Loza (very scenic) with all kinds of stylish shops to invite you to try their delicacies. Amorgian feasts such as the Savior’s (Christ’s) on August 6th and the celebration of the traditional Amorgian “pasteli” (sesame and honey sweet) are revived in these squares.
Go up to the Upper Neighborhood with the whitewashed houses, move to the east and you will find yourself in “Emprostiada”, a series of arches, head right and you find yourself in “Troulos” neighbourhood which is the entrance to the windmills on the breezy hillside of Hora. Located just opposite the castle, in a panoramic, prominent position they are proudly standing for hundreds of years against the winds that usually blow strong. Fabulous sunset view! Taste Amorgian dishes in “Arbaroriza” (at a nice quiet corner) or at “Καθ’ οδόν“ and “Tranzistoraki” (on the main street) and treat yourself a desert at “Callisto”.
At 5 ‘drive from Hora swim in amazingly clear waters in “Agia Anna”, with the homonymous chapel, reviving all the magical scenes from the movie “Big Blue” by Luc Besson. It’s not exactly a beach! Pick a rock (since there is barely any sand) and live the ultimate relaxation and freedom of diving in these waters!
Look up to your left! The monastery of “Panagia Hozoviotissa” (9th century AD) looks like a white dove on the steep rocks. You notice the road that leads there, shortly before turning to Agia Anna. On its five meters width and eight levels – floors, all the cells of the monks, the guest quarters, kitchens, bakeries, warehouses, cisterns and wells, are wedged into the rock that is transformed into a functional structure and a marvelous sample of functional local architecture. Walk from the bus station to the platform or leave your car in the space before the entrance. Climb the 300 stone-paved steps to the Monastery. What a fantastic view of the endless blue sea! Step up the stairs and follow the instructions to chapel with the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and the treat of traditional roasted Amorgian raki. Caution! There is dress code as usual, specific visiting hours… and a shop at the entrance. A must see!!! (Visiting hours: 08:00-13:00 & 17:00-19:00)
And if you are fond of hiking, you will enjoy unique experiences following the well-designed network of trails with a variety of routes (almost 20) in the wild beauty of the island! Far from mass tourism Amorgos is the place where you will feel really free!
Agia Anna beach (rocky – few paved steps – café / canteen – free parking area) Syrma beach ( right of Agia Anna on the same bay – short downslope dirt path/ rocky)
“Arbororiza”, “Καθ’ οδόν”, “Liotrivi”, “Transistoraki” (tavern)
KTEL Amorgos (bus timetable) Check itineraries and prices / they change during the season
Asset rent a car tel. 22850 74301 35 € / day (18-20 July)
Port Authority – Katapola: 22850-71259
Police – Hora : 22810-71210
Health Center – Hora of Amorgos: 22850-71207
Doctor – Aegiali: 22850-73222 / Catapola: 22850-71805
For more information
25/7: Agia Paraskevi, Kato Meria 26/7: Roasted raki Feast, Katapola
19/8: Pasteli feast, Hora 8/9: Festival of xerotigana,Aegiali
Visitable winery “AMORGION“, Katapola
Traditional Guest House “Embrostiada” , Hora,