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Greek Islands: Four romantic days on the island of Naxos

Old windmills at Filoti village

Last summer my girlfriend and I were in a big dilemma regarding our holiday destination where we could spend a few days to relax away from the busy life in Athens. The choices between the Greek Islands?
A few hundreds. After several recommendations from our friends the decision was taken with a great enthusiasm.

What was the destination? The beautiful island of Naxos.

Naxos Town

The island of Naxos is located in the center of the Aegean Sea and it is part of the Cyclades islands. Naxos is ideal for couples and families as it offers an excellent cuisine, perfect beaches and plenty of activities to choose from.

A lovely donkey near Moutsouna beachI would strongly suggest to rent a car rather than a scooter or ATV for your transportation. The distances tend to be long and the roads are in a good shape.

However, some times in order to reach your destination you have to go through gravel roads with sharp stones. Also some times the roads are quite slippery and with many U-turns and relatively high elevation.

In addition you have to bear in mind that the public bus service doesn’t have a very dense schedule so if you wish to explore most of the island you must definitely rent a car.

I will also recommend you arrange your accommodation in Chora (the capital of the island) so you can be near the night life and the harbour so you don’t have to drive more than you really need.

If you wish to be on a more quiet and relaxed area, Filoti village is a very good choice. It is located in the center of the island and getting to all the main beaches around the island is significantly easier.

Four day itinerary on the island of Naxos

 

Marble streets on the island of NaxosDay 1: Leave from Chora and head to Apeiranthos. An amazing village with old traditional buildings, some have been built with marble and they are dated back to the years of Venetian occupation of the island of Naxos, some even predate that.

The village of Apeiranthos is famous for its local meats and cheese delicacies. The locals are extremely hospitable and willing to help you if you need directions to get to your destination.

Go around, walk and explore the side streets, admire the old buildings, the two Venetian towers, when you need a rest sit at one of the local restaurant and enjoy the local cousin.

I would definitely recommend Platanos restaurant, since we sat there and we were very happy with the quality of the food and prices of the restaurant.

After you taste the local cousin and enjoy a cup of coffee, you can head to the beach of Moutsouna which is approximately 25 to 30 minutes by car. The road is full of turns and on a high elevation so drive slowly and carefully.

At Moutsouna beach we discovered two traditional fish restaurants which unfortunately we did not have the chance to try as we were full from our previous stop but both looked quite good. We are planning to try their delicacies on our next visit to the island. Once you eat or swim you can move on to the beach of Panormos which we found amazing, relaxing and very quiet.

The amazing and quiet beach Panermos

On the Southeast side of the island and away from the crowds of tourists it’s definitely a place you should visit in case you just want to relax. However go there well equipped. There is a small and friendly canteen but it is a bit pricey and there are not many parasols.

Once you rest enough by the beach it is time to drive all the way back to your accommodation which is not a short drive so plan ahead and try to head back before the sun sets.

In the evening you can spend your time exploring the town’s side streets, the various romantic restaurants or the night clubs and bars to enjoy your cocktail.

Clystal blue-green water at the hidden beach near AgiassosDay 2: The second day we choose Agiasos beach located at the South side of the island.

However, the beach I am talking about is located 500 meters after Agiasos village. So once you see the sign ‘to Agiasos’’ on your left, simply ignore it and drive 500 meters further down the road. You will see a small gravel road heading to the beach where you can drive and park your car.

There you will find two amazing beaches that are not crowded at all.
Warning the smaller one on the far right end quite often is used by nudists. So be aware and make your choice.

If you continue on the gravel road you will find Alykes beach and Kastraki beach. On the last one try to visit the old deserted hotel and its deserted beach where you can swim all by yourself without anyone else!!! Your own private beach.

On your way back you can visit the cave of Za, which is located on a hill. To get there you have to drive up to a certain point on the road and then walk the rest of the way up.

You will definitely need sports or hiking shoes because a big part of the path is not paved. Be careful when you are entering the cave as its very dark and slippery, but for us it definitely worth the effort.

View from Za cave at the Island of Naxos

On your way back you can stop at Filoti village, where you can enjoy the local meat products (try the lamp chops!!!) at the traditional taverns situated in the center of the village under the huge trees. Many shepherds live in the village so if you are interested in buying dairy products straight from the producers, feel free to ask the locals at the square and they will direct you to one of the producers.

Once your rest you may wish go back to the city and enjoy an ice cream at Waffles house or have a drink at People’s bar.

Don’t forget to visit the famous Naxos candy store situated in the old city. It makes candies with traditional flavours and aromas such as Ouzo, Cinnamon and Citron, you can also find many modern and unexpected ones such as various combinations of Spicy, Sweet and other tastes. The owners were very hospitable; they even gave us a nice shot of a local drink called Raki.

One of the many beaches at Agia Anna on the Island of Naxos

Day 3: On the third day of your stay on the island of Naxos, you can visit Agia Annas beach and then Maragkas and many beautiful beaches situated one after the other, you would be spoiled for choice, believe me. If you like pizza try to find the “Mama Mia” pizzeria which is quite famous on the island. The Italian owners have brought a taste of Italy on the Greek island of Naxos.

A grandpa enjoing his coffe and the wonderful dayDay 4 : I would suggest on your last day to go to the Panermos bay. The driving is a bit long and strenuous for about 1-1.5 hours and there are not many interesting things to see or do on the way. However, the sandy beach is honestly incredible; it feels like you are not in the Aegean Sea but on an island somewhere in heaven!!!

Make sure you bring with you plenty of water, parasols and everything else you might need because after a certain point on the road there are no super markets or villages. Also there are no sun beds or umbrellas for hire so plan accordingly!!

On the right edge of the beach there is a very nice tavern with an amazing view of the beach and the Aegean Sea with very hospitable owners. The Panermos bay is quite far away, but if you can give it a day I am sure it will be the highlight of your trip.

While on the island of Naxos there are certain things you must definitely buy or taste. I would highly recommend the local dairy products such as Arseniko, Graviera and Ksinomizithra. Also the meat products which are produced on the island with traditional methods, the local fish and last but not least the local honey called Zikomelo.

We only stayed on the island of Naxos for four and half days but the people, the beautiful sceneries, the refreshing and relaxed atmosphere of the island were more than enough to recharge our batteries and keep us going through the hot summer.

Sunset,view and your girl._what more can you ask

I will definitely recommend the island of Naxos for a long holiday or even a short trip to unwind, relax and explore the beauty of the Greek islands.

This summer live your myth in Greece!!!

Spyros Skouris the author of the 4 romantic days on the island of NaxosAbout the author

Spyros Skouris the author of the article “Greek Islands: Four romantic days on the island of Naxos” can help you arrange your dream vacations on your visit to Athens in Greece.

He also owns an apartment in Athens which is available to rent on Airbnb.

An amazing introduction to India

An amazing introduction to IndiaThey say a picture’s worth a thousand words and that is absolutely true.

But if a picture’s worth thousand words then what about a video, a film or a short movie?

Priceless….

So at Hotels-Fairy.com we decided to find and bring you some of the best short videos and films, introducing you to different countries, cultures and holiday destinations.

To most people a holiday means a short period of relaxation away from home, sometimes in their home country some times abroad.

However, travelling is a complete different story.

For us at Hotels-Fairy.com travelling is about a quest, a search of different cultures and civilisations. It is about discovering, tasting, experiencing, feeling.

When you travel your senses are taking you over to a sensational journey, you want to discover new worlds, you want to touch new things, you want to taste different foods.

Smell the ground that you step on or the air that you breath. You want to hear the humming of the birds or the unique symphony that only the waves or the wind can orchestrate for your ears.

This is what travelling is all about.

So today we staring our quest to discover the world with the first of many to follow short videos about travelling. This video has been brought to our attention by a fellow fairy.

Thank you Vineeta,

This video is an amazing introduction to India.

 

 

 

 

Good news from Greece! Greek tourism is UP!!

Good news from Greece

Greece Infinite Inspiring Amazing

Good news from Greece, after a rough 2012 when tourists, scared off by political and social unrest and images of protests, strike and riots stayed away in droves, 2013 is shaping up to be a rebound year with more than a million more visitors than last year expected.

The good news came from the head of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises, Andreas Andreadis, who spoke to the Bank of Greece shareholders’ meeting on Feb. 25.

Andreadis said figures show that the British market is reporting a rise of 20 percent, and the markets of Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries displaying growth of 15 percent.

Developing tourism markets such as Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Turkey are also showing a rise in demand, leading to an increase of more than 20 percent in the number of seats available, he said, according to the newspaper Kathimerini.

Andreadis cautioned though that there are concerns about the markets of Italy, Spain and Bulgaria, as their financial troubles may cut back on visitors traveling from those countries. He said there has been increased interest in maritime and cruise tourism, though incoming conference tourism remains somewhat lackluster because Athens and Thessaloniki are not seen as favorable destinations.

Good news from Greece - Holidays in Santorini

Holidays in Santorini

Domestic tourism isn’t looking good though as Greeks buried under austerity measures are cutting back or giving up on visiting their own land. Last year Greeks spent only 1.5 billion euros ($1.98 billion) in Greece, half of the levels of the pre-economic crisis year of 2008. He said a further decline, although smaller, is expected this year.

Andreadis added that the targets of 17 million foreign tourists and 11 billion euros ($14.4 billion) in revenues from tourism are likely to be attained or even exceeded. Should a few crucial measures be taken, he noted, Greek tourism could in the next two to three years reach up to 20 million visitors, adding some 3 percent to the country’s faltering Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and tens of thousands of new jobs.

The Greek news agency AMNA reported that he also said tourism is  strong supporter of the Greek economy after achieving its targets of attracting 16 million international arrivals and 10 billion euros in tourism receipts last year, although that was less than the previous year and achieved despite the crisis.

Andreadis said that annual investments worth 2.5 billion euros ($3.27 billion) were needed to raise tourism’s contribution to 40 percent of the country’s future economic growth. He said it could be attained stressed that the first 11 significant new investment plans were currently under licensing procedures by Greek authorities.

Meteora Greece

Meteora Greece

Promotion of an ambitious privatization program and the sale or lease of idle tourist real estate assets by banks were also expected to help towards achieving this year, he noted, although the country’s international lenders say the expectations are far below projections.

He said it was critical  to speed up procedures for visa issuing, reducing the 23 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on the restaurant industry to 13 pct and of the VAT on coastal shipping to 13 pct, with the goal of reducing a VAT on tourism to 6.5 pct.

Source: http://greece.greekreporter.com

Cultural Tourism: A never ending quest for history & culture

Everybody likes to be on vacations away from work and we all have our own special little ways of making our holidays more enjoyable and memorable. A holiday is a dream of a life time for many.

Some travellers prefer to be in big holiday resorts with many activities for families, some others prefer holiday resorts with a night life. There are also some who prefer to go solo, beyond the beaten track, find new places on the map and explore new cultures.

Cultural Tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing global tourism markets. For many years it was undeveloped and on the sidelines as the main tour operators worldwide, where focusing on the mass market and developed their products accordingly.

In recent years many cultural travellers being unsatisfied with what was on offer have decided to go the opposite way, by using the internet they can now search on-line for places of culture, art, and history and book their flights and accommodation independently away from the main tour operators. They plan their own itinerary and create their own tailor maid holiday activities.

Today we present you five places in the world (some not very well known to many) where a cultural traveller will be hugely satisfied in his quest for history, art, culture.

 

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Cambodia – Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was built by a king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum.
The temple was dedicated to the god Vishnu. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It clearly represents one of humankind’s most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements.

 

 

Cultural Tourism

The ancient city of Aptera

Greece – The ancient city of Aptera

The ancient city of Aptera was build by Glaukos, The name Aptera, according to one tradition, derives from Apteron, king of Crete, who is said to have lived in the time of Moses around 1800 BC. Alternative legends claim the city of Aptera took its name following a musical competition between the Muses and the Sirens held in the Temple of the Muses. At the time of the competition the city was renowned as a center for musical expertise.

The ancient city of Aptera walls still standing today 3.480 meters long are reminiscent of the Cyclopean walls of Tiryns and Mycenae. One can also see the remains of a small 1st c. B.C. temple of Demeter, a Roman theatre and the enormous vaulted cisterns of the Roman era.

 

Uqba Mosque Kairouan

Uqba Mosque Kairouan

Tunisia – Mosque of Uqba

The Mosque of Uqba, also known as the Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan. Built by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi from 670 AD at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square meters and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb.

The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa, its perimeter is almost equal to 405 meters. This vast space contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret. In addition to its spiritual prestige, the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of both architecture and Islamic art.

 

Cultural Tourism

Hatshepsut Temple

Egypt – The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is the focal point of the Deir el-Bahri complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite of the city of Luxor (ancient Thebes). It was built by architect Senmut at 1490-1460 BC at the order of Queen Hatshepsut, stepmother of pharaoh Thutmose III and the construction of the temple of Hatshepsut took fifteen years. The temple was dedicated to the sun god Amon-Ra.

 

 

Cultural Tourism

The Citadel of Herat

Afghanistan – The Citadel of Herat

The Citadel of Herat also known as the Citadel of Alexander, and locally known as Qala Iktyaruddin, it is located in the center of Herat in Afghanistan. It dates back to 330 BC, when Alexander the Great and his army arrived to what is now Afghanistan after the Battle of Gaugamela. Many empires have used it as a headquarters in the last 2,000 years, and was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

 

A Photo Guide to the Northern Lights

Have you ever looked into the sky and had the galaxy gaze back?

The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are a breathtaking natural phenomena and one of the undoubted highlights of many Iceland holidays. But you’ll want to be careful during your travels: The lights are fleeting and rare, so to make sure you catch them, you’ll want to choose a destination that ensures the greatest chance of success. Click here to read more »

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Borneo [PICS]

Travel Guide to Borneo - Kinabalu National Park

Kinabalu National Park

A travel guide to Borneo

Is there anything more beautiful than a sunrise over the ocean or the view through gentle fogs curling on a mountaintop? Borneo holidays offer you the chance to travel in luxury without giving up the fresh, exotic flavour that make holidays abroad so one-of-a-kind.

Here are just a few places where you can experience the wonders of this amazing country first-hand. Click here to read more »

Visit South Africa for more than just a safari

Since the fall of Apartheid, South Africa has seen a massive boost in their tourism industry. People are coming from far and wide to invest in South Africa’s rugged landscape and develop an empire out of the violence and war that distracted it from development for so long.

Cape Town is now a bustling city, more similar to some Mediterranean towns that other major cities in Africa. Yes, it is a common occurrence that people drive over-crowded and unsafe cars and the large and bustling townships on the outskirts of the city show no signs of dismantling, but if you enter Cape Town’s Waterfront, you will struggle not to compare it to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf or even the promenade in Marbella. Cape Town holidays are also a great excuse to see South Africa’s stunning Table Mountain. A stunning sight that can be seen for miles! Click here to read more »