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Travelling to Manchester England from the US

Travelling to Manchester in England from the US, used to be quite expensive, but not anymore. I have just come back from a short trip to the UK for less than $500 return flights. That was Boston Logan International to Manchester England, with the Thomas Cook airline.  Here is a short guest post for the Hotels-Fairy.com followers. Enjoy!!!

VISA – for travelling to Manchester in the UK

First things first, U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa for tourist or business travel to the United Kingdom for a stay up to 6 months. A valid U.S. Passport is required.

Manchester Airport

When arriving at Manchester Airport be prepared to tell security exactly what you will be doing in Manchester. I’ve found their security team much more demanding than the US airport security.

A few years ago again at Manchester Airport I was stuck at the gate for two hours while security verified who I was visiting. I have no hard feelings, I appreciate people doing their jobs.

Manchester Piccadilly

Also make sure you have some change on you at all times. Especially if you travel at all after normal business hours. You may be charged to use the restroom at the airport and train stations.

Manchester Piccadilly station charges 30 pence (approximately equivalent to 40 cents U.S.) to use the restrooms. Manchester Piccadilly is located in the heart of downtown Manchester.

Travellers tips

When staying at a hotel there are 3 things I would like to bring to your attention. The first is I didn’t find WiFi included with any of the hotels I stayed at. It was always a separate charge.

Second, in the U.S. many hotels include a continental breakfast free of charge. I didn’t find this to be the case anywhere I stayed. Last but not least if you stay pass your checkout time you will be charged. Keep that in mind (Even if it is a very short period after checkout).

Even these days free WiFi is hard to come by, not only in Manchester but anywhere in the England. However, there is one business that I have found that offers it, Starbucks. The sign in process is very simple.

Enable your laptop, tablet or mobile device in Starbucks wherever you see the Free Wi-Fi signs. Once you’re connected, open your web browser and go to www.btopenzone.com.  Just click on the ‘Connect’ button and you will be instantly connected to free Wi-Fi!

Each Wi-Fi session lasts for 2 hours but you can have an unlimited number of sessions every day – just reconnect after 2 hours. Additional rules may apply but I found it to be as simple as that.

The Manchester city centre has plenty of shopping and pubs to keep you busy. The sidewalks are crowded with people on the weekends. Many people are putting on a show for tips. I was pretty impressed with the football skills of some of Manchester’s locals.

I would suggest before leaving to find some time to get on a train to the Old Trafford Stadium. Old Trafford Stadium is the home of Manchester United. Manchester United’s football team is quite possibly the most popular sports team in England, and in the world.

They offer tours of the stadium just about every day, which includes walking through the team’s trophy room, locker room, and viewing of the field. Also it is highly recommended to check out the tunnel and the entrance to Manchester United’s field.

Where to stay when travelling to Manchester

Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa

Conveniently located, Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa offers easy access to Manchester’s main tourist attractions. It also provides a sauna, free WiFi and body treatments.

Rooms are air-conditioned and feature top-of-the-range amenities such as an iPod docking station, a mini bar and luxury toiletries. They all include a refrigerator, tea and coffee making facilities and a private bathroom.

Guests in search of a meal and wanting to stay nearby needn’t look any further than Macdonald’s in-house restaurant, which is open each day for breakfast. In the evening, guests are welcome to wind down in the cosy lounge bar. A variety of cafés and restaurants are also available close by.

Find the best rates

 

 

SACO ManchestTravelling to Manchester - SACO Manchestererer

Strategically located in the middle of the city, this 4-star property makes for an ideal base in Manchester. Surrounded by local bars and restaurants, it is less than 10-minutes’ stroll from Piccadilly Gardens Metrolink Station.

There are a range of amenities available to guests of SACO Manchester, such as meeting rooms, VIP rooms and free WiFi. A fitness centre is available to those wishing to keep up their exercise regimes while travelling.

All the contemporary apartments at Saco Serviced Apartments Manchester provide internet access and a kitchenette.
SACO Manchester offers breakfast every morning that guests can enjoy before heading out to discover the local region.

Saco Serviced Apartments Manchester is conveniently situated for discovering Manchester with Piccadilly Gardens within walking distance. Guests are also able to visit Manchester Town Hall, the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Central Convention Complex.

Find the best rates - SACO Manchester

 

Holiday Inn Manchester

If you are a member of the InterContinental Hotels Rewards Club you can earn points or redeem your points by staying at the Holiday Inn Manchester, which is set in the heart of Manchester.

Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre is situated near Piccadilly Gardens Metrolink Station, and just a few steps from nearby dining and nightlife options. It provides free WiFi and a laundry service, and is a short walk from London Road Fire Station.

The hotel has 298 well-appointed rooms that are accompanied by a range of essential facilities to ensure guests have an enjoyable stay.

Holiday Inn Manchester – City Centre features both a restaurant and a bar where guests can unwind at the end of the day.

The hotel is situated amongst the area’s popular sightseeing attractions, including Manchester Cathedral, the Royal Exchange Theatre and Manchester Central Convention Complex which are a short walk away. It is within walking distance of Shudehill Interchange, which allows for convenient access in and around Manchester.

 

 

 

The cost of travelling to Manchester England from the US, is half to what it use to be 5 to 10 years ago, obviously the recent decline of the Pound (the British currency) has attributed a lot to that. So what are you waiting for? Visit the UK while it is a really, good bargain!!

Kimberly Agnes, the author of the “Travelling to Manchester England from the US” is a US fashion executive who regularly travels to the UK and Europe form the US.

Hidden Beaches in Miami for a Winter Getaway

Hidden beaches in Miami

For most people living in the Northern Hemisphere, a tropical vacation is among the best ways to beat the winter cold. Miami, in the south east of the US, is a hot destination full of idyllic beaches and a warm, tropical climate.

But due to Miami being a popular vacation spot, tourists from all over the world flock to the area as well, with the famous beaches in Miami feeling a lit bit crowded and hectic. Fortunately for travellers who want to get away from it all, there are less crowded beaches in Miami which are great for a quieter winter escape.

Check out these hidden Miami beaches, away from the typical tourist hotspots.

Hidden Miami Beaches

Sunny Isles Beach

Around 11 miles from the world-famous South Beach is Sunny Isles described by the Canadian Traveller as a tropical paradise, with coastlines totaling a distance of two miles. Sunny Isles faces the mighty Atlantic on one side, and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other.

If you’ve spent enough time on the beach for one day and still have plenty of hours before dark, consider visiting the Everglades National Park, Fairchild Tropical Garden and Jungle Island which welcome tourists and nature lovers of all ages.

For automobile fanatics, a popular exhibit that is located in the area is the renowned Dezer Collection Car Museum.

While theatre aficionados should check out the local arts scene at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

Hidden Beaches in Miami for paddleboarding

Oleta River State Park Beach

Despite it covering over 1,000 acres, Oleta River State Park Beach is relatively unknown to most Miami residents, according to Departures Magazine. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful spot for outdoor adventures such as kayaking and stand up paddleboarding (SUP).

Several species of birds can also be spotted in the region due to its proximity to both the sea and the Everglades, making it an ideal location for bird watching.

Virgina Key

Virginia Key greets travellers making their way to Key Biscayne after passing the Rickenbacker Causeway from Downtown Miami. This unassuming location holds a myriad of attractions, which can be best appreciated through kayaking.

Florida Rambler shared the experiences that potentially await Virginia Key kayakers: unparalleled views of Miami’s skyline covering the crystal waters of Biscayne Bay; mangrove lagoons with fish and rays swimming underneath that are perfectly visible to the naked eye and; incomparable vantage points towards the unused Miami Marine Stadium which, at one time, held the record for the longest span of cantilevered concrete in the world. Deep breath.

Miami Beach lifeguard post

These hidden beaches in Miami will cater best to off the beaten path travellers, and it’s comforting to know as well that despite being relatively quieter than some famous Miami attractions, they are totally safe for tourists.

In fact, both Sunny Isles and Key Biscayne are included in the safest neighbourhoods of Miami-Dade county as discussed in a list compiled by Discover Homes.

So if you plan on heading to Miami to escape the harsh winter weather, it is highly recommended to consider one of the hidden beaches in Miami. Take a look beyond the city’s beaches and head to some less well discovered tourist spots for a more secluded and memorable getaway.

 

TransferWise the cheapest way to send money abroad

What is the cheapest way to send money abroad?

Time after time we are getting asked the same question by our followers, so we decided to investigate on your behalf.

Regardless if you are travelling abroad or buying a property overseas, having to change Sterling to a foreign currency can be a big headache.

Most people use banks to transfer money abroad but banks charge commission and have fees on top of the already expensive foreign exchange spread.

So we did the maths for you and we come up with an alternative. It is called TransferWise.com

TransferWise Review 

Usually we don’t write reviews on individual products or services but we have been very impressed with TransferWise that we feel that you need to know about this company so you don’t waste money on your next money transfer abroad.

Why TransferWise is cheaper than the high street banks

Without getting you bored with the technical jargon, the simple answer is that it is much cheaper (8 times cheaper according to the company) because it is not a bank.

TransferWise doesn’t transfer the funds through the international banking system. Instead it is utilising its own peer to peer network to match transactions across the TransferWise network.

TransferWise the cheapest way to send money abroad

How it works

For example a businessman in London who wish to convert Pound to Euro for his business will be matched with a French or a German or a Spanish traveller who wish to convert Euros to Pounds for his forthcoming visit to the UK.

They will both get quoted an exchange rate which is in the middle of the Bid and Ask currency spread. So they are both better off than going to a high street bank.

TransferWise holds bank accounts with all the major foreign currencies and can swap currencies within each country without having to use intermediary banks for the money transfers abroad.

So in our example above the Pounds will go to the Sterling bank account of TranferWise in the UK and the UK businessman will receive Euros from TransferWise’s Euro bank account in the UK.

At the same time in the continental Europe our traveller will get Pounds from TransferWise’s Sterling account and the Euros will be deposited into the Euro account of TransferWise in that country.

Since both sets of the transactions are within the national borders of each country, they cost a lot less than international money transfers. For transactions upto 400 Pounds the cost is only 2 Pounds, above that amount there is a flat charge of 0.5% of the amount transferred.

Most transactions get settled the same day, which is a lot faster than international money transfers through the traditional banking system.

Is TransferWise Safe?

TransferWise is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, just like any high street bank in the UK. The company is obliged to verify its users and to protect against fraud and money laundering.

Amongst the very early backers of the company is Richard Branson, who has invested $25 millions in an attempt to make the world of money transfers a fairer place.

TransferWise Advert London underground

 

 Where and how to use TransferWise

TransferWise will not be found on the UK high street, transactions can take place only online via their website www.transferwise.com or via a smartphone. The company has developed a mobile app that is available to download on the App Store as well as on Google Play.

So next time you travel abroad or you need to make an international money transfers check out TransferWise, your money will go a lot further.

A travel guide to lesser known attractions in the UK

british-bagpipeMost travellers who plan to visit the United Kingdom for the first time have in mind a dozen or so places or attractions in the UK that they would like to see.

Some very well-known tourist spots are around London, the Big Ben, the Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, etc.

But, if you really want to see and experience the true British culture and hospitality of which the Great Albion is well known, you have to leave London behind and become a traveller not a tourist!

First of all get yourself a standard BritRail GB Pass for 194.00 pounds, which is valid for eight days or if you are on a budget a National Express Brit Xplorer pass for 79.00 pounds which is valid for week.

Either of them will do and they will save you a fortune. Now you can set off and discover some of Britain’s hidden gems.

Barnard castle

Quite often when we talk about famous British castles, the Alnwick castle comes first, obviously the Harry Potter, movie has done a lot to make this magnificent castle the first choices for many travellers. Almost a million visitors went to Alnwick castle last year.

Barnard Castle 2016

However, if you wish to escape the crowds the little-know Barnard castle on the north of England is highly recommended. This 12th-century castle provides an amazing view of the river Tees. On the north east of Barnard castle is the city and county town of Durham, and on the east is the market town of Darlington.

Barnard castle is also the ideal starting point for exploring the Lake District. But before you head to the Lake District, check out the Bowes Museum which is just 15 minutes’ walk to the west of Barnard castle. So what are you waiting for? Add it to your list!

Dunwich Village

Only a few hours away by rail, Dunwich is the ideal destination for a short trip or a long weekend away from London. Dunwich during the Anglo-Saxon period was a major trading centre with a very busy commercial harbour.

Unfortunately the unpredictable weather conditions and ferocious storms that hit the East Anglian coast forced its inhabitants to evacuate the town on a numerous occasions through the centuries.

Due to coastal erosion Dunwich’s population has been forced to relocate and these days less than 200 people live in Dunwich.

Lesser known attractions in the UK - Dunwich heath 2016

Nevertheless, the natural beauty of the coastal lowland heath attracts many, nature enthusiasts, bird watchers and walkers.

If all that walking makes you feel a little peckish, head towards the Coastguard cottages, there you will find a small café that serves tea and freshly ground coffee with a wide selection of delicious homemade cakes.

Next door you will find the Dunwich Heath souvenirs shop to purchase some souvenirs and gifts for the family and friends back home.

the-ship-inn-hotel-dunwich

For a long weekend in Dunwich we highly recommend The Ship Inn Hotel Dunwich a small traditional and cosy guest house just a short drive from Westleton but within a walking distance of Dunwich’s well-known attractions and landmarks.

If you wish to save even more on your accommodation you can check out some cheaper deals with discount codes from Hotels.com

Lansallos Village

Lansallos is a small village and civil parish in south Cornwall that attracts many British holiday makers as it is well known for its stunning beaches.

Lansallos in Cornwall 2016

The Lansallos beach is small natural sandy beach easily accessible to visitors by the footpath next to the St Ildierna’s Church. The longest beach is at Lantic Bay, a beautiful horseshoe shape of beach with a steep climb back up to the coastal footpath.

If you decide to get down to either beach, be aware of the high and low tides in the area so you don’t get caught out. If in doubt ask one of the locals, they will be happy to advise you.

Clevedon Pier

Most people travelling to Britain, are aware of the Blackpool Pier and the Brighton Pier, they are both well photographed and documented in the media, the Clevedon Pier is less well known.

Top attractions in the UK - Clevedon Pier 2016

The Pier located in the town of Clevedon, in Somerset and it was built during the Victorian times as a docking station for the passenger steamer from Devon and Wales.

The Clevedon Pier is 312 meters long and 5 meters wide. The whole structure is designed with metal beams and wooden planks for decking, it stands just 4.30 meters above the sea level.

There are a number of hotels and B&B within a walking distance to the Clevedon Pier, the Highcliffe Hotel Clevedon as well as the The Moon & Sixpence offer comfortable and reasonably priced accommodation. For greater savings on hotels and bed and breakfast deals check out the Dealslands website.

Camley Street Natural Park

Camley street natural park in London Our last suggestion is the Camley street natural park, and there is a good reason why we left it for last. Not because it is inferior to the rest of the attractions but because it is easily accessible by foot. No need for a rail pass or a long distance coach ride.

The Camley street natural park is located in the centre of London just off  the King’s Cross rail station.

So once you are done with the Museums, shopping centres, pubs and cafes, head over to the King Cross station, then just a five minutes’ walk off the station and you will be into an amazing oasis.

The Camley street natural park is managed by London Wildlife Trust and is the habitat of a number of different and rear birds, butterflies and bees all spread across two hectares of land.

The park runs alongside the Regent’s canal where you can see narrow boats, ducks, geese and moorhens. There is also a small visitor’s centre with a cafe and toilet facilities.

So if you really want to have memorable holidays in the UK, full of British history and culture then try our five suggestions above.

These suggestions would not be found on the mainstream travel guides but these lesser known attractions in the UK encapsulate the rich British heritage through the centuries, unique, unspoiled and picturesque, the very best of Great Britain.

Eating out in Barcelona: Best Restaurants & Tapas

Tickets Restaurants & Tapas

In Barcelona, you will always be confused by all the different things it has to offer. This high-spirited city loves to eat. When eating out in Barcelona, make sure you take full advantage of all the wonderful food it has to offer.

However, in Spain they eat dinner no later than ten p.m. so make sure you are in time at all the cafes and restaurants, even bars. Also, Barcelona is the Catalan capital of Spain. Catalan is slightly different from Spanish, don’t you dare forget that. You’ll thank me later for this tip.

Best Restaurants and Tapas

Cerveseria Catalan

Cerveseria Catalana

You must visit a restaurant called Cerveseria Catalana. Try to book a table before you get there and get there on time. Chances are, you might still end up waiting. They offer the classic Spanish tapas menu. You may not know all the different things they have, but everything is good, just order the staples. Don’t be afraid to order from the specials menu either. This authentic, delicious Spanish food.

The tipping culture is not so popular in Spain. The tourists may have infused this, and a few waiters might even expect an excellent tip from you, but a meagre 5 to 10 percent would do. Big tips could spark confusion and largely unheard of.

Brunch and CakeBrunch & Cake

If you are the type that can’t imagine a morning without eggs, head to Brunch & Cake. This is not Spanish food, but there is almost no variant of breakfast in Spanish cuisine.

This is not as well-known among locals but for any of you visiting Spain, this place offers delicious breakfast to cure your hangover.

Speaking of drinking, from dawn to dusk, you’ll find cheap beer provided by immigrants. This is cheap, unbelievably cold beer that locals complain about.

However, this street beer moving through the narrow pathways of your neighbourhood will be one the greatest memories of a Barcelona night.

To satisfy hunger during one of these strolls, head on the way to Carrer d’ Avinyó. Here Indian and Pakistani immigrants roam with warm, home-made Samosas you cannot miss.

Botafumeiro

Botafumeiro Restaurant

For a perfect seafood, experience visits Botafumeiro. It is named for the huge incense burner which is hanging in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. You get top traditional seafood here. It is an elegant place to eat in with its wood-panelled walls, crisp white tablecloths, and decently dressed waiters.

Eating out in Barcelona: Tickets Tapas

Tickets Bar & Restaurant

Another excellent restaurant you must visit is Tickets. It is a joyful experience to eat here. It redefines “fun with food”. You should make a reservation for their heavenly smoked Artichoke, Quail’s Egg and Salmon. It is quite a charming and sophisticated place.

Eating out in Barcelona

In the end, I would advise you to be wary of some lousy places. Barcelona may be quite famous for its food experience, but yet there are plenty of sad tapas bars and restaurants.

They serve you frozen croquettes and overpriced seafood. Be careful when choosing your meals, sometimes eating out in Barcelona can be an unpleasant experience. Many of these places offer similar stuff so be careful not to be fooled into eating the same things over and over again. Do your research, go for the public options and have a pleasant stay!

Hotels in Barcelona

There are many excellent hotels in Barcelona, but you need to book in advance to avoid disappointment as they tend to sell out quickly, especially on weekends and during the Spanish festivals like the Festa Major de Gracia, in the middle of August or the even more popular Festa de la Merce towards the end of September.

compare all hotels in Barcelona

 

 

 

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.

Athens Sightseeing: A Full Day Tour Of Athens

Akropolis by night

After visiting a number of European countries, all of them start to look pretty much the same right? Fortunately, that doesn’t apply to Athens. Athens is indeed a European country but it feels like it has been ‘spiced’ with many Middle Eastern colours and aromas.

Due to its geographical position, as well as the occupation from the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years, have left Athens with a variety of cultural influences on landmarks and on it’s inhabitants.

Athens Kalimarmaro stadium

Athens besides the many archaeological sites has numerous beautiful seaside places where you can swim in the sea or just drink a cup of Greek coffee (like the locals do) and enjoy the views. Make sure you have more than one day to visit and explore all the hidden gems of the city.

Athens Metro

Best place to start your day tour of Athens is the Metro station of Acropolis. It is advisable to be there early in the morning to have a head start, as more tourists will be visiting later on and it will get crowded. Also you must remember that the Greek sun in the summer is really strong so make sure that you apply sun cream often and always have a bottle of water with you.

Walk the beautiful street of Dionysiou Areopageitou and buy yourself a ticket (20 Euros per person which applies for all the archaeological sites of Athens for 4 days). I could fill in at least ten pages with the facts and the history of Acropolis but this is neither the place nor the time to do so.

Always remember to support the campaign for returning the STOLEN artefacts of Parthenon, which are now located in the British Museum in London back to Greece, where they belong to.

So enjoy the beauty of Acropolis standing for more than 2000 years and wonder around it. Make sure you exit not from the typical exit, but from a downhill exit next to a small wooden kiosk that you will come across as you climb up the stairs. This way you will be able to see more sites and ancient constructions as well as an additional theatre.

Athens Archaeological Museum

Once you exit the site of Acropolis head the opposite way to the new museum of Acropolis, a construction that Greeks are really proud of since it was literally built upon ancient buildings but without causing any destruction to them. You will be able to see parts of them as you move though the Acropolis museum.

Exiting the museum of Acropolis and head left the same road you followed to go to Acropolis. Enjoy the weather and feel free to buy from the street vendors’ traditional artifacts and souvenirs which are actually in much better prices than the shops. Always try to support the local economy which really needs your help, especially these days!!!

Once you meet the first cafeterias’ with their tables outside you can go for a coffee to the roof gardens and admire the views of Acropolis.

Once you catch your breath continue and enter the ancient Agora from the small exit in front of the cafeterias with the same ticket that you bought in Acropolis. There are three must see places there among the many:

• The ancient temple that really looks like Acropolis.
• The old church with the unique pictures that were saved during the occupation from the Ottoman Empire (check out the Saints and Angels that their faces were removed by the occupants).
• The small museum which shows aspects of everyday life in Athens.

Exit the site from the main entrance and you are in Monastiraki area.

Day tour of Athens - Monastiraki

Warning!!!: As all the main tourist attractions around the world, the same rules apply in this area. Keep your bag zippers closed, leave no bags unattended and beware of your personal belongings in general. Pick pocketing is not a very common thing but not a very rare as well. Kindly decline any offers for sunglasses, perfumes or mobile phones since they will be 90 percent end in monkey business.

Monastiraki open flea market where you can shop various stuff

Shop around this area, you can find really good prices in leather and gold or buy some souvenirs for your friends back home. (Make sure you buy a hat for the rest of your vacations in Greece since the Greek sun is very strong. The area is ideal for taking pictures of locals restoring old furniture and buying antiques.

Hungry? I would suggest you head to the restaurant of Savvas with the amazing roof garden. It serves traditional Greek cuisine and the quality of the food is always very good, and of course you can stare (guess what???) Acropolis!

From there you can head to the Athens central meat & fish market called “Varvakios” to take some photos. Avoid it if you don’t have a strong stomach, watching hanged meats and the heavy smells might not be for everyone! The whole area is really popular for buying traditional products.

Head back to Ermou street (if you don’t know which one it is, simply ask an Athenian. The majority of the Greeks speak English and usually are very helpful with tourists.

Ermou street is the road with all the big brand names stores and you can always buy designer clothes or anything else you might need. Head up towards Syntagma square. On your way visit the small church (Kapnikarea) in the middle of the street.

It is estimated that the church was built some time in the 11th century, perhaps around 1050. As it was common with the early Christian churches, this was built over an ancient Greek pagan temple dedicated to the worship of a goddess, possibly Athena or Demeter. You can walk into it and light a small candle like Orthodox people do.

Efzonas on Syntagma sq in Athens

Reaching Syntagma square you will see the Greek parliament and the national guards called Efzones. They wear their traditional skirt (which has 400 foldings, one for each year of occupation under the Ottoman Empire).

Take some photos and walk until the national Library and Academy. Two amazing buildings built like the ancient Greek ones. Once you are done continue on to the Omonoia street where you need to ask the way to the National Museum which is just five minutes by foot.

The national Archeological museem of AthensThe National Museum even though it is last on the list, it is for me the most important sight of Athens. Make sure you do not miss it. It hosts an amazing collection of masterpieces of art of the ancient Greece.

Statues more than 5000 years old, jewels of the Macedonian family of Alexander, and the famous Machine of Antikythera.

That is a full a day tour of Athens, where you can cover all the main tourist attractions.

If you feel that your feet can still do some extra walk, you can always add one of the following sights to your tour. Plaka, Kallimarmaron, the National Garden, Zapeio, Likavitos and Glyfada area.

But my suggestion is to visit those places another day so you can take your time and enjoy them like they deserve to.

Spyros Skouris profile photoAbout the author

Spyros Skouris the author of the article “A full day tour of Athens” 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.