Sailing charters in Greek islands,the premium charter sailing vacations in Greece,information on sailing in aegean and greek islands

Information about Greece

Sailing charters in Greek islands,the premium charter sailing vacations in Greece,information on sailing in aegean and greek islands

Index

Athens
Attica
Crete
Cyclades
Dodecanese
Epirus
Euboea/Sporades
Ionian Islands
Macedonia
Peloponese
Pireaus
Samothrace
Saronic Gulf Islands
Sterea Ellada
The North East Aegean Islands
Thessaly
Thrace

 
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Athens

The capital of Greece took its name from the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. This is where democracy was born. This is where that marvel of architecture, the Parthenon was created. This is where art became inseparable from life, and where Pericles gave the Funerary Speech, that monument of the spoken word.Athens is the symbol of freedom, art and democracy in the conscience of the civilised world. In Athens the memory never fades. Wherever you stand, wherever you turn, the city's long and rich history will be alive in front of you.In the centre of town there are two hills, the Acropolis with the monuments from the age of Pericles and Lycabetus with the picturesque chapel of Ag. Giorgis.Athens today is a modern city, busy and vibrant. Modern but also romantic, with lively streets and squares, shop windows a riot of colours, and narrow streets in neighbourhoods such as Plaka and Mets.In the countless shops, the visitor will find whatever he may need. In the tavernas and restaurants he can enjoy any taste sensation. In the night-clubs, pubs, discos and bars he can drink and dance the night away, because in Athens, the fun never stops. 

Attica

Attica (Attiki) borders Sterea Ellada to the north and the Saronic Gulf to the south. Athens, the capital of Greece, and Pireaus, the major port, are in Attica.The climate is mediterranean, pleasant and healthy due to its distinctive dryness. Washed by the celebrated Attica light, it is full of memories of the past: In Sounion the sanctuaries of Poseidon and Athena, in Vravrona the sanctuary of Artemis, in Rhamnous that of Nemesis, in Marathon the famous victory of the Greeks against the Persians, in Eleusis (Elfsina) the sanctuary of Demeter, as well as Byzantine monuments such as Kaisariani and Daphni monasteries. The visitor based in Athens can enjoy either sea or mountains by travelling just a few kilometres.Another special characteristic is the great variety of landscapes, from the beautiful mountains of Parnitha, Penteli and Hymettus to the coastal resorts, teeming with life around the clock and especially in the summer. 

 

Crete

Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island. It is the border between the Aegean and Libyan seas and between Europe and Africa. The climate is considered one of the mildest and healthiest in Europe.The island is very mountainous. Deep gorges split its huge mountains (Lefka, Ori, Psiloritis, Dikti) leading to fertile valleys, creating a landscape full of surprises and which changes minute by minute, bare and wild, green and peaceful. More than 3,000 large and small caves, several of them with impressive stalactites and stalagmites, are of special interest and honeycomb the mountains.Untrodden rocky coasts, vast sandy beaches and pebble shores define the seaside. Dry-stone farm buildings, villages perching on high plateaus, monasteries, isolated castles and chapels dot the countryside. Villages drowning in green, olive green, vine green, citrus green and vegetable green, add living colour to the sometimes harsh views, in which life's traditional Cretan rhythms have not changed in centuries: coffee under the shade of old trees, traditional dances, sousta and pentozali to the sound of the Cretan lyre and the sweetness of Cretan wine.Old cities hide behind walls, their complicated narrow alleys winding past squares, churches and the ruins of palaces. The main city ports like that at the port town of Hania, built on top of ancient Kydonia, picturesque Rethimno, Iraklio, cosmopolitan Agios Nikolaos and beautiful Sitia grew up on the north side of the island and only peaceful Ierapetra is on the shores of the Libyan sea, facing Africa. They are cities living the fast pace of modern life, developing day by day. Shops selling folk art, textiles, pottery, leather goods and department stores with luxury items spring up like mushrooms. Greengrocers bring the rich produce of the fertile valleys and greenhouses to the market places.Days awash in brilliant sunlight, emerald clear waters, star spangled nights redolent with the smells of jasmine and honeysuckle, this is Crete remembered. Knossos, Festos, Malia, Zakros, Aptera, Lato, Driros, Gortys, Arkadi: names which played an important role in the history of the island from Neolithic to modern times.All of the above compose the multidimensional image of Crete, on whose soil flourished one of the most important civilisations, the Minoan, and was the birthplace of such important artists and writers as El Greco, Damaskinos, Kazantzakis and many others. 

Cyclades

The island group in the central and southern Aegean. An imaginary circle centred on Delos washed by sunshine and breathing the sea breeze. One of the most important Mediterranean civilisations was born here, the Cycladic. It is also probable that the lost continent of Atlantis was around here. Calm crystal clear water, bright sky, radiant sun, and austere architecture on naked rock, the Cyclades are filled with light and sunshine. The climate is dry and healthy with mild winters and cool summers thanks to the 'meltemia' winds.Kea (Tzia) is very close to Athens and offers relaxing vacations and pristine beaches. The picture of the island that remains of little valleys with vineyards and orchard between mountainous masses, leading to idyllic coves. One and two storey houses with tiled roofs, stone-paved alleyways, chapels, windmills and monasteries, the most important of which is the Kastriani monastery.On small Kithnos, the ground is high and rugged with green tufts of vine and fig scattered about. The shores are heavily indented and the island has thermal springs with great curative powers. The churches are beautiful and are graced with fine wood carvings and icons painted by the Cycladian painter (1700) Skordilis.Serifos has a strange charm that captivates, it is naked waves of mountains and small fertile valleys, singular houses, narrow stone-paved streets, magical shores and a castle surrounded by windmills.Grey trails line the rocks of Siphnos and white chapels lie between them, here green alternates with dazzling white. An island of rare beauty and spellbinding views it is a maze of yards, alleyways and workshops where the famous Sifnian pottery is made, with 365 churches, chapels and important monasteries.Kimolis is a small mountainous island, white as the chalk it produces, far from the summer crowds. Houses in the authentic Cycladic style surround the castle.Milos was born of a volcano and hides may secrets above and below its surface: rich deposits of minerals, the famous catacombs, sea caves, pristine beaches, early Christian remains. One of its secrets, the Venus de Milo, rests in the Louvre.Andros, the birthplace of famed ship masters, with its steep mountain ranges torn by gorges and ravines; valleys blanketed by vines, olive, fig, orange and lemon trees, streams and brooks untypical of the otherwise classic Cycladic landscape; slopes that end in cliffs; hills that vanish quietly into rocky shores; valleys that extend into sandy beaches.Tinos is the holy island of the Virgin Mary. Numerous beaches can be seen from the peaks of the unending mountain range that crosses it lengthwise. The dove-cotes on Tinos, made of white-washed native stone, are works of art in their own right. The island's twenty exquisite villages are unique examples of folk architecture.Mykonos is the cosmopolitan centre of the Cyclades. Its low rocky hills slope down to enchanting golden beaches. Grey-green boulders sprout prickly pears and windmills. Despite the dazzling light the summers are refreshing. One can find beaches that are almost empty. White-washed cube-shaped houses are scattered about. In the narrow streets of the town chapels and picturesque tavernas hide among folk art shops and stores selling jewellery and furs. Trends that will sweep the international scene are born in the intense nightlife of this modern resort.The ancient holy island of Delos is a vast archaeological site. For many centuries it was the religious centre of Greece. It was the centre of the circle of the Cyclades islands and the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.Siros on the other hand is the modern administrative, commercial and cultural centre of the Cyclades. The Hora, full of fine neo-classical buildings, old mansions, marble squares and magnificent churches, is built amphitheatrically up the hillsides around the port. The hills and the valleys provide variety in the scenery, alternating between cultivated fields, orchards and brush. Beautiful locations and scenic beaches sum up the island.Paros has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Now, this mainly flat island with countless vineyards, is a modern tourism centre. This popular island is fragrant with basil and honeysuckle. The marvellous church of Panagia Ekatontapliani greets visitors as they arrive in the harbour. White-washed stone benches beneath the jasmine and summer celebrations, such as the wine and fish festivals characterise the island.Opposite, the golden sands and natural beauty of the small island of Antiparos, is home to the famous and enchanting cave of St. John.Naxos is the largest and most fertile of the Cycladic islands. Byzantine churches and medieval towers abound. Vast beaches with boulders rising up from the deep blue of the sea, fertile valleys, springs with rushing water, picturesque villages, begin to give an idea of this special place. A distinctive feature of Naxos are the two ancient Kouroi.Unlike Naxos, Amorgos is mountainous and barren, with sheer rocky coasts, scattered ruins, notable archaeological finds, and places of worship built with the characteristic ecclesiastical architecture of the twin church.Folegandros is a small rocky island with the special wild beauty of alternating cliffs and sandy beaches. The church of Panagia and the golden cave with its stalactites and stalagmites are worth a visit.Sikinos has retained its island feel and colour in its wonderful villages with their stone mansions, the island is also known for is spectacular castle and the monastery of Zoodohou Pigis.Ios (or Nios as the locals call it) is decorated with small scenic bays, countless chapels, vineyards and olive tress, all set under the clear bright Cycladic sky.Its ecological particularities, its past and its imposing scenery, single out the Cycladic island of Santorini (Thira). Bright white domed houses clinging to the cliff sides of the caldera, formed by the volcano's explosion in 1500BC, have an incredible view of Kamenes, (burnt ones) the coal coloured islets in the middle. Some of the most spectacular beaches can be found on Santorini: some with dark pebbles and others with black sand. A whole civilisation is coming to light at the archaeological sites at Akrotiri, the prehistoric city, and Messa Vouno, where the ruins of ancient Thira lie. The missing piece of Santorini's once perfect circle is Thirassia, the wounded islet that closed the caldera, which is Thira in miniature.A rock on its own in the sea is Anafi. The crystal clear waters and serenity of the island's beauty offer a calm relaxing place for visitors and inhabitants both. The only disturbances are the picturesque celebrations and local fairs. 

 

Dodecanese

The Dodecanese islands are located south of Samos and Fourni, east of the Cyclades, east of Asia Minor, and north-east of Crete. It is an enchanted world where the sun paints pictures and the sea gives life. The mild winters and refreshing summers give the Dodecanese one of the healthiest climates in the Mediterranean. The largest island in the group is Rhodes, also known as the island of the Sun. The capital, the City of Rhodes, is like a valuable coin with two faces. One face is the old town, a fairy-tale place surrounded by medieval walls and traversed by the Street of the Knights of St. John. On either side of the road is the old town with the 'Inns', the Hospital of the Knights and the Palace of the Grand Master. The other face is the modern city with intense nightlife, broad streets, beautiful buildings, large hotels and hundreds of shops where anything can be found. The entire island is crammed with sights worth visiting, from the archaeological sites to the fabulous beaches, from the Valley of the Butterflies to the ruins of ancient Rhodes, from the Acropolis of Lindos. Naturally, the strong sunlight and the beautiful sea are as present in Rhodes as they are throughout the Dodecanese, as they are throughout Greece.Southeast of Rhodes lies Kasterlorizo, whose capital town of the same name is built amphitheatrically and reaches right down to the waterfront. A small island with important sights, such as the Blue Grotto, one of the most gorgeously coloured caves in Greece, and the cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helena.Between Leros and Ikaria is the 'ascetic shape' of Patmos, called the Jerusalem of the Aegean due to overwhelming atmosphere of the island during the great celebrations of Christianity. Here, in one of Patmos' many caves, St. John the Theologian had a vision of the Apocalypse. An imposing monastery devoted to the Saint dominates the heights above the picturesque houses and mansions which appear to be 'hooked' to the roots of the monastery. The image the visitor will keep from Patmos will be enhanced by an excursion to its rocky coves and pleasant shores before passing over to the nearby islets of Fourni, Lipsi and Agathonissi.Lipsi or Lipso is very attractive with enchanting beaches and traditional fish tavernas offering local wine.Leros is a hilly island with deep green coves, idyllic valleys, indented shores and the imposing Frankish-Byzantine castle over the Hora.Grey, gold and green, framed by the blue of the sea and the sky, are the colours composing the portrait of Kalimnos: naked rock, golden beaches and verdant valleys. The capital Pothia is built amphitheatrically with multi-coloured geometrically shaped houses, churches and scenic roads. Beautiful areas with picturesque villages, thermal springs and idyllic spots for swimming, fishing and relaxing holidays are everywhere.Astipalea: Small white houses with brightly painted windows open to the sun, a row of windmills, caves with stalactites and stalagmites at Vathi and Vetses.Kos is a splash of deep green located between Kalimnos and Nissiros. Among the thousands of impressive sights are the Asklepeion, the house dating from the Roman era with the fabulous mosaics, the Palace of the Knights of St John, in the town of Kos, the early Christian churches with their noteworthy frescoes. The island also has many villages famous for their charm, quiet fishing villages and beaches.The visitor will be impressed by the contrast formed by the white houses on Nissiros' grey volcanic soil, just before he ends up in one of the beautiful fishing villages for some quiet sea and sun.Tilos is fine sandy beaches, untouched nature, medieval castles and a respect for the island's traditions.You will know you are on Simi by the mountains and small valleys, wonderful coves, strong sense of tradition and the monastery of the Archangel Michael with its Byzantine frescoes.West of Rhodes lies a small mountainous island, Halki. A thousand songs pay tribute to this quiet place that is ideal for relaxing holidays.The inhabitants of beautiful Karpathos are famous for their strong sense of tradition and the island is known for its scenic mountains in the north, as well as for its lovely beaches with their charming fishing villages. 

Epirus

Epirus (Ipirus), in the north-west corner of Greece, is mostly mountainous. It borders Sterea Ellada to the south-east, Macedonia to the north-east, Albania to the north-west, and the Ionian sea and the Amvraic Gulf to the south-west.Due to its alpine nature and the close proximity of its western and southern parts to the sea, the climate of Epirus is continental in the interior and mild in the coastal areas.This part of Greece host dozens of large and small mountains, notably the Pindus range. The mountains give the impression that they are rising up out of the Ionian sea. Forests, wild vegetation, lagoons, rivers and wetlands provide sanctuary to thousands of birds. Fabulous beaches and unforgettable verdant shores bathed in sunlight are washed by the turquoise Ionian. Here in Epirus, life flows as quietly as the rivers. Here life is filled with the songs of the migratory birds and whispering of the leaves. Here the soul is resurrected in some picturesque village, some magical town.Ioanina is built on the shores of lake Pamvotida. It is the largest and prettiest city in Epirus, with old buildings, narrow streets and natural charms. The area around the town has many attractions such as the village of Perama with the famous cave, Mouzakei with the wax museum, the island in the lake Pamvotida. From Ioanina one climbs up to Metsovo, the beautiful mountain village known for its embroidery and dairy products. Continuing north one comes to the Vikos Gorge. Here, amidst incredible mountain scenery are 46 villages known as the Zagorhoria. In the varied vegetation one encounters picturesque churches, old mansions, bridges, waterfalls and traditional settlements.At an altitude of 602 metres is the small town of Konitsa with the famous gorge formed by the river Aoos.A little higher, at 1,100 metres, are two of the best preserved traditional settlements, Sirako and Kalarites.Dodoni in Epirus was the second oracle of ancient Greece after Delphi. Its temple was dedicated to Zeus. The nearby theatre was one of the largest of antiquity. Several other ruins bear testament to the importance of the site.The springs of Louros and Zitsa are sources of fine mineral water. Arta is the second largest town in Epirus and is especially well known for its fabled bridge and the remaining Byzantine monuments in and around the town.The entrance to the Amvrakic Gulf is guarded by Preveza and its port. The uniquely beautiful town is close to ancient Nikopolis (1st Century B.C.), Kassopi and Messopotamos.Idyllic Parga has plenty of water to irrigate its fertile and verdant land. Finally, Igoumenitsa is the exit-harbour from Epirus and the entrance harbour to the Ionian and its islands. 

Euboea/Sporades

Euboea (Evia) is one of the largest islands of the Aegean, the second after Crete. It extends along the mainland coast, separated from it by the Evoikos Gulf and the Straits of Evripos.Euboea presents many peculiarities and offers ideal conditions for the development of tourism. In northern Euboea one will find towns with intense tourism activity yet villages that are nearly untouched by modern life are scattered among olive groves leading to scenic beaches, villages with a strong sense of traditional colour maintaining their customs and celebrations. Lush fertile valleys, wooded slopes and mountains made for climbing, organised beaches and magical out of the way shores, the northern part of the island hosts the alpine view of Euboea.Oak, fir, pine and other trees grow on the banks of streams. Pleasurable walks in the unsullied countryside between the strictly traditional villages are the best way to get to know Euboea better.Villages and towns like Limni, a beautiful town with a long history and tradition, bedecked with fine white houses reflected in the sea. The fertile plain of Istiea and beautiful Edipsos known since antiquity for its spas and the miraculous waters with medicinal powers.Southern Euboea has been home to important cities for centuries, cities like Halkida, the island's capital, and significant archaeological sites such as Retiree. The listed old houses of the ship masters and the seaside villages on quiet scenic beaches are real jewels. And here in the interior of southern Euboea, we encounter pine, oak, fir and poplar forests. Running water such as the mineral water of the famous spring of Heneftiko. Picturesque villages, with churches and monasteries and an authentic island feel, like the port of Kimi from where boats leave for the Sporades. Here the visitor has the chance to combine the quiet life with wonderful sandy beaches and sea sports, tasty local specialities and fresh seafood, and delicious wine. The large amounts of sunshine in the Sporades and the 'meltemia', the Aegean's seasonal northern wind, attract many tourists in the summer.Skiathos is a verdant idyllic paradise with more than 70 bays and coves and three harbours. Nine small islands orbit Skiathos as if mesmerised by the island's beauty. Skiathos is a popular resort with an active nightlife.Skopelos is exceptionally beautiful with scenic coves, bright white churches and monasteries among picturesque farm-houses glimpsed through the gold-green of the olive groves on even slopes, under the brilliant light of the sun.Alonissos is long and thin and surrounded by scattered islets. These islets and the area around them are the Marine Park which is the last refuge of the Mediterranean sea Monachus-monachus. The ruins of an ancient city can be found on Psathoura and a cave decorated with multi-hued stalactites and the stalagmites is the famous cave of the Cyclops.Skyros is low hills, good underwater fishing and diving, crystal clear water, sandy beaches, little seaside tavernas, sea caves and the unique Skyrian ponies. From the castle above the Hora, which combines Byzantine and Venetian ruins with older fortifications, the town spreads out below you in a cubist dream. Each of the houses has an interior that reminds one of a folk art museum, and much of the hand made folk art is sold in little shops. 

Ionian Islands

To the west of Epirus, Sterea Ellada, and the Peloponese, lies the group of islands, the Ionian islands.Corfu (Kerkira) is the most popular of them all. It is a very green island and architecturally a mixture of the civilisations that have passed through at various times. The town impresses and charms the visitor with its two forts, narrow streets, tall houses, arcades, Venetian built Town Hall, church to Saint Spyridon the island's patron saint, flower-filled gardens and balconies with their superb wrought-iron fences. Flooded with sights, Corfu is a small paradise on earth. From Paleokastritsa to Kanoni, from the Achillion to Pontikonisi and the northern coast, one will find crystal clear water, scenic coves, greenery and vegetation that 'sinks' into the deep blue sea. On this cosmopolitan island it is easy to combine relaxation with intense night life.Paxos is an incredible microcosm. A verdant sanctuary for peace and quiet. With impressive white boulders and beautiful beaches with clear water, small coves, and sea caves, Gaios is the picturesque village with pretty houses and narrow streets. The old windmill, the Venetian fort and the Ipapanti sea cave are the sights to see on the island before one crosses over to Parga or to Antipaxos. A quiet island just made for truly relaxing holidays, Antipaxos has some wonderful beaches and a tiny village.Lefkada's eastern side has dense vegetation and smooth shores. On the west, the coast is steep though there are many long sandy beaches. But all around the sea is that deep blue. Lefkada is a distinguished island with its impressive Venetian castle and the monastery of Phaneromeni. The capital town is a picturesque and quiet place with its characteristic multi-coloured wooden houses. Villages built next to the sea. Excursions through the forests to the many sights, such as the ruins of the western pebbled shores lapped by the crystal clear sea.Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands. Green rocks plunge suddenly into the deep blue waters. Picturesque villages and small beautiful towns highlighted by small mansions and 'humble' farmhouses: a little further over, the ruins of some ancient city. Kefalonia has been justly called the island of contrasts: Roman, Venetian, and Byzantine ruins, side by side with famous beaches. The capital Argostoli is where the sea pours into spectacular swallow-holes and disappears endlessly into subterranean tunnels forming a rare geological phenomenon. The water reappears at Lake Melissani, an incredible semi-underground lake of clear turquoise and indigo water. Nearby is the Drogarati cave, a large stalagmite cavern of rare beauty. To the north is the small village of Fiskardo, and its pretty harbour, that has escaped the earthquakes and retains the old style buildings.Ithaki is known to the world as being Odysseys' homeland. Its enchanting coves turn it into paradise on earth despite its small size and mountainous nature. The west side of the island is steep and bare in contrast with the east which is verdant and slopes gently down to the sea. The visitor can go on excursions to the intensely Ionian traditional seaside villages, and visit the medieval monastery of Taxiarhon and the wonderful caves of the island that are just begging to be explored. Green Ithaki is a much loved place, with scenic beaches, sleepy little villages, an ideal spot for an unforgettable vacation.The southernmost island of the Ionian, almost triangular in shape, is idyllic Zakinthos. It has its own way of enchanting the visitor and engraving itself in his memory. It is not easy to forget the emerald sea, the pine covered hills, or the hospitable and open-hearted inhabitants of Zante, as it is otherwise called. Up high, above the modern town with its beautiful buildings in the typical Zakinthian style, is the Venetian castle; churches are everywhere in the city of St. Dionysios, the island's patron saint. Small coffee shops and picturesque villages are to be found among the olive and almond trees, in or around fields planted with vines and vegetables.Zakinthos has many fine sandy beaches with calm, clear waters. On some of them, the visitor can see the sea turtles, Caretta-caretta, before crossing over to beautiful Strofades, a group of small islands.The verdant island of Kithira is located off the south-east corner of the Peloponese. It is ringed by wide sandy beaches and clean seas, while the interior justifiably impresses with traditional villages, castle, monasteries and churches. 

Macedonia

Macedonia (Makedonia) is Greece's largest geographical region and it occupies the northern part of the country.The climate is generally continental, though coastal areas benefit from the moderating influence of the sea and can be said to have a mediterranean climate.Macedonia includes large fertile plains, such as the plain of Thessaloniki, mineral rich areas such as Halkidiki, and wooded mountains, lakes, wetlands, enchanting waterfalls, forests of fir, pine and beech trees. The area is inhabited even today by endangered wild animals and boasts rushing rivers, caves, verdant plains, fertile valleys, distant lakes, beautiful coasts and fishing villages.The capital is Thessaloniki, the bride of the Thermaic gulf, which owes her name to the daughter of King Phillip of Macedon. Thessaloniki has been chosen as the 'Cultural Capital of Europe' in 1997 with many events being planned to mark the occasion. The city is decorated with many Roman and Byzantine monuments, with the White Tower the best know of all. Today all of Thessaloniki buzzes with life. The roads, parks and squares are lively and on the commercial streets the wide range of shops with their bright window displays lure the keen shopper. Among the old houses, neo-classical and modern are tavernas, restaurants, bars, expensive night clubs and cosy little places redolent with the smells of Macedonian delicacies, theatres, cinemas, pastry shops and cafes. Annually, every September, the wonders of technology are shown at the International Exhibition.Halkidiki lies to the south. Mt. Athos, the monastic state, the Holy Mountain, a separate and special feature. Dozens of fabulous Byzantine monasteries lurk in the fertile valleys and perch on sheer rocky coasts hiding unique treasures. The capital of Halkidiki is Poligiros, a picturesque town. Its unique geography are its three fingers, Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos, with beautiful sandy beaches and pine trees that come down to 'meet' the deep blue water of the sea.East of Thessaloniki are the districts of Seres, Drama and Kavala and their respective capitals of the same name. Beautiful and charming, Seres has an acropolis as well as Byzantine walls and churches. Drama is situated among tobacco fields. Kavala is divided into a new and old town, the scenic harbour full of little fishing boats, and the medieval castle. Outside the city is the archaeological site of ancient Phillipi and several wonderful beaches.Across the sea is Thassos, the island of the Sirens according to mythology. Beautiful and verdant, with splendid beaches, and important antiquities. In the summer, ancient plays are re-enacted in the ancient theatre.West of Thessaloniki lies Central Macedonia. Here the outstanding sights are the archaeological sights of Dion, Vergina and Pella.The district of Pieria, whose capital is Ketrini with the castle of Platamona gazing upon the Aegean, has fine wide sandy beaches, the Litohoro on the foothill of Mt. Olympus, the domicile of the gods and Dion, the pan-Macedonian sanctuary devoted to the worship of Zeus(Dias).Veria, with its many Byzantine churches is the capital of the district of Imathia, which is also home to Naoussa and to Vergina which is associated with ancient Aiges and whose tombs have been attributed to Philip of Macedon.Edessa is capital of the district of Pella, the site of ancient Pella.Next is Kilkis with the impressively decorated cave, picturesque villages and town and the Doirani Lake with its rich natural environment. In Western Macedonia are the districts of Kozani, with it scenic capital of the same name, Grevena, with tall wooded mountains and untamed natural environment.The district of Kastoria with the lake and pretty town, built amphitheatrically on its shores, and the dozens of fur making workshops, and lastly, Florina with Mikri and Megali Prespa (large lakes), and beautiful traditional villages built on the slopes of forested mountains. 

Peloponese

The southernmost geographic section of mainland Greece, originally the Peloponese was an island but intense geological upheavals in the region twice united and separated it from the mainland. Later, a drop in sea level formed the Isthmus of Corinth. This land bridge was excavated in the late 19th century to make the Corinth canal, making the Peloponese an island yet again.The Peloponese (Peloponissos) is a rugged land and in its interior is highlands. The climate is purely Mediterranean along the coast, unlike the centre which has a relatively continental climate.A mythical land whose every corner brings to mind some Greek myth, the Peloponnese is composed of images and music, the scents of the sea, of the mountains, of grapes, olives and citrus. The cities, towns and spas of the region were important centres in antiquity and remain so today. Villages seem to grow out of the grey rock, the wild stones next to the hostile furze. Other villages lie by the vast open sea, but everywhere the people are welcoming, hospitable and proud.Three main road networks lead to places with abundant physical beauty, important archaeological sites, land and stones testifying of other eras.Arriving at Loutraki, we come to the Isthmus, we have our first view of the Peloponese.After we have crossed the Isthmus, we reach Corinth, a commercial centre and transport hub. At the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth we find the ruins of the magnificent ancient city. Roads extend among the vast olive groves, grain fields and vegetable plots, leading to modern villages and towns, ideal resorts. From Kiato to ancient Sikyona and from there to Stimfalia. Then on to Xilokastro an interesting vacation spot. Deakofto is the starting point for unforgettable excursions to historic Kalavrita, Megalo Spilaio (large cave), and the monastery of Agia Lavra, magical train journeys through the Vouraikos gorge between tall verdant mountains.Truly ancient Egio has a special attraction; the monastery of Panagia Tripiti, which is built into the living rock. Pretty pebbled beaches can be found nearby.Patras on the west coast is Greece's gateway to the Ionian islands and Italy. Its attractive squares, neo-classical buildings, and the ruins of a castle on top of a hill, add charm to this working harbour city, the fourth largest in Greece. Enchanting shores drowning in eucalyptus and bushes, indigo waters and a vast sandy beach at Kilini, known since antiquity for its spas. Further south we encounter Pirgos, an attractive town with the neo-classical buildings.Peaceful, serene and verdant is ancient Olympia with the grandiose temple foundations, the colonnades, the altars and the numerous interesting archaeological finds crowned by that masterpiece of sculpture, the Hermes of Praxiteles.Kaifas is the next spa, also known since antiquity, set amidst a thick pine forest. The soil here is fertile, ideal for vineyards, olive groves and citrus fields. The roads that lead to Byzantine monasteries, Frankish towers, ancient temples, such as the temple of Apollo Epikourios at Vasses, and famous palaces, such as Nestor's palace in Pylos, begin here. From here we go to Kalamata, the capital of Messinia, with its castle of Geoffrey Villehardouin, its waterfront lined with tavernas and pastry shops and Mt. Taygetos proudly rearing up and while between its foothills pretty beaches can be found.From Kalamata, the road sweeps up to Tripoli in the heart of the Peloponnese, a perfect base for enchanting excursions to Vitina, Dimitsana, and Stemnitsa, picturesque villages clinging to the Arcadian mountains, and to Mantineia and Lykossoura with significant ancient ruins.Entering into Lakonia, we reach its capital, Sparti,. To the west is the Byzantine castle state of Mystra with its incredible churches, monasteries, palaces and mansions.Crossing the plain of Lakonia, we come to Githio and from there to Aeropoli, the Diros caves, the traditional settlement of Vathia. Passing through verdant landscape, steep mountains and deep gorges which end up in clear blue sea, at pristine golden beaches or pebbled shores, we arrive at unique Monemvassia.The north-eastern Peloponese welcomes us at Argos, the ancient strong hold, today a point of departure for Nauplia, the first capital of free Greece, with the Bourtzi, an islet topped by a miniature fort, and the Palamidi rock. Ancient Tiryns and Mycenae, the ruins of the two power centres of the ancient Mycenean world, can also be reached from Argos.We get to Epidaurus (Epidavros) passing through pine forests. Here, in the summer during the Epidaurus festival one can appreciate the incredible acoustics of the ancient theatre, next to the sanctuary of Asclepius.Apart from Epidaurus, the eastern Peloponnese has much physical beauty on offer, at Ermionida, Porto Heli, Kosta and Galatas, from where one easily crosses to Poros or Methana with its famous spas.

Pireaus

Pireaus (Pireas) has been the port of Athens since antiquity. The modern city built on top of the ancient city is a major shipping and financial centre. All the ships that link the capital with the islands of Greece and the rest of the world, leave from this historic port.Piraeus is to the south-west of Athens, around 10km from the centre of town. It is connected to the city by buses and the Metro. Beyond the port, the most impressive spots are the hills of Profitis Ilias and Kastela with their neo-classical mansions and modern buildings which look as if they are hanging over the sea.Piraeus' small natural harbours are among the busiest and most popular tourist areas: Mikrolimano, Passalimani, Zea, Freatida and Hatzikiriakio. Countless seaside tavernas provide delicious seafood washed down with the uniquely Greek drink, Ouzo. The fresh smell of the sea and the sounds of an assortment of caiques, yachts and sailing ships, which are moored next to the tables, complete the ambience and atmosphere. 

Samothrace

An island of the northern Aegean, Samothrace (Samothraki) is located opposite the gulf of Saros. It is mostly mountainous Mt. Saros, whose peak Fengari (moon) reaches an altitude of 1,600 metres, and is the highest peak on any island, Crete and Euboea apart.Samothrace has a mediterranean climate with mild winters and fairly cool summers.The smooth coastline forms four capes: Akrotiri, Malathria or Megalo Akrotiri, Angistro and Kipo.Samothrace especially important historically because of the Cabeirian mysteries held in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. Today, near Paleopoli, where the famous Victory of Samothrace (Louvre) was found, one can see the ruins of the Sanctuary, the Tholos of Arsinoe, the Arcade, the Temenos, the Palace and the Theatre.Samothraki or Hora is the capital of the island. It is a charming inland village in the traditional style.Small picturesque villages, abundant physical beauty, forests coupled with mediterranean vegetation and running water, and the virgin shores, compose a specially impressive landscape that is the 'refuge' of many nature lovers. 

Saronic Gulf Islands

A group of small islands that lie in the Saronic Gulf, to the south of Attica.Aegina (Egina), famous for its pottery, is covered with pistachio trees. Its beautiful green villages are surrounded by pine forest. Aegina is also the home to one of antiquity's most famous temples, Aphaia.Salamina, is much closer to the mainland and is also the largest island in the group. It has beaches, the ruins of an acropolis, and the Phaneromeni monastery notable for its frescoes. Poros, with its immaculate beaches sliding out of the pine forests and the picturesque Zoodohou Pigis monastery is well worth a visit.Hydra (Idra) is next in line. The island is famous for its maritime tradition. Hora is picturesque and beautiful, with high and colourful sea captains mansions lining the waterfront while a stark grey hill rises in the background. Between the mansions are narrow streets with tavernas and shops, where people visit when they reach the small port of this charming island.Spetses also famed for its maritime tradition, is furthest from Athens. Charming horse-drawn carriages are the form of travel, as cars are not allowed on the cobbled streets. Bougainvillaea flow over the white washed garden walls that enclose the pebbled yards of the mansions. Antique cannons decoratively guard the scenic harbour and the dozens of shops and cafes that line the shore. Arresting green beaches on the back of the island can be reached by caique. 

Sterea Ellada

Sterea Ellada (Central Greece) is the central region of Greece, and one of the most mountainous. The climate is dry in the interior and temperate along the coasts. The slopes are forested with pine, beech and poplar trees. Running water and calm lakes interchange with uncounted coves and beaches. Hidden shores and picturesque islets bejewel the south-western coasts. The varied landscapes of the region remain beautiful no matter the season.Between the gulfs of Euboea and Corinth is the first district Boeotia, with picturesque villages, beautiful beaches, mountains and lots of life. The capital Livadia, built amphitheatrically up the foothills of Mt. Helikon, was famous in antiquity for the oracle of Trophonios Zeus and the two Springs of Forgetfulness (Lethe) and Memory (Mnemosyne), to the north of the town.Heronia is a village with significant archaeological interest, with the famous statue of the Lion of Heronia. Green Orhomenos, and Plates, famous as the site where the Greeks won a fabulous victory against the Persians, Lefktra, Tanagra and Ancient Avlida, as well as the wonderful beaches of Distomo at Antikira, Agios Isidoros, Vatis Avlidas, Pharos and Sarantis.Arahova is a mountain town hanging on to the Parnassos slopes, with an intensely traditional flavour. Picturesque houses and the Byzantine monastery of Ossios Loukas lie to the east of it. Thiva is a modern town built on a fertile plain, with archaeological significance (ancient Thebes) and Byzantine churches.Imposing mountains, beautiful deserted beaches or cosmopolitan resorts and mountain villages swamped by plane and oak trees are to be found in the district of Fthiotida. Lamia, the commercially busy district capital, is built on the pine wooded south-western slopes of Mt. Othrys, close to the river Sperhios. To the south-east of Lamia is Thermopiles known since antiquity for its spas and the last stand of three hundred Spartans.Further south is Kamena Vourla, among the most popular spas, and the seaside towns of Agios Konstantinos and Arkitsa. There are lovely sandy beaches at Livanates.Atalanti is a commercial and agricultural centre. To the west of it are the wooded areas Elatia, Tithorea and Amphiklia which are of archaeological interest.Ipati is built on the slopes of Mt. Itis, among the plane, cypress and oak trees of the Ipati National Forest. One of Greece's most important spas, the Loutra Ipatis is located here as is the Agathonos monastery. Lost among the trees, the villages of Mt. Iti, shelter from the summer heat. Makrakomi, in the Sperhios valley is today a transport hub and a commercial centre.There are also spas at Platistomo, west of Lamia, while to the north, Domokos calmly gazes upon the plain of Thessaly before the road leads to Stilida, to Karavomilos and to the coast of Pelasgia and Glifa.Fokida is coloured by the silver-green of olive groves and the gold of tiny beaches. The picturesque capital Amfissa is built among peaks and crowned by the Frankish castle, itself surrounded by olive trees.The famous oracle of Apollo is at Delphi, perched on the sides of Mt. Parnassos.Closer to the coast, just before Itea, is the picturesque little village of Hrisso, full of plane trees and babbling brooks. Seaside Itea has beaches that are perfect for swimming. Further on is scenic Galaxidi, the traditional Rumeliot port, in other times a famous maritime and ship building centre. To the west is Eratini, Agios Nikolaos, Spilia and Glifada. Opposite are the islets of Trizonia, Agios Ioanis and Prassoudi.The spectacular countryside of Evritania enchants anyone who approaches it. The healthy climate, the forested slopes and the countless streams give the impression of heaven on earth.Karpenissi, the district capital is built on the foothills of Mt. Timfristos, at an altitude of 960 metres. Among the plane, fir and chestnut trees, Karpenissi is ideal for winter vacations as well as for the summer, when it can be a spring board for excursions to nearby places, such as Gorgianades, Kefalovrisso, and the traditional village Korischades, whose stone houses are still in excellent repair. A small fir tree forest and garden with apple, cherry and pear trees in Mikro Horio. On the slope of Kaliadouda, opposite Helidona, is Megalo Horio. Proussos is at an altitude of 800 metres and east of Karpenissi is Krikelo close to Kokalia, a historic location among the fir trees just before Domnitsa, itself a village of many chapels in enchanting surroundings. West of Karpenissi are Fragista, Granitsa and Agrafa, lovely mountain villages which in winter are cloaked under a thick blanket of snow.Etolaokarnania is the last district of Sterea Ellada. The capital Messolongi played an important part in modern Greek history when fighters in the besieged city broke out of it during the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830). To the east is the third large city of the district,. Nafpaktos, which charms visitors with its beautiful Venetian castle and old port.The road from here moves into mountainous Nafpaktia, which boasts Greece's largest fir tree forest and plenty of tiny villages lost in the woods at altitudes from 700 to 1,000 metres. The little island of Etoliko is joined to the mainland by a multi-arched stone bridge. Agrinio is to the north of Messolongi; it is an important production centre with good tourism infrastructure. The picturesque town of Astakos, amphitheatrically built around the gulf of the same name, is a splendid resort. White sand graces the endless beaches at Agios Giorgis, at Asprogiali, and at Vela, all perfect for quiet and peaceful holidays.The coastal road leads to Mitikas and from there opposite to the islets of Kalamos and Kastos. Further north is Aktio with its Venetian castle, seaside Vonitsa and Amfilohia, amphitheatrically situated on the slopes of two hills looking towards Arta. 

The North East Aegean Islands

Five large islands scattered about the north-eastern Aegean are Europe's sea border with the East. Five large islands and dozens of smaller ones, precious jewels woven into the deep blue silk of the Aegean, are a valuable inheritance with a long and rich history.Built on the ruins of the ancient city of the same name, Mirina, the capital of Limnos with the delightful houses of the sea captains with their wooden balconies, with pebbled streets and kind people. Picturesque villages dot the island. Nea Koutali is an enchanting pine-forested area with wonderful water. Moudros, the island's second major town, has pretty houses and nice beaches. Poliohni has ruins dating from Neolithic times and a few remnants from a Bronze Age settlement.Between Limnos, Lesvos and Siros is a virgin island with only one village and great beaches, Agios Efstratios.The third largest Greek island is Lesvos. Olive groves that go on forever, thick pine forests, sandy beaches, monasteries, pretty traditional houses and old mansions. The truly ancient history of the island is visible everywhere on Lesvos. Starting out from the capital, Mitilini, which is built on top of the ruins of the old town, one begins to get acquainted with the unending beauties of the island. Northeast of town is the Roman Aqueduct, further north Pirgi Thermis with traditional old houses, and the Loutra Termon. Scenic seaside villages with wonderful beaches, like Plomari, known for its ouzo, are everywhere. The mountain village of Agiassos on the foothills of Mt. Olympus has charming houses and little streets. Sandy beaches at Vatera, Kaloni, Mithimna and famous Molivos; a picturesque place with special colour, a long tradition in folk art, intense night life in the summer, it is a meeting point for artists. A Byzantine castle looks down on the village and the beaches of Eftalous to the north and Petra to the south. The sights are impressive from the fossil forest at Sigri to the antiquities at Eressos. Multi-coloured houses, fishing boats and nets spread out in the old harbour. Modern houses and busy shops in the new harbour, opposite the castle. Large old stone houses decorate the plain with the lush gardens and orange groves. Charming little fishing villages such as Vrontados, Pantoukios and Lagadas. Good beaches at Kardamila. Alpine scenery with rare beauty at Volissos, such as the Venetian fort and the historic monastery of Agios Georgios. Enchanting scenery just before Nea Moni. Villages unchanged since the middle ages at Anavao and Mesta. Pottery workshops at Armolia and painting compositions at Pirgi.Take a caique to Psara with pretty pebble beaches and sandy shores the small but historic island.A rocky island with fine sandy beaches and only one village, with a strong Cycladic flavour, Inousses, lies to the east of Chios.Samos, the easternmost island of the Aegean, is within swimming distance of Asia Minor. Images of the island are framed by bunches of Samian grapes, vine leaves and vine yards. The capital, Samos, is built like an amphitheatre at the end of a deep bay next to the harbour of Vathi. Plane trees, springs, and neo-classical buildings coexist harmoniously with modern elements at Karlovassi. Gorgeous beaches at Kokari, pebbled ones at Potami, busy ones at Tsamandou and the best one on the island at Hrissi. Fishing villages with sandy beaches, mountain villages with picturesque alleyways and houses in the charming local style. There are many monasteries on Samos, such as Megali Panayia, Agia Zoni, Vronta, Panagia Spiliani, Zoodohou Pigi. Finally, to the south is the Pithagorio or Tigani with the ruins of the ancient acropolis and Evoalineio aqueduct. Further south still is the Heraio, dedicated to the worship of Hera.Southwest of Samos is Ikaria, which boasts an incredible range of scenery. Steep jagged rocks to the south and a calm and serene landscape to the north where one encounters fabulous beaches. The island's capital, Agios Kirikos, is decorated with several old two-storey captains houses. The radioactive springs at Therma have been used as a spa since antiquity. At Karavostamo, on the north coast, the white washed houses peek through the vegetation reaching almost to the water's edge. The small, pretty harbour of Evdilos is next to some fine beaches with charming tavernas. A dense pine forest is host to several streams that flow onto a spectacular beach at Armenistis. Many villages are scattered amid the verdant countryside. To the north, Fanari is of special archaeological interest and a place of great natural beauty. 

Thessaly

Thessaly (Thessalia) is geographically the central section of mainland Greece. It is surrounded by high mountain ranges encircling a low plain. It borders Macedonia to the north, Sterea Ellada to the south, Epirus to the west, and its eastern shoreline is on the Aegean. It has a higher percentage of flatland than any other district in Greece.The climate is continental; the winters are cold and the summers hot and the temperature differential between the two seasons are large. One of the characteristics of the climate of the plain of Thessaly is the frequent summer rainstorms. These frequent rains amplify the fertility of the plain, often called the "breadbasket of Greece".The entire plain is surrounded by the mountains of Pindus, Othrys, Ossa and Agrafa; among them flows the Pinios river which drains into the Aegean, after passing through the Thessalic Tempi. The district was the home of the ancient gods and of the Centaurs.Here, in this place, among the woods, the gorges, and the picturesque villages, Meteora reaches for the sky. Twenty four Byzantine monasteries have been clinging to the tops of the tall grey rock shafts for over six hundred years, challenging and inviting pilgrims from all over Greece to this centre of Christianity.Larissa is the capital of Thessaly: Old mansions with yards and gardens in bloom in the middle of the plain of Thessaly. Amid the proud mountains and traditional villages, the visitor will find spas, churches and antiquities.Karditsa, the capital of the district of Karditsa is built on the banks of a tributary of the Pinios river. A modern town with well laid out streets, it is at the same time especially picturesque with its traditional villages scattered on the peaks of the Agrafa mountain range. Spas at Smokovo and Kaista as well as many antiquities and Byzantine monuments.Built on the site of Homeric Trikki, Trikala today is crossed by the river Litheos. The ruins of the most ancient sanctuary of Asclepius are here.Kalambaka, famed for its Byzantine churches, is built where the river Pinios leaves the Pindus mountains, at the foothills of Meteora. Nearby the Pagasitic Gulf embraces Pelion, the mythological land of the Centaurs: imposing and verdant, rough and scenic, wild and accessible. With beech covered peaks, streams running down the slopes, villages rooted among the chestnut and olive trees, Pelion is a wonder.Makrinitsa, Portaria, Milies, Vizitsa, Tsagarada, Zagora: all villages with magnificent large old stone houses with wall decorations and slate roofs. Beautiful resorts dot the seaside.Volos, the capital and economic centre of the district, is located in the Pagasitic Gulf. Its verdant surroundings are alive with ancient memories; Iolkos (the hide out of Jason and the Argonauts), Dimtrias. To the west are the Neolithic settlements of Seklo and Diminio. Splendid blue waters lap at beautiful beaches and local specialities complete the region's portrait. 

Thrace

Thrace (Thraki) occupies the north-eastern corner of Greece. It borders Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the east and has southern shores on the Thracian sea.Thrace is today considered a place where East meets West in perfect harmony, as it is the connecting link between Asia and Europe. It is a special place with a very rich history, and it has been relatively untouched by the tourism explosion.Neolithic finds, antiquities dating from the Hellenistic era and Roman and Byzantine monuments can be found everywhere in Thrace. To the north it meets the Rodopi mountain range, whose foothills become fertile plains to the south.The climate ranges from continental to mediterranean with lots of rain and snow. Vast plains, such as those of Xanthi and Komotini, fertile valleys, such as the Evros Valley, great rivers, rich vegetation and large forests mark the region. The lakes and wetlands of Thrace are among the most important in Europe with perhaps more than three hundred protected species of birds. More than 200,000 wild water birds over winter here. The flora has drawn the attention of ecologists.Entering Thrace from Kavala, the visitor encounters scenic Xanthi, the capital of the same name. It is built on the location of ancient Xantheia and is justly proud of the many old houses and mansions which are prime examples of local architecture. A Byzantine castle dominates its surroundings from the top of a nearby hill to the north of town. Picturesque monasteries lurk among the pine-wooded hills.Porto Lagos, an attractive fishing village is nearby, as are Avdira, Mesimvria and Maronia. Further to the north-east, is scenic Komotini, capital of the district of Rodopi. The forts of the area, which date from pre-Christian times to the Byzantine era, are of special interest. Finds from all of the archaeological sites in Thrace are displayed in the Komotini Museum.Alexandroupoli, the capital of the district of Evros is a seaside town well known for its fine sandy beaches. A pretty town with well laid out streets and neo-classical buildings. To the north-east of Alexandroupoli is Feres with its especially important Byzantine cathedral of Theotokos tis Kosmosotiras. Along the Greco-Turkish border to the north is Soufli, famous for its silk production and even further north are Didimotiho and Orestiada. The first is a splendid Byzantine city and second is a small town built in a fertile area.A journey will take you through planted fields flanked by wooded mountains and the deep blue sea. Other routes pass through cities, villages and landscapes possessing a rare Greek beauty. The same roads lead the visitor through nature, history and tradition to the eastern most point of Greece, wonderful Thrace. 
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