How-to: island hopping in Greece

island hopping

Greece’s roughly 3,000 islands and islets are scattered far and wide across the eastern Mediterranean. Most are in the Aegean Sea (south and east of mainland Greece), while fewer but even prettier are in the Ionian Sea (west of the mainland).

The Greek islands are divided into distinct clusters:

1.The Ionian Islands, traditionally called the Heptanese (i.e. the seven islands) closer to Albania and Italy than to Athens, are Greece’s northwest gateway to the Adriatic and the rest of Europe. They’ve had more foreign invaders and rulers (from Venice, France, Britain, Russia, Austria, and so on) than anywhere else in the country. These are Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaca, Cephalonia, Zante & Kythira.

  1. The Saronic Gulf Islands (Argosaronikos), conveniently wedged between the Peloponnese and Athens, ooze lots of island charm and give you a chance to get away from it all without actually going very far. They are Aegina, Agkistri, Spetses, Hydra, Salamina, Poros & Metahana.

3.The Sporades Islands, due east of Athens, are dominated by the giant Evia island, which is attached to the mainland by a bridge. Thickly forested and less touristed by international visitors, the Sporades are a popular and handy weekend getaway for Athenians.

The Sporades islands fall into 5 different Sporades groups, which are:

  • Thessalian Sporades: Skopelos, Alonissos, Skiathos, Kyra Panagia, Peristera, Gioura, Skantzoura, Piperi and Tsougria
  • Thracian Sporades: Thasos, Samothrace, Imbros, Lemnos and Agios Efstratios
  • Western Sporades: Salamis, Aigina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses, and the other islands of the Saronic Gulf and the Myrtoan Sea
  • Eastern Sporades: Samos, Ikaria, Lesbos, Chios, Tenedos, Psara, Oinousses and other smaller island groups
  • Southern Sporades (They correspond to the Dodecanese plus a few northern islands – especially Samos and Ikaria -; also included are the islands of Chios and Lesbos.)

 

  1. The Cyclades  — a bit farther south, between Athens and Crete — are the prototypical “Greek islands,” boasting chalk-white houses with colourful windowsills and doorways; rocky, sun-parched landscapes; delightful beaches; old-fashioned white windmills topped with tufts of grass like unkempt hair; and an almost overwhelming crush of international visitors. The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, the major ones are Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, and Thira or Santoríni. There are also many minor islands including Donousa, Eschati, Gyaros, Irakleia, Koufonisia, Makronisos and Schoinousa.
  2. The Dodecanese Islands, literally 12 islands, at the sunny, southeastern end of the Greek lands, are more rustic and less developed than the Cyclades. Their proximity to Turkey and historic ties to Venice give them a hybrid Turkish-Venetian flavour and they are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands, of which 26 are inhabited. Τhis island group generally defines the eastern limit of the Sea of Crete. They belong to the wider Southern Sporades island group.

The most well-known is Rhodes, which has been the area’s dominant island since Antiquity. Some of the others are Kos, Patmos, Agathonisi, Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Leipsoi, Leros, Nisyros, Symi, Tilos, and Kastellorizo. Other islands in the chain include Alimia, Arkoi, Chalki, Farmakonisi, Gyali, Kinaros, Levitha, Marathos, Nimos, Pserimos, Saria, Strongyli, Syrna and Telendos.

  1. The North Aegean Islands lie roughly between Turkey and Thessaloniki (at the northern end of mainland Greece). The southernmost of these, Samos, is a particularly handy springboard for Turkey, as it’s very close to the Turkish port city of Kuşadası (near the remarkable ancient Greek site of Ephesus).

7. Crete is Greece’s biggest island and practically a mini state of its own (in fact, from 1897 to 1913 it was an autonomous state within the Ottoman Empire). While many of Greece’s smaller islands merit a day or two of fun in the sun, Crete could occupy even a busy traveler for a week or more.

So now you don’t need to get the same old  Athens – Santorini – Mykonos’  group trip but rather you can plan your own island hopping  to  Greek islands according to what you really want to do in your holidays by simply search & book  a flight at Skyscanner below that perfectly suits your needs (days, times, arrive and departure airport etc.)

 

If, for instance, you want to explore the Sporades islands, you should look for a flight to Thessaloniki airport but if you want to visit the Ionian islands, it is better to look for a flight to Aktion (i.e.  the airport serving Preveza and Lefkada in Greece. It is also known as Lefkada Airport).

Bear in mind that, if you arrive to Aktion and your first island is Lefkada, you don’t need to book a ferry ticket as Lefkada is the only island in the country that is connected to the mainland with a bridge.

You can then search for your ferries tickets here


and book your accommodation in any of these islands here below

 

 

Do not forget to comment which  Greek islands will you visit this year..!!

 

 

How to: holidays on a sailing boat

 

Are you interested in what’s like inside of a sailing boat?

The Greek Islands have long been an alluring destination and ticketseller.gr offers the perfect way to appreciate their natural charm and beauty. Drop anchor by a deserted beach in the Dodecanese; wander through the Cyclades’ whitewashed villages; immerse yourself in Ionian culture, dive over shipwrecks in the Sporades; climb Mount Olympus in the Aegean and marvel at magical Crete because the holidays on a sailing boat are freedom and help you fully re-charge your batteries even if it is just for few days.

A sailing boat is perfect holiday for those who want to visit more than one places and don’t want to spend a fortune and ticketseller.gr include everything at the final price, from the cost of 1 or 2 skipper to the cost of gas and water for all the days that you will rent the sailing boat and, if you cook on the boat instead of eating out in a marine, it would save you more money.

Ticketseller.gr has currently two service providers on sailing boats and if you choose incrediblue.com you can search for a boat according to which islands you want to explore. However, if you choose the second provider, vyra.com, you can find more boats across the whole Mediterranean sea!

It is a life experience to sleep in a sailing boat in a bay than in a hotel.

In a bay, you can stay up as late as you want and have fun without disturbing other people next to your boat and no one will disturb your sleep with their voices and their music. You can wake up and immediately dive in the sea and spent the whole day by diving in more than one beaches or caves, most of them isolated.

 

Let’s see now what stuff you need to have with you on a sailing boat. To start with, make-up, hair dryers, hair strengtheners, and high heels are not acceptable in a sailing boat (the last because most of the time there you will be barefoot). So, you only need 1 pair of shoes (preferably sneakers or flat espadrilles) and flip-flops  – I personally could live on flip-flops only –

Moving on to clothes, you only need as many bikinis and swimsuits as you want ; they don’t take up space  and you are going to need them all. In addition, you will need shorts, tops, dresses and a wind cheater or denim jacket and that’s all (most of the day you are going to be with your bikini).

The only thing you need in excess is towels. You will need one beach towel per day and 1 bath towel.

As for cosmetics and make-up, you will only need your suncream lotion for face and body (do not pack a suntanning oil for holidays on a sailing boat; they are useless because you only need protection and suntanning oils can be very dangerous in a sailing boat as they are quite slippery), a shampoo and a shower gel – I prefer the Johnson’s baby head to toe wash because it is the best 2 in1 shampoo in the market, smells incredible and it doesn’t take up space in your cosmetic bags if you get the travel size – However, if you can’t live without make-up, you can take bronzer, mascara, blush and lipstick with you.

You will also need razors but you don’t need shaving cream for legs, just shave your legs with sea salt water and you will be amazed how soft they are, and of course travel size toothbrush, toothpaste, a face wash gel and a hydrating face cream.

Last but not least, you will need hat and sunglasses, phone and power bank, camera or even better an action camera that can shoot underwater and anything that will keep you entertained e.g books and crosswords or even a table game such as monopoly.

My last tip for staying safe on the boat:

Be aware of all time and respect the boom (some of the most common sailing injuries are a result of not being aware when the boom is about to swing) and of course always listen to your skipper (he/she is there to give you a safe lifetime experience).

Sail away my friends, have fun and let me know on the comments  where will you choose to spend your holidays this summer.

Please subscribe to my site for future posts and tips, like and comment on my Facebook page and follow me on my other social media.

 

Easter break in Corfu

easter in corfu

*Disclosure: Elena’s travels blogs receives compensation from affiliate links to generate income to offset costs mainly for travel expenses.

Hello my fellow travellers

Have you already planned or booked your easter break?

Greece is a beautiful country all year long and easter is the biggest celebration for the Orthodox church. More especially, easter in Corfu is even greater, more spectacular and more impressive, with rituals that are found nowhere else in the world.

Palm Sunday

Easter preparations  begin from Palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday practically opens the Hole Week. It commemorates the Jesu’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem where, according to the gospel truth, the residents of the city welcomed Him holding branches of palm trees, laying their clothes on the ground and applauding him by saying Hosanna; blessed the one who came in the name of the Lord.

In the churches of Greece, priests offer palm leaves to the pilgrims.

The procession with the relics of the patron saint of Corfu, Agios Spiridon, gathers the pilgrims in a spectacular ceremony, with the participation of any Band of the island.

Holy Thursday

Red eggs are dyed in every Greek house and the Twelve Gospels are read. The red eggs symbolise the fertility and the powers of creation. Others claim that they stand as a symbol of the resurrection of the whole world, in other words, the regeneration of nature. Some people believe that easter eggs  are dyed red to symbolise the commemoration of Jesus’ shed blood during his crucifixion. For others, the red colour stands for joy and happiness caused to humanity after the joyful event of resurrection but most importantly red eggs acts as a deterrent to evil powers.

Good Friday

The Epitaphs of the island visit every neighbourhood and cross under the mournful sounds of the Philharmonic Bands.

Epitaph and litany of St. Spiridon is established as a tribute to the miracle of St. Spiridon in 1553, where in a period of great famine ships with wheat approached the island at time procession of the Epitaph of St. Spiridon. The story goes that the sailors dreamed of a monk who led them to Corfu in order to protect them from the weather and to sell their products. Philharmonic bands are participating to the litany.

Great Saturday

The locals revive the custom of artificial earthquake, symbolising the resurrection of Christ. Shortly after, the procession of the Epitaph of Saint Spiridon is held and then everyone expects the First Resurrection.

When the church’s bells start ringing vigorously on the island, it’s time for the first resurrection and people buy clay pots and drop them from their balconies, filled with water. In this way, they cast out evil spirits and participate in probably the most famous Easter customs in Greece.

This habit possible bears the influence of the Venetians who would throw old objects out of their window on New Years Day, so the New Year would bring them health, luck, happiness and prosperity. Another, most likely, explanation is that the custom is of pagan origins. By smashing things and making loud noises the Ancient Greeks wanted to wake up Persephone, the goddess of spring , and accelerate the coming of Spring .

At midnight, the Resurrection is celebrated, with the bells ringing loudly at midnight and making the miracle of Christianity known in every corner of the world, anywhere  there is a Greek orthodox church and people get the Holy light on white candles.  Later they return home and gather round the table to celebrate the resurrection by eating local delicacies such as red eggs and the so-called magiritsa.

Easter Sunday

The roasted lamb, slowly cooking on the spit on Easter Sunday, is not only a mouth-watering delicacy but it also carries rich symbolism.

The origin of eating lamb on Easter comes from the Jewish Passover and is associated with the exodus from Egypt.

Before the Jews set out on the great exodus, God, through Moses, told them to gather in small groups and each family to sacrifice a lamb. With the animal’s blood they were to paint their doorposts so they were not exterminated by the angel of God, who on that night would bring pestilence to the firstborn of each family who would not mark the entrance to their house with the lamb’s blood.

That night, each family offered as a sacrifice to God a lamb for the salvation of all people. They ate the lamb, without breaking its bones, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. With the lamb’s blood, they stained their doors.

Later, Christians adopted the sacrificial lamb as John the Baptist likened Jesus Christ to the lamb of God who will take the brunt of the sins of the world with his sacrifice.

In most parts of Greece, on Easter Sunday the faithful roast a lamb on the spit along with the intestines.

On Easter Sunday and 40 days on, Orthodox Christians greet each other saying, “Christ is Risen” and answer, “Truly He is risen.”

 

A way to visit Corfu and live unique experiences is by clicking here.

I am waiting for your easter experiences on my Facebook page.

With lots of love,

Elena

 


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Best Places To Look For A Booking Accommodation

accommodation

*Disclosure: Elena’s travels blogs receives compensation from affiliate links to generate income to offset costs mainly for travel expenses.

When I am looking for an accommodation, I always consider a few factors to take into account as a frequent traveler. As most people, I don’t want to spend a fortune on travel accommodation. Moreover, I love when I earn more savings by enrolling in a rewards program.
The following booking sites listed here are all very different, but each can help you find low prices at accommodation around the world.
  1.  HotelWiz Hotels. 

It allows you to search for hotels by map, by stars, by brand. It is a very easy process.

You can also read reviews and star ratings on accommodation for your trip, plan and purchase a great room in the perfect hotel for your taste and budget! Business travellers, family travellers, tourists, and local travellers alike use this site to book the perfect hotel at the best price.

2. Park Sleep Fly
ParkSleepFly exceeds expectations with features like free cancellation and excellent customer support. They offer cruise port parking packages and hotel-only reservations as well.

With hundreds of top hotels near major and regional airports across the United States, Canada, and Europe, ParkSleepFly is the leader in online hotel and parking packages.

3.HomeAway 
HomeAway.co.uk is part of the HomeAway family, the world’s most  trusted source for holiday homes and the world’s #1 choice for holiday homes.

They connect property owners and managers with holidaymakers looking for the perfect accommodation to share their dream holidays together with families and friends.

The beautiful homes on site feature more space, privacy, and amenities than hotels, often for less than half the cost per person.

 4.Ticketseller.gr

The last but not least booking site is quite new but it’s very different from any other booking site out there. It provides you with more than one search engines on hotels and accommodation so you can get  more results on accommodation search. It might be a Greek site but it is also translated in english and it provides you with a global search! You can also find a lot of interesting posts for your travels

I’d love to hear on the comment section below where do you usually search and book your accommodation.

With lots of love,

Elena


Travel hacks for a secure internet connection

*Disclosure: Elena’s travels blogs receives compensation from affiliate links to generate income to offset costs mainly for travel expenses.

When you travel a lot there is a great fear of  paying too much on international roaming charges on your smart phone and it can be quite tempting to connect to a hot spot. However the paid, password-protected networks put us at risk including those found at cafés, airports, and even hotels.

Below there is a friendly guide on how to safely use wi-fi on the go.

1.Set up your phone’s security

Switch off the wireless connection when you’re not using it.

2. Use long and strong passwords

Make your passwords difficult to hack and unique, so if one is stolen it can’t be used to unlock other accounts.

3. Use a secure Internet connection VPN

A  virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a  secure private network from public Internet connection.

Think about all the times you’ve been on the go, reading emails while in line at the coffee shop, or checking your bank account while waiting at the doctor’s office. Unless you were logged into a private Wi-Fi network that required a password, any data transmitted during your online session was likely vulnerable to eavesdropping by strangers using the same network. The encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides protects all of your online activities: sending emails, shopping online or paying bills. VPNs also helps keep your Web browsing anonymous.

One of the best VPN service providers is the new Norton Wi-Fi privacy service; it will route all your traffic through a private connection and you can pay bills and check your email using public Wi-Fi without worrying about hackers and identity thieves stealing your private data.

With Norton WiFi Privacy, all of your most sensitive data that you send and receive from your device like passwords and credit card numbers is encrypted and converted into an unreadable, untraceable form until it reaches its destination.

With a $10 off 1 Year Subscription Norton WiFi Privacy Protection. MSRP $49.99 you can turn any public hotspot into a secure virtual private network (VPN). With passwords and other confidential data encrypted and your location shielded from view, even advertisers can’t track you.

Get Norton WiFi Privacy to use your laptop, macbook, smartphone or tablet to go online in public, privately to protect the data you send and receive when using public Wi-Fi, add bank-grade encryption to protect you on public Wi-Fi hotspots, let you browse the Web anonymously so your privacy is protected, allow access to your favourite apps and content anywhere you go, as if you were at home, encrypt your data on a no-log virtual private network that doesn’t track or store your activity.

4. Buy a data plan before your departure.

 

 

 

 

Symantec Corp.

Lost in translation

learning languages

*Disclosure: Elena’s travels blogs receives compensation from affiliate links to generate income to offset costs mainly for travel expenses.

 

Hello friends,

Hola mis amigos,

Ciao amici miei,

你好,我的朋友們  (Nǐ hǎo, wǒ de péngyǒumen),

Γειά σας φίλοι μου,

A fact about me is that I love learning languages because when you learn a new language you learn a new culture and can make friends around the world.

By speaking several languages you can also travel solo. Even if you travel to a place where you don’t know its main language, you won’t get lost or be hungry because of your language skills.

Moreover, learning a new language can add more value on your resume and skills as it improves your ability to multi-task, your communication and decision-making skills are getting better which results to a step closer to your dream job.

Plus, learning a new language can benefit your brain as it improves your memory and hence it can delay onset of dementia.

The reason why I share this with you is that recently I started  learning Chinese at home by getting the Pimsleur language programs and I am quite excited about that because I always wanted to learn Chinese but I couldn’t find someone to teach me the language as most of the time  I am always on the go.

So, if you want to Learn a new language with the Scientifically-Proven Pimsleur Method – Only 30 Minutes per Day – Completely Portable – Trusted by FBI.  you can Click just right here!

Last but not least, I am quite interested to know  what languages you are already speaking and what languages you want to learn.

 

Pimsleur Language Programs
With love,

Elena