All posts by Lambrini Zambeli

Visit Messinia this summer.

Enjoy  the unique beauty of  southern Peloponnese.

                              Visit Messinia

Welcome  stranger in the place where the antiquity and history, complemented by its natural beauty. Admire its beauties, knotting and linking its glorious past. It is worthwhile to wander around the prefecture, is worth the trouble to climb Taygetus worth the trouble to visit Mani, place of rocks, stone, sea and gorges.

Fertile plains and imposing mountains, beaches and pebbled coves, villages and Byzantine churches matched harmoniously in a place that satisfies the expectation for an unforgettable vacation.

Kalamata – capital and main port of Messinia, founded probably in place of the Homeric city of Farai. The shadow of Taygetos, the vast groves touch the shore and an endless beach. After liberation from the Turks, thanks to the products of the fertile Messinian land (oil, raisins, figs, etc.), became a rich urban center and important port. It is located 238 km. West of Athens.

Walking in the city

The legendary ‘Castle Isabeau “that animates every summer thanks to the prestigious International Dance Festival. The Castle in the panoramic view is built on the site of the citadel of Faron. Constructed in the 13th century. by William Villehardouin and underwent subsequent additions and alterations by the Venetians and Turks. At the foot of the castle lies the church of Ag. Ioannou dating back to the post-Byzantine times.
The Old City, a favorite meeting place for young people, here is gathered a large part of the nightlife. Visit the Cathedral of the Visitation (1873), patron church of Kalamata, the monastery of nuns (12th c.) With its famous silk workshop and the Byzantine church of the Holy Apostles (13th c.), With the cloisonné masonry. This church received special historical value as in this place was celebrated the first thanksgiving of liberated Kalamata on March 23, 1821.You may visit also:

The Town Hall, the Gallery of Contemporary Greek Art, with paintings, sculptures and engravings, the Benaki Museum with finds dating from the Bronze Age to Roman times, the Folk and Historical Museum with traditional items, local costumes and relics from Greek Revolution of 1821, the municipal theater and the Railway Park where exposed old locomotives and railway wagons.

Meeting place  for  the residents and visitors  is the spacious central King George Square. From here starts the pedestrian part of the main road Aristomenous where there are many shops and cafes. West of the square, the district developed around the picturesque train station with pedestrian network, small cafe-bars and taverns.
One of the gifts of Kalamata, is the huge beach 4km quiet, clean waters that  offer each year the blue flag. The seafront stretches along the boulevard Navarino and is one of the most beautiful places in the city to walk, bike ride, and of course a cool dip.

A picturesque  village of Messiniaki Mani is Kardamyli, where there are the ruins of the Homeric Acropolis and the fortress complex of Mourtzinos and the tombs of Dioskouroi. Kardamyli  is a spectacularly beautiful seaside village located in the Mani, a stunning region in the southern Peloponnese coast of Greece defined by travel connoisseurs as the New Côte d’Azur. The scene impressively theatrical, full of crystallic blue waters, majestic cypress trees, wild olive groves, verdant rolling hills and distant snowcapped mountains, makes Kardamili one of the prettiest villages that overlook the calm seas and splendid sunsets of the Messinian Gulf. In 3 hours and 30 minutes drive from either Athens or the port of Patras and just 35 km from the nearby city of Kalamata, Kardamili remains one of the most well-hidden  secrets of south Mediterranean: an exclusive, small, intact shelter which boasts the impressive villas, charming stone houses, lush gardens, the picturesque harbor and fantastic beaches.

Kyparissia is a coastal town situated at the foot of Mount Cold. It is worthwhile to visit the Ancient City, the remains of ancient harbor work, the Pavilion Exhibition Game Hunting Association of the harbor and the Eagle village with lots of waters and lush vegetation.

Methoni is a beautiful coastal town. On the south side of the castle worth visiting is the Bourtzi. It is worthwhile to visit the Messinian Inousses consisting of Sapientza

Pylos or Navarino, is a beautiful historic town with bright colors. Inside the harbor is Helonaki, the monument of the Fallen Saints in the homonymous battle. Worth visiting Palaiokastro, the cave of Nestor, Niokastro, the lagoon of Gialova,  in  the area of ​​Voidokilia.

Stoupa is a seaside village, with extensive sandy beaches where you can visit the abandoned mine today Prestovas, Lefktro village and the village of Kastania.

Ancient Messene

is a significant ancient city in terms of its size, form, and state of preservation, and still has much to offer. It possesses not only sanctuaries and public buildings, but also imposing fortifications, and houses and tombs. It enjoys, amongst other things, the advantage of never having been destroyed or covered by later settlements, and is located on an unspoiled inland site. Its natural setting combines the grandeur of the mountains of Delphi with the low-lying, riverine tranquillity of Olympia, the dominating bare limestone mass of Ithome, the site of the ancient acropolis, with the low fertile valley around the ancient city.

Pylos  is located in the  South entrance of Navarino with Niokastro towering over her, unfolds before you  Agios Nikolaos in small “valley” between the hills. As you come from the north-west side of the city,worth to gaze for a few minutes the road. You see the whole, with the marina and the port, with the boats of fishermen and tourist boats of visitors who anchor in the calm waters. The picturesque setting completes with  houses with red tiles, the castle and opposite the Yalova with Divari, the Voidokilia, over Fig Tree and Palaiokastro.

Filiatra have modern residential look and mansions with courtyards and gardens. The Ancient City, Tower Wonderland and Christianoupolis are just some of the attractions, while the entrance of the village adorns the model of the Eiffel Tower, the Ch. Fournaraki.

The Foinikounta, fishing village has become a tourist resort and is famous for its wonderful sea of. Worth visiting Schiza islands and St. Mariano.

Its old facade with tile-roofed houses, narrow streets, retains the landlocked town of Trifylias country that is built in front of the homonymous valley and where you can visit the Mycenaean Palace  Englianos (Nestor).

Enjoy your summer holidays in the most picturesque and fabulous places in Messinia.


All you need to know about Crete before visiting it this summer!!

Crete is the largest and most popular island in Greece and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica. Its capital and largest city is Heraklion, which is home to the region of Crete, including neighboring islands and islets. With a population of 623,065 inhabitants, about 160 kilometers south of the Greek mainland and extending from the west to the east, it lies north of the Cretan Sea and south of the Libyan Sea. It plays a significant role in the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, preserving its own cultural elements.

Crete consists of four perfectures, equally popular with amazing natural beauty and friendly locals.

  • Perfecture of Chania

In the western part of Crete is the prefecture of Chania with its canyons, caves, lakes and beaches ornaments. Important archaeological sites compose the scene that impresses every Greek and foreign visitor.

Chania city  is the capital of the county with many neighborhoods with picturesque places … The modern city spread out around the old has good layout, open roads, beautiful squares and well-preserved neoclassical buildings.


Agia Marina is a crowded resort with remarkable hotel complexes. Agia Marina is located near the holiday villages Stalos and Kato Stalos.

On the shores of the Libyan Sea and a short distance from the exit of Samaria Gorge is Agia Roumeli and Akrotiri.

Picturesque seaside village with bright island colors are Kalives while Kolymbari is picturesque seaside village with taverns and a small harbor for boats and fishing. From there you can visit the Cape Spada. You can also visit the traditional village of Tavronitis near the mouth of the river. Maleme is also a beautiful coastal village with a remarkable tourist visited cemetery  and nearby lies the holiday village Pyrgos Psilonerou.

Falassarna has extensive sandy beach and turquoise waters, while Frangokastelo is a coastal settlement built near the famous Venetian castle.

Samaria Gorge

The Samaria Gorge is undoubtedly a place of great ecological importance so much in Crete and throughout Greece. Located in the southern part of Chania prefecture, between Omalos and Agia Roumeli. Gorge spans 48,500 acres and includes many rare species of flora and fauna including the Cretan goat, badgers and weasels. If someone wants to  cross the whole area takes about 3-4 hours of walking. The landscape is impressive and includes waterfalls, lakes and ravines, which will delight you.


Elafonisi is perhaps the most popular beach of Crete and is located in the southwestern part of Crete . You can visit it by boat from Paleochora or by car driving from Chania to the south. It is a paradise, with sand in shades of white and pink and turquoise waters. It is the most cosmopolitan beach of the county and is full of people every summer age.

  • Prefecture of Rethymno

Between the White Mountains and Psiloritis raises the prefecture of Rethymno.

Its capital is the city of Rethymno. The Old Town is built around the impressive castle Fortezza and the heart of the old town is the picturesque Venetian harbor. The modern city embraces the old and stretches along the beach.

The Venetian harbor and the lighthouse, the modern marina, the Fortezza, the Great Gate, the Loggia, the Rimondi Fountain, the churches of St. Francis, the Lady of the Angels, St. Anthony, the Mosques, the Ottoman Baths, the Gorge mills are just some of the attractions that can Rethymno the visitor to admire in this amazing city.

Busy resort is Agia Galini from the port where daily excursion boats make trips to St. George, St. Paul, the Preveli lake and Nuts islands.

The wonders of nature will take your breath away:

Preveli lagoon: at the point where the Great River (Kourtaliotis) flows into the Libyan Sea and Kourtaliotiko gorge ends, is the unrivaled beauty Preveli lagoon and the Palm Beach. On the other hand, the “Festival of wine” welcomes wine lovers of good wine and fans of fine cuisine in a festival tradition, gastronomy, wine tasting and fun.

  • The prefecture of Heraklion

It is the richest region having the highest per capita income. The prefecture of Heraklion is located between two mountain ranges, the Ida to the west and the east Dikti. The valleys behind Heraklion produce some of the finest grapes used as either edible, either for the production of raisins. In these valleys, the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans excavated the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the ruins of a great civilization. The fertile plain of Messara is cultivated for thousands of years. There are important Minoan, Greek and Roman archaeological sites, the largest of which is Phaistos, Agia Triada and Gortyna. In the south there is another low mountain range, the “Kofinas”, which separates the valley from the coast. The impressive peak of Psiloritis, 2,456 meters above sea level, is visible from almost all points of Heraklion.
Heraklion is the 4th largest city in Greece, and has the largest port in Crete, and  the largest airport. Heraklion Airport is also known as Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport, having taken the name after the most famous writer of Crete.


Palace of Phaistos

Phaistos, or more correctly the Minoan Palace of Phaistos, is located in south-central Crete, the Messara plain, 55 km south of Heraklion and a short distance from the archaeological site of Agia Triada, the archaeological site of Gortys and Matala . Phaistos is among the most important archaeological sites in Crete, and is visited by many thousands of visitors every year. The Minoan palace of Phaistos corresponds to a flourishing city, not accidentally, it arose in the fertile plain of Messara in prehistoric times,from 6000 BC approximately to the 1st BC century, as attested by archaeological finds..

Palace of Malia

East of the current Malia is the Minoan palace of Malia. It is the third largest palace of Minoan Crete and it is built in a privileged location, near the sea, on the road linking eastern and central Crete. The Palace of Malia in mythology served as the residence of Sarpedon, brother of Minos, and  was constructed in 1900 BC. The pre-existing significant settlement from which are preserved parts around the palace, thereby becoming a palatial center-city.

Hersonissos is 26 kilometers east of Heraklion on the highway. The seaside resort of Hersonissos is a lively town all year round.

  • The prefecture of Lasithi is the easternmost prefecture of Crete.

Three sides of Lassithi are surrounded by sea: the Mediterranean sea from the north, the east and the Carpathian Sea in the south. The prefecture has four provinces Mirabello, Lassithi, Ierapetra and Sitia. The major cities are Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetra and Sitia .

The Agios Nikolaos, or just Agios as the locals call it is the capital of the prefecture. its name derives from the Byzantine church located in the bay of Agios Nikolaos. Oldest known city names were Mandraki and Gialos. Agios Nikolaos is a very cosmopolitan city with intense tourist activity.

Ierapetra is the southernmost city of Greece and Europe. The city has many hotels, inns and taverns. Around the harbor there are many restaurants.

Sitia due to its geographical position is remote from the rest of Crete. It has developed a different character from the rest of the island. The tourist development is limited but still a large number of tourists visit it every year, mostly Greeks. Visitors to the county during the summer months will enjoy swimming in the clear and distinct beaches. Some of them are Agia Fotia, Myrtos, Vai, the Dome, Makrygialos, Koutsounari and many others.


Thessaloniki Weekend Breaks – Enjoy the capital of the North

Discovering Greece’s City Breaks in Thessaloniki

Greece isn’t a country well known for city breaks, especially not at the moment, with the current crisis and rumours of riots dominating the news headlines. While the islands have the market on summer holidays sewn up, mainland cities like Athens and Thessaloniki actually make perfect city breaks year round;

A couple of weeks ago, I headed out to Thessaloniki with Blogtrotters Greece a group of more than forty bloggers from across thirteen countries to find out more about the country as a city break destination.

Trigonion Tower

Thessaloniki may be ancient, with Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman ruins still standing between the ugly sixties and seventies buildings that dominate the centre, but this city is very much young at heart, with two of the country’s biggest universities and an 80,000+ strong community of students. Richly multicultural, academic, creative, and young, it’s easy to see why Thessaloniki was named European Youth Capital in 2014. Cobbled pedestrian sidestreets are lined with quirky independent boutiques heaving with vintage clothes or handmade jewellery, street art and graffiti tags burst out from the cream-coloured buildings, and there are bars and cafés everywhere.

Shoe Flowerpots

Partying by night and browsing artist’s studios and cute boutique stores by day, all the while making the most of an eclectically multicultural food scene with a heavy Ottoman influence; this really is an ideal spot for a city break. And Greece, as a whole, is significantly cheaper than usual – particularly if you patronise the locally-owned business that so need your support – so it’s the perfect time to make the most of this country’s surprising city break scene. And it’s not all about the parties; ancient Thessaloniki full of fascinating history. We headed out to the crumbling City Walls with a local guide to get the full lesson, one which starts in 315 BC when Thessaloniki was founded by King Cassander of Macedonia and named for his wife, and travels through the various layers of occupation which have all left their indelible mark on the Greece’s culture. In spite of the rain, catching the golden hues of approaching sunset  from the stunning Trigonion Tower in the North-Eastern corner of the walls was an incredible moment, while the views from the wind-swept White Tower on the seafront were spectacular.

White Tower

Not far from the White Tower – an Ottoman relic no longer painted white but remarkably well-restored – is another of Thessaloniki’s most iconic sites, the umbrella sculpture by Georgios Zongolopoulos. A bizarre, towering structure of grey metal umbrellas looking particularly apt against the gloomy sky on my second day in the city, these lend themselves fantastically to photographs, perhaps the reason behind their surprising success as a tourist attraction. The day had begun with a fantastic food tour from Thessaloniki Walking Tours, followed by a much-needed coffee at a café overlooking the impressive Roman forum. Sufficiently fuelled up by super strong iced Greek frappé and ignoring the obvious threat of rain, I struck out for an afternoon of dodging downpours in search of street art, and was rewarded with some great finds. My highlight was a metal fence that had been decked out with brightly painted trainers that had been converted into cute flowerpots; as quirky and bizarre as everything else I came across in the city.

Finally, the unseasonable rain vanished on the third day, and the June sun came out in full force to welcome our group to dazzling Halkidiki. This is the other thing that makes Thessaloniki an ideal city break; just a couple of hour’s drive away are some of the paradisiacal beaches Greece is known for. We headed to Kassandra, the first of three peninsulas known as Poseidon’s Trident, where – much like in neighbouring Thessaloniki – the party atmosphere was inescapable, with luxurious beach bars like Lefki Ammos where we found ourselves welcomed by a beach of exceptional beauty. White sands and clear turquoise waters lifted straight from a glossy magazine, ice cold cocktails from the bar, and a live performance from a local band… it was an afternoon from a dream, and the perfect end to an insightful Greek city break.

The view from Lefki Ammos Beach Bar, Halkidiki

The political mood in the country may seem bleak, but the impression I got from the people I met, especially the local business owners, was one of determination, full of fiery Greek passion. The parties haven’t stopped yet, and if the fast changing city centres of Athens and Thessaloniki are anything to go by, this is a seriously adaptable country which will, I hope, get through anything. The situation is hopeful, things seem perfectly safe, it’s cheaper than usual and you’ll be sharing the country with far fewer tourists than normal, plus they really do need the tourism. So go to Greece, I say, and enjoy. You won’t regret it.

Book your dream city breaks with

Source:  Emily Luxton Travels

Top Destinations in Europe

Best places to travel in 2017

20 selected destinations have just competed for the prestigious title of Best European Destination 2017. After a three weeks’ period of online voting, Porto was elected Best European Destination 2017 and won this prestigious title.

Milan, Gdansk, Athens, San Sebastian, Sozopol, Vienna, Stari Grad, Basel, Rotterdam, Rome, Madrid, Paris, Bonifacio and Wild Taiga are the next best destinations for a holiday or city-trip in 2017.

We thank all the participants from Tourism Offices, community managers and the 426,859 voters who made their choice and influenced the result!

1. Porto


Never has the choice of the winning city been so unanimous among travellers from all other the world. It is with the votes of worldwide travellers from 174 countries that Porto wins this European title again for the third time (2012, 2014, 2017). Travellers from the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, South-Africa, South Korea, Ireland and Canada, among others,… voted Porto in the first place in this competition.

Porto is exceptional in more ways than one and the “Cidade Invicta” (unvanquished city) is history, is architecture, culture, gastronomy, trade, encounters and discoveries, will seduce you.

Porto has all the charm of towns which happily cohabit with their river. You can stroll along the River Douro (river of gold) in Cais da Ribeira, fly over it by helicopter or discover Porto’s architecture, its amazing landscapes and magnificent bridges by taking a cruise on this majestic river. Porto is also a sea city and in the briefest of time a tram will bring you to Foz do Douro’s gentle beaches face to face with the Atlantic.

Enter the sumptuously cool Palacio da Bolsa, and walk through history with Portuguese adventurers, follow the country’s trade routes and be stunned by the treasures which they brought back. Remarkable buildings such as the Sé Catédral and its terraces offer superb viewpoints over a bustle of markets, grocery stores, bars, restaurants…

2. Milan


Milan has been interesting and vibrant at least since it was the capital of the western half of the Roman Empire. Have a look at the imposing marble Duomo, at our churches, palaces and museums. You will also be delighted by contemporary art and architecture.

The internationally renowned city has an extremely positive image in all corners of the world and attracts a large number of travellers, making it a leading destination. Milan is particularly appreciated by Swiss and American travellers.

While you visit, let the atmosphere of Italy’s most modern and advanced city seep in. You will be captured by the elegance and style; by the energy and the international flair. An incredible shopping experience for all tastes and pockets, in a place where design and fashion have made their home.

3. Gdansk


There is no other place like Gdansk. Other cities can just resemble Gdansk. Its unique location and over a thousand years’ history shape Gdansk’s expressive and distinctive character and give it strong and implicit recognition among European cities. Nonetheless, the city holds an abundance of mysteries; it has got its own spirit which makes it impossible to mistake Gdansk for any other place.

This is Gdansk’s first participation in this European competition  and it has reached the top 3 of your best European destinations.

4. Athens


Travellers have always ranked Athens at the top of this European competition.  It is a favourite destination for travellers from all over the world who want to discover Europe. Ever since its participation in this competition, Athens has ranked among the 5 favourite destinations of travellers worldwide.

From the iconic Acropolis, rising above the city, to charming up and coming neighborhoods and contemporary art galleries, the city of Classic Marathon and Olympic Games is a majestically quirky clash of past and present.

One of the world’s oldest cities with a recorded history of 3,500 years, the Greek capital is constantly undergoing urban renewals to keep up with the evolution of time. Athens lives up to all the hype!

Athens -Places you MUST visit

Athens,Historical Centre – Plaka

A.Avissinias  Square

Lined with antique shops, ouzo bars and even the occasional peddler selling antiques, this vibrant commercial square is a popular attraction for locals and visitors.

This square takes its name from Emperor Haile Selassie, who supplied financial aid to buy food for refugees in 1922.

In days gone by, merchants and shoppers would regularly gather in the large square to buy and sell everything from animals and food to clothes and tools.

Rebuilt from scratch, the whole area of Monastiraki now plays home to excellent shopping and modern architecture, as well as a few touches from its ancient past.

Lined with antique shops, ouzo bars and even the occasional peddler selling antiques, this vibrant commercial square is a popular attraction for locals and visitors.

B. Plaka

Just beneath the towering Acropolis, Plaka is surrounded by antiquities, Byzantine churches and other monuments, providing a glimpse into the city’s long, rich history.

Plaka has always been one of the most important places in the city. Finds from the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, the Roman Forum, the restored Turkish Baths and the Old University are some examples of the remarkable attractions in this ancient district of Athens, a place with more than 3,500 years of history.

It is no wonder that modern-day Plaka attracts thousands of tourists.