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  • Dalit Gliksman

Our Greek Summer

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

Sweet scent of white fig blossom, and olive trees older than you can imagine. Only 2h flight from Tel Aviv will get you to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece.

48h will be enough to explore the city and absorb some ancient Greek culture.


We stayed at Antigon Urban Chic Hotel, located right in the city center, which made our stay perfect. Navigating in the city is very easy, and everything is within walking distance.

Eat Lunch with locals at Ypsilon, a cool hipster cafe in the old textile district of Thessaloniki.

Dinner at Marea, fine fish restaurant near the White Towers of Thessaloniki or at L'alberto near the hotel. Walk through the streets of Ano Poli neighbourhood [The oldest district of Thessaloniki] and visit the Arch of Galerius. Walk few more blocks to taste the most delicious profiteroles at Choureal [ this is a must-try bite].

Agios Nikitas, Lefkada

From Thessaloniki heading north, drive 3h drive to get to the scenic views of Northern Greece - Zagorochoria [Zagori] Villages. The rural villages of Greece allows you go back in time, to the days when every family grew their own vegetables and farm, every garden has tomatoes and green beans, a vineyard and dozens of cherry trees.

The area offers endless daily hikes in many levels and altitudes. Five days is required, to truly adopt the calmness the mountains brings, summer time temperatures are is extremely hot [35c] so keep that in mind when planing a hike. Sunset is at 22:00, which makes it perfect to plan an afternoon hike.

Freddo Espresso at Aristi Mountain Resort, Zagori

Voidomatis Springs Trail, Zagori

Stay at Arisiti Mountain Resort, located in Aristi village. We had daily dinner at Astra Restaurant in Papingo the next villa [also a great hotel to consider]. Once you'll eat there, you'll understand why we kept coming back every single night.

Hiking is possible from village to village and stopping along the way in cabins/refuges or in each town. We choose to do daily hikes instead.

Daily Hiking in Zagori:

  1. Papingo Village; Explore Papingo village and Micro Papingo, at the end stop to refresh at Papingo Rock Pools for a very cold swim.

  2. Vikos Gorge View and Voidomatis Springs Trail; from Vikos town, hike 1h down to see the beautiful gorge and deep your feet in the coldest water you've ever had.

  3. Rafting in Voidomatis; the river stream is mild, so this is more of a cruise than extreme rafting, departing daily with hotel pickup

  4. Ice Age Trail; a short and easy trail along Voidomatis river

  5. The Alpine Lake of Drakolimni [Dragon Lake]; for advanced hikers

Astra Inn Restaurant, Papingo, Zagori

Meteora and Metsovo

On the way to/from Zagorochoria stop for lunch at Metsovo, a small town with a unique setting that reminds a bit of Balkan countries, surrounded by green mountains and red roof houses. If you are into hiking, URSA trails are recommended [Fall/Spring] and during winter time you can enjoy light skiing activities.

Grand Forest Hotel is a great five stars experience if you are staying the night for both winter and summer.

Metsovo

Meteora

Meteora is located one hour drive from Metsovo, and is a most-visit-location. Summer time can get very hot [36c], and the best time to visit Meteora's monasteries from inside is early morning [09:00 -11:00] or at sunset, the monasteries will be closed but still beautiful to view it from outside. The best location for sunset is Meteora Observation Deck, and there is one road that connects all monasteries so there is no way you will miss any of them, no need for guided tour, this is a very easy to navigate self day trip. Although the monasteries is located on a top of a rock, it wasn't too difficult to climb up, and there are no more than 40 stairs to climb. My favorite monastery is Monstery of Varlaam [most of them are open daily, 3 Euro per person]. Stay the night at Grand Meteora Hotel, or Hotel Meteora Kastraki with a great outdoor swimming pool and a scenic view from each room, or Tsikeli Hotel.

I wouldn't recommend staying in Kalabaka town, since it's too touristic and blocks the view. One night is recommended to fully enjoy the landscape and get a chance to visit the monasteries during sunset.

Meteora Observation Deck, Sunset Point

Lefkada Island

Our next stop is Lefkada Island, 2.5h south of Zagori. The Island is connected to the mainland by a small road and bridge. Once you'll arrive at Lefkada, you will be surrounded with old olive threes and an addictive sweet scent of white fig trees.

We stayed at a beautiful stone house on the beach of Agios Nikitas, the water was crystal clear and the eyes can hardly translate the colors. Contact the host Katrina, via the website, they are not listed online [there are only two rooms, and this is absolutely a dream spot]

Agios Nikitas Beach, Lefkada

What to do on the Island?

Our favorite town is Agios Nikitas, it was very hard to choose where to stay before we arrive to the Island, but after we circled the whole Island [approx. 1.5 h] we can say for sure that Agios Nikitas will stay in our minds for long.

This is the smallest town, and it seems like most tourist here are local Greeks. The beach of Agios Nikitas [Paralia Agios Nikitas] is mostly flat and perfect for SUP surfing [10E per hour]. The color of the beach is turquoise and sometimes it's hard to believe how clear the water are.

Mylos Beach

The hidden beach is very close and you can reach it by foot, but the heavy heat makes the hike very difficult. Instead there is a ferry departing every hour [3 euro] and it's a much more pleasant way to reach the beach.

Kathsima Beach, Lefkada

Lefkada main town- Lefkas

Narrow allies and colorful wood shutters, touristic but beautiful. Worth spending an evening or two hopping around the streets.


South Lefkada - Vasiliki Town and the Beaches around

The southern spot of the Island and mainly a great spot for wind surfing, this town offers equipment rentals and classes of kite and wind surfing, and the beach is located in a hidden port which allows a perfect condition for this type of surfing

Egremni Beach and Porto Katsiki is a must-see beach, the colors of the ocean is hard to describe in words. Accessible by a ferry [also by stairs but don't try it in the Greek hot summer]


Nydri Town and Port

This town is great for Yacht sailing and has a relatively big port that can accommodate many boats at a time.


On your Island grand tour visit Lefkaditi GI Winery, for a local taste of Lefkas wine.

Lefkaditi GI Winery, Lefkada

Halkidiki Towns

Halkidiki is located 1.5h from Thessaloniki, and many Greeks visit the area during the summer weekends to spend some time at the sea.

There are three 'fingers' of sea shore, we choose to stay in Vourvourou Sithonia, right in the middle. We rented a house in the mountains which was great, but I can't recommend it because they had no A/C which I think is essential in the Greek summer. If you're into luxury experience, try the Five Senses Luxury Villas.

Rent a boat! no license is needed, and this is the preferred commute to explore the area.

Kavourotrypes Beach, Halkidiki

Vourvourou, Halkidiki

Recommended beaches:

Paralia Karidi - a great beach with shallow and flat water. Eat lunch at Melia Restaurant, located right next to the beach or at Top Pizza, a delicious family owned pizzeria.

Kavourotrypes Beach - Beautiful hidden beach, but very busy, over packed and has limited space, so if you are planning on visiting, do that only during the middle of the week and arrive as early as you can. [we had no space to stay when we arrived at noon]



Spend the afternoon at Old Nikiti Town, drink some coffee at Barcarolla, a small cafe located in the middle of the town.

Old Nikiti Town, Halkidiki

Enjoy!



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