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Archive for greece

Athens’ Golden Age

By Linda Tancs

Athens’ Golden Age spans a period roughly between 480 and 404 B.C. It was a period of great flourishing, economically, politically and culturally. Of the many relics of the age, the Temple of Poseidon is one of the most breathtaking. A short hop from the city, it’s located at Cape Sounion on the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula. Dedicated, of course, to the ancient Greek god of the sea, its remaining Doric columns are an imposing sight, coupled with stunning views of the Aegean on three sides thanks to the monument’s cliffside perch. Get there via public bus, an organized tour, a private taxi or by car.

The Gorge of Samaria

By Linda Tancs

Open for hiking from May to October, Crete’s Samaria Gorge is the focal point of Samaria National Park in Greece. Although strenuous and rugged, the 10-mile hike offers rewarding mountain views and 16 endemic species, most notably the feral goats (kri-kri, the park’s official icon). You’ll find plenty of like-minded adventurers on a bus from Hania to a region called Xyloskalo, where the trail begins.

Crete’s Egyptian Lighthouse

By Linda Tancs

The lighthouse of Chania in Crete is one of Greece’s oldest lighthouses, not to mention one of the oldest in the world. The telltale sign of its 16th-century Venetian origin is the base. Rebuilt in the 1800s in the form of a minaret, it’s often referred to as the “Egyptian lighthouse” because it was refashioned during a time of Egyptian occupation when Crete was rebelling against Ottoman control. An icon of the city, it stands at the entrance of the city’s old harbor.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Capitals of Culture in 2021

By Linda Tancs

In keeping with tradition, we begin the New Year with an announcement on the EU Capitals of Culture for 2021, or at least what would’ve been the capitals. Due to COVID-19, the cultural capitals program has been suspended. Timișoara (in Romania), Elefsina (in Greece) and Novi Sad (Serbia) have been shuffled around a bit. If three sounds like an odd number of capitals, that’s because the original plan was that, from 2021 and every three years thereafter, a third capital would be chosen from cities in countries that are candidates or potential candidates for membership in the European Union or in countries that are part of the European Economic Area. Romania and Greece have had their titles  postponed from 2021 to 2023. Novi Sad will now be the European Capital of Culture in 2022, together with Kaunas (Lithuania) and Esch (Luxembourg).

The Fabled Ruins of Parnassus

By Linda Tancs

Mount Parnassus is one of Greece’s mythological mountains. Named after the son of a nymph, Parnassus was the site of several adventures of the god Apollo. Delphi, an important ancient Greek religious sanctuary sacred to Apollo, was located on the mountain. The sanctuary was also home to the famous Oracle of Delphi, whose ruins draw tourists by the thousands. Just 60 miles by car from Athens, this limestone peak offers commanding views of the surrounding olive groves and countryside.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Island Lore in Zakynthos

By Linda Tancs

Navagio Beach is an exposed cove on the coast of Zakynthos in the Ionian Islands of Greece. It’s popularly known as Shipwreck Beach because of the rusty wreck adorning its shoreline. The stories surrounding that wreck also give the place the moniker, “Smuggler’s Cove.” That’s because it’s been reported that the ship ran aground following a chase by authorities who determined it was transporting contraband cigarettes; other reports refute this tale. Whatever the case, the shipwreck lends to its charm, as do the towering limestone cliffs and turquoise waters only accessible via boat. Zakynthos Town port offers cruises of varying lengths, many of which only run now in the high season (through October). Try to get there early to avoid the hordes of tourists.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Greece’s Rack Railway

By Linda Tancs

Odontotos rack railway connects the Greek seaside town of Diakopto with the mountain village of Kalavryta in the Peloponnese. The steepness of the ride requires rack rails—toothed racks that the rails lock into using a cog or pinion. The train chugs through tunnels and a gorge, offering spectacular views of mountains and waterfalls. Book a round-trip ticket and enjoy the downhill views.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Hiking in Amorgos

By Linda Tancs

Scenic views, Cycladic houses and quaint alleys are pretty much expected in the Greek isles, so what distinguishes Amorgos is the part with considerable height above sea level, offering superb views out over the archipelago. What better way to enjoy those views than with a hike! And there are lots of options (signposted), ranging from a four-hour trek from Chora halfway across the island to a one-hour sprint along a cobblestone path connecting Chora with Katapola, the main harbor and one of the largest natural harbors in the Aegean Sea. No matter the route, you’ll discover rich cultural treasures like the ancient acropolis, temples and monasteries. Amorgos is accessible via ferry from Athens and nearby islands.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Place of Mythic Proportions

By Linda Tancs

According to Greek mythology, Thessaly is the birthplace of Achilles, the handsome hero of the Trojan War. In ancient times it was known as Aeolia and appears as such in Homer’s Odyssey. It’s likewise known as the region boasting the almost mythical Meteora, a complex of monasteries perched above towering sandstone peaks. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s the biggest and most important group of monasteries in Greece after those in Mount Athos. Originally comprising 24 structures, six monasteries remain today, “suspended in air” as their name, Meteora, attests. The sites are variably accessible by paths, bridges and steps. Check opening times as they all have different visiting days and hours. Go now when the crowds are thinner.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Greece’s Mountain Mystery

By Linda Tancs

From the looks of it, Penteli Mountain is just a lush, green overlook offering great views of Athens and Evoikos Gulf. And it just so happens to be the site where marble for the Parthenon was quarried. So far, so good. But there’s another side to its reputation as the locus for Davelis Cave, so-named for a 19th-century brigand, Davelis. Allegedly used by his gang as a hideout, the cave also has a history as a shrine, particularly for monks fleeing religious persecution during the Middle Ages. Two adjacent Byzantine chapels built directly into the cave’s entrance serve as a memorial to their plight. Perhaps it’s the grotto’s juxtaposition as a hideout and a holy place that causes mysterious events to occur as reported by tourists, phenomena like ghostly voices, glowing orbs and electromagnetic anomalies. Go if you dare, but you’ll need to rent a car to get there.

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