Τρίτη 28 Απριλίου 2015

Plan your trip: Top 10 Destinations for Greece - TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards - Rethymno ranked 7th.

Rethymnon is one of the most well-preserved Venetian old towns on the island of Crete.
Its 16th-century buildings are stunning examples of ancient architecture, and the monolithic Fortezza reflects both European and Moorish influences.
Explore the magical waterfalls, rock formations, and ‘"cave church" of Saint Anthony Gorge before taking a pleasant evening stroll along the colorful Venetian Harbor. Relax in a taverna over a plate of Cretan meze, like fresh feta drizzled with local olive oil.
Three more towns of Crete are among the top 10!!
See the full article: TripAdvisor


Παρασκευή 24 Απριλίου 2015

National Geographic calls UK travelers to “Return to Greece”

The UK issue of National Geographic Traveler gives travelers around the world 11 reasons to visit Greece in its May issue whose cover story is titled “Return to Greece”.

The article admits that Greece has experienced a “tumultuous few years” but it is still worth visiting due to the increasing number of flight connections, alternative hospitality options beyond the usual draw cards such as sea and sun.

It's Island Time: TripAdvisor Names the Europe's Top 10 Islands in 2015 Travelers' Choice Awards. Crete ranked 3th

The island of Crete is a Greek jewel floating in a sea of melted turquoise.
 The beaches are godly stretches of pillowy sand and smooth pebbles.
 Its historical and mythological significance can not be ignored: Crete is said to have been to be the birthplace of Zeus, the king of the Gods, and was the site of Europe's first modern civilization. 
 Archaeological and historical sites abound and make an awe-inspiring break from a sun-soaked day at the beach.
 kreta (29612267)
Two more Greek islands are among the top 10!!
Best islands in Europe: 
1. Santorini, Greece
2. Madeira, Portugal
3. Crete, Greece
4. Zakynthos, Greece
5. Fuerteventura, Spain
6. Jersey, Channel Islands
7. Mallorca, Spain
8. Capri, Italy
9. Tenerife, Spain
10. Corsica, France

Crete Governor Calls on Tourism Professionals to Put Best Face Forward

crete-island-inside_fAttracting quality tourism by putting on its best face is the Region of Crete’s motto ahead of the summer tourist season set to kick off this month.
Speaking recently at a Crete taxi union meeting, Regional Governor Stavros Arnaoutakis stressed the need to work together in a coordinated manner in order to upgrade the quality of services offered.
Mr Arnaoutakis reached out to all tourism sector professionals and invited them to do their best in ensuring that the professional side of Crete comes forth.
With regard to taxi services offered, Mr Arnaoutakis and union representatives addressed recent complaints by drivers concerning lost fares and discussed issues of proper operation as well as the need for regular checks.
“We will do our best to ensure a productive cooperation with all parties involved. We must show another side to Crete. We need to invest in quality tourism, and all drivers must display professionalism,” Mr Arnaoutakis said.
Meanwhile, Crete taxi union representative Lefteris Petrakis demanded the enforcement of the law with regard to private means of transport on the island.

Grandma’s meatballs with a twist

Tradition meets… something new

Serves: 5 Preparation time: 35m Cooking time: 25m Ready in: 60m

For the meatballs
200g. sausage (pork)
500g. minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1½ cup parsley, chopped
80g. Greek graviera cheese from Crete, grated
200g. fresh bread crumbs, ground in a blender
1 egg
salt, freshly ground pepper
For the tomato sauce
1 small cup of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans chopped tomatoes or 900g. fresh tomatoes, grated on grater
1 tsp. tablespoons tomato paste
75ml red wine
1 tsp. tablespoons sugar
1 cup chopped parsley
1 handful fresh basil leaves

Preparation method
step 1
Making the meatballs: Open the casing from sausage and remove the flesh into a large bowl.
step 2
Add the minced meat, onion, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs, egg and plenty of spice. Knead with your hands until you get a homogeneous mixture.
step 3
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees in the air. Shape the minced meat mixture into about 25 balls and bake in oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
step 4
Making the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, sugar, parsley and spice. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes or until thickened. Then add a few leaves of basil, add the already cooked meatballs and stir gently. Serve the meatballs with pasta of your choice sprinkled with Greek graviera cheese from Crete.
Instead of pasta you can use rice or fried or boiled  potatoes etc.

Source: Olive Magazine
Chef: Ioanna Stamoulou

Παρασκευή 17 Απριλίου 2015

Plakias Suites: #1 of 45 Specialty Lodging in Plakias, Rethymno Crete!!

Plakias Suites (5.0 of 5 stars) Ranked 1 of 45 Specialty Lodging in Plakias according the popular travel site TripAdvisor 

Having already received the prize Certificate of Excellence with 84 Reviews!!

Two Greek beaches, Elafonisi and Balos in Crete, among the best in the world!!

 Summer is just around the corner and travelers from all over the world have already started to daydream about beautiful beaches, golden sands and azure waters.
In response to the growing demand for content that highlights amazing summer destinations, the travel website travelversed.com recently presented the top 20 most beautiful beaches in the world.
Two Greek beaches, namely Elafonisi and Balos in Crete, have made the top ten of the popular website. See below the full list:

1. Phra Nang Beach, Thailand
2. Elafonisi Beach, Greece
3. White Beach, Boracay, Philippines
4. Saline Beach, St. Bart’s
 Saline beach in St Barts
5. Mudhdhoo Island, the Maldives
6. Black Sand Beach, Maui, Hawaii
7. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Italy
8. Wineglass Bay, Tasmania
9. Balos Beach, Greece
10. Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Greece Wins Triple for Cultural Heritage at 2015 EU/Europa Nostra Awards

EU_Europa_Nostra_2015_img-472 Europa_Nostra_red

2015 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards for Greece

Greece is one of the 28 award winners of the 2015 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards. 

The winners of the award, considered Europe’s most prestigious prize in the heritage field, were announced on Tuesday by the European Commission and Europa Nostra.
The 28 award winners, selected from 263 applications submitted by organizations and individuals from 29 countries, are honored for outstanding achievements in four categories: 1) Conservation, 2) Research and Digitization, 3) Dedicated Service to Heritage, and 4) Education, Training and Awareness-raising.

Greece scored three awards in the categories of “Conservation” and “Research and Digitization”.
“This year’s winners are powerful examples of creativity and innovation at work for Europe’s cultural heritage”, said Plácido Domingo, President of Europa Nostra.
“They also demonstrate that heritage matters to Europe and its citizens. We trust that, under the leadership of President Juncker and Commissioner Navracsics, the European Union’s strategy for an integrated approach to cultural heritage will be further developed and implemented.”

Rethymno, 3th most beautiful town in Greece, where you want to stay for a lifetime!!

The Spanish magazine Hola,makes a tribute to Greece and selects the 10 most beautiful villages and islands located in the country and are able to enchant the visitor and make him want to stay there forever.

See below the list of the top 10 most beautiful villages in Greece, according to Hola magazine.
1. Oia, Santorini
2. Chora, Mykonos
3. Rethymno, Crete
4. Hydra in the Saronic Gulf
5. Parga, Preveza
6. Thira or Fira, Santorini.7. Rhodes
8. Parikia, Paros
9. Spetses, Saronic Gulf10. Firostefani, Santorini
source: The Spanish magazine Hola

Eggplant balls (Melitzanokeftedes)

 These crunchy eggplant balls can be served as an appetizer, in a sandwich or even as a main meal with yoghurt and salad...

Serves: 4 Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 10 mins  Ready in: 25 mins

4 large eggplants
2 slices of old bread
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1 egg
1 finely chopped parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
5 spns of grated parmesan cheese
olive oil for frying
salt, pepper
Preparation method
Step 1
Cut the eggplant into cubes, salt the cubes, spread with olive oil and bake in oven at 180°C for 30 mins.
Step 2
Knead together the eggplant cubes with the bread after it has been soaked in water and fully drained. Add the finely chopped onion, garlic cloves, egg, cheese, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley. Leave in the fridge for half an hour.
Step 3
Shape round balls. Once these are molded, add beaten egg and then cover in breadcrumbs before frying in hot oil. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.
Serve with tomato salad or yoghurt flavored with mint. They go well with a yoghurt dip to which melted garlic, salt, olive oil and finely chopped mint have been added.
OPTIONAL ALTERNATIVE: You can boil the eggplants and drain these or cook them with the skin on a gas stove or in the oven and then drain them of their juices.
Source: Olive Magazine
Chef: Eleni Psychouli

Visitors to museums and archaeological sites up in 2014.


Visitors to Greek museums in December 2014 increased by 19.3%, and revenues from entrance tickets rose by 30.2% compared to the same month last year.

According to an announcement released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Thursday, visitors to Greek museums in December 2014 increased by 19.3%, and revenues from entrance tickets rose by 30.2% compared to the same month last year.
ELSTAT also said today that in the period January-December 2014, there were 22.5% more visitors in museums and revenues rose by 27.9%, compared to the same period last year.
Specifically with regard to archaeological sites, ELSTAT said that the number of visitors rose by 33.8% in December 2014 while revenues increased by 35% in comparison with the same month last year.
In the period of January-December 2014, the number of visitors in archaeological sites rose by 21.9% and revenues increased by 13.5%.

Liam Neeson wants Parthenon Sculptures to go back to Greece!

The famous actor wants Greece to get back the stolen Parthenon Marbles. Period. 

Irish actor Liam Neeson has added his voice to those of other celebrities calling for the UK to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Speaking to private STAR TV to promote his new action movie, “Run all Night” he was asked about Greece’s efforts to have the marbles returned. “(The UK) should give them back. Period,” he said. “Give them back to where they were stolen from. They should be given back. Absolutely.”

Last year, George Clooney and Bill Murray both said they believed the UK should return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

At the time, Maria Pullinger Koutsikou, campaign manager for Marbles Reunited, told the British press that it is always positive when public figures speak in favor of reunification of the Parthenon Marbles as it helps raise awareness.

Πέμπτη 2 Απριλίου 2015

Looking for a budget Easter holiday break? Greece is expecting you!

Are you looking for the ideal Easter holiday break destination that combines great springtime weather, amazing beaches, traditional charm and low prices? Well, your search is... Crete!
People who think about visiting Crete often ask: When is the best time to visit Crete?
There are many answers to this question, but for people who want a unique experience of the real life in Crete and Greece, I would suggest them to choose the week of the Greek Orthodox Easter.... 
Season 2015

Non-refundable Rates for Low Season (25/03/2015 - 30/04/2015)
Two – roomed Suite (2 persons) 65€
Three– roomed Suite (4-5persons) 95€

 Free sun beds loungers and umbrellas on the beach.

We have obtained for our clients a 12% discount (www.alianthos-group.com) and you can pick up your car directly from the airport .

 (Note, Orthodox Easter this year falls on April 12, a week after Catholic Easter.)


Greece Tourism Gets Off on the Right Foot, Despite Challenges

Despite the recent political changes in the country, incoming tourism to Greece seems to have taken off with an increased number of arrivals from abroad.

The travel surplus increased by 50 percent due to a significant rise in non-residents’ arrivals in January, even though the corresponding receipts rose by just 9 percent.

According to provisional data from the Bank of Greece, incoming traffic in January came to 606,000 passengers, up 49.9 percent year-on-year, leading to a 9.1 percent rise in travel receipts at 14 million euros, with the average spending per trip dropping by 27 percent.
( full article:gtp)

Tourism Professionals Decide to Fight Illegal Accommodation in Greece

The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), has decided to fight back against illegal tourism accommodation in Greece.
Speaking at the annual general assembly of the Confederation of Greek Enterprises for Rented Villas & Apartments (SEEDDE), SETE’s president Andreas Andreadis announced that a specialized company will be assigned to carry out electronic checks to tourism accommodation that is illegally rented out for the short-term.
The data collected will be delivered to the country’s tourism and tax authorities for penalties to be imposed.
Mr. Andreadis said that illegal tourism accommodation is a “huge wound” to the industry as some 40 percent of Greece’s total overnights per year are booked in such establishments.
Data from the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels  reveal that the annual lost revenue resulting from illegal leasing practices adds up to some two billion euros.
According to reports, recent Greek legislation requires for a special sticker to be present in all rooms of tourism accommodation enterprises as proof of legitimate operation. Otherwise, owners will face a fine of 1,000 euros. The penalty can reach 50,000 euros if it is discovered that the accommodation enterprise is not even operating under the state’s special operational seal.
(source: gtp)

More than 100,000 visitors tour ‘The Greeks’ exhibition in Montreal

Since its opening last December 12

Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal’s Archaeology and History Complex, has welcomed some 100,000 visitors since the opening of the exhibition “The Greeks – Agamemnon to Alexander the Great” last December, an indication of the enthusiasm this fascinating and never-before-seen exhibition has generated.
There are less than four weeks left to see the exhibition in Montréal before it continues its North American odyssey, travelling to the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, the Field Museum in Chicago and, finally, to the National Geographic Museum in Washington.
An enormously popular success
Making its world premiere at Pointe-à-Callière, the exhibition has met with great interest among visitors, as evidenced by the record-breaking winter attendance figures at the museum. The program of lectures held to coincide with the exhibition has sold out, both at the Museum and at the Université de Montréal. The various books on the exhibition have also enjoyed great sales. The Greeks also drew many visitors during the school break, another indicator of the popularity of this exhibition covering over 5,000 years of Hellenic history and culture, taking visitors on an exceptional and fascinating journey back to the origins of the cradle of Western civilization and its heritage.
 the greeks
A fascinating period and treasures of humanity
Greek Antiquity is a rich and captivating period, a time populated by mythical heroes and historical figures, under the watchful gaze of the gods on Mount Olympus. The exhibition is divided into six zones that introduce us to this great civilization and showcase rare and priceless artefacts. Visitors will meet many famous characters from Greek history, including Homer, Aristotle, Plato, King Philip II of Macedon, and King Leonidas of Sparta. The heritage of ancient Greece, which we can still see all around us today in various aspects of our daily lives-such as politics and philosophy, arts and literature, mathematics, architecture, medicine, and sports-is clearly illustrated in the exhibition. Among the many highlights of the exhibition are a number of artefacts that are true treasures of humanity never before displayed outside Greece.
A hands-on experience
The exhibition offers visitors a range of interactive elements and items they can actually touch. Visitors are notably invited to handle a Cycladic female figurine, a block of marble, a reproduction of a warrior’s helmet, and a sword. There are also over twenty videos shown in the various exhibition zones, most of them produced by the National Geographic Society, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, and the Canadian Museum of History.
Last chance to see the exhibition
The exhibition, which brings together over 550 valuable artefacts from 21 Greek museums under the aegis of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, runs until April 26. Remember that the Museum is open every day except Monday, and is also open on Wednesday evenings until 9 pm (only for visits of The Greeks exhibition). The Museum will exceptionally be open on Easter Monday, April 6, from 10 am to 5 pm.
(source: protothema)

Homemade jam with nuts and dried figs

Jam with a unique taste to enjoy with yogurt, creams, ice-cream, cakes, bread or with whatever you fancy…

6 dried figs
375gr. walnuts
1.5lt water
½ vanilla
450g. granulated sugar
1.5lt water for soaking
Preparation method
Step 1
Leave walnuts in cold water to soak for a day. Also, place dried figs to water for 4 hours before using.
Step 2
Cut the vanilla in half and then scrape it with a sharp knife, then put the seeds in a small bowl.
Step 3
Produce syrup with water, vanilla (seeds) and sugar. Drain the nut flesh and pour into the syrup. Simmer on low heat for about 1½ to 2 hours until softened.
Step 4
Remove from the heat and strain. Remove the vanilla pod.
Step 5
Puree the nuts with figs and ¼ of syrup in a blender. If necessary add a little more syrup until to achieve the jam texture.

Source: Olive Magazine
Chef: Dimitris Chronopoulos