Τρίτη 20 Νοεμβρίου 2018

End of season ...

Thank you to those who made memories at PlakiasSuites,
see you next summer in Crete !


Breathtaking Video Launches Campaign Highlighting Why You Need to Visit Crete

Crete is a top destination for tourists for many reasons, and Marketing Greece has recently launched a new campaign to show off the islands greatest assets – from the mountains and ancient Minoan culture, to the modern beaches.

The goal of the campaign is to increase the average monetary spending of tourists as well an encourage them to see more of the island by extending their stay.

This is the 4th season of Wanderlust Greece, and after spending 15 days on the island all of the enchanting and authentic charm of the Crete revealed the reasons why travelers should add this Greek island to their list of holiday destinations.

“The trip to Crete has been a real challenge for us as the destination constitutes a top Greek tourist brand. One of our quests was to follow the promotion strategy of the Region of Crete, working in a supportive and fully harmonised way with its central message: The Island Inside You,” Marketing Greece CEO Ioanna Dreta said.

“Our goal was to create a list of experiences that highlight all those aspects of the product that make Crete a flagship of Greek tourism,” Dreta added.

Check out this amazing video that highlights everything from the old town of Chania to the mountain Mylopotamos, along with local traditions and customs to the accompaniment of the Cretan lyre!


Autumn in Crete

The experience of a lifetime!

It’s a common secret among travellers to Crete that summertime on the island is at least 2 months longer than most European destinations. Renowned newspapers, in 2014, praised with various articles the island’s mild climate.

The Telegraph had an article about autumn tourist destinations where Crete features as a warm and welcoming place; the same year the Austrian newspaper Kurier published a long praising article on the island describing it as a place where you can enjoy a laid back summer vacation in autumn and get to know local tradition.

The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail included Crete in the six top European destinations for an autumn holiday, saying that people who prefer to extend their summer vacation all the way into October should visit Crete.
One of the island’s biggest assets - apart from beaches - is the famous Cretan cuisine which you can enjoy all over the place.

 The reason for all of the above is quite simple. Crete is located in the southeast part of the European continent and temperature never drops below 20º C from September until November.

The average sunshine totals seven hours. Water temperature in the south shores washed by the Libyan sea reaches 23º C and the average air temperature is 26º C.

The atmosphere is limpid most of the time and the tall mountains are clearly defined against the horizon in every detail.
The summer’s blue sea waters change into new fascinating hues, the autumn winds fill the heretofore clear blue skies with amazing cloud shapes and the fairly limited rainfall is very welcome after the dry season has passed.

However swimming remains one of the activities you will definitely enjoy even in late October. Make a note that at this time of the year you will find that there are less tourists so you’ll get better holiday deals as prices are down compared to the high season.

 While you are on your autumn trip to Crete don’t miss the opportunity to visit the renowned historical sites, monuments and museums.

The season’s mild weather will tempt you to discover inland secrets and the wide variety of flora and fauna, to visit picturesque mountainous villages as well as those of the lowlands, to follow the hiking trails, go mountaineering or cross breathtaking ravines such as the well-known Samaria Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge etc.

 The end of the summer is the time for agricultural activities such as grape harvesting and sun-drying of the grape berries so as to produce raisins.  

Ploughing, sowing, grape pressing, wine and raki making are all activities that take place later in the fall.

This time of year you can follow the traditional agricultural activities: participate in grape harvesting and pressing, go olive picking, watch the procedure of raki making in cauldrons- cauldron feasts, as it evolves into a traditional celebration, taste local products and learn about the way they are made in the island’s agritourism farms.

Let’s bear in mind that traditional Cretan cuisine is based on fresh seasonal produce and that makes it all the more tasty not to mention healthier and more nutritious!

Crete FVW Workshop Offers Insight into German Travel Trends

Extending the season and tapping into wellness tourism in spring and fall are key priorities for Crete’s regional authorities who joined German media and tourism professionals on the island that hosted the annual FVW workshop last month.

Germany’s leading trade magazine for tourism and business travel organized its annual meeting on Crete together with the Region of Crete and with the support of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and the tourism ministry.

Titled “Sustainability. The Path to Longevity – Discovering the Authentic Crete and its Treasures”, the workshop brought together Germany’s top tour operators, travel agents and journalists who exchanged views and insight with local sector professionals.

Holding the largest share of the tourist market in terms of arrivals from Germany, and attracting significant investor interest, Crete remains a top choice for German travelers.

Workshop participants explored, among others, the further development of the Cretan tourist product, which is diverse and capable of attracting travelers to the island all year round. The workshop’s program aimed to offer delegates experiential experiences and included visits to Crete’s traditional sights and cultural spots.

Indicatively, in this direction, Crete’s Commissioner of Tourism, Michalis Vamiedakis referred to a three-pronged strategy – Crete: tourism + culture + products, which includes branding the island’s famed hospitality and lifestyle under the “Live Like a Cretan” motto.

Vamiedakis said the highest number of arrivals to Crete was from the German market and the tourist season had already been extended by one week.

Among the options for year-round tourism, workshop delegates suggested gastronomy and wine tasting tours, interactive activities, agrotourism, healing and wellness tourism, entertainment, sports and adventure, conferences, educational and scientific forums, and the development of city break tourism, mainly in Chania and Rethymno.

 In the meantime, according to market analyst Crysostomos Antoniadis representing Trevo Trend, based on booking demands, Greece is ranked third for package holidays behind Spain and Turkey, with the German market marking a 14 percent rise.

He went on to add that in terms of demand: Heraklion was first with 50.91 percent, followed by Rethymno at 20.19 percent, Chania with 16.19 percent, and Lassithi with 12.70 percent.

Based on 64.2 million searches so far, up by 15 percent, interest in winter holidays is low with June and July, and then May, gathering the greatest demand.

According to German tour operators attending the event, including TUI Germany, Alltours Flugreisen, FTI Touristik, Ferien Touristik, and LMX Touristik, it is vital due to the strong demand – 40 percent of their clients request to visit Crete – to ensure bed capacity and airline seats. They added that travelers prefer to explore the destination, opting against all inclusive holiday deals.

Interestingly, according to German travel agents 66 percent of their customers said they were unaware of alternative Crete options with 22 percent expressing interest in destination sustainability.

WTM London confirms Greece’s “golden year” in tourism and highlights challenges

By Thanasis Gavos / Published on: 06-11-2018, 17:14 (IBNA)

Greece’s participation with 70 co-exhibitors in this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London is one of the main poles of attraction for international tourism professionals attending for yet another year.
As the Minister for Tourism Elena Kountoura confirmed, the number of arrivals will have exceeded 32 million by the end of the year, making 2018 another record-breaking year.
Even though observers have noted that this level of arrivals should have probably been translated into even more money pouring in, Mrs Kountoura said that revenue would reach 16.2m euros, in a significant double-digit year on year increase.
“We have exceeded every expectation. We are rightfully talking about a golden year for Greek tourism, a year that will be for ever remembered,” commented the Minister.
The 32m plus of arrivals include cruise visitors. Cruise and yachting are some of the sectors where the emphasis of the national tourism strategy will turn in the coming years, said Mrs Kountoura.
She added in the increase in capacity in 4 and 5-star hotels and resorts, the expansion of internal flight connectivity, the opening up of new markets such as the Chinese and the Indian ones, the modernisation of state tourism education and the “digital transformation and innovation” of Greek tourism.
Greek tourism professionals have at the same time, however, pointed to several challenges facing the country over the coming years. First is the recovery of traditionally competitive destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, with a product which is much cheaper than what Greece offers.
The minister dismissed such concerns: “What Greece has to offer is so unique that the more stability, peace, security and balance there is in the region, the more we will be growing.”
Smaller tour operators at the WTM were lamenting the restricted space they have been left with as the big international players have all but conquered the Greek market. “They won’t hold their punches. They demand and they get the best hotels at the highest of seasons,” one told IBNA.
The President of SETE (Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises) Yiannis Retsos noted that team work has kept Greece in the top-10 destinations worldwide.
But, he noted, overtaxation has been hitting tourism professionals hard. “Of course this applies to all sectors of the Greek economy,” he added. “What I and SETE are really concerned about right now is the infrastructure. The 32 million of visitors are now testing our public infrastructure every day: waste disposal management, power and water supplies, sewage systems, airports, ports. If we want the country to continue being a protagonist we need to invest and improve.”

Greek karidopita

By: Ioanna Stamoulou | | Desserts, Greek Classics, Mediterranean Cooking

This traditional mouthwatering walnut cake is so fluffy and extra syrupy, scented with cinnamon and clove aromas! Try it out and be amazed by the unique texture and rich flavor. Serve with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of melted chocolate and go over the top!

Serves: 1 medium baking pan Preparation: 25′ Cooks in: 50′ Ready in: 1:15′

12 eggs, whites and yolks separated
12 tbsp sugar
12 tbsp powdered Melba toast or bredcrumbs
12 tbsp chopped walnuts
12 tbsp semolina flour
4 tbsp brandy
2 oranges, zested
20gr baking powder
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp grounded clove
a pinch grounded allspice

For the syrup:
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon juiced
1/4 cup cognac


Step 1
Preheat oven at 180C. Mix sugar and egg yolks using an electric mixer and at medium-high speed for at least 5 minutes, until really fluffy, smooth and creamy. Pour in the cognac whilst continue mixing. Set aside.

Step 2
Meanwhile, in a bowl blend semolina flour with powdered Melba toast, chopped walnut, baking powder, orange zest and all spices with a spoon.

Step 3
Combine the two mixtures and blend with a silicone spatula, until smooth.

Step 4
Whisk egg whites into the bowl of the electric mixer, along with a pinch of salt until mixture is very thick and glossy and a long trailing peak forms when the whisk is lifted (meringue). Add gradually meringue into the mixture using a clean spatula and blend with light circular movements from the bottom up.

Step 5
Butter the bottom and the sides of a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes, until fluffy, nicely colored on the outside and baked through.

Step 6
Meanwhile prepare the syrup. Add all ingredients for the syrup except lemon juice and cognac into a pot for about 8 minutes until sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice and boil for another minute. Remove pot from heat and stir in cognac. Let cool.

Step 7
Very slowly ladle the hot syrup all over the cold cake, allowing time for each ladle of syrup to be absorbed. Let cool completely and serve ideally with some vanilla ice-cream.

Photo Anastasia Adamaki Food styling Antonia Kati