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Greece

Santorini Coronavirus Travel After Covid-19 in Greece

Combining rich ancient history with significant natural beauty, Santorini is maybe the most visited of the Greek islands. Also known as Thira, it suffered a gigantic volcano eruption in prehistoric times, which is estimated to have contributed to the termination of the Minoan civilization. The eruption created a huge caldera, providing the island with dramatic cliff scenery.

Greece
2,980
Confirmed
13
Confirmed (24h)
180
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
6.0%
Deaths (%)
1,464
Recovered
0
Recovered (24h)
49.1%
Recovered (%)
1,336
Active
44.8%
Active (%)

Clear blue waters and volcanic-sand beaches, complemented with whitewashed Cycladean buildings and picturesque cobblestoned backstreets, make Santorini a popular destination for travellers of any age. Santorini’s remarkable beauty has also been noticed by local and international celebrities, who have purchased privet properties on different parts of the island.

The island features excellent tourist facilities, including hip boutique hotels and luxurious spas. Celebrated chefs cater some of the finest restaurants in the country, while trendy bars and chic clubs add to the lively nightlife.

Santorini (officially Thira) is a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of mainland Greece. It is located between Ios and Anafi islands. Thira is essentially what remained after an enormous volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera.

It is famous for dramatic views, stunning sunsets from Oia town, the strange white aubergine (eggplant), the town of Thira, an active volcano, and its beautiful beaches (e.g., Perissa—possibly the best beach in Thira, the black pebble beach of Kamari, white beach, and red beach).

Understandedit

An alternative name for Santorini is Thira. Santorini is also a name for the family of islands surrounding Thira, once forming a single island prior to a major volcanic event in approximately 1500 B.C.E.

The small island cradles a rich variety of landscapes and villages. Visit traditional architecture in the small village of Mesa Gonia containing a mixture of ruins from the 1956 earthquake and restored villas as well as a winery at the foot of the settlement. Pyrgos is another notable village set inland with its grand old houses, remains of a Venetian castle and several Byzantine churches.

The island has no natural source of fresh water. Prior to the early 1990s, it was necessary for water to be delivered to the island via tanker from Crete. However, most hotels and homes now have access to water provided by a local desalination plant. While this water is potable, it is still rather salty, so most everyone drinks bottled water while visiting Santorini.

Fira is the fiery capital, a marriage of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, whose white cobblestone streets bustle with shops, tavernas, hotels and cafes, while clinging to the rim of the caldera nine hundred feet above its port. If arriving by sea you can take a cable car up from the port or alternatively take a trip on one of the hundreds of mules up the 588 zigzagging steps. You could also attempt to walk up the steps but be warned, they are winding, narrow in parts with only low walls, they are covered in donkey excrement and the donkeys themselves will make no attempt to avoid you.

Walking along a path for about twenty minutes will bring you to Imerovigli where you can take in the magnificent views of the island’s unique scenery from the tiny town, as it is the highest point of the Caldera cliffs.

Just above Fira is the quintessentially Santorininian town of Ia, also sometimes spelled Oia, with its whitewashed walls sunk into the volcanic rock and its blue domes rising above the sterling beauty of the stunning, russet Ammoudi Bay. At dusk, the town attracts crowds of people venturing to see the sunset. Santorini’s sunsets, as viewed from Oia, are reputed to be among the world’s most beautiful.

Due to the spectacular and unique natural beauty of Santorini, many Greek singers have chosen the island as the setting of their videos. Greek and Brazilian TV series have been shot of Santorini, as well as some Hollywood movies (e.g. Tomb Raider II). Generally Santorini is a pole of attraction for Greek and international celebrities. World-famous Greek composer Yanni wrote a song inspired by the beauty of the island, the song, also named “Santorini” is definitely worth checking out, specially the version performed live at the Acropolis with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

Climate

The season starts April 1, or around Greek Easter. The period from December through March is very much the off-season and marked by colder temperatures, rain and winds. Although the temperature is rarely cold, the poor weather makes for a less than optimal experience on this beautiful island. Most of the businesses, including hotels and guest houses, may be closed. Ideal times to visit, for milder weather, prices and crowds, are April–June and September–October.

Get in

Getting in from Athens by air is faster and not prone to sea sickness, compared to ferries. However, in season air tickets sell out well before most of the ferries.

With regular flights from Athens by Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. Flight duration from Athens to Santorini is about 30-45 minutes. During summer, Sky Express connects Santorini with other popular islands such as Crete (Heraklion), Rhodes and Mykonos. During the months of July and August Astra Airlines flies from Thessaloniki.

From the airport there are buses to Fira, where you can change to buses for other towns. Taxis are also usually waiting at the airport, but competition for them can be keen. Many Santorini hotels offer airport transfers, usually for a fee that’s more than a taxi would charge you, but some may find it worth it for the convenience. As the island is very small it’s possible to walk from the airport if you are fit enough (cca 5.5km/90min to the centre of Fira)

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Reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as the United States, Mainland China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany. Love to Travel and report daily on destinations reopening with a focus on Domestic travel within Europe, North America and the Caribbean. Fan of the English Premier League , the German Bundesliga,, the Spanish La Liga.

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Greece

Νaxos Coronavirus Travel After Covid-19 in Greece

Naxos island

The largest Cycladic Island, Naxos is known in Greek mythology as the place where ungracious Theseus abandoned Ariadne after she helped him escape from the Minoan Labyrinth. However, her story had a happy ending, as she came across Dionysos, the Greek God of Wine, who fell for her and took her to Mount Olymbus, where she became immortal.

Greece
2,980
Confirmed
13
Confirmed (24h)
180
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
6.0%
Deaths (%)
1,464
Recovered
0
Recovered (24h)
49.1%
Recovered (%)
1,336
Active
44.8%
Active (%)

More hilly and more fertile than the rest of the Cyclades, Naxos combines sandy beaches with mountainous traditional villages. More laid back than nearby Paros, it mostly draws families and well-placed crowds. Nightlife is not as feverish as in Paros, Ios and Myconos, but you still have a variety of options to enjoy yourself at night. Naxian wine is considered one of the best varieties in Greece.

Getting around

As in most Cycladic Islands, a number of buses connect Hora (the main parish) with other villages around the island. Depending to your destination, bus routes range from frequent to rare.

Since distances in Naxos are longer than in other islands, renting a car or scooter is advised. Car rentals are plenty on the island. Always remember to keep an eye for careless or drunk drivers.

Things to see and do in Naxos

Once you have enjoyed the sun and the sea, it is time to start exploring the hidden treasures of this island. Although Zeus was supposed to have been born on the island of Crete, Naxos is considered to be the place where he grew up, according to Greek mythology. Therefore, the island’s highest mountain was named after him. At the foot of Zeus Mountain, one will find Zeus Cave, a large natural cavern with fascinating clusters of stalactites and stalagmites.

Walk from Hora to Palatia Islet, which is today linked with the main island, to visit the ancient Temple of Apollo. Little of the temple is still standing, including a large marble gate known as Portara. Join the locals and tourists who flock to the site to watch the sunset.

A day trip to Apollonas Village, on the north coast, is a must for archaeology enthusiasts. In a marble pit near the village, you will come across a 10-meter long Kouros (male statue), which dates back to the 6th century BC and is estimated to represent the god Dionysos.

The Archaeologial Museum at Hora features a wide collection of figurines from early Cycladic, Hellenistic and Roman eras, along with other artefacts discovered on the island. The museum is housed in a former college, where the famous Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis studied for a brief period.

Bazeos Castle, near the village of Sangri, is a beautifully restored 17th-century monastery, which today serves as the island’s cultural center. Naxos Festival takes place in the castle during July and August, hosting art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.

The village of Halki is maybe the most picturesque parish on the island. Surrounded by olive groves, it features scenic alleys, restored old villas and Byzantine churches. Try the locally made pastries and traditional citron liqueur. Vallindras Distillery, at Halki’s main square, offers free tours, where visitors can watch the process of the liqueur production and taste some of the distillery’s finest aperitifs. Two kilometres out of the village stands Panagia Drosiani, a Byzantine church which boasts impressive frescos from the 7th century.

Apiranthos is an excellent mountainous village, with no less than three local museums. Walk down the village’s main street, where the Archaeology Museum, Geology Museum and Museum of Natural History are located. Apart from the museums, feel free to stroll among picturesque backstreets, old stone houses and charming backyards; wave to the friendly locals, who always welcome visitors with a warm smile.

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Lamia Coronavirus Travel After Covid-19 in Greece

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Capital of Fthiotida, Lamia stretches between the foot of Mount Orthys and Maliakos Bay. Featuring a population of 52,000 residents, it is not a major tourist destination; more like a laid-back Greek town, it is known for its delicious “kokoretsi” (impale delicacy made from lamp intestines), strong “tsipouro” (distilled local spirit) and many plane trees.

Greece
2,980
Confirmed
13
Confirmed (24h)
180
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
6.0%
Deaths (%)
1,464
Recovered
0
Recovered (24h)
49.1%
Recovered (%)
1,336
Active
44.8%
Active (%)

In the mid-distance between Meteora and the archaeological site of Delphi, the town can be used as a gateway for numerous fascinating excursions, including a visit to the Pass of Thermopylae.

Transportation

City buses run frequently within the City of Lamia. Four long-distance bus terminals offer routes to major cities, such as Athens and Thessaloniki, and popular destinations, such as Delphi. A main train station and airport are located a few kilometres away from the city center.

The town of Lamia

Located on the northern part of the town, Lamia’s Fortress has been standing on the town’s acropolis for thousands of years. With a perimeter of 600 meters, its older part dates back to the 5th century BC. Several additions had been made during Byzantine period and by foreign invaders over the years, including the French, the Catalans and the Turkish. Walk up to the fort to enjoy a bird’s eye view of Lamia and the surrounding areas.

Once up, also pay a visit to the town’s Archaeological Museum, which stands within the fort’s grounds and carries a collection of numerous artefacts from Neolithic period to Romans times, including some interesting dolls from the Hellenistic era.

On a sunny day take trip to St Loukas Hill, from where you will have some fascinating views of Maliakos Bay, surrounded by lush greenery. Enjoy coffee or lunch at the municipal café and visit the chapel of St Loukas at the top of the hill.

Around Lamia

Freshly opened in 2007, Fthiotida’s Byzantine Museum is located in Ypatia Village, west of Lamia. Occupying a former barrack, the museum features two floors. The ground floor is dedicated to palaeochristian mosaics from the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries, while the first floor exhibits numerous artefacts from Byzantine era.

Eight kilometres southwest of the town of Lamia, you will find Gorgopotamos Bridge. The modern bridge is located right next to the train station. This spot held a key role in modern Greek history, due to the blowing up of the former bridge on the 25th of November of 1942. The sabotage was performed by the Greek Resistance in order to suspend the advance of Nazi forces. Sadly a forgotten hidden bomb blew up during a celebration in 1964, costing the lives of 13 people.

From recent to ancient history, the Pass of Thermopylae is located 20 kilometers southeast of Lamia. Once more a foreign attack was intercepted, when Leonidas and 300 Spartan soldiers resisted Xerxes’ invasion on this spot, in 480 BC. Although the Spartans were betrayed by Ephialtis and the Persian army finally advanced towards the south, a bronze statue of Leonidas stands there today to honour their courage.

Hiking Mount Orthys is a nice option for those who are into outdoor activities. According to Greek mythology, Orthys was the mountain where Titans barricaded themselves to fight against the Greek Gods in Olympus. With its highest tip at 1,726 meters, it features thick woodlands of spruces and oaks.

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Greece

Paros Coronavirus Travel After Covid-19 in Greece

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Among the most popular Cycladic islands, Paros attracts local and foreign tourists of any age and background during the summer months. Avoid late June, when loud high school seniors overflow the island to celebrate the end of the school year.

Greece
2,980
Confirmed
13
Confirmed (24h)
180
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
6.0%
Deaths (%)
1,464
Recovered
0
Recovered (24h)
49.1%
Recovered (%)
1,336
Active
44.8%
Active (%)

Prospering thanks to its natural supplies of fine white marble in ancient times, nowadays Paros mostly focuses on tourism. Accommodation ranges from hip boutique hotels to basic room rentals, while it offers vast options in dining and lively nightlife. Of course the island’s routine changes totally during wintertime, when most facilities close down and bad weather conditions may keep the population isolated for up to a week.

Sandy beaches and clear blue waters, scenic whitewashed houses with blue doors, fresh seafood and dancing until sunlight will do the trick and make you fall in love with the island. Nearby Antiparos, Paros’ more laid-back baby sister, is easy to reach and is worth a day visit.

Getting around

Local buses connect the major villages to one another, but although public transport is usually trustworthy, the routes are not that frequent.

If you hold a driver’s licence consider renting a car or scooter. If you are driving yourself, keep in mind that the roads are winding and you might come across careless Greek drivers or drunk tourists.

You can explore each village on foot but walking from one village to another is not an option. Taxis serve the island, but you might have to hire on call, by some local company, if you find yourself in more remote areas.

Paros by area

Parikia

Parikia is Paros’ largest village and the port where the ferries from Piraeus and the other islands arrive. The waterfront is crammed with seafood restaurants, taverns and cafes, along with a few souvenir shops. Around the port spreads the old town, a maze of tiny alleys with picturesque white buildings in Cycladean architecture. Lose yourself in the backstreets and come across the 13th-century Venetian fort.

Although Paros bears great ancient history, the island’s Archaeological Museum only houses a handful of the findings on the island. The most important discoveries are exhibited in European museums; however, a fragment of Parian Chronicle, which still remains in the museum in Parikia, is well-worth viewing.

Meaning “Virgin Mary of the 100 Gates”, Panagia Ekatondapiliani is a church complex which dates back to 3rd century. Including three different churches, it is supposed to feature 100 doors. Dozens of doors are a fact, but they don’t actually sum to one hundred.

Naousa

Naousa is still in the process of evolving from a small fishing village to a hot-spot which can compete with Myconos. Hip boutiques, cocktail bars and notorious clubs overlook fishing boats still in use, around the village’s port. Here you will find the finest dining choices and options for restless entertainment.

Lefkes

Lefkes is Paros’ larger mountainous village. Nestled among the hills, it is the best spot for experiencing the island’s traditional lifestyle; men playing backgammon at the local coffee house, women chatting in the backyards, children running around the church. Capital of Paros in the Middle Ages, it has a bird’s eye view over the island and the clear blue seas, while old windmills surround the main parish.

Beaches around the island

Pounda is the trendiest beach around the island, where girls come to show off their new bikinis and boys play volleyball covered in oil. Loud music comes from the beach bars, where shots keep coming and dancing at noon is considered appropriate. For more chilled out options, try Piso Livadi, where people lay under the sun over reggae tunes. Kolimbithres feature bizarre rock formations, which build up small privet pools.

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Ioannina Coronavirus Travel After Covid-19 in Greece

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Capital of Epirus, Ioannina has a population of a bit more than 100,000 people, including 20,000 college students. Spread around the eastern bank of Pamvotis Lake, the city faces snow-capped mountains and is often surrounded by thick morning mist. Ioannina’s history is strongly attached to the period of the Turkish Rule; Kastro, the city’s historic center, still boasts several samples of superb Ottoman architecture, hidden in its cobblestoned backstreets and alleys.

Greece
2,980
Confirmed
13
Confirmed (24h)
180
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
6.0%
Deaths (%)
1,464
Recovered
0
Recovered (24h)
49.1%
Recovered (%)
1,336
Active
44.8%
Active (%)

Due to the large student population, a wide variety of  dining and entertainment options is available throughout the year, including local “tsipouradika”, shops which serve local distilled spirits over light savories. Dare to try the city’s most famous “meze” (Greek for delicacy), frog legs!

Accommodation varies from 5-star international hotels to inexpensive B&Bs, but the best way to experience the city is a traditional guest house, where you can enjoy lake views by the fireplace and try homemade local recipes. Traditional guest houses come in a luxury version too! Heavy climate and rainy winters make the summertime the best period to visit Ioannina.

Getting around

Expect to mostly walk around the city, as distances are quite short and don’t require much use of public transport. A city-bus network is also available.

Things to see and do in Ioannina

Ioannina is a small city with limited attractions; therefore, a visit can be easily combined with an excursion to the nearby Vikos National Park or a picturesque mountain village.

The Byzantine Museum is unquestionably the city’s most interesting sight. Standing over the ruins of Ali Pasha’s former palace, it is a part of Its Kale Castle, which also includes a mosque and Ali Pasha’s tomb. The museum’s collections cover the Paleochristian, Byzantine and Post-Byzantine periods. A series of artefacts, manuscripts, religious images and jewellery from all around Epirus are exhibited here.

Exhibits related to folklore art can be found in both the Municipal Ethnographic Museum and Folklore Museum. Traditional costumes, tapestries, cooking utensils, and jewelery are on display. The Municipal Ethnographic Museum is housed in Ashlan Pasha Mosque, which was constructed in 1618. Divided into three sections, each is devoted to the Greek, Jewish and Muslim population of the city respectively. Ashlan Pasha’s tomb is included into the museum’s grounds.

Those interested in ancient Greek history may want to pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum. The museum displays discoveries from several parts of Epirus, including Dodoni. However, the collection is a bit poor and there have been discussions about moving some of the findings to other Epirot cities.

If the weather permits it, don’t hesitate to take a boat to Lake Pamvotis’ tiny island, known as Ioannina Isla. It hosts a well preserved parish of traditional houses, with less than 500 residents. The island was initially inhabited by monks, who built the first monastery in the 13th century. Today, scenic monasteries are one of Ioannina Isla’s major attractions, along with the Museum of Ali Pasha, who found tragic death on the island during a battle in 19th century.

While strolling around the city’s old quarters, don’t forget to pass by Stoa Louli. Stoa Louli is an arcade, which dates back to 18th century and has been a meeting spot for locals for over a century. One of Ioannina’s most picturesque corners, it features restored buildings in typical Epirot architecture, which mostly house “tsipouradika” and taverns.

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Komotini Coronavirus Travel After Covid-19 in Greece

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Capital of Thrace, Komotini is located at the north-eastern part of Greece and close to the border with Turkey. Featuring a population of around 56,000 people, it is Greece’s most cosmopolitan town, with a mix of Greek, Romani, Turkic and Slavic residents. Sharing the faculties of the University of Thrace with nearby Xanthi, it has a considerable student population, who lights the sparkle in the town’s nightlife all year long.

Greece
2,980
Confirmed
13
Confirmed (24h)
180
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
6.0%
Deaths (%)
1,464
Recovered
0
Recovered (24h)
49.1%
Recovered (%)
1,336
Active
44.8%
Active (%)

Getting around

Most points of interest are inside Komotini’s historic center and within walking distance from one another. A city bus network and plenty of taxis are also available. Long-distance buses (KTEL) and train routes connect Komotini with major cities, such as Thessaloniki and Alexandroupolis.

Town of Komotini

The most interesting quarter of Komotini is the town’s historic center. Lacking in greenery, it is, however, crowded with most of the town’s important sights, as well as some excellent examples of neo-classical and traditional local architecture.

The town’s four museums cover Komotini’s history from Neolithic Era up to the 19th century. Starting with the Archaeological Museum, the visitor can see exhibits and artefacts from Neolithic Era to Byzantine period, under the roof of one of the town’s most modern buildings. For a better look at Komotini’s Byzantine treasures, visit the Byzantine Museum, where a series of religious artefacts, jewellery, books and coins are on display.

For a pick at the life of a typical family of the 19th century, go to the Municipal Museum, which is housed in the neo-classical former villa of one of Komotini’s noblest families. Finally, occupying an excellent example of local architecture, the town’s Folk Museum features some interesting costumes and pieces of folklore art.

Dating back to the 4th century, the Byzantine Fort seems neglected, but is still one of the town’s main attractions. During its prime, the fort featured 16 towers; however, none has survived the Ottoman and Bulgarian invasions. Today the visitor can see only some parts of the defensive walls, as well as a church from the early 19th century, which is located inside the fort. Built over the remains of a Byzantine temple, the church houses an interesting 15th-century image of Virgin Mary.

Walk down Ermou Shopping Pedestrian, one of Komotini’s most picturesque streets, to come across Yeni Mosque and the Clock Tower. Dating back to early 17th century, Yeni Mosque is still in use and open to the public. Beside the mosque, lay Komotini’s traditional tinplate shops. East of Yeni Mosque stands the complex of Eski Mosque and former Imaret (workhouse). Erected in 17th century, Imaret featured some fascinating Turkish baths, which were unfortunately demolished in the 60s.

If traveling with kids, consider spending some time at the Municipal Gardens. Covering a 21-acre area, the gardens feature dozens of different flower and plant species, along with some fountains, a playground and a small zoo, where children can see and feed some local animal species. Relax over a cup of coffee, or a glass of cold beer, at the gardens’ kiosk.

Around Komotini

Four kilometres north of Komotini, spread Nymphea Woods. Bring some food and have a nice pick-nick at one of the wooden tables under the pine trees. Follow one of the many slated paths to discover small fountains and springs hidden in lush greenery. Sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, are scattered around the hillside. Walk up to the Municipal Tourist Kiosk, which is located over the remains of a Byzantine fortress, to enjoy coffee and snacks over a bird’s eye view of the town and its surroundings.

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