Heraklion, Chania, Rethymno, Athens, Itea, Delphi, Karditsa, Larissa, Ioannina
Heraklion is surrounded by a formidable medieval wall, which was used to protect it from enemies. Owing to this, the city enjoyed the reputation as a well-fortified state in the Mediterranean basin. It stood up to a siege from the Turks for 21 years, but was finally seized in 1669 after its betrayal by a Greek-Venetian engineer who informed the invaders of the walls' weaknesses at east and west bastions. You may reach the Grave of the Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957), where it is written: "I hope for nothing, I fear nothing; I am free"
If you begin a walk around Heraklion, starting at the fishing harbour close to the Rocca al Mare, but is now known by its Turkish name, Koules. It has a mixed history; for centuries it was used as protection against invaders, as were the great city walls and ditches. These are among the longest city walls in Europe.
Looking back towards the city you will see the strong arches which housed boats under repair and were used as an arsenal for storing guns and gunpowder.
You discover the Venetian architecture of the Loggia which functioned as a club for the nobility to gather and relax. The Loggia is a wonderful example of Venetian building. Today, the Loggia, decorated with sculptured coat of arms, trophies and metopes, houses part of the town-hall of Heraklion. The Loggia was awarded the Europa Nostra first prize in 1987 for the best renovated and preserved European monument of the year.
The city of Chania is built on the area of Minoan Kidonia, at the end of the homonym gulf between Akrotiri and Onicha peninsulas. It was the former capital city of Crete (from 1847 until 1972). Nowadays, it is the second largest city of Crete after Heraklion and capital of the homonym prefecture. Strolling around the Old Town’s maze-like alleys with the beautiful Venetian mansions, the fountains and the churches will guide you through well-preserved historical monuments.
The old town is built around the Venetian port and is also a relatively integral area where Venetian buildings and later Turkish elements compose a unique architectural style. Due to the historic center of Chania with its Venetian walls defining the borders between the old and new city and its ramparts, the city has been pronounced as preserved. It consists of five connected districts surrounding the Venetian port.
Its design was made by Venetian engineer Michelle Sammichelli. The Lighthouse is located at the end of the rock protecting the port from the north. It was built in 1570 by the Venetians and reconstructed in 1830 by the Egyptians and from there on preserves its current state. The district of Chania with over 350km of coastline and more than 80 beaches – most of which awarded with a blue flag – hosts some of the most drop-dead beautiful exotic beaches in Greece: Falasarna, Elafonisi, Balos are the most worth visit.
In the heart of the island of Crete, embraced by Mount Psiloritis and the White Mountains, Rethymno is one of Europe’s best preserved Renaissance settlements. A cultural crossroads, a superb natural environment, special architecture, unique hospitality and infinite entertainment options are the elements that make up Rethymno’s multidimensional identity. With the walls of the Castle dominating over the magnificent Old Town, Rethymno combines the Venetian romance with the needs of the modern visitor. In the historic center, visit the Rimondi Fountain in Platanos Square, the Venetian harbour with its signature Lighthouse and the picturesque Loggia, one of the city’s oldest buildings. History may be present everywhere in Rethymno. The Museum of Αncient Eleutherna and the Museum of Contemporary Art offer a charming journey to the city’s long history as if time has never passed.
Its outstanding natural wealth will impress the nature enthusiasts: imposing canyons, beautiful caves, stone bridges, rare species of fauna and flora, authentic mountain villages, unique walking and cycling routes complete the picture of Rethymno’s inland. The outdoor adventure is totally accessible for all, the only thing you need to do is to pick the trails and itineraries that best suit you!
Thanks to its award-winning beaches, Rethymno is an ideal destination for summer vacations. On the north shore with its sandy, organized beaches you can find some of the biggest and most luxurious hotels of the country. The 12 km sandy beach stretches along the east side of the town, where every year 180 Caretta caretta sea turtles nest. The southern coast hosts some of the most beautiful, untouched exotic beaches of Crete.
Athens, the capital of Greece, is considered to be the birthplace of democracy, arts, science and philosophy of western civilisation. Home of Plato, Socrates, Pericles, Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus. Athens is one of the world’s oldest citiesand has been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years and an important centre of civilization since Mycenaean period. The significant geographical position of the city offering easy access to the sea has lead to its economic prosperity and cultural development.
It’s recorded history spanning around 3.400 years and it is being inhabited since the 11th millennium b.c. Today, under the shadow of Parthenon, the contemporary urban scenery of the sprawling city reflects its exciting history.
The period of acne of Athens became known as the Golden Age of Athenian democracy, with Athenians laying the foundations of Western civilization and building one of the most famous landmarks of the world, the Temple of Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. In 1896 Athens hosted the first modern Olympic Games and in 2004 Athens hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics with great success.
A large part of the town’s historic center has been converted into a 3 km pedestrian zone, one of the largest in Europe. It leads to the major archaeological sites (“archaeological park”), reconstructing – to a large degree – the ancient landscape. Either on foot or by bike, the ‘’Grande Promenade’’ around Acropolis is an unforgettable journey through history.
The coastal town of Itea is located 13 km south of Amfissa embraced the Corinthian Gulf. Together with the neighboring Kirra, are built deep in Crissaean bay. Behind the picturesque Itea lies the olive grove of Amfissa, surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Giona and Parnassus, on which you can distinguish Delphi and Chrisso.
Itea is a new town founded in 1830 and probably owes its name due to the many willows that grew in the region. Today, it has a population of 9.000 inhabitants. Itea is an important resort and the most important and biggest port of Fokida prefecture. In its commercial port are being loaded the bauxites from the bauxite mines operating in the region.
The bright and modern town of Itea stands for its premium street plan, providing guests with comfort and functionality. The picturesque tree-lined squares and the seaside street “Akti Poseidonos” are suitable for a walk in the city, which in combination with the spectacular views will be unforgettable.
Delphi is a town in the Prefecture of Fokida with a population of 854 inhabitants, built next to the archaeological site of Delphi. They are built on the southwestern slopes of Mount Parnassos at an altitude of 570 meters, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece.
Ancient Greeks believed that Delphi was the Navel of the Earth, a place seen as a spiritual focal point for all Greeks; it included many sanctuaries and the most prestigious oracle in all of ancient Greece. This is where Pythia, the high priestess, uttered the divine advice of god Apollo to mortals who travelled from across the world to seek a prophecy. Apart from Greeks, the Oracle was visited also by foreign leaders and dignitaries who were anxious to know the will of Apollo on important state affairs.
This ancient Greek sacred place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a place with a long history and beautiful natural surroundings, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It’s a destination you must include on your next trip to Greece.
At a stone’s throw from the archaeological site, you can visit present-day Delphi town, lying at the foot of Mt. Parnassus, near Arachova town. Choose the area for your winter holidays as it is close to Parnassus ski centre, or visit it any other time of the year and explore the beauty of nature and the nearby beaches. It’s situated at a conveniently short distance from the mountain, the woods, the archaeological sites that are famous the world over, and some beautiful beaches.
It is built close to tributary of Peneus River, in an area perfect for commercial contact between the plain and mountain area (31.000 inhabitants). This is one of the reasons why it is the rural center of Thessaly products (cotton, wheat and products of cattle raising) collection and distribution.
With its two big squares, the huge park and beautiful pedestrian precincts, Karditsa gives to its visitors the opportunity to go around the city by bicycle (it has a wide network of bicycle streets) and enjoy its beauty. In 1821, the plague epidemic decimated the city population. Its revival began after the liberation from Turks in 1881. Karditsa was the first free city in Europe after the withdrawal of Italian army on March 1943 during the Second World War. Its final liberation from German army took place in September 1944.
Lake Plastiras, located in the wider area of Agrafa (region of Thessaly) is surrounded by an idyllic landscape of incomparable natural beauty that captivates the mind at first sight. Dreamlike in all aspects, it is one of the largest artificial lakes in Greece created in a location where in antiquity we could find the confluence of the rivers Tavropos and Achelous. It is a natural wonder that owes its existence to the inspired vision of General Nikolaos Plastiras (rightfully named after him) to create an impressive dam that would reinvigorate the entire region.
The grandeur of the lake is crowned with the surrounding alpine peaks; snowcapped or green, with rushing streams that flirt with lacy coves, narrow inlets of water between cliffs that create fjord-like scenes and a single luscious green islet in the middle create a mind-blowing landscape which is mirrored in the emerald waters of the lake. In the vicinity you can find a handful of charming villages situated along the lakeshore or on the mountainous slopes which offer you an idyllic view of the lake!
The city of Larissa is built in the center of the Thessalian plain, located on the banks of the Pineios river and gazing upon the mythical mountain Olympus.It is a city under constant development and the most dynamic city in Central Greece.
Capital of the Region of Thessaly, it is the administrative and financial center of the wider region
A city with foundations lost in the depths of Ancient Greece’s history, lives and moves on monuments built in antiquity, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire eras. A lot of them are preserved and located in it’s historical center and suburbs.
ANCIENT THEATER: The center of the city is dominated by the First Ancient Theater, built at the beginning of the 4th century. The Ancient Theater and other monuments of various historical periods in the city center, add to Larissa’s appeal, testifying to its long history.
CITY OF HIPPOCRATES: In Larissa’s urban area Hippocrates, considered the father of modern Medicine, lived most of his life, practiced his profession and ultimately died.
BIKE CITY: In recent years, with a series of urban regeneration projects, the city of Larissa is evolving into an example for the rest of Greece’s urban areas in terms of sustainable mobility. Pedestrian walkways, light traffic lanes and an extensive network of bike lanes have changed the city’s face, while the linear park on the banks of the Pineios river and the Alcazar Park create an oasis of greenery and tranquility located in the city’s center.
CULTURE CITY: The city’s current artistic and cultural production is extremely noticeable, through the operation and collaboration of it’s modern infrastructure (Diachronic Museum, Municipal Gallery - GI Katsigras Museum, Municipal Conservatory, Municipal Theater, Folklore Museum).
HEALTH SERVICES CENTER: Larissa is the seat of the Medical School of the University of Thessaly and various of it’s other faculties, while the public and private sector of the city’s health services constatly flourishes.
IN THE HEART OF GREECE: Due to its central location, the city with the renovation of its historic and commercial center, offers the visitor both the facilities of an urban area and beautiful excursions to it’s neighboring locations be they mountainous, planar or coastal. Olympus and Kissavos, Meteora, Lake Plastira, the Aegean Sea are within driving & cycling distance.
GASTRONOMY: The region produces quality food products of worldwide fame: cereals, cheese, fruits and vegetables,wine and the favorite spirit of the locals tsipouro ( a type of un aged brandy) , are some of Thessaly’s famous products. The area’s excellent gastronomy is renowned ia all of Greece.
All of the above make Larissa, one of our Country’s most interesting destinations.
Kalabaka is built on the feet of the Meteora and it is at the left side of the river Pinios at the point that it enters the plain of Thessaly. Internationally known due to the famous Monasteries on the top of the Meteora rocks, suspended in the air.
Meteora are one of the greatest monuments of the world, protected by UNESCO, and the most important monastic center in Greece (after Agio Oros). The first ascetics came here in the 11th century. Meteora, however, flourished as a monastic center between the 13th and 14th century as many people who lived in the nearby areas embraced the monastic way of living.
The ancient name of Kalabaka was Aiginion, while at the beginning of the 10th c., today's town is mentioned as Stagi, a name that is preserved until today as a Metropolitan title. Kalabaka is a destination rich in history with many important monuments to visit. It is the starting point for those who wish to be familiar with the monuments and the magnificent sites of Aspropotamos, Koziakas and of course the monasteries of Meteora.
Don't miss a visit to the Cave of Theopetra thats ranks among the most important archeological prehistoric sites of Greece! Over the past decades, it has revealed many prehistoric findings from many different periods of our prehistory. Stone tools, burials, animal remains, the oldest known man-made structure, are only a few of them! Early prehistoric settlers used it continuously for more than 130.000 years.
Ioannina, the capital of Epirus, spreads out around beautiful Lake Pamvotida. The lake, with its still waters and its small island, is a natural monument, around which the entire area lives and breathes. The strong cultural traditions of the town, home to a number of great novelists and poets, and the artistic and intellectual events which are organized throughout the year, give visitors the opportunity to get to know the roots of the intellectual life of Epirus.
Wonderful buildings like the House Matei Hussein, the Ottoman mosque of Veli Pasha and the entire historic centre of the town are unique attractions. Ioannina was always multicultural, dominated mainly by Christian, Islamic and Jewish influences. This coexistence of cultural influences is clearly evident in the historic city centre. The Stoa Louli arcade is one of the locations where the three communities worked together and prospered.
With a fascinating history full of legends and traditions that go back centuries, the lake has become famous beyond the borders of Greece. The lake is supplied by the springs of Mount Mitsikeli, Drabatova, Sendeniko and Krya. Its waters are usually calm, though it freezes on occasions. It exerts a mysterious charm over the locals, who spend sunny summer days on its shores, revel in the morning mist around its banks or walk next to it on melancholic winter’s evenings.