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Welcome summer!

 

It’s the last weekend of spring and fortunately a whole summer is before us! Finally it’s time to hit the beaches, sunbathe, enjoy the warm weather and book our holiday escape.

For most Greeks this exact weekend along with this Monday, the 1st of June (National Holiday of the Holy Spirit) is the first opportunity for our first swim. The weather forecast is ideal, with the temperature rising up to 31 degrees, our luggage is packed, but where to?

Let’s be practical folks; nobody would choose a destination far away since we only have a 3day free pass. For those of us in the area of eastern Macedonia and Thrace such a question doesn’t exist. The destination is the one and only Thassos Island. And let me tell you why. First of all there is quick and easy access Thassos, scarce thing for an island, since its takes about 35 minutes with the ferry connection from Keramoti a little over an hour with the ferry connection from Kavala. Secondly, the prices of any type of accommodation that may look for are reasonable. From luxury 5* hotels to studios and villas, you can certainly find something that will match your budget since prices start at 23 euros for a double room per night! Now that you understand ours reasons…why don’t you join us?

 

 

It’s all Greek (coffee) to me!

 

Coffee may not be a Greek invention but some of the tastiest ways to prepare it certainly are! If you have already made a hotel reservation and are preparing for an unforgettable holiday on any of the breathtaking Greek islands, read this piece of advice on what you should order while sunbathing on a golden beach by the clear, turquoise sea!

There are two major categories that Greeks fall into when it comes to choosing their coffee in a hot summer day. In the first category belong those who were raised with frappe coffee and won’t change it for any other coffee in the world. It was invented accidentally by Dimitris Vakondiou in 1957, when he wanted to prepare an hot,instant coffee but hadn’t hot water with him, so hes stirred it and shook it with a little bit of water. Normally Greeks drink it by adding sugar and/or milk, depending on anyone’s likings. Frappe gives you an instant energy boost (and that’s why many prefer it early in the morning), since it contains about 100mg of caffeine per portion.          

Although frappe is the traditional summer coffee for the Greeks, two newest addditions of iced coffees became extremely popular the last couple of decades amongst the Greek coffee consumers: freddo espresso and freddo cappuccino.

Freddo espresso is the iced version of our beloved italian espresso as we know it, shaken and with a lot of ice cubes. It is an exceptional option for those who still want to enjoy their favorite coffee and get a refreshing beverage at the same time. You can order it either black or with sugar depending on your taste. This coffee also affects immediately your nervous system and heightens your energy levels since it contains about 80mg of caffeine per portion.

 Freddo cappuccino is the iced version of the well-known to us all, super creamy cappuccino, shaken, with a lot of ice cubes and with a white, crisp layer of beaten cream or milk on the top. It also contains about 80mg of caffeine per portion, so it is a strong coffee as well.

Ultimately, the choice is yours...enjoy!

 

Working in Tourism Industry

 

It is very natural in a country which tourism is its most developed industry, that most of the new job vacancies would be part of this field. Mainly these seasonal employees start working in the beginning of April (usually after the Easter Sunday), until the end of October.

All though it is not a year round job, those involved in the tourism industry work as many hours during these months, as the others in different work fields do for a 12month period. I’m not referring just to the hotels staff, from reservation managers to receptionists and from waiters and cooks to cleaning stuff. Apart from the accommodation of the tourists,a big part of their satisfaction with our hospitality revolves around their leisure activities and entertainment. From restaurateurs to shop owners and from musicians to spa therapists, all work overtime, even more than 16hours at times, in order to serve the foreign as well as the Greek tourists the best way possible.

For someone to work in such jobs, he needs to be dedicated and perseverant, as well as calm and patient. So, I’d like to wish well to my fellows who also work in the tourism industry field and hang on guys summer hasn’t even arrived yet! 

 

To book or not to book?

 

It’s the month that most of us make travel arrangements and hotel reservations for our holidays through some booking portal or travel agency, with common denominator that we do it online. Due to our lack of time mainly, we prefer to book our accommodation in the destination that we have chosen for our holidays through the internet.

Although we can all agree that booking online has many advantages, ne has to be very careful. First of all, regarding the credit card number that you usually have to provide in order to confirm a reservation, you need you make sure that you have read the terms and conditions of the website beforehand and that they are verified. Don’t be fooled by websites that may promise you too much for too little money and moreover don’t give you any information about the company’s policy.

After we confirm the security of the booking portal, we have to check the validity of the photos and descriptions of the hotel for instance, that we have chosen. Stay away from photos that are obviously photoshopped or generally tampered with or the rooms are overly decorated and it seems like it took the photographer an hour to take a single shot. What you should be looking for are nice, clear photos of the rooms that depict however the reality.

Last but not least, you can get a general idea about the facilities and services of your chosen accommodation, by reading about the experiences and opinions of previous guests. Of course not everyone’s perspective is the same about a certain situation, but in this case go with the majority.

 

Cycling Weekend in Thassos

 

This weekend, on the 2nd-3rd of May is held the 11th annual cycling weekend on the northernmost island of the Aegean, Thassos island. It’s been already ten years since this sports tradition began, and although there are several other similar events all around Greece, this one has proven to be one of the most successful and well-organized. Hundreds of athletes are already on the island, enjoying their stay in any of the comfortable hotels of Thassos and taking the chance to explore the untouched beauty of the thassian natural environment before the event begins.

Today, around noon, the participants will enjoy the tour of the island, racing next to the turquoise sea for the biggest part of the 95km road, and tomorrow at 9 in the morning begins the Trikorfo ascend which is held through mountain paths 58km long. In order for someone to participate, especially for today’s event, there are no special requirements, however be warned for tomorrow’s race since it is extremely challenging and physical fitness and full racing equipment are necessary. 

 

Stereotypes about Greeks

 

There are several stereotypes about the Greeks and more or less are publically known through Hollywood, American television, proverbs and jokes. Movies like the comedy ‘My big, fat, Greek wedding’, have entertained us, but also made us think. What do the majority of foreigners especially the non Europeans amongst them, think for us Greeks before they choose to book a hotel in]our beautiful country for their summer holidays and get to know us up, close and personal?

Firstly, one of the stereotypes that follow the Greeks is partial the reason that they choose our country for their leisure trips. The belief that Greeks are always care-free, partying and in good spirits has intrigued many tourists to explore the spectrum of the Greek lifestyle and hospitality. This stereotype even though false, like any other stereotypical belief, has a certain logical explanation and let me tell you the reason why.

Even though these attributes do not characterize the Greek everyday life, especially the last couple of years that the financial crisis has devastated us, however they belong to our mentality and surface when we interact with people that visit our home country. By nature, hospitality is a given for us Greeks and we want to advertise it through our behavior and treatment. 

 

Magical Macedonia

 

Feel the glorious past of the land that you’re stepping on as soon as you reach the northernmost region of Greece. Its long history begins from the prehistoric times when it was firstly inhabited, and peeked as the birthplace of Alexander the Great, one of the most famous persons through the worldwide history.

Major archaeological cities in Macedonia are Thessaloniki, Kavala, Xanthi as well as Thassos Island.  First of all, Thessaloniki that welcomes most of the foreign tourists in northern Greece in one of the most celebrated cities around Europe and not only that it one of the most beautiful areas in the Mediterranean. Moreover, in Kavala you’ll explore the city with one of the trendiest ports, with plenty of sights, a medieval aqueduct along with an impressive castle in the old city, where you can drink your coffee with a panoramic view of the alluring crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea.

Nearby you’ll find great wineries perfect for tasting sessions, as well as sights from the ancient village of Avdira to the ancient theater of Fillipoi and Thassos. You can also find natural phenomena and views as the Alistrati Caves with an unusual array of stalagmites and stalactites. You'll explore Nestos River and you'll be accommodated into the most luxurious and well-equipped hotels and various forms of accommodation.

 

May Day

 

The first of May includes more causes for celebration and commemoration than any other holiday. First and foremost (and that’s what we’re going to focus on this article), it is a celebration of the Spring, and  neopagan festivals. Moreover, it is a national holiday in most countries.

A characteristic picture of May Day is children dancing around the maypole. The maypole is hung with greenery and ribbons with bright colors and vivid decorations and it’s the center piece and main attraction of the festivals, especially in the UK and Ireland.  People who dance around the maypole usually braid it with colorful ribbons by weaving forth and back from the course of the dance.

All around Europe, people take advantage of this day and travel to the countryside with their families to celebrate the perfect weather, gather some flowers-the eternal symbol of Spring-and enjoy each other’s company. In other countries, such as India and Egypt, fertility festivals are held, celebrating the blooming of flowers and trees  which symbolizes the fertility of the earth, on which people depend for their survival.

This year, May Day falls on a Friday, so it is an ideal opportunity for you to make a short trip, book a hotel in a destination near the sea or the mountains, depending what you prefer, and enjoy your own private May Day (plus weekend) celebration! 

 

Travelling as psychotherapy

 

Have you ever thought about travelling as a form of psychotherapy, self discovery and transformation? Although the answer to this question in most cases is no, subconsciously is yes. The therapeutic effect of travelling is underestimated and is taken under no or little consideration by psychiatrists as a suggested therapy.

But the fundamental question is this: why do you travel? Why do you choose to spend your money on hotels, air tickets and miscellaneous travel expenses, instead of buying something expensive for yourself or your loved ones? The answer isn’t that easy and it isn’t always a conscious one. Your brain craves for an escape, a way-out from your everyday routine, a kind of soul therapy.

Journey even as word doesn’t just carry a literal meaning, a journey of the body, but also a journey of someone’s soul. So why not answer positively what your spirit wants and needs to heal?

 

Sunday blues

 

Research has shown that Sunday is surprisingly the least happy day of the week, followed closely by Monday. It seem that the upcoming days to come, most likely work or school days, are causing you anxiety and depression. This is an indicator that you are not enjoying your everyday routine, your job or your study field. There is also a number of people that throughout their working days of the week build up such a high wall of expectations, which are crashed when the weekend finally comes and they realize that they’re unrealistic.

Whatever the cause though, your neurons send out signals to your body that make you feel depressed. The only thing for sure is that you need to understand what brings you to this mental state and how to overcome it.

There are simple ways to help you feel better such as exercising to burn off the anxiety and increase the endorphins that will help boost your mood and energy, drinking some herbal tea, warm milk or even a glass of wine are would also do the trick. Moreover you can establish a Sunday evening ritual that would promote your relaxation before you go to bed, which could include from a warm bath, to yoga training and from a call to a loved one to listening to your favorite music.

 

Weekend Breaks

 

Nowadays, our hectic lifestyle doesn’t let us much time for ourselves, let alone for vacations. Nevertheless, at some point all of us get a free weekend that we can exploit to treat ourselves.

Some of us think that a weekend is a very short amount of time to attempt a trip or a holiday, but that’s not true. You don’t need to travel for thousands and thousands of kilometers to have a perfect journey that will help you reenergize and boost your mood. On the contrary, most of the time we don’t realize what splendid sceneries as well as hotels and accommodation facilities may exist just a couple of kilometers away from our residence.

I know that you don’t have much time to plan ahead the trip, but this shouldn’t be concerning you when all of us carry around a smartphone with a default internet access. If you just Google the world hotel or resort and then your region you can not only make your reservation online on the spot, usually getting even better prices or deals, you can also make your dinner reservation online in any restaurant that catches your eye in the area, or book any other activity that interests you for the weekend. So don’t waste any time and exploit the best that you can the next free weekend that you’ll have. Spoil yourself for once!

 

Grecian Style

 

Greece has made a lot of important contributions to the human civilization, major as well as minor. From texts that became the foundationσ of philosophy, law and science to architectural masterpieces and from exquisite Greek recipes to fashion influences.

Today we will focus on theoretically the least important of these achievements, the Grecian fashion style. The simplicity, the clean cut lines of the dresses and the colors that give an aroma of Greece;  the island houses’ white, the blue and turquoise of the alluring Aegean Sea, as well as the hazel green of the Ionian Sea have left a strong imprint on the fashion inspiration and icons worldwide.

From the glamorous Hollywood stars to the foreign tourists that choose to come to the Greek island during summer season and fill the hotels, chose loose Grecian style dresses and sandals that bring to mind the ancient Hermes,  as well as hairstyles inspired by ancient Greece, in order to simulate the beauty and the glory of the ancient Greek Goddesses.

A style as simple and elegant as this one never goes out of fashion. 

 

Sunburns in spring?

 

It may sound strange to you but many people suffer from sunburns during the spring months, and surprisingly not during summertime. Of course there is a logical explanation for the above, since we tend to be more careful with our skin and the sunrays during summer, considering falsely that these months are the only potentially harmful time period.

What you don’t realize is that even in winter the UVA and UVB radiation, especially the last decades that the air pollution is worse than ever, is strong enough to cause sunburns, skin damage and even skin cancer (melanoma) in some cases. Even when you don’t think that the day is sunny enough, the sun radiation exists and is potentially dangerous for your health.

Of course the best way to protect your health and your skin is to avoid sun exposure during midday hours, but it’s not doable by any of us with our hectic. The second best thing that we can do is to wear sunscreen every day all year round with an SPF 25 or higher. As an extra sun protection measure you can wear sunglasses to protect one of the most sensitive organs of your body, your eyes, as well as even wear a hat if you’re extremely sensitive or your skin is very pale.

Tourists that are coming to Greece, should be warned that from this time of the year and on, the sun is constantly shining and the temperatures are quite high, so especially if you’re coming from a country with low sun exposure, as soon as you make your hotel reservation in any of the spectacular Greek islands, go to your nearest pharmacy and buy yourself a good sunscreen!

 

Easter's Aftermath

 

Easter is gone but the summer is just around the corner. After the feast of Easter Sunday, we all try to become more active and shed the holiday pounds.

Tradition calls that Greeks consume numerous delicacies and fatty food at the end of the 40 days fasting period, resulting to a significant increase of our weight.  But it’s not only a matter of appearances, the Easter foods filled with fats, sodium and sugar combined with the enormous quantities that they’re consumed, are a hazardous combination for our heath.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is the best thing that you can do right now to detox your body. Moreover, we should all take example from the tourists that already have filled up our country’s hotels that wake up early and start their day with a rejuvenating walk by the alluring Aegean and Ionian Sea or in the verdant mountains of the mainland. They take advantage of the wonderful scenery to exercise and remain fit, while at the same time enjoying their holiday abroad.

The ideal form of exercise that it’s appropriate for everyone is walking, mild and easy. Combining a thirty-minute walk with a balanced diet, based on the consumption of fruit and vegetables, fish and olive oil not only will help you shed those holiday pounds, but also stay healthy and vibrant for the rest of your life!

 

Greek Holy Thursday

 

Holy or Maundy Thursday has arrived once again, the day that in the minds of many Greek Orthodox Christians it’s the first day of the Easter, today is the day that the ultimate sacrifice of our savior Jesus Christ began. On Holy Thursday we commemorate the day of the Last Supper between Jesus and the twelve Apostles. Greek Orthodox churches are draped in black and purple ribbons to indicate the congregation’s mourning for Jesus Christ, while listening to the Twelve Gospels, hymned in every church all over Greece.

There are numerous customs and traditions related to this day. First of all, today is traditionally the day that Christians dye the eggs red. The red color that the eggs are dyed with, symbolizes the blood that Jesus shed for and the egg itself represents the sealed tomb of Jesus from which he will emerge after his crucifixion. Many customs are associated with the red eggs and especially the first one dyed, depending on the area of Greece that you find yourself. Others place the first dyed egg next to the saint icons that the family has, others bury it in their fields to secure good crops and others even burn the egg shells to ward off the evil spirits, or to keep the snakes away. Traditionally, these dyed eggs are used on Easter Day between family members and friends, as they crack them with one another to see which one is the strongest. According to the tradition, eggs are dyed throughout the first forty days after Easter.

Today is also the day that typically godparents visit their godchildren, while bringing them shoes to wear to the church on Easter Sunday, as well as candles (usually decorated) for them to use on the same day.

 

Holy Week in Greece

 

Holy week, the week before Easter, is a very special time for the Greeks around the globe, since Easter along with Christmas are considered the two most important religious holidays for the Greek Orthodox Church. The Holy Week, in Greek ‘Megali Evdomada’ (literally meaning the big week) is a time for pray and thought for the believers.

There is at least one service a day held in churches around Greece, with the biggest attendance on Holy Thursday, Holy Friday, Holy Saturday and Holy Sunday of course. Usually most Greeks fast during this week and exclude meat and dairy products from their diet, in order to honor the sacrifice that Jesus Christ our savior did to save all of us.

The Greek Orthodox Easter, called ‘Pascha’ in Greek, usually falls a week after the Western (Catholic, Protestant) Easter, the last time that the Greek Easter and Western Easter fell at the same day was in 2011. The Greek Easter is considered to be more festive and celebrated more widely than the western, thus many visitors choose to come to Greece and experience the way that we honor the resurrection of the Christ. As we speak hotels, studios and all types of accommodation around Greece are filling up with travelers from all around Europe and even other continents

 

When to visit Greece

 

One of the questions that trouble the minds of those who potentially want to travel to Greece is when exactly to do so. However, this is a complex question, whose answer depends on various factors from the travelers’ interests to their budget.

Normally, the touristic season in Greece starts from April and ends in October. The peak of this period is between the end of July and the whole month of August when the temperatures are the highest and the possibility of rain is the lowest possible. Of course as a result the prices of hotel rooms and all kinds of accommodation spike during this period, so if you plan your holiday with a small budget be warned. In this case, I would suggest the month of September, when the prices are lower and the weather as well as the quality of the services provided, are still stellar.

In another note, if you are interested in more physical activities such as hiking, climbing and discovering the wild in general, perhaps it would be better for you to explore Greece during April, May and June, when the weather is still very good but the temperatures aren’t that high. Ideal dates for visiting Greece are also those around Orthodox Christmas and Easter, when you can experience the festive atmosphere and see firsthand the customs and traditions of these widely-celebrated religious holidays..

 

New Zealand discovers Thassos

 

Although the renowned newspaper New Zealand Herald characterizes Thassos Island as a well-hidden secret, it took up the time and a couple of pages dedicated to praising the island and thus making it known to a whole other continent.

According to the newspaper, although Thassos isn’t considered to be a Greek island with the classical connotation that this phrase carries for foreign tourists, due to its architecture, even influenced by the Western Europe, as well as its combination of crystal clear, turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea with the luscious plantations that make it seem as an emerald gem in the middle of nowhere.

The article continues with a reference to the quality of tourists that used to choose the island for their holidays and the indisputable fact that it has risen dramatically not only from Greece’s neighboring countries such as Turkey and Bulgaria, but also from Western European countries such as Germany, Austria and England and even countries from the continents such as the one that the original newspaper article was written. At last, the author finishes his article by saying that Thassos has become a passing stop to Turkey or Croatia, which however wins the travelers’ hearts and several times becomes their one and only final destination.

 

Invest in tourism

 

As it is widely known in Greece of 2015 in an era of deep recession and financial crisis, all that our economy is hanging on is the tourism industry. We all know that Greece doesn’t constitute a country that survived the past couple of centuries due to its innumerable exports or major industries, apart from one.

Tourism industry had and always will have a significant role in our country’s economy due to the blessed position that it lies, with the Ionian and the Aegean Sea to crown its shores with their crystal clear, turquoise waters and the golden-like beaches while the sun brightens our day all year round.

Of course everyone doesn’t have the capital to invest in the construction of a new hotel from scratch, but that’s not all he can do. Tourism and the hospitality industry isn’t only about the accommodation and the hotel itself, several businesses are revolving around it and are perhaps even more lucrative. For instance, in order for a hotel to function major catering and supply services should exist. From the kitchen to the restaurant and from the front office to toiletries and cleaning supplies, everything needs to be delivered to the hotel and in massive quantities moreover. However let’s forget the word accommodation and hospitality in its literal meaning. People go on a holiday to enjoy themselves and have a good time, so investing in the entertainment area would be another good choice.

Nowadays, people don’t need to bother with details when on their holidays, since usually it’s a short one and they want to make the best of it. So, a planning service, that would provide options from daytrips and thematic nights to transportation means. To conclude, it’s all about comfort and convenience for this decade’s travelers, so take advantage of it and pursue a career in the tourism industry.   

 

A celebration of the senses

 

I want to share with you a personal story that really captures the essence of spring for me and conveys the meaning of a true change of era.

Last spring I was working in the front office of one of the many hotels on the emerald island of Thassos and as expectedly I met many, many people. However, there is one particular couple from Romania that I remember the most. They arrived somewhere around May if I remember correctly, but it isn’t the date of their arrival that matters. As soon as you laid your eyes on them, you could feel how in love they were with each other, how much they cared about one another and essentially an aura of joy, excitement and lust. They stayed in the hotel for about a week, spending their day on the beach, by the pool or laughing while enjoying their drink in the pool bar, radiating with passion and happiness. The night before they left, asked me if I could help them organize their marriage next spring, here, on the island. Of course, I didn’t think much of it because the combination of youth, emotion and long term relationships isn’t a particularly good one.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I received an email from them a couple of days ago, with which they informed me that they wanted to return to the hotel for the first week of May and get married here on the island, exactly as they told me a year ago! My emotions were a strange amalgam of joy, gratefulness and impatience! I was happy for them, grateful that they kept their promise to one another and impatient to welcome them once again to the island and prepare for them the wedding that such a couple deserves. For me it is a true spring love story that presents all the traits of the season that it blossomed in. I’ll keep you updated about the wedding either in the hotel or the municipality of Thassos, either way I’ll try my best to plan for them a ceremony to remember for a long time!

 

Spring cleaning

 

It’s the last day of March and the preparations for the Greek Easter have already started! In most of the houses the spring cleaning has began, the sun starts to shine brighter, the flowers blossom, the carpets are placed back on the attic and those of us who live in big cities, are already looking forward to visit the villages and the countryside around the 12th of April, the date of this year’s Easter Sunday.

The houses aren’t the only ones who are renewed for the upcoming zenith of spring, but also the various accommodation facilities of our magnificent country. Hotels are being renovated, studios and apartments are being refurbished and even new ones are built. Most of them will be open for Easter, waiting to facilitate visitors from Greece, as well as other countries, who are longing to spend their Easter vacations with their loved ones, relaxed and away from everything that is bothering them in their everyday routine.

The weather is markedly better since last week, with the temperature increasing day by day, enabling all of us to get a small taste of the upcoming summer, with the aroma of the flowers and the rejuvenating scent of grass fill us up with hope and joy, as the winter told us its final goodbye!

 

The best restaurants of Thassos

 

When arriving on Thassos island brace yourselves for the gastronomic journey of a lifetime! There are numerous restaurants and taverns scattered around the emerald island of the Aegean Sea that can satisfy even the most peculiar taste.

If you are craving for meat, cooked in the most traditional ways and with recipes passed from generation to generation, then the best choice for you would be to visit one of the taverns of the mountain villages. Ideally, visit Theologos village and ‘Kleoniki’ tavern to try lamb cooked in the charcoal grill, or Panagia village and the tavern ‘Drosia’ and get your hands on traditionally baked pork glazed with thassian virgin oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano and mustard.

If you want to be in the most vibrant village and the capital of the island Limenas, you can choose to have your lunch between ‘Mousses’, ‘Simi’ and ‘Mesogeios’ restaurant and enjoy fresh fish from that morning’s catch cooked perfectly, and just with a refreshing splash of lemon, accompanying your meal with the perfect white wine, while enjoying the view of the alluring sea and the soothing sound of the waves.

If you are in the southern part of the island, in the region of Chryssi ammoudia, either in Skala Potamia and Skala Panagia, you have the option between ‘Fedra’, ‘Theagenis’ and ‘Krambusa’ restaurants and taverns by the longest beach of the island with the thin sand, and taste the local delicacies, the fresh fish, traditional Greek and Mediterranean recipes.

On the other side of the island, right on Pachis beach, lies ‘Leukospilia’ and ‘Pachis’ restaurant that will serve you thassian specialties and the famous traditional walnut sweet.

Last but not least, when you visit Kinira village, don’t miss the chance to try the home-cooked beans, cheese salad and home-made tsipouro (traditional Greek alcoholic drink) of ‘Giorgos’ tavern, and the fresh kalamari of ‘Faros’ restaurant.

 

The Syriza Effect on Tourism

 

There is already much speculation regarding this year’s number of incoming tourists, especially from the northern European countries and how much the Greek syriza government will affect their decision to visit our country.

First of all, even before the elections of January 2015, syriza had announced its opposition against the all-inclusive holiday package, one of the most successful and lucrative hotel packages, in order to strengthen the local economy and entrepreneurs around big resorts, and not only the resort owners.

The German tourists, who consider Greece an old time favorite for their summer holidays, appear to be a bit hesitant about the summer of 2015 according to the booking percentage until now, although after the latest meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Angela Merkel, it appears as if the German Chancellor directs the Germans to boost the tourism of Greece, instead of the tourism of Spain.

On a brighter note, the number of incoming tourists from Eastern Europe is expected to be even higher from last year, especially towards the resorts and hotels of Northern Greece, due to the fact that the distance is smaller and as such, cheaper to travel.

To conclude, the only industry in Greece that remained unaffected (compared to other aspects of the economy) by the financial crisis so far, is the tourism industry. Hotel and accommodation owners hope that this will be the driving force that will guide Greece towards an economy that will flourish once again, regardless the foreign media terrorism towards the potential visitors.

 

Divine climate

 

The island of Thassos is the northernmost island of the Aegean Sea, very close to the shore, with a virgin, green environment and a praised climate. Due to its location in the northeast of Greece, it has less warm climate in comparison with the other islands of the Aegean and thus avoids the scorching temperature highs of other famous holiday destinations.

The climate here is very mild, and generally warm with an average annual temperature around 15 degrees Celsius.  The summer here is dry, especially during August, when the average temperature is approximately 26 degrees Celsius. Thassos remains unaffected by the masses of visitors since they quickly tend to follow the relaxed, thassian way of life, and still considered to be the geographical emerald of the Aegean.

The island of Thassos is protected from the prevailing winds due to its high proximity to the mainland of Greece, enabling the visitors to have the best possible swimming experience, although also resulting to a more humid atmosphere.

Winters in Thassos are quite moderate, and the average temperature is approximately 13 degrees Celsius, with the sun continuing to shine and the visitors still able to take a pleasant stroll by the sea, preferably early in the day, because in the afternoons often rains but not for much.

Moreover, the weather on the emerald of the Aegean is considered ideal during spring and autumn, when you can still enjoy swimming, sunbathing and outdoors activities as if it is a bit cooler summer.

 

Thassos Island: Flora

 

One should expect to come across dense vegetation when visiting Thassos Island, the northernmost island of the Aegean Sea. It is no wonder that it is known as the emerald island due to the green vivid color that portrays to the visitor from a fair distance.

Although there have been several major fires on the island especially during the 80s, the island's flora managed to overcome these catastrophe and once again flourish. Even the island's name is linked with the Greek word 'δάσος-dasos' which means forest.

The vegetation of the island varies, from scrubs such as arbutus, myrtle, rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme, to dense forests of pines, oaks, cedar, fir trees and plane trees. The products and byproducts of the above have always played a great role regarding the income of the locals.

Last but not least, the olive trees that are found all over the island, most of them perennial, which are considered to be the trademark of the island due to the exceptional quality of the thassian extra virgin olive oil and olives, well-known all over the world.

 

Kavala: the ultimate harmony

 

When you first set your eyes on the pearl of the northern Greece, the magnificent city of Kavala, instantly your attention is drawn by the castle and the arches, the first as a prime example of the ottoman architecture and the latter of the Byzantine. But there are plenty more archaeological sites in the city, mainly from the Byzantine and the Ottoman period, such as the ruins of Panagia church, the Mohamed Ali Square, the Hussein Bey Mosque and other smaller monuments all over the old city of Kavala.

The region of Kavala was inhibited even from the prehistoric times because of its natural fortification and later on gained great power and a strategic position, since it’s close to the sea, thus having a port, and next to Via Egnatia that connects the East with the West, resulting to the control of all the distribution channels of goods. That is also one of the reasons that Kavala was known as the Mecca of tobacco, due to the fact that high quality tobacco was cultivated in the region and multiple channels of distribution were used; you can follow the historical path of tobacco by visiting the tobacco museum.

Moreover, Kavala relives the glory of its past via the harmonious coexistence of the old city and the vibrant, modern city that is ready to welcome you with numerous options for accommodation, from luxury hotels to studios or even apartments situated in neoclassical buildings. The options for entertainment also vary from traditional taverns by the sea that will serve you fresh fish and local delicacies to the hippest bars and clubs. So, hurry up and don’t miss your chance to become a small piece of this spectacular city’s history!

 

Financial crisis VS tourism

 

It is common knowledge that the escalation of the worldwide financial crisis had severe consequences on all the financial, social and political activities and developments of the members of the European Union. The relatively high rates of fiscal growth before 2008, followed an extensive recession period which was characterized by a tremendous increase of the unemployment rate, a production reduction and a long, steep drop of the southern Europeans standards of living. As a result, the tourism industry worldwide and in our case in Greece, hasn't stayed unaffected.

On the contrary, according to World Tourism Organization the industry started losing money at the end of 2008 and became one of the last sectors of economy that was affected by the financial crisis. Although the effect  wasn't the same in all of Greece's regions, the absence of thousands of tourists and consequently millions of lost Euros, left one more scar on the already severely injured Greek economy.

This year, everyone from the most successful  hotel owner and restaurateur to the anonymous taxi-driver and shop owner, hopes that things will be finally better compared to last year..for a change! Most of them have already made everything they could  to improve the services and facilities that will provide to the visitors during the summer, wanted to attract not only more tourists but also good quality tourists, such as families and couples that want to come to Greece to enjoy our sea and sun, but  always with respect to the locals and the natural environment of the region they'd choose to visit. 

 

Thassian Ecosystem

 

The natural environment of Thassos Island, as well as its flora and fauna became endangered several times, especially the past two decades, mainly due to huge fires, indiscriminate grazing, reclamation for agricultural purposes, marble and mineral mining and last but not least, new plots for hotels and other kinds of accommodation for the island's numerous visitors.

As a result, parts of the sensitive flora and fauna were extinct and survived just the pine trees, strong and dark, thus making the scenery a bit monotonous and lacking biodiversity. Around 1990, 80% of the forests of the island was destroyed, which led to major damages of the ecosystem of the island, as well as severe financial and social consequences on the local economy. Tourism took a hard blow, beekeeping subsided and generally the island ebbed .

Surveys have shown that the natural environment along with the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea, was the main attraction for the visitors that chose Thassos island (about 44% of the visitors), and tourism was the most important source of income for about 70% of the Thassians.

The reforestation that began very shortly after the fire and continues until this day, helped to restore some of the ecosystem's glory of the past, so that the visitors started calling Thassos the "emerald island" of the Mediterranean again. So the hotels and studios of the island are filling up again and the island an attraction for tourists once again!

 

Bringing kefi back!

 

If you have any Greek friends or ever encountered one in a happy occasion, you will certainly have heard the word kefi (κέφι). It is a bizarre word with a mystical meaning for the non-Greeks because it can't be translated into any other language· it's more a feeling than it is  a word.

Despite the difficulties that the Greek people have undergone throughout their history, their spirit has never been broken and that's exactly what the word kefi represents. Kefi stands for happiness, joy, passion, triumph, pride, excitement, amusement, entertainment, having a good time, or loving life. And all these are exactly what kept the Greeks optimistic and united all these years.

But enough with the lecture, don't you think it's time for you to experience yourselves the true meaning of kefi? Don't put up any longer with the anxiety, sadness and nerves of your everyday routine, accept our invitation for the emerald island of Thasos, pack your bags, book a hotel room in any part of the island and spend your holiday learning the true meaning life. There is a big difference between surviving and truly living and thassian hospitality can be your guide to turn your life around!

 

Thassos island: Pampering at its best

 

I don’t know about you, but personally I’m not the adventure type. When on vacation I just want to relax and pamper myself. On the island of Thassos, in the northernmost part of the Aegean Sea I’ve discovered my hidden tranquility retrieve.

The hotel that I’ve chosen with its exceptional spa facilities, saunas and hammam baths is exactly what I was looking for. After enjoying my morning coffee next to the alluring waters of nearest beach, I trusted myself to the experienced hotel stuff and enjoyed the rest of my day being treated like a queen.

The services vary from massages and facials to saunas and unique hammam baths. In the case of this hotel, there are also a hairdresser and a beautician amongst the hotel personnel, so after my spa treatments I treated myself with an appointment with them as well, before going out exploring the vibrant night life of the island of Thassos.

 

 

On Thassos-In Harmony

 

If you are like me, you are looking desperately to get as close to the sea as possible, when the summer arrives and temperature rises higher and higher. The last few years I’ve discovered my paradise in the form of Thassos island! 

The thing is that I wanted to be on the beach, next to the sea and the soothing sound of the waves for as much time possible. I finally found what I was searching for on the island of Thassos. Here, near almost every beach you can find a hotel or any other type of accommodation, just a stone’s throw away. 

But that’s not the end of it. What’s really unique about the island is the fact that although a hotel might be just 20m away from the turquoise waters of the sea, it still hasn’t exploited its surrounding environment and on the contrary, it only enhances and highlights it, usually with its sophisticated architecture with clean lines that make the hotel look like it has always been there, as a part of thassian nature.

 

 

Thassian olive oil and honey

 

When on your holiday on Thassos island you have the unique chance to taste the local products of the island, which are well-known around the globe. First of all, there is the extra virgin olive oil produced here on the island, from the numerous silver-green olive trees. You’ll find it being sold in every part of the island and you can also taste it everywhere; from the picturesque taverns by the sea to the luxurious hotel restaurants.  Along with the olive oil, try as well the delicious olives and don’t forget to take some with you for your family and friends back home. 

Honey making is a form of art on the island of Thassos, the numerous producers have dedicated their lives on finding the best production techniques, ensuring the quality and the purity of their products. You can have a small taste of the golden treasure of the island and begin your day the possible way, when enjoying your breakfast in the restaurant of your hotel. 

If you have a sweet tooth, Thassos is the right island for you and not only for its luscious honey. Thassians have taken this golden treasure a step further. They use it to make sweets, along with locally grown fruits such as the famous walnut sweet (in Greek ‘karidaki’) and others as well, for instance quince, orange and fig. As a hospitality gesture, when the visitors enter the reception of the hotel they’ve chosen, they are welcomed with some kind of traditional sweet.

 

 

24hours of amusement on Thassos

 

If you are looking for a vibrant summer holiday in Greece, the best possible destination is the emerald island of Thassos with the numerous clubs and beach bars ready to welcome you. Here you can enjoy your coffee or drink by the azure waters of the stunning beaches of the island. You can have your morning coffee in a traditional café, which you’ll find just a few meters of the accommodation you’ve chosen, hotel, studio or a  villa perhaps, since they are scattered all over the island. 

For lunch you can choose the traditional taverns and restaurants by the sea, where you’ll be served local delicacies, and dishes of the Greek cuisine that most definitely will please your palate. If you’re too tired from spending your entire day exploring the villages of Thassos island, you can choose to have your lunch in the restaurant of your hotel, where you’ll have the option of both Greek and international dishes.

When the night falls, it’s time for you to experience the way that Greeks party! The youthful beach bars that serve you cool drinks and imaginative cocktails, are full of locals, as well as visitors of the island who form together a loud, colorful and vivacious mixture that revels until the sun comes up! When you decide that it’s time for you to rest, return to your comfortable bed and tranquility of your hotel room on the majestic island of Thassos!

 

 
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