Category - Greece

Let Purple Travel guide you on a journey through Greece and the Greek Islands, inspiring you with things to do and see and places to stay in this beautiful country

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Hidden Gems in Greece: Addictive Karpathos Island
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Holidays in Greece: Amazing Sunrises
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Purple 10 really weird museums
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Purple 10: Food in Greece
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Purple Tips: best beach bars in Greece
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Purple Pick: Crete Family Holidays
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Purple Tips: Easter celebrations in Corfu, Greece
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Purple 10: Ultimate Greece Beaches
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Purple 10: UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Greece
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Greece Holidays

Hidden Gems in Greece: Addictive Karpathos Island

Tucked away between Rhodes and Crete, Karpathos Island is another hidden paradise in Greece, home to spectacular beaches, perfect blue waters and a completely relaxed atmosphere. And yet, despite a recent rise in popularity, once you arrive it’ll  feel like you’re the first person to set foot on this hidden gem in Greece.

Start off with a visit to the award-winning beach of Apella, hidden among green mountains, it’s a tropical setting, in the middle of the Dodecanese.

Apella

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Holidays in Greece: Amazing Sunrises

Holidays in Greece are often about the sunsets over the caldera of Santorini, although it doesn’t really get a look in, we’re rooting for the underdog and think that sunrise is just as good a time to be out in the world as sunset, in fact it’s even more magical. And there is no better place to escape the crowds, soak up the dusky glow of the sun as it faces the day and take an early morning dip than in one of the beautiful Greek islands. Discover the majesty of sunrise in Greece this year.

Sunrise over Elounda Bay in Crete

holidays in Greece: sunrise elounda bay

Image via @ PICrerar

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Purple 10 really weird museums

A spy museum, all you’ve ever wanted to know about toilets and real life samples from Big Foot, we’ve got 10 really weird museums from around the world for your pleasure.

museum mosaic 1

  1. Want to become a spy? Actually, can we just ask, who doesn’t? Well, now you can, for a day anyway, at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC, USA. We’re talking gadgets, code breaking and generally being a bit James Bond as you learn about the history of secret agents and get to grips with a life of espionage.
  2. Iceland’s Phallological Museum in Reykjavik, is as the name suggests all about biology and takes it very seriously too. It is home to a collection of more than 215 penis specimens from various mammals found in the wild all over the island including a walrus, a rogue polar bear, a whale. There are also four examples from humans, but we didn’t ask where they came from.
  3. We always hear of the priceless art found in countless cities throughout the world, but what about the bad stuff? The Museum of Bad Art in Boston claims to be the only one of its kind in the world. Featuring art that’s ‘too bad to be ignored’ it features plenty of paintings of dodgy blue people, symbols that don’t mean much and some weird uses of nudity.
  4. For all you’ve ever wanted to know about the humble toilet, you could do worse than the International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi. The curators tell us: ‘the toilet is a part of the history of human hygiene which is a critical chapter in the growth of civilisation.’
  5. Athens is well known for its museums filled with thousands of years of artefacts that document the birthplace of science and democracy. We like the Tactual Museum, where you’re actively encouraged to touch everything. There are all kinds of replicas, statues and frescoes that you can get up close and personal with.
  6. The Hair Museum of Avanos in Cappadocia, Turkey is a fairly simple idea, but definitely one of the most bizarre things you’ll see. In a room under an unassuming pottery shop, you’ll find caves covered with a collection of over 16,000 locks of hair from women from all over the world. It’s free to enter, and women can leave a lock of their own if they want.
  7. For the latest information and conjecture on the likes of Big Foot, the Montauk Monster, or the Abominable Snowman, then the Cryptozoology Museum, in Portland, USA is a good place to start. It claims to have ‘actual samples’ of hair and unique pieces of evidence from mythical creatures from all over the world.
  8. Your green fingers will start tingling when you hear about the British Lawnmower Museum. As you would expect, it’s dedicated to all things grass cutting and is home to specialised gardening machines, vintage lawnmowers and all manner of parts and conservation materials from all over the world. A truly British experience.
  9. If you’ve got a weak stomach, it might be best to skip the Paris Sewer Museum. You’re guided through the tunnels and pummelled by historical and factual information about the famous underground areas that have featured in French literature including Les Miserables and Phantom Of The Opera.
  10. Love chips? So do we and so do the Belgians apparently, if the Friet Museum is anything to go by. The ground floor offers a 10,000 year potted history of the humble spud and it’s development into the tasty chip we know and love today.

You should read… Amazing Days Out: Pig Museum Stuttgart

Purple 10: Food in Greece

From the freshest fruit and vegetables to mountains of cheese, perfectly grilled meats and desserts dripping with honey, Greece knows its food. Here’s what you should eat on your next holiday to the Mainland or the famous Greek Islands. Enjoy our Purple Travel guide to the best food in Greece.

FetaFeta via @ Grongar

Greek Salad

Greek Salad via @ Roger.salzGyrosGyros via @ Burger Baroness

OctopusGrilled Octopus via @ Klearchos KapoutsisPastitsio

 Pastitsio via @ Wikicommons 

Stuffed Vine Leaves

Stuffed Vine Leaves via @ Avlxyz

Tzatziki

Tzatziki via @ traaf

Frappe

Frappe via @ Avlxyz

LoukoumadesLoukoumades via @ Wikicommons

Bougatsa

Bougatsa via @ wikicommons

Purple Tips: best beach bars in Greece

Along with the perfect, well kept, golden sandy beaches, sparkling, crystal clear warm waters and buckets of sunshine, Greece is famous for its beach bars. Make it a mega summer with our top 5 best beach bars in Greece. Sit back, relax, grab a cocktail and enjoy!

Beach Bars in Greece: TherosImage via @ anjči

THEROS WAVE BAR, Santorini
On the exclusive Eros beach in Santorini, you’ll find the exotic Theros Wave Bar. Made entirely of wood and right on the beach, there are plenty of loungers, transparent warm waters, and excellent service, it’s a relaxed choice for day or night to enjoy a refreshing mojito.

Beach Bars in Greece: superparadiseImage via @ Diego Cosenza

SUPER PARADISE, Mykonos
Just outside Mykonos Town, Super Paradise is where to see and be seen. It’s one of the most alternative beach bars on the island. It’s found in a beautiful bay, is nude friendly, and has excellent fresh cocktails. They say it best: “Super Paradise is for almost everyone who wants to have fun in the sun amidst an eclectic crowd, with or without your clothes.”

Banana beach barImage via @ banana beach bar 

BANANA BEACH BAR, Skiathos
Loud music, great cocktails, a stunning beach; you’d be hard pushed to find a better beach bar on Skiathos than Banana. Go with your mates to get your night out started, or with your other half to soak up a dreamy sunset.

UPDATE: It is believed that Banana Beach Bar might be closed now but there are other bars on Banana Beach so don’t worry if you go we are sure you will find an excellent place!

Aloha

Image via @ sundayfundays

ALOHA BAR, Corfu
One of Corfu’s trendiest venues, the Aloha Bar packs them in all day and all night. The sun, sea and sand is the perfect combination for really letting loose on holiday and the cocktails are to die for.

manassu

Image via @ Nick Papakyriazis

BEACH BAR MANASSU, Sithonia-Halkidiki
The beaches in Halkidiki are like a secret that only Greeks know about. They are practically perfect, and just because it’s not an island does not mean you should stay away. The Beach Bar Manassu is a great choice. It is renovated every year to give customers a new experience every time. Its unique architecture, great service and delicious cocktails make it a must-see on any holiday.

Purple Pick: Crete Family Holidays

Chania

Family beaches

Marathi Beach is ideal for Crete family holidays with small children. It’s very protected, the water is calm and even in August when the famous Meltemi winds are high, this stays more sheltered than most. Grab your bucket and spade and head for the beach!

Elafonisi is a bit of a trek, but the water is clear and perfect and it’s great for swimming. About two hours from Chania, it’s well worth the day trip and the kids will love it.

Stalis Beach is very clean and just a short drive from Heraklion. Boasting the softest of sands and very clean waters. Just watch out if the wind picks up as the water can get a bit choppy.

You should read… The best family friendly beaches in Crete

Time travel

The old town in Chania makes for a great afternoon of exploring. It’s a little touristy, but we’re willing to bet kids will enjoy watching the boats come in at the harbour, stopping for ice cream in a cafe and wandering the winding streets.

Knossos Palace is a huge site where kids can learn about life dating as far back as 1900 BC. The best option is to get a tour guide to show you around and enthral you and your kids with the legends of ancient Minoan society.

Food in Crete is a way of life. Cretans take their food very seriously. So why not head out for an evening enjoying local favourites like dakos, dolmades or bougatsa for breakfast.

You should read… What to eat in Crete

Days Out

There are thousands of caves dotted throughout the island; Head for Dikteon Cave, on the Lassithi Plateau in the east of Crete, where legend has it Zeus was born. It’s open every day, so if you get fed up of the beach, it’s an obvious choice.

The Museum of Sea Life in Rethymno is located in a former abbey and has a huge display of all kinds of fish, fossils and shells, offering a good afternoon out.

Hike a gorge definitely one for more active or older children, Crete is actually home to several spectacular gorges. There are routes right along the coast and although some of them can be tough, it’s well worth it for the views out to see. Head for the Samaria Gorge, one of Europe’s longest at 18km.

The Aquaworld Aquarium and Reptile Rescue Centre in Hersonissos is the perfect way to discover the underwater world. Learn about the marine life of Crete with hundreds of fish and reptiles, get your picture taken with an unusual reptile and get up close and personal with a shark.

Water Parks

Aqua Plus in Hersonissos has tonnes of water rides to suit all ages. Just check out the names they’ve given the rides, how could anyone resist giving the Acquaslalom, Black Holes, Kamikaze Hydrotube or Crazy River a go?

WaterCity in Heraklion is the largest water park on the island. Offering 36 different slides, pools and amusements, as well as a couple of bars and restaurants, you can spend all day long here and not get tired.

Image via @ gterez

Purple Tips: Easter celebrations in Corfu, Greece

If you’re looking for ideas for the fast-approaching May bank holiday, take a second to think about Greece. Not only is the weather heating up, there are great deals to be had because it’s early in the season, and in early May Orthodox Easter is well under way so you can immerse yourself in something really different. So, grab the chance and get a first hand experience of the Corfu’s customs and traditions.

Corfu 1

Flickr/Ioeanu/Creative Commons

Easter celebrations in Corfu are a really special experience for visitors. During this time, various aspects of Corfiot traditions come together. You’ll find pagan tradition, Orthodox faith, the Catholic community, Venetian influences and marching bands all blending in with the Corfu Spring.

Traditional costumes

Flickr/Ioeanu/Creative Commons

During Holy Week (Megali Evdomada) visitors can experience the many events that take place, just bear in mind that many of these are religious ceremonies, and should be treated as such. The grand finale of the Corfiot Easter customs is the breaking of the ceramic jugs (kanatia).

This custom takes place in the Old Town of Corfu, where all the balconies and jugs are adorned with red ribbons. As soon as the bells of the first Resurrection ring at 12 o’ clock sharp, Corfiots throw the jugs filled with water off the balconies. The custom dates back to the Venetian occupation of the island. For the people of Corfu the breaking of the ceramic jugs signifies the end of winter, a new beginning and the birth of spring. Visitors usually keep a piece of the broken jug for luck.

YouTube Preview Image

Another Easter custom of Corfu is Mastela. According to the tradition, residents of Corfu put a wooden barrel tied with ribbons and myrtles outside their houses and urge passers-by to throw in some coins. At the end of the day, when the Resurrection bells ring, somebody has to dive in the barrel and take out the coins. Oh, we wouldn’t mind that job!

Also, because Orthodox Easter falls late this year, the lucky visitors of Corfu can celebrate the 1st of May (May Bank Holiday) in that all beautiful lush green scenery by having a picnic in the central Spianada square or on one of the superb beaches to soak up all the sun, sea and sand they can handle. Corfiots, and in general all Greeks, celebrate this day with excursions in the countryside or by the beach, so it would be a great chance to interact with the locals.

Purple 10: Ultimate Greece Beaches

So you want the perfect beach for your summer holiday, but can’t decide where? It’s well known that Greece has some of the most jaw-dropping beaches you’ll ever see in your life and this year, it’s better value than ever before. So, with that in mind, we’ve asked some Greek friends to tell us their favourite secluded little hideaways along the Hellenic Coastline. It was hard to get them to reveal their secrets, but they did eventually, so use this information wisely! Here’s the ultimate list of the best Greece beaches.

1. Xigia Beach – Zante: If you’re driving to this glorious beach in Zante, you’ll need to get ready to abandon it and pop down a small path to a practically undiscovered beach.

Xigia Beach

Image via @ travelnblog

2. Fokos Beach – Mykonos: A quiet and secluded one, Fokos is surrounded by fabulous scenery, very different to the rest of the island. It’s ideal for sunbathing and eh, nudism! “A quiet beach on a noisy island. Definitely worth a visit!” – Nikos

Fokos Beach Mykonos

Image via @ GanMed64

3. Seychelles Beach – Ikaria: Seychelles is one of the most scenic beaches on Ikaria Island. The pebbled seashore is surrounded by rocks and caves creating a breathtaking  spot to completely soak up the sun. You can access the beach by walking on a path along the river bed. “Boasting stunning turquoise waters, this beach makes you think you are on an exotic island away from the hectic routine” – Elina

Ikaria where you live longer from PurpleTravel.co.uk

Image via @ www.lookabout.gr

4. Anthony Quinn Beach – Rhodes: The beach is named after the well-known actor, as it was used as the shooting place of the film ‘The Guns of Navarone’. It’s small but perfectly formed. It’s around  200 meters long with beautiful sand and some pebbles and rocks both in and out the sea.

Anthony Quinn beach


Anthony Quinn Beach via @ Wikicommons

5. Sarakiniko – Milos Island: This beach on Milos could be added to the list of natural wonders of the world, thanks to its moonscape-style landscape. “I recommend Sarakiniko beach on Milos Island for swimming, diving or photo shooting on the whitewashed rocks” – Maria

Sarakiniko

Image via @ Roban Kramer

6. Agios Sostis – Parga, Western Greece: Surrounded by lush greenery, this isolated beach has small pebbles and great waters for swimming and snorkelling. At the end of the beach, you’ll also find a small church carved into the rocks! “I recommend Agios Sostis beach in Parga for absolute relaxation, as it is guaranteed that you’ll have the whole beach and crystal clear waters to yourself ” – Paris

agios_sostisImage via @ www.trekearth.com

7. Achla – Andros Island: Achla is only accessible by sea or on off road Jeeps  The calm bay is totally protected from strong winds and is the ideal stretch of sand to completely unwind.

52632_bImage via @ www.in.gr

8. Egkremnoi – Lefkada Island: A charming beach that equals those of the Caribbean, thanks to its turquoise waters and long stretches of powder white sand. The beach is named after the giant rocks forming a natural cloak. Ideal for those seeking secluded beaches for absolute relaxation, but are fit enough for the 300 steps leading there. “My personal favourite beach on Lefkada. Amazing waters and idyllic scenery. Stepping down felt like flying!”- Eleni

Egremnoi

 

9. Mpalos (Gramvousa) – Chania, Crete: The warm, crystal clear waters, together with the stunning colour of the sand and the peaceful atmosphere create an idyllic setting at Mpalos Beach. This tranquil slice of perfection is only available to a select few dedicated enough to access it by rocky roads and long walks.

Mpalos beach

Image via @ www.jenny.gr

10.  Plateia Ammos – Kefalonia: The beach of Plateia Ammos in Kefalonia is where to go to rejuvenate body and mind. It’ll likely be deserted thanks to the tricky access via 400 steps, but when you get there, we promise it’s well worth it.

platia_ammos_1Image via @ kefalonia-tours

 

Purple 10: UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Greece

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1.
Pythagoreion and Heraion (Πυθαγόρειο και Ηραίο Σάμου) Samos Island The remains of the ancient fortified port Pythagoreio, as well as the Heraion, temple of the Samian Hera, have been listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1992.

800px-Meteora_1_evlahos

2. Metéora (Μετέωρα) – Metéora, literally means “in the heavens above,” and you’ll realise why the moment you arrive. It consists of six Greek Orthodox monasteries built on huge natural sandstone rock pillars in central Greece. Metéora was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

800px-Palaio_Frourio_in_Kerkyra

3. Corfu Old Town (Παλιά Πόλη της Κέρκυρας) – The Old Town of Corfu Island features two forts designed by renowned Venetian engineers and is filled with neoclassical, as well as Venetian influenced buildings. It is considered to be home to some of the best and most authentic remaining ruins in the world. The Old Town of Corfu has been included among the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2007. 

Akropoli_panselinos

image by Tsouratzis Giannis

4. The Acropolis of Athens  (Ακρόπολη Αθηνών) – Quite possibly the most famous of the lot, the Acropolis is a huge collection of architecturally perfect buildings, natural landscapes, the historic and dramatic Parthenon and was the scene of some of ancient Greece’s most important moments. You shouldn’t leave Athens before you see one of the most important expressions of Greek architecture, listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites since 1987.

arxaia-olimpia
5. Olympia (Ολυμπία) – The ancient sanctuary of Olympia is famous for giving the name to the Olympic Games and as a sanctuary of the gods, Zeus in particular. In the Peloponnesos region, it was listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1989.

Lions-Gate-Mycenae
6. Mycenae (Οι Μυκήνες) – Thanks to the famous Lion’s Gate and Treasury of Atreus, the archaeological site of Mycenae has been listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 1999. Found in the Peloponnesos region, it’s an important site dating back to the 15th and 13th century BC.

Delos - Lion street
7. Delos (Δήλος) – Greek mythology tells us Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis; so, the sacred island was one of the most important pan-Hellenic sanctuaries. Listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1990.

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8. Ancient Theater of Epidaurus (Αρχαίο Θέατρο Επιδαύρου) – The excellent acoustics and almost perfect condition gave the ancient theater of Epidaurus a place among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1988. It’s a highlight to visit and enjoy a performance with the crowds in summer.

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9. Delphi (Δελφοί) – In 1987, the sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, and was once called the ‘naval of the world’, was included among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

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10. Rhodes Μedieval Town (Μεσαιωνική πόλη της Ρόδου) – The Medieval Town of Rhodes, also known as the Town of Knights, was once a great stronghold where knights fell and bitter battles fought. It is an outstanding example of an architectural heritage illustrating the island’s history. Rhodes Town was listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1988.

Get the best deal for cheap holidays on your favourite historic holiday of discovery right now from Purple Travel. Call today on 0207 993 9228 for more.

Greece Holidays

Navagio-Beach-from-Purple-Travel

There’s never been a better time to go on holidays to the beautiful, historic and cultural delight that is Greece. Whether it’s a trip to the ancient acropolis in Athens, the sun drenched romance of Santorini or the epic water sports fun you can find in Paros, Greece should be your top choice for a summer holiday. And here’s why…

Beach: You’re looking for one of those utterly relaxing holidays, with long stretches of perfect sandy beaches, sparkling blue water that’s the perfect temperature and secluded coves to relax in? Then head for Zakynthos, or Zante as its known. Home to some of the best beaches in the whole country, even the locals will suggest it. Keep an eye out for the famous Shipwreck beach, which covers postcards sent all over the world.

Party: Paradise Beach in Mykonos is where the beautiful people mingle, where you’ll dance your sandals off and where you’ll watch the sun come up and go down as music fills the air. Grab your glad rags and make sure you spend a few days topping up that tan, before you hit the party capital of the island.

Relax: Paros and its little neighbor Antiparos are perfect for long lazy days in the sunshine. Grab a water taxi and head for one of the breathtaking sandy beaches, where you’ll find a little taverna, a couple of other lazy bones, loungers and the perfect spot under the hot Greek sunshine.

With the kids: Head for Crete. The largest Greek island is a perfect kid’s paradise. There are miles of beaches, loads of restaurants and eateries, bucket loads of water parks, excellent child friendly hotels and amazing facilities across the whole island.

Couples Greece holidays: Without a doubt, the best choice for couples looking for Greece holidays is Santorini. The romance is palpable in the air, from the moment you set foot on this splendid island. There are sugar cubed houses, secluded vineyards, sparkling blue waters and incredible views. Kamari and Perissa are beautiful Greece holiday resorts and ideal for couples.

Have you got any other suggestions for Greek beach getaways? If you want to go on Greece holidays this year, talk to Purple Travel now and save.

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