Search Results For -greece

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Purple Tips: Easter celebrations in Corfu, Greece
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Purple 10: Ultimate Greece Beaches
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In pictures: Why you should take holidays in Greece
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Purple 10: UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Greece
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Greece Holidays
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Get Inspired: Infographic, Why We Love Greece
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Holidays help you live longer: Ikaria Greece
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Travelling to Greece in 2012
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Purple Travel puts Greece back on the Map!
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Group holidays: the whys and wheres

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Get Inspired: Infographic, Why We Love Greece

Greece is a vast landscape of diverse experiences waiting to be discovered. Each of the Greek islands have their own quirks and contrasts, but all are equally stunning and the beaches spectacular. But the real reasons that we love this popular tourist destination are a little less obvious and only become known to  a traveller after they’ve experienced true life in Greece.

Have a look at our infographic with some unusual facts about this fascinating country:

In essence, it’s the idiosyncrasies that we love the most. Here are just a couple of reasons why we love Greece.

The fact that they would rather have a coffee than do pretty much anything else in the world. If you thought that you liked coffee, speak to a Greek and you’ll feel like a total amateur. Frappes are like heroin for the Greek society. A combination of Nescafe, water, condensed milk and a boatload of sugar and ice, the chemical buzz they inflict is almost scary.

Imagine the warm breeze blowing through your hair as you speed to the beach… Mopeds represent a youthful freedom in Greece.  As terrifying as they are invigorating, don’t expect to see the Greeks wearing helmets (ever) or even footwear for that matter. Who says you can’t ride a motorbike in your flip-flops?

The Greeks also love their balconies. Aside from in cafes, they will mostly be seen drinking their frappes at a blue-white table, on a balcony that overlooks the sea. But with such great weather almost all year round – who can blame them?

Whether it’s souvlaki, moussaka or just a Greek salad, you have to admit that Greek food is some of the best in the world (and the cheapest). The seafood is fresh, the vegetables are locally sourced and the plates double as smashing material when cleared. Hurrah!

Rapidly spinning them around their fingers, the men of Greece have used worry beads to combat their stress for centuries. You’ll find them outside most souvenir shops, or for something more luxurious, try Kombologadiko, where the beads are made from semi-precious stones.

Greek women areCITRUS  SHOWERGEL 250ml known for their impeccable skin, and this is generally due to an old quote that has been passed down through generations – “Never put anything on your face that you cannot eat or taste.” For this reason brands such as Korres and Apivita have become extremely successful, containing 85-100% natural ingredients. Their ingredients are not tested on animals and the materials used are kind to the environment.

Basically, when in Greece, you’ll find all sorts of comical and beautiful sights, not to mention delicious tastes, memorable smells of the ocean and a hospitality so warm you can almost feel it.

Holidays help you live longer: Ikaria Greece

Holidays to help you live longer: Ikaria Greece

Do you fancy a holiday that not only boasts beautiful sunshine, but could actually help you live longer? Then head for Ikaria Greece.

A small mountainous Greek Island in the Aegean, the residents there tend to reach an average age of 90. The remote island has long been intriguing scientists, who have been trying to find out why there are more healthy people in their 99th year than anywhere else on earth.

Apart from sunshine, which does wonders, here are a few reasons Ikarians live so long.

  1. Eat your greens Ikarians obviously listen to mum’s advice about eating their greens. There are over 150 varieties on the island, and most of what they eat they grow themselves. There are lots of veggies and beans and little meat and sugar. As well as that, their diet is dipped in extra virgin olive oil, which holds lots of natural antioxidants.
  2. Goats Researchers found that most of the people aged over 90 have been drinking goat’s milk almost every week. It’s easier to digest than cow’s milk and is said to be high in a hormone called tryptophan which reduces stress.
  3. Herbal teas the Ikarians are famous for their herbal teas which contain ingredients to lower blood pressure and even reduce the risk of dementia.
  4. Walk this way Ikaria is a mountainous place – so by default residents get lots of daily exercise by simply walking around, strolling to meet a friend for coffee, or heading down to the beach.
  5. Siesta Ikarians love a nap. A little mid afternoon snooze is said to decrease the chances of a heart attack and make you look and feel younger. So, not only are Ikarian’s a healthy bunch, but good looking to boot! Sleeping-in is a big priority too; people don’t really begin to start their days until around six in the evening.
  6. Laidback That phrase, ‘so laidback they are horizontal’ could have originated here. They don’t wear watches and there’s no hurry… anywhere. If you ask for the time, you won’t get an answer as most Ikarians don’t know, or care. Even other Greeks know it as a laidback island. If for example, you go to a restaurant be prepared to wait… and wait… and wait. If the baker doesn’t want to open up, then he won’t until he is good and ready.
  7. Hot Spring Ikaria has radium bearing hot springs that have been in use since way back in the 4th century BC. It won’t turn you into Superman, but a dip is likely to relieve joint pain and skin conditions, keeping you feeling fit and healthy.
  8. Dancing the night away Ikarians do love a party. Make sure you go to one of  the famous feasts, where you can drink the special wine which Homer called “Pramnios oinos” and where you can learn traditional Ikarian dances.

Book a cheap holiday to Greece with ABTA member Purple Travel today.

Travelling to Greece in 2012

Will the Euro crisis affect my travel plans?

Amid rife media attention regarding Greece‘s poor economic situation, many of our customers are wondering whether now is a good time to visit Greece, and how the crisis will affect their journey. Aside from worries about riots, strikes and a return to Drachma, one of the major concerns is whether hotels and restaurants will be able to survive the downturn in tourism. These fears can be collectively categorised under ‘instability’; people are hesitant to book their holidays in a country whose future appears somewhat unpredictable.

However, we would like to prove you otherwise. There has actually never been a better time to book your holiday to Greece – prices are low, but quality remains high, the Greeks are more warm and welcoming than ever before and conversion rates benefit the UK traveller. And furthermore, not only will you be delighted to discover that your all your worries were unfounded, but visitors to Greece can pat themselves on the back, knowing that they have contributed to saving the future of one of the world’s most beautiful countries.

 

The figures | Numbers are certainly dropping on the tourism scale. More than 2.3 million Brits visited Greece in 2011, but it’s estimated that this year will see some 250,000 fewer British visits. According to reports, only half the normal number of Germans are visiting this year, with many fearing a negative reaction from locals. This decline particularly affects Crete, an island that depends on tourism from the old eastern bloc.  The saddest figures, however, are perhaps those detailing the Greeks themselves.  In general, the Greeks holiday within their own country during summertime – travelling from mainland Greece to one of the islands. Yet this year, the biggest effect for locals is the disappearance of Greek tourists, who just cannot afford to travel in the present economy.

What are the prices like? | Prices in hotels and restaurants, which were relatively low in the first place, have come down even further across the board. There has been a noticeable devaluation throughout Greece, despite that they are still in the euro. This is due to a simple equation: as wages are cut, the local population is forced to spend less, so prices come down, so business owners earn less, so they spend less etc etc…

What about the strikes? | While Greece is so dependent on tourism, there have been less and less strikes – especially now that elections are over. In fact, there have been no strikes in Athens in the past four months to date, so chances that you will be caught up in one of them, are slim to none.

Should I take cash? | Many retail outlets, restaurants and cafes are already asking for cash rather than accepting cards, particularly in the smaller islands. Another reason why cash is necessary is that some ATMs might cease to operate while there is uncertainty about the currency. Dana Facaros, author of the Cadogan Guide to the Greek Islands, warned: “It is not a problem (yet) on the big islands such as Corfu, but I can imagine you might get caught out on a small island, especially one with only one or two ATMs. Greece isn’t having a bank run, more of a slow motion bank walk.”

Which holiday should I book? | For starters, let us tell you that Greece needs you right now. One in five of the working Greek population is employed in the tourism industry, and the income this industry brings in accounts for 17% of GDP. We have some great deals on package holidays to Greece right now, ensuring that these people keep their livelihood. There is an argument that northern Greece will benefit most, and the smaller islands that are currently struggling. Why not take a ferry to beautiful and lesser known islands such as Hydra, Skiathos, Aegina or Paros? Islands with airports such as Corfu, Crete or Mykonos will always have tourists, but the north and the smaller islands will suffer most this summer.

How can I travel there more ethically? | The answer is simple: eat out every night (food is cheap and delicious so you’ll have no problems there), make sure any produce you buy is grown in Greece, not imported, enjoy a few drinks in the local bars, explore the nearby shops and purchase local crafts for souvenirs. As aforementioned – aim to travel around while you’re away, so you spread your money around a little.

Purple Travel puts Greece back on the Map!

Tourism in Greece has been on the rise and Purple Travel is working on increasing tourism to the beautiful Greek Islands even further. We believe in supporting the local economy where so many tourists have found everything from lazy beachside holidays, to lively nights out, to ancient wonders. In order to help support the cause, we sent out a video crew this past August to invade the best islands for tourism and get the British perspective on where to go and what to do when you’re there.

Greece is a beautiful country, full of astonishing beaches, quality hotels, amazing food and friendly people. The economic downturn put a damper on tourism in Greece at the start of the summer. The situation turned around quickly when Greece and Purple Travel came to the rescue of those who had lost their holidays to Turkey due to the collapse of Goldtrail and Kiss Flights (two tour operators who specialized in cheap flights to popular Turkish destinations).

Greece comes as the natural alternative to holidays in Turkey because of its similar climate, location, and beaches. However, Greece has a much better reputation when it comes to quality hotels – and the options are almost endless. In the past, Greece has always been a pricier destination for that reason. This year, though, because of the abundance of flights and lowering hotel prices to attract more tourism, Greece has started to rise from the ashes. Purple Travel wants to sustain the trend of increasing tourism in Greece so that you – the traveler – can take advantage of what this beautiful country has to offer. Purple Travel is making it easy for you to choose Greece as your next summer holiday destination, and by doing so, help to contribute to the economic recovery of the country.

Purple Travel is an avid supporter of Greek Tourism – so much so that we make sure all our travel advisors have more intimate knowledge of Greece than any other travel agent in the UK. If you’re shopping for a holiday to Greece – or just looking for some advice on the destination – visit Purple Travel. If your sights are set on a winter-sun destination, we have everything you need for that too!

To follow the making of the Video Invasion in Greece, subscribe to the newsletter here!

Group holidays: the whys and wheres

group holidays

As with most things, holidays are something best enjoyed with good company. After all, few people haven’t dreamt of packing up their things, taking their mates along and embarking on a holiday that will make history. Nonetheless, most of times group holidays seem to be a daunting prospect. Be it the fact that most people have to worry about day jobs and paying their rent, life seems to get in the way of the perfect group vacation more often than not. In case however, that you decide to go, another set of challenges might arise and in order to overcome these, you have to be prepared. Since we ‘re always about helping you with your holidays, we have gathered some of the best advice and suggestions of places to visit, in order to help you organise your perfect holiday without breaking your friends’ hearts, bones and of course the bank.

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