True Greek hospitality: tradition meets sophistication & genuine experiences
Greek hospitality is known far and wide, and it is something to experience first hand. Your friends and family who have visited the country can tell you stories of when the Greek hospitality exceeded their expectations, when their hosts made sure everything was up to par - and then some, of that time when the locals went the extra mile, or when they suggested a bunch of experiences to reveal what the real Greece is like.
Greek hospitality mainly has to do with the Mediterranean mentality and the warmth of the Greek people, which is very much in line with the Greek sun! Greece is a country blessed with amazing weather, a country that lives and breathes tradition, full of stunning landscapes that exude serenity for the beholder. But each and all of these aspects would have much less value if visitors did not experience a sense of fulfilment where they have chosen to stay. After all, this is where you will return to absorb all the sights and sounds you have experienced during the day.
Very much aware that quintessential hospitality is an amalgam of things that form a holistic holiday experience, here we present two island destinations and genuine experiences therein that achieve precisely that. Guests can indulge in true Greek hospitality, amidst surroundings that fully represent the very best of Greek island life: where tradition is embellished with a touch of luxury, and a dollop of genuine, Greek experiences.
MODERN SOPHISTICATION IN NAXOS - CYCLADES
Possibly the greenest, and definitely the largest island of all the Cyclades, Naxos is much less visited than its more glamorous sisters, Santorini and Mykonos. Like Folegandros, Naxos is an island that is not at all pretentious; rather it has more of a demure character, although it has plenty to boast about. Impressive ancient ruins, the most prominent of which is Apollo’s Gate (Portara) that greets each visitor who approaches the main port. Riveting mountain villages, the most historic and picturesque of which is Apiranthos. It is full of the famous Cycladic whitewashed cube houses, cobbled streets and alleys plus it features some incredible long stretches of beach. Activities that will enrich your stay are hiking, windsurfing, biking and birdwatching which are popular on the island, as well as horse-riding which will allow you relax you while you also filling your mind with beautiful landscape images. Rent a speedboat and access isolated beaches, or if its sailing you prefer, this will also increase your chances of a dolphin sighting! On top of it all, Naxos is also home to medieval venetian mansions which is quite atypical for the Cyclades. With all this cultural wealth for visitors to sample, and especially by choosing to stay someplace that represents the true island feel, such as the Naxian Collection of villas and suites, you can completely immerse into delectable experiences, even at times of repose.
This luxurious little ‘village’ of villas enjoys wonderful views of the island, its green landscapes and the sea, while it fully encapsulates modern sophistication that respects the traditional way of life, also incorporating the local materials of Naxos island. Furthermore, it is committed to surrounding guests with quality: organic gardens are the source and pure, local ingredients are the backbone of their gastronomic options; even in the little things such as homemade, fresh bread, sharing the local cuisine tricks through cooking classes, or even embarking upon a culinary tour to savour every taste of Naxos.
TRADITIONAL ELEGANCE IN LEMNOS - NORTH AEGEAN
An island that is one of the most unexplored, and definitely makes the list of destinations that are ‘off the beaten path’. Lemnos is an island in the north Aegean, located between Greece and Turkey, with its neighbouring islands being the also less known Lesvos and Thassos. The entire north Aegean is an underestimated region of Greece, not due to it lacking incredible experiences, but rather because it is not as cosmopolitan as the Cyclades, for example. Lemnos is connected to Athens by plane with a journey time of about an hour, so there are no excuses that it is not easily accessible. Now that we have established that getting to Lemnos is a piece of cake, here is what to expect on the island.
Sites of natural wonders: salt lakes, sand dunes, volcanic craters, a petrified tree, a waterfall and the strange rocks of Faraklo as well as thermal springs in which you can soak and combine therapeutic treatments & therapies by appointment. You can observe nature with the following: biking or ATV-ing if you prefer a motorised vehicle, as well as birdwatching if that’s your cup of tea. Similarly, if you enjoy getting wet activities, the north Aegean sea lends itself for kitesurfing in Kotsias or Keros beach where you can harness the power of the Greek waves, as well as scuba diving or even fishing! Need a lesson in that? Get it from the locals at Varos Village and experience the real side of Greece. Feel the awe of staying at one of the authentic, traditional windmills that have been part of Lemnos since 1820. Weave yourself into the tapestry of Greek life by sampling the Lemnian gastronomy that has been infused with oriental influences, or learn about the local craft of pottery (even have a go on the potter’s wheel yourself). Take a tour of the nearby winery and sample the bold, local varieties or get involved with the distillation of Tsipouro (stronger than Ouzo) and treat yourself to homemade appetisers while you’re at it. All this on top of stunning beaches, quaint villages, ancient ruins, castles, museums, as well as discovering a mysterious chapel hidden in the bowels of Kakavos mountain.