Sam Armytage says “Greeks know how to live”

Greek holiday

Popular Australian TV morning host Samantha Armytage has fallen madly and deeply in love with Greece and who can blame her!

After taking a holiday to Greece last year to celebrate a friend’s wedding in Mykonos and spending time in Athens, Sam says she experienced the best food, hospitality, beaches and also tells the world, “Greeks know how to live.”

Read Sam Armytage’s write up on her love affair with Greece, which was shared in the Daily Telegraph today. 

“I TOOK a holiday in Greece last year, lobbing in with some locals (long-time family friends) for a big, fat, fun-tabulous three-day wedding. Which, along with the toga and souvlaki, those brilliant Greeks invented — and still execute beautifully.

The trip was fuelled by the best food I’ve ever eaten, filled with the most outrageous, hospitable, gregarious people I’ve ever met (plus a few European royals!) and punctuated by days lazing on blue boats in even bluer seas, lots of carefree laughs, and even more delicious tucker.

Greek holiday
*Photo of Sam in Mykonos on her IG page @sam_armytage

The Greeks know how to live. If I could have bottled this ability and brought it home on the Qantas flight I would. But alas, I got as far as Dubai and the memories of the octopus and those tomatoes stuffed with rice were fading as quickly as my tan.

While my Greek friends are fun (and did I mention their food?), what I adore about them most is their pride in their culture. They are great storytellers — the way to any journo’s heart — and even the youngsters at the dinner table tell ancient tales that could rival the guides at the magnificent Acropolis Museum.

Hearing stories about gods and goddesses by candlelight on a warm Greek summer night will beat anything TV can offer. Yes, even Sunrise… although we too create order out of the chaos of the universe every morning. (Confession: I was so inspired on my return to Australia, I named my four chooks Harmonia, Persephone, Calliope and Eos.)

*Sam shared food shots from her Greek holiday on her IG page

Yes, my name is Samantha Armytage and I love Aristotle, Socrates and Plato. I like to think of those major philosophers as the first A-list celebrities. Rock stars, if you like. They were well-known, wealthy and powerful, the masses hung on their every word and they had to endure rumours about their sexual preferences. And they have a longevity that Paris Hilton can only dream of. Now this might sound flippant, but one century’s Pericles is another century’s (Brad) Pitt. No-one embraced celebrity culture more than ancient Athens. Humans through the ages have looked for role models in society, and for good or bad these mere mortals become heroes. Their thinkers were superstars.

And in a similar way to us, their best musicians and boxers and soldiers were the ones they most admired. Deep down we like to think our best-known people — the ones whose homes and hairstyles and relationships we admire and pore over in the tabloid magazines — also have the best morals and values and manners.”

*This story first appeared in The Sunday Telegraph Stellar Magazine. 

Food Tourism in Greece: A Destination for Every Taste

From wineries to cheese workshops and cattle farms; Greece is becoming a true foodie paradise with guided tours and museums as an added bonus.


With so many amazing places to visit in Greece, when it comes to booking a vacation, the biggest problem is often how to pick a destination. Well if you love Greek food (and if you don’t, you’re probably doing it wrong), here’s a suggestion: why not let your belly decide?

Food tourism in Greece is bigger than ever. Oinotourism, or wine tourism, has been leading the way, with ever more well-designed wineries around the country offering comprehensive and delightful tasting tours. But did you know that you can also go mushroom hunting, visit farms, take cooking classes, and visit museumsfocused on the making of traditional sweets?

Depending on what you’re looking for – wine, olives, marmalades, cheeses (it’s cheeses, isn’t it?), or something else, there is a place or a route that’s perfect for you. Below are some of Greece’s best interactive foodie destinations, arranged geographically to help you plan your trip.

CYCLADES

Aglaia’s Table
Aglaia Kremezi is a cookbook author who, along with her husband Kostas Moraitis and their small group of coworkers, also runs a farm in Ioulis. At this farm, you’re welcome to join them on gastronomic adventures including cooking lessons, tastings of wine, olive oil, cheese and honey, combined with walking and guided tours around the surrounding villages, beaches, and archeological sites. Every season features a different program. In the fall, for example, you can take part in the production of olive oil.
Ioulis, Kea, Tel. 22880.21917, 693.2413205. Go for one to six days, or arrange a custom visit. You have to call ahead.
Sikourtis Loukoumia
It is said that the secret behind the loukoumia (Turkish delight) of Syros is the semi-salty water from the Aghios Athanasios spring. For sure it also has to do with the copper cauldrons in which they were – and are still – cooked. The Sikourtis family makes them in this traditional way, ensuring their product always comes out as delicious as it was in the old days. Here, you can watch the loukoumia being made, sample the various flavors, and go on a guided tour of the Industrial Museum of Ermoupouli, curated by Ms Sikourti, where you’ll find objects saved from the old closed-down loukoumi stores that were once the pride of the island.
Ermoupolis, Syros, Tel. 22810.81390, 697.745.5145. Only by appointment.Cooking Lessons with Nikoleta Delatola Foskolou
Nikoleta Delatola Foskolou is an author and an expert on Cycladic cuisine. She welcomes you with warm hospitality, makes you feel at home, and teaches you the local cooking methods and recipes using seasonal ingredients from her own vegetable patch, and meat and fish from the island. You’ll feed the animals, learn how to cultivate vegetables, get familiar with the island’s culinary history, and have a barbecue. Everything you try, from the wild artichokes to the cured meats, the bread and spoon sweets is homemade.

Smourdia, Tripotamos, Tinos, Tel. 22830.23506. Only by appointment.
Farmers Cheesemakers

Using modern equipment, Giorgos Syrianos and Thanasis Kousathanas make cheese using fresh goat and sheep’s milk from around the island. The cheese workshop, near the busy Psarrou area, is new but has already gained a great reputation. They make traditional local cheesessuch as ksinotyro (“sour cheese”, aged for 5-12 days), tyrovolia (a soft spread locals often enjoy with pita bread), and two versions of the famous kopanisti (one is matured and sharp, the other younger and lighter). You can buy cheese to take home, of course, and they also organize cooking classes on occasion, with a focus on Mykonos’ traditional cuisine and cheeses.

Mykonos Farmers, Aghios Lazaros, Mykonos, Tel. 22890.23970. Open Mon-Fri 08.00-21.00 from April to October. During the winter only by appointment.
 
Vallindras Distillery

There is an old mansion in Halki on Naxos, where the Vallindras family have been producing their liqueurs from the peel of the islands citron fruits since 1896. A member of the family will gladly show you around the distillery, with its old stills, bottles, and bottling tools, and tell you about the art of distillation and the history of this famous Naxian liqueur. The highlight is the tasting hall next to the showroom, where you can purchase liqueur to take home.

Halki, Naxos, Tel. 22850.31220. Open Mon-Fri 09.30-23.00, or by appointment.
 
Domaine Sigalas

Wine tourism has been a growing industry in Santorini for years, thanks to their excellent wines, which are some of the best Greece has to offer. At the Sigalas Estate, you’ll experience something very different from the busy atmosphere around the caldera. In the lush garden by the vineyard, in front of the winery which looks more like a rich farmhouse, you’ll taste the wide range of their incredible wines and spirits. You can also enjoy a fantastic meal, cooked with local ingredients.

Baxes, Oia, Santorini, Tel. 22860.71644, www.sigalas-wine.com. Open Mon-Fri 10.00-20.30, and Sat-Sun 11.00-20.30.

14 Delightful little Greek words you absolutely need to know

When Shakespeare famously wrote ‘It all sounds Greek to me’, he pretty much summed up how the Greek language has sounded to foreign ears since always. Unintelligible as it may seem to you, Greek is notoriously rich in expressions and meanings, so that’s one reason you want to tackle with it; but more importantly, if you’re planning a visit to Greece, learning some basic Greek can be just the thing to make your travel experience a whole less complicated. But if you thought this means sweating over that dry English-Greek dictionary, think again, because we’re here to introduce you to the Greek words and phrases you actually need to know, be it because of useful, or just plain awesome they are.

#1 Yia Sou

Possibly the most essential Greek phrase, and one of the most common Greek greetings, ‘yia sou’ [jaː su] is an informal way of saying ‘hello’. What your Greek phrasebook probably won’t tell you though, is that ‘yia’ is a shortening for ‘iyia’ [ijiːa], which means ‘health’ in Greek – i.e. you greet people by literally wishing them good health (isn’t that the sweetest?). The slightly more polite version is ‘yia sas’ [jaː sas], which you probably want to use with strangers, older people, etc.

#2 Yia Mas

As you can probably guess, ‘yia mas’  [jaː mas] is also a wish for good health, but this time our own. Unlike ‘yia sou’, ‘yia mas’ isn’t a greeting, but the standard toast we Greeks make before sipping down that glass of alcohol in our hand. So if you’re planning on exploring the world-famous Athens nightlife, this is a phrase you’ll most likely hear a lot. If someone raises a glass to you saying ‘yia mas’, return the toast simply by repeating it yourself. Pretty easy, right?

#3 Kalimera

‘Kalimera’ [kalimeːra] is another super basic/useful/beautiful word, literally translating into ‘good day’. Technically, you’re supposed to use it until 12:00, after which it’s preferable to say ‘kalispera’   [kalispeːra] – i.e. ‘good afternoon’. Both words are pretty easy to pronounce, so if you want to impress your Athens tour guide or the Greek restaurant owner you just met, casually throwing a ‘kalimera’ or ‘kalispera’ in the conversation will probably get you a warm pat on the back (or, in the latter case, even a drink or small dish on the house).

#4 Malaka

Speaking of basic Greek, ‘malaka’ is technically the Greek equivalent for the J word, or the A word – you get the point – which is why most tourists, hearing Greeks use this word literally all.the.time., think they’re perpetually quarrelling. However, ‘malaka’ is equally often used as ‘dude’ or ‘mate’, while sometimes it is simply uttered a general exclamation of surprise or amazement at what you just heard. For the time being we don’t advise you to use this word yourself lest you get the context wrong but, still, it can come in very handy knowing what ‘malaka’ means, especially if you’re around youths.

#5 Ela

As you’ve probably figured by now, we love those Greek words with multiple meanings, and ‘ela’ [e:la] is one of them too. Its basic meaning is ‘come‘ or ‘come on’, but Greeks also use it 99% of the time to informally answer the phone when they know whose calling. Obviously they don’t expect the caller to come over, so why they came to use ‘ela’ as a way of acknowledging who they’re talking to will remain yet another mystery of the fascinating Greek culture.

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The Incredible Balance of Kea

Located only one hour away from Attica and perfect for a weekend getaway, Kea is a rich Cycladic world teeming with surprises

As you approach the island of Kea (also known as Tzia) you are greeted by its wild western slopes, the port of Korissia and, in the distance, Ioulida – the island’s capital (or Chora). Pretty and low-key it is among the most charming in the entire Cyclades.

The first impression is that Kea’s landscape is typical of the Cyclades, yet behind this exterior, Kea has a surprisingly unique and varied landscape: oak forests; a few olive trees; rugged rocky slopes interspersed by almond groves and, scattered throughout, tasteful summer homes, many of which have been built by charismatic architects inspired by the simplicity of Kea’s traditional farmhouses built out of local stone.

Overall, the island has managed to maintain a remarkable sense of balance. On the one hand it remains closely connected to nature(roughly 60% of the island’s forests are protected as part of the Natura network) and the traditional practice of raising livestock remains an important economic activity. Yet at the same time it is developing a sophisticated form of tourism, maintaining a discreet cosmopolitanism.

Well known figures from the worlds of the artsjournalism and other walks of life from Greece and abroad are among those who have country homes on the island and visit frequently. As the island’s mayor, Yiannis Evangelou, tells us, during the high season the population of Kea does not exceed 6,500 together with the roughly 2,500 permanent residents. While the number of hotel rooms remains limited, in the last three years over 150 luxury villas and another 100 country homes have been added to internet platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb, significantly boosting the number of available beds on the island.

“It is a good thing that more people are coming, even if it has made things more difficult for us who have hotels and guesthouses,” says Marcie Mayer, one of the owners of the agritourism business, Red Tractor Farm. Mayer has also played a key role in resurrecting the commercial exploitation of Kea’s acorns (thus helping to preserve the island’s oak trees), producing acorn cookies which have acquired a dedicated following in Greece and abroad.

In 2012 she also launched the Acorn Initiative which seeks make use of the acorn caps produced on the island by exporting them for use in the tanning industry. This summer arrived to find Kea quietly rejuvenated – and ourselves enjoying the hospitality of Porto Kea Suites in Korissia, dining on the exceptional dishes of its restaurant and lulled to sleep by the sound of the sea.

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KEA, my favourite non-touristic island

KEA the place to be!!

Even though I’m Greek, our islands still manage to fascinate me and they’re my absolute favourite summer destination. I love crossing a new island off my list every year!

This summer, I decided to go to Kea (aka Tzia), the island adored by the Athenian low profile – high society. I’m very happy I did!

Kea doesn’t have the Myconian glam. It doesn’t have an epic nightlife. No hordes of tourists strolling around its alleys either. But this is exactly what makes it the perfect island for serenity, relaxation and endless beaching.

The island’s beaches are mostly unorganized; it has a small number of hotels and the villas to rent are usually too expensive for the average tourist. Kea holds standards and character and doesn’t want to be seen as commercial; no-no.

Kea keeps it chic, simple and private. With gorgeous yachts scattered around Vourkari and luxurious hidden villas decorating every single cliff of the island, how could it not?

Let’s just put everything in the correct order, shall we?

Great location!

Kea is part of the Cyclades island complex and the closest one to our Greek capital of Athens.
It can be reached by ferry from the city of Lavrion on the southernmost side of Attica.

What to expect:
• Wild and mountainous landscape.
• Endless views of the Aegean from any route you choose.
• Rough, rocky roads leading to crystal water beaches.
• Delicious, good quality food.
• Friendly locals.
• Pet-friendly beaches.

My favourite beaches:
• Xila – green, clear, tropical waters and a small beach bar that usually requires a reservation. But don’t worry, you can also bring your beach towel and enjoy the water, reservation & cost free, a few meters away.
• Kambi – for many reasons, my absolute favorite. The water is clean and crystal clear, the scenery wild and raw, there’s no beach bar whatsoever and it is totally dog friendly. In my books, it can’t get any better than that.

Other beaches to choose from:
• Otzias
• Gialiskari
• Spathi
Of course, there are more beaches on the island but these 5 will do the trick for a first timer. Plus, if I tell you everything, I’ll take away the magic of exploring and discovering … You want to be a traveler, not a tourist, right? ☺

AfterHours:
Night owl? Don’t worry. Kea has something for you too! In the area of Vourkari and right in front of the marina there are few cocktail bars that play all kinds of music and are packed from vacationers of all ages. The best thing? No dress code – go as you please!

Food:
Because Kea’s crowd is quite specific, the food on the island is good pretty much everywhere. I would highly recommend any of the two taverns right in the heart of Ioulida for a well-prepared traditional meal with a view, as well as the very popular “Aristos” in Vourkari for its wicked spaghetti with lobster.

Accommodation:
I stayed at The house in the port and I really must recommend it because Chrysa, the landlady, is the sweetest host I ever had. She was very helpful, attentive and also welcomed us with fresh juice and pastries as well as dog treats for Kiara!

If you are more of a hotel person, then:
1. Anamar Kea
OR
2. Porto Kea Suites
Both luxurious and pricey, with an elegant touch of glam!

Tip:
When in Kea, make sure you explore it in a car, specifically an SUV. The roads are rocky and difficult and you really need to drive around in order to explore the island, as you should.

So if you find yourself in Athens, and are looking for a quick getaway, Kea is a 30min drive and a 1hr boat ride away. Don’t think about it, just do it!

Source: nikoza.com

Kea is the perfect Greek island for any VIP.

VIP concierge services in Kea with Keaunplugged. Kea is the perfect Greek island for any VIP.

Kea is ideally located, very close to the main land, and to the Athens International airport. Depending on means of transport in a mere hour and a half you can be on the island from the airport.

VIP concierge services in Kea with Keaunplugged. Kea is the perfect Greek island for any VIP.Kea boasts beautifully built exclusive villas, many with complete privacy. Stone constructed villas with private swimming pools and all VIP services are attainable. Kea also has stunning beaches, many of them untouched and accessible only by private boat. Keaunplugged concierge can arrange every detail of your VIP holiday from villa rental to private chef to event planning and boat and car rental. Kea is an ideal and easy get away location for any discerning VIP that is looking for a quiet, yet cosmopolitan island. Kea has wonderful restaurants with local cuisine and fresh seafood and fish.

VIP concierge services in Kea with Keaunplugged. Kea is the perfect Greek island for any VIP.

A very large array of services can be arranged on your behalf. Massage and beauty services, housekeeping services, babysitting services and private tours, private sailing or jet boating, weddings, events and many more services can all be arranged for any VIP.

Contact us to arrange your Kea getaway.

 

Kea is a magical place

kea shipwreck keaunlugged Aegean sea

Diving with Keaunpugged

The Greek island of Kea is a magical place to explore above and below the surface of the Aegean Sea. Kea has been on the news a lot recently, being mentioned by both Fox News and The Mirror in commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the shipwreck HMHS Britannic.

Dive in to magical Aegean Sea with KeaUnglugged

kea shipwreck keaunlugged Aegean sea

Diving with Keaunplugged

The Britannic was the famous sister ship of the even more famous ship The Titanic. In the depths just off the Greek island of Kea lies the world class shipwreck. Diving and exploring the depths around th e wreck can be arranged with experienced and qualified divers and equipment. Keaunplugged concierge can arrange your entire holiday, from Greek villa rental to transportation and of course all details for your diving adventures. The wreck of the Britannic lies at 400 feet below the surface and was put there while travelling to gather wounded British soldiers from the island of Lemnos, where it hit a German mine. The casualties were minimal thankfully. What remains of the Britannic today at the bottom of the sea are magnificent. Let us book your holiday now, there is so much to explore on the beautiful Greek island of Kea.

Rent a private villa in Kea, Greece

Private villas in Kea

rent a private villa in kea, greece Kea is a beautiful island belonging to the Cyclades and a perfect place to rent a private villa for your summer holidays. Kea has many beautiful private villas with swimming pools or without, all with a beautiful view either to the sea or the rugged interior of the island. Kea, being so close to Athens has become a hot spot for wealthy Athenians that have built these beautiful private villas in harmony with the rocky hillsides of Kea. Most of the private villas are built using local stone and blend perfectly into Kea’s beautiful and rugged nature. Renting one of these private villas in Kea allows you the freedom of enjoying a home away from home. Renting a private villa in Kea is ideal for families so that in the evenings the parents can relax around the pool or outside while the children sleep. Renting a private villa is also great for a few couples to share to be able to spend some quality time and at the same time have the freedom to be able to relax and feel like having your own summer home/ villa in kea.

rent a private villa in kea, greeceKea is quite a big island, the fifth largest of the Cyclades and there are many villas to look into before deciding on which one is right for you and your family. The sizes of the villas vary from small two bedroom homes to grand 6 bedroom villas. Some of the private villas are close to the main port and more touristy beaches for those that want to have everything close by and others are more isolated situated in remote areas and allow those that truly want to be ‘ left alone in peace and quiet’.

rent a private villa in kea, greeceWhatever it is you’re looking for we can help you rent a private villa on the beautiful island of Kea, with more than 500 private villa, I am sure that we will find exactly what you are looking for.

Europe’s 18 best secret islands

Our favourite island made it as one of eighteen best secret islands for Telegraph.

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Kea, Greece

As the ferry manoeuvres in the narrow entrance to Kea’s one-horse port, Korissia, you won’t see a crowd of room touts on the quay, or a flotilla of tourist boats busking their beach excursions with Zorba the Greek. This is not the style of an island which missed out on – or cleverly avoided – the Greek tourism boom and is largely ignored by island travellers because it has no connection with Piraeus. Kea draws on a civilised clientele of Athenian weekenders and second home owners in retreat from the city.

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