Best Holiday Homes Destinations

Istria - Croatia
Size: 56,542km²
Population: 4,493,312
Capital: Zagreb
Airports: Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Rijeka, Pula

Croatia is situated in Central Europe to the east side of the Adriatic Sea and east of Italy. It is also bordered by Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast, Serbia in the east and Montenegro to the south. Croatia boasts a coastline of over 1700 km on the Adriatic Sea and encompasses more than a thousand islands with crystal clear waters and long stretches of sand and shingle beaches. The Dinaric Alps that run alongside the coastline create dramatic scenery of natural beauty with craggy peaks, caverns, river canyons, waterfalls and picturesque lakes. Further inland the landscape flattens out into rolling farmland of vineyards and olive trees and then to the north central high lands of central Croatia and it’s capital Zagreb distinguished by its medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and diverse museums.

Croatia is steeped in history and has been passed between competing kingdoms and empires for thousands of years mainly due its insecure position between the Balkans and central Europe and each conquest has left its stamp on the landscape. From Venetian palatial structures, Napoleonic forts and Roman columns protruding from early churches and the gamut of European history is showcased in the excellent museums.

Croatia is split into 5 travel regions:

  • Istria - A large, triangular peninsula pointing down into the northern Adriatic and one of the most developed areas of Croatia. At the southern tip lies the port of Pula, Istria’s largest city with its Roman relics and amphitheatre. To the west are pretty towns with shuttered houses, alleys and cobbled town squares and in between the two lies Porec. A popular tourist destination with Marinas and beaches but with a historic old town, the 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica complex is famous for its gem-studded Byzantine mosaics. The historic hilltop towns of inland Istria sit high above the rolling hills, green pastures and forests, ancient stone structures left over from another century.
  • Kvarner - Squeezed between the Istrian peninsula to the north and Dalmatia to the south and sheltered by soaring mountains the Kvarner Gulf offers more than a mild climate, cobalt waters and beaches. There are many options for hiking in the two protected forests of Ucka Nature Park and Risnjak National Park, a rich legacy of stately Habsburg-era architecture in Opatija and Lovran and the gateway to an archipelago of islands in Rijeka. The islands of Cres, Lošinj, Krk and Rab all have a laid-back atmosphere, historic towns/ports, stretches of unspoiled coastline that are dotted with sandy beaches and remote coves. The sandy beaches of Rab boast to have almost a Caribbean quality.
  • Dalmatia – The hub of Southern Dalmatia is Split, the Adriatic’s main ferry port and a city grown from a previous Roman palace. Just outside the city are Roman ruins, a Rennaisance town and a medieval fortress built on a mountain pass. The south coast of the Markaska Riveria is probably the most enchanting with long pebble beaches sheltered by the beauty of the mountains. The major coastal city Dubrovnik has huge 16th-century walls encircling an Old Town with white limestone streets, Gothic and Renaissance buildings. The Islands of southern Dalmatia, Brac, Hvar and more, with ancient ports, great beaches, stunning scenery have a more laid back and secluded feel. An opportunity to get to know the locals and enjoy their local food and wine.
  • Slavonia - The north-eastern region of Croatia and an area of forests and fields. Kopački Rit is the biggest natural wetlands in Europe and the birdlife here is spectacular.
  • Central Croatia – Home of Croatia’s capital city Zagreb, grown from to medieval communities with architecture from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. An arty, quirky and creative place with a big following of the alternative music scene, edgy fashions, eccentric bars and small cafes selling very strong coffee. Over the last decade Croatia has become one of the fastest growing tourist destinations, with amazing weather conditions and incredible scenery for various activities throughout the year. Water sports, mountain/rock climbing, biking, hiking, canyoning, sea kayaking and many more but you will see that it has not been overworked and remains a place to discover many different landscapes and experiences.
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Krka National Park
  • Walking the walls at Dubrovnik
  • Pula Amphitheatre
  • Diocletian’s Palace, Split
  • Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Korcula Town
  • Varazdin – A Baroque town
  • Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb
  • Kornati Islands
  • Gornja Vala, Gradac - This, the largest beach on the Adriatic coast, sits at the southernmost end of the Makarska Riviera.
  • Pakleni Islands beaches, Hvar - The Pakleni islands are other-worldly they are all glorious and unspoilt.
  • Rajska Plaża, Lopar -Rajska plaza (Paradise Beach). It’s long, sandy and shaded and the water is unusually shallow, you can paddle for 1km.
  • Telašćica Bay, Dugi Otok - This nature park is one of the most healthy-looking places you can visit. There are a number of little coves at the cusp of a warm, saltwater lake.
  • Zlatni Rat, Brac - Probably Croatia’s most famous beach, referred to as the Golden Cape or Golden Horn because of its distinctive shape, a golden stretch of pebbles that reaches out into the Adriatic.
  • Spiaza beach, Susak - Susak island is the sandiest of all, and Spiaza beach is its majestic, shore-hugging centrepiece.
  • Bačvice, Split – A shallow shingly bay and a favourite of Split’s residents.
  • Nin, Dalmatia – With 8,000 staggering metres of sandy beach and largely untouched.
  • Proizd, Vela Luka - A deceptively basic-looking islet of Proizd, but home to a quartet of bathing areas with hot slabs of stone lying in wait for sunbathers.
  • Šunj Bay - Work your way over the elevated central part of the island to get to the beach, but it’s worth the breathlessness. Fine shingle and sand mingle in this sheltered spot, nestled between rocky, moss-covered hills.

From the seafood dominated dishes of the Mediterranean to the filling schnitzel and strudel style dishes of Central Europe one thing is guaranteed and that is they both share the same passion to use locally sourced produce. Top-rated olive oils, prime white truffles, wild asparagus, award-winning wines and some fiery spirits included.

Dishes to sample:

  • Ispod peke or ‘under the bell’ - Usually lamb, veal or octopus is placed with vegetables inside a dish with a metal lid. The dish is then cooked in an open fireplace by the hot coals and embers which are placed over the lid.
  • Janje na ražnju - Lamb on the spit.
  • Punjena Paprika - Stuffed Peppers
  • Octopus Salad
  • Ćevapi - Grilled skinless sausages, served with chopped raw onions, ajvar (relish made from peppers) on flatbread.
  • Pašticada -A stewed beef dish cooked in a special sauce and served usually with gnocchi or homemade pasta.
  • Fish on the Grill - Served with some garden-grown blitva (chard) and potatoes.
  • Pršut & Pag Cheese - Home-cured ham pršut, which is perhaps Croatia’s most famous hors d’oeuvre with Paški sir, cheese from the island of Pag.
  • Burek - Baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough and usually filled with spiced beef.

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Crete - Greece
Size: 260 km long x 56 km (at widest point)
Population: 600,000
Capital: Heraklion
Airports: Heraklion/Chania

Located on the southern side of the Aegean Sea, Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and one of the most popular tourist destinations. With its diverse area of over 8,260 km² and a soaring mountain range running from east to west the island is plentiful in natural beauty with deep ravines/gorges, caves, valleys and high plateau, dense woods, meandering rivers, waterfalls, a freshwater lake and of course a stunning 1,000 km coastline with fantastic beaches.

The island is divided into four administrational regions (prefectures): Chania and Rethymno on the western side with their Venetian style, elegant mansions, arches, old towns and ports. Heraklion, the largest and the capital of the Island and Lassithi with its picturesque mountainous villages (the perfect place to experience the traditional Cretan way of life and sample the local dishes) on the eastern side. You will find that the northern coasts are more developed whilst the southern coasts have more of a secluded feel so whether you prefer to be busy or quiet Crete has something to offer to everyone.

Crete is steeped in history, an island of lost civilisations, the birth place of Gods and heroic figures, poets, musicians, writers, artists and political leaders. Its long history has left evident marks all over the Island with Minoan palaces, Venetian towns, Medieval Castles, Ottoman mosques and Byzantine monasteries.

  • The ancient Minoan Palace of Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city. Minoan Palace at Phaistos., Archaeological site of Gortys.
  • Heraklion Archaeological Museum, the most important archaeological museum in Crete. Artifacts from all eras of Cretian history/prehistory with frescoes, figurines and tombs.
  • Fortezza of Rethymno, the Venetian fortress of Rethymno.
  • Chania, Venetian old town and port.
  • Spinalonga, an ancient island with an intriguing past.
  • The Samariá Gorge, situated in the National park of Samaria in the white mountains of west Crete.
  • Lake Kournas, the only freshwater lake in Crete and a must for lovers of nature and beautiful scenery.

The beaches of Crete are famous for their crystal-clear waters and the relaxing atmosphere. Wherever you are on the island there will be a beach to suit you and some of the most impressive are:

  • Balos in Chania - Exotic waters, soft white sand and a huge island with a Venetian Castle on top.
  • Elafonissi in Chania - Majestic colours, pink sand, green-blue waters and cedar trees lining the coastline.
  • Falassarna in Chania - Large organised sandy beach and ideal for families.
  • Preveli in Rethymno - a natural beauty where a river flows down towards the sea, meandering through the palm trees and forming a lake.
  • Vai in Lassithi - Soft sands, exotic waters and surrounded by the largest palm tree forest in Europe.

The Cretan diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world and “locovore” is their way of life! Benefiting from a perfect climate for agriculture fresh produce is in abundance, their animals roam free and feed from the land producing the finest meat and milks and the warm seas attract the most delicious fish. The locals are friendly and hospitable people who love to welcome you to their tables to share and enjoy healthy food with incredible flavours, sample their local wines and maybe even a glass or two of Raki!

Visit the markets held all over the island to see what is on offer, a variety of cheeses including mizithra, citrus fruits, cherries, watermelons, tomatoes, zucchini, egg plant, herbs, pulses, meats, fish, bread, yogurts, honey and not forgetting the main ingredient of a Cretan diet the best ever “olive oil”.

Local dishes:
Dakos, Cretan Cheese Pies (Kaltsounia), Fried snails (Chochlioi boubouristi), Lamb with stamnagathi, Gamopilafo, Mountain Bulbs (Askordoulakous), Cretan Brandy (Raki or Tsikoudia)

Top 10 Restaurants:

  • Elia, Plakias
  • Dounias, Main Road, Drakona
  • Ferryman Taverna, Akti, Elounda
  • Alekos, Armenoi Rethymniou-spiliou, Rethymno
  • Taverna Dionyssos, Mirthios, Plakias
  • Gramboussa, Gramboussa Kissamou, Kaliviani, Kissamos
  • Crysostomos, Defkalionos & Ikarou, Chania Town
  • The Alchemist, Agiou Vasiliou 58, Koutouloufari, Hersonissos
  • O Gero Tsegas, Limni Kissamou, Vathi Chanion
  • Herb’s Garden, 15 Epimenidou St, Heraklion

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Kefalonia - Greece

Size: 786.6 km²
Population: 35,801
Capital: Argostoli
Airports: Kefalonia

Kefalonia also known as the “island of seafarers” is situated in the Ionian Sea, west of mainland Greece with Lefkada to the north and Zakynthos to the south. It is the largest of the Ionian Islands and includes the islands of Ithaca, Kastos and Kalamos within its’ prefecture. Kefalonia has a spectacular landscape with an abundance of nature, majestic caves, exotic beaches with crystalline waters, picturesque seaside village, small towns and a cosmopolitan port with neoclassical architecture.

Due to its huge natural wealth Kefalonia, like all of the Ionian Islands it has been dominated by various civilizations such as the Byzantine, the Frankish, the Ottoman, the Venetian, the Napoleonic and the British Empires. These cultures have left a visible sign on the architecture with medieval castles, beautiful monasteries and great works, such as the bridge of Argostoli. They have also left memories of darker times that took place during World War II and was the inspiration of Louis de Bernieres to write his famous book entitled “Captain Corelli's Mandolin”.

Kefalonia’s main source of income comes from, tourism, fishing, animal breeding, agriculture and a long winemaking tradition, home to the dry white lemony wines made from the “Robola” grape. Olive oil plays a major role in the island's local, rural economy, “koroneiki” and theiako” are the two main varieties cultivated on the island followed by a smaller number of “ntopia” and “matolia”, grown amongst over one million olive trees covering almost 55% of the islands area.

Kefalonia has an amazing mountainous vista with the highest being Mount Ainos rising at an altitude of 1520 metres. It is the only mountain in the whole of the Mediterranean to possess a unique fir forest species called Abies Kefallia, a protected species and an area now declared a National Park. The island has a rich biodiversity with a substantial number of rare and protected species including the well-known loggerhead turtle population which nest on many beaches along the south coast. Kefalonia and natural beauty walk proudly hand in hand with important natural features including the Melissani Lake, the Drogarati caves and Koutavos Lagoon to name a few. The islands indented 237 km coastline is made up of limestone cliffs, secluded bays and strips of white sands with crystal-clear waters and is considered to be amongst one of the most impressive coasts in the Mediterranean Sea.

Apart from the fantastic swimming on offer there are also opportunities to explore the interesting reefs and underwater caves at one of the diving centres, there are organised beaches with water sports and windsurfing in the peninsula of Lixouri. The countryside is great for hiking with many old footpaths leading to monasteries, Medieval castles, mountainous villages and secluded coves.

With so much on offer it is no surprise that Kefalonia has become a popular holiday destination but due to its size the beaches are never overcrowded and the Island keeps a quiet and laid-back style with its own enchanting and romantic charm.

  • Argostoli & De Bosset Bridge
    the capital town and the main port of Kefalonia with elegant architecture, the stone bridge to Drapano and watch the Loggerhead turtles that frequent Argostoli bay each morning.
  • The Municipal Theatre
    one of the largest and oldest in Greece with Neoclassical architecture and the archaeological museum opposite in Argostoli.
  • Melissani & Drogarati Caves
    a boat to tour of the cave, archaeological excavations with exhibits from the 4th and the 3rd century BC and a cavern of rare beauty with stalagmites.
  • Katavothresis
    one of the world's most astonishing geological phenomena and the subject of much discussion.
  • Fiscardo
    one of the prettiest villages in Kefalonia with a cosmopolitan atmosphere and surrounded by beautiful greenery, the centre of activities in is the port, where fishing boats and yachts moor in summer.
  • Assos
    a picturesque village on the northern side of the island situated on the peninsula with a castle overlooking the bay.
  • Sami
    one of the prettiest and most picturesque villages, close to beautiful beaches and serves as a starting point for excursions around the island.
  • Lixouri
    a short ferry ride away from Argostoli with quite a few similarities to it but smaller with a lovely waterfront and elegant architecture.
  • Saint Theodoroi Lighthouse
    a structural building of Doric architecture standing on a peninsula about 3 km north of Argostoli.
  • The Monastery of Kipoureon
    with many rare post-Byzantine icons and built on the edge of a steep slope with amazing views of the sea and sunsets.
  • The Castle of Saint George
    the ruins stand on a hill above Peratata village, originally built by the Byzantines but the Venetians gave it its final form in 1504.
  • The Monastery of Agrilion
    on the top of the hill of Sami and dedicated to Virgin Mary Theotokos, built during the 18th century on the site where the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary was found.
  • Cyclopean Walls of Ancient Krani
    near the main road that goes from Argostoli to Sami.
  • Myrtos
    the most famous and a beautiful beach with turquoise waters, white sand and surrounded by steep cliffs.
  • Antisamos
    a vast golden beach surrounded by lush greenery and where scenes of the Hollywood movie "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" were filmed.
  • Platia Ammos
    was only accessible by boat until a few years ago but can now be reached on foot by climbing down approximately 280 steps. This is a secluded beach of impressive natural beauty.
  • Makris Gialos
    a beautiful and popular beach with golden sands and many water sports on offer.
  • Skala
    a large organised sandy beach within a walking distance from the old fishing village and port.
  • Lourdata
    a calm but organised resort beach with white sands and clear waters.
  • Foki Fiskardo
    a small picturesque relaxing beach with large stones, crystal waters and surrounded by green vegetation.
  • Petani
    a beautiful beach similar to the bay of Myrtos located in the peninsula of Lixouri.
  • Xi
    a large organised and popular sandy beach.
  • Trapezaki
    a small beach with calm ambience.

Kefalonia cuisine is dominated by local products such as meat, fish, olive oil, vegetables, cheese and the very important traditional products too like honey, extra virgin olive oil and yoghurt made from sheep milk. Kefalonians’ take pride in their produce (you will be pleasantly surprised by how high the standard and quality is) and enjoy nothing better than to gather around a table and share good food, wine and conversation.

There are many great restaurants on the island found in the towns and the beach locations and the majority are family run tavernas with a traditional menu but there are also more high-end eateries and fish restaurants to be found in the north around the port of Fiscardo.

In addition to the excellent food on offer Kefalonia is also a famous wine-producing island, taste the delicious house wines, the local Robola (white and dry), the "Mavrodafi", (red, strong and sweet) and the "Muscat” (dessert white).

Dishes to sample:

  • Kreatopita - the trademark of the island “Kefalonia meat pies” with a homemade crust pastry.
  • Other pie recipes include artichoke, cheese (with the unique dairy products of the island), greens (nettle) and cod (salted cod).
  • Bourbourelia – a soup made of beans, salt, pepper and olive oil.
  • Stifado - veal cooked with onions and tomato sauce.
  • Giouvetsi - lamb cooked into a large pot with rice.
  • Bifteki - meat balls filled with cheese, onions and peppers and grilled.
  • Aliada - a dish consisting of boiled octopus, garlic and mashed potatoes.
  • Strapatsada - eggs with tomatoes, fried in olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Riganada - bruschetta with olive oil and oregano.
  • Pissara – a salad made from fresh greens sun-dried tomato, feta and pine-nuts.
  • Tsigaridia - wild greens or cabbage sauté with spinach, leeks and onions.
  • Galaktompoureko - one of the tastiest sweets with a homemade crust and custard filling.
  • Mantoles – a sweet snack of almonds and sugar.
  • Pasteli – a sweet snack with sesame and excellent local honey.

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Thassos - Greece
Size: 380.097 km2
Population: 13,770
Largest Town: Limenas Thasou (Port of Thassos)
Airports: Nearest is on the mainland at Kavala
Ferry Ports: Kavala to Limenas or Keramoti to Skala Prinou

Thassos is the most northern of the Greek Islands in the Aegean region, an Island of breath-taking scenery, lush green vegetation, crystal clear waters and some amazing beaches. It is situated just off the coastline of the Greek mainland approximately 10 km to the southeast of the Macedonian seaport of Kavala and is part of the Kavala prefecture.

During Balkan War’s the Island became under Greek control, prior to that it had a turbulent history of wars and battles between different regimes including the Athenians, the Persians, the Lacedaemonians, the Romans, the Latins and the Turks. They all tried to control Thassos and ruins from ancient Thassos in Limenas including the Agora, the Acropolis and the Hellenistic theatre speak volumes about its past.

Thassos has always had a vibrant economy, during the ancient times due to the abundant supply of precious natural resources including timber, gold, marble and ore mines. Today it is famed for its wine (with a distinctive apple aroma), the highest quality olive oil and the sweetest natural honey and its numerous biproducts including a honey and walnut liqueur. The locals are mainly occupied by herding their animals, fishing and cultivating the land producing some of the finest almonds, walnuts, grapes and the famous Throuba olives.

The Island has a magnificent mountainous landscape dotted with pine forests, vineyards and traditional villages with grey roofed stone houses and paved paths. There are many opportunities for hiking, biking or just gently strolling whilst taking in the natural beauty of the countryside and surroundings. The coastline offers some of the most amazing beaches, from long stretches of golden sands and crystalline waters with opportunities for sporting activities to wonderfully quiet and secluded coves and bays. Whichever is your preference you will certainly be choosing from some of the best on offer in Greece.

Although a popular destination the Island remains unspoilt and retains its authenticity and traditions, “The famous Carnival of Thassos” included. With a “chilled out” and “laid-back” atmosphere Thassos truly is the perfect Island to visit.

  • Ancient Agora
    remains of the ancient town of Thassos, with ruins of temples and sanctuaries, an odeum, a theatre and the Acropolis.
  • The Old Port
    The Old Harbour of Thassos.
  • Monastrey of Archangel Michael
    an old monastery with interesting architecture, located on a hill above Livadi.
  • Church of Agia Paraskevi
    situated in Theologos, is among the oldest on Thassos.
  • Theologos Folklore Museum
    situated in a two-storey traditional building in the heart of Theologos.
  • Thassos Dragon Cave
    also called Drakotrypa, the cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites located in Panagia a beautiful and lively village.
  • Thassos Cave of Pan
    the sanctuary of Pan, the goat-god, is situated in the area of the ancient town of Thassos.
  • Potamia
    is a beautiful mountainous village with traditional architecture and view to the sea.
  • Kazaviti
    a traditional and beautiful mountain villages and a must.
  • Golden Beach
    a long and impressive beach, with golden sand and crystalline waters. It is surrounded by dense vegetation reaching down to the sea.
  • Makriammos
    the closest beach to Limenas and surrounded by a thick forest with crystal water and fine sand.
  • Alyki
    beautiful and picturesque with two small white sand beaches, calm seas and soft sand.
  • Metalia Beach
    a fine sandy beach ideal for children with clear shallow waters.
  • Livadi
    a great spot for swimming and secluded by green vegetation.
  • Pefkari
    Fresh pine trees surround the beach of fine sand and clear waters. Sports activities on offer.
  • Skala Potamias
    a quiet tourist resort with a beach surrounded by tall pine trees, a glimmering sea and offers magical scenery.
  • Skala Rachoniou
    an endless beach with fine sand, clear waters and lots of vegetation.
  • Papalimani
    a small beach of soft sand and blue waters and distant views to the verdurous mountains.

Greek food and drink is famous for its high quality and amazing taste, using the freshest local produce grown from the land and freshly fished from the seas. In Thassos there are restaurants to be found almost anywhere, many are Greek tavernas with traditional menus spread in the squares of the mountainous villages or pretty seaside establishments lining the beach fronts as well as the more sophisticated eateries offering the best in cutting edge cuisine.

Dishes to sample:

  • Peppered Cabbage - mainly a winter dish, consisting of the local variety of pickled cabbage, combined with white beans and flavoured with peppery spices.
  • Tatarka - served in the spring and the early summer and mostly found in the more elegant restaurants it comprises local fresh vegetables and spring herbs all combined to give an absolutely delicious and fresh taste.
  • Stuffed Zuccini Flowers and Sarmadakia - flowers of small courgette plants that are stuffed with cheese and eggs, dipped in flour and fried in fresh olive oil. They can also be filled with fresh herbs and rice along with Sarmadakia (stuffed vine leaves).
  • Pitarakia - A type of very light fritters made from slices of courgettes, dipped in flour seasoned with mint and spices, quickly fried, served with zucchini relish and maybe a glass of retsina or ouzo.
  • Kolious “Gouna” – the local way of cooking a chub mackerel, flattened, lightly salted, smoked, and then baked, it is also the perfect complement to a glass of Tsipouro.
  • Bouyourdi – slices of the Thassians’ prized feta cheese is placed into a small clay pot with other soft cheeses, fresh tomatoes, sliced peppers, olive oil, and black pepper and baked in a hot oven.

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Zakynthos (Zante)

Size: 405.55 km²
Population: 41,500
Capital: Zakynthos Town (Zante)
Airports: Zakynthos International 

Zakynthos also known as Zante is a Greek Island in the Ionian Sea, it is the third largest and the southernmost of the Ionian islands situated off the west coast of Greece. The Island has a spectacular landscape, three quarters is mountainous with the highest peak in the centre “Mount Vrachionas”, to the west the territory is rugged with many bays and rocky coastlines whilst to the east it is smooth and calm.  There is an abundance of nature with rich vegetation, forests with coniferous and pine trees, green olive groves, wild plants, picturesque hilltop villages and traditional monasteries plus 123 km of coastline with dramatic cliffs, exotic sandy beaches, majestic caves, and turquoise crystalline waters. Zakynthos is home to the famous and much photographed “Navagio” Shipwreck beach and to the protected and endangered sea turtle species “Caretta Caretta”. It is also the birthplace to many internationally recognised musicians and to the national poet of Greece, Dionysios Solomos, who wrote the poem that was later to become Greece’s national anthem and no doubt was inspired by the beauty of his island home that bathes carelessly in the blue Ionian Sea.

Like most of the Ionian Islands it has been the subject of foreign occupation throughout its rich history which is evident in its arts and cultures that show a mix of styles from different eras and countries. The island was originally named in honour of its first settler Zakynthos, son of the King of Phrygia and following the spirit of the time, it was subordinated to the Macedonians of Alexander the Great, followed by the Romans, it was looted by pirates and vandals, occupied by the Normans of Sicily and then conquered by the Venetians until 1798 who named the island “Fiore di Levante” (flower of the east) due to the 7000 different species that flourish. The Venetian architectural influence can still be seen today despite the damage sustained due to seismic activity in 1953. The Ionian Islands were founded as an independent republic in 1800 and the French Emperors returned, in 1815 it was under the protection of the English until 1864 when Zakynthos then became part of Greece. 

Zakynthos provides its visitors with stunning scenery, colourful sunsets, crystal clear waters and great beaches and this enchanting island still has more to offer with plenty of activities to enjoy. There are water sports, diving centres (the island is also an underwater paradise), hiking, cycling, horse riding, fishing and boat trips to the majestic blue caves and the iconic shipwreck beach or to spot the protected loggerhead turtles “Caretta Caretta”, Mediterranean monk seals “Monachus Monachus” or just a playful dolphin passing by. Explore the traditional mountain villages, castles and monasteries, Zakynthos town with venetian architecture, impressive squares, museums, shops, cafes or just relax and enjoy the delicious Greek cuisine and hospitality at one of the many restaurants or tavernas.

Today the island has become a popular holiday choice for families, couples and groups with a resort to suit everyone whilst it is still a destination that retains a natural charm and beauty, offering its visitors a warm sunny climate and a very friendly welcome! 

Nightlife: In general “nightlife” is more about enjoying delicious Greek cuisine, sampling local wine or sipping cocktails at sunset by a seaside taverna but there are lively places on the island for clubbing/partying and somewhere to suit all tastes: Tsilivi comes to life at night with an array of bars and restaurants or try Zakynthos Town for a night out around Solomos Square. Laganas is the busiest resort and famous among the young for late night clubs, bars, and party nights all along its 3 km main street.

  • Shipwreck Beach and Blue Caves 
    The most famous sightseeing on the Island. Accessible by boat from Skinari-Saint Nicolas, Porto Vromi or longer excursions from the larger resorts.  and the main port of Kefalonia with elegant architecture, the stone bridge to Drapano and watch the Loggerhead turtles that frequent Argostoli bay each morning.
  • In and Around Zakynthos Town:
    Solomos Square surrounded by buildings with traditional architectural features and arcades. Bust of Dionysios Solomos the national poet of Greece dominates in the centre. Church of Agios Nikolaos Molos with venetian architecture. Public Library (with 55,000 volumes). Post-Byzantine Museum exhibiting treasures such as statues trimmed with gold and art woodcuts. Aghios Markos Square this paved square is the main meeting point for locals and visitors, here you will find the “Tree of Freedom” planted by the revolutionaries 1797. Museum of Solomos dedicated to Dionysios Solomos and other important Greek poets. The Venetian Castle constructed in 15th century, situated on a hill overlooking the town in the place of the old acropolis - Psofis.
  • Exhibition Centre of the Sea Turtle "Caretta Caretta" 
    Located in the region of Dafni, an area that belongs to the National Marine Park of Zakynthos.
  • Askos Stone Park
    Wildlife sanctuary, forest reserve and natural zoo, a must for nature lovers and children.
  • Helmis Museum of Natural History
    Located in the mountainous village of Agia Marina, established in 2000 by a private initiative and aims to present the rare flora, fauna, and sea life of the island.
  • Sarakina Italian Mansion
    Close to the beach of Laganas, the most nostalgic part of old Zakynthos and the last remaining house of Italian architecture.
  • Venetian Bridge
    Located in the small harbour of Argassi.
  • Vrysakia Aqueduct
    Located near the town of Argassi.
  • Saint Theodoroi Lighthouse
  • Keri Lighthouse
    Visit when the sun is setting for amazing views. 
  • The Keri Sea-Area (Keri-Caves)
    Discover the enchanting underwater paradise, this one of the best spots for scuba diving anywhere in the Mediterranean.
  • Monastery of Panagia Eleftherotia
    Located in Lagopodo, its architecture looks more like a castle than a monastery with amazing views to the countryside of the island.
  • The Monastery of Agios Georgios Krimnon
    Located in Volimes on top of a cliff with a gorgeous view to the sea.
  • Church of Agia Mavra
    Located in Maherado and built in the 14th century with an imposing Venetian bell tower.  
  • Other Monasteries and Churches of Interest:
    Aghios Dionysios at the new pier of the port. Monastery of Anafonitria in Maries. Monastery of Panagia Skopiotissa in Argassi village.  Church of Agios Nikolaos in Kiliomeno. Church of Panagia Keriotissa in Keri. Monastery of Ioannis Prodromos in Alykes. Monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa in Orthonies.
  • The Mountains
    Following the mountain line from the north to the south you can visit the Monastery of Anafonitria, Cross of Gambi (viewpoint for sunsets), Maries, Kiliomeno and some smaller traditional villages. The area is good for hiking and rambling with a unique atmosphere and lots of nature.

The Zakynthos Marine Park protects the nesting beaches of Gerakas, Daphne, Sekania, Kalamaki, Laganas and Marathonisi for the Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Curetta Curetta).  These beaches can be enjoyed from 7.00 am until sunset.

  • Gerakas
    Long and sandy with crystalline waters and considered to be one of the most beautiful on the island.
  • Marathonisi Islet (Curetta Curetta Island)
    Take a boat trip to the pristine island in the bay of Laganas, opposite Limni. Well known for its soft sandy beaches, green landscape, and sea turtles. 
  • Platia Ammos
    was only accessible by boat until a few years ago but can now be reached on foot by climbing down approximately 280 steps. This is a secluded beach of impressive natural beauty.
  • Kalamaki
    A lovely sandy beach dominated by impressive rock formations and a natural continuation of Laganas beach.
  • Laganas
    The busiest resort on the island with a vast sandy beach, water sports, diving centre and beach bars.
  • Agios Nikolaos
    A sandy beach on a popular resort with water sport activities and a good place for scuba diving.
  • Porto Zoro
    Long and sandy beach between Argassi and Vassilikos, popular in the summer months due to its location and natural beauty.
  • Spiantza
    Beautiful beach that is part sand and part pebble, in the area of Vassilikos.
  • Banana
    Largest on the island with soft golden sand, exotic clear water, and a rocky landscape, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful. Fully organised with sunbeds/umbrella for rent, water sports, a few beach bars and easily accessed.
  • Tsilivi
    A popular resort with a lovely sandy beach and great for children as the water is shallow. Fully organised with water sports, beach bars and taverna. 
  • Argassi
    A long golden sandy beach that extends one kilometre and offers a wide range of water sports facilities and easy access to taverns, bars, and shops. 
  • Keri and Limni Keriou
    A small and quiet resort situated on a wonderful bay with golden sand and turquoise waters. There is a diving centre and a couple of tavernas, and cafe-bars are scattered along the bay with amazing views to the islet of Marathonisi. 
  • Plaka
    A small sandy beach with shallow clear water, close to the village of Vassilikos. 
  • Xigia
    A sandy beach in a small bay where the smell of sulphur is strong. The ice-cold water which flows from the rocks to the surface contains collagen, a product used for Spa treatments. There is a small cave to stand in or take a swim as the water is good for the skin. 
  • Porto Roma 
    Quaint picturesque beach of natural beauty with lush greenery and tall pine trees providing good shade for visitors. Named in honour of the famous Zakynthian personality, Alexandros Romas. 
  • Porto Stenitis
    A beautiful fiord with crystal water and some small caves along the coast so a great place for scuba diving. A calm pebbled bay surrounded by hillsides covered with lush greenery and vast plantation.

Due to the long period of Venetian domination the cuisine of Zakynthos has significant influences from Italy and the unique menus use wine, garlic, and eastern spices, like cloves, allspice, cinnamon and more. Based on meat, fish, pasta, vegetables, olive oil and herbs the island’s gastronomy will excite those who love good food. Zakynthos has a perfect climate for agriculture with rich fertile land and their produce is made using natural and traditional methods that certifies its high quality and authenticity of taste. The most famous products are Ladotyri, (cheese with oil), yogurt made from goat milk, Zakynthian olive oil and honey which is well-known for its purity, Madolato (nougat with honey and almonds) and perfumes. The locals are also rather proud of their wine Verntea which is produced only on the island.

There is an abundance of seafood fished daily from the shores around the island, particularly swordfish, mullet, sea bass and calamari - a veritable paradise for fish lovers! Vegetarians will also be in their element with so many fresh salads and vegetables on offer and even local delicacies where meat has been replaced with Greek Eggplant (aubergine).

In addition to the unique dishes of the island you will find lots of options for dining, there are plenty of cafes, bars and excellent restaurants serving Greek and international cuisine. Food is the heart of the community and traditional tavernas are the best places to taste the local delicacies and experience the Zakynthian hospitality -  the serving of the “speciality dishes” usually comes with fire, plate smashing, music or a theatrical performance!  

Dishes to sample:

  • Melitzanosalata, Taramosalata, Ttzatziki - Dips served with bread, made from Greek eggplant, salted, and cured fish roe and yogurt with cucumber and garlic. 
  • Dolmadakia - Vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, they can be either vegetarian or with meat added.
  • Keftedes - Greek meatballs seasoned with herbs and garlic, served as a starter with Ttzatziki.
  • Tyropitakia - Filo pastry pie stuffed with feta, ricotta, cream cheese, and melted butter.
  • Moussaka - Minced lamb, Greek eggplant (aubergine) and bechamel sauce.
  • Stifado - Greek stew made with meat (beef or lamb), tomatoes, pearl onions, white wine, garlic, cinnamon, and oregano.
  • Stuffed Rabbit - Cooked in wine or stewed is maybe the most characteristic dish of the island but other Greek favourites are duck, chicken, turkey, and fish.
  • Paidakia - Lamb chops well-seasoned and marinated in olive oil.
  • Souvlaki - Greek speciality made with tender cuts of meat, marinated in a lemon and olive oil mixture, grilled and served on skewers.
  • Fasolakia - Greek green beans braised with tomato onion, extra virgin olive oil, garlic. A side dish served with meats.
  • Skordostoumbi - In other areas of Greece it is usually made with meat but in Zakynthos it is substituted with eggplant making it unique to the island. Layered with tomatoes and garlic and baked in the oven, served with pita bread and feta cheese.  Skordostoumbi literally means “stuffed with garlic” and at least 100 cloves are added to the dish.
  • Kreatopita - “Greek Style Meat Pie” made with filo pastry, a mixture of veal and lamb, tomato wine sauce, vegetables, spices.
  • Youvetsi - Traditional Greek stew made with beef or lamb, cooked in a rich tomato sauce with orzo pasta and finished cheese on top.
  • Spetsofai - A rustic spicy dish made with thick country sausages, peppers, or eggplant in a rich tomato sauce.
  • Gyros - Sandwich/wrap of rolled bread stuffed with meat, tomatoes, onion, fried potatoes and usually eaten as a snack. 
  • Baklava - An extremely rich and sweet filo pastry filled with syrup, honey, nuts, and cinnamon.
  • Kataifi - Layers of thin angel hair pastry dough filled with walnuts, almonds, cinnamon, and sugar drizzled with honey.
  • Bougatsa - Traditional Greek dessert made with creamy custard wrapped in golden brown crispy filo pastry and garnished with icing sugar and cinnamon.
  • Madolato, Fytoura and Pasteli - Traditional Zakynthian sweets: Mandolato is nougat made with egg whites, honey, sugar, and almonds that is usually consumed during carnival time. Fytoura is made from semolina which is fried and covered in lots of sugar and cinnamon. Pasteli is made of sesame seeds, honey, and almonds. 
  • Ladotyri - Unique to the island and translated means oil and cheese, it’s a hard cheese made with milk from goats and sheep which is kept for long periods of time in olive oil giving it thus a wonderful spicy flavour.
  • Verntéa Wine - Only produced on the island, it is dry, strong-tasting with high alcohol content. Its varieties are mainly Rompóla , Skiadópoulo, Pavlós, Goustolídi and Avgoustiátis.
  • Lianoroidi - A sweet white wine.
  • Levante Zakynthos Beer - Produced on the island in a small brewery near Xigia.
  • Metaxa - The most famous Greek spirit worldwide.
  • Ouzo - Mixed with ice and water with a liquorice taste.
  • Greek Coffee - Served in a small cup like an espresso.
  • Greek Frappe - An ice-cold frothy coffee.

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Mallorca - Spain
Size: 3,640 km²
Population: 869,067
Capital: Palma
Airport: Palma de Mallorca

Mallorca (sometimes referred to as Majorca) is located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the south-east coast of mainland Spain. It is the largest of the Balearic Islands and a popular tourist destination with a sunny personality, fantastic cuisine and a vibrant cosmopolitan capital. The impressive landscape offers two soaring majestic mountain ranges, Serra de Tramuntana in the north west and Serres de Llevant in the east. There are fertile green plains with orchards of oranges and almonds, vineyards and soulful honey coloured stone villages. The coastline stretches for 500 km with secret coves/caves and over 200 beautiful beaches with turquoise-blue waters to choose from. The island is steeped in history with a rich artisan and cultural scene and breath-taking azure views. The regions of the island are all very different but each one has its own unique appeal making Mallorca an island that really does have it all!

The Regions:

  • North: Mountainous scenery, long stretches of white sandy beaches with clear shallow waters, coastal villages and traditional fishing ports. Historical and ancient towns with medieval walls, churches, convents, market squares and the imposing area of Formentor, all filled with Mallorcan culture and heritage.
  • North East: Quieter, rural and home to the Llevant Natural Park with wild hills and birdlife. The tranquil countryside is beautiful and dotted with pretty beaches and coves. There are charming towns with winding alleyways of boutiques and quaint art galleries. Impressive hilltop villages with a castle and a fortress.
  • East: A resort area with a varied coastline of golden white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters to the north. Smaller and even prettier beaches in the south, found in the coves with sparkling waters reflecting the green of the surrounding pine trees. This coastline also includes the famous cave formations of Cuevas del Drach and Cuevas dels Hams. The traditional fishing villages of Porto Cristo and Porto Colom and the resort of Cala d’or with its lively, welcoming atmosphere and chic boutique shopping. The beautiful Marina is home to the prestigious yacht club and boasts a multitude of fantastic restaurants plus the sandy beach of Calo d’es Pou.
  • South East: Home of the salt flats and the famous “Flor de Sal” with a landscape dotted with windmills and the prettiest natural park in Mallorca, Mondrago. The famous beach of Es Trenc, an undeveloped Carribean-like beach which stretches for miles and a coastline of pine forests.
  • South: The most developed area of the island with its lively capital of Palma. The iconic gothic cathedral dominates the skyline, situated just in front is the huge marina and a promenade lined with palm trees. Palma has everything to offer, stunning architecture, a pedestrianised historical centre, art galleries, markets, trendy restaurants/bars, nightlife and excellent shopping. Southwest of the capital is a busy resort area with fantastic beaches and a whole host of attractions. To the south is now a popular destination for the rich and famous with prestigious yacht filled Marinas, golf clubs, exclusive beach clubs, high end restaurants and a designer lifestyle.
  • West: Dominated by the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range it is an area of dramatic scenery and picturesque villages with cobbled streets where bougainvillaea and other colourful plants grow in abundance. A 13th century monastery, a cliff top town with mesmerising views, art galleries and a large selection of the finest gourmet restaurants. Central: A place to experience authentic Mallorcan culture and join in with one of the many village festivals celebrating agriculture produce. Rustic, green and a must for wine lovers with pretty vineyards set amongst orange and almond orchards. Soak up the atmosphere of the market towns with their vintage shops, traditional bakeries, cafes and local architecture and you truly will have embraced the Mallorcan way of life.
  • Palma de Mallorca
    La Seu Cathedral, Parc de la Mar and Marina. Take the Ferrocarril de Sóller - a train powered by electric locomotive, created on a time machine in 1895 by H.G. Wells and is the only one of its type ever. It follows a pretty route cutting through the Tramunta mountains.
  • Serra de Tramuntana Mountain Range and World Heritage Site
    The magnificent mountain range that runs from southwest to the northeast region. Dramatic scenery, nature, walking, hiking, cycling and outdoor activities.
  • Lluc Sanctuary
    In a beautiful setting in the Serra de Tramuntana, Lluc sanctuary is considered to be the spiritual centre of Majorca.
  • Cuevas dels Hams & Coves del Drac or Dragon Caves
    Located on the east coast near Porto Cristo, remarkable cave formations and large impressive underground lake.
  • Cap de Formentor
    An amazing place located on the northernmost point of the Island with its highest point at 384 meters above sea level and a spectacular winding road leading to the cape.
  • Castell de Capdepera
    An early-14th-century fortress, a walled complex built on the ruins of a Moorish fortress. The castle is one of the best preserved on the island.
  • The Picture Postacard Village of Deià
    Robert Graves House - The great poet, novelist and historian, author of I Claudius.
  • The Vineyards – Around Binissalem
    Many of Majorca’s wines are made in and around this village north-east of Palma.
  • S’Albufera Nature Reserve
    Near Port d’Alcúdia on the northeast coast, wetlands that cover around 4,200 acres and are great for birdwatching, cycling and walking.
  • Museum - Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró
    The Catalan artist Joan Miró lived and worked at this beautiful hilltop compound, now a major museum to his life and work.
  • Gallery - CCA Andratxs
    Probably the best private gallery on the island offer world-class international exhibitions.

Whether it is rocky bays, secluded coves, sandy beaches, children friendly or those offering water sports and activities Mallorca’s amazing coastline can deliver it all with over 260 beaches to choose from.

  • Portals Vells (southwest)
    The three small coves of Portals Vells offer a paradise of calm, clear sea and a backdrop of shady pinewoods. The interesting cave of ‘la Mare de Déu’ is on the right of the beach.
  • Cala Blava (south)
    Facing the Bay of Palma stand the cliffs of Cala Blava. There are several steep access routes down to the many coves and rocks, the waters are part of the protected natural marine reserve and ideal for snorkelling.
  • Cala Varques (east)
    South of Porto Cristo, a captivating virgin cove with white sandy beach. It is not signposted and therefore secluded.
  • Es Trenc (south)
    Probably the most famous beach and often referred to as Mallorca’s Carridean, due to te 3km of white sands, dunes and tranquil crystal-clear waters.
  • Cala Mondragó (southeast)
    In the heart of Cala Mondragó Natural Park you can enjoy nature at its purest state with glorious sands and a wooded backdrop.
  • Formentor Beach (northeast)
    The long narrow sandy beach is sheltered, fringed with trees and offers sumptuous bay views.
  • Cala Mesquida (northeast)
    Declared a Place of Special Interest in 1991 by the governing body of the Balearic Islands and a is perfect beach for nature lovers.
  • Cala d'Or (east)
    There are five associated beaches situated in small coves (also known as calas) - Cala d'Or, Cala Esmeralda, Cala Ferrera, Cala Serena & Cala Gran. The beaches are all beautiful with calm turquoise-blue waters.
  • Cala Figuera Beach (north)
    A quiet small pebbly beach and not the easiest to access but you will be truly rewarded by the sight of the clearest and most beautiful sapphire sea on the island.

Mallorca has experienced a food revolution in recent years and has an increasingly sophisticated choice. After working away in high-end restaurants many of the young Mallorcan chefs have been returning home to open their own eateries serving traditional dishes with a modern twist. In addition to all the many already established restaurants, cafes and bars there are also several Michelin-starred available. Whether you choose a rustic roast in the mountains, authentic paella on the beach, tapas in the local bar or the freshest fish overlooking the sea you are sure to be guaranteed a gastronomical delight!

For centuries wine making has been part of the Mallorca culture with a perfect climate and fertile lands. The native grapes are Callet, Manto Negro and Moll and a sample of the locally produced wines is a must.

Mallorquin' dishes make full use of delicious local almonds, olives and the finest olive oil, walnuts, vegetables and fruits including the local tomato called Ramallet which is native to the island.

Dishes to sample:

  • Ensaimada – usually eaten for breakfast a delicious spiral yeast bun dusted with icing sugar.
  • Local Grimalt Cheeses, Cocarrois - delicious pasties with various fillings.
  • Trampos - vegetable pizza slices.
  • Pa'amb oli - majorcan bread with garlic, tomato, olive oil and sometimes cured ham or cheese.
  • Wholesome rice soups – mainly eaten in winter, made from seafood, vegetable, or chunks of the local sausages.
  • For lovers of meat try Sobrassada.
  • Tumbet – A famous dish made of vegetables.
  • Fideua - the local paella made with noodles rather than rice.
  • Tapas - small dishes of different combinations, meats and vegetables in sauces, including meat balls is a spicy sauce, garlic mushrooms and Calamares (battered squid rings).

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Ibiza - Spain

Size: 571.6 km²
Population: 147,914
Capital: Ibiza Town / Vila d'Eivissa 
Airport: Ibiza 

 

Ibiza “The White Isle” is situated in the Mediterranean Sea off the south-east coast of mainland Spain, the third largest of the Balearic Islands and together with Formentera it forms the Pityusic Islands, or Pine Islands. Primarily known for its party scene this idyllic island also offers, fantastic vistas, (Sa Talaia is the highest point on the island and offers the absolute best in panoramic views), dramatic sunsets, peaceful rural landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage sites and 210 km of beaches with turquoise crystal-clear waters. You can choose between tiny secluded coves, broad organised beaches of fine sand or areas of dune that can be enjoyed all year round thanks to the warm temperatures and close to 3,000 hours of sun.

Many different civilisations have passed through Ibiza over the ages and it has the UNESCO World Heritage designation for its cultural wealth, including the outstanding Phoenician site at Sa Caleta, the necropolis at Puig des Molins, and the historic old town of Eivissa, Dalt Vila. There is a rich artisan and cultural scene, the island became one of the international refuges for the hippy movement and is famous for flea markets selling fashion, handicrafts, pottery, exotic musical instruments, original costume jewellery etc, and in the last decades also a refuge for artists who exhibit their work in the art galleries, markets, shops and handicraft workshops.

There is an abundance of fabulous scenery, history, architecture, shopping, bars, restaurants, nightlife, beaches, sports and activities to choose from and the five main towns of Ibiza, Santa Eulària des Riu, Sant Josep de Sa Talaia, Sant Antoni de Portmany, and Sant Joan de Labritja each have their own identity offering its visitors various possibilities and different experiences making this beautiful Island a perfect holiday destination for people of all ages. 

 

Clubs/Nightlife - Ibiza off the south-east coast of mainland Spain. huge selection, “SuperClubs” with a capacity ranging from 3,000-10,000 that attract A-list DJ’s, many smaller ones but my no means inferior and those that double up as restaurants in the day.  Whatever your preference Ibiza has is a club to suit every taste.          

Whilst the clubs are dotted across the island, it will not take long to reach your preferred destination (from Ibiza Town to San Antonio takes approximately 20 minutes) and during the summer season the “disco bus” runs from midnight to six in the morning. It is the main transportation for the party clubbers and hoppers picking up and dropping off between major bars, resorts, and clubs.  

Playa d’en Bossa - on the east of the island, is home to Hï Ibiza, Ushuaïa, Octan and a just 10 minutes taxi ride away is Pacha just north of Ibiza’s Old Town. 

San Antonio - on the west coast of the island, here you will find Eden, Ibiza Rocks, O Beach, Café Mambo, Cafe de la Mar whilst Pike’s and The Zoo Project’s Benimussa Park are under 10 minutes away. 

San Rafael - located in the middle of the island is Amnesia and Privilege.    

 

  • Dalt Vila (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
    The oldest part of Ibiza Town is guarded by strong renaissance fortifications built by Charles V in the 16th century.  Inside the walls is a steep warren of alleys that are packed with galleries, boutiques, and local amenities and occasionally they will open out to charming old squares like Plaza de Sa Carrosa and Plaza de la Vila.   
  • Ibiza Cathedral                                                                
    At the very top of the old city is the cathedral, which sits next to a scenic outlook over the water. Go inside to see the gothic gold and silver monstrance, dating to 1399, and the 14th and 15th-century gothic panel paintings.
  • Puig des Molins 
    Largest necropolis in the world, housing up to 4,000 tombs from all over the Mediterranean. The ancient cemetery was set up by the Phoenicians at the end of the 7th century.                    .
  • Sa Caleta 
    Small fishing port on the southeast coast of the island, between Es Codolar and Puig des Jondal. This place is a must if you want to learn how the city of Ibiza was born, since the first Phoenicians settled here throughout the 7th century BC before moving to the big city.
  • Puerto de Ibiza
    Ibiza Town main marina.
  • Sa Talaia                              
    The highest mountain in Ibiza, the summit rises 474 meters above the sea offering panoramic views.  
  • Punta d'es Moscarter 
    Walk the cliff-top path from Portinatx to the lighthouse. Built in the 70's and at 52 meters is the tallest man made structure on the island.      
  • Puig de Missa Hill                                      
    The hill rises 52 meters above sea level and on its summit is a 1568 church built on the site of an earlier 1302 chapel. 
  • Island of Es Vedra
    Uninhabited island off the southwest coast of Ibiza that is protected as a natural park, a rugged island with a monolithic slab of sheer limestone that crests at 413 meters. You can get there by boat from San Antonio or Ibiza Town. 
  • Las Dalias Hippie Market                
    Takes place in San Carlos on Saturday. 
  • Cafe del Mar/Cafe Mambo 
    On the sunset strip in San Antonio, famous for dramatic sunsets, lounge, and chill-out music.                   
  • Playa d'en Bossa
    The longest beach on the island with cool beach bars, excellent food, laid-back music from DJs and excellent water-sport facilities. By night, it becomes the focus of the island's clubbing crowd with “SuperClubs”, Ushuaïa and Hï Ibiza being some of the island's most popular attracting A-list DJs every night.               
  • Cala Comte          
    800 metre strip of sand that hugs the twisting contours of the rocky coast. Offshore is a small wedge-like island and this helps to create large, lagoon-like pools of shimmering turquoise water.     
  • The Las Salinas    
    Possibly Ibiza’s most iconic beach is denoted by its white sand, clear water and the mesmerising sights. A favourite for celebrities.                  It 
  • Talamanca 
    A wide sweep of snow-white sand backed by low-density development. The scenery around Talamanca is made up of small, pine-cloaked hills and the small holiday community of Cap Martinet.                     
  • Formentera            
    Take a ferry to Formentera, the beaches Playa de Ses Illetes and Calo des Mort look almost tropical, like you might find in the Caribbean with turquoise waters and sugar-white sand.   
  • Cala Bassa    
    The place of soft sands and clear water tinged blue.                 
  • Cala Saladeta and Cala Salada  
    7 km north of Sant Antoni de Portmany, soft sands, blue waters and bright green trees. A popular snorkelling spot.   
  • Cala Longa
    Picture postcard beach and popular with families for its clear and shallow waters.             

Ibiza's history and location are reflected in its culinary offerings, sourced from the very rich and fertile region surrounding it and using the freshest local produce grown from the land and freshly fished from the seas. Fish and shellfish are the mainstay and usually fresh off the boats that day, the best is sometimes sold simply cooked from shacks on the beaches.  Meat and game also feature on local menus and are popular in hearty stews. Traditional Spanish dishes are in abundance and the classics like gazpacho (cold tomato and pepper soup), tapas and paella are widely available all over the island. There are plenty of international restaurants in the main resorts that range from fast food to creative fine dining of the highest order and the presence of world-class chefs has made food in Ibiza exciting and vibrant without veering away from ingredients located in the area. From traditional tapas bars to a Moroccan restaurant complete with sushi bar you can find every type of cuisine on the island.      

In addition to the local beverages listed below Ibiza produces great wines, made in the traditional way with grapes from indigenous vines and the island has even been granted its own quality standards through the Vins de la terra Eivissa denomination.  

Dishes to sample:

    • Arròs de Matança or Arroz de Matanzas - One of the most traditional dishes in Ibiza, this dish is made of rice, any type of local meat, saffron, and mushroom.  It is cooked in a broth that has been reduced. 
    • Sobrasada and Botifarra - Cured sausages, akin to chorizo with soft ground pork seasoned with paprika. 
    • Bullit de Peix – A delicious and authentic main course, a fish stew made with grouper and potatoes accompanied by lobster and shrimp and served with an aioli on the side. 
    • Sofrit Pagés - This traditional Balearic stew is a hearty mixture of various meats like chicken, lamb, and the Ibizan sausages sobrassada and botifarra. There are also vegetables like potatoes, peppers, and artichokes.  
    • Paellas de Marisco - Seafood paella, the ingredients of this paella come fresh from the sea surrounding the island of Ibiza.  
    • Parrillada de Pescado - Mixed seafood grill which is typically served in beach-side restaurants and comprises of the days catch which is always grilled and served on the same day. 
    • Greixonera - A traditional Ibizan dessert which is like a bread pudding and made from leftover pastries or bread, such as ensaimada. 
    • Sangría - Made with fruits in season such as apples, pears, and oranges. It is served all over Ibiza and each restaurant has a special way of making it.
    • Hierbas Ibicencas - Translated as “Ibizan Herbs” and one of the most quintessential drinks in Ibiza. A traditional drink with 200 years history which has a strong aniseed flavour made from various herbs such as lemon, orange, and thyme. 
    • Frigola – Thyme based sweet drink enjoyed as a digestive after a meal. The Frigola plant grows all around Ibiza. 
    • Palo - An aperitif made from a plant native to the area called the Quino Calsaya.
    • Horchatas - Frozen drinks typically mixed with ground nuts like almonds or tiger nuts. 

 

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Corfu

Size: 610.9 km²
Population: 102,071
Capital: Corfu Town “Kerkyra”
Airport: Corfu International "Ioannis Kapodistrias”

 

Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, it is the second largest of the Ionian Islands and forms the margin of the north western frontier of Greece. This magnificent island of Corfu, or Kerkyra in Greek language is also known as the “Green Island” because of its beautiful scenery and surroundings with dense vegetation, natural beauty, fantastic beaches and turquoise clear waters. It is an island with a long history and has been notable in Greek culture and tradition for over 3000 years, inhabited since the Paleolithic era and later by the Phaeacians as mentioned in the Odyssey. Corfu was a strategic position in Europe for many years and was heavily fortified which is reflected in the number of castles on the island, it was ruled by the Venetian republic for 5 centuries up until 1797 so many of the buildings have a Venetian feel to them particularly the main historic Corfu old town “Kerkyra”. 

The length of the island (in a straight line from north to south) is no more than 61 km and the greatest width is 27 km with a rich coastline of 217 km. It is divided into the following regions:    

  • North East: Home An area of great interest as the many beaches and inland are dominated by Mount Pantokrato (the ancient Istone mountain with the highest peak at 914 meters) with many small beautiful traditional mountain villages untouched by time. Sparilas and Strynilas, Perithea are ideal destinations for those that prefer quieter holidays and calm clear waters. In the northern part, the most developed tourist resort is Kassiopi, a historic village and to the south the beaches of small pebbly bays are not very developed. Small seaside locations with tavernas, natural scenery and crystal-clear waters include Agios Stefanos, Kerasia, Kouloura, Kalami, Agni, Krouzeri, Kaminaki, Nissaki, Barbati - these form the area of the old Sinies.  Below on the east coast are the famous tourist resorts Ipsos, Dassia (one of the oldest tourist areas) and Gouvia with a large yacht marina.
  • North and West: Quite a large area that includes many popular resorts with mostly sandy beaches and stunning beauty spots. Beautiful Palaiokastritsa in the west looks spectacular from the village of Lakones sitting just above it and from the rare hidden beaches to the south. Sidari and Peroulades have rare sandstone geological formations with the Canal d`amour between them plus the cape of Drastis and the majestic Loggas beach.     
  • Central: It has the largest population (approximately 40,000 permanent residents) as it includes the historic city of Corfu and the municipal district of Achileion. Achilleion palace and the most important monuments of the island can be found in and around Corfu Town, a UNESCO world heritage site, you can lose yourself in the narrow cobblestone alleys “kandounia”, visit museums, walk down the famous Liston promenade or stroll around the huge Spianada square. The town has so much to explore. There are several small and big traditional villages, seaside resorts and beaches, to the east are Benitses, Perama, Kanoni and to the west unique beaches, the nudist beach of Myrtiotissa, Pelekas with its beach of Kontogyalos, the long sandy beach of Aghios Gordios, Ermones and the most cosmopolitan beach of the island Glyfada. 
  • South-East: It incorporates the larger tourist resorts of Moraitika and Messongi with the only sandy beach on the east coast and the well-known traditional fishing villages of Boukari and Petriti with a large harbour and several fish tavernas. Lefkimi, the second largest town is a great place to explore and a few kilometers south is Kavos which is a popular choice for the younger generation seeking sun, sea, fun and nightlife. 
  • South and West: Dominated by endless sandy beaches and traditional villages. The large traditional villages inland seem to be stuck in time and life flows at a slower pace, the huge beaches (excluding Agios Georgios which has seen some development in recent years) remain almost untouched and preserve their natural beauty, extending for several miles the beaches of Chalikounas, Issos, Agios Georgios of Argyradon, Marathias and Agia Varvara all merge into one. Gardenos on the southwest end is the beachside of the traditional village of Vitalades and part of the long beaches of Vitalades, Lakka or Cannula that ends at the capes of Arkoudillas and Asprokavos.  These are virgin areas without development and unchanged with a natural landscape consisting of a series of high cliffs parallel to the sandy beaches. 

The Island of Corfu is a fantastic holiday choice with so much to offer,  picturesque mountain villages, traditional fishing harbours, lively nightlife, water sports, quieter places with emphasis on beauty of the environment, emerald sandy coves, crystal clear water and secluded idyllic beaches. The passing of time may have brought some changes, but the spirit of its glorious past remains with a rich multi-cultural heritage, gastronomic delights, historic monuments and stunning landscapes. With all these contributing factors it is easy to see why Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean destinations that manages to cast a powerful spell on the many returning visitors. 

 

  • Kanoni and Mouse Island
    The region of Kanoni and the Mouse Island (Pontikonisi) is the most picturesque spot of Corfu Town.
  • Achillion Palace
    The Palace was built in 1890 for Elizabeth (Sissy), the Empress of Austria, she named it Achillion after her favourite Greek hero, Achilles.
  • Old Fortress
    The Old Fortress stands next to Spianada square and Liston. An impressive castle built on a peninsula and connected to the mainland by a narrow bridge. 
  • Spianada Square
    The most impressive square of Corfu Town and the second largest square in Europe.
  • Town Hall 
    Housed in an elegant mansion of Venetian style and constructed in the late 17th century.
  • New Fortress
    Also known as the New Fortress of Corfu, it played an important role in the protection of the town against pirates and enemies in Medieval times.
  • Saint Spyridon
    Located in the Old Town of Corfu behind Liston. It has the largest bell tower of all churches in the city and it is the red dome that visitors first see when they arrive by boat to Corfu.
  • Monastery of Pantokrator 
    Located on top of the highest mountain of the island, on the northern side of Corfu. Incredible panoramic view. 
  • Old Perithia (Palea Perithia)
    A ghost village located on the slopes of Mount Pantokrator, the highest mountain in Corfu.
  • Angelokastro Castle
    Meaning the "Castle of the Angels" in Greek, located on top of a steep cliff overlooking the sea, near Paleokastritsa. 
  • The Mansion of Ioannis Kapodistrias
    The first governor of the modern Greek State, among the most impressive buildings of Corfu Old Town. 
  • The Small Islet of Vidos
    Located right at the entrance of Corfu port, it has small beaches to swim, paths for trekking and a nice taverna.
  • Antinioti and Korission Lagoons 
    On the island there are two lagoons, the northernmost lake of Antinioti, and in the southwest is the lagoon of Korission, each with its special biodiversity. 
  • Cruise to Paxi, Antipaxos and the Blue Caves
  • Museums and Galleries 
    Archaeological Museum, Museum of Music "Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros" Museum, Museum of Asian Art, Byzantine Museum, Acharavi Folklore Museum, Banknote Museum, Dionysios Solomos Museum, Municpal Art Gallery.  

 

  • Paleokastritsa
    The most famous picturesque beach resort of the island. Huge, green cliffs surround the coast and sea caves can be visited by boat around Paleokastritsa.
  • Agios Gordious
    A sandy beach that is surrounded by impressive rock formations, much greenery and tourist facilities. 
  • Glyfada 
    Popular beach in the middle of the island and offers a good mix of gorgeous scenery with a bit of music and water sports.
  • Nissaki 
    A lovely shore with soft sand and rock formations around has amazing blue green water. 
  • Sidara Canal d'Amour
    The famous coves of Canal d'Amour are situated at the west of Sidari, one of the most impressive and photographed spots of Corfu.
  • Halikounas
    Long isolated sandy beach located near the village of Agios Matheos.
  • Agios Spiridon
    Sandy beach with breath-taking scenery, crystal clear waters and lush greenery.
  • Marathias
    Highly recommended by the locals for its crystalline waters and the golden sand, the long sandy beach is surrounded by the imposing hill forests.
  • Gardeno
    A little gem that remains undiscovered by tourists, long and sandy beach known for the natural landscape with green hills and crystal-clear waters.
  • Kalamaki
    Also known as Apraos, is a calm beach located in the northwest coast of Corfu, between the fishing village of Kassiopi and the beach of Agios Spiridon. It stays shallow for a long way out making it perfect for children. 
  • Barbati
    A secluded beach north of Ipsos, large pebbles, crystal water and green nature.
  • Rovinia
    A beautiful beach located in Paleokastritsa, reachable only by boat or through a hiking path from Liapades. 

The cuisine of Corfu differs slightly from the typical Greek cuisine with an influence from the Venetians who once dominated the island. The unique menus use wine, garlic and eastern spices, like cloves, allspice, cinnamon and more, in the restaurants delicious regional plates such as the Bourdetto (peppery fish stew), Sofrito (fried veal) and the famous Pastitsada, a favourite dish of pasta with beef are all being served.

Based on meat, fish, pasta, olive oil and herbs the island’s gastronomy will excite those who love good food, high quality and amazing taste using best local produce grown from the land and freshly fished seafood. As well as traditional Corfu food you will find plenty of Greek dishes on the island and the excellent Corfu restaurants and traditional taverns are the best places to taste the local delicacies!

Wineries on Corfu are found mainly in Ropa Valley, a large and fertile valley in between Corfu Town and Ermones where the large vineyards are cultivated. Although the island is not particularly famous for its wine production, over the last years many now export local wine and have opened their premises to visitors. The main varieties are Moschato, Katigiorgis and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dishes/Drinks to sample:

  • Pastitsada - Chicken or veal is cooked together with oil, spices, onions and a little garlic, some wine, cinnamon, laurel, nutmeg, fresh tomato and served with thick pasta.
  • Fish Bianco - Fish simmered with white wine on a bed of potatoes. The potatoes are pan fried first with lots of garlic and olive oil, white wine is added along with salt and cloves. 
  • Bourdeto - Fish or other seafood cooked with onions and a lot of red pepper, half sweet and half hot with lemon.
  • Sofrito - Veal casserole served with a white sauce of garlic, onion, pepper, wine vinegar and anything else the chef puts in it to produce his version. Some serve a beef sofrito, though strictly speaking it is a veal dish.
  • Veal Fricando - Loin of veal, larded and braised, or roasted.
  • Pork Dolcegarbo - Pork slowly cooked with onions, rosemary white wine and spices, served with aromatic rice, polenta or potatoes.
  • Beef Liver alla Veneziana - Fried liver dish in the Venetian style that has been given the Corfu treatment (rarely seen on tourist menus) cooked with red wine and spiced with hot red pepper.
  • Zorka - Pies made with seasonal vegetables, depending on the season you may find Zucchini pies, savoury pumpkin pies, onion pies, cheese pies, or whatever is fresh on the farm that day. 
  • Sikomaida - Sweet fig pie made with Figs pounded in Ouzo, walnuts, spices and pepper then wrapped in fig leaves. Usually found in some of the more traditional villages.
  • Fogatsa - The Easter brioche of Corfu. 
  • Mandolato - The favourite confection of the Venetians, honey, sugar, and egg whites are made meringue filled with almonds.
  • Sitsibíra - A local ginger beer and an island specialty, refreshing in the summer with delicious flavours of fresh lemon mixing with the spicy, pepper notes of ginger.  pasties with various fillings. 
  • Kumquat Liqueur - The first liqueur was an orange colour and made from the skin of the kumquat oranges with a sweeter taste and often used in cocktails. Today there is also a yellow-tinted variety made from the juice of the fruit, less sweet and drank as an after-meal digestive chilled or with ice.
  • Metaxa - The most famous Greek spirit.
  • Ouzo - Mixed with ice and water with a liquorice taste. 
  • Greek Coffee - Served in a small cup like an espresso.
  • Greek Frappe - A strong ice-cold frothy coffee.

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