Visiting Milos, The Island of Aphrodite

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

Emerging from the depths of the sea, a well-known symbol of beauty and charm, Milos, an island of Greek Cyclades, adorns the azure, Aegean waters.

In antiquity, Milos was very prosperous because of its mineral wealth. During the Neolithic Era, it was inhabited and quite soon it became prosperous due to a black volcanic rock that the inhabitants used for their various tools and weapons. Dorians moved to the island of Milos in 1000 BC.  Milo’s residents sided with the Greeks in the battles of Salamis and Platea. In 415 BC, the Athenians defeated the islanders and destroyed the city.

Paleochori, Milos island, Cyclades, GreeceIn the centuries that followed, Milos, like the rest of the islands in Cyclades, belonged at first in Macedonia, then to Egypt, however, thanks to the safe and free sea the island’s economy was boosted. An interest for the arts was triggered leading to their development.  The statues of Aphrodite and Poseidon were the perfect examples of that development.

During the Roman rule, Milos was adorned with even more monuments, the most famous of which was the marble theater.  After the end of the Roman rule, the Catacombs became the symbol of Christianity.

During the Venetian, Turkish and German rule, the residents tried their best to achieve freedom. After years of painful effort, they accomplished their goal, and Milos, like the rest of the Cyclades return back where they belonged, to the Greeks.

I have visited the island of Milos several times and each time I feel as if it is the first. Every time I discover something new that surprises and impresses me at the same time.

The Agia Triada Church, built in 1600 AD, is one of the most special churches in the island both because of its unique architecture and old age. At present, it is used as an Ecclesiastical Museum.

The Museum of Minerals, another famous museum in Milos, displays rocks, minerals as well as tools that were created on the island of Milos.

The  world-wide famous Catacombs, the symbol of Christianity, are the place where Christians used to meet for their various religious duties.

In the north part of the island, there is the beach Sarakiniko, my absolute favorite beach to go to in Milos, because of its unusual setting. The white rocks and the strange rock formations make this beach look as one of a kind.

A great travel destination, especially during summer months, Milos is an island you have to visit!

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou


Visiting The Palace of Knossos on Crete, Greece

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou


Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

An April night several years ago, I took the overnight ferry from Athens to Crete in order to explore the Palace of Knossos, well-known as the heart of the ancient Minoan civilization. This is a trip I always wanted to take, and I was very happy I was finally able to do so.

 I stayed at Hotel Castro, a very nice hotel, very close to the town center, ideal to explore the archeological sites in Heraklion.

Knossos Palace at Crete Island in GreeceThe Palace of Knossos is only five kilometers southeast of Heraklion, the capital of Crete. I took a bus from the town center to get to the Palace, it took approximately 20 minutes. I chose to take a private tour that lasted about 2 hours (the cost was only $10) because as a detail-oriented person, I wanted to be informed as much as possible. A good alternative if you don’t want to take a private tour is the informative guide book that you can purchase in the entrance, which costs almost the same as the tour. The ticket costs only $3 and you can stay up to 3 hours to admire every little detail.

Also well-known as the Minoan Palace, Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archeological site on the island of Crete. Spanning six acres, it was built between 1700 and 1400 BC and boasts 1,300 rooms in an impressive labyrinthine layout. It was destroyed by fire in 1350 BC, and was never inhabited after that; however, the environs of the palace were beautifully transformed into a sacred grove of Goddess Rhea. In 1900, it was restored by Arthur Evans, with a technique called concrete.

The palace is remarkably well preserved, with several buildings still intact. Various urns dot the vast complex, giving a feel of what life was all about those centuries ago. The walls are covered in beautiful murals and the famous bull horns, well-known as the symbol of Knossos, are apparent everywhere. Most of the exquisite photos that are exhibited are replicas, as the originals are kept in a museum.

What impressed me the most was learning how the Palace was built, with 2 floors built underground and 3 floors built above ground, as well as the story about Athenians being forced to deliver seven youths and seven maidens to the Minotaur, as prey to his labyrinth, every 9 years. One year, Prince Theseus volunteered to be one of the seven youths, in an attempt to kill the Minotaur and end the senseless tragedy. He was successful and managed to escape from the labyrinth with the help of Ariadne, Minoa’s daughter. Unfortunately, he forgot to replace the ship’s black sails with the white ones that were the symbol of his success, and as a result, everyone thought he had failed. Seeing the black sails, King Aegean committed suicide by jumping into the sea that was later named after him.

If you are looking for a chance to be educated during your Greece vacation, the Palace of Knossos in Crete is the perfect place.

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou


Visiting Folegandros, Greece

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

Situated between Milos and Sikinos, Folegandros, Greece is one of the most naturally beautiful islands of Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, with breathtaking scenery of mountain areas, rocky ground, green fields and deep blue, crystal clear waters, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in Greece for tourists worldwide.

I visited the Folegandros, Greece for the first time several years ago. I remember I fell in love with the island the moment I arrived at the port of Karavostasis.

Agali Beach in Foledandros Island Cyclades Greece

Folegandros Beaches

Probably the most well-preserved in Cyclades, the Folegandros beaches attract hundreds of visitors, especially during the summer months. I visited and loved them all, but I consider the following ones to be special:


Agali Beach

The Agali beach is named after the Greek word ‘’Angalia’ which means ‘’hug’’ and it took that name because of the huge rocks that seem to be ‘’hugging’’ the beach. This is the most crowded beach and ideal for swimmers.


Agios Georgios Beach

Ideally located to the northern part of the island, the sandy, crystal water beach of Agios Georgios is extremely popular. Only thing to be aware of is that this beach is subjected to strong winds, so it is wise to check the weather report before visiting.


Folegandros Historical Sights


Church of Koimisis tis Theotokou

Situated on the top of a cliff, on the ruins of a temple, there is Church of Koimisis tis Theotokou, dedicated to Panagia Theotokos (Virgin Mary). According to an old legend, the church was built by an islander who was kidnapped by pirates, and was miraculously saved once he found the icon of Panagia Theotokos in the Aegean Sea.


Venetian Castle

Built during the 13th century to protect the inhabitants from pirates, the Venetian Castle offers a spectacular, breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea, as well as the chance for visitors to see the church of Panagia Pentanassa. I visited in late afternoon, while the sun was going down, and I had the chance to enjoy an even better view because I climbed on the top of the church, so I have associated that experience with one of the most romantic moments in my life.


Ecology and Folk Museum

For lovers of nature like me, the Ecology and Folk Museum in the capital of Folegandros, Chora, is a must-see. The museum displays an impressive variety of farming tools, ideal for everyday use, housed in a farm house.


If you are looking for a peaceful and serene place to spend your summer vacation, the island of Folegandros is a perfect choice.


One Of My Favorite Islands, Symi Greece

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

One of my favorite islands to visit during summer months is Symi, Greece. Accessible by ferries from Piraeus Port in Athens, as well as the Port in Rhodes, Symi is part of the Dodecanese island chain.  Because Symi is inhabited by only 3,000 people, it is the ideal place for quiet, quality time alone, as well as romantic getaways for couples. The romantic horse drawn carriage that is offered will certainly be highly appreciated by all couples!

The Knights of Saint John Kastro and the Church of Megali Panagia are magical places that visitors should definitely not miss at the little town of  Herio, in Symi.  Symi Island, Greece

The famous monastery of Moni Tahiarxou Mihail Panommiti, famous for its miracles, was built during the 18h century and provides plenty of iconography of Saint Michael, who is said to have appeared there. It is important to note that tourists are not allowed to take photos in the monastery though, except on special occasions, and even then, without flash.  Furthermore, as there are strict clothing rules, tourists should know that T-shirts, mini dresses and mini skirts are now allowed inside the monastery.  If shoulders and knees are not covered, tourists will be offered scarfs and jackets to wear before entering.

I love shopping beautiful sea sponges from the tourist shops both for me and for friends. What makes those sea sponges so special is that they are brought up from the sea by local divers as well as the fact that they are incredibly soft!  Olive oil products of high quality are also offered in a big variety in the tourist shops.

As the bay offers a magnificent view, it is recommended to enjoy a nice cup of Greek coffee at one of the lovely cafes nearby.  Several of the houses in Symi carry an Italian architectural style, which creates a mysterious and noir atmosphere, another thing that couples visiting Symi will definitely enjoy tremendously.


Seafood lovers will especially enjoy the exceptional seafood offered in Symi. One of the specialties is the famous ‘’Symiaco Garidaki’’, little shrimps that are offered as appetizers.  Octopus, my personal favorite, is a great choice both as an appetizer and as main course.


One of the cleanest and less crowded beaches in Symi is Nos beach. Because of its location, Nos beach is protected from strong winds and as it offers mild temperatures, it can be visited even during the fall.  Pedi beach  is recommended for those who want to visit Emborio, Nanou and Marathoundas via motor boats, as well as for those who love water sports.

Loners and couples who want privacy need to search no more. Symi, Greece, is the ideal travel destination for them.

Maria Papadopoulou  is a freelance writer at as well as a translator and a proofreader.


Travel Photo Of The Day- Skiathos, Island Greece

Skiathos, Island Greece

Photo By Mikael Damkier

Skiathos, Island Greece

Hundreds of islands are to be found in the Aegean Sea, both large and small. Most of them belong to Greece, but recent decades have seen some disputes with Turkey over the details. Despite a lack of technology, many ancient travelers found it easier to travel over the water than to navigate Greece’s rough land routes

For more information and destinations in Greece check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures Greece


Travel Photo Of The Day-Balos Bay, Crete, Greece

Balos Bay, Crete, Greece

Photo By Freesurf69

Amazing view of Balos Bay, Gramvousa, Crete, Greece

Most of Crete’s beaches have been awarded the European Blue Flag, which is given only to beaches that are found clean and fully equipped on a consistent basis. Crete also offers some of the best nightlife in Greece, Crete enjoys over 300 days of sunshine each year and classic Mediterranean weather prevails throughout the island. From March to October one can usually count on pleasant sun-filled days.

For more information and destinations in Greece check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures Greece


Travel Photo Of The Day-Blue Domes of Santorini, Greece

Blue Domes of Santorini, Greece

Photo By Bcbounders

Blue domes and whitewashed walls stand high above the Mediterranean Sea in the town of Oia on the island of Santorini, Greece

Santorini is one of Greece’s most popular islands, and as any visitor can attest, it’s easy to see why. The island has gorgeous beaches, whitewashed houses set against the hillsides, breathtaking views, an active volcano, great nightlife, wineries, and plenty of places to eat, drink, and shop.

For more information and destinations in Greece check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures Greece


Atlantis on Santorini, Greece?

Guest Post by: Bridget Staroscik O’Reilly

Almost every schoolchild has heard the tale if the lost city of Atlantis. Years ahead of later civilizations, the city was purported to have been filled not just with beautiful buildings, but by architecturally advanced ones. According to the ancient stories, they had heating and cooling in the houses that was made possible by hot and cold air run through the pipes they had placed in the walls. By some accounts they even had hot and cold running water.

Red Beach of Akrotiri, Santorini, GreeceIt is also said that as a civilization they were years ahead of us in laws and justice. In addition to their architectural wonders they also had art in the form of beautiful frescos. This was a dream society one that could almost not be believed. Of course no one knows for sure if it really was any of those things, because no one knows for sure if it ever existed at all. According to legend, one day Atlantis was there in all its glory, and then suddenly, it was gone. An enormous cataclysm, an earthquake and a volcanic eruption that caused giant waves, were said to have returned Atlantis to the sea.

There are many theories about where Atlantis was located. One of these is a recently discovered set of buildings buried under ash near the town of Akrotiri, Santorini. Of course recently is a relative term.  In 1860 while quarrying ash for use in the Suez Canalworkers discovered the remains of an ancient town. Unlike Pompeiithere were no signs of people. The buildings looked as if their occupants had left everything neat, so it is thought that they had warning of the coming disaster and were able to escape before it swallowed the town. Perhaps it was from these people that the stories of the mythical Atlantis came.

The volcanic eruption that buried Akrotiri also caused it to be forgotten. Even though it had been discovered by the workers in 1860, it was over a 100 years later in 1967 before a full scale excavation of the site was begun. This was led by Spyridon Marinatos, who was a professor at the University in Athens. The excavations continued until 2005 when a roof that had been built over the structure collapsed. One visitor was killed and several injured which caused the closure of the site and it remains closed until the roof can be repaired. As Greece is the birthplace of modern government it is not surprising there would be quite a few hoops to jump through before the reopening.

Ancient painting Akrotiri, Santorini, GreeceStill, you are not completely robbed of opportunities to see the wonders found at Akrotiri.  Most of the frescos and many items had already been removed to the Archeological Museum of Athens before the collapse and you can still view them there.  In addition, there are other places on the island where the volcano has left it’s mark. In an ironic twist, it is likely the same eruption that buried Akrotiri is also at least partly responsible for the unique beauty of the island and it’s amazing views.

The wonder of the ancient world is not just seen and felt in the ruins of Akritori. The whole island  of Santorini is filled with history both modern and ancient. The past is everywhere on Santorini, it has almost a physical presence. If you listen carefully, you may even hear the voices of the ancient ones in the whispers of the wind.

Guest Post by: Bridget Staroscik O’Reilly


Exploring Peloponnese, Greece

Guest Post By: Karen Mills

Taygetos Mountain, Greece;The Peloponnese is a large, beautiful island, or peninsula which is now characterized as a part of the mainland because it is connected by a bridge over the Corinth Canal.  This part of Greece is said to have been inhabited since prehistoric times.  Patras and Kalamata are two of the larger urban centers, but I spent my time in small villages in the area such as the coastal resort town of Kalogria, Artemesia, Olympia, Sparta, and Mystras.

Flying into Athens, I rented a car for the journey to The Peloponnese.  Be sure to get a GPS, because the road signs are in Greek!  Go figure!  The ones in Athens are also in English, but when you get to the smaller villages, you will need a map of Greece with the proper Greek names of the cities to get around.  Set the GPS on fastest route and not shortest.  I had it on shortest at first and took a trip through an olive grove, which was a little scary!

The land surrounding Athens is rocky and not so attractive.  As you cross the Corinth Canal into the Peloponnese, the land becomes densely mountainous and green with evergreens and olive groves terraced on the hillsides.  The coast is magnificent with the clear blue waters of the Ionian and Aegean seas.

Kalogrias, Greece; Kalogria is a resort town, and when I was here in late September, it was almost deserted.  By the end of the month, most of the restaurants and hotels would be closed for the season.  The weather was still warm and lovely during the day, great for the beach and cooler in the evenings.  Beware of the mosquitoes which make it difficult to enjoy dining outside, although most places have terraces for this.

Kalamata is a more urban area, with a beach that stays open longer.  It is a great place to base yourself if you want to take daytrips to some of the archeological ruins such as Olympia, Sparta, Mystras, and Corinth.  Olympia is the original home of the Olympic Games and the torch is still lit there every year before making its trip to the Olympic location.  There is a museum outlining the history of the games over the centuries.  It is a tourist town, so outside of the park there are nice shops for gathering souvenirs such as olives, jewelry, wines, liqueurs, and postcards.  There are also some great restaurants.

Mystras is a fortified town built in 1249.  It is located on a hill and about half way to the top is a beautiful church with Byzantine frescoes that make climbing the 240 stairs worth it.  The views are spectacular.

You won’t be disappointed with the food in Greece.  Meals are simple and served family style which makes it easy to order many things and share in order to try all of the wonderful foods and flavors.  Greek salads consist of fresh tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, olives and usually have a large block of feta cheese with oregano and olive oil.  It is delicious!  Try the tzaziki, which is a yogurt and cucumber based dip for bread…usually heavy on the garlic.  Seafood and grilled meats are popular and many restaurants serve a mixed platter of grilled chicken, beef, pork and lamb.  Don’t forget to dry the famous liquor ouzo and the Greek coffee!

Plate of Greek Sardines







Guest Post By: Karen Mills

Karen Mills is an American woman who made the decision to leave her corporate life behind to live “la dolce vita” in Florence, Italy, Read more about her experiences at An American In Italy or contact her at



Athens:From Panic To Peace

Guest Post by: Bridget Staroscik O’Reilly

On the afternoon of my first day in Athens, we visited the Acropolis. Up there above the city, the warm wind whips around you and Athens is laid at your feet like a present from the ancients. On the ruins themselves a park employee sat eating her lunch; staring into space with a bored expression. For a moment I tried to imagine I had her life: one so filled with excitement that sitting on the ruins of the Acropolis bored me, but I couldn’t imagine it.

Athens, GreeceI had been blown away by Athens since the wild taxi ride that gave me my first glimpse of the city around 4a.m. that morning. Red lights had no meaning to our driver. Red, Yellow, Green, no matter… He would just lay on the horn and the gas simultaneously and keep on going.

This is a different airport experience than someone headed to Athens today would likely have since my first trip to Athens was before the most recent Olympics, so their clean and shiny new airport and simple public transportation system was in the future. Instead our plane arrived on the dark deserted tarmac and had a set of stairs rolled up to us, just like in some movie from the fifties.

When we did enter the airport itself, it was completely empty except for the passengers of our flight. No restaurant was open; no postcard shop. I was definitely starting to get a bit nervous that we may have to stay there until morning when I saw the line of cars painted taxi yellow through the Baggage Claim doors.

We went out to the 1st car in the line and told him the name of our hotel but not much else and like taxi drivers everywhere he assured us he knew exactly where we were going- then! It wasn’t until we started hurtling down streets like one of us was in labor and the hospital was on the other side of town, that he mentioned he actually hadn’t heard of the place, but at that point wouldn’t stop to let us get the paperwork out of our luggage.

Still in a short time we and way too much luggage showed up at our hotel. After a brief argument with the desk clerk we were able to convince him that we were willing to pay for the whole night even though we arrived at 4:45am. It took a few trips in the tiny elevator to get us and all our bags upstairs to a room that looked nothing like the pictures online had.

Ancient Temple Of Zeus, Athens, GreeceI knew I was near a panic. I had been traveling for at 38 hours and I was in a hotel in a country I knew nothing about, as far away from the world I knew as I had ever been. I walked across the room, opened the bamboo doors and stepped out onto the balcony. The view took my breath away. There in front of me lit only by moonlight was the Temple of Zeus. All the panic slid away and I felt a sense of peace, I had arrived. I took a few moments every night to examine that view no matter how late I came in and it always gave me that same sense of wonder. And this was only minor ruins. So how I could I ever be bored by the Acropolis?

Guest Post by: Bridget Staroscik O’Reilly


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