Around Greece For a Summer: Moments and People

ikaria island greece - hand painted white rock with flowers

It is a privilege and an honour to be able to tour people around Greece.

As far as jobs go, we here at Definitely Greece are a lucky bunch.

The experiences we get to create for our guests, realized after much time spent researching and identifying the best itineraries, make every long day worth it.

In the process, we get to interact with some amazing individuals from around the country, learn their stories, be inspired, join in on amazing festivals, eat some amazing food and create memories to be forever cherished.

Looking back at some of the past seasons, I want to record some of the special moments.

To start with, we’ve got Ikaria island.
Well, what is Ikaria and why is it so special?

custom made - ikaria beach photo - white pebbles and grey rocks

Festivals and Celebrations

Ikaria, is a strip of land in the Aegean Sea, with a history so old it gets lost between the real and the legendary. The island of Ikaria is pristine, pure and unspoiled with a beauty so natural that it touches your inner Eden.

The locals, warm and inviting, make you feel instantly at home without the commercial pressures of typical tourist destinations. This atmosphere allows you to discover the island at your own pace and in your own way but with local guidance merely a question away. Apart from Ikarias primal beauty, its most engaging social activities are its many festivals.

Should you find yourself at one of the many local festivals, thank the Olympian gods for your good fortune and get ready to enjoy a unique Greek experience.
That’s what we did and we had no idea what we were in for!

You will be drawn into the traditional dances by the local setting and the rhythm of the music. From dusk till dawn, young and old come together to eat, drink, sing and celebrate, but mostly to dance.

Not only will you dance the traditional Greek dances but you will waltz and tango with the locals, needing only their enthusiasm and practiced footwork, along with the music’s rhythm, to join the circle and look the practiced dancer.

Now, confident with your own footwork and unable to resist the joy of the party, you can try your hand – and foot – at some of the more challenging traditional dances.The mood this experience creates will linger in your heart as your mind replays, over and over, the now familiar music long after the day has gone.

group of people in a circle dancing in ikaria - famous festivals in greece

 

People – Loukoumades by Leila

Somewhere in between taking photos, flying my drone, drinking awarded wine and eating local delicacies, I came across this wonderful lady and entrepreneur, Leila.

Leila runs a canteen set near the mountain village of Christos-Raches in Ikaria that serves the trekkers and nature seekers who frequent the many hiking trails and natural settings of the area.

While her fare may be somewhat limited it is well known for a few of her special servings and the organic ingredients that she uses. One of her most famous treats is loukoumades.

To describe in my poor way, let’s say that they are…’honey balls’.

There are two recipes: one with mastic (A unique Greek product from the island of Chios made from the resin of the Mastic tree, known for its amazing health properties) and whole wheat flour while the other is made with ouzo, and potato (recipe from an old yiayia) and both topped with locally produced honey or chocolate.

Beyond these special delicacies, she offers various sandwiches made from local ingredients which also reinforce her reputation for natural and healthy food. If you’re in the area, stop by, say “Hi” to Leila and enjoy her unique servings, tell her that I am coming back soon with some friends!

what does greece mean - two women smiling sitting next to each other eating sweet desserts

Leila and Efi Kalogirou – Baldwin owner of Definitely Greece – sharing a plate of delicious loukoumades. They were gone fast! 

Agrotourism – The connection to the land

Traveling, experiencing new destinations, trying new food, that’s all amazing.

And so is being aware of your impact on the natural environment. To realize that you need to be in touch with nature, the land, the agricultural life.
There are a lot of places in Greece that follow the values of agrotourism. There is one place though that we keep coming back to, having experienced a connection to the land that surpassed our expectations.

It is true that Greeks are, in their stunning majority, a very hospitable people. Wherever you go in this country you will meet people who will go out of their way to make you feel at home, yet on Crete, this feeling is ever more prevalent.

Among the locals, you will indeed be spoiled. Cretans love their island with a passion and are always ready to share the best this blessed island has to offer to visitors.

There is a rough, yet wholesome, beauty in Crete, in the land and the people and it never fails to enchant in its simplicity and lack of pretense. Nikos Frantzeskakis is a characteristic embodiment of the Cretan ideals.

He doesn’t have a secret marketing technique for success. He is an authentic example of Greek hospitality, a worthy successor of his ancient forefathers.

crete cooking lessons - smiling man holding pie that has just come out of hand - cooking class - vamos village

Nikos Frantzeskakis owner of Vamos Fabrica village and ecotourism accommodation preparing a plate of delicious Cretan mezedes. 

Finding My Secluded Getaway Spot

In the foothills of Mount Olympus, I experienced Ktima Bellou, a family business exhibiting a shared vision and a passion to offer the best hospitality to all travelers.

Breakfast consisted of local delicacies using recipes which are made from local produce grown in the surrounding area, as well as on their own farm that spans more than 12 acres. They grow tomatoes and other vegetables as well as fruits, such as strawberries, that they use to produce delicious jams. More than this, they grow various spices, herbs and tea leaves.

The owner, Mr. Lazaros, is a most welcoming host and his love for nature and herbs is undeniable. His passion for sharing this natural setting that produces so many healthy consumables has led to other enjoyable activities such as Greek Pie making and Essential Oils Distillation.

Highly rated and repeatedly awarded, there is no doubt Ktima Bellou will continue to be the little getaway spot for visitors looking to escape the city

exterior photo of ktima bellou in crete greece with pool and sun loungers

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