This year, Athens was crowned Europe’s Leading Cultural City Destination at the World Travel Awards, and in this 143-page magazine, culture takes center stage. We guide you to Athens’ major museums and the neighborhoods around them; learn what life is like for the many artists who in recent years have sought their way from abroad to create homes and studios here; trace ancient philosophers’ favorite haunts in and around the Athenian Agora; present museum tours tailored specifically to children; discover the local dining scene through a historic lens as renowned Greek writer Christos Choumenidis presents five traditional and contemporary restaurants with their unique stories to tell; and check in on the development of the never-more-hot campaign for the return of the Parthenon marbles.
With the passage of time the island may have changed, but we can still feel the spirit of a distant glorious past. Its rich multi-cultural heritage, its historic monuments, its stunning natural landscape, its crystal clear seas, and its excellent weather all year round explain why Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean destinations weaving a powerful spell on its visitors.
Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek), unlike the rest of Greece, never fell under the Ottoman oppression. Due to the successive dominations of the Venetians, the French and the British over the centuries, the island has primarily become part of the Western rather the Levantine world. Their culture wielded strong influence in the city: it was here that the first Greek University (the Ionian Academy), the first Philharmonic Orchestra and the First School of Fine Arts were founded.
With long sandy beaches, a balmy climate and monuments from various historical eras, Kos was among the first Aegean islands to attract visitors –during the 1930s, under Italian rule. Despite its touristic role, Kos is in fact one of the most fertile Greek islands, with rich volcanic soil and an adequate water supply from its single mountain range.
Local melons have long been famous – old-timers as far away as the Cyclades remember the melon-peddlers from Kos – and they’re still sold at the roadside. Agriculture continues to co-exist with tourism, baled hay and grazing cattle (there are said to be almost as many cows as people – 18,000 – on Kos) found just behind beachfront hotel complexes.
As a strategic border island with Turkey, a military presence is inevitable if usually not intrusive – though it’s quite possible to catch a glimpse of exercising tanks, cattle and hotel wings all at once.
Mýkonos, also spelled Míkonos, island, dímos (municipality), and perifereiakí enótita (regional unit), South Aegean (Modern Greek: Nótio Aigaío) periféreia (region), southeastern Greece. Mýkonos is one of the smaller of the eastern Cyclades (Kykládes) group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
According to legend, it is the piece of rock thrown by Heracles to destroy the Giants. It is a rugged granite mass, about 33 square miles (85 square km) in area, lying next to Delos (Dílos) and between Tínos to the northwest and Náxos (Náchos) and Páros to the south. Mýkonos has several beaches, and on the north coast the Gulf of Pánormos forms a deep indentation. Located on the west side of the island is its capital, Mýkonos town; the town is the centre of a thriving tourism industry and is renowned for its nightlife.
Filmed in September 2022.
When planning a vacation to Europe, some of the first destinations that come to mind will be the teeming cities of Paris, London or Rome. Each of these metropolises is incredible, but they are far from all that Europe has to offer.
By exploring some of the smaller towns across the continent, it is possible to see a more authentic, traditional side to Europe. If you’re planning an upcoming getaway to the continent, here are just a few of the most beautiful small towns in Europe.
Thera, Modern Greek Thíra, also called Santorin, or Santoríni, island, southernmost island of the Cyclades (Modern Greek: Kykládes) group, southeastern Greece, in the Aegean Sea, sometimes included in the Southern Sporades group. It constitutes a dímos (municipality) within the South Aegean (Nótio Aigaío) periféreia (region).
Geologically, Thera is the remaining eastern half of an exploded volcano. Its bow-shaped rim and the remnant isles of Thirasía and Aspronísi form an open lagoon that measures 37 miles (60 km) in circumference. In the centre of the lagoon are two active volcanic islets, Néa Kaméni (“New Burnt Island”) and Palaía Kaméni (“Old Burnt Island”). Thera proper consists largely of lava and pumice, the latter of which is the island’s main export. Red-wine grapes are also grown. The lagoon is rimmed by red-, white-, and black-striped volcanic cliffs rising to almost 1,000 feet (300 metres). The summit of Thera is the 1,857-foot (566-metre) limestone Mount Profítis Ilías in the southeast. The chief town, Thíra (locally called Firá), was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1956. Other settlements include Emboríon and Pírgos to the south and the port of Oía at the north entrance to the lagoon, which was destroyed by the 1956 earthquake.
Athens, Modern Greek Athínai, Ancient Greek Athēnai, historic city and capital of Greece. Many of Classical civilization’s intellectual and artistic ideas originated there, and the city is generally considered to be the birthplace of Western civilization.
Athens lies 5 miles (8 km) from the Bay of Phaleron, an inlet of the Aegean (Aigaíon) Sea where Piraeus (Piraiévs), the port of Athens, is situated, in a mountain-girt arid basin divided north-south by a line of hills. Greater Athens has an area of 165 square miles (427 square km). The Kifisós River, only a trickle in summer, flows through the western half; the Ilisós River, often dry, traverses the eastern half. The surrounding mountains—Párnis, 4,636 feet (1,413 metres); Pentelicus (Pendéli), 3,631 feet; Hymettos (Imittós), 3,365 feet; and Aigáleon, 1,535 feet—add to the impression of barrenness. Yet such considerations are superficial when compared with the fecundity of Athens’s bequests to the world, such as its philosophy, its architecture, its literature, and its political ideals.
Rhodes, the largest of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, is known for its beach resorts, ancient ruins and remnants of its occupation by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades. The city of Rhodes has an Old Town featuring the medieval Street of the Knights and the castlelike Palace of the Grand Masters. Captured by the Ottomans and then held by the Italians, the palace is now a history museum.
O Lofos*: The green, wild Cretan landscape and the richness and heritage of traditional crafts define this new, thoroughly contemporary residential design by Block722. Sat on the northern foothills of Thrypti mountain within the Greek island’s eastern side, the project is a commission by a private client.
It called for a 280 sq m home on a slope, including two guestrooms and generous outdoors areas. Balancing the needs of the brief with the natural setting that combines vistas of mountains, plains, and the Mediterranean Sea, was critical in the architects’ design solution. The architecture was driven by desire to create a modern house that is discreet and respectful to its surroundings.
Negotiating the site’s angle through levels instead of steps was also critical in moulding a relaxing environment that embraces its setting.
A path down a slope from the main road leads visitors to the residence’s entrance. The complex’s size is cleverly broken down into smaller volumes, which are interconnected through circulation routes and in-between spaces – some indoors and some open-air. The main home is divided into two low buildings linked by a semi-enclosed area with a water feature.
The design merges natural materials that are often used in the local vernacular, such as wood and stone. At the same time, the atmosphere is distinctly contemporary, blending Block722’s inherent Scandinavian sensibility and organic minimalism with Japanese architecture influences. This nod to Japan unfolds through the design’s refreshing simplicity of clean, almost austere lines that balance the materials’ natural, tactile nature and the overall craft-rich approach. The powerful Greek sunlight helps define shapes and surfaces,
Over the 144 pages of our latest issue dedicated to the Greek capital, we‘ve pulled together our best tips for city experiences, new arrivals, urban havens offering respite from the summer heat, and upcoming events.
We also guide you through the neighborhood of Kypseli and the Attica basin’s fabled Tourkovounia hills; present the trendsetters bringing something new to the Athenian experience; and discuss some hot debate-worthy topics: How much tourism is too much? What is going on with the Parthenon Marbles? Where should we eat?