Dear friend

Planning a trip before the summer as you wish to avoid the heat and the crowds?

Here are 3 wonderful destinations that show their best side in the balmy Greek springtime.


Dear friend

Throughout winter in Greece, there are days when the sun shines not just bright but warm on our faces, bringing the temperature up, and the scents out of the flowers and the citrus in the trees. These days are lifesavers but also make us long intensely for actual springtime.

And then it arrives. In what seems like an overnight transformation, the hills suddenly burst with colour – literally, as grass and wild flowers such as asphodel, irises, tassel hyacinths and orchids peak. The sun keeps shining, the temperature hovers around that 20°C plus sweet spot, and the wind teasingly tickles our skin. 

Hiking through nature, the perfume of the hills and valleys is overwhelming, and at the beach, we find pleasure in the cold water and the sand between our toes, not yet too hot to leisurely stroll in. 

People seem happier, too; smiles are wider, and maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of the end of the latest coronavirus wave. It’s also Easter this season, and nothing makes Greeks more excited than the prospect of an upcoming celebration and Easter is the most popular and important holiday in Greece!

We love all of Greece in the spring, but below is a list of destinations for which we have already created walking holidays, specifically for the months of March through May…

 

Spring holiday 1: Discover our most popular walking holiday, Naxos & the unspoilt Small Cyclades


Naxos, the largest, richest and most multifaceted island

To a Greek, everything about Naxos seems familiar. Images and sounds lodged in the subconscious since childhood: Portara, the Kouroi, Zas, the “graviera” cheese, the Naxian potatoes, the vast beaches, the traditional island music…

Naxos is the largest, richest and most multifaceted island of the Cyclades, self-sufficient and autonomous, and that is the sense you get everywhere.

The seat of the Duchy of the Aegean for three centuries, “Axia” as the locals call it, played a leading role in military, commercial, cultural and religious events in the archipelago long before and after the feudal era, being a leading contributor to Early Cycladic civilization, the development of monumental sculpture, the Ionic style of architecture and Greek Byzantine painting.

From the microscopic figurines in the Archaeological Museum to the monumental half-finished Kouros statues in the ancient marble quarries… from the Castle in the main town and medieval alleys that form a maze, to the imposing temple of Apollo in the harbour…  from the humble shepherds’ huts to the imposing Towers in the interior… from the tiny abandoned medieval hamlets where you don’t meet a soul, to Filoti, the largest village in the Cyclades… from the little harbours on the east of the island to the vast bεaches of the west… and Mount Zas, the tallest mountain in the Cyclades… you’ll be amazed by the natural, cultural and historical wealth while walking with us around Naxos! 

Check our day-to-day itinerary…


Amorgos, the pirate island of the Small Cyclades

Lesser known than the neighbouring islands of Naxos, Ios and Santorini you’ll love Amorgos in spring for its rich network of hiking trails and wild flora. On hikes over the hills, dramatic landscapes covered in wildflowers are set against the blue of the Aegean.

Parts of the island reach a considerable height above sea level, offering superb views of the sea. Amorgos is one of the most impressive Cycladic islands, boasting marvellous beaches with azure waters, gorgeous caves, ideal spots for diving, scenic bays and ancient footpaths leading through its steep rocky terrain…

Inhabited since the Early Cycladic Era, as indicated by archaeological finds brought to light in the area, Amorgos has a long cultural history and tradition. Step off the beaten track and visit an island that has preserved its traditional colour, where the locals welcome you with a smile on their face and make you feel at home!

To experience nature and authentic life in typical Cycladic villages you see on postcards, you’ll be based at the bay of Aegiali, on the northern end of the island. Famous in the summer for its beaches, in spring it is ideal for a walk through the villages of Tholaria, Langada and Potamos – three unbelievably relaxed villages with whitewashed houses and typically narrow streets.

You’ll walk along the spine of the island starting from the most scenic “Chora” in the Aegean to the famous Monastery of Hozoviotissa, built to protect a virgin Mary icon believed to have arrived from Palestine. Built into the face of a cliff, it provides a breathtaking view of the sparkling deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea. It is, with no doubt, the pride of Amorgos. Passing medieval hotels, deserted villages, breathtaking landscapes you’ll reach the bay of Aegiali… our favourite walk in the island. You will be rewarded with a delicious supper at one of the oldest taverns of the island.

Check our day-to-day itinerary…


Iraklia, the perfect Small Cyclades getaway

If you can read Greek, you will soon discover a large sign with the words “Welcome to Iraklia Greece – here, no one can find you”.

Iraklia is the 3rd island, you’ll visit during our walking holiday – the last act of our mini Odyssey. Easy and accessible, it makes you feel carefree, not only because of the simple landscape but because its people are so warm and welcoming. This is what you will remember from the island, more than anything else.

Follow the island’s paths that stretch in the hinterland and discover the island’s unspoilt beauty which has secured it a place in the Natura 2000 Network. One of these tracks starts from the main village Panagia and will take you, after an hour hike, to Agios Ioannis Cave – the biggest cave in the Cyclades with multiple chambers and amazing stalactites and stalagmites. All tracks will offer you breathtaking views of the Aegean sea and the other Small Cyclades islands. However, the spot offering the finest view is the top of Papas Hill, south of Panagia. This is the highest location on Iraklia, where you will drink in the panoramic view of its winding shores and coves, as well as of all the neighbouring islands dotting the deep blue Aegean Sea waters.

Whatever dishes you taste on Iraklia, one thing’s for sure: they’re bound to be fresh, tasty, and fragrant! Try fish cooked fresh off the sea, local goat meat, traditional cheeses, and the one and only “fava”, a well-famed flavourful dish made with local split peas, onions, capers and extra virgin olive oil. Last but not least, taste the famous local thyme honey!

Join our 7- or 10-day walking holiday at Naxos, Iraklia and Amorgos and…

 Explore an infinite network of traditional marble-paved mule-tracks and hidden valley paths,
 Experience traditional Greek countryside, orchards, gardens, dramatic coastlines,
 Visit monasteries, Byzantine chapels with rare frescoes, ancient monuments…
 Reach and swim at remote solitary beaches and coves with crystal clear waters,
 Walk to the highest mountain of the Cyclades, Mount Zas, where Olympian god Zeus grew to manhood,
 Walk to magical parts of the islands that you would never discover on your own
 Learn about the local herbs and plants, birds and other members of the animal kingdom, above and under the water!
 Sample organic, home-made food locally produced wherever you eat,
 Experience customs and traditions, cultural happenings, local feasts with Cycladic music and dance,
      
Check our day-to-day itinerary…

There is still availability on the following dates:

Saturday 14 – Tuesday 24 May
Saturday 28 May – Tuesday 8 June

Contact us for further information and take advantage of our two great offers!
 

Spring holiday 2: Milos and Sifnos walking holiday

Volcanic Milos will fascinate you

Milos is the most interesting geologically island in the Cyclades with dramatically eroded volcanic rocks… the whole island actually looks like a geology or mining museum!

Volcanic Milos will enchant you with its diversity, coastal morphology and rare geological formations… with its 75 beaches,  crystal, deep blue waters, picturesque harbors and colorful volcanic rocks…

Milos highlights!

 Picturesque white washed villages and harbors,
 An inexhaustible variety of beautiful hiking trails & “geo” walks,
 Unique endemic wildlife you cannot meet anywhere else,
 Unique archeological sites including: the discovery site of the world famous  “Venus (Aphrodite) de Milo”, an important Late Bronze Age coastal settlement, a Roman theatre, the largest Roman catacombs outside Rome, a Venetian castle…

As if the above are not enough… Milos beaches are truly unbelievable! If the volcanic geological forms of Milos are interesting, the variety and colors of its beaches are impressive: they may be white, or black, with sand, small stones or ground shells. Their waters are always clear and may be emerald, green, pale blue or deep blue.

Milos is also known for its unique fauna with endemic species such as the Milos Wall lizard, the extremely rare Milos Grass Snake, Milos Green Lizard and Milos Viper, one of the most interesting and rare animals in Europe.

Due to the volcanic nature of Milos there are several places around the island where there are hot springs. The most well known are the mineral baths in Adamas called ‘Ta Loutra tou Lakkou’, which were mentioned by Herodotus as a cure for skin diseases

Check our day-to-day itinerary…


Walk around Sifnos and discover “authentic” Greece

Traditional villages of snow-white houses with traditional chimneys made of potter’s clay, 365 small churches with blue domes, a Venetian castle, ancient ruins, an inexhaustible variety of beautiful hiking trails which lead to tranquil sandy beaches, delicious local food and wine…

Based at the picturesque village of Ano Petali, you will walk on ancient paths and trails, enjoy astonishing coastal sceneries and landscapes with abandoned terraces, ruined pigeon houses, bridges, steep rocky cliffs, springs and small gorges… you’ll get familiar with wild herbs and flowers… come across endemic wildlife… and reach remote virgin beaches with crystal clear waters.

Sifnos highlights:

 Explore “hidden” Greece & traditional island lifestyle,
 Picturesque villages with traditional taverns and ‘kafenia’,
 An inexhaustible well preserved network of hiking trails,
 Solitary beaches that can only be reached by foot,
 Natural Protected Areas “Natura 2000”,
 Delicious local food as it’s the homeland of the great cook Nikos Tselemendes,
 A Mycenaean citadel,
A Venetian castle settlement…

Due to its rare natural beauty, an important area of Sifnos, covering 20km2 approximately, which stretches from the Profitis Ilias mountain, is integrated into the European Network of Natural Protected Areas “Natura 2000”. There are at least 19 important species of animals and plants, many of them rare and endemic to the area. Rare for an island in the Cyclades, there are whole forests with a rare species of cedar, carob trees, wild olive trees, aromatic plants and much more.

Some 40 species of birds have been documented, with 16 of these considered as protected species. Sifnos is a good passage for the migratory birds, such as herons, water loving birds, orioles, bee-eaters, turtle doves and many more water birds. Of course, there are birds that come to Sifnos and stay for the summer such as woodchat shrikes, swifts e.t.c. There are also predatory birds such as Eurasian hobbies, Cory’s shearwaters, Bonelli’s eagles, Peregrine falcons, Eleonora’s falcons e.t.c.

Sifnos is the homeland of the great cook Nikos Tselemendes and it has a delicious cuisine with many traditional dishes! The wining and dining are superb. We eat mainly in family-run village taverns where the food is home cooked and locally produced.

Check our day-to-day itinerary…

There is still availability on the following dates:

Saturday 9 – Saturday 16 April
Saturday 7 – Saturday 14 May

Contact us at info@nofootprint.gr for further information and take advantage of our two great offers!

Spring holiday 3: West Crete walking holiday

We love Crete! We love it for the hospitable but proud people, the mountain goats gazing at the other-wordly views of the sea in the South, the ancient history of the mysterious Minoans, still seen in the ruins while you walk in the old towns of the North. 

And then, it’s the vibrant music of the Cretan lyre capturing the soul of Crete, and the unforgettable tastes of the local cuisine accompanied by the olives, the raki and the local graviera cheese at the small village tavernas. 
 
A world in an island

At the southern part of the Aegean Sea, Crete stands at the crossroad of Europe, Africa and Asia, combining the climate, landscapes and culture of these worlds and creating contrasts one cannot imagine. 

In the region of Chania in late spring, you can find yourself sunbathing and swimming in the sea while looking at the snowy peaks of the White Mountains. You can walk by the rocky cliffs to find yourself at a sandy white beach with a coastal cedar forest.

You can see the ancient Minoan settlements, the Venetial harbour and fortifications with the Egyptian lighthouse and the minarets of the Mosques standing above the tiny houses of the old town. 

Crete has always been a hikers’ destination. Being the largest and most mountainous island in Greece means that you can still find the quiet corners away from the city noise and big tourist groups, as long as you do the right research or you have a local, like-minded guide. 

The trail network of Crete – part of the European 4 trail – is there for you to discover walking along the coast, to the rustic villages, and through the gorges that have provided a haven for the wild but harmless fauna, for people in times of battle, and for travellers who want to avoid the crowds and enjoy the peacefulness of Cretan nature.

You will never get bored in Crete: there is always some new landscape or geological feature, some rare eco-system, or region of outstanding natural beauty and diverse habitat. Not to mention its rich history, unique character & culture of its people, numerous traditional villages, incredible coastline, fascinating colours of the Libyan sea… and the food!

If you have yet to walk through this wonderland, here is your next new 7 or 10-day walking holiday… 

There is still availability on the following dates:

Saturday 16 – Tuesday 26 April
Saturday 21 – Tuesday 31 May

Contact us for further information and take advantage of our two great offers!

If you wish to discuss the above or any other matter please don’t hesitate to contact us either by phone at +30 6976 761492 or email at info@nofootprint.gr
 
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
 
Nofootprint team

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