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Greece, Travel

My Favorite Greek Cosmetic and Beauty Products

February 11, 2019

Greek Cosmetics

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

For the past three years, I have gone to Greece, and each time I go I discover another great Greek cosmetic or beauty product. As in many European countries, you can find upscale brands of beauty products in the pharmacies. Don’t worry; I am not becoming a beauty blogger. However, I think it is helpful to share this with you for two reasons. One is, so you don’t have to search for good brands for the basic needs of shampoo, lotion, etc. Two, I think these things make better souvenirs since you will actually use them.

Korres

Korres was the first Greek beauty brand I discovered. I love the smell of cotton, and I found their brand when I saw a lotion called Pure Cotton. I also noticed they had a perfume called Pure Cotton as well! When I left Greece, I had bought both of them on one of the Greek Islands. The smell is heavenly and not overpowering. The lotion was a body butter and while thick absorbed quickly. My skin appreciated the moisture after two weeks in the Greek sun.

At the Athens airport in duty-free, there is a whole Korres shop. Since I had some Euros left over, I bought some colored lip balm that went well with my tan. Then I also found an anti-aging body oil that smelled of Jasmine. That went in my basket as well! The oil was great for putting on after a shower.

The next year, I discovered the Melissa stick. I had a few bug bites after my last trip, and the Melissa stick is an anti-itch formula made of natural ingredients. It goes on all my trips now.

Korres also makes shampoos, conditioners, make-up, hair color and some natural health remedies. I have only tried the throat lozenges. You can really only find these items in the pharmacies and maybe the store in the Athens airport.

Some of the Korres products are available at Sephora but not the body lotions and shower gels. It is mostly their skincare line, which I haven’t tried yet. You can find some of their products on Amazon as well if you can’t wait till you get to Greece to try them.

Apivita

Apivita was my discovery of Greek cosmetics this year. I had not brought lots of shampoo and conditioner on this trip knowing I would be in Greece long enough to need to find a local brand to purchase.  I have oily roots and dry ends. One day, I was looking and found Apivita had a shampoo and conditioner specifically for oily roots and dry ends! It is the first product like this I have seen that actually works for me. I could go for several days without my hair looking greasy at the roots. It also smells of rosemary!

Apivita also makes body lotions and some anti-aging products. The other product I have loved from them has been the facial scrubs. I had been in Greece for so many months, my skin was suffering from all the sun exposure, my fault. I was looking for a scrub that would do more than just exfoliate. Apivita has a Bilberry brightening scrub and mask that is great. It is a bit expensive but a little goes a long way.

Unfortunately, I have not found Apivitia in any US beauty stores yet. However, some products are available on Amazon like the Korres products. You may be able to find it in some other European countries though as they have a search function for stores on their website.

Olive Era

Olive Era is a brand I found in the Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel. It was in the bathroom for the toiletries. If you love the smell of olive leaves then you will love this lotion! It smells like an olive grove with some citrus. I believe it is a spa product though as I haven’t seen it anywhere else. I can’t even find it online, which is a shame as I only took one lotion bottle from the hotel and there were two! This is definitely a hidden gem and something to look out for. There was also shampoo and conditioner of Olive Era in the hotel. They sold full-size bottles in the spa though. now I think I am on a mission. According to the label, it is made in Crete, so Crete may be on my next trip to Greece!

May 2019 Update: I received an email from Olive Era and they will have a website up soon! Click here for the link.

What about you, do you have any favorite Greek cosmetic or beauty brands?

Greek cosmetics

Greek cosmetics

Greece, Travel

Visiting the Greek Islands in October

December 10, 2018

Greek Islands in October

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

While I was in the Greek Islands in October, I realized that people are missing out by not visiting Greece in October. Due to the high-season ending in August when many Europeans go on holiday, many people come to Greece in September. September is lovely, but the high-season seems to be lasting longer and longer meaning to really escape the tourists you need to visit the Greek Islands in October.

 

Greek Weather in October

The main question I am asked is, “What is the weather like in Greece in October?” There isn’t a definitive answer as the weather does change from year to year in Greece. In 2018, September was cool and windy. October, on the other hand, was sunny and beautiful. The average temperature ranges from a high of 72 to a low of 63, but I am sure that it was 80 on some days in October. With the humidity, it can feel even warmer. It does rain in October but still not very often and it never lasted very long.

Greek Islands in October

The temperature wasn’t hot by any means, but still pleasant on some days to wear shorts. Almost every day in October, people were at the beach. I was at the beach on October 30 for my birthday. I didn’t swim but did have on shorts and flip-flops. If you are on the beach for any length of time, you will get hot. Some days were windy but very few. Some years, October will be cold, so be sure to check.

What to Pack for Greece in October

Since the weather can be a bit variable, I recommend bringing some shorts for the daytime and pants for the evenings. As for shirts, you will want long sleeves for the evening. If you are cold-sensitive, then a jacket or sweater is a must. I also recommend a scarf for the evening. On windy days, you will want the jacket and the scarf even in the daytime. And don’t worry about how you look, everyone will be wearing something different. Greeks will probably be wearing jackets and jeans, and the tourists will be wearing shorts and sundresses! It is all in what we are used to.

If you are not so sensitive to the cold, you might even want to bring your swimsuit! Many people were swimming in October and not in wetsuits either. You may want to bring clothes to change into after swimming in case its windy. Bring or purchase a towel as many hotels in Greece do not allow you to take their towels to the beach.

Sightseeing

Obviously, the beaches will not be closed at any time. However, some of the beachfront restaurants will start to close in early October. This means there might be fewer sunloungers and umbrellas to rent. However, it usually means there are fewer people on the beach.

Greek Islands in October

Many historic sites will still be open, but their hours might be limited. Even in the high season, Greeks tend to close their shops in the afternoon. This usually happens between 2-5. On the islands, this might mean that museums are closed in the afternoon and will reopen in the evening. Some Old Town or Chora shops may be closed for the season but some will open limited hours and usually post a sign if they are permanently closed for the low season.

As a photographer, I enjoy the afternoon closings as it means I can capture streets and sites with few or no people in my shots. This is especially true on more crowded islands, such as Santorini.

Hotels

Depending on which islands you are visiting, some hotels close in October and will not reopen till April or May of the following year. This is especially true of smaller islands. Booking sites will have those months marked off so you should be able to tell. If you aren’t sure, I recommend emailing the hotels to check.

However, this means rates are lower, and you may even get an upgrade on arrival. Services usually remain the same, and you get a nice quiet hotel to relax in. If you know you want to be in Greece in October, book sooner rather than later as some hotels will stay open longer if they know they have bookings for the off-season. This ensures they have the staff to run the hotel, otherwise, they will not extend their opening dates since many staff are seasonal.

Restaurants

Greek Islands in October

This was the only issue I found to be difficult at the end of October. Restaurants tend to start closing in late September and throughout October. Many restaurants are open seven days a week during the high season, and by the time October comes around, the staff is exhausted. On Naxos, only some restaurants were open until the end of October. However, some will open fewer days in the off-season or will just be open for dinner. You may want to consider booking a hotel with a kitchenette.

Ferries

Greek Islands In October

Ferries operate year-round to most islands now, but the ferry schedule is not as frequent during the summer months. As always, I recommend that you do not book your flights and ferries on the same day. Greece is known to have strikes, even in the tourist season. The weather in October and all the winter can prevent ferries from departing, especially the high-speed ferries. The high-speed ferry service starts to reduce its service offerings in October. Some larger islands have airports, so another option is to fly. If you plan on island hopping, allow for some flexibility in your schedule if taking the ferry as some hotels will not refund your money if ferries are canceled due to weather. Travel insurance may cover ferry cancellations making it a must purchase for an island-hopping adventure in Greece.

As you can see, visiting a Greek island in October is a great idea, and while it may be quieter, it can still be a warm destination. I personally loved being in Greece in October as I got to see how the locals live after the tourists leave. I also ran into my friends more frequently than I would during the high season.

Food, Greece, Travel

Best Restaurants in Naxos

October 15, 2018

Best Restaurants in Naxos

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Eating Greek food is one of the main reasons I travel to Greece, and I have been in Naxos long enough to tell you about the best restaurants to eat at in Naxos! I should add that there are even some excellent non-Greek choices for restaurants in Naxos as well.

Oasis

Oasis is a family run restaurant in Naxos. The restaurant is located in Naxos Town near Saint George’s beach. All of the food is homemade. Specials are offered every day and vary depending on the day of the week. My recommendations are the pasticcio, the stuffed peppers, and the pork stew.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Barozzi

Barozzi is an upscale restaurant located not far from the main promenade of Naxos. I was invited to eat at Barozzi in September 2019. When you enter you immediately notice that this place is a bit different than many restaurants in Naxos. The manager greets you and shows you to your table. The tables are further apart from other tables unlike many traditional tavernas in Greece. The decor is elegant and simple. The waitstaff is all dress in white linen.

Barozzi in Naxos

The menu offers a variety for everyone. You can choose al la carte or there are two pre-set menu options. One is a 5-course meal or a 7-course meal. I chose to do al la carte as I didn’t think I could eat that much food. First, I was brought an amouse bouche of three different items. My favorite was the tomato one, which I can’t remember what it was called. Then I had arugula or rocket (as it is called here) salad that came with thinly sliced apples, honey dressing and fried goat cheese. Honestly, I could have had this for my meal and been totally happy. It was so good. The goat cheese was still warm and was sweet and salty at the same time. My main course was sea bass encrusted with artisanal bread. I was a bit hesitant about this but I love sea bass so I want to try it.  I should not have been worried. It was fantastic and the bread is so thin, it is more like a crust. There are only three dessert options, but I still had a tough time choosing which one. I ended up ordering the walnut pie, which was more of a cake. The cake was moist and was served with bitter almond ice cream. The cake was good, but for me, the star was the bitter almond ice cream!

Barozzi

Barozzi in Naxos

Meltemi

Meltemi is located just up the road from Oasis near Saint George’s beach. It has been around for many years, and people continue to return year after year. Meltemi’s moussaka is one of my favorites on the island. The dip they serve with bread is excellent.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Metaxi Mas

Metaxi Mas is located in the Old Town of Naxos. Here you will eat in the streets of the old town if you want or sit inside in one of the cozy interiors. Everything I have eaten here has been amazing. My favorites are the zucchini balls, pasticcio, and the spicy meatballs.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Faros

Not all of the best restaurants in Naxos are located in Naxos Town. Faros is located at Agia Anna beach and features organic dishes. It also offers a great view of the beach. Faros also has some of the best zucchini balls on the island. To get to Faros, take the bus from Naxos Old Town to Agia Anna and walk down past the pier and it will be on your left.

Picasso on the Beach

Picasso is also on the beach as you may have guessed. Picasso is a Mexican restaurant, and as a Texan, I am always critical of Mexican food. However, Picasso does a good job given their limited access to Mexican ingredients. The fajitas were good, and they serve a frozen strawberry after dinner drink. Picasso on the Beach is located at Plaka beach and is reachable by bus. Tell the bus driver you want to get off at Picasso.

Paradiso

Most people stop to eat at Paradiso because of the stunning view its beachside tables offer at Agia Anna. However, you should also stop because the food is outstanding! The beetroot salad and the papoutsakia (eggplant with minced meat) were terrific. So was the semolina cake we were offered on the house. If you really like the location, they also have rooms for rent.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Scirocco

If you need a break from the Greek food, then I recommend Scirocco for Italian food. My favorite there is the carbonara. They also serve Greek food if you and your friends are undecided! It is a nice place to people watch as it is located in the main square of Naxos Town and many Greek families gather there in the evening to socialize.

Apostolis

Apostolis is a modern Greek restaurant serving classic Greek dishes with a twist. The restaurant is located in the Naxos Chora and has a wonderful setting under paper lanterns.

Naxos Old Town

Su e Giu

Sue Giu, also known as Susanna, is another Italian option. It is located right on the promenade of Naxos harbor. It was the only place I found a pizza with pineapple on it! Yes, I am a pineapple on pizza lover. It was good, and the focaccia bread was really great. Sit upstairs for views of the harbor.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

O Giorgis

For the more adventurous type, head to the village of Melanes and eat at O Giorgis. I had some of the best food in Naxos here. The baked eggplant was so well seasoned and melted in my mouth. I was so full but still managed to finish the whole thing. Sit on the enclosed patio so you can have a wonderful view of the valley.

Coffee and Desserts

Greece is known for good coffee, and Naxos is no exception. I have spent lots of time having coffee in Naxos to see which places serve the best coffee and desserts.

Artοποιώ

This coffee shop and bakery was one of the first places I tried when I arrived in Naxos. I was up very early due to my jet lag and they were already open by 6:30 AM. The coffee is probably the best on the island. The baked goods are freshly made in the shop and it smells heavenly.

σιτάρι

Not only does this place have wonderful coffee but they also have some organic products available as well. If I am correct, the bakery is called Wheat in English. It is also open early for those of you who are morning people.

Omerta

Omerta is located on the promenade of Naxos Town and offers great views of the harbor along with great coffee. If you also want to have the classic Greek Yogurt for breakfast this place had an excellent one with plums and peaches on top!

Waffle House

This is not the American Waffle House, this is a wonderful ice cream parlor that also serves ice cream on waffles. You can get the ice cream to go or you can sit and have it brought to you by a waiter.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Aktaion

Aktaion is an upscale pastry shop located on the promenade of Naxos Town. They serve a selection of gelato, amazing macaroons and other mouth-watering desserts.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Flisvos

Flisvos is located on St. George’s Beach so not only do you get a beach front view but they serve a really amazing hot chocolate. It isn’t on the menu, but they will serve you one if you ask.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Kitron

This gem is located on the promenade as well and has a great coffee. They also serve the best Freddo Espresso I have had in Greece. Kitron also serves Kitron cocktails made from the citron plant.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Are you ready to eat at the best restaurants in Naxos now?

PS. Some of these restaurants in Naxos are only open during the tourist season from April to October, 
so please check beforehand.

Europe, Greece, Travel

Exploring Naxos Old Town

September 10, 2018
Naxos Old Town

 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Exploring the winding streets of the Naxos Old Town is a wonderful way to spend a day in Naxos, Greece especially after spending the day at the beach. It is the classic white village of Greece, and many locals still live in the Old Town making for an authentic Greek experience.

When you first enter the Naxos Old Town, you are entering the Bourgos area. The Bourgos area is where the Old Market is located. The Old Market is the place to shop and eat in the Chora, the village. You will find a variety of shops and restaurants here.

As you go further into the Chora, you will enter the Kastro area. The Kastro is the area that is still occupied by much of the 13th century Venetian Castle. As you get closer to one of the three entrances, look for signs on the ground or walls that say Kastro.

Things to do in Naxos Old Town

Besides getting lost and finding hidden gems, there are lots to explore inside the Old Town of Naxos. Here are all the things to do in Naxos Old Town.

Naxos Old Town

Shop till You Drop 

Shopping is easy to do in Naxos Old Town, and there is something for everyone. There are the typical tourist shops with souvenirs such as magnets and t-shirts, and then there are clothing stores, jewelry stores, craft stores and more.

Naxos Old Town

Some of my favorite shops include:

– Papyrus Jewelry and Used Books have a huge selection of used books in many languages and some beautiful jewelry as well. I have never found a used bookstore on a Greek Island before.

Pocket Gallery has some stunning crafts and sells bags made from old sails, and they can tell you what boat they came from.

– Morfes Ceramic Workshop makes beautiful and functional pieces. Ask them to show you the magic salt and pepper shaker!

Argilos is the best place to get quality Turkish and Greek towels which are essential when visiting Greek beaches as most hotels will not let you take their towels to the beach. The Greek towels are made in Crete of bamboo.

Jubilee is the place to go if you want really unique gifts such as handmade candles and stone lamps. They also had some Greek made notebooks.

Explore the History of Naxos 

Naxos Old Town is full of history, and you can easily see most of the historic sites in this area in a day.

– Of course, the Kastro should be your first stop. If you want to avoid all the climbing, you can take the elevator. Finding the elevator can be tricky, so here is a link to the Google Map. There is a small fee to take it, but in the heat of the summer, you would pay anything not to climb the stairs. I recommend catching the sunset from the Kastro!

Naxos Old Town

– The Archeological Museum of Naxos is located in the Kastro area. It is housed in a 17th-century Venetian building and has five floors of artifacts.

– Right the edge of the Old Town is the Mitropolis Museum. This museum is the ancient site of Naxos town. It is an open air museum, but you must go down some stairs to get to it as it is below street level.

– The Folk Museum Collection is another treasure to discover in the alleys of Naxos Old Town. The collection is of modern pieces from 1975 to the present and represents the folk art of Naxos.

Eat All the Food

As mentioned earlier, some of the best restaurants can be found in Naxos Old Town. Most of these places serve Greek food at reasonable prices. However, you cannot get the atmosphere of eating at a table in the alley with people passing you by other than in the Old Town.

Metaxi Mas is a beautiful restaurant spread between two buildings with tables in the alleyways. The food is traditional Greek food, and everything I have eaten here has been excellent. If you have a large party, make a reservation, and you might want to eat earlier than the traditional Greek dinner here as I went at nine the other night and much of what I wanted was already finished.

– Located right next to Metaxi Mas is Apostolis. The charm of this restaurant will make you want to sit down, and the flavors will make you want to eat there every day!

Naxos Old Town

– Living up to its name of Labyrinth Wine Restaurant you may get a little lost trying to find this wonderful garden restaurant, but it is worth it. This restaurant is only open for dinner and takes only cash.

All three restaurants appear in the video clip!

Have I convinced you to explore the Naxos Old Town yet? Find a place to stay in Old Town Naxos by clicking here.

Want to download this article with a walking tour? Check it out on GPSmyCity.