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Greece, Travel

Celebrating Easter in Tinos, Greece

November 11, 2022
Panagia Evangelistria in Tinos

Easter is the highlight of the Orthodox calendar in Greece. It ranks above Christmas and is one of the few days a year that ferries don’t run. However, the Easter celebrations don’t just happen on Easter Sunday! It is a week-long event, and there is usually an event every day of the Holy Week.

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Tinos is one of the best places to experience Greek Orthodox Easter. This is due to the Shrine of the Panagia Evangelistria (Our Lady of Tinos) and the church associated with it. Orthodox pilgrims come here to see the Icon of Mary found during the Greek Revolution of 1821. Pilgrims make their way from the port on their knees up a hill and into the church. You can see a carpet on the street for this purpose.

Easter in Tinos

Large candles at the Panagia Evangelistria in Tinos

Holy Monday

As mentioned before, the entire week up to Easter Sunday, things are happening in Tinos. Holy Monday is a service to celebrate Joseph the Patriarch. While some Greeks will be participating in some fasting during all of Lent, this is the week when many are very strict about fasting. Check with your hotel during Holy Week, as they can tell you all the events happening in Tinos town for the week.

Holy Tuesday

Also known as Great Tuesday, today is the day on Tinos the locals make a sweet Easter Pie made of unsalted cheese called tsimpito. Your hotel may have some with breakfast, but if not, check out one of the local bakeries to taste this local treat.

Holy Wednesday or Great Wednesday

Wednesday is dedicated to the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with myrrh. In many churches, the anointing of the sick. Sick does not necessarily mean physically sick, and many will have themselves anointed in preparation for the receiving of communion on Thursday.

Holy Thursday

Thursday is the day that Easter Eggs are dyed in Greece. The eggs are usually dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ. In addition, Greeks will bake Tsoureki, a sweet bread that will be eaten on Easter Sunday. The dyed eggs may be placed in the center of the Tsoureki. If you are lucky, your hotel will have some red Easter eggs for you to take.

Holy Friday or Megali Paraskevi

Epitaphs at the port in Tinos

Holy Friday is one of the bigger celebrations of the week. In the morning, women will gather to decorate the epitaph with fresh flowers. Around noon people will go to see Christ’s body that has been placed in the epitaph.

In the evening is the funeral of Christ. In Tinos, and in many places in Greece, the epitaph is taken on men’s shoulders and walked through the village with a band playing funeral music. Several churches in Tinos town will parade theirs in town and then meet along the way, eventually taking the biers’ to the port area. Then a service is given by the priests. One epitaph from the Church of Saint Nicholas is taken down to Kalamia beach. The priest will enter the water to give prayers for seamen.

If you attend this event, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to stand for many hours. Following the epitaphs from the main church can get crowded as it enters the narrow alleys in Tinos town. If crowds are not your thing, you can skip that part and head down to the port to secure a good spot.

Holy Saturday

Easter in Tinos

Saturday is the first Resurrection, and you will hear “Christos Anesti” greetings between Greeks. If you want to respond, you say, “Alithos Anesti,” after someone says, “Christos Anesti.” Christos Anesti means, “Christ is Risen” and the response is “Truly He is Risen.”

There is usually a service in the morning and in the evening on Saturday. You will probably see and hear fireworks on Saturday for a while. Churches vie to be the loudest. Almost as if it’s a competition for the celebration.

Saturday night is also when the Great Fire arrives from Israel. In Tinos, it arrives by boat late in the evening. I was lucky enough to be at the port when this happened. Police accompany the fire up to the Panagia Evangelistria like royalty. Everyone gathers in the churchyard, anxiously awaiting the fire to be passed to them. Afterward, people carefully carry home their fire home, intending to keep it alight as long as possible.

Easter Sunday

The smell of roasting lamb is likely to wake you on Sunday. Families gather and spend the day eating. It is a good day to walk around and see what the Greeks are up to. There will be services and more celebrations today, but most people spend it with family. Find a restaurant to have some roast lamb at and enjoy the day.

One thing to note is that the ferry doesn’t run on Easter Sunday, so if you need to be somewhere on Sunday, you will need to leave on Saturday. The ferry on Monday was also very crowded, with people sitting on the floor. Make sure to book a seat reservation, so this doesn’t happen to you!

Orthodox Easter 2023

Orthodox Easter in 2023 will be on April 16. If you are planning on coming to Tinos for Easter or anywhere in Greece, you must book for Easter well in advance. Most Greeks will head to their home island or village for some or all of the week for Easter, so hotels and ferries book up quickly.

Also, remember that April and May are not the high tourist season, so hotels, ferries and restaurants may not be fully open. Your selection will be less. For some restaurants, I recommend making a reservation a day or two before, especially if you are with a large group.

In 2024, Orthodox Easter will be May 5, and in 2025 it will be April 20.

Things to Do in Tinos

Tinos has plenty to see outside of the Easter celebrations. However, the island isn’t fully open for tourists, so some things may be quiet. It is a good opportunity to visit the mountain villages as they are stunningly beautiful. You may need to rent a car at Easter since Tinos’s bus service is limited. A few highlights worth mentioning are the giant boulders in Volax, the dovecotes around the islands, Kolymbithra beach, visiting local artists and Panormos village.

Weather in Tinos for Easter

Ferry in the Tinos port

Spring in Greece can be warm but can also be cold and wet. Tinos also is famous for its winds. When I was there, the days were warm, and the nights were cold. Fortunately, I experienced very little wind, but it can happen and will make you feel colder. My advice is to bring layers. You might even want shorts for the days if Easter is later in the season.

Where to Stay in Tinos

There are so many beautiful villages to see in Tinos, and each will have some celebrations during Easter. However, many big celebrations and processions happen in Tinos town, where the ferry arrives. This is also the location of the Panagia Evagelistra. I recommend you stay in Tinos town and rent a car to explore the island during the day.

Poseidonio Hotel

Poseidonio Hotel is right in the center of Tinos town and about a 10-minute walk to the Panagia Evagelistra. The hotel has some renovated rooms that are very nice. They served breakfast and had a schedule of all the Easter activities. If you book early enough, you may be able to get a port-facing view so you can see the sea!

Book the Poseiodonio Hotel for Easter

Vincenzo Family Rooms

If you seek to be in a quieter part of Tinos Town, I recommend the Vincenzo Family Rooms. This family-run hotel is just a few minutes from the main area of town and offers incredible service. Bring your swimsuit, as they have a jacuzzi in the courtyard which will be nice on the cooler days of April or May.

Book the Vincenzo Family Rooms for Easter

Driving, Europe, Italy, Travel

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

May 8, 2022
Classic fiat 500 in Italy

For the past two summers, I have rented a car in Italy. Not only do I feel a little more local when I do this, but it also allows me to see the smaller towns that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Don’t worry about driving in Italy isn’t as scary as people make it sound and an Italian road trip is one of the best road trips!

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.

Renting a Car

Renting a car in Italy is easy. I would recommend using Europcar; click here to check rates. 

Rome is my starting point for renting a car because I cannot drive a manual transmission, and more automatic cars are available in Rome. Also, the rental desks are open until midnight. If you want to spend time in Rome, then I recommend renting the car after your time in Rome as parking in Rome is difficult and expensive.

Day 1 – Rome to Amelia

Once you rent your car at the Rome Fiumicino Airport, get on the road to your first stop or stay the night to rest up. If you come late in the day or are jet-lagged, I recommend spending the night at the Hilton Rome Airport. It is a short walk to the terminal and will allow you not to have to rent the car right after getting off the plane.

The first stop is the Parco di Monstri in Bomarzo, about one hour and a half from the Rome airport. This historic park is full of scary and wacky sculptures. Built by Pier Francesco Orsini in memory of his wife, Giulia Farnese, in the 16th century. Both from well-known Italian families.  The park is only accessible by car, so it is a must-do while on a road trip in Italy. Allow 1-2 hours to explore the whole park.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

The next stop is Amelia, only about 45 minutes from the park. Amelia is one of my favorite towns in Italy, and some say it is the oldest city in Umbria. The walls are ancient and in fantastic condition. There is an archaeology museum and many beautiful churches to explore. For dinner, I recommend La Locanda del Conte Nitto, which has beautiful food and views of the ancient streets of Amelia.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

Day 2 – Amelia to Assisi

Spend the morning finishing exploring Amelia and then head to the town of Assisi. If Assisi sounds familiar, it is because it is where St. Francis of Assisi was born. At the end of the town is the famous Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Basilica is stunning, with views outside of the surrounding valley and colorful frescos inside. I recommend going early to beat the crowds.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

After that, walk through the town to the other side and head to the Rocca Maggiore. The Rocca Maggiore is the town’s ancient defense fort and overlooks the whole area. If you head to the top of the tower, you get an even better view.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

Stay the night in Assisi. You will want to, after all that walking. There is a public car park near the Nun Assisi Relais & Spa Museum hotel, which is the hotel I recommend in Assisi. Not only are the rooms in a historic nunnery, but the hotel has a spa located in the Roman baths below. You can get a massage till eight at night, which is just the cure for your aching feet not only that, you can eat with great views at the in-house restaurant of Eat Out, where the menu is seasonal and local.


Day 3 – Assisi to Gubbio

After enjoying your breakfast in Assisi, take the short drive to Perugia. Perugia is the capital of Umbria. It is known for its celebration of the arts. The highlight here is seeing the underground fortress, Rocca Paolina. The fort was started in 1540, and most of it was destroyed by the 19th century. Now you can explore the cellars and basements that are still standing.

Find more history on the short drive to Gubbio. Gubbio is a town built into the side of a small mountain and makes for stunning views of the city and the valley below. Due to it being integrated into the side of the mountain, you can take elevators from different town levels. There are tons of things to see in this city, but the architecture of dark gray stone buildings is intriguing and makes you feel like you have stepped back in time.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

Make sure you make it to the top level of the town to see the Cathedral of Gubbio. It has a stained glass window that is gorgeous. The views from up here are almost a must-see. If you are brave, you can take the funicular to the Basilica of Saint Ubaldo.

Day 4 – Gubbio to Siena

Spend a few hours in the morning exploring the things you didn’t get to see yesterday in Gubbio. Don’t forget to see the Palazzo dei Consoli built in the 14th century with running water. Then make a long drive to Siena. You are now in Tuscany! The entire historic center of Siena has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight of this is the Siena Cathedral, with its amazing gothic architecture.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

Then make a long drive to Siena. You are now in Tuscany! The entire historic center of Siena has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight of this is the Siena Cathedral, with its amazing gothic architecture.

If you go to Siena in the summer, try to be there around the historic Palio di Siena. It is a medieval horse race that takes place in the Piazza del Campo. Who doesn’t want to see men ride horses through an ancient town in costume?!

Day 5 – Siena to Florence

Given the short drive from Siena to Florence, you can spend the morning in Siena before heading to my favorite city in Italy, Florence. You will begin to see the rolling hills of Tuscany on this route. Driving through Umbria has you driving through the mountains, but now you will drive between them.

In Florence, you will return your rental car as driving in the historic center of Florence is limited to residences and can carry hefty fines if you do. Parking is also expensive. You will most likely have to return the car to the Florence airport. You can then take a taxi or the “Vola in Bus” shuttle, which takes you to the Florence train station.

There is so much to see in Florence, so you will need a few days to see it all. But on this first day, I recommend finding a museum that interests you and only do that on the first day. This way, you won’t wear yourself out and can enjoy Florence to the fullest. I recommend the Hotel Plaza Lucchesi in Florence. I have stayed here on every trip I have had to Florence, check rates here.

5 Day Road Trip from Rome to Florence

Book tickets in advance and see the Uffizi Gallery on the second day. You will avoid the long lines to get in this way. The Uffizi Gallery has something for every art lover. Be sure to see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus while you are there.

Have you gone on an Italian road trip? What was your favorite place? Share with us in the comments.

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Road Trip from Rome to Florence
Greece, Travel

My Favorite Greek Cosmetic and Beauty Products

February 11, 2022
Kear beauty products in front of a vase of flowers

Traveling to Greece for the past several years and now living in Athens, I discover new great Greek cosmetic or beauty products all the time. As in many European countries, you can find upscale brands of beauty products in pharmacies.

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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 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 dehydrated skin appreciated the moisture after two weeks in the Greek sun.

There are also matching body washes in most of the same scents. Click here to buy the Pure Cotton body wash.

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 as a lotion alternative.

Korres also makes shampoos, conditioners, make-up,  skincare, and some natural health remedies. I have only tried the throat lozenges. You can really only find these items in the pharmacies and 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. Many of their products are made with olive oil if you really want to go Greek! 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.

Another hair care product I love from them is their hair masks. Since my ends tend to be dry, I tried the Moisturizing Hair Mask with Hyaluronic Acid. Not only did it make my hair soft, it smells amazing!

Apivita also makes body lotions and some face 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.

Unfortunately, I have not found Apivitia in any US beauty stores yet. However, some products are available on Amazon like the Korres products. You can find it in many other European pharmacies too.

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 now.  Click here for the link.

Kear

Kear got in touch with me recently to share their brand. They graciously sent me items to review. While this is a review, all opinions are my own. The first thing I noticed when I received the package, was that there was hardly any plastic! The jars were made of glass or metal and lids were wood or metal. I love that!

Kear beauty products in front of a vase of flowers

Kear sent many products to try. They were all amazing and I love the use of natural Greek products in them. Each has a nice smell that is based on the ingredients in the product. My favorite items from the ones they sent are the Mastic Herbal Soap, the Soft Lip balm and the Calm Revive Arnica Body Oil. The body oil smells divine and wasn’t greasy at all.

Kear products in front of vase of flowers

All the products are made in Greece with Greek products. Kear is available on their website, in pharmacies in Athens, Naxos and Thessaloniki and some soaps can be found in the AB supermarkets. Another great Greek beauty brand to take home as a souvenir on your next trip to Greece!

Get 15% off when you order directly from Kear using code TIFFANYxKear

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

Greek cosmetics
Food, Greece, Travel

Best Restaurants in Naxos

October 15, 2021
Greek food in Naxos restaurant

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 in Naxos! I should add that there are even some excellent non-Greek choices for restaurants in Naxos as well.

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.

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 a fine dining restaurant located not far from the main promenade of Naxos. I was invited to eat at Barozzi restaurant 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 dressed 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. You could also add wine for an additional cost. I chose to do al la carte as I didn’t think I could eat that much food. First, I was brought an amuse-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 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. The best thing is knowing that the sea bass was most likely fresh fish right from the waters of Naxos.

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. Most of the food they serve is traditional Greek cuisine.

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.

Kitron

Kitron is one of my favorite places for breakfast, lunch and coffee. It is located right in the main port area of town and is a good spot to ferry watch while you enjoy your meal. Kitron is also a great place to get some work done as the wifi even works outside there.

For breakfast, I order the Strapatsada. This scrambled egg dish is a Greek classic. The eggs are cooked with finely chopped tomatoes and feta cheese.

If you go for lunch, they have a variety of sandwiches to choose from or light snacks. Don’t forget that afternoon Greek coffee either. In the evening you can explore the Kitron liquor offerings. Kitron is made from the citron fruit and it is distilled on the island in the village of Halki.

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 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.

Barabbas

Barabbas is a traditional taverna located near the port of Naxos. You will see many locals eating here. It is only open for dinner though. However, once you eat here you will definitely be back. Their speciality is fish and slow cooked meats. I recommend any pork dish on the menu! When I ordered, the brought out a complimentary appetizer. Don’t forget to have some local wine here too.

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.

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

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

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