Cyclades

Home Greece Cyclades

Tinos Eco Lodge: Sustainable Tourism at the Greek Islands

2
Tinos Eco Lodge sunrise
Sunrise at Tinos Eco Lodge

The place to be on the wonderful island Tinos is the 2014 founded Tinos Eco Lodge, located in a lonesome forested valley next to the small village Steni.

Tinos Eco Lodge sunrise
Sunrise at Tinos Eco Lodge

Located only 20 kilometers north from the touristic hotspot Mykonos, Tinos island invites its guests to discover the traditional Greek lifestyle. After a 30 minutes ferry trip, individual tourists looking for stunning landscapes, lonely beaches and Mediterranean kitchen are welcomed by the guest friendly population of one of the most attractive locations in Greece.

While wandering through the terraced landscape on hidden pathways or climbing on nearly untouched mountains, visitors of Tinos discover ancient places, collect wild growing vegetables, fruits and herbs or just relax on hundreds of secret sandy beaches at the seaside of the island.

The city of Tinos, giving the island it´s name, is known for the beautiful miracle church placed on top of an inner city hill. Every year in August, thousands of pilgrims crawling on their knees the steep 700 meters from the harbor to the church, sending their wishes to heaven and hoping for gratification.

Tinos Eco Lodge: the place to be

tinos eco lodge big houseThe place to be on the wonderful island Tinos is the 2014 founded Tinos Eco Lodge, located in a lonesome forested valley next to the small village Steni.

Guests of the WIFI free, EU supported sustainable tourism project, enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the ecological greened area, healthy food collected in the organic garden and an amazing view at the mediterranean sea and the islands of Mykonos and Ikaria.

Living in one of the two contemporary and comfortable stone made guest houses at the Tinos Eco Lodge you can relax on the five terraces, doing workout and Yoga sessions at the 6.000 square meter area or enjoy the healthy, fresh air, and the swim at the nearby sandy beach of Santa Margarita.

In the evening, , you will use the outdoor kitchen for traditional Greek barbecue, while enjoying the crystal clear heaven filled with thousands of bright shining stars and the natural sounds of frogs and wild goats living in the mountains next to the Tinos Eco Lodge.

At night a warm north wind refreshes your soul, when you celebrate the easiness of life with Wine and Raki produced by the local farmers of Tinos, hanging around with the lovely Greek, English and German speaking founders of the Eco Lodge, caring at it´s best about their guests.

Visitors of the Tinos Eco Lodge, interested in sustainable tourism and permaculture, can take part at professional seminars starting in September 2016.

During the eleven-days fulltime seminar up to 20 participants will learn more about living on a small carbon footprint with solar and wind power, ecological usage of water and the basics of sustainable farming, which is the concept of the Ecolodge. Two very knowledgeable teachers from England, Dr. Rod Everett and Mill Millichap with the help of a Greek assistant will give the seminar in English which completes the full curriculum for a PDC authorized certificate by the Permaculture Association . For more info and booking a place at the seminar visit the seminar website.

Five Reasons I Love Greek Food

2
Gyro. Taken by jeffreyw via Flickr.
Gyro. Taken by jeffreyw via Flickr.
Gyro. Taken by jeffreyw via Flickr.

When it comes to cuisine, the Greeks definitely have got it going on!

In the past few years I have been lucky enough to visit the Greek islands of Ios, Naxos and Santorini as well as the metropolitan cities of Athens and Thessaloniki. I took away many things from these trips- great memories with friends, some historical and cultural knowledge and a pretty solid tan. One thing about Greece in general always stand out in my mind, however- it has some of my favorite cuisine in the whole world!

Being able to visit both islands and mainland cities means that I had the chance to try a variety of dishes, which are typically highly influenced by the natural surroundings. Fresh seafood is everywhere on the islands while you can typically find more diversity of choices in the cities. Regardless, it’s all delicious and I’m going to tell you why…

Five reasons I love Greek food:

1. It is SO fresh

If I were to estimate, I’ve eaten about 20-25 meals in Greece. Maybe once or twice was I disappointed in the freshness of ingredients. There’s a reason for this. The basis of many traditional Greek food dishes (such as Greek salad) include fresh ingredients such as fresh fish, vegetables, legumes and cereals. There’s really no way to fake it or substitute with processed ingredients.

Greek salad. Taken by Karl Bohn via Flickr.
Greek salad. Taken by Karl Baron via Flickr.

2. Full flavor

What I especially enjoy about Greek food is the variety of full flavors in every dish. Many herbs and spices such as dill, garlic, oregano, onion, mint, thyme, basil and parsley are necessary ingredients to most dishes, which give each one a unique, full flavor.

Dolmades: stuffed grape leaves with rice, onions, herbs, pine nuts, raisins. Taken by kennejima via Flickr.
Dolmades: stuffed grape leaves with rice, onions, herbs, pine nuts, raisins. Taken by kennejima via Flickr.

3. Pita, need I say more?

Head into any bakery and you can find a variety of fresh pitas (pies) to choose from. My favorite is the Spanakopita (spinach pie), which is made from filo pastry with spinach and feta filling. This is really similar to the versions found in the Balkans known as Burek, also equally delicious.

Spanakopita. Taken by Alpha via Flickr.
Spanakopita. Taken by Alpha via Flickr.

4. You can never have enough Feta cheese

Feta may be my favorite type of cheese and the Greeks definitely know how to do it right. Made from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk or a mixture, this crumbly white cheese is the perfect addition to salads, hence the famous Greek Salad, pies and pastries or simply served on its own. Once in Thessaloniki we were served Feta with sesame seeds and honey as an appetizer. Here is a similar recipe for a fried version. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted!

Feta with sesame seeds and honey. Taken by Rachel Bickley via Flickr.
Feta with sesame seeds and honey. Taken by Rachel Bickley via Flickr.

5. Gyros are the ultimate fast food

Made from meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served in a pita with vegetables and tzatziki sauce, gyros are the perfect fast food treat. They also come vegetarian with a feta or haloumi cheese substitute, so no one has to be left out! Everytime I had gyros in Greece they never felt super heavy like Kebabs here in Germany or typical fast food in the U.S. Plus they are so cheap! I once paid one euro for a breakfast gyro in Santorini (I couldn’t pass up a deal like that, no matter what hour!).

Check out this list from BBC Good Food for must-try Greek dishes!

Black and Red Sand Beaches in Santorini

7
Red Beach in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.

Santorini is one of the most naturally stunning places I’ve ever visited.

The whitewashed homes built into the cliffs, breathtaking sunsets and fantastic beaches have made this volcanic Cyclades island a hugely popular tourist destination that definitely doesn’t disappoint.

One of the features that make Santorini truly unique is its geological formation. The horseshoe shape of the island is the result of the Minoan eruption of Thera, also referred to at the Thera eruption or the Santorini eruption. This was one of the largest volcanic eruptions known throughout history, dating back approximately 3,600 years ago. This destroyed all settlements in the early single island and creating the current shape of the main island of Santorini and the smaller island of Thirasia as well as a few other islands.

Today, there is evidence of the volcanic presence with many volcanic craters throughout the island. The most recent eruption was in 1950, followed by a devastating earthquake in 1956. The volcano is currently dormant, though it gives off odors from time to time.

As a result of this volcanic history, the beaches have formed with really unique sand and rock colors. The most famous ones include a black pebble beach, a white beach and a red beach.

We decided to rent ATVs and drive around the island, exploring as many beaches as we could. Since we were staying in the town of Perissa, this was our first beach, as it is considered one of the nicest in Santorini. The beach itself was a really nice black sand beach with clean, clear water. There were also tons of little shops and restaurants that were perfect for taking a break from the sun. At night, many of them turn into bars with live music, too!

Perissa Beach, Santorini.
Perissa Beach, Santorini.

After a short visit in Perissa, we moved on to what is supposed to be the most unique, picturesque beach in Santorini: Red Beach. This is located in the Akrotiri area, near to the ancient site of Akrotiri.

Agios Nikolaos church in Santorini, on the way to Red Beach. Taken by Kirstie.
Agios Nikolaos church in Santorini, on the way to Red Beach. Taken by Kirstie.

The beach was so beautiful! The deep red color coming from the red lava cliffs that flow down into the crystal blue waters was absolutely spectacular. Because of landslides the beach has been closed to the public in recent years, but you can still get this spectacular view:

Red Beach in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Red Beach in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.

We then headed in the direction of Oia to watch the sunset, making a quick stop at one of the black sand beaches along the way, which I believe was Vouvoulos Beach. There were lots of great waves and the beach wasn’t so crowded, which made the stop my favorite of all the ones we visited.

Playing in the waves at Vouvoulos Beach, Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Playing in the waves at Vouvoulos Beach, Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Vouvoulos Beach in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Vouvoulos Beach in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.

I’m really looking forward to going back to Santorini sometime in the future and exploring more of the amazing beaches this island has to offer!

Any suggestions?

[Greeka]

What’s with the white and blue in the Cyclades?

1
Homes on the cliff in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.

What could be more indicative of the Greek Cyclades Islands than whitewashed homes, built into the cliffs hanging over the sea, decorated with bright blue roofs, doors and windows?

If you think of Greece, this image has to instantly pop into your head:

Homes on the cliff in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Homes on the cliff in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.

Ahh, so beautiful, right?

Well actually, there is a much more practical purpose behind the architecture and paint choices of the homes in the Cyclades. And while different islands have different traditions, there are many similarities among them.

If you’ve ever been the Greek Islands in summertime, you know how hot it can get. The sun beats down the entire day, rarely a cloud in the sky and there are few, if any, trees for protection. Therefore, maintain a cool comfort level was a major factor in how homes were not only built, but decorated too!

Homes were built into the cliffs to provide insulation from harsh sea winds and bright summer sun and were originally constructed from stone, many times a dark, volcanic stone. This provided a sturdy protection, especially when piracy was a threat during the medieval era. The stone also acted as a really great insulator, the only problem being that the dark color absorbed a lot of sunlight, making the interior of the homes even warmer. As a solution, residents began painting their homes white to reflect the sunlight and stay cool.

As white paint was not readily available, especially in the middle of the ocean, the residents of many of the islands used asbestos to produce a white color for a low price. This was also used to paint roads and kill pests. In Santorini, however, they covered the stone in a layer of plaster made from limestone. Many people also used many different colors as an accent to the white color. Over time, blue became the cheapest and most readily available.

While blue and white homes have become synonymous with the Greek Cyclades islands today, this isn’t true off all of them and even the most famous, Santorini, used to be full of vibrant, vivid colors.

During the period of 1967-1974, however, Greece was under rule of a military government. For political reasons, such as to show support and unification, the government ordered that all new homes be painted with this blue and white concept and those that were already built must be repainted.

Here are some of my favorite photos of homes during my visit to the Cyclades islands of Santorini and Ios:

Doorway in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Doorway in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Church dome in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Church dome in Santorini. Taken by Kirstie.
Ios landscape.
Ios landscape.
Stairwell in Ios.
Stairwell in Ios.
Church in Ios.
Church in Ios.

[Trip Advisor], [Greeka]

A Day at Feria de Abril de Sevilla

Every year in April more than 5 million people attend the Feria de Abril de Sevilla or known in English as the Seville Fair. Upon...

A breath of fresh air in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Just south of the picturesque small resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze, at almost 3,000 meters high. It offers not only word-class...

Strøget: Copenhagen’s Shopper’s Paradise!

Did you ever think of Copenhagen as a shopper’s paradise? Well, add it to the list… Milan, Paris, and you guessed it, Copenhagen! In the...

Food, music, and traditional sports at Basque Fest, Bilbao

Located in the border areas of northern Spanish and southern France, the community of the Basque people is truly unique. The culture has a rich...

A Rich History in Plaza Mayor

Just a short walk from Madrid’s iconic Puerta del Sol is another center of life in the Spanish capital: the Plaza Mayor. What Can You...

Disney Inspiration: Neuschwanstein Castle

Did you know that the Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle? Nestled in the hills of Bavaria, this is one spot you...

How To Stay Active While Traveling

Maintaining a daily fitness routine is hard enough at home base. Yes, you can make your own meals, go to the gym, go for a...