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Category: Europe: Southeastern

Chasing World Heritage: #130 (Split)

Split (WHS #130)

For the first part of our adventure in Croatia we were based in Split. We budgeted only a single day for exploring the town, but we also returned to the city core every evening for 5 nights, so by the end of that stay we could plausibly claim a pretty…

A place in my memory: Oia

A place in my memory: Oia

This is a pretty recent memory, not even a year old at the time of writing. But it is very illustrative of how the same place can be both most enchanting and most awful, depending on the time of the day. The village of Oia on the northern tip of…

Greece wrap-up

Greece wrap-up

I have now come to the end of my photographic material from the summertime trip to Greece. Over the course of a dozen and a half essays, we revisited places on Crete (Minoan sites, Heraklion, Psychro cave, other locations, not forgetting the unbelievable sunrise), on Santorini (Oia, including sunset, and…

Chasing World Heritage: #116 (Mycenae)

Chasing World Heritage: #116 (Mycenae)

The last ruins that we visited in Greece was Mycenae, the center of the Late Bronze Age civilization that was the main precursor to the classical Ancient Greek culture. Mycenaeans’ period of domination over the Mediterranean came around the time when the Minoan civilization – which we encountered on Crete…

Chasing World Heritage: #115 (Delphi)

Chasing World Heritage: #115 (Delphi)

Delphi was the sacred center of the world for the Ancient Greeks and undoubtedly a remarkable achievement of purposeful architecture, a sanctuary built into the challenging landscape to inspire awe and worship. Unfortunately, very little is left of its former glory, and the visual impact is fairly muted. After experiencing…

Chasing World Heritage: #113 (Acropolis)

Chasing World Heritage: #113 (Acropolis)

I always find myself awed by grandiose edifices. Beholding the Parthenon up close, unfailingly grandiose despite its ruined state blended with a construction site, made the visit to Acropolis instantly worthwhile. Built in the 5th century BC to honor goddess Athena, the patron of the city, the temple survived rise…

Athens

Athens

Common wisdom holds Athens as a single-day destination, with one must-see sight and little else beyond that which is exceptional. Its abundance of ancient ruins may allow a true connoisseur to stretch the stay to a couple of days, but we are far from such connoisseurs. We made Athens the…

Sailing around Naxos

Sailing around Naxos

It may sound unexpected coming from yours truly, but if there was a day that stood out on our two-weeks-plus-long trip to Greece, it was in a sense the laziest day on the itinerary. For the last full day of our stay on Naxos, we penciled in a day-long boating…

Mykonos

Mykonos

The second part of our day cruise that first took us to Delos was Mykonos. A renowned “party island”, it may have been completely ignored by us if not for the fixed itinerary of the cruise. We were given about three hours to explore its eponymous Chora, which was barely…

Chasing World Heritage: #112 (Delos)

Chasing World Heritage: #112 (Delos)

For all of the obvious associations between Greece and the ancient cultures, it has a surprisingly modest number of recognized World Heritage sites: 18 properties spread across 37 individual locations. There are none on either Crete, Santorini, or Naxos, so my first chance to improve my visited count came well…

On Naxos

On Naxos

Our time on Naxos was structured as a sequence of day-long excursions. One of those was a chauffeured private tour around the island, with stops at several points of interest. Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades archipelago and is relatively sparsely populated (the number of permanent residents here…

Naxos, Chora

Naxos, Chora

If we fell in love with one place in Greece, it was Naxos. Although it is not exactly unknown, it does not attract as many visitors as some other Aegean islands. That is partially due to its relative un-flashiness and in large part due to the fact that it does…

On Santorini

On Santorini

The village of Oia enjoys incontestable top billing among Santorini sights – to the point that some travel publications caption a photograph of Oia as simply “Santorini” – but we took time to explore other parts of the island. Our intent to take a closer look at the main town…

Oia

Oia

Oia – pronounced EE-yah, the O is silent – is one of the most recognizable destinations in the world and a place that always features on the first-time itineraries of the Aegean island-hopping. The blue-domed white churches are Oia’s calling card, regularly appearing in travel publications and social media adverts.…

Sunset on Santorini

Sunset on Santorini

The terrace of our apartment on Santorini was facing west and we were able to add a pretty sunset to the incredible sunrise that we saw on Crete. In fact, the activity of sunset-watching turns the western side of the village of Oia into a madhouse, with most paths and…

Crete: Psychro Cave

Crete: Psychro Cave

This last point of interest that we explored while on Crete deserves its own blog entry in part because of the insanely beautiful mountain road that took us there. We climbed significant heights along the way, driving on an uneven one-lane road that looked deserted for miles on end. In…

On Crete

On Crete

Crete is a huge island, impossible to cover in much detail in less than a week’s time. We did not attempt anything of the kind. Our time on Crete was planned with a slant towards beach-going, with only a few of hours of sightseeing on any given day (including a…

Heraklion

Heraklion

The capital of Crete does not offer much in terms of must-see sights (Knossos Palace, by any measure near the top of the list of Crete attractions, has the name of HeraklionĀ regionĀ in its address and is located a few minutes’ drive beyond the city boundaries). We budgeted only a couple…

Crete: Minoan Palaces

Crete: Minoan Palaces

In our two-plus weeks in Greece this past summer, we have purposefully visited 8 archaeological sites and probably saw just as many in passing. That should not be surprising to anyone, as there are few countries in the world as firmly associated with ancient civilizations as Greece. Crete was the…