P1010977

Silence … is golden …

Working in the field of hospitality is very hard work, and our main custom over the years has been through word-of-mouth advertising rather than any other type of promotion.  Throughout the summer months we are lucky to have guests who have been holidaying here for at least the last seven years.  Loyalty is very important to us, especially in these times of hardship.  Our returning guests always come packed with ideas, friends and new guests for us.

elemental_yoga_retreats_class

At the moment, our guests/friends are from Germany and this is their twelfth visit to our humble retreat.  Last night, over their after dinner drink, we discussed the fact that this is the perfect place and the perfect  month for a retreat – a writer’s retreat, an artist’s retreat or maybe a yoga club.

retreat_small

So this post is really a question – are you a writer, an artist or maybe a yoga instructor?  Would you be interested in organising a retreat for your clubs in this area ? Could I help you with the organisation of such retreats ?

inspiration

Karavostasi Beach

Why Karavostasi…?

You may ask from the hundreds of places to choose from in Greece, what makes Karavostasi different…well the answer is that it combines so many different things…

Firstly, its natural landscape and wildlife is second to none …olive groves, tall plane trees, lemon groves all hidden within acres of private and public fields.  Undisturbed wild animals, migrating birds, farm animals all enjoy the serenity of the area.  All this a few minutes walk away from one of the most stunning beaches of the Ionian coastline.  The cool clear seawater laps along the coarse sandy beach which is not only long but wide enough not to feel  crowded on any hot summer’s day.  Family’s can make their own adventures, walk to the archeological site and further, if they want, wander along the river bank which flows into the sea, take a bike and cycle along the roads, exploring the wildlife. Alternatively, they can relax beside the pool in one of the many hotels, enjoying the peace.  It can be compared to many places, but it is also unique.  Fresh sea air ensures a good nights sleep, without the hustle and bustle of other tourist resorts.  In a minute you are at the beach, within ten minutes by car  you are in the nearest village, and it takes twenty minutes to reach the major tourist resorts.  So when you ask us “Why Karavostasi…?” our answer is simply “Why not?”

Summer Fun

I have to apologise to all for the tardiness of our blog posts this season.  Due to a variety of issues, it was very difficult to keep everything updated.  The issues continue, but with a few minutes to spare I felt the urge to let you know about what is going on.  I will let the pictures do the talking.

 

13644267_10154252956562719_1408638722_n

 

 

 

IMGP3307

Reaching Your Destination

It is true that many of our visitors are from countries with magnificent highways and freeways, superb railway systems and regular public transport.  This being the case, when one arrives in Greece, it can sometimes be quite frustrating having to drive along narrow, windy roads or to have to wait hours, maybe even a day for the next bus to get to where you are going.  Greece is not renowned for any great infrastructure, but one of the greatest things it has is magnificent scenery, so here are some tips for you when you get here.

  1.  Try not to put too much trust into Google Maps.  They are a great guide, but some of the roads which may look like short cuts are actually small counry lanes, or in some cases, dead ends.
  2. If you are travelling by air, then we would advise you to use either Preveza or Corfu airports.  Even Thessaloniki airport is a possible choice.  Flying to Corfu means a taxi ride to the port (about 15 minutes if there is not a lot of traffic), and then a ferry ride to Igoumenitsa (about 1hr and 30 minutes to two hours).  Getting an early morning flight is usually a good idea, as ferries run regularly throughout the day.  The evenings are a little more difficult.  Both Corfu and Igoumenitsa Port Authorities have a great system for ferry times though.  By calling +30 26613 65200 (Corfu) or +30 26650 99460 (Igoumenitsa) you can find out the schedule for the ferry boats.  They have the times of ferries for each day of the week.  The schedules are current and updated on a  weekly basis.  If your travel dates are later than that, then just choose the day on which you are travelling and you will hear the times and get a basic idea of which ferry would suit your travelling times. We can organise a taxi transfer or car hire from the Port of Igoumenitsa.     Preveza (Aktio) airport is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from the hotel.  Again we can organise a transfer or car hire for you. Thessaloniki Airport is 4 hours from Karavostasi and there are regular scheduled flights.  (Tip:  You can stay in Thessaloniki for a day or even stay somewhere en route if you would prefer).
  3. Lots of our customers come into Igoumenitsa by ship, using the ferry lines form Italy.  This is a great option if you would like to travel to Greece by car.  Check out your options from the ports of Ancona, Venice, Brindisi and Bari in Italy.  Please note that Bari and Brindisi are the closest in terms of distance and time.
  4. Driving from Igoumenitsa is quite easy.  There are two routes to choose from.  The first (towards Preveza) is a coastal route.  It is a longer route, but very scenic, expecially towards Plataria (road 18 markde on the map).  The other, quicker, route is the A2 Highway.  This fairly new highway connects Igoumenitsa to Thessaloniki.  You enter the highway at Igoumenitsa port and come off around 10 minutes later at the junction that is marked Parga, Sivota, Perdika.  The just follow the signs to Perdika.   map thesprotiaWhichever road you take, you need  to reach Karteri and then turn right for Perdika.  After about 15 minutes you will reach Perdika.  Drive through and then follow the signs for the beaches and specifically Karavostasi.  Now Perdika is connected by road to Parga and Sivota, so when you are leaving the village going towards the beaches you will see signs towards these two towns.  Following the signs to Sivota will also lead you to the junction towards the beaches.
  5. Driving from Preveza means that you will be taking the road to Igoumenitsa.  It is a straight drive, and again you need to reach Karteri and then turn left for Perdika.

Seems a lot !!  Hopefully, this will help you plan your time and your journey.  However you choose to get here just remember, it’s not only about the destination, but it’s also about the journey getting there.

An Ancient Town looking over Karavostasi

During the second half of the fourth century BC, a coastal fortified settlement was founded directly above Karavostasi.  It is said to be ancient Elina, the home of the Thesprotian Tribe Elinoi.  The findings from this archeological site show that, in contrast with the other archeological sites, Dimokastro was not abandoned after the Roman invasion (c. 167 BC).  In fact, the habitants remained until the first century AD, and when you visit this site, you understand why.  Dimokastro is at the top of a coastal hill, and the view is amazing.  THe islands of Paxi, Antipaxi and Corfu are clearly visible, as well as all of the Thesprotian coastline.  The whole of the Epirus region can be seen from this area.  Karavostasi Beach is situated to its right, and a small inlet can be seen to its left.  This is Prapamali, one of Karavostasi’s hidden secrets, and a popular bay for nudists.  Artefacts found were taken to the Archeological Museum of Igoumenitsa, although many ancient findings were stolen long before archeologists began excavating.  dimokastro

Unfortunately, although excavations began in 2002, the Greek economic situation has meant that this site, like many others in Greece, has been virtually abandoned.However, businesses situated at Karavostasi as well as locals from the village of Perdika volunteer each year to ensure that the area is cleared so that visitors can admire this historic site and take in the view.

Summer 2016 …Here We Come…

So, next week the 2016 Summer season starts.  Apart from the usual, everyday beach visits and excursions to the surrounding areas, this year we will alos be looking forward to some special live music events, dance lessons and a few more extras.  The Kid’s club will be underway in July and August and as well as other things we invite you to join our team in our home from home experience.  So, without further ado ….Summer 2016 is waiting for you here at Karavostasi….relax

Greece, Meteora

Meteora

The Meteora is the name of the six monasteries built on sandstone pillars in the municipality of Thessaly, Greece.  The Egnatia Highway has brought the North and Western part of Greece closer and more accessible, so the Meteora are now a 2 hour 30 minute drive from Karavostasi.

The monasteries were built by monks who had already chosen to lead an ascetic life, and by the 14th century the threat to the Byzantine Empire from the Turks led these monks to build the monasteries on these high pillars.  From the original monasteries 6 have survived time and wars.  Originally, the only way to access the monasteries was by rope ladders or rope baskets.  Now, all the monasteries are accessible by road.

meteora

meteora ladder

Greece Meteora Hanging in There. FredBoissonnas.rsz-709616

The Holy Monastery of the Great Meteoron is the largest of the monasteries located at Metéora. It was erected in the mid-14th century. It is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Jesus. Opening hours 09.00 – 17.00 (closed on Tuesdays)

great meteoron

The  Holy Monastery of Varlaam is the second largest monastery in the Metéora complex. It was built in 1541 and is dedicated to All Saints. The old refectory is used as a museum while north of the church is the parekklisi of the Three Bishops.  Opening hours 09.00 – 16.00 (closed on Mondays)

1280px-Meteora_Varlaam_IMG_7800

The Holy Monastery of Roussanou has received the name of the first probable hermit who settled on the rock but it is dedicated to the memory of Santa Barbara.  It was founded at the end of the 16th century.  It is one of the two monasteries which houses nuns,  Opening hours 09:00 to 17:45 (closed on Wednesdays)

roussanou

The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Anapafsas is the first Monastery that we encounter on our way to the Holy Meteora and was founded at the end of the 14th century. Opening hours 09:00 to 15:30 (closed on Fridays)

1280px-Meteora_Agios_Nikolaos_Anapafsas_IMG_7817

The Monastery of Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) is the most difficult to reach, but the one with the greatest view. Visitors have to follow a pathway and then before they walk up the140 steps. The monastery’s main cathedral was constructed in the 15th century.Part of the Monastery was used as the setting for the final scenes of the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.  Opening hours 09:00 to 17:00 (closed on Thursdays).

1280px-AgiaTriada

The Monastery of St Stephen is the other monastery inhabited by nuns.  The entrance of the monastery is over a small bridge. It dates back to the 12th century, and is the one monastery which has seen the most damage from wars.  Opening hours 09:30 to 13:30 and from 15:30 to 17:30 (closed on Mondays)

1280px-Agiu_Stefanu_Meteora_1

Caves, gorges, paths ruined monasteries are all among the other “musts” at the Meteora.  A day out at the Meteora can be filled with fun.  Hiking, cycling, touring – make this a place to add to your bucketlist on your trips here.

Syrtaki Time means Dance Time

Those of you who know Greece, know Syrtaki.  Made famous by Anthony Quinn in the film Zorba The Greek in 1964, it has become a symbol of Greek ethnicity.  The music was written and produced by Mikis Theodorakis.

Here are some pictures of our August Syrtaki Lessons for all those who love all of Greece.

syrtaki2

syrtaki4

syrtaki2

syrtaki1

kids

Fun in the Sun

Here at Karavostasi Beach Hotel, there is time for everything and one thing all kids appreciate is some fun iin the sun.  Fani is the wonderful Children’s club and Gym Leader, giving parents time to relax, while their children enjoy some fun and adventurous activities.  Apart from this, she also helps you relax with some great gym exercises, like yoga and pilates.

Here are some pictures from our kids club.

Water games

kids9

kids8

kids7

kids10

kids 3

kids2

kids 5

Creating …

kids1

kids6