Days 15 to 22 of 172:
Here's a wrap-up of some of the towns, cities and countries we have visited on our journey. Discover! more by subscribing for a complete list of places we were so lucky to visit.
Below is the story of the second leg of our fabulous travels in Europe. Greece, to be more precise Thessaloniki (mainland Greece) and Neos Marmaras (Sithonia Peninsula, in Chalkidiki).
Top reasons to visit mainland Greece....
For starters these two cities are the perfect size for exploring on foot. Wear your comfortable shoes and start exploring as both locations score high on the walk-ability charts.
Thessaloniki, even with a little more than a million people, you can still enjoy a walk in the centre and be surrounded by people without feeling too overwhelmed or crowded.
Out of the city centre, a pleasant stroll takes you near the water and through beautiful streets and neighborhoods.
In Neos Marmaras, you can rent a room and probably stay for a few weeks, without realizing it, because there’s a lovely sense of friendliness and hospitality from the locals. (See below for list of accommodations and restos we recommend).
If you like quiet Neos Marmaras is the place for you!!
Terrific Views of the Aegean Sea
Thessaloniki and Neos Marmaras, are located on the Aegean Sea - an arm of the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Turkey.
You can sit down and eat at one of the many tavernas located on the waterfront promenade.
You’ll have the Aegean Sea right before your eyes. Bet you'll find it difficult to resist relaxing to the sounds of lapping waves.
Greek History Rules
There is history every which way you turn.
Over 7,000 years to be exact. So many ruins and artifacts have survived thousands of years of war, turmoil, and the sheer test of time.
The White Tower, Arch of Galerius, Aristotelian Square, and Mount Athos; housing many ancient monasteries, are amongst the world’s top heritage sites to visit.
Greece is amazing because of its views and landscape diversity. You can find fantastic water views, enjoy tanning on peaceful and pristine beaches, see rugged coastlines, olive groves, vineyards, and rolling hills all in the same region.
And then at the end of an exhausting day of exploring you can experience some of the most awesome sunsets Ever!
Another great reason to visit Greece is to sample the fresh food and ingredients.
Greece and its local cuisine are exceptional for carnivores and vegans alike. The local diets are abundant in fresh seafood, vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, and of course meats.
Flavorsome foods and I mean delicious, tasty, appetizing, scrumptious, and oh so yummy.
My favourites are the delicious olives or a ginormous feta, tomato and cucumber salads, packed with fresh flavors and acts as a great side dish to any entree or perfectly delicious on its own.
Kebabs slathered with tzatziki, that side dish of yogurt with cucumber, garlic, and often mint. It’s fresh, tangy, and usually has just a bit of bite from the garlic.
And who could resist baklava, a heavenly pastry consisting of sheets of phyllo layered with chopped nuts, butter, and cinnamon, baked, and then soaked in a honey or sugar? Nomnom.
Those fresh, light, Mediterranean flavours taste best when the weather’s hot and sunny. (See below for list of accommodations and restos we recommend).
If you're in search of beautiful weather, you've come to the right place. The climate conditions are just right, not too hot but not too cold.
Traveling in May or June are considered some of the best months to visit Greece. We were very much in luck; I kept saying to my husband that the weather gods must have been on our side this trip.
The skies were usually clear - light blue - rarely ever a sign of those fluffy clouds floating across the sky. Average temperatures between 26-30°C (that's 78-86°F for my friends south of the Canadian border.)
Colors & Sands of the Aegean Sea
The pristine beaches are another reason to visit. Seriously this country is blessed with gorgeous beaches.
Travel in the shoulder seasons almost guarantees you have the whole beach to yourself as we did most days.
Go walking barefoot on the warm sands or just dive right into the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea.
Bonus most beaches serve food and drinks, which you can get delivered right to your sun-bed.
Bang For Your Buck
Value-for-Money, the financial crisis, while it has caused chaos for the Greeks, has made a visit to Greece incredibly affordable for the budget-conscious traveler, especially if you travel in the shoulder seasons; which mean spring or fall.
Generous Greek hospitality! That vibe is alive and well. The Greeks are incredibly friendly, warmhearted and welcoming.
It's in their (inherent) nature, showing generosity or courtesy to strangers. Greeks create genial relationships between host and guest, and each traveler is greeted with a warm smile and a style of kindness you may find among good old friends.
I guarantee a visit to either of these two destinations, will create in you, a fan of the Greek culture and landscape, and here you will get the chance to relax - body and mind.
Kindly post any comments regarding a trip you may have recently taken to Thessaloniki or Neos Marmaras.
Karaoli & Dimitriou ton Kyprion 13, Thessaloníki, 54630, Greece
What I had to say: “Staff was really great, very pleasant and helpful. Apartments well equipped, with a big balcony, very spacious living quarters and comfortable mattresses. The Polis apartments are only 10 minutes walking to the centre. Close to grocery store, restos and many, many coffee shops.”
George & Sia’s House, Studios in Neos Marmaras
63081, Halkidiki, Greece
What I had to say: “Neos Marmaras is a beautiful destination for relaxation. Sia is such a warm and hospitable host. Fair sized room, comfortable balcony and fair price.”
Katouni 4 & Paralia, Thessaloniki, Greece
What I had to say: “Small dishes allowed us to try many. Tasty & inexpensive. Friendly & attentive service. The environment is great, consisting of stands, large tables, sofas and bar seating. It is in the traditional area of Thessaloniki called "Ladadika". Very close to the port.”
Paradiso Restaurant Tavern
Neos Marmaras Paradisos 630 81, Greece
What I had to say: “Best meal we had during our stay in Sithonia! A real taverna on the beach with an atmosphere that is charming. Ingredients freshly cooked. Large portions. I suggest the the fried feta cheese - to die for."
Frosty “Mythos Hellenic Lager Beer”. Refreshing taste, aroma slightly malty and maybe a little bitter. I drank mainly white wines as it was so hot on this trip. The grape listed most often on menus was “Malagouzia”. It’s dry with notes of apricot and peach flavors.