All posts tagged: travelblogger

5 Favorite Beaches in Crete

Greece’s largest island, Crete, provides hundreds of beautiful beaches that draws crowds in the summer months. Below are just five of my favorites, plus some extra suggestions for you to check out on your next visit to Crete. Do you have a favorite? Please comment and share 🙂 Falassarna Beach: I’ve taken some of my best photos on Falassarna, catching shots of the big waves and vibrant skies. My favorite beach in all of Crete, Falassarna stretches far along the coast and makes an especially nice spot for sunset lovers since the beach faces west. There’s no need for an Instagram filter or Photoshop, the natural beauty of Falassarna does all the work. Elafonisi: The early bird gets the worm, or better, a sunbed to lie on at the always-crowded Elafonisi beach. Don’t let the crowds deter you, though. Elafonisi is one of the most sought-out beaches in the world for good reason: the pretty pink sand contrasts brilliantly with the tranquil turquoise water. Talk about paradise! Do visit, but be diligent in picking up …

Monasteries and Churches of Greece

With 97% of the country comprised of Greek Orthodox members, it’s no wonder there’s an abundance of historic monasteries and churches with generations of monks, nuns, and priests who have preserved the Greek language, culture, and religion. Greek Orthodox monasteries stretch across the countryside in some of the most beautiful locations imaginable—some balanced atop steep rocks with others burrowed in lush, green valleys and olive groves. Many of these monasteries were built centuries ago by hermits and monks in an effort to escape religious persecution. During Greece’s most troubling times, monasteries offered safety and comfort to the people of Greece. In addition to the monasteries, visitors will find countless Orthodox churches, packed with holy icons and whose architecture reflect particular regions of Greece and the period in which they were built. Some of the oldest date back to the Byzantine era (330-1453 A.D.). The architecture and the earthly tones of the churches on the Ionian Islands like Corfu, Lefkada, and Zakynthos were heavily influenced by the Venetians during the 15th century. Santorini, Tinos, Milos, and …

St. Dionysios Church, Zakynthos

Travelers arriving to the port of Zakynthos by ferry can’t miss the Church of Saint Dionysios, the largest church on the island, which dominates the view from the seaport. A fairly modern church, it was built in 1948. The only distinguishing thing about its exterior is its marvelous bell tower, otherwise it’s not a notable structure by itself. By contrast, the inside of the church is truly wonderful. Every inch from the ceiling to the floors are covered with exceptional iconography depicting the life of Jesus Christ and his apostles. Natural light beams through the stained-glass windows. A small room next to the alter contains the tomb and body of Saint Dionysios. Although he died on December 17, 1622, his body, plus his vestments have not deteriorated. While visitors can venerate the relics of the Saint, sometimes the tomb itself is impossible to open. It’s believed that when the tomb is sealed, Saint Dionysios, another of the “walking saints,” is out performing miracles to those who pray for peace and protection, appearing in dreams and …

Holy Trinity Monastery, Aegina

Saint Nektarios, the patron saint of Aegina, was recognized as a saint in 1961, making him one of the most recently canonized saints in the Greek Orthodox church. A philosopher and writer, Saint Nektarios became widely known as a healer and was particularly sought out by persons suffering from heart disease and cancer. Having lost my own Yiayia (grandmother) Metos to cancer in 1996, visiting this monastery has always held special meaning for me. Saint Nektarios is now considered a “walking saint,” meaning a saint who appears regularly to the faithful in dreams or visions, and continues to do so today. Until his death in 1920, Saint Nektarios lived in the Holy Trinity Monastery, which he established, and where many nuns continue to reside today. The monastery sits high on a hill, overlooking the more modern Saint Nektarios church at the base of that hill. The panoramic views from Holy Trinity Monastery stretch all the way to the sea. Start your visit at the monastery, where you can explore the very room where Saint Nektarios …