Elena Papanicolaou has founded FLY ME TO THE MOON TRAVEL two years ago - after a long career in senior corporate positions. As the name suggests, this charismatic and energetic lady from Athens organizes unusual and very high-end travel packages throughout her spectacular home country. “I think it was time to offer something different, away from mainstream products and showing the many aspects of my country – such as gastronomy, design, fashion, old and modern architecture and, of course, the breathtaking landscapes.” Following is one of many tours that Elena suggests to her clients from all over the world.
Most dramatic sceneries have been created by geological events and Monemvasia is no exception. A piece of land separated from mainland in the horrific earthquake of 375 AD. A literal shock that left us with a wonder of beauty, assisted by the footprints of ancient Greek, Byzantine, Frankish and Ottoman civilizations. In this piece of rock we explore the labyrinth cobble paths, discover the layers of different cultures in the old churches, the fortified walls and the mansions. We take a seat in the romantic gardens of the Kinsterna Hotel (7 km from Monemvasia, in the middle of vineyards and olive groves) - a century-old mansion turned into a luxury boutique hotel - order our Malvasia PDO wine and let go marveling at the sun setting into the Aegean Sea.
Photo: The romantic Restaurant at the Kinsterna Hotel*****
We continue driving straight down to the tip of the first Peloponnesian peninsula to explore the untouched area of Vatika, believed to have been founded by the descendants of Hercules in the 9th century BC. We visit the Neolithic cave of Kastania, kept secret, by the shepherd who discovered it, until 1958. We hike to one of the largest abandoned lighthouses in the Mediterranean at the notorious Cape Maleas; according to Homer, the starting point of Ulysses’ 10 year Odyssey who at this very point was blown off course on his return home to Ithaca. Swim in virgin coves on the way and walk along the petrified palm forest included in the Atlas of Geological Monuments of the Aegean, created by geological disturbances, earthquakes and volcanic activity resulting in the fossilization of the paleoflora of the region, millions of years before our era. “The Fairy” of local gastronomy in the village of Agios Nikolas- aka Neraida tavern, is always open to throw its spell on us every time we visit! We embark on our little fishing boat in Neapolis and sail over to Pavlopetri
We open our eyes and focus on the seabed to see a well preserved, 5,000 years old city (we are in Greece!) and one of the oldest submerged lost cities in the Mediterranean. We sail on, along the coast up to the tip of cape Maleas to marvel from the sea at the “little mount Athos”, the cluster of 12th century Byzantine churches created by hermitage monks; but we can also hike there and we can even make arrangements to stay overnight to experience the unique feeling of undisturbed contact with nature and history.
Photo: Vatika Region at the Tip of the Laconian Peninsula
The one hour boat crossing to the unique island of Kithira is like being trans-beamed to the era of Nights & Ladies. We reside in amazing boutique luxury accommodation in rural chic style, our favorites are the AstartI Hidden Resort http://www.astartihiddenretreats.com/ and Portari Houses http://www.portari-houses.com/. Take part in the local festivities and art events; stroll in the ruins of medieval villages that lead to breathtaking secluded coves. Hike to natural springs and lighthouses; taste the local olive oil, rusks and fresh fish. And if we dare, we go on to the forgotten island of Anti-Kithira to meet the local archeological expedition bringing to light amazing elements of Greek civilization.
Photo: Platia Ammos Beach in Kithira
For more information, contact Elena at firstname.lastname@example.org
She will be happy to design and arrange tailor-made itineraries … relieving you from researching, planning and handling your Greece trip.
Photo: Paleochora in Kithira