Xlsior Dance Festival Returns to Mykonos and Santorini

Author: , February 2nd, 2014

Xlsior GreeceXLSior – the International Dance Festival that has taken over Greece for the last 5 years – is back again and coming to Mykonos this 20-24 August and Santorini this 27-29 August.

XLSior combines the authentic beauty of the Greek isles with the quality clubbing that you’ve come to expect from two of Europe’s hottest party destinations. With over 30,000 participants expected to attend, you will not want to miss these unforgettable experiences.

Authored By -Edmund – See the Full Story at Rainbow Tourism

Click here for gay travel resources in Greece.

Sailing the Greek Islands

Author: , August 5th, 2011
by Willem, GaySail
Email Willem | Visit the GaySail Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Greece page

Gay Greece

The ancient sailing area of Greece is the oldest destination of Gay Sail. Like a Greek God you can enjoy this calm water, sunny weather and all that Greece has to offer. Greece offers sun, culture, spectacular landscapes and delicious food and hospitality in the taverns.

From the Marina in Athens, you can take a ship to explore some of the most beautiful, legendary Greek Islands.

Sounion is the perfect place to see an ancient, beautiful temple, and for a refreshing dive in the waters of the Adriatic.

The island of Kea has a few bays where you can anchor, and on top of this island sits the picturesque town of Kea.

On the west side of Kithnos, there’s a bay with an interesting sand bar for swimming and great pictures. You can take a hike up to top of the island were the white chora (town) lies. And on the east side there is an ancient Greek/Roman mineral spring which is interesting to visit.

Gay GreeceSiros is an island that in the 18th and 19th century was the commercial and cultural centre in the Aegean trade route. Today Siros port is still the capital of the Cyclades. Explore the village, and spend the night in a secluded bay at the south side of the island.

Naxos / Paros have both a lot to offer. Naxos being the biggest island in the Cyclades is also the most fertile. The landscape includes meadows running down to vast white beaches, cliffs that sink suddenly into the sea, rocky mountains nestled side-by-side with valleys filled with meandering streams and springs. The town has the typical whitewashed houses on a hill. At the Southside of the island are a few smaller islands with numerous of secluded bays.

Gay Greece

Paros a popular tourist island with sandy beaches, clear blue water, traditional houses, stunning landscape and excellent dive sites

The famed island of Mykonos has many bays with beaches and a lively (gay) village. You can drop anchor in one of the bays for a swim to the beach and then sail into the harbour of Mykonos town.

Gay Greece

Opposite Mykonos is the island of Delos the centre of the world 200BC the extensive ruins are worth to visit.

An easy reach from Mykonos lies Ios, a typical Cyclades island. Vineyards and olive trees wind down the mountains to the crystal clear sea and its superb white sandy beaches, much frequented by nudist. Ios also features a pretty harbour with lots of chapels, narrow alleys, windmills, traditional white houses and a lively nightlife.

The sea approach to Santorini is spectacular! You sail into and over the huge volcano that erupted, leaving the town perched high on its famous white cliffs. The only way to reach the city is by donkey, walking up the 587 narrow steps to the top, or by cableway. Black sandy beaches, cliff side towns and bright white houses make Santorini an island of contrast and undoubtedly a must for travellers.

Wild beauty of the barren landscape and huge rocks alternate with sandy beaches on Folegandros. The village is very attractive and the monastery worth a visit.
Coves and bays interrupt the rocky coastline that surrounds the island of Serifos. The Chora is built on the top of a steep hill and has an amazing view over the bay, well worth a hike.

Gay Greece

The island of Hydra is an artist’s colony. Old merchant houses cover the hills overlooking the harbour and auto traffic is prohibited. Everything is transported from the ships to the houses by mule.

GaySail sails an eight and fifteen day trip for gay men, past the best bays, islands, harbours en the famous Greek sights worth seeing. Discover the destinations that can almost only be reached by ship. The idyllic fishing harbours and the enormous hospitality of the Greek, make this a divine destination.

Next trip: September 17 – October 1, Athens – Mykonos – Athens, price: 695 euro one week and 1250 euro two weeks.

From Athens to Singapore Part 1 of 12: Greece

Author: , March 5th, 2010
by Mike Shaughnessy, Traveler
Email Mike
Visit the Purple Roofs Greece Page

Purple Roofs is happy to welcome back an old friend. Last time, Mike regaled us with tales of his trip through South America. This time, he brings us details from his two month trip from Greece to Singapore. Enjoy!

ATHENS:

This city was my first stop for three day visit before boarding the cruise ship. I left home for San Francisco airport noon Fri 23 OCT and arrived Athens 7:30pm Sat 24 OCT for the beginning of this two month journey.

The Lufthansa check-in lady suggested I also check my handbag in addition to my one roller bag so that I could travel hands-free. So I hesitantly handed her the small leather handbag to check with my one suitcase, as she said, two bags can be checked for free. The flight was smooth including meals and drinks, only a minor irritation of many hours delay of the connecting flight in Frankfurt due to bad weather in Germany.

Upon Athens arrival I navigated in the dark without a single misstep all the way from Athens airport, stopping at airport info for transport and city maps, the ATM for Euros, riding the new ultra modern clean metro to city center and then walking about three blocks to my reserved hotel.

After a refreshing shower I slept very well. Sunday morning the hotel-included breakfast was huge and wonderful and counted as two meals for me each day. The only major problem came when I unpacked and discovered that my Sony digital camera, its charger, spare battery and three camera memory sticks, all packaged together, had been lifted out of my handbag in airport operations somewhere between San Francisco, Frankfurt and Athens.

On Sunday most everything is closed in Athens but this gave me time to explore on foot and make plans. My first time in Athens was in 1970 as part of my seven month drive tour of 14 countries in Europe that year, right after my discharge from the Army. The second time in Athens was about 1985 as a couple day stop over on my way to Mykonos Island vacation, so this is my third visit.

Some observations: Athens is still a crowded city where one third of Greece’s population lives, I guess about 5 million people; there are still mostly dirty ugly architecture buildings but the millions of Euros from the recent 2004 Olympics has brought some new buildings, very clean streets and parks, a marvelous clean and safe new metro system, and thankfully all signs now are not only in the Greek language but also in English. This is now fall, the cooler rainy season with temps in the 60-72 range, there were thunder and rain showers off and on the first two days.

The ancient, narrow cobbled winding streets of the old Plaka neighborhood near the Acropolis (walking distance from my hotel) are a favorite place to stroll by millions of locals and tourists alike until the wee hours of the mornings. Something California did decades ago, in July of this year Athens implemented a no smoking law inside all public buildings, restaurants and hotels. Most but not all people have fallen into line and go outside to smoke.

In addition to the must-see Acropolis ruins on the hill, there is the National Archaeological Museum, the Herod Atticus Theater, the ancient Agora (marketplace) and just opened in June this year the huge Acropolis Museum built to house 4,000 statues and artwork from the Acropolis. In addition to the commercial ever-present hop-on hop-off $30 open top tourist sightseeing bus that has now sprouted in every major world city, Athens operates its own public “tourist bus” line #400 which for a single 5 Euro ticket good for 24 hours covers more sites than you can see with its 20 scheduled stops.

A big part of the educational ‘fun’ in traveling is learning new cultures and customs of your new friends. In general the Greeks love and take great pride in their history. Fresh fish is a big part of their diet (you can see the ocean from atop the Acropolis hill).

Being 30 minutes late to an agreed upon meeting time is considered being ‘on time’ – after all Athens has one of the world’s worst traffic conditions – but with ever-present cell phones, if more than 30 minutes over, you should phone.

Dinner typically starts at 9pm, not 10pm which is customary in Spain. But best not to make any after-dinner plans as dinner will likely take all night. Sharing each other’s food at dinner is normal.

Most shops and businesses close up between 2:30pm to 5:30pm and therefore it is considered rude to phone someone at home between 3pm and 5pm, but after 5pm until 11pm is OK.

Then there are the Greek normal cultural non-verbal gestures; men friends may kiss on each cheek when greeting one another, similar to our handshake; a raising of t
he eyebrows means ‘no’; a tilt of the head down and to the side means ‘yes’; a raising of your palm pointed outward does not mean stop, it means ‘go to hell’. How would you know?

Athens has won the war on wires; there are no visible wires hanging anywhere on the streets but just as spectacularly, Athens totally lost the war on graffiti; ugly graffiti covers most everything everywhere.

Walking back to my hotel one evening I ventured off the main path and accidentally happened upon the corner full of night ‘working girls’; they were very aggressive coming right up and touching you.

I bought an integrated three-day transportation ticket good on all types of trams, busses and trains; but found I did not use it much in favor of just walking most places. The roof top bar of my hotel has a great view of the Acropolis.

Departing Athens was as easy as arrival from the airport, only this time after walking a few blocks from the hotel back to the subway station I took a different Metro line which in 20 minutes time dropped me right off at Pireas where the cruise ships dock.

I board the Oceania Nautica, my home to the Greek Islands, Turkey and many more countries to come in the next seven weeks.

PS: Right in Athens main Syntagma Square there is a large electronics shop selling everything from TVs, video games, computers and … digital cameras. Some more of my Athens photos are at: http://picasaweb.google.com/SFO.Mike/200924AthensGreece#

GREEK ISLANDS:

There are over 2,000 Greek Islands but only about 200 of them are inhabited. I am visiting six of the 20 or so “major well known” Greek Islands on this world wind trip. These are the touristy islands, if you want pure relaxation it would be better to go to one of the lesser known smaller islands for peace and quite.

Crete: The first one I visited this trip is also the largest Greek Island; Crete, docking at the port city of Aghios Nikolaos (St. Nickolas). During Ancient Greece the continental land of Greece was much larger than today extending up to parts of France, Spain, Italy and North Africa all contained colonies of Greece. In those early 1,000 years BC ancient Greeks believed in their many mythological Gods. There was a god of fertility, a god of agriculture, and so on. The supreme God or father of all the Gods though was Zeus. The ancient Greeks believed that Zeus was born in a limestone cave on the island of Crete. Many Greeks would spend a year on a pilgrimage to reach that island cave site to make an offering to Zeus. In today’s Christian world the city of Bethlehem and the manger would be the equivalent of this limestone cave birthplace of Zeus. The Island of Crete has 5% of Greece’s population, 6% of its land mass, and produces 32% of its olive oil. One of the US military bases here was one of those shut down during the Clinton years. Cousin Peggy told me that her husband, Dwight, spent 18 months on Crete when he was in the air force. http://picasaweb.google.com/SFO.Mike/200926CreteGreece#

Corfu: When I first arrived on Corfu the winds were blowing and torrential rains were pouring. The forecast was for the same all day. Fortunately a couple of hours later the rain stopped, the sun came out and it was a pleasant day for a stroll around the historical city of Corfu on this Island of Corfu. While walking around the historical city my mind jumped back to hints of old Havana Cuba… because of the lack of maintenance on the old buildings that were falling apart, in various states of disrepair much like in Cuba. The island of Corfu is one of the most popular with summer vacationers, considered the greenest and prettiest of the Greek islands. The island was ruled for 400 years by the Venetians, then by the French until the British took control of it and finally was ceded back to be part of the country of Greece. It is the most northern of all the islands. http://picasaweb.google.com/SFO.Mike/200928CorfuGR#

Katakolon-Olympia: Technically this is not an island. It is part of continental Greece. The cutting of the Corinth Canal sort of makes this a man-made island but one you can drive to over the canal bridge. Ancient Olympia of course was the birthplace of the Olympic Games, first held in 776 BC. At that time the Olympic Games were open only to honorable Greek men and were performed in the nude, once every four years. Initially it was only a foot race, later boxing, chariot racing, discuss throwing and other sports were added. It also involved rituals to the Gods, primarily Zeus, in the various temples which were also on the site. It is estimated that the ivory and gold statue of Zeus here was about 40 feet tall. The games came to an end about a thousand years later around 400 AD when kill-sport Emperor Theodosius banned them. The site of Olympia, just like all the other major ancient Greek structures, was eventually destroyed by massive earthquakes. All of Greece is a very seismic active area. The modern Olympic Games began in Athens, Greece in 1896 to promote a more peaceful world. It was just ten days ago that the Olympic torch was lit here via the sun and began its journey to Vancouver Canada, the site of
the next games.
http://picasaweb.google.com/SFO.Mike/200929OlympiaGreece#

Santorini: This island is the site of an old volcano and Santorini is likely the island visited by the largest number of tourists in the summer season, which has already ended by now. It is a crescent shaped island as one side of the volcano fell off in a massive explosion allowing the center cauldron to fill with ocean water. The inside vertical cliff of the cauldron extends about one thousand feet straight up out of the ocean. The high rim of the crater is topped with many bright white-washed homes giving the appearance from a distance of snow capped mountains. There are three ways to get from the ocean up to the village at the top of the rim: walk 580 steps up, rent a donkey to ride up, or ride the new cable car and be there in three minutes. Either a donkey or the cable car each cost 4 Euro. The first major eruption of this volcano, considered the largest in the last 10,000 years, was in 1,650 BC and some speculate it might have covered the lost city of Atlantis. The most recent eruption, much smaller, was in 1956. http://picasaweb.google.com/SFO.Mike/200930SantoriniGreece#

Delos: This small island is no longer inhabited. Today it is just one huge pile of rocks, lots of ruins from magnificent buildings of long ago when it was both the religious and political center of Aegean. Today this island is basically one big open air museum of ruins. It is located just a few miles from the port of Mykonos Island.

Mykonos: One of the most famous islands of Greece was made so by Jackie O. Mykonos town is a colorful maze of narrow paved with white washed stone path ways with side to side white washed homes usually with bright blue doors and blue painted shuttered windows. It is a reflection of the Greek flag which consists only of blue and white colors. On the hill above the village is the five wind mills and along one edge of the port the cluster of restaurants, bars and shops referred to as little Venice. The locals have a healthy understanding of how to have a good time and this is the island where you can party until dawn in one of the several clubs. All buildings are no more than two stories tall by law on all the islands, because of the earthquakes. If you build more than two stories the state has the right to tear down your home. Mykonos Island also has some of the best sandy beaches. It sort of strikes me that many of the villagers on the Greek Islands share one existence similar to San Franciscans: living every day with the knowledge that sooner or later the next big earthquake will send their little white cube houses tumbling into the sea. http://picasaweb.google.com/SFO.Mike/200931MykonosGreece#

Rhodes: One of the seven ancient wonders of the world (all are now totally gone except for the pyramids) was the Colossus of Rhodes. They are quite sure that the Colossus of Rhodes existed as a massive 105 foot tall statue but they cannot agree on where this huge statue stood on Rhodes or what it even looked like. Most agree that it certainly did NOT straddle the entrance to the harbor with one leg on each side of the harbor entrance, this version of its location is pure fiction, but not much else is agreed upon. Rhodes struck me as one of the more beautiful islands with its massive walled old town. Many of the ruins and castle here were rebuilt by the Italians during the years of their occupation. Rhodes, in Greek Rodos, means the flower rose. It is a UNESCO cultural heritage location. In mythology Rhodes was the island of the Sun God Helios. There is also some Turkish influence since this Greek Island lies only a few miles from the coast of Turkey. http://picasaweb.google.com/SFO.Mike/200932RhodesGreece#

Check back next month for Mike’s visit to Turkey!