This week’s guest post is written by Ian Garstang, a travel writer and marketing specialist working in the luxury travel market who knows where to go for some winter sunshine! Discover all the reasons why Polopennese should be on your bucket-list for the chilly months ahead…
Asides from the obvious perks of significantly less crowded tourist sites, planes, trains, hotels and resorts, the Peloponnese has a lot to offer the travel fanatic. And whilst the temperatures might not be as scorching as in the summertime, it’s still t-shirt and flip flops weather all round as these three activities are best saved for the winter months in the Peloponnese, Greece’s gem of the south.
Visit Kaiafas Thermal Spa
Couple the Mediterranean diet with a host of natural wellness sources at your fingertips, and it’s no wonder the Greek people are living healthier, for longer. The Peloponnese is one of the most spectacular regions in Greece, known for its rolling hills clad with olive groves and ancient ruins, so what better place to relax out in the open than in one of the natural mineral water springs or curative baths? Kaiafas Thermal Spa is the place to rejuvenate the bones. Accompanied by the scent of pine trees with sparkling lake Kaiafa and Mount Lapitha both nearby, you’ll be in amongst some seriously beautiful surroundings. The springs flow through to the cave of Nymphs, where according to mythology, the Trojan’s ancestors were born. Said to cure the likes of myositis, inflammation and rheumatism, these hot springs simmer at around 32c degrees, making this the perfect time of year to feel the benefit.
Bird watch at the Gialova Lagoon
For those of you with a love of the great outdoors and getting close to nature, the Peloponnese is a natural playground and this time of year is perfect for a spot of bird watching throughout the coastal wetlands. People from all over the world head to Gialova Lagoon every year between the months of September and May to encounter the 270 species of birds and reptiles to be found all in one place. As the winters here are far milder than much of Europe, many of the migrating birds make a pit stop at the lagoon on their 3,000-kilometre journey onwards to Africa. Around 20,000 birds will typically pass through the lagoon each year, some of which are deemed incredibly rare. Visit one of the three designated bird watching spots in the area and keep your eyes peeled for flamingos, herons, eagles and bitterns, as well as the lesser spotted African Chamaeleon, which ordinarily cannot be seen outside of Africa. The region where Gialova Lagoon is located has been declared a dedicated zone of archaeological protection, ensuring it remains as rustic and beautiful as it always was.
Join the Olive Harvest
We all know the Greeks take olives very seriously. Exported all over the world and enjoyed by those with a love of fresh and zingy flavours, this long standing passion extends to olive oil production too. They say you’ve got yourself a good oil when you can happily drink it, and this is exactly what households all over Greece will do, serving it with nothing but bread and salt. The oil from Messenia on the south west coast of the Peloponnese is home to what is considered the best olive oil in Greece, made distinct with its bright green colour and flavoursome taste. Agritourism is big business here and you’ll find during the winter months that many farms will send out an open invitation to the world to partake in their age old tradition of picking, pressing and tasting the olives they’ve been nurturing all year round. The olives are harvested during the winter months as there is less rainfall to contend with, making this the ideal time to visit and get your hands dirty through one of Greece’s most important and valuable traditions. Whilst the accommodation on offer will be a far cry from the likes of the renowned five-star luxury of Amanzoe nearby in Porto Heli, the rusticity and charm of the traditional style lodgings is in keeping with the entire vibe of the experience.
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