Lonely Planet Greece 2014

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In the Lonely Planet 2014 guide to Greece – my fourth consecutive contribution to the long-running guide – I took an even more in-depth look at the wonderfully varied region of Northern Greece, comprising the prefectures of Epiros, Macedonia and Thrace, running the geographical distance of the glittering Ionian Sea all the way east to the Turkish border.

For this research, I did things both unorthodox (crossing by foot from the Edirne-Kastanies border crossing in Thrace) to decidedly Orthodox (visiting the monks of Mt. Athos for another solemn spiritual experience).

Some of the highlights of the research that were then brought into the light of text in the form of the guidebook included:

  • Thasos island’s deep pine forests and ancient ruins on the waterfront at the disused marble quarry of Alykes
  • Thessaloniki’s nightlife and eateries, new, old and irrepressibly creative
  • Northern Greece’s forgotten riviera of B-rate beaches at Pieria, and the grand hilltop Castle of Platamonas, guarded by a lumbering turtle and overlooking the sea
  • Parga, still the top Ionian getaway for its combination of cultural appeal and beaches
  • Boating to uninhabited Antipaxos islet and swimming with the jellyfish
  • Getting away from most of it in the lesser-inhabited mountain villages of Zagorohoria near Ioannina.

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