The “Greek Freak” invites the world to vacation in Greece (VIDEO)

No matter who you are of where you come from, if you ask Giannis Antetokounmpo where you must visit he’ll tell you his home country, Greece.

Antetokounmpo was born in Greece to Nigerian migrants and is famous worldwide for his athletic skills in basketball which he regularly shows off playing on the Milwaukee Bucks team of the NBA in the United States. Due to his talent, he has been dubbed the “Greek Freak”.

On Friday, Giannis, the tourism ambassador to Greece, posted a new tourism video from the latest campaign promoting his beloved country on his Instagram page – and within hours it had over 65,000 views!

“I tell my team mates: Guys, if you haven’t been to Greece you’re missing out,” Antetokounmpo told reporters on Friday, Reuters reported.. “I’m calling on people to come and get to know our country and see its beauty.”

The Milwaukee Bucks forward said that “the most important part of our Greek culture is solidarity and philanthropy,” and to this end he and his brothers are organizing a run to benefit the charity Kivotos tou Kosmou on July 7, from the Sepolia neighborhood to the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro).

Watch Giannis’ latest video promoting Greece:

Source: Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi/greekreporter

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Travel Greece: Where to go in Argolis, Peloponnese

Located at just under a 2-hour drive from Athens, the Argolis peninsula in the Peloponnese region offers many different historical sites, culture and beauty to tourists looking for a spectacular vacation in Greece.

Argos is considered to be the longest continually inhabited town and the first municipality on Greece. It is dotted with ancient ruins of citadels and theaters denoting one of the town’s greatest legends as being the home base of the Mycenaean empire which ruled over Greece from 1600 to 1100 BC.

The nearby seaport town of Nafplio is also located in the Argolis region and is a must-see on your vacation in Greece. The first capital city of Modern Greece was Nafplio and until this day you will see ruins of the fortress walls up high overlooking the town from the mountain side.

Castle of Nafplio
Photo Courtesy of Trip in View

This charming and romantic town has small streets that wrap around neoclassic buildings and squares and is the perfect place to visit anytime of the year.

Wondering where to eat? Here’s a travel tip: While visiting this historical town, be sure to check out Fish Tavern Savouras; established in 1841, it is one of the oldest restaurants in Nafplio.Next on the list of places you must visit while you travel Greece’s Argolis peninsula, is Epidavros. Here you will find everything from ancient ruins and an impressive ancient Greek theater to a quaint town with tavernas serving up local treats.

Epidavros is a must see on any trip through the Peloponnese and during the summer months there are weekend shows at the ancient theater of Epidavros, that draws in crowds of 1,000s of spectators from all around the world.

Just when you thought you have seen all that the region has to offer, you realize there is so much more history and beauty to explore when you visit . This small village was first written about by Homer, who referred to it as Asini in the Iliad which was one of the cities whose fleet took part in the Trojan War – now that’s history.

Be sure to visit the ruins of are located just outside of Tolo on top of a hilly cape. This small fishing village has become a top destination for tourists.

The place to stay while visting the region is Drepano, a village close to Tolo and next to Ancient Asini. Here you will find the located on the beach of Plaka. It’s perfect for families, friends and couples to relax and unwind. Learn more about where to stay here.

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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Top 5 Greek Investment Ideas for Santorini Holiday Businesses

The economic crisis that hit Greece in 2008 destroyed many businesses, big and small, leading hundreds of thousands of Greeks to bankruptcy and unemployment. The austerity that followed the bailout programs led to tight household budgets, making most sectors of the economy shrink to horrendous levels.

Yet, the sector that kept the Greek economy on its feet, as it has always done, is tourism. The political turmoil in Turkey that culminated in the 2016 coup attempt has deterred millions of tourists who chose the safety of Greece as a destination in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This year Greece is expected to attract a record 32 million visitors, following a record-breaking 2017, when the number exceeded 30 million. Popular destinations such as Santorini, Mykonos or Corfu received unprecedented number of tourists to the point that they could not properly host all of them.

Increased tourist arrivals mean there is a great potential for investment on particular islands. Santorini, for instance, with its incredible natural beauty tends to become a year-round destination, offering more than swimming and tanning in the summer sun.

It is a great time to start a small, profitable business in Santorini, based on the state of tourism on the island:

Limousine services

Many affluent travelers visit Santorini every year and, naturally, they demand luxury services outside the ones offered by hotels. A limo service that would pick up travelers from the airport and back, or offer luxurious rides on the mountainous island would be a great idea. Other than the archaeological sites and the beautiful beaches, limo services can offer tours to the island’s fantastic vineyards.

Wedding planning

Being one of the most romantic locations in the world, many couples choose Santorini as the place to hold their wedding ceremony and combine it with a honeymoon. Santorini is a favorite place for mass weddings, especially by Chinese and Indian couples. A wedding-planning business would be a good investment on the Cycladic island.

Yacht leasing

Other than the typical boat tours and mini cruises offered around the island, a yacht-leasing agency would be a lucrative business. Many Santorini visitors would like to tour the island’s beaches, surrounding areas and nearby islands such as Ios on their own.

Laundry and dry-cleaning services

Many visitors to Santorini stay in rented rooms and they don’t have the services a hotel offers. As extended stays on the island are frequent, a laundry service would be very convenient and affordable to tourists on a tight budget.

Private tour guides

Santorini has several places to explore, off of the beaten tourist path. The island has many vineyards that produce exceptional wines due to the volcanic mountainous terrain. Many visitors are unaware of that and this is a service that a private tour guide can offer. An agency with multilingual personnel can offer custom-made tour guide services that cater to the particular needs of visitors.

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Philip Chrysopoulos

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Greece’s ‘Little Paris’ Takes on France’s Eiffel Tower (photos)

Travelling along the west coast of Peloponnese one will come across a Greek replica of the Eiffel Tower, the iconic Paris monument.

Built in the 1960s, it is situated at the entrance of the small town of Filiatra in the Messinia prefecture.

The 26-meter replica is much smaller than the original and was built with funding and backing from Greek-American doctor Haralampos Fournarakis.

The Filiatra tower isn’t a true replica, however, since its design differs in a few major details.

As an article on the Wonders of the World points out, Fournarakis used light grey metal to construct the tower, which he shaped “a little too long.” He also placed the second floor of his tower too low, compared to the original, and changed the shape of the third floor.

But to a tourist driving by, Fournarakis’ version looks like a convincing, shorter copy of the real thing.

Filiatra locals are proud of their tower, but visitors take a different view.

One was totally unimpressed with the tower: “Helps me cut my highway speed before entering town,” he commented on the TripAdvisor web site.

Another said: “It could be clever if there was something else to do here, but that’s it guys.”

In 2012, Greek media reported that the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, incensed by the Greek tower, sent a letter of complaint to UNESCO requesting the immediate removal of the replica.

“It is an obscure caricature and represents an aesthetic attack on French civilization and global architectural heritage,” he was quoted as saying.

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Tasos Kokkinidis

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Athens Chosen as Europe’s Best City Break Tourist Destination for 2018

Athens has been unveiled as Europe’s best city break destination for 2018, with its famous Acropolis also being chosen as Europe’s best tourist destination.

The World Travel Awards (WTA) Europe Gala Ceremony 2018 was held in the Greek capital over the weekend and saw Greek hotels and resorts win in other categories too:

  • Europe’s Leading Beach Destination 2018 – Peloponnese
  • Europe’s Leading Beach Hotel 2018 – Porto Zante Villas & Spa
  • Europe’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2018 – Kivotos Mykonos
  • Europe’s Leading Luxury Island Resort 2018 – Grand Resort Lagonissi
  • Europe’s Leading Luxury Lifestyle Resort 2018 – Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Porto Heli
  • Europe’s Leading Luxury Villa Resort 2018 – Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas
  • Europe’s Leading New Resort 2018 – Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort

The Greek National Tourism Organisation was also recognized as having the best national tourist strategy and campaign in 2018.

WTA was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

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Tasos Kokkinidis

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6 Things You Should Never Say to a Greek

It’s tourist time in Greece again and you might find it difficult to understand some of the cultural etiquette to follow during your stay in this beautiful country. In order to help you avoid embarrassing conversations and awkward situations, here is a list of the top six things you should never say to a Greek.

1. “Can I have some Turkish coffee?”
No, you may not. Really, you never want to ask this question – not in a Greek’s home or in a cafeteria. Two reasons: first of all, it is Greek coffee and you will be told entire story back story so be sure to get comfy. Secondly, you’re in Greece, so again, it’s Greek coffee!

2. “Which way is the ocean?”
Greece is not located in the ocean! We have the Mediterranean Sea and it is divided into the other seas – the Ionian, Aegean and Cretan. If you have ever been to an island in the ocean you know there are huge waves. In Greece we are very proud of our beautiful, calm blue seas that are perfect for swimming, sailing and water sports.

3. “Where is the Pantheon”?
Wrong country. You mean the Parthenon. For Greeks, our history and historical ruins are an interwoven part of our culture and society. So before you come to Greece looking for the Pantheon — an Ancient Roman building located in Rome — do a Google search!

4. “Can you teach me something to say in Greek?”
This is a bad question to ask as many Greeks get a kick out of telling foreigners to try out the almost impossible to say, tongue-twisting word describing an ancient Greek festival dish invented by Aristophanes. Go on, try it and see how you do! It’s ‘Lopathotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimipotrimmatosiliphiokaravomelitokatakechimenokichlepikossiphophttoperisteralektruonoptokefalliokiglopeleiolagoosiraiovafitraganopterugon’.

5. “Here’s my address, look me up if you come to my country.”
Don’t say this unless you actually mean it! If you give your address to a Greek it is pretty much a given that if they are ever visiting your country, they will look you up. Greeks are known for their hospitality and after having welcomed you into their country, or island, or village, they will assume that you wish to do the same.

6. “Istanbul.”
Greeks still call this city Konstantinopoli. Nothing bad is going to happen to you if you call it Istanbul, but it’s a really sensitive subject for many Greeks for several reasons. In fact, if you buy a plane ticket from Greece to go to Istanbul, you will find that it says Konstantinopoli in Greek. Even the on the news reporters refer to Istanbul as Konstantinopoli. Here’s why: The city is not only seeped in Greek history, it is also because of its religious ties. Konstantinopoli means ‘City of Constantin’, and was named after the Byzantine emperor who established the city as the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire. It wasn’t until the Ottomans took over the city in 1453 that the name was changed to Istanbul.

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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Political agreement between Greece, Spain and Germany on refugee crisis

Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)

The EU summit meeting on migration was very difficult, and it appears that not all member-states share the same values and principles, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in Brussels on Friday.

At a press conference he gave following the meeting, Tsipras said that it appeard that “what we knew as founding principles and values of the EU – solidarity, humanism, respect for human rights and international law – is not common ground for all 28 members,” he said.

The European Union, he pointed out, “is deeply torn between two viewpoints – an extremely conservative, chauvinist/anti-migrant one and a democratic humanitarian one.”

A danger of postponing indefinitely the prospect of reviewing the Dublin treaty on migration towards a more just direction was averted, he said; the attempt was to postpone the review until it was entirely cancelled following the Euroelections of 2019.

The prime ministers of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, Spain, Pedro Sanchez, and German chancellor Angela Merkel, met in Brussels on Friday on the sidelines of an EU summit and reached an agreement on handling the migrant and refugee’s crisis.

As highlighted in the agreement, “Greece and Spain are ready to readmit asylum seekers identified in the future at the German-Austria border by German authorities, who have a Eurodac entry from the aforementioned countries. Germany will gradually accept and conclude the family reunification cases in Greece and Spain with a view to guaranteeing family unity.”

The full political agreement is as follows:

“Germany, Greece and Spain underline their support for concluding the revision of the Common European Asylum System in 2018, with the aim of striking the right balance between a fair sharing of responsibility and solidarity.

Until entry into force of the new Common European Asylum System, interim measures established by those member states willing to move ahead collectively on a European level, are the best way to proceed.

On this basis, in response to possible crises, we support adopting additional immediate operational EU initiatives, based on solidarity, including through burden sharing.

We underline that member states at the external border need more joint support, financially and regarding police and asylum officers. Positive actions will be taken swiftly, in support of the five Aegean islands in Greece and in support of Spain.

Greece and Spain are ready to readmit asylum seekers identified in the future at the German-Austria border by German authorities, who have a Eurodac entry from the aforementioned countries. Germany will gradually accept and conclude the family reunification cases in Greece and Spain with a view to guaranteeing family unity.

The operational details of the aforementioned actions will be agreed upon within the next four weeks and reviewed regularly. Cooperation will start immediately once this agreement is reached.

Merkel secures deal with

14 EU nations on migrants

According to the German press agency DPA, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has secured agreements with 14 European Union countries to rapidly return some asylum seekers as she seeks to end a schism in her government over migration policy. Merkel is also aiming to establish “anchor centers” to process migrants at Germany’s borders.

The announcements came in a letter Merkel wrote to leaders of her Christian Democratic Union’s Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, as well as to her junior coalition government partner, the Social Democrats, after she attended a two-day EU summit in Brussels.

Merkel is seeking to end a three-week standoff with her hard-line Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who heads the CSU.

Seehofer, whose party faces a state election in the fall, has been threatening to turn away migrants at Germany’s border who have already been rejected by the country or who have registered for asylum elsewhere in the EU.

Merkel has rejected that approach, instead insisting on a European-wide solution to migration issues to preserve EU unity. The dispute has raised the possibility of an end to Germany’s decades-old conservative alliance between the CSU and Merkel’s CDU if Seehofer goes ahead with the unilateral move, which could bring down her government.

Both the CDU and the CSU are holding separate meetings Sunday to discuss Merkel’s latest efforts on migration and plot their next steps.

In the eight-page letter obtained Saturday by dpa, the chancellor said that she had also secured agreement with half of the EU nations to return migrants to them if they’d first registered in those countries.

The countries included Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, which have all been harsh critics of Merkel’s welcoming stance to migrants, as well as Belgium, France, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.

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