Six Months of Summer - September
The Greek Islands and Cyprus – so much more to see and do in September
We’re the experts on the Greek Islands and Cyprus, so we’re full of exciting and original ideas for holidays in these warm, safe, friendly destinations! This time, we’re focussing on things to see and do in September.
Scroll down for deals in September
September Departures from Rhodes:
|Belfast||fr £408 pp||fr £524 pp||fr £571 pp|
|Glasgow||fr £358 pp||fr £688 pp||fr £671 pp|
|Newcastle||fr £308 pp||fr £619 pp||fr £943 pp|
|Manchester||fr £223 pp||fr £534 pp||fr £548 pp|
|Birmingham||fr £388 pp||fr £651 pp||fr £500 pp|
|Bristol||fr £399 pp||fr £699 pp||fr £693 pp|
|London Gatwick||fr £292 pp||fr £438 pp||fr £555 pp|
September Departures from Larnaca:
|Belfast||fr £281 pp||fr £552 pp||fr £778 pp|
|Manchester||fr £264 pp||fr £482 pp||fr £698 pp|
|Bristol||fr £263 pp||fr £457 pp||fr £683 pp|
|London Gatwick||fr £268 pp||fr £432 pp||fr £693 pp|
September Departures from Crete:
|Newcastle||fr £315 pp||fr £424 pp||fr £766 pp|
|Manchester||fr £237 pp||fr £384 pp||fr £726 pp|
|East Midlands||fr £322 pp||fr £434 pp||fr £776 pp|
|Birmingham||fr £264 pp||fr £434pp||fr £593 pp|
|Bristol||fr £342 pp||fr £539 pp||fr £856 pp|
|London Stansted||fr £354 pp||fr £473 pp||fr £542 pp|
|London Gatwick||fr £210 pp||fr £319 pp||fr £553 pp|
September Departures from Paphos:
|Manchester||fr £424 pp||fr £483 pp||fr £757 pp|
|London Gatwick||fr £472 pp||fr £603 pp||fr £740 pp|
The best places to see Santorini’s spectacular sunsets
Many people will tell you that Oia (pronounced ‘Ee-a’) is THE place for sunset watching. The ruined fort above Amoudi Bay is easily accessible by a footpath, and it’s one of the most popular spots for dramatic, panoramic views. But because of its fame, it can get crowded, so get there early to get a good spot, especially if the skies are clear.
(However, here’s a hint – whatever the weather conditions, there’s always a chance for a spectacular photograph).
If you don’t want to climb, you’ll still get a great view of the sunset from Amoudi Bay itself, and you could spend the day on the beautiful beach, then combine your sunset-watch with a fabulous, freshly-caught fish dinner in one of the quaint tavernas around the bay.
If you enjoy hiking, there’s a good footpath running from Fira to Oia; you can enjoy the sunset without the crowds from one of its many viewing spots.
Got transport? Drive to the town of Imerovigli: at 300 feet above sea-level, it’s even higher than Oia, and has a picturesque ruined castle as well as breath-taking views of both the sunset and the caldera.
Enjoy the café society? Franco’s Café Bar in Kasteli, Pyrgos is a great spot to relax and enjoy the sunset accompanied by classical music. Or try the Café Del Mar in Fira – somewhat pricey, but worth it for the view!
Alternatively, take to the seas for a sunset cruise on one of the many large, comfortable boats which combine sightseeing with refreshments and often live music as well. Sunset cruises are available from almost any port on the island, and there’s a wide choice of vessel, from lively singles party-boats to elegant catamarans or iconic traditional wooden schooners.
Finally, here’s a handy website that will calculate the exact time of sunset for you, so you won’t miss a single fabulous ray: http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/greece/santorini?month=9&year=2016
Paphos Aphrodite Opera festival, Cyprus
This is the 17th year of the world-famous Paphos Aphrodite Festival, celebrating ‘culture without boundaries’
This year the Festival will take place from September 2nd – 4th, as always, in front of the magnificent medieval castle at the harbour-side in Paphos.
As always, the production will be staged by an internationally-acclaimed opera company, and it will be fascinating to see the ingenuity with which the set’s designer incorporates the castle as part of the opera’s scenery, whilst the whole of the square in front is transformed into a an enormous open-air stage.
At the time of writing, the opera to be performed this year was in the process of selection. For more information nearer the time, visit www.pafc.com/cy
World Tourism Day, Crete
World Tourism Day takes place in late September, and is enthusiastically supported in history-rich Crete.
The five famous squares of Heraklion town – Archaelogical Museum Square, Agios Titos Square, Kallergon Square, Eleftherias Square and Agia Ekaterini Square - are the focal point for the plethora of cultural events there, but there will be exhibitions and concerts right across the country, with free open days at some of the most famous historical sites.
Crete’s top singers and musicians will perform, and in Heraklion, more than 300 stallholders will present a fascinating display of art and traditional products.
Panagia Tsambika - 298 steps towards a baby
If you’re holidaying in Rhodes and you meet a boy called Tsambikos, or a girl called Tsambika, you can be pretty sure that his or her mother once climbed the 298 steps leading up to the church of Tsambika, in order to pray for a child.
September 8th is the Feast of Panagia Tsambika, the Virgin Mary of Fertility. Every year on her feast day, childless women walk barefoot or crawl on their hands and knees up the steep stone steps to the church that bears her name, located high on a hill just beyond the town of Kolymbia.
If their prayer is answered, they traditionally express their thanks by giving the child this distinctive name, unique to the people of Rhodes.
Little Tsambika church is a simple, single-room building built in the 14th century. Its wonderful carved ‘miracle-working’ wooden iconostasis dates back to the late 16th century, and is now in the nearby Tsambika monastery for safekeeping.
Grape Festivals in Cyprus
Three of Cyprus’ main ‘grape villages’ hold their festivals this September, dedicated to all things made from wine and accompanied by folk music and dancing, and the revival of quaint, traditional customs.
On the 11th, Vasa Koilaniou begins the Grape Festival season with wine- tastings and entertainment, Lofou is your host on the 18t and on the 25th, it is the turn of Arsos.
At all three festivals, you’ll also get the chance to see the preparation of two traditional dishes, palouzes and shoushoukos. They’re created from the ‘must’ – the juice from the pressed grapes – and are delicious! Don’t miss the chance to taste them for yourself.
Palouzes is a sort of custard, made from freshly-pressed grape juice and flour, and usually flavoured with vanilla or fragrant geranium leaves, with a little grated cinnamon, chopped walnuts or almonds sprinkled on top.
Shoushoukos are best described as extraordinary almond kebabs. Long strings of almonds are dipped in palouzes and left to hang overnight. Some of the liquid drips off, of course, but the process is repeated two or three times for several days, using a new palouzes mixture each day, until the almonds are totally covered and the shoushoukos is about an inch thick.
In bygone days, these delicious sweet snacks would be stored in a cool place to dehydrate, ready to be enjoyed in the winter. Nowadays, they’re snapped up immediately!
Wine Festivals in the Greek Islands
September is a bumper (or possibly magnum) time for wine-tasting all over the Mediterranean.
In Kos, it’s celebrated on September 3rd in Asfendious village, with wine, music and folk-dancing.
The cultural Society of Glossa town in Skopelos organises their festival in the middle of September every year. Visitors receive a warm welcome, and free wine, and the dancing lasts till the early hours of the morning.
In Thessaloniki, the Anhiolos Wine Festival runs for two weeks in early September, bringing together a wide range of producers, from internationally-famous names to small, boutique brands, all eager for you to sample their wares.
3rd Santorini Biennale
As a further treat for delight for art lovers who visit this picture-perfect island, Santorini’s international art exhibition runs from the 1st September to 15th October 2016, and this year takes Alice in Wonderland as its inspiration.
Come and see the fascinating results as artists from all over the world present their unique answers to the Biennale’s question: ‘Where is Wonderland, who is Alice and what is the Wonder?’
Please note that festival dates can change, often at the last minute, so do check them again nearer to the time.