Colorful Greece: Nature and people play with colors

By Olga Charami

PANGAIO: A TALE OF AUTUMN

Carpets of fiery red leaves, countless mushrooms and thick forests of beech and chestnut trees that change hues from day to day and hide ancient rock paintings and sanctuaries. Mount Pangaio in Kavala puts on its best show in fall, and the paved road is easy to navigate up to the alpine zone and Mati Peak, at an altitude of 1,956m.

LAKE ZAZARI: MYSTICAL DAWN

Every winter morning, Lake Zazari, a Natura protected area and the smallest of the six lakes in Florina Prefecture, is covered by a veil of mist. The fishermen mystically appear through the reeds with their plaves (rudderless boats) and the route around the lake is beyond tranquil.


FLORINA: MOVIE SET CAFÉ

96 Megalou Alexandrou St, Florina, Macedonia: where the senior patrons play cards, drink coffee and scan the newspaper. The Diethnes café, in the heart of this frontier city, has remained practically the same since 1925. It was a popular hangout and movie set of the great Greek director, Theodoros Angelopoulos, who had said: «No matter where in the world I travel, I will always return to my second home – the Diethnes.»

AKROTAINARO: GLIMPSES OF HISTORY

The historical lighthouse at the tip of the Mani Peninsula at Cape Tainaro marks the southernmost point of the Balkan mainland. Built in 1882 to light the way through the frequented waterway, it has been restored and is still staffed for symbolic reasons. The ancient Greeks placed one of the seven gates to Hades in the region.

CHIOS: THE ARCHITECTURE OF MASTIC

In southern Chios, the star is the famous mastic tree and the villages are built like castles in the grand fortification architecture created by the Genoese in the 14th century to protect the farmers. One of these villages is Vessa, with its charming but often dilapidated stone houses painted in lively colors.

KAIAFAS: GOLDEN SANDS

Sand dunes, sand lilies and domineering pines: Kaiafas beach is just one part of the endless beach of the Ilia Prefecture in the Peloponnese, but saying it is «beautiful» is not enough. Lake Kaiafa, famous for the thermal baths located behind it, is ideal for trekking, biking and other lake sports.