~ EVIA1 August 18-25th 2019
~EVIA2 August 28- September 4th, 2019
~ SPETSES, September 12-19th 2019
To our guests joining us in Greece this summer and in September – or seriously thinking about it – we very much looked forward to sharing our inaugural HHYR retreats with you all!
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to book your flights overseas – although we are not a travel agency, based on our experience, we know prices will steadily begin to climb leading into the summertime. Sometimes, you can get lucky with seat sales in June &/or last minute; but we strongly suggest you book sooner rather than later – including cancellation insurance as part of your complete travel insurance package. We like AMA for this.
Generally, when we travel overseas, we prefer the long-haul flight first – so traveling to Greece from Calgary, we prefer to fly directly to Frankfurt, then connect to Athens from there, with two of our favourite airlines: Condor and Aegean. Alternatively, you can fly into Heathrow – but with Brexit still up in the air – no pun intended, we wouldn’t recommend doing so this year. Although, British Airways in partnership with Air Canada is always a great way to fly.
If you plan to visit elsewhere in Europe first before joining us in Greece, there are flights to Paris (CDG), and Amsterdam to consider – in fact, Schiphol airport is one of our favourites! Consider contacting the TUI Group to help you with your travel plans. Alternatively, we suggest you check out Skyscanner for cheaper flight options.
If you choose to fly from Toronto first, and connect to Europe from there, you’ll have many more options including Lisbon, Madrid and Rome – then from any of these capitals you can connect directly to Athens. There are several airlines to choose from once you get to Europe, depending on your budget? For this, we suggest doing your own research online &/or contact your favourite travel agency. If you’re based in the Calgary area, we recommend our friends at Omega Travel .
Once you get to Athens, we recommend you take advantage of this amazing and ancient city! Please note that a notable, national festival of the Assumption, otherwise known as Panagias, takes place on August 15th, which we highly recommend you partake of at any city or town square across Greece and on the islands. This is the apex of summer, after which travel and tourist prices tend to drop.
We suggest you arrive a couple of days early, and book a room in the central part of the city. Our favourite neighbourhoods to be able to enjoy the city without need of a car or taxi, are very close to the Acropolis, specifically Plaka and Thissio. There are several hotels to suite any budget in these areas – also anywhere near the Syntagma (Parliament Square), and Monastiraki metro stations are ideal.
Getting to your hotel, from the airport, via taxi is very safe and relatively inexpensive – costing much less than it would in Canada! If you prefer a service to pick you up – we highly recommend Athens Welcome Transfers. From Athens, depending on which retreat you are joining us on, your options on Getting There differ:
For Evia, if there is enough interest for this additional cost, HHYR will hire a coach (***please be sure to indicate if you are interested on your registration forms) to meet us at the Athens International Airport at Noon, August 18th, to take us overland & by bridge to the village of Zarakes, on Evia, below which the Zarka Villas are nestled into the crest of ancient olive groves.
Once we arrive Zarakes (approx. 2-3hrs drive, depending on traffic), we will be able to enjoy a drink in the main square &/or do some shopping, before being ferried by the estate van down to the rotunda, where each guest will be assigned their lodging. Remember, check-in is from 3-6pm, August 18th or 28th, depending on which Evia HHYR retreat you are attending? We plan to offer a restorative yoga session in the rotunda, following the Opening Reception poolside that evening. Alternatively, if you choose to make your own way to Zarakes from Athens, via car rental &/or bus and ferry, kindly refer to this area of our Web site for further details:
If you are joining us on Spetses instead, the best way to get to the island is via Flying Dolphin from the port of Piraeus. If you choose to stop on one of the other islands in the Saronic Gulf– Aegina, Poros &/or Hydra– all highly recommended, before or after our HHYR retreat, be sure to book accordingly with Hellenic Seaways.
As well, before you arrive on Spetses, please let our concierge at The Bays hotel know which boat you are arriving on? The Bays offers free transfer service from the port of Spetses, to the hotel high up in the Old Towne.
If you choose instead to make your way via car rental, or bus, to visit along the eastern coast of the Peloponnese, through the Corinth Canal, and stopping at the beautiful port city of Nafplion, and the quintessential ancient theatre town of Epidaurus– you can catch a boat from Porto Heli to Spetses. Please note, unless you have a specific permit for your vehicle, it will be banned from the island. Please ensure these details with your car rental agency. We prefer SIXT.
Another fantastic festival to attend, on the island of Spetses, is the annual Armata, which is a 10-day festival of art & music. The re-enactment of the launch of the Battle of Greek Independence from the Ottoman Turks, will take place this year on Saturday, September 7th– this is an awesome spectacle to see – we were there last year with thousands of others in and around the harbour. Just the collection of yachts is outstanding!
This is an extremely popular event, so be sure to book your rooms early. If you prefer to stay at a hotel on one of the beaches around the island, we recommend you rent a quad or moped, so that you are not solely reliant on buses, which have a shortened summer schedule; or taxis – which are much more expensive on this island, and not as plentiful as they are elsewhere in Greece.
If you choose not to attend the Armata – please note that prices dramatically drop on Spetses after September 8th– and join us instead directly for the retreat, check-in at The Bays is after 3pm on Thursday, September 12th. The HHYR Opening Reception will be held poolside at The Bays that evening, followed by an optional restorative yoga session.
Regardless of how you plan to arrive at either HHYR retreat, we are sure you will absolutely enjoy your time in Greece! Be sure to book your flights V soon; and in the case of Spetses, if you plan to attend the Armata festival, please be sure to book your hotel and Dolphin tickets at the same time.
If you have any further questions on Getting to Evia &/or Spetses, please contact us directly. Otherwise, we look forward to welcoming you all as you Seek your Peace in Greece with us!