Unforgettable GreeceUnforgettable Greece

Greece after lock down and where to travel next

The world is on lock down, but our mind can’t be in quarantine. In search of inspiration, we start a series of stories to help us rethink the next day of travel. Explorers, thinkers and well-travelled professionals share their thoughts on the new era of going to places after Greece lock down. Their stories will inspire and entertain you, but also give you some hidden tips for your next visit to Greece.

Like the ones from the talented and well-travelled photographer Nikos Kokkas who has his own unique way of capturing Greece´s most treasured moments through his lens. “Greece is the absolute trending destination for 2021” he believes and explains why in this interview that will make you travel to the most authentic sides of the country.

 

Greece after lock down and where to travel next series #part1

 

 

 

 

We met Nikos last year in Naxos during one of our on location scoutings to find our Unforgettable partners that offer unique experiences on the island, when Unforgettable Greece was under development. We liked his calm personality and most of all the way he sees things, his visual comprehension of Greece and the stories from the past and presence of Greece his photos tell. We saw first the captures for his upcoming neo folklore book on Naxos island, a wonderful portfolio about the everyday life and culture of Naxos that back then was under production and this summer is about to be out. We loved it!

One year later and under unpredictable times where the world is facing an invisible enemy called Covid 19, we searched for Nikos to give us some inspiration for travel, something like a boost for our travel immune system. We found him at his house in Athens where he spends the quarantine time, and here we are:  We created a travel story through his beautiful photography to the most nostalgic sides of Greece, sharing some thoughts about where to travel next after the lock down and why Greece should be your number 1 on your bucket list for 2021!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Travel is to Experience

What is your idea of perfect holidays?

A slow motorbike, a small boutique hotel, just a couple of friends, an empty beach, a rock to jump into the water from, local taste, plenty of time, silence, quality, style.

What is your favourite way of travelling and why?

A road trip is my best way of travelling. Either on an island or in the mainland. Slow drive, many stops, discovering people’s lives, their food, their agriculture, their free time. Living with them, letting my self go on their suggestions. My own private made to measure holiday.

What are your best Unforgettable places or travel experiences in the world?

I still have a very strong memory of approaching the edge of the top floor of the Empire State Building with my eyes closed and suddenly I was advised to open them. It was like flying over New York City. Or when I first saw Venus of Milos at Musée du Louvre. Small things like that.

What is that small, tiny detail of a life in travel that you never thought you would miss so much now that we are all on lock down?

Packing and unpacking. The juice of travel.

How do you see the next day of travel?

I can’t say if I know how travel will be after this historical period. I am sure how I want it to be. I would like people to travel with respect. To feel. To smell and taste. To know that money can’t buy the experience if people are not ready to experience. Travelling is not an Instagram story. It is a small, unknown restaurant, warm, happy, tasty and not globalised. It’s the people, the natives, the elderly -who helped create this destination-, the history. Travelling should not be “being”, but “knowing”.

Do you think travel should change and how?

I never really liked mass tourism. I can’t stand the central squares of Barcelona e.g. full of people looking the same, behaving the same, walking the same, being similar dressed, buying the same things. There has been a misunderstanding in the last few years, where countries boast of their touristic success by counting numbers. Travelling is not statistics. It is taste, style and respect.

 

 

 

Where to travel next in Greece

What are your Top 5 Unforgettable places in Greece and why?

1) The island of Amorgos. It is wild, windy, brutally original, quiet ( if you need it ), ready to be explored, with its paths and secret beaches.

2) The island of Tinos. Not just another touristic destination. A big number of inhabited villages, original Cycladic beauty.

3) The island of Naxos. After I have worked on a neo-folklore book about the island last year, I have learned to appreciate the strength of the local population and live with them. It is also a great departure point for the Small Cyclades islands.

4) Crete. I could write a book about this unique experience. Because the island of Crete is not just a destination, it is an experience. No further words.

5) The Mani peninsula, in southern Peloponnese. Historic place, stone villages, excellent food, countless secret places and spots. A great road trip.

If Greece was a taste, how would it taste?

It would smell and taste iodine. The sea is the mistress of this country.

What are the places that will be trending in 2021 in Greece?

If there has not been the Covid-19 crisis, I would say the mainland, in a road trip manner. Now, after all this “adventure”, I would say that the whole country will be the absolute trend. There are not many places in the world as beautiful and full of content as Greece is. This country is a jewel and should be treated as one.

You haven’t met the real Greece, if you haven’t.. continue the sentence by adding your point of view

..if you haven’t been shown around by a real local connoisseur. The right spots. The wineries. The cheese makers. The hidden paths. The right places to be in the right time of the year. So many people have visited Greece but they really haven’t.

 

 

 

 

 

Nikos Kokkas is a Greek photographer based in Athens. He was born in southwestern Germany, near Stuttgart in 1972. He grew up in Thessaloniki but his family immigrated to Germany for a second time when he was 15 years old. That functioned in a way as a “new beginning” in his life and that was the point where he started expressing a growing interest on travel and photography simultaneously

As an autodidact and having already travelled a lot in Europe without any professional purpose, he returned to Greece in 1995, to Athens, with only one aim: to start working as a freelance journalist and photographer. Amongst a growing economy in the press at that time, and speaking three foreign languages, English, German and a little French, he started producing his own subjects and publishing them afterwards. From architecture and interior design, to travel and social issues, from Greece and other parts of the world.

By now, he has produced and published over 60 travel and social issues from Greece, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Germany, U.S.A., Israel, Panama, Zambia, England, Ireland, Oman.

He was a member of the Greek edition of National Geographic Magazine from 2001 to 2003. A few years ago, he discovered also an interest on portraiture making it a very important part of his work until today. He has collaborated with numerous major Greek magazines and newspapers.

Part of his work can be seen on his website www.nikoskokkas.com 

 

Experiences in Greece

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