The Hollywood Stars Who Own a Home in Greece

Hollywood Start in Samos
Sean Connery, Rowan Atkinson and Tom Hanks in Greece

The debt crisis in Greece has not scared Hollywood stars away from purchasing property in the Mediterranean country. Within the past two years, the number of celebrities choosing not merely to visit Greece but also to invest in real estate and create their own luxury heavens here has been on the rise. The long line of Hollywood stars known to have purchased land in one of the countless beautiful islands of Greece only grows longer by the rumors of other celebrities-enthusiasts who are either willing to buy a house or better said a castle in Greece or have already bought their parcel of land but simply prefer to live incognito.

Famous actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson (of Greek origin) have kind of set the mood some years ago by buying a six-acre summer house in the small island of Antiparos, which they visit almost every year.

Julia Roberts, as well as Richard Gere, chose the serene island of Patmos inspired by their Buddhist beliefs and need for meditation. No other place in Greece could serve religion and tranquility like the Greek island of the Apocalypse of the Apostle John.

Legendary James Bond figure Sean Connery is said to have his own Greek home at Portocheli (near the islands of Hydra and Spetses), while prominent Serbian film director Emir Kusturica bought a house at Sifnos island expressing once again his love for the country.

Pop Queen Madonna and Nicole Kidman are also said to be looking for their new homes in Greece, on the Ionian island of Kefallonia and on the Saronic island of Spetses respectively. Bruce Willis is rumored to have bought his own land on the island of Corfu, northwestern Greece, while “Mr Bean” Rowan Atkinson series  owns a house on the island of Andros for several years now.

Anthony Quinn and Elizabeth Taylor used to have their personal property in Greece too.

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Greek Property Seen Heading A Recovery

Halcyon Hills panorama
Halcyon Hills panorama

The Greek property sector will be the first to recover when the economy rebounds, a bank study argues.

According to the report “The Greek property market in the years of crisis,” in the latest edition of Eurobank’s Economy & Markets, the prospects of this sector of the economy are fully tied to the lifting of uncertainty, the return of a stable macroeconomic environment and the lowering of property taxation to more reasonable levels.

The most serious factor adversely affecting the property market currently is that the disposable income of Greek households in the foreseeable future will be lower than before the onset of the crisis.

According to the study, the citizens’ incomes and standard of living depend on the economy’s potential of exiting the crisis.

“The staking of growth on the economic adjustment program is crucial,” it says.

Samos included in the premium windsurfing hotsports in Greece.

samos best spot for windsurfing
Samos best spot for windsurfing

Samos is included in the premium windsurfing hotspots in Greece, making Halcyon Hills a haven for adventure seeking holiday makers as well as those who prefer to relax in the sunshine.

With thousands of windswept islands, warm Mediterranean water, and countless coves, bays, lagoons, and beaches, windsurfing in Greece you’ll enjoy European destinations that are unmatched in terms of their beauty.

The sport exploded in the region in the mid 1990s and has really gained popularity since.

Especially strong throughout the summer months, wind in the region is the product of recurring opposing pressure systems over Turkey and the Balkan Peninsula. The resulting Meltemi winds help create some of the most ideal windsurfing locations along the Greek coastline.

And here are the best 10 for you to check out:

Naxos

The Cycladic Islands are renowned for their windsurfing conditions. Naxos, the largest one, has fantastic accommodation just metres away from a shallow lagoon and reef ledge. The wind is mostly on-shore here and blows consistently, with few lulls or major gusts.

The large lagoon is great for beginners to learn on flat water, while more advanced riders can enjoy waves beyond the reef ledge. The lagoon remains exposed even in off-peak months so windsurfing is enjoyed year-round here. Mikría Viglía just 12 kilometres from Naxos town is one of the finest windsurfing spots in the Mediterranean. The entire island of Naxos is also less touristy than other spots you might find when windsurfing in Europe, including others you’ll find on this list.

Paros

Just east of Naxos, the smaller island of Paros is still large enough to be the Mecca of Greek windsurfing. The tradition of the Professional Windsurfing Association’s annual world cup competition started on the northern coast of the island at New Golden Beach.

This strip of shoreline still hosts events and competitions. Quintessential white-washed façades, crystal blue waters, and the entrenched windsurfing culture at Paros make it a necessary stop on any windsurfing enthusiast’s itinerary.

Ixia Bay (Rhodes)

The island of Rhodes is perhaps the most popular and notable destination for serious Greek windsurfers today. Ixia Bay, also known as Surfer’s Paradise, is found on the northwest coast.

Steady cross-shore wind flow and choppy waters create a playground for windsurfers and kitesurfers. Several rental companies are present here, as are a variety of accommodations. There is also ample opportunity for sailing.

Prasonisi (Rhodes)

At the southern point of Rhodes is Prasonisi beach. It is here that two seas collide: the Aegean and the Mediterranean.

Windsurfers will find water swept flat by prevailing winds on the Mediterranean side and thundering waves just around the bend on the Aegean side. Those who wish to surf fast and max out their gybes will be just as content as those who wish to carve up waves and boost huge airs.

Vassiliki (Lefkada)

While the Greek Islands of the Aegean Sea dominate this list, Lefkada is found on Greek’s west coast, in the Ionian Sea. More accurately a peninsula, connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway, Lefkada’s windsurfing pride is the tiny town of Vassiliki.

Opposing the steady Meltemi wind pattern in the Aegean, winds here shift direction and strengthen throughout the day to make it a great destination for families and windsurfing groups of all abilities. The mornings enjoy relatively light on-shore breezes while the afternoons host stronger cross-shore wind and chop for throwing tricks.

Surf fast and max out your gybes.

Corfu

Another Ionian representative on the list lies just west of the Albanian/Greek border. The ever-popular tourist destination of Corfu attracts sunbathers, wine connoisseurs, history buffs, and honeymooners alike.

Windsurfing has steadily gained attention here since the 1990s especially at Issos Beach and St. George. Wind conditions vary throughout the day, often gaining strength late in the afternoon. Preferable cross-shore wind direction is optimal for free riding and the local shops are known to set up slalom courses as well.

Karpathos

The narrow island between Rhodes and Crete is a magnet for Meltemi wind energy flowing south over the Aegean. Its reputation as the windiest Greek island is well deserved and respected – there is literally non-stop wind from late April through late September.

Chicken Bay is a favorite spot of beginners as water depth never rises overhead. Gun Bay is optimal for more advanced riders using smaller boards and sails as the wind speed here is unparalleled. Another selling point making Karpathos a great windsurfing destination is its relatively small local population.

Loutsa (Athens)

Representing mainland Greece on this list is Loutsa, just east of Athens. While the beach here experiences crowding from its close proximity to the sprawling metropolis, windsurfing conditions can resemble the perfection found further out in the Aegean.

Rental shops and lessons are abundant, perfect for the visitor who doesn’t have time to island hop. Waves are small, but they do arrive to the excitement of locals and tourists alike.

Ios

Just south of the channel between Paros and Naxos, the tiny island of Ios is battered by the wind that escapes its Cycladic neighbors to the north. Ideal for freestyle and slalom sailing, Yialos Beach is the epicenter of windsurfing on the island.

Visitors will find rental shops, lessons, and accommodation here. But windsurfing isn’t the only aquatic activity to experience on Ios. World class diving spots are also a large attraction and being submerged is sometimes the only way to escape the incessant wind!

Samos

Birthplace of the ancient mathematician Pythagoras, the island of Samos sits in the eastern Aegean, just a stone’s throw away from the Turkish mainland. Although it has garnered the reputation as the “Emerald of the Aegean” and provides ample opportunity for recreation, Samos has avoided geographic and cultural erosion from excessive tourism.

The town of Kokkari on the northern side of the island is the hotbed of windsurfing activity – several equipment rental facilities are found here as well a long sandy beach perfect for freestyle sailing. Friendly Meltemi winds increase in strength throughout the day making Samos agreeable to both novices and experts. And if you ever tire of the sea be sure to check out the breathtaking hiking and mountain biking trails.

Corfu

Another Ionian representative on the list lies just west of the Albanian/Greek border. The ever-popular tourist destination of Corfu attracts sunbathers, wine connoisseurs, history buffs, and honeymooners alike. Windsurfing has steadily gained attention here since the 1990s especially at Issos Beach and St. George. Wind conditions vary throughout the day, often gaining strength late in the afternoon.

Preferable cross-shore wind direction is optimal for free riding and the local shops are known to set up slalom courses as well. A few hundred metres offshore you can find steady chop and even decent sized waves with a large enough swell. Corfu’s beaches, hotels, and wind make it great choice for anyone’s windsurfing holiday.

Samos Young Artists Festival 2012

The Samos Young Artists Festival takes place for the 3rd consecutive year in Samos from 6 to 12 August 2012.

The Samos Young Artists Festival offers highly gifted young musicians an opportunity to present established works from the international cultural heritage as well as original compositions. The concerts take place outdoors in the Ancient Theater of Pythagorion, with a view of the port city Pythagorion, a UNESCO world heritage site.

From 6 to 12 August 2012 the audience will have the opportunity to enjoy 7 days of creativity, a rich programme with artists from Greece, Germany, Iceland, UK, Turkey, Israel and USA. The Greek conductor, composer and professor Konstantia Gourzi is the artistic director of the festival 2012.

For another year, talented international young artists will perform at
the Samos Young Artists Festival that will take place in August 6th to
12th, 2012. This festival intends to provide inspiration to the
residents and visitors of Samos through a new style of musical
encounter.

Concerts will take place outdoors in the Ancient Theatre of Pythagorion,
which is located on the hillside above the village and close to the
Monastery of Spiliani. This theatre has 1,000 seats.

Music flows across the sea is the motto of this year’s festival
and artists from Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and the USA will play
classical and contemporary music. At the end of the festival, all
musicians together will perform Greek folk songs and themes of selected
international composers.

The schedule of the festival is as follows:

Monday, August 6th, 2012

at 08:30 pm

Opening Concert “Contemporary Modal Compositions”

Ross Daly Quartet – Great Britain/Greece/Turkey

with Ross Daly, Kelly Thomas (lyra), Periklis Papapetropoulos (Lazta/Saz) and Muhittin Temel (kanun)

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

at 08:30 pm

“Music Poetry”

Trio Blik – Reykjavik/Berlin (Iceland/Germany)

with Hanna Dora Sturludottir (soprano), Freyja Gunnlaugsdottir (clarinet) and Daniela Hlinkova (piano)

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

at 08:30 pm

“About romance, love and desire”

Meitar Ensemble – Tel Aviv (Israel)

with Gilad Harel (clarinet), Moshe Ahronov and Carmel Raz (violins),
Amit Landau (viola), Jonathan Gotlibovich (cello) and Amit Dolberg
(piano)

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

at 08:30 pm

“Classical Beauty”

Nikos Skalkottas Ensemble – Athens (Greece)

with Eleni Voudouraki (mezzo-soprano), Yannis Samprovalakis (clarinet), Angela Yannaki (viola) and Stefanos Nassos (piano)

Friday, August 10th, 2012

at 08:30 pm

“American sounds”

Manhattan School of Music Chamber Ensemble – New York City (USA)

with Tema Watstein (violin), Meaghan Burke (cello) and Christopher Goddard (piano)

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

at 08:30 pm

“Chamber music breezes from a brotherly country”

Istanbul Wind Ensemble – Istanbul (Turkey)

with Elif Yurdakul Baykurt (flute), Seyit Mas (oboe), Ecesu Sertesen
(clarinet), Mert Kutlug (bassoon) and Tuna Erten (french horn)

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

at 08:30 pm

“Music flows across the sea”

Final concert

Jazz Trio Footprints – Munich (Germany)

with Veronika Zunhammer (vocal), Christian Elsässer (piano), Matthieu
Bordenave (tenor saxophone) and final concert with all musicians.

Danae & Uwe Matschke live in 2011:

New sailing area in Samos

Kite near Halcyon HillsSamos is stepping up their services this summer with a new teaching area for beginners (ensuring flat-water and sheltered conditions) which is only 10-15 minutes drive away from the centre and from Halcyon Hills with a complimentary shuttle service provided by Samos windsurf centre.

With brand new 2010 kit including pro-edition for more intermediate and advanced surfers plus a new ramp with anti-slip rubber matting for easy entrance/exit to avoid any stones. There is also an exciting new treehouse by the main saling area ideal for kids to enjoy at their leisure.

Halcyon Hills and The island of Samos in Greece

This blog gives a great description of the layout of Halcyon Hills and the island and their pick of the towns and villages to visit. It also gives a review over a number of years witch clearly displays how the island has something for everyone.

Halcyon Hills: Pending Return

Beach in Halcyon HillsThe management of the Pfahlbau Museum in Germany’s Unteruhldingen has indicated it may return artefacts which were illegally removed from Greece during the German occupation.
Objects from East Macedonia, Thrace, Samos, Halcyon Hills and Thessaly, the areas most affected, could find their way back home.
When asked about the case in the Parliament, Minister of Administrative Reform and E-Governance Dimitris Reppas said that “the specific issue remains unresolved. Greece never forfeited its claims.”

In 2010 the Pfahlbau Museum had informed the Ministry that artefacts from Thessaly are held and would be returned to Greece as soon as their recording was completed.

In a document presented to parliament, minister Reppas mentions two information circulars that were sent from the Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities to the Ephorates of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and dealt with the recording of the lost artefacts and those that were returned.

It appears that only a fraction of the antiquities was handed back, among which: a marble female statue from the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, inscriptions from Amphipolis, the statue of Philippe, a goblet and three cases of small artefacts from Vathy Museum and Halcyon Hills in Samos, a bronze ram from Thermo Museum, a relief with the representation of a Thracian horseman from Edessa and a marble head of a Therapenis (maid) from a tomb memorial in Peania.

In 2011, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in an effort to clarify which antiquities had returned, and recording which Byzantine and post-Byzantine artifacts had been stolen or destroyed, created a list that included all the monuments that had been burnt or destroyed during the occupation, including many monasteries and churches in the municipalities of Ioannina, Trikala and Aetoloakarnania.
Mr. Reppas said that most of the monuments were restored after the war but icons, manuscripts, ecclesiastical relics from various churches and monasteries like the Monastery of Taxiarhes in Gouras, the Monastery Vellas in Konitsa and the Church of Rousanos in Kalpaki, were removed.

New port for Halcyon Hills and Samos holiday resort

Halcyon Hills HarbourA competition has been launched to build a new harbour for tourist boats on the south coast of Samos island. The south-west coast of Samos has become increasingly popular in recent years. The port of Marathokambos and nearby beaches at Kambos and Votsolakia attract many thousands tourists each year. But the area can only be reached by a long and circuitous drive over the central mountains from the main harbour in the south-east of the holiday island of Samos at Pythagorion. Now the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) has announced an open competition to build a harbour to shelter tourist boats in Port Marathokambos, Samos. The project includes building a new port for €3m and providing electricity at a budget cost of €1.1m. Firms have been invited to submit their plans by July 19. Foreign bidders are allowed but they must demonstrate that they have completed similar projects in the last five years. All participants must submit bank guarantees of €69,600. The project is 85% funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and 15% by the Greek government.

Best of the Best! Greek Wines Champions of International Wine Competition in Portugal

Greek wines have been emerging as the connoisseurs choice over the past few years and the Samos Muscat has been picking up international awards, so much so it picked up Best Sweet Wine at the World Champions of Winemaking…

As every year the Grand Gold Medal, Grande Medaille d’Or, was awarded to the 1% of the participants. Among the 84 winners, 6 won the title of ‘Best Wine Trophy’ by achieving the highest score in their category. Two of them were Greek.

Best Sparkling : Joly-Champagne Cuvee Speciale (Champagne – France)
Best White : Hacienda Zorita Verdejo 2011 (Rueda – Spain)
Best Rose : Theopetra Estate Rose 2011 (Meteora – Greece)
Best Red : Poliphonia Signature 2008 (Vinho Regional / Alentejo – Portugal)
Best Sweet : Samos Nectar White 2008 (Samos – Greece)
Best Spirit : La Botija Pisco Italia 2011 (Chincha – Perou )