WHAT TO DO...
If you’re following the Metaxa trail, here’s what not to miss in Samos and Athens, from culture to cocktails.
Stuff NZ Magazines
SAMOS 1/ POTAMI WATERFALLS Spend the morning on Potami Beach, and then follow the trail to the waterfalls and their pools. To reach the second one, you’ll need to climb 50 or so steps, but you’ll be glad you did. 2/ SAMOS WINE MUSEUM Facing the new ferry quay, this terrific museum will tell you everything you need to know about Samos and its wine heritage. Tours take place throughout the day and include a tasting of several wines. samoswine.gr 3/ ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM, VATHY The most prized exhibit here is the imposing 5.5-metre kouros (a sculpture of a male nude from the Archaic period), the largest surviving example in Greece – but there is much more to enjoy besides. 4/ EUPALINOS TUNNEL This 1,036m long tunnel is one of the most remarkable engineering feats of antiquity. Built in 524BC, the aqueduct supplied the island’s capital with fresh water from Agiades spring and went through a mountain. It was built by Eupalinos, an engineer who was 1000 years or more ahead of his time. eupalinos-tunnel.gr 5/ HERAION, NEAR PYTHAGORIO Very little remains of the ancient sanctuary of the goddess Hera, which was four times the size of the Parthenon, yet this Unesco Heritage Site is still worth a visit. ATHENS HOUSE OF METAXA Learn all about “the smoothest amber spirit under the sun” at the Metaxa distillery. Explore the cellars, taste the different varieties and even have a go at blending your own style. metaxa.com/en/ COCKTAILS Mixology is big in Athens and two of its leading bars are championing the trend for bringing science to cocktailmaking. At MoMix ( momixbar.com), owner Aris Chatziantoniou has created the kind of bar we’d all love to have on our doorstep. Take your pick from the menu – a cube that lights up when you touch it – and enjoy some astonishing creations. My tip? The Saganaki, an edible cocktail made from Metaxa 12 Star-soaked sweet cream that’s flambéed with Cointreau, citrus and spices. The Clumsies ( theclumsies.gr), ranked 6th on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, is also blurring alchemy and mixology. Here owner Vasilis Kyritsis serves a beautifully nuanced take on a Ramoz Gin Fizz, using Metaxa 7 Star instead of gin and pairing it with aquafaba icecream (made from chickpea water). ACROPOLIS, PARTHENON & ACROPOLIS MUSEUM Standing high about Athens, the Parthenon is the glory of Greece. Built in time for the Great Panathenaic Festival of 438BC, it remains one of the most recognisable sites in the world – and one of the most visited, so book ahead to avoid the queues. Leave time to visit the spectacular Acropolis Museum, packed with treasures from Ancient Greece. odysseus.culture.gr, theacropolismuseum.gr STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CULTURAL CENTRE The recently opened Renzo Piano-designed complex is surrounded by a huge park, and includes a 400m seawater canal where people can learn to sail or kayak. Enjoy an extensive programme of free events, including live jazz, tango, art and chess lessons, and much more. snfcc.org PLAKA The city’s oldest residential quarter is built into the hillside below the Acropolis and is a delightful spot for peoplewatching, its pastel-coloured new classical buildings and cobbled streets drawing locals and visitors alike.