Saturday, March 17, 2018

Our Homebase in Skiathos Island, Greece: Fengeros Village

For our 2-week summer holiday last year in Skiathos Island, we stayed at Fengeros Village. It’s an apartment complex village with a pool and a bar which offers basic accommodation with a small kitchen and a balcony with stunning views.

Amazing view from our apartment's balcony.

We chose this place mainly because of the view. You know, I am a sucker for views.

Because the apartment complex village sits high on a hilly part not too far away from the main road and the coast, all apartments have views of the surroundings, the olive trees in the mountain and the blue Aegean Sea. Even the swimming pool, which was quite a good size is elevated and has spectacular views.

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The private road leading to Fengeros (apartments) Village. The property is set up in a hilly area with views of the Aegean Sea.

As we all know, it is so easy to splurge and go no holds barred with spending on holidays, but when you are gone for 2 weeks, especially when you are eating/drinking out every day and every night, it can backfire. Plus there are other costs to factor in as well, such as supermarket visits, car or scooter rental, gasoline, excursions (yep, they are a must), some shopping and more. The costs can pile up very easily and quickly!

Dutchman was just telling me yesterday as we were reminiscing about our Greek summer holiday in Skiathos last summer, “It’s so strange that most people (like ourselves) downgrade themselves when they go on holiday.”

What he means is that our bed and living conditions are much better at home than at these summer holiday apartments and hotels.

There are, without a doubt, many much better and expensive choices, but when you are going for 2-3 weeks, it can become pretty expensive which begs the question, "Is it really worth it?"

Dutchman added, reminding me actually, “We are not [insert suspected nationalities here] who blow up a thousand Euros for just a 3-day holiday at a luxurious hotel. Try that for 2 weeks.”

“And not when you are going on holiday all the time as well!”

Ugh. Yes, I am guilty your honor, haha.

So yeah, we are careful with our spending. We can enjoy life without having to burn cash like there is no tomorrow. Not on unnecessary things, expenditure, hobby, and vice. Of course, everyone loves some luxury here and there, who does not? For us though, the key is doing, spending and living in moderation. If we or I can have several and longer holidays instead of having 1 or 2 luxurious ones, why not?

We see all sorts of boats sailing by from our balcony. From yachts, catamarans, sailboats, passenger and cargo boats of all sizes to cruise ship liners.

I have noticed as well with many Europeans when they are going on long summer holidays (many go for 2 to 3 weeks), they tend to choose to stay at apartments and villas that offer basic accommodation than staying at luxurious hotels. In my opinion, though, hotels would be great for a maximum 1-week stay, and more for a city trip. More than 1-week would be pushing it, as most people prefer something more flexible, where they have a kitchen that they can cook in when they are not feeling like going out.

There are also the all-inclusive holiday resort places, which, again, in my opinion, would be great for a week, because it gets bland eating at the same location for 2 to 3 weeks. We have done this before and we are not doing this again anytime sooner. I do understand that some people prefer this all-inclusive thing. That's fine as well. There is a market for everyone!

We prefer accommodations and experiences that have character, personality, and diversity over “star-rating”. Much better if they have great views which were the case with the apartments at Fengeros Village in Skiathos.

I really liked it that the pool is elevated with sprawling views of the green mountain, the sea, and the nearby islands. It gives you that real holiday feeling, of being away from all the cares of work and this world.

The apartment is not so big and quite basic. I prefer one large bed for both of us rather than having 2 single beds, but this is what was given to us. I do like that we are high up the apartment complex because of the stunning views. We also have a small kitchen which I forgot to take a photo as I was clearly distracted by the views, haha.

Moi standing on the balcony.

Like most apartments and hotels on Skiathos Island, Fengeros is owned by a local Greek. We haven’t really spoken to him much, since he spends most of his days somewhere else and when he is at the bar beside the pool, he is either drinking beer and staring at his laptop or engaged in a spirited chat with some of the friendly British folks who were all ears to hear about his life story which includes funny rants about his divorce from his now ex-wife.

But we have got to say that we were quite impressed with his Fengeros Village property. We loved the location and the views, and perfectly understood that what he has is a great and sizable property, but we were for sure not envious at the prospect of managing such estate. Read: headache.

The apartment village is just a few minutes down the main road and is approximately a 20-minute walk to Skiathos old town. Not bad huh. The only thing that can be discouraging, especially for the mobility challenge (disabled, old and lazy people) is that the apartments are located uphill and if you get an apartment high up the complex, you’ve got to exercise those legs on the stairs.

We had one of the highest apartments and it was not easy to bring the luggage up and down, but I have the Dutchman for that. The views though will make you forget the stairs.

Although the apartment is not too far away from Skiathos old town, we mostly use our scooter to go there, and because the whole old town is pedestrianised, we have to drive to the other side of town and park at the new harbour area. 

The bar and the pool. Because we were here in June, the pool area was never busy. There were days when it was just us and another couple lounging. The pool will tend to be busy only in the morning, and by lunchtime, people are gone to the beach or doing some sightseeing.

This is our favourite spot in the pool. We stay here for a few hours before going to the beach or somewhere. On some days we would spend a whole afternoon relaxing and reading a book.

I highly recommend these 2 books from Samuel Bjork and Frieda Klein, both are thriller books. Yup, I still read the real book. Not sure when I want to migrate to an e-reader. We do have one but Dutchman uses it more often than I do.

I managed to find a few books at the pool bar. This one from Peter James was very interesting and funny! While I got bored with Kate Hamer's book. I am clearly not into dragging drama.

On some days Dutchman and I would spend our afternoons in the pool. Our favourite spot was the area across the bar from the other side of the pool. I could lay on the sunbed for hours reading a book. In this holiday, I was able to read 3 books and 1 book haphazardly because I got bored with the storyline.

I am not a big swimming pool fan though, but when it gets too hot, a quick dip in the water is nice, followed by lounging and more reading of course. I have also been reading books now in Dutch and I still buy real books. We have an e-reader but Dutchman is the one using it most of the time. I borrow it from him when I want to play games, haha.

What we also like about apartments compared to staying at a hotel, is that we can have our breakfast later in the morning. So I make our own breakfasts, which is almost a brunch already by the way since we normally eat around 11:00.

I managed to take pictures of our breakfasts, although I am missing many breakfast days here.

Breakfast with a view. I like that we can have breakfast in privacy and not have to go to the restaurant early in the morning to have breakfast, like in hotel or resort accommodations. 

These breakfasts are already our brunches. So in the afternoon we only take  (or share) a light snack.

We love having breakfasts on the balcony with the view to the mountain and the Aegean Sea. So relaxing, to wake to this and enjoy the scenic surroundings while having your first meal of the day.

I have to improvise our breakfasts though. In Greece, they do not have the same wheat bread we have here in the Netherlands. If they do, they get sold quickly in the supermarkets. So I have to settle for what is available and that's pita bread and yogurt for breakfast with ham or salami, cheese, and eggs. 

Of course, breakfast is not complete without vegetables and fruits, so there are tomatoes and cucumber on the side as well. As for fruits, watermelons and cherries seem to be the ones on harvest during summer.

We spend most of our afternoons on the beach and order a light snack from the cafe, bar or restaurant on site. If we are staying in the apartment and lounging at the pool, I make a fruit snack to quench the hot summer day.

The evenings are spent outdoors. We dine out every night as I cannot be bothered cooking up a storm in a kitchenette. Plus I love checking out tavernas with great views and tasting the local cuisine. Dinners are a highlight of our holidays in the Greek Islands and I am posting them all on this blog!

This is another apartment rental complex across ours, also nice but they do not have the same view as ours.

Just down the road from our apartment is this mini chapel. It is lighted every night. Greeks are Orthodox Christians.

Travel Period: June-July 2017
Destination: Skiathos (Sporades), Greece

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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