The Mediterranean Insider

Search
Close this search box.

Mediterranean tastemakers

My Mediterranean, as told by Nikos Karaflos

An insider’s guide to the Mediterranean with Nikos Karaflos

Nikos Karaflos, the ‘imagineer’ and owner of Dexamenes Seaside Hotel, has sculpted a sanctuary of meaningful luxury that redefines our experience of hospitality. This native of the Mediterranean jewel, Greece, walks the delicate balance between times gone by and the rhythmic pulse of the present. Drawing from his robust background in electrical engineering, computer science, lighting and multimedia, Karaflos not only carves out a unique space but also believes in crafting powerful ideas that leave a lasting cultural and social impact. From Athens’ ancient marvels to the serenity of the Foloi oak forest and from dex.Machina’s culinary delights to Floka Theatre’s cultural events, Karaflos intimately knows and cherishes every facet of his Greek homeland. Dive in as he shares his cherished haunts and the quintessential Grecian experiences that have shaped his life.

Portrait photography courtesy of Yiorgos Kaplanidis

Mediterranean tastemaker Nikos Karaflos interview

“I love how Greece feels both old and new. Besides the old tales, there’s a beat of modern life.”

In the Med, my favourite country is …

Greece, my homeland. It’s like a treasure chest full of tales from a really long time ago – stories about gods and heroes back in ancient times. But it’s not just history; it’s also stunning beaches that sparkle in the sun and mountains with breathtaking views and nature. I love how Greece feels both old and new. Besides the old tales, there’s a beat of modern life. We’ve got cities that buzz with art and music, and people who make things that are totally now. It’s like the past and the present dancing together.

For a dose of urban pulse, I head to …

Athens, a timeless blend of ancient history, modern creativity and Mediterranean charm. The birthplace of democracy and a hub of philosophical thought in antiquity, Athens boasts iconic landmarks like the majestic Acropolis. While visitors can feel its ancient history in every corner, Athens also thrives as a dynamic hub of contemporary art and creativity. Picturesque neighbourhoods contrast with edgy street art, and traditional markets bustle with colours, aromas and flavours. The city’s art scene reflects its rich heritage while embracing the cutting-edge, making it a haven for artists and art enthusiasts alike.

Mediterranean tastemaker Nikos Karaflos interview
Mediterranean tastemaker Nikos Karaflos interview

“With every creak of a branch, you’re reminded of its living, breathing origin.”

For the perfect close-to-nature experience, I visit …

… the Foloi oak forest in the western Peloponnese, Greece. Once home to mythical Centaurs, it’s a nature retreat and a peaceful escape for nature lovers and adventurers alike. Towering oak trees create a leafy canopy, inviting wanderers to lose themselves in its peaceful embrace. Here, modern life fades away, replaced by the tranquillity of a mythical past and the serenity of a timeless forest escape.

For a memorable getaway, I check myself into …

… the Treehouse near Amaliada. Nestled high among the branches of strong trees, this hideaway is crafted entirely from materials found in the forest. The scent of wood and the rustle of leaves connect you to the heart of the woods. With every creak of a branch, you’re reminded of its living, breathing origin. Waking up to birdsongs and walking under starry skies, is an absolutely memorable experience that rejuvenates your soul.

Mediterranean tastemaker Nikos Karaflos interview

“The thought that you are drinking the landscape seems quite cool to me.”

For a great meal, I go to …

… dex.Machina, the restaurant of Dexamenes Seaside Hotel. As a restaurant housed in the engine room of the postwar winery, we understand the importance of preserving history and heritage. That’s why we are committed to utilising traditional Greek ingredients and cooking techniques, while also incorporating contemporary methods and ideas. Our kitchen team always sources the freshest local produce and offers fine comfort Greek dishes. Our philosophy is based on the idea that food should nourish both the body and the soul, and we strive to create dishes that are not only healthy and sustainable but also comforting and satisfying.

For a fun night out, I head out to …

… Floka Theater, close to Ancient Olympia, which is like a special place where they do cool shows and music events every summer. The cultural program of Ancient Olympia is hosted there and theatrical plays and concerts succeed one another. Some other nights I enjoy a cocktail at dex.Lab, the bar of Dexamenes Seaside Hotel. I usually order one of our signature cocktails Herbal Elixir, which is infused with Mediterranean herbs taken from the hotel’s landscape; the thought that you are drinking the landscape seems quite cool to me.

Mediterranean tastemaker Nikos Karaflos interview

“Walking through these historical grounds is a journey back in time, a chance to touch the roots of civilisation and immerse oneself in the essence of human aspiration.”

For a dose of retail therapy, I shop at …

… the open market of Amaliada every Saturday morning, an open market that offers the freshest produce, proudly cultivated by local farmers. This market is not just a place to shop; it’s a gateway to the community, a celebration of authenticity and an opportunity to connect with the heartbeat of the region’s rich agricultural heritage.

For a dose of culture, I head to …

… Ancient Olympia, where the flame of the Olympic Games was first ignited. It stands as a timeless tribute to human achievement and culture. Amidst the ruins of temples and stadiums, you can almost feel the excitement of those historic contests. The site’s reverence extends beyond sports – it’s a window into the art, philosophy and values of a bygone era. Walking through these historical grounds is a journey back in time, a chance to touch the roots of civilisation and immerse oneself in the essence of human aspiration.

Mediterranean tastemaker Nikos Karaflos interview

“It’s like jumping into a magical world of warmth, water and colours as the sun is disappearing into the water.”

For a hidden gem, I recommend …

… the medieval castle of Chlemoutsi. It’s an old, strong castle on a hill – a true Greek time machine. You can climb up and explore its big walls and towers. From the top, you can see all around and even the sparkling sea. It’s like a puzzle piece from the past that tells stories of knights and battles. When you visit, you feel like you’re stepping into history and imagining the brave people who lived there long ago.

For me, a quintessential Mediterranean experience is …

… a long dive into the sea during the sunset. Imagine the sun slowly going down in the sky, painting the horizon with beautiful colours. You run towards the sandy beach, feeling the soft grains under your feet. The water is calm and inviting. As you dive in, the water feels cool and refreshing. You can see the sun’s golden reflection on the water’s surface. It’s like jumping into a magical world of warmth, water and colours as the sun is disappearing into the water.

Share this

Book your stay

Stay in the know

Sign up for the latest hotspot news from the Mediterranean.

Advertisement
Mediterranean tastemakers

My Mediterranean, as told by Daniela Franceschini

My Mediterranean, as told by Nikos Karaflos

My Mediterranean, as told by Alexandra Manousakis

Freebie!

Get our free Mediterranean hotspot map!