Hoping to travel to Greece?
Be sure to visit the port of Katakolon and don’t miss the opportunity to meet the “two sisters”, Despina and Elena, who run the local travel agency, The Travel Insiders. Offering high-quality travel service in Greece, Elena and Despina are dedicated in sharing exclusive insights with their guests in order to experience Greek culture and hospitality like true insiders!
Where is Katakolon?
For those who wonder where Katakolon is, let us begin by placing Katakolon on the map. The small cruise port and quiet seaside village of Katakolon (aka Katakolo) is located on the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula overlooking the Ionian Sea. It is approximately 320 km southwest of Athens in the regional unit of Ilias. This lesser-known area of Greece offers the visitor the opportunity to experience Greek local life, social customs, culture and cuisine, along with a rich history. However, that which Katakolon is most recognized for is its proximity to Olympia.
Where is Olympia?
Katakolon serves as the main gateway to Ancient Olympia, the land that gave birth to the Olympic Games. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ancient Olympia is one of the most recognized tourist destinations in Greece. Olympia is 33 kilometers (about 20 miles) from the cruise port, thus, for many, a tour of Ancient Olympia is a must when visiting.
Meet the Two Sisters
Book a tour with The Travel Insiders and meet the two sisters, Despina and Elena, who founded this local travel agency in Katakolon and who ultimately changed the way we look at tours. People often believe that taking a tour is either too expensive or too impersonal or even both. Trusting that the best way to discover Greece is to experience it from the inside, these two young women decided conduct tours and do what they do best as Greeks – to present Greek hospitality in an authentic way and spread the word about real Greece.
How the Idea was Born?
Despina and Elena share their story and how it all began …
“We grew up in Athens, but we hardly went on vacation when we were young. Our father worked in construction, so in the summertime he was always very busy. However, we were very lucky because we had a village to go to and spend the summer there with yiayia! We were even luckier because our village was very close to Olympia …
Every summer we encountered the same picture; thousands of people from all over the world lining up to visit this unique site! People walking around with their children and some of them even had olive wreaths on their heads, like the ancient athletes.
And this is how the years passed, facing the same picture every year, having our grandparents share great stories with us about the years of the excavations in Olympia “the big expedition”. This is how they used to describe the time when Olympia was found by the archeologist.
It is no wonder why one of us, Elena, studied Archaeology and then became a certified tourist guide. But then, in 2013 during a typical vacation with yiayia, a great idea was born – Despina who was at that time a kindergarten teacher said, ‘Why don’t we offer tours? Why don’t we share all these exciting stories with people visiting Olympia? Why don’t we present more insights and tips and offer what we know best; hospitality – Greek hospitality!’
And this is how The Travel Insiders were born.
Who are The Travel Insiders ?
Elena is a certified tourist guide – this certification entitles her to accompany her guests to any museum and archaeological site in Greece. By law, only tourist guides who are certified by the Greek Ministry of Tourism may conduct tours within archeological sites and museums.
As an archaeologist, Elena also has a way of making the ruins “come alive”. Most importantly, as a Greek living in Greece her whole life, she is always eager to share her passion with her guests and together to create an out-of-the-ordinary travel experience in Greece.
Despina is the soul of the team – the one that will spend hours discovering the fascinating tidbits that when put together unfold to what Greek hospitality is all about. After all, her name itself says it all; “Despina = oikodespina” which means hostess in Greek!
Having spent a great part of her life with children, as a kindergarten teacher, she knows well how to take care of others, regardless of their age, and together to experience Greece as an Insider….