There is nothing quite like wading in the ocean, looking back at the landscape of a foreign place and absorbing the scenery it has to offer.
There are so many exotic and unique looking islands and areas when googling, “where to travel in Greece”. I am so grateful we went travelling with friends and together, we narrowed down three locations where we wanted to relax and explore. After also searching, “top 10 islands to visit in Greece”, we chose Santorini (how could we not!), Naxos and Athens. We then decided to stay in Santorini for 3 nights, Naxos for 2 and Athens for 2. Great choice!
Language: Greek. Kurt had the helpful idea of screen-shotting the basics. E.g
Kalimera/kah-lee MEHR-rah: Good morning
Efkharisto/eff-kah-rees-TOH: thank you
Weather in July: 20s to 30s (degrees celsius)
Travel: We flew into Santorini, caught ferries to Naxos and Athens and flew back to London from Athens. At each location we mostly explored by walking or caught a bus (tour and hop on/off). Whilst in Santorini, we enjoyed a sunset cruise, which went for over 7 hours and it really was a special way to see more of what the island had to offer and of course devour the sun setting over the ocean.
Accommodation: It certainly wasn’t a 5 Star trip but nevertheless, each place we stayed served its purpose well, was prime location, clean and had very welcoming and friendly staff. In Santorini the four of us stayed in an Airbnb apartment. In Naxos we stayed at Hotel Camara in which each couple had our own room, we were a convenient 10 minute walk from the ocean, bars and cafes and the hotel manager, Stavros made us feel so welcome; as if we were great friends. There was also a pool across the road which Hotel Camara guests can use with a poolside bar serving refreshing ouzo on ice (a favourite on the trip). In Athens we stayed at Hotel Adonis which was value for money; not the most modern room or facilities but the view of the Acropolis from their rooftop bar was breathtaking and again, it was prime location- a decent walking distance to the Acropolis and around the corner we could stroll past restaurants and shops.
Food: I really wanted to immerse myself in tasting their traditional foods. Souvlaki, gyros, mousaka, baklava were top on my list and I LOVED them all! I also went out of my comfort zone in Naxos and tried octopus which was rather tasty and on our last night I ate the most tender veal and risoni meal cooked in a clay pot – I am not sure if that was a traditional meal but mmmm it was good (sorry vegetarians).
Other: The Greek people are so friendly, especially on the islands. To be honest, I was wondering if there may be some resentment or strain because of tourism in their local beaches and local areas. I would have understood if this was the case too BUT it was far from the reality of what we experienced. A local man was educating us on the value and importance of tourism for their economic situation… Made sense given the last few years. Welcoming, friendly and generous are the three words I can best think of to describe these beautiful people right now. They went out of their way to ensure we were enjoying their beautiful islands, their food, the experiences.
Santorini: Watch the sun set in Oia and if you can, observe it from the village and one of my favourite experiences was the Oia Sunset Sailing cruise. There is just something about being on the water and sharing the experience with other people on a boat. There would have been near fifty people on the catamaran and for ten minutes prior and during the sun going down, everyone silenced and watched in amazement at what our universe has to offer; the energy, the movement of the sun disappearing over the water with gentle waves and ripples, spectacular colours; red, orange, pink, purple and blue, the stillness of the people as the brightness fades and the moon became more apparent, and finally, the clapping and cheering to celebrate the beauty of it all.
Naxos: Naxos was rather different to Santorini. Santorini had the narrow, jagged cliffs with amazing views of the villages and ocean whereas Naxos was quite flat. The beach near our hotel was a typical tourist type beach with big beach umbrellas and waiters/waitresses walking to and from restaurants over the sand with trays of drinks and food. I loved it. I loved being able to walk down to the beach – sunbake and swim in the ocean whenever I pleased. The evenings would roll in and then we would find ourselves at one of the restaurants along the beach road sipping on a mojito or pina colada… Bliss!
Athens: We only had one full day in Athens and we spent the day immersing ourselves in the history of Greece. First, we went to the Acropolis which includes the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Parthenon, followed by the Acropolis Museum and the Panathenaic Stadium. History has never been my strong point which is why I really try to make the effort to visit historical buildings and places. Being there can be really moving and naturally, so much more meaningful than simply reading about it. I found the Parthenon, in particular, very interesting as I love the stories about the Greek Gods and Goddesses. Actually, the museum is hands down the best museum I have ever visited – the layout, the design… brilliant!
Thank you for reading! Below are a few more pictures of our time in Greece. Efkharisto!!!
*All images have been taken by Kurt or myself…. The better ones are Kurt’s 😉