The Land of Blue & White
One of the most pleasant countries to visit in Europe, Greece has it all with its stunning beaches, hot Mediterranean climate, and a variety of islands to travel to on a whim. Everyone love this about the country, which is why tourism is Greece’s economic saving grace. In 2018, Greece will welcome a record 32 million tourists, an increase that no other European country has seen in a decade.
The capital city of Athens is definitely worth of visit (2-3 days max) as there are some surprisingly beautiful areas such as the trendy neighbourhood of Plaka and the beachy areas of the city at Voula. The Acropolis is also worthwhile, as it a stunning sight and showcases a surprising amount of history. Athens was also much cleaner and prettier than I had expected.
I highly recommend spending the majority of your time in the Cyclades islands. The best time to go is May, early June and September, otherwise it’s just too hot and too crowded!
Here is where everyone enjoys the relaxed version of Greece. It’s easy to confuse the Greek islands with the Cyclades. The Greek islands consist of 6,000 islands, of which 227 are inhabited. The Cyclades are a group of 26 islands which see the majority of tourism in Greece.
The quickest and most convenient way, (though not entirely relaxing) to get to any of the Cyclades Islands is by fast ferry. Just be warned of the swarms of people getting on and off the ferry right along with you! Take a deep breathe and you will be fine. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I have visited Mykonos, Santorini and Naxos. I liked them all, but Naxos is my favourite. It was less crowded, stunningly beautiful, and felt the most authentically Greek. I had never heard of this island and having barely seen an pictures it seemed so unspoiled and new to me.
All the images below are from Naxos. From left to right: around my hotel, the charming village of Chalki, and the town made up of marble, Apiranthos. I tasted the best baklava here and saw the most amazing sites. I also felt like you could tour the entire island (I did this) and never get bored.
I’ve heard from many people that Santorini is the island where people go to relax. The picturesque blue water hugging the hilly coast with white buildings is the reason why. Seriously, you could just sit at a cafe, stare out to sea and the mass of white buildings and feel perfectly content.
Fíra (the capital) and Oía are the main city draws on this island. Fíra is where you will find a plethora of delicious restaurants and never ending shopping. Oía is home to the most stunning sunsets. I don’t need to say any more, just look at these photos!
In contrast to Santorini, Mykonos is where you party. It is well-known for having the best summer party atmosphere in the Mediterranean. The island has a seemingly never ending array of nightclubs, bars, glamorous beaches, and waterfront dining. No matter if you are a party-animal or a chill on the beach type, Mykonos has got you covered.
It is definitely an expensive and busy island with loud scooters zipping around faster than you can say “tzatiki sauce”. But, I still think Mykonos is worth a visit. I enjoyed some of the best weather (dry, hot heat) and tastiest food (see below) that soothed my hangry soul.