Greece Island Hopping – Part 1
Greece – Island Hop Part 1
Greece is one of those countries that make you instantly fall in love. Everywhere you look, you see that traditional white and blue that ultimately represent the country’s colours, homes & restaurants built in caves and panoramic views of the icy blue water every island you go to. Athens should always be your first stop but your goal is to hit up a flight or ferry and start jumping from island to island. (We’ll get more into that in Part 2). Since there are so many islands to see here is a guide to get you started on your experience through the Greek islands.
After spending some in time in the capital of Athen, you become tired of the city scene and want to hit up a more laid back part of the country. The first stop is usually the touristic island of Mykonos. The island of Mykonos has its own vibe to it. There’s something that makes it so memorable to millions who choose to go there rather than all of the other options available. From its white homes to the party filled beaches, it’s no wonder people from all over the world love to travel here. Being one of the more popular islands in Greece, we’re going to help you find your way there from Athens while also finding fun and touristic activities to make your time enjoyable. First thing’s first, how are you going to get there?
The Globe Runners
Rafina and Piraeus ports in Athens will get you to Mykonos and Santorini, along with many other islands along the way. Initially when you order your tickets online, there is not an option to print them out. Instead you have to wait until you get to the port in Athens and get it from the counter. Upon entering the designated ferry, luggage is stored in what looks like a large car garage and are asked to enter your designated section according to your ticket purchase. The cost of a ferry to Mykonos can vary from 20€-40€ which can take anywhere from 2-5 hours. Blue Star Ferries offers trips at 7:30am every day and make stops along Tinos & Syros if you’re looking for a less touristic place. If you’re not willing to wait up to five hours on a ferry or you just get sea sick, there is always the option to fly where more than 15 flights every day head to Mykonos from Athens in the summer months and can cost anywhere from $35 – $200 and usually take about 40 minutes. Ryan Air, Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air are all reliable airlines that will get you there quick.
Make sure to rent an ATV and cruise to all the major beaches for as little as $30/day. The wind blowing in your hair while the sun beams down on you with no clouds in sight is an amazing feeling, knowing you’ll laying on a white sand beach waiting to soak in the sun. Along your trails to the beaches, you’ll find restaurants along the way or head straight to the town where there are restaurants from fine cuisine, stir fry with your choosing of beef, chicken and pork to ice cream. Nice n Easy or anywhere in Little Venice will have something for every foodie. There is not much to do in terms of vineyards, day trips or activities but should instead Mykonos should be enjoyed by the vibrant beaches, upbeat music and wonderful seafood. Spending 2-3 days in Mykonos is more than enough to see most of what it has to offer.
Mykonos is a beautiful island with some nice sandy beaches including Paradise and Super Paradise beaches that are host to many parties and live DJ’s, which can also be found at clubs and other nightlife events. It will cost you to get a couple of chairs and a huge sun umbrella but it’s worth it when you’re lying under the sun all day. Many of the popular beaches will have restaurants that offer dine-in or just a canteen style restaurant where you can choose from braised fish, lasagna to a traditional Greek souvlaki dinner.
The old town itself brings you back to a more simple and traditional lifestyle of island where white & blue colored homes, stone roads and customers filling the streets looking for souvenirs, lining up at their favorite restaurant and roaming around is what you’ll find. Make sure you stop by and see the famous windmills that scream out this city’s presence world wide.
Once again, you are off on a Blue Star Ferry or have flown in to the Santorini airport; your hotel will be picking you up from the port to get you checked in at the hotel if you have worked out an arrangement. Now, where do you start first? It’s almost important to just take it slow because there is plenty to see and do in Santorini. We recently stayed in the Apanemo Hotel in Akrotiri where we were surprised at the wonderful views we got. It’s on the opposite part of the island from the traditional images you’re used to seeing of Santorini but gives more seclusion from the tourist areas. It is very close to some of the islands attractions such as the hike to the Red Beach which offers a majestic red hue from the cliffs that mostly block the wind and makes the water and area in general that much warmer and the Ruins of an Ancient civilization that gives much historical facts that have made Santorini the place it is today.
Santorini is a perfect island to just zip around in while getting stunning views from all directions regardless of where you are. Homes are built on cliffs, caves and mainland offer different perspectives of the island which give it that charm that brings millions of tourists every year. We suggest renting a car which can range anywhere from $30+ a day depending on the model of the car. Your hotel can help you arrange rental from a reputable company and they will even drive to your hotel to drop the vehicle off. From there, you’re free to drive to Fira, where there are plenty of shops to buy gifts and many restaurants that will please any appetite. Stop by Lucky’s souvlaki’s that are huge hit in town while the many gift shops offer a wide variety of flags, clothing and even ceramic kitchen products.
From Fira, you have an option to walk all the way to Oia, where you will see the traditional views of the of infamous island .
In the summer months when the water is calmer, take advantage of the yacht excursions that offer to take you around the island. Many company’s like Santorini Sailing & Caldera’s Boats will pick you up from your hotel, bring you to the port while picking up other passengers along the way and take you to the Red Beach, docking to allow you to swim in the water, visit some natural like hot springs while also offering meals that range from Chicken, Pork or Fish with plenty of sides and all the wine & alcohol you can drink. The yachts range from 2- 8 people depending on your package.
Be sure to check out the cuisine from all over the world but if you’re going to eat what the locals are eating then find a restaurant serving fresh calamari. As soon as you take a bite, you’ll see why it costs so much more than your frozen battered ones you get from a pub like restaurant. It almost melts in your mouth.
Amoudi (Below) offers some very nice restaurants with a gorgeous views of the cliff in red but be prepared to bring your wallet as dining at Amoudi can get quite hefty. It all depends on your budget but if you don’t have much of one, then we suggest sticking to places in Fira where they are reasonable. Ask for the barreled wine instead of the bottled but if price is not a matter check out The Amoudi Fish Tavern and try out the catch of the day!
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