As I sit here writing this blog and going through my photo album, all the ‘feels’ from Greece have come flooding back. I can see the beautiful white-washed architecture set against the turquoise waters and the vivid sunsets, I can feel the winds and the belly laughs and I can taste the tomatoes and champagne.
On this trip, a few friends and I visited three of the more well-known islands in the Cyclades archipelago.
The adventure began chasing hedonism in Mykonos, notable for its gay-friendly vibe and never-ending beach party rave scene.
We stayed at The George Hotel, in an area called Platis Gialos, on the southwest part of the island. It’s about 4km from Mykonos town and a short water ferry from many of the famous beaches. It’s important to choose your location wisely in Mykonos because private transportation is difficult to come by. There is an Uber-like app that we found mildly helpful.
Recommendations to pass the days and nights in Mykonos Include:
Nammos – Book a table for a scrumptious lunch, but plan on staying until dark. Wear a swimsuit under your clothes if you fancy a dip in the sea.
Scorpios - Book in advance for dinner and then rage until closing time.
Interni - Go for the appetizers, stay for the club vibe. If you like the music as much as we did, you can buy it on a flash drive for €180.
Caprice - A dinner option in town.
Pinky Beach in Super Paradise - Lay claim to a sunbed, enjoy a massage, eat and drink whilst listening to some tunes at this beach club.
After our four nights in Mykonos, we were sufficiently broke and broken. From there, we took about a one hour fast ferry to Páros, where we enjoyed two nights of low-key luxury.
Páros is quiet and chilled compared to its neighbors. It’s famous for traditional architecture and lovely beaches. Parikia and Náoussa are the main villages.
We stayed at Minois Village Resort & Spa. There were far too many children around to enjoy the pool in peace, but the hospitality and attentiveness of the staff was top notch.
The next day was spent on a private boat, leaving out of Aliki Port.
On our journey at sea, we first visited Panteronissia (AKA the "Blue Lagoon"). We swam in the crystal-clear waters amongst volcanic remnants. Like mermaids, we emerged out of the water, on a small island and joined some young locals in a game of beach soccer. Losers had to do a shot of Tsipouro (ick!).
Our next stop was a beautiful cove where we had the option of swimming, paddle boarding, snorkelling and/or cliff jumping. Here our captain prepared a delicious snack, consisting of all locally sourced foods.
We enjoyed another beautiful Páros sunset before heading back to the port for a yummy seaside dinner.
Our Grecian journey ended on the beautiful island of Santorini. The ferry took about three hours from Páros. We were met at the port in Santorini by a driver who took us to our villa in Oia. It turns out that there are over 1,000 hotels on the island and only 36 taxis, so it’s imperative to organize transit in advance and/or hire a car.
Our tri-level villa slept eight. It had its own private pool and hot tub. Oia Sunset Villas also arranged our Jeep Wrangler hire (drop off and pick up at our accommodation) as well as a chef for the first night. The villa was slightly father out of Oia proper than we’d have liked, but it was lovely, secluded, tranquil and away from all the tourists.
Having the Jeep was wonderful and allowed us to see a lot of the island.
Below is a list of places that I would recommend based on what we saw/did:
Red Beach – It’s a bit of a hike to get to this scenic beach. The the tiny stretch of beach is overrun with tourists, so go early in the AM.
The Black Beaches – We went to JoJo in Perivolos, which offers sunbeds for hire, music, full service bar, food, beach volleyball and water sports. WARNING: The black sand will burn the soles of your feet.
Enjoy a champagne sunset at PK in Fira. Book in advance.
Mezzo for dinner in Fira – They claim to have the best Greek salad in Santorini!
Chill out at Le Moustache's infinity pool for the day (book beds in advance). The view is killer.
Take the hundreds of steps down from Oia to Ammoudi Bay and dine at Sunset Taverna. It’s worth the walk, but maybe take a car back up the hill afterward.
Greece was an incredible visual and edible feast of a destination, but it left us hungry for more. I hope to see you again soon, Greece!
Know Before You Go:
During high season, book everything in advance, from accommodations and transportation to sunbeds and restaurants.
AMEX is not widely accepted, so be sure to have a Visa or Mastercard on hand.
Greeks are known for their hospitality and friendliness. I found this to be accurate.
The food is incredible!
I never felt unsafe on any island and there was no obvious theft. We regularly left our stuff unattended on the beach when we swam.
It's very windy, which was refreshing in the daytime but made for some chilly evenings.
There were not many mosquitos, but the ones that did exist managed to find and feast on me.
The drinking water in Santorini was salty so we stuck to bottled water. It seemed to be fine on the other islands.