I heart Greece.
I fell in love with Greece. Hard. The kind of instant and gratifying love that makes you never want to leave a place. The first seed was planted when I was cast as a Grecian in our 1996 primary school olympics. Waving my blue and white flag in the air, I strode with pride along the basketball courts (adorned in a toga sheet and with a cardboard wreath set firmly upon my small head). As the original olympians we got pride of place and marched at the start of the opening ceremony procession. Naturally, ancient greek mythology studies and reruns of Hercules followed suit.
To Athens we go.
Arriving into Athens it was the real deal. I lapped up the food, the culture, the people and the history. Time was short before our expedition out to the islands so we went into walking overload and hit the streets.
You absolutely must..
1.) Check out the Acropolis when it first opens to avoid having to hussle amongst the tour groups for space. Next head straight down the hill to check out the accompanying museum. Peer through the glass terrace to see the live dig beneath the foundations.
2.) Explore the local market and fruit stalls in Plaka. A sensory explosion, we walked away with paper bags laden full of sweet smelling berries and stone fruits.
3.) Climb Mount Lycabettus for epic views over the city. Grab some local Mythos beers and time it so you can catch the sunset. (If you get terribly lost like we did, a quick sprint will get you up to the top)
Now it's time to get out to the islands.
Here's 3 Greek Islands to Add to Your Bucket List:
Sun-worshipper that I am, I can't go on enough about the out of this world beaches. Hire a car, pack your sunscreen, a good book and don't be surprised if you have the beach to yourselves. If boredom ensues, move on to the next bay. They are polar opposites of each other so there is something to please everyone. Our favourites were Tsigrado (accessible down a ladder), Firiplaka (gorgeous rock formations) and Golden beach (excellent mojitos and the softest sand).
Postcard perfect. Walk around Oia once the sun has gone down. After sunset there is a mass exodus of tourists so make sure to take advantage of the less hectic streets. Brave the 500 odd steps down to the marina. They are frequented by donkeys so don't be alarmed by cackles and squeals from people dodging animal poop. An afternoon sail adds a nice break from the busy island. There is plenty of time to swim, dance and enjoy the unobscured sunset from the ocean.
My favourite island in the cyclades and it has nothing to do with partying. Mykonos town is so perfect with it's wide cobblestone streets, restaurants on the water, art galleries and quirky shops. Don't be afraid to order pasta or pizza. We had a perfect meal at D'Angelo, which can always be balanced by a giant feta slab posing as greek salad.
To read about our time in Rhodes click here.
- Words by Kelly. Pictures by Daniel.