This was my first time in Greece, so the standard tourist spots seemed like the best place to start and during summer where could I go wrong. During this trip, I visited Athens, Santorini and Mykonos.
My first stop was Athens; I joined the hop-on hop-off bus tour to get a good look at everything Athens had to offer. The bus tour included audio commentary, so I learnt about the city as we drove through it. I really only visited the locations the bus stopped at, which included the Acropolis, Plaka, Temple of Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium just to name a few (see website for full list). One of my favourite areas was the Kavouri coast as the beaches were beautiful and the food was delicious. I had a delicious crumbed lobster lunch while I was there, so I would definitely recommend trying some fresh seafood during your visit. It was a pleasant city to see, but I’m not sure I would go back. Maybe if I had visited one of their museums or libraries, I may have had a stronger connection with the city.
My next stop was Santorini, which was as perfect in person as it had been in all the beautiful photographs I had seen before arriving. While there I stayed at the Aressana Spa Hotel & Suites which is in Fira. I would highly recommend this hotel! The staff were absolutely lovely; they were all so friendly, professional and happy to help with anything. The hotel location was also perfect; it’s in close proximity to the bus station, cable cars and great shopping. With a recommendation from the hotel staff, I took a catamaran tour with Santorini Yachting Club. It was a beautiful day, our catamaran had approximately 18 people on it, but it was big enough that I could just laze around or talk with my fellow travellers. We had a few stops for snorkelling and even stopped for a swim in the hot springs. Also included in the tour was a delicious BBQ lunch cooked by the crew. The tour highlight was the sunset over Oia, it was a magical moment. The catamaran was positioned perfectly with a beautiful view of the sunset and picture-perfect sites surrounded me. In front of me, I could see the beautiful blue sky, which slowly melted away into a warm orange and red glow, as the bright yellow sun descended into the water. As I looked around yachts, catamarans and sailing boats all surrounded me filled with people drinking in the same view. To my right was the town of Oia, a beautiful town with a sea of white buildings streaming down the brown cliff face. It was a calm and once in a lifetime moment that I feel blessed to have experienced.
My last stop in Greece was Mykonos. From the relaxing island to the party island I was told by locals when I mentioned the order I had travelled the islands in. I stayed at the Mykonos Palace Beach Hotel on Platis Gialos Beach, which is considered the quiet beach. This time around I took a sailboat tour, which was even more relaxing than the last. We had a few spots for snorkelling and this tour was a lot more secluded than the last, in most instances we were the only boat in the area. At each location, the water was beautiful and clear, with the scenery so picture perfect. A heads up that the trip back to the dock… um… is interesting, lol. While I felt safe the whole time, sailing through high waves was an interesting experience for me, and at some stages, the boat was almost on its side while gliding through the waves. A very fun adventure, but I would suggest visiting the bathroom before the journey back starts because the rocking of the boat and being surrounded by water makes for a very tense experience back if you need to pee lol.
I would recommend visiting the Greek islands in your life. There is so much to do for any age or interest. I really enjoyed walking through the streets of Santorini; each town on the island is like a labyrinth of white and blue, with each street more interesting than the last. The beaches I experienced on the Mykonos boat tour left me wanting to stay longer if I wanted the perfect beach experience with crystal clear water, white sand and relaxation I would sail around Mykonos.
So take that trip to the Greek islands you’ve been dreaming about. While you’re there, you will have to keep reminding yourself that you’re not dreaming anymore.