It’s time to catch up on those mythological creatures as the place you will read about contains references throughout the story and definitely whilst you visit there. Greece has long been a popular travel destination and with it being surrounded by the Aegean Sea, you have plenty of opportunity to catch some sun.
I am going to run west through to east and only speak about a few destinations. As Athens is the capital and also the largest city, it seems like a good option to start there. The history of Athens is dated back to 11th century BC and recorded history dating back 3400 years. The age of the city has brought about many ruins but it is easy to become confused as to whether it is half finished due to all the scaffolding and cranes located at each area.
The most famous of these being the Pantheon, a former temple dedicated to the goddess of Athena. From Athens, it is quite easy to jump on a ferry and travel to one of the idyllic islands located in the Aegean Sea. There are seven main groups of islands with the ones talked about today located right in the middle and about a 5 hour ferry journey from Athens. You can check out timetables and prices from http://www.greekferries.gr/
Top Tip: Be sure to check if it is a public holiday as some ferries will get booked up quickly on these.
Santorini provides excellent material for avid photographers. The whiteness of the buildings, the sheer cliffs lead to the deep blue water and of course, the magical sunsets all provide stunning shots. Once an active volcano, Santorini now boast 300 metre cliffs which have houses clinging onto the top.
The capital Fira, is ideally situated in the middle of the island, allowing easy access to all the sights. As the ferries dock, you will be surrounded by local hoteliers trying to sell their rooms. You can book the hotels in advance but if you are feeling a little spontaneous, wait until you unload and choose your best price. If you go for a hotel with a view overlooking the water, you will be paying extra for it. I would suggest getting a hotel on the sloping side of the island to save some cash. You can travel around the island by many forms of transport but I choose the quad bike as my means of getting between places. Prices start from approximately 20 euro per day, but can fit 2 people on each bike. The accessible island is shaped as a horseshoe. Drive to the left first all the way out to the end point to get some good photos looking back onto the island. Be sure to take your swimmers and stop off at the numerous beaches along the way. This includes the Red Beach, known for its red sand. After snaking your way back across the island, it is now time to head to Oia and capture the sun sinking into the water.
Top Tip: Look back at the buildings during sunset to see their shadows cast on to their surrounds.
Ios is a place to relax on the beach and party the night away with all the other revellers. If this is not your scene then there are some nice restaurants and tours of the island you can take. I was roughing it when I stayed there and decided to stay at the ‘Far Out Beach Club’ in their camping and Bungalow section (they do also have a hotel side too). The tents were simple 3 person tents which shared amenities. The resort is located directly across from the beach and has a basketball court, massive bar area and swimming pool.
Paros and Naxos are neighbouring islands which are similar to each other. These are more laid back compared to the renowned party islands and are a step back from the swarm of international tourists on Santorini. The local transport is the best way to see the island and experience local culture. Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades group so there is plenty to explore.
The next island across the map to stop at is Samos. More influenced by Turkey rather than Greece, it hosts a concoction of culture due to its close proximity to the old Roman owned town of Kusadasi – Turkey. Please read ’10 days in Turkey’ for tips on what to do there. The suggested itinerary can also be done in reverse too.
If you are not wanting to plan your trip there are a few tour companies which will cater in Island hopping or you can buy a pass from ‘Busabout’ which have hop on/hop off trips.