Island hopping through Greece ☼
Greece is a place I think almost everyone dreams of going 🌎. Those images of the breathtaking santorini cliffs, the iconic white & blue painted streets, the plunging blue ocean 💙, the endless sunshine & ooohh the food! The glorious food 😋. There were no questions asked on our decision to go - despite the fact we had to leave the van behind to do it. Travelling without the van meant spending more money on flights, accommodation and food, but we were still determined to do it all on a small budget. Over the period of three weeks we spent roughly $3200 Australian dollars.
This time round we were travelling with a group of friends; Michele, Lauren, Ellie & Laurens boyfriend Jack. Michele, Lauren & Ellie are my best friends from back home in Australia, who I hadn't seen in almost a year, so you can imagine my excitement! Over the three weeks we all spent in Greece we ended up visiting Mykonos, Ios, Milos & Santorini. All of which are amazing in their own way. So here are my tips for travelling to each island from places to stay, eat & visit. 🍴⛵️
Mykonos town is picture perfect & everything you imagined it to be. Its easy to get lost for hours wandering the pristine white wash maze that it is. We arrived only planning to stay for two nights and ended up staying for three. I think four days & 3 nights is the perfect amount of time to explore the town, indulge in good food & explore the surrounding beaches.
If you're looking for a cheap & central place to stay I recommend either Sourmeli Gardens or Studio Eleni. Sourmeli Gardens is a ten minute walk from town, or a 2 min bike ride, & is well kept with comfortable clean rooms. We stayed for our first night & then relocated to a smaller hostel in the town centre (Studio Eleni) - not as nice as Sourmeli Garden but location is everything here. So so cheap, only being 15 euros a night per person. Bargain! 🙌🏼
I highly suggest hiring a quad or a moped on each island to easily get around 🚲. We had some trouble trying to hire a moped though as most places require you to hold a motorbike licence. I think international licenses cover this, which is shame because we left ours back in the UK! ugh! Our only option was to hire a quad, which we hired in town for €20 a day.
Over the next three days on the island we rode around visiting surrounding beaches, swimming & sunbaking for hours on end 🌞. Paradise Beach is a popular beach we visited, a little touristy & crowded, but really pretty none the less. Take a walk up and around the right hand side for incredible views over the entire beach & a little more perspective on how blue & turquoise the water actually is 💙.
My favourite beach, one that's a little more secluded, although a little further away, is called Agios Sostis. The water here is WOW. So clear & so blue! A little slice of paradise. Also a quiet place to do a little titty tanning too 🙈.
The island that took me mostly by surprise! Again staying a lot longer than expected, extending our planned two night stay to six nights. Woops! We stayed at Far Out Beach Club for the entire six nights where we had our own, very large, ensuite apartment at the price of €14 each per night. It was fantastic! Far Out is a massive party resort full of young people constantly socialising and drinking though so probably not ideal if you're visiting as a family or on a romantic holiday with your partner.
On our second day Jack was contacted over Instagram by the owners of Lost Boys bar, Reece & Caroline, who wanted to meet up & show us around the island. We were lucky enough to arrive the weekend of their yearly bar opening night, where we all, very hazily, met for the first time. Reece & Caroline have created such an amazing space where you can drink cocktails from large skull heads through reeally long straws, play endless amounts of beer pong, sit in different themed corners around the room & eat copious amounts of popcorn. Definitely our favourite & go to bar, with some of the best cocktails I've ever had 🍹. Plus Reece & Caroline are absolute legends who also run their own label - never threads - made up of rad tees, singlets and hats. Check it out! 🤘🏼
For the next week they took the time out of their days to show us all their secret spots around the island. If you're looking to rid of a hang over, go cliff jumping! Will take it right out of you. Don't worry it's a good thing. Reece took us to his favourite cliff jumping spot, a scary 18m high, where he would frequently back flip off 🙈. Way too high for my shaky legs to jump off, but I happily sat & watched as Reece & Kyle jumped. Poor Kyle had a sore tail bone for the next week haha!
*Some of the following photos were taken at secret spots shown to us by Reece and Caroline, so I won't be sharing the location - & to be honest I wouldn't even know where on the island we were! Rode for about an hour along some seriously questionable dirt roads.
THE sunset spot in Ios is up at the church perched right at the top of the town. From there you almost get a full 360 view of the town and beaches in the distance. So go buy a few beers & watch while the sun turns everything a perfect golden yellow & sets beyond the horizon 🌅.
Our favourite spots to eat included Cantina Del Mar, Harmony & Katogi. Cantina is only a short walk from Far Out & is a great spot for breakfast & lunch. The fruit salad & Santa Fe wrap is a must 🍌🍉🍇. Harmony is more of an evening restaurant that serves mouth watering Mexican food, & is usually really busy for happy hour between 5-7 pm. Katogiwas shown to us one night by Reece & Caroline, & serves absolutely amaazing Greek tapas with a twist. The place has great ambience with a boho feel to it. The wasabi cocktail & the espresso martini are a must, as is the pasta parcels - a personal fav! After an amazing week on this island we were sad to leave but excited to visit the next island on our list - Milos ⛴.
If you're adventurous enough to travel away from the more popular Greek Islands, than I highly recommend a stop over in Milos. A much more quiet & local orientated island, Milos has some of the prettiest beaches and perhaps the most interesting coast line out of any of the other islands.
Our time in Milos was unfortunately cut short due to our unintentional extended stay on Ios (hehe oops 🙊) - and we only had all of two nights and two days to explore the whole island. When we arrived we walked to a small hotel located about a 10 minute walk from the ferry terminal called Hotel Eleni. I can not recommend this place enough! Super cheap & very comfortable. The lady behind the desk was such a gem, over welcoming & sweet upon arrival.
We had a little trouble hiring a quad at a low price this time round so we ended up having to hire a car to get around. At first we were a little skeptical but it turns out that most beaches on the island are easily accessed by car.
For the rest of the afternoon we drove around exploring a few beaches & instantly fell in love with one spot in particular - Sarakiniko. This is not your average sandy beach instead its a vast white stone, moon like landscape that makes you feel like you're taking a walk in outer space. For the rest of the afternoon and almost the entire duration of the next day we spent here, swimming under caves, repeatedly jumping off the cliff face, each time a little higher than the last, & bathing in that hot sunshine ✌🏼️.
There was one beach in particular I was excited to visit & especially photograph (Tsigaro), & one of the best on the island (in my opinion) - but was unfortunately washed out by the strong currents the day we visited, thus sadly missing my opportunity to get any images worth sharing. If caught on a good day, you'll be lucky enough to witness the exotic emerald green & clear colours of the water - an amazing sight to the eye. Another beach that is also spectacular, and one of the longer stretching beaches on the island, is called Fyriplaka & is situated on the other side of Tsigaro.
The night of our dreaded midnight ferry departure we all had dinner at what is now my favourite Greek restaurant called O Hamas. Lauren & Jack had been the night before & fell in love so thankfully wanted to take us back for our last meal. I would firstly like to mention how adorable their menu is, all hand written in a little scripture book, making the experience that little bit more intimate. The food was on another level! I am a vegetarian so I decided to order a few share plates with my friend, and was not disappointed by one the dishes. My favourite being the eggplant balls and the grilled vegetables - so bright, vibrant & mouth watering! This restaurant is my top eating recommendation in the whole of Greece. So please don't miss out if you decide to travel to Milos.
With soaring 300m high sea cliffs, lined with layers of colourful & bright of buildings, Santorini has to be the most picturesque and desirable island of them all. With endless doorways & perfectly sculpture staircases leading down into somewhere even more imaginary, it's hard to fathom the realism of the place 😍. Santorini was also the island I would get see my best friend again, Ellie, whom I had not seen in over a year 👭. The next four days of exploring, sailing, dining, sunset watching, & all with my friends, had me living in a dreamland 💭⛵️.
Accommodation in Santorini was extremely pricey, so unfortunately didn't get to stay anywhere flash. As much as i would have looooved to wake up overlooking those sea plunging cliffs, our budget just could not stretch enough to fulfil those dreams. In the end though, it didn't bother me too much as we would spend most the day out & about, & if you have a mode of transport (quad) than its easy to get anywhere.
Most days we spent wandering the streets of Oia, photographing & stopping for cold lemonade and something to eat. One morning we all rose super early to capture the morning light over those all famous blue domes. We danced on the rooftops, twirling 💃 & laughing as if we were 10 again; & nothing else in the world mattered but that exact moment in time ✨.
My favourite spot to eat on the island was a really small vegetarian falafel shop in Fira called Falafel Land, that serves really cheap & tasty pita pockets and falafel boxes. The owners are super friendly, remembering us & our order after our second visit.
Everybody knows you go to Santorini to watch that Oia sunset right? Well I guess thats why thousands of people line every single spare space along the cliff to watch it set every day. At first I was totally overwhelmed by how many people there were, and how un-intimate the experienced seemed. The second night was more enjoyable as we went early and set ourselves into a spot where we had a perfect view with no heads bobbing in front of us. So keep in mind, if you want to sit and actually enjoy the sunset, an early arrival, say 2-3 hours before the sun actually sets, is recommended. Apart from the crowds, it is truly one of the most spectacular sunsets you'll ever witness.
Our last day in Santorini was spent sailing around the island for hours on our own private yacht; thanks to jack who was contacted by Santorini Yachting Club offering the day trip over instagram, & generously invited us all along to join. ⛵️ And thank you! This was a highlight for me! On board where we were treated like Kings, constantly being offered wine & having a personally cooked Greek meal aboard by one of the staff members. The feast they prepared was exceptional, causing me to over indulge, quickly diminishing any bikini confidence I may have had at the start of the day. Greece food tends to have that affect most days though! The over eating of amazing food that is 🐷😋.
After four unforgettable days in Santorini, I sadly had to say goodbye to my friends and Greece, as Kyle and I headed back to the UK to spend some quality time with family.
Few last tips..
- Greek delicacies you must eat - Dolmades (fav), saganaki cheese 🧀, Moussaka, Eggplant salad (anything eggplant really) 🍆, Gyros 🌯, Greek salad🍅, tzatziki, frozen greek yoghurt 🍦(and lots of it), Baklava & local honey🐝.
- Remember to bring your international license if you want to hire a moped.
- Don't be afraid to cliff jump. It is one of my favourite memories I now hold.
- Ask locals tips on where to visit and eat. They know best!
- Venture out of the islands main town.
- Order lots of starters & turn your meals into tapas. Best of everything! 🙌🏼
↣ Keep an eye out for my Norway post in the next week or so..