The Greek islands are the perfect destination. They have the beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, the traditional Greek food, the cute little white/blue houses and not to forget those amazing and famous sunsets! If you are looking to visit some Greek islands this year, make sure to read on to make this trip memorable.
How to plan:
First of all you need to make a decision about the islands you want to visit. Greece has about a few thousands of islands, although you probably only heard about the famous ones like Rhodes, Zakynthos, Korfu, Santorini… So you need to have a little background about the island groups. Whether you are looking for a getaway with some friends, a family trip or a some romance with your loved one, the Greek islands have it all. You just need to pick the right islands that would fit into your kind of holiday. We chose to visit The Cyclades, more specific we went to Mykonos, Santorini and Paros. We will explain later on why we chose these. So if you've chosen the islands you want to visit, the first thing you need to do is to book a flight off course. We mostly don’t book a flight in combination with a hotel or any other package deals because we prefer to plan everything our way. After we booked the flights we did some research about the islands we were going to visit and decided how many days we wanted to spend at each island, so this way we could book the ferry tickets too. The ferries are considered to be the best, easiest and cheapest way to get around all the islands. We booked them through a site called ferryhopper.com, but there are a lot of sites to buy them. The site we chose compared all the companies and they had the option to book multiple tickets for island hopping, this way you could book all the tickets at ones*.We read online that it was not problem to book ferry tickets on sight, but we were really happy we didn’t listen and booked it anyway. Let’s say, it can get pretty hectic at the harbour, so booking in advance is according to us better. Finally you need to look for hotels you want to stay. If this is done, you have planned to most important things; your flight, the ferries and the hotels.
“*Little inside tip, don’t spend to much on having a direct trip from one island to another. The night before we had our last ferry, we got a message about the ferry leaving an hour in advance and there would be two extra stops before reaching our destination. According to the locals, which we asked about the ‘ferry problem’, it is quite normal to have delays or last minute changes.”
Where to go:
As already mentioned we visited Santorini, Mykonos and Paros, but why these three islands? Well in our opinion this was a perfect combination for us. If you visit Mykonos you have an island with beautiful beaches, nice beachclubs to chill, good food and those amazing sunsets you always see on Instagram. Santorini on the other hand, is more traditional in our eyes. You have the white houses with those blue rooftops, you probably get to visit Oia and see one of the most famous views of Greece and visit some cute towns. Paros: we chose to have a little break from the busy-famous islands. Those islands are perfect to travel to as a couple, there are plenty of possibilities to enjoy romantic moments together.
What to do:
Let’s start with Santorini. Probably the most famous of all the Greek islands, with its rocky landscape and beautiful hilltop villages. If you visit Santorini, you HAVE to visit the sunset point at Oia. Although it gets pretty crowded at that time of the day, it was really worth it. If you want to have a perfect spot, you may need to go about an hour before the sun goes down, but it is not really necessary. We went twice, since we were so amazed by this place. The first time we noticed that literally one minute after the sun went down a lot of people left, but most sunsets get even better after this moment. So the second time we visited a little bit later and it was perfect too, but keep in mind that a few hundreds of people try to leave to place. Not really super handy haha. What we didn’t really think about was the fact that Santorini doesn’t really have beaches. There are a few yes mainly on the northern part, but some are only accessible by boat, which off course comes zith a price.
So we were really happy we booked a hotel with a pool. This one didn’t had the well known view of Santorini since it was more inland, but it was one of the best hotels we stayed at. The breakfast was soooo good and served to the room, we had a pool where we spend most of our time at noon, the people working there were super friendly and just across the street there was a little restaurant. It is really cool to experience a night at one of those hotels with ocean view, but it is absolutely not necessary to have an incredible stay at Santorini. So if you can’t afford to have that expensive ocean view suite, no worries! The third thing to do, is visit some cute villages. We preferred to do this in the in the morning because it is way more quiet at that time of the day. Some of the towns you could visit are Oia, Imerovigli or Fira. On a sunny day it can be really hot around noon, so as said look for a hotel with a pool or try to find a lovely beach. By the end of the day you should look for a nice place to watch the sunset, one of our favourite activities to do while traveling is enjoying sunsets as much as possible.
Mykonos is more known for its beachclubs and it’s sunset bars. It had some kind of a bohemian vibe. So what could you do while visiting this island? For us Mykonos was more like a ‘relax’ island, so we looked for some nice beaches to spend the day and search for a lovely bar or a more peaceful and quiet place to watch the sunset at night. If you are looking for a calmer beach but really beautiful, Agia Anna beach is really lovely. Another thing to do is visiting Mykonos old town where you could do some shopping and enjoy some local Greek cuisine. There are plenty of local stores where you can find some unique pieces. Some classic spots like the windmills and little Venice should not be skipped and if you love to party, partying all night long is definitely possible at Mykonos!
Visiting Paros gave us more of a feeling of being a local. The island offers you something unique and it is not so crowded as the other well-known islands of Greece and they definitely have some of the cutest little towns you definitely should visit. So what to do? Get lost at the alleys of Lefkes and Marpissa. They were so traditional with all of the white houses, the pink Bougainvillea flowers and the locals were really kind. Here you will find some typical Greek image spots. Parikia and Naoussa are the ones to visit during the evening. Since these two are a bit bigger, it is easier to find a lovely place to have dinner and both places get really cozy when the evening falls.Another thing that makes Paros different is the fact that you don’t really have those big hotels. The hotels mostly are owned by a Greek family that really tries to make you stay memorable. Let’s go to the bea-each, can’t be skipped at Paros, since the island is also known for some beautiful beaches. Our favourite one hasn’t even got a name on google maps but if you look for Marcello beach and you drive a little further, you find a little beach lane. Also Kolymbithres beach is a pretty one. The special insider vibe we talked about is felt by the super friendly locals who try to help you, the not so busy streets you wander through and we even witnessed a wedding a the harbour of Naoussa, which made our trip complete. So Paros may be not that famous, but is definitely an island you need to add on your Greek bucket list!
Best time to go:
We would suggest not to go in the month July or august since it gets really crowded. We went by the end of september and the weather was just perfect. It still is quite busy, but it is comfortable. Positive side effect of not visiting the islands during these high season months, the prices should already start to go down. So the best time according to us is the end of September - beginning of October or in May or June.
How to get around on the islands:
The islands are not that big so you could rent a scooter or a quad. We did this most of the time and it is really easy to get everywhere, especially when you arrive in the little towns where the roads start to get smaller. You don’t need to wait if there is traffic jam and it is also easier to find a parking spot. On the island of Santorini there were no quads to rent anymore. So we took a car instead. The price was almost the same as a quad and since it was really windy during the evenings, it was actually nice to have a car. So important side note, your driver license is something you better not forget at home ;-)