Our Island Experiences
One of the best ways to experience the Greek islands is to island hop! You don’t need a set schedule you can just move along at your own pace. If you fall in love with an island stay a few extra days, or if you’re ready to leave after a few hours get on the next boat out of there! Here is how we Island hopped our way though the Greek Island.
Rhodes (Island #1)
We flew into Rhodes from Gattwick, and unfortunately we lost all our luggage, luckily we were in Greece in June/July so it was crazy hot, and therefore we didn’t really need a lot when it came to clothing, especially since on most beaches in Greece, clothing is optional!
We found our amazing little hotel Koykos which was in a prime location, we were able to walk to the old town and along the water front, plus the Greek food made by the small family who owned the place was unreal! We didn’t eat anywhere else for our entire time on Rhodes, we felt like nothing else would compare
Santorini (Island #2)
After our 3 days in Rhodes we hopped onto our first ferry! We took a ride to Santorini, the island we were most excited for, and it didn’t fail to amaze.
From port we took a small taxi to get to our hotel in Fira, which again was unbelievable. We had a pool and the family was really sweet to us, we didn’t have our suitcases yet, they were still lost somewhere in the world so they were very accommodating in helping us find a few things we needed.
We were walking distance into the main markets of Fira, the small village where there art an abundance of cute streets littered with souvenirs and Greek snacks. We spent hours wandering, taking photos, buying gifts and adding new flavors to our pallets. We especially loved the lamb gyros, so much so that we ate them for lunch almost every day.
We knew when we were in Greece that we wanted to ride the Donkeys; but when we saw that they were all walking up the path roped together we were left feeling disappointed. Regardless, We were not leaving until we experienced the donkey riding! As we lined up like every other tourist, a little old Greek man came running up to us yelling “Dokeys? Donkeys?”, which was about all the English he could muster up, but super excited we followed him saying “yes, yes, Donkeys!” We cut the line and walked into where there were only 3 Donkeys, clustered together with beads on their heads and saddles ready to go, clearly he wasn’t a tour agent and these were his personal Donkeys. He hoisted me up, then Justin and down the hill we went, the slightly terrifying thing is that NO ONE WAS GOING DOWN ON THE DONKEY’S, ONLY UP! The path was really steep and slippery and our Donkey’s almost slid out a few times, even though we kept thinking “oh man we are going to die” we were having way more fun than the other tourists, who were playing follow the leader with their heard.
We got to the bottom of the path, and we survived, then turned around and started our way back to the top. This time the little Greek man patted the Donkey’s on the ass and laughed as we hurried off without him up the hill. My donkey was in the front and Justin’s donkey was persistent on trying to get in front of me, which wasn’t going to happen. By the time we reached the top we were in a full sprint, and both of us had scratched up legs from running into the rocky walls on either side of the path.
I wouldn’t change anything about our Donkey experience as we truly had more fun than we ever would have if we joined in with everyone else and their 20 donkeys.
So when you’re in Santorini look for the little old Greek man with his own Donkeys!
Another NOT TO MISS activity in Santorini is Cliff jumping!
We rented our quad from a small shop right beside our hotel (they are everywhere), and drove the highway from Fira to Oia to get a change of scenery. A local told us a must do is cliff jumping, his directions were sketchy as it’s not a tourist attraction, it’s what the locals’ do to let loose and cool off in the hot summer months.
We drove our quad down Amoudi Bay just below Oia, hiked a few minutes to a small walking path, and there were 4 restaurants built right into the side of a cliff, we ended up eating seafood at one for lunch and it was fabulous. We walked through the restaurants along some cliffs and came up on a quiet little spot where the only way to get in the water is to jump off the cliffs and go for a dive. This provided up with one of the most beautiful views we have ever seen; When you swim away from the cliffs and turned around to look at the island, It was littered with beautiful blue roof tops and paper white buildings. We spent hours enjoying this space climbing up the rocks just to jump back in to the cool salty sea.
When you’re done with cliff jumping, ride back up into Oia find a restaurant that faces the sunset and be amazed, Oia is known for it’s world famous sunsets, and we were lucky enough to watch them for 3 nights, each one was completely different.
Ios (Island #3)
From Santorini we boarded another ferry to get to Ios, the party island in Greece. Because it’s the party island there are plenty of cheap places to stay, eat and relax. Our little hotel was right on the beach, we enjoyed watching the drunk party goers have the time of their lives night after night. Football was on when we were there so we cheered on as a parade of Europeans chanted up and down the street.
One of the best things about Greece had to be that the wine is insanely cheap. for 3 Euros we bought 2 bottles of wine, and one evening we sat on our patio watching the ocean and the waves enjoying our Merlot and laughing about the adventures we have already been on.
We rented a quad to get around this island as well, although it’s a lot smaller so once you get into town you can park and walk everywhere, there are beautiful little markets and shops to visit, but the main reason to come to Ios is to let loose and party hard!
Paros (Island #4)
Our time in Paros was off to a rocky start, we booked a hotel, but when we got to the island and walked with our huge bags to find the hotel, just to have a local woman tell us that they had moved, on their website the old address was still listed so we were really confused, thankfully she was able to contact the old owner and they came rushing to pick us up. One guy on a little quad showed up to take us to the other hotel, we were hesitant to split up for the journey, one goes and one waits, but the Greek are very friendly and kind and we had no troubles getting to the new hotel. Once we were settled in we had a fantastic time!
Paros is an island that is best explored by quad or scooter, we beach hopped all over the island each day, trying new restaurants and checking out each side of the island. There was one beach on the West side of Paros we just happened upon that is known for it’s clay and mud, which is great for your skin. When in Greece do as the Greeks do, so we lathered up in mud from the rocks and then washed it all off in the Salty sea.
Paros is definitely known for it’s beaches and small sea side villages so we took our time exploring each one. It was about 40 degrees when we were there so we would zip from on beach to the next and jump in the water, which was like a luke warm bath, dry off in the Greek sun, which took no time at all, then cruise to a new spot. You could spend days driving around to every beach and finding a spot to jump in and cool off!
BE WARNED THE GREEKS ALL GO NUDE TO THE BEACHES! You might not think that’s an issue, but sometimes it’s a sight you can never get back.
Naxos (Island #5)
Naxos was another island where we did a lot of beach hopping and shopping in the small villages for cute little Greek Souvenirs; we also indulged in a lot of eating here! We had some troubles again with this accommodation, that’s the way things go in Greece though, as we learnt. The place we booked was having water issues, but their next door neighbour was willing to accommodate us. The new place we were staying was a little smaller but the couple who ran the place were fantastic, the gentleman even gave us a hand painted rock with a picture of the island before we left.
One of the funniest things in Naxos was the small restaurants along the water front by the pier. As you’re walking along looking at menu’s the owner’s always offer you something to eat there, one guy will say “you eat here you get free appetiser”, the next will offer an appetiser and wine, then we would usually we ended up going to a place that would throw in an appetiser, wine and a shot of ouzo for free.
Always drink the house wine, we never had a bad glass! Always different! Always delicious!
Naxos does have a few Greek temples scattered around for the gods that you can walk to or drive your quad if you want to see some of the ones more inland. they also have beautiful sunsets, If you eat at at one of the restaurants along the pier you can watch it as you enjoy your desert after dinner.
Mykonos (Island #6)
The final island that we visited was Mykonos, it’s known for being very confusing to navigate as when it was originally built, the people who lived there made the streets confusing for pirates. It’s also very confusing for tourists, and it took us 2 hours to find our hotel, which afterwards we realised was only 15 minutes away from the pier, but hey, life is all about those adventures, and we do love getting lost in a city because when you’re lost crazy wonderful things happen that you would never expect.
We ended up renting a scooter here and it was little scarier to navigate as the island is more busy and the streets are tight, we went to Paradise Beach, which is known for it’s lively parties and enjoyed the sun some days; while on other days we enjoyed the quieter more secluded beaches.
We did almost die when Justin decided to take us through a traffic circle on the scooter, not really knowing what we were doing, we almost got squished, thankfully we never had to go back through it again!
The waterfront is a beautiful place to walk around and get some lunch, we were sad that we never got to see the ever famous Petros the Pelican when we were there, but they do have a fake statue you can take pictures at if he doesn’t decided to show up for a visit. With Mykonos being our final island we took in every last sunset we could, which are really beautiful if you are at the windmills just to the left of the Pier.
After island hopping we made our way to Athens to finish our Greek tour, but the big city never compared to the quietness and laid back vibe of the Greek islands. Sunny days on the white sand beaches, enjoying a bottle or two of wine while watching the sunset every night and waking up so close to the sea you can smell the salt in the air is truly something I could do for the rest of my life.
Until next time Greece,