If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I’m in Greece right now. I was really looking forward to writing a lot over here but ended up being so busy with life and my travels that I only publish my first Greece blog post now that I’m here for five weeks already. But anyway, better late than never.
When I started planning out my whole travel route, I always thought about it as two separate chapters. First, my two-week Cyclade island hopping trip with a friend of mine, and second, a longer stay on Crete where I’m on my own most of the time. So let’s start off with the first chapter.
Our trip started in Athens, where we stayed for two nights. Our hostel was called Bedbox hostel and was located 500 m from Monastiraki Square, which is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Athens. On the day of our arrival, we just took a stroll around the old town without any plan in mind and quickly realized that we easily could stay there for a week or even longer. I heard mixed views about Athens, but I really liked it a lot and two days simply wasn’t enough. However, we made the most of our second day and visited the Panathenaic Stadium, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Acropolis. My top tip for Athens is to visit the Acropolis during golden hour! Not only is it a lot less hot then, but also insanely beautiful to watch the sunset from the top of the city!
After our second night in Athens, we took an early ferry from Piraeus – Athens’s largest harbor – to Mykonos. The trip took us about 5 hours and we stopped on two other islands in-between. As we arrived on Mykonos, we had to catch a bus to the old port, which took about ten minutes. Luckily, our hostel – My Cocoon – was located directly at the old port and the entrance to the old city, so we had to walk there for only a few meters after leaving the bus. Although our hostel dorm was tiny – we stayed in a 10-bed dorm – I liked the hostel and was glad that I’ve found an affordable accommodation on such a pricy island like Mykonos. We didn’t do a lot of sightseeing on Mykonos, as we mainly visited the island because of its iconic old town. We did, however, go to two different beaches: Agios Stefanos & Paralia Choras Mikonou, and took a walk to the famous windmills.
After two beautiful yet expensive days on Mykonos, we took another ferry to Paros. Among all the islands that I’ve visited on this trip, Paros was the one I knew the least about and yet it ended up being my favorite. We stayed at Louiza Hotel in Parikia, which is the capital of Paros as well as the main port of the island. The old town of Paros reminded me of Mykonos, but it was less crowded, more relaxed, and obviously a lot more affordable. I loved the mixture of traditional taverns, touristy shops, and plain streets where locals live, so it wasn’t just souvenir shop after souvenir shop. Luckily, we booked four nights on Paros, so we had lots of time to explore the old town of Parikia, relax at the swimming pool & go on a little road trip.
We originally wanted to rent a quad, but the guy at the rental company was begging us to go for a car instead, as many roads on Paros are unsecured and not made for inexperienced quad drivers. So we ended up exploring Paros by car, which was still an adventure since both of us haven’t been driving in over a year and never outside of Germany. First, we went to Naoussa, a cute little harbor town in the north of the island. If I couldn’t stay at Parikia for whatever reason the next time I visit Paros, I would definitely go here instead! Our next stop was Lefkes, a traditional village located in the center of the island. Afterwards, we went to the south of Paros and had lunch at Faragas Beach. Although the beach itself was nice, I probably wouldn’t go there again, as it was more of a party beach, which isn’t really my vibe. The last stop of our mini road trip was Pounta, where we took a little walk at the waterfront and watched kite surfers.
After our time on Paros was over, we took yet another ferry to Milos. I wanted to visit Milos ever since I watched Jolie Janine’s YouTube videos about this island last year ‘cause I was totally blown away by the beaches there. However, although I liked the island and the beaches that we’ve seen, there are some things that I would do differently when I’ll go to Milos the next time. First of all, I probably wouldn’t stay at Papafragas Beach again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful location and definitely worth a visit, but except for the beach itself, there’s absolutely nothing around. To get to Pollonia, which is the next village with a little harbor, a few restaurants, and a really crappy mini-market, you need to walk for 40 minutes on the main road. Pollonia itself is really pretty and I could imagine staying there next time, although in that case, I’d still need to buy groceries elsewhere. Other than that, Milos is not very touristy in general, which is nice, but also means that there’s no proper public bus system. The buses run only a few times a day, so you are very restricted without a car. Therefore, I highly recommend renting one for your entire stay on Milos! I bet you’ll get a lot more use out of it than if you’re dependent on buses. But let’s talk about our trips on Milos.
On our first day, we went to Sarakiniko Beach, which is hands down one of the most insane beaches I’ve ever seen! The entire landscape consists of big white volcanic rocks which make a beautiful contrast with the deep blue ocean, so it’s quite a popular photo spot on Milos. If you wanna go to Sarakiniko, I would suggest to carve out at least three hours for your visit, as the beach is quite large! The next day we took the bus to Plaka where we walked around the old town and up to the Venetian Castle from where you have a nice view of the villages around. Other than that, we coincidentally discovered the Marmara Sand Museum, in which you can find sand from all over the world, which might not sound that interesting, but we were actually pretty amazed by it! On our last full day on Milos, we went on a half-day boat trip to Kleftiko, a spot of rock formations in the ocean that can be reached only by seaway. There we stopped for more than an hour, so we could jump off the boat and swim around the rocks. Tip: bring your snorkeling gear to this trip, if you have any!
The last Cyclade island we’ve visited on our trip was Santorini, which was just like Mykonos on my bucket list for quite a while already. We stayed at Stelios Place in Perissa, which is a small hotel close to Perissa Black Sand Beach. I can 100% recommend this place and would go there again at any time. Since it was really pretty and had a pool, it was definitely on the pricier side of the accommodations we stayed at, but 70€ per night split by two people is still a reasonable price, especially on Santorini. We stayed there for three nights, which was enough to see a lot, but as for every island we’ve visited, more time wouldn’t have hurt. On our first full day, we visited the Red Beach in the south-west of Santorini, had lunch in the traditional village of Megalochori, and spend the evening at our hotel pool. The next day we explored the north of the island and walked around Imerovigli and later watched the sunset in Oia, the most famous village on Santorini. Oia is definitely worth the hype, and we were lucky that we got to explore it without the usual tourist crowds.
After our stay on Santorini, we took our very last ferry to Crete, but as I said in the beginning, that’s a whole different chapter that I will write about another time. If your interested in how I can afford to travel for such a long time, you can read my blog post on low budget traveling in the meantime.
All in all, we really enjoyed our island hopping trip and were genuinely happy with the destinations we chose. I’ll definitely return to every single island we’ve visited at some point!