Category Archives: Greek islands

Island hopping revisited

As my work has it, I’m currently preparing a travel guide for a few of Greece’s best and lesser known islands. Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Antiparos, Amorgos, Skiathos, Ios and Aegina. Yes, it’s not a bad project to be involved in, considering alternative options would involve stories related to the current recession. While doing the research and writing, I looked up some pictures I’d taken on holidays which inevitably and brought back memories and  led to some realizations. First, I’ve really been around. I saw pictures of a younger me standing under a whitewashed archway, smiling and holding my dress so that the wind would not reveal too much. Others of friends seated around a table, feasting on seafood, faces slightly burned from spending the day at the beach, eyes revealing a generous consumption of wine.  I even found pictures of a tiny me attempting to feed a donkey somewhere in Paros, taken at a time when you had to develop the film before you could see if the exposure was any good. 

The project has been keeping me busy for weeks and will continue to do so for a few more. It is by no means a complete guide, it will just feature what I consider to be the highlights, a first acquaintance to allow one to discover even more. More importantly, I’m hoping to convey, even to a smallest degree, a sense of their uniqueness, a feeling of the atmosphere and the reason why people keep coming back. 

Last year's holiday: Paxi islands in Western Greece

Last year’s holiday: Paxi islands in Western Greece

Second, people make their preferences crystal clear. I haven’t yet met a person who didn’t include Santorini in their bucket list. I see it all the time in Pinterest’s boards. Especially those who consider tying the knot and want to find the perfect romantic getaway. Cheesy, but true. Party animals want to know about Mykonos and Ios and so on. If you ask me, I crave peace, quiet, clear waters and a good meal, so I go for the more obscure islands, the ones where you’re least likely to come across the package-holidaymakers. Avoid travelling during peak season also improves dramatically my travel experience. Don’t be fooled by my eclecticism though. I’ve done the mainstream island tour in my twenties and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Last year, I went to Paxi and Antipaxi, a small cluster of islands in the Ionian sea, right below Corfu, in western Greece. These islands are not exactly obscure. They are very popular with new skippers who want to take their sail boats for a spin, but they have managed to escape mass tourism. If you visit early in the season you will be rewarded with low winds, emerald waters, countless little coves and beaches, captivating scenery and truly amazing food, especially in Logos village. I highly recommend it. 

Do you have a favorite Greek island? Interested in visiting one?

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Damn, I’m not going to St Barts this summer…

Hotel Grace Santorini (from www.destinology.co.uk)

Hotel Grace Santorini (from http://www.destinology.co.uk)

I had everything planned out. I had my Louis Vuitton luggage next to my walk-in wardrobe (both large suitcase and hand luggage), my travel guide downloaded in my iPhone 5, my cashmere shawl carefully tucked into the LV and was about to put my designer clothes in the bag when…

Ι came across this article in the website Greek reporter (www.greekreporter.com). The article cites a Euro-barometer survey, according to which 90 pct of Greeks will not be travelling abroad this year, due to their slashed wages.

Uuh…this is, like, the least of our problems.

Greeks did not travel abroad much during the summer holidays anyway. The country is a holiday destination (cliche Santorini photo at the top). That’s one of the few things that hasn’t changed here since the start of the recession.

I understand the point the article is trying to make: Greeks can no longer afford holidays, its is far ahead of the European average which stands at 58 pct, etc, etc. But, the way it is written, one would guess that Greeks were otherwise regular globetrotters, travelling from one exotic location to another, from Switzerland to St Barts, laughing all the way to the local fusion restaurant.

Not.

Many Greeks used to travel, especially in Europe and the US, but the numbers have dropped dramatically since 2009 and many travel agencies have gone bust as a result.

Now that I know what the Euro-barometer says, I have to cancel my (private plane) tickets.

[Full article:  http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/03/06/domestic-vacations-for-greeks-this-year/]