A Plus Sized Series: Greece Part 1 – The Islands

Is there any place more beautiful than a Greek Island?  Perhaps not.  Of all the traveling I’ve done, Greece is one of the main spots I continually long to return to.  In fact, I was just there in 2019 and already have plans to return in 2020.  Greece calls to me.

Getting to the islands is mainly done by ferry.  These can be rough crossings, so if you’re prone to sea sickness, you may want to consider flying.  Keep in mind though, interisland flights will be on small planes so seats will be tight.  Otherwise, Bonine is a really good non drowsy sea sickness option.  For me, all it takes is a dark pair of sunglasses to ward off sea sickness.

I’ve been to four of the Greek Islands and each of them were quite different.  I think most people picturing the islands are imagining gorgeous white washed building with bright blue church domes mirroring the colors of the Greek flag.  This architecture is more typical in the Cyclades islands, and the two most famous of those are Santorini and Mykonos.

Mykonos is my personal favorite of all of the Greek Islands.  Apparently, the island has a really great night life scene, but I cannot personally attest to this as I’m typically back at my hotel by 7 pm when I travel.  Now, the first time I went to Mykonos, I fell so deeply in love with the hotel I was in and the immediate area , that I never even went into Mykonos Town.  I stayed at the amazing Petasos Beach Resort in Platis Gialos, perched on a hill with stunning views and a salt water pool.  I read books about the Greek Islands and soaked in the sun.  We’d enjoy the amazing breakfast buffet and then just order Greek Salads at the pool for lunch… Mmm.  It’s right on an incredible beach with dozens of beach side restaurants and stores.  To die for.  Keep in mind the waters are really only warm enough to swim in the summer months.   I’m a bit of a polar bear and was able to get in the water in May, but I was one of the few daring the cool temperatures.

Mykonos hotel

When I finally returned to Mykonos in 2019, I stayed at the same perfect hotel but made the effort to get into Mykonos Town.  I took a very easily navigable bus ride into town and simply loved wandering the streets.  Keep in mind this is a very hilly town and there is a ton of cobblestone areas, so wear sturdy shoes and take your time.  Mykonos town, however, is heavenly.  The people of Mykonos try really hard and take a lot of pride in the island being clean and presentable.  Everyone is always sweeping, and mopping and cleaning.  Food in town can be ‘touristy’, but you’re  a tourist.  It is what it is.  Waiting for public transportation can take a while, so don’t forget your parasol and reusable water tins.

So if Mykonos is hilly, Santorini is mountainy.  I feel like getting around almost anywhere on this spectacular island meant climbing some pretty steep hills.  However, that means almost anywhere you are you have views of the sea and the gorgeous architecture of this very special island.  Arriving in Santorini might mean taking a funicular to save climbing the steepest of their mountains.  I used it and the views were amazing.  Some folks like the idea of taking a donkey ride up the mountain, but I personally couldn’t do that to a poor donkey, as I am a super fluff.  If you’re just a mini fluff, it may be an authentic and fun way to get into town.  As far as traveling to Santorini whilst fluffy, you’re going to want to take a couple of taxis to avoid the worst of the hills.  But just wandering around and shopping, you’ll be find if you take it easy and rest often.   Santorini has some super cool black sand beaches as its a volcanic area, but keep in mind that black sand means hot sand so take extra care.  I could feel the hot said radiating into my flip flops at Kamari Beach!

A lot of people like to use ATV style vehicles to get around Santorini.  I’d say give it a try if you’re interested, but be careful.  A lot of young Europeans come to the Greek Island on their holidays and drove those things around crazy fast.  Something you cannot miss, which I did was a sunset up at Oia.  We had amazing sunsets from our balcony, so I didn’t see the point.  But after talking to many people, the town of Oia is definitely worth the visit and the Sunsets are extra special.

Crete is a vast and large Island.  I did mostly guided tours on Crete including a trip to The Palace of Knossos and a trip to see the birthplace of the Greek God,  Zeus.  As far as the ancient city of the Minoan culture, Knossos, this is very like a trip out to Pompeii.  Meaning you will be doing a lot of stairs walking as well on wobbly stone streets.  You can do this at your own pace by yourselves, but I really liked having a guide teaching us along the way.  The birthplace of Zeus is definitely way more physically challenging than I thought it was going to be.  You start walking up this mountain with its many switchbacks, and you kinda start thinking… After this turn I’ll be there…  and six turns later you still aren’t.  I mean the views are beautiful, but man, this one is a toughie.  Not to mention, when you get to the top, in order to see the cave, you have to go down a shit ton of steps that, of course, you have to come back UP.  So, yeah, y’all decide.

crete

Knossos

 

Corfu is in the Ionian Sea, pretty far away from the main island chains.  You can definitely tell that this Island was under Venetian and French rule, prior to belonging to Greece from its architecture.  You won’t be finding white washed building with blue dome roofs here, but it’s still a gorgeous island.  My very favorite area I visited in Corfu is the Paleokastritsa, which is a very beautiful beach cove with lovely restaurants and shops.  I tried to get in the water, but it was purty dern cold when I went.  The old town of  Corfu is stunning and really reminds me of the French Influence with its many bakeries.  The old town is very easy to get around, roads are mostly flat and easy.  I took a tour up to the Achilleon Palace, which was beautiful of course, however, a bit of a yawn.  I’m still glad I went if not just for the sculpture.  I really didn’t see enough of Corfu to satisfy, so I’m definitely going back to this magical little isle.

Corfu

I may have mentioned before that I really love to read books that take place where I’m travelling just to make it all a bit more interesting.  For Greece here is the list of my very favorite:

This Rough Magic – Mary Stewart (Corfu)

My Brother, Michael – Mary Stewart (Athens, Delphi)

The Moonspinners – Mary Stewart (Crete)

My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell (Corfu)

Corfu 2

 

 

 

 

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