Postcard from Greece

Thursday, 18 July 2013 | Tags: , , , , , ,

I'm just home from my first trip to the Greek islands. I had always wondered if those posters at my local souvlaki restaurant told the real story, with all those pristine white houses and clear blue waters. Greece has been on my bucket list for many years, but would it live up to the fairy tale expectations?

Now I’m happy to report that those posters you’ve seen are accurate.  Greece is an amazing and unique place.  We hit two islands for one week each.  Mykonos and then Santorini.  

What none of the travel sites tell you is that Mykonos is the windiest place on earth.  If you care about your hair, this is not the place for you (I’m talkin’ to you KM!).  And this works well for me because I spend plenty of time with my blowdryer at home, so one of my favourite parts of a beach holiday is forgetting about hair and makeup.  
Mykonos is located in the centre of the Aegean sea, in the Cyclades.  Due to it’s positioning it’s known as the windy island and I’m told you can pretty much count on wind always being a factor.  Beaches on the north side tend to get more wind.  (Which is where we found our favourite beach, Panormos, featured in the top photo). My hair got so crusty I had wind-dreads.  I loved it.

Restaurant at Panormas Beach

Restaurant at Panormos Beach

We checked out a couple of hotels and I highly recommend Cavo Tagoo for a special occasion.  It’s close to Mykonos town, rooms are spacious, decor is minimalist and the service is solid and more importantly, friendly.  The pool deck overlooking the sea is fantastic.  Definitely a better choice over the other trendy hotel in town, The Belvedere (which I recommend for dinner and drinks).

Pool deck at Cavo Tagoo, Mykonos

Pool deck at Cavo Tagoo, Mykonos

Cavo Tagoo hotel

Cavo Tagoo hotel, Mykonos

Best restaurant?  For us it was Interni, followed closely by Nammos (if you like the party beach scene and you’ve got money to burn you absolutely cannot miss Nammos.  It’s an all day party – in a good way.)
Best activity?  Get yourself onto a boat and visit the ancient ruins of Delos (which is a UNESCO heritage site and supposedly the birthplace of Apollo) and be sure to swim in the waters off the nearby Rineia.  The clearest, most beautiful waters I’ve seen anywhere in the world. Swimming here felt healing and ethereal.  Although the boozy lunch might have had something to do with that.

Swimming near the ruins

Swimming near the ruins

Santorini is much quieter than Mykonos so best to do it toward the end of a trip.  It’s definitely best to stay in Oia, which is a quaint and picturesque town on the north end of the island.  And if you can, check yourself into Canaves Oia hotel and send me a postcard.  I promise you won’t regret it.  The. Best. Sunsets. In. The. World.

Canaves Oia view from hotel room

View from Canaves Oia hotel room, Santorini

And for all those other shopping addicts out there, part of what you’ll love about these islands is the late night shopping.  Everything stays open til the wee hours. After a few glasses of wine it’s very dangerous! (Even Greek wine. Although this product is not the country’s strong suit). Shop keepers expect you to bargain, so be bold and stand your ground.  The two best things to come home with? Jewelry and some sandals.

The best souvenir!

The best souvenir!

But I left Greece without finding out the name of the most delicious feta cheese, olive oil and spice spread! I’m addicted to it and need to learn how to make my own. Any Greeks or foodies reading this who know the name or have a recipe, please let me know! Yamas!

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  • Linda

    The water looks beautiful!

    • annaandkristina

      It was amazing!

  • Barb

    OMG, we must have been there at exactly the same time. I just came back from Mykonos, Delos, Naxos and Santorini as well loaded down with jewelry and sandals. And the part about Mykonos’ wind? You’re right. NO ONE told us and we thought we had read tonnes about the island to prepare! Yassas!

  • MacDonald Carolyn

    Corfu is the only island in Greece I have been to so I can’t compare to Santorini or Mykonos. Corfu is called the Emerald Island due to all the olive trees that were planted there over 400 years ago. I loved Old Port and the winding twisting roads to many picturesque beaches. I don’t remember any wind…maybe a breeze which was always welcome. A visit to Old Perithia where there is an old village and a restaurant that serves fresh greens from the garden that are picked while sipping on your favourite drink. Makes me wish I was there now.