A and I took a fantastic trip to Greece in August, our first visit to the country.
TLDR: Greece is amazing. If you haven’t gone, you should visit if at all possible. We went to Athens and the islands of Mykonos and Folegandros, and loved each destination.
We began the trip with a flight into Athens, traveling on Qatar Airways from Delhi, connecting in Doha.
In Athens, we stayed with our incredibly gracious friends, who were the key to the entire trip, providing an impetus to go in the first place and top travel tips once we arrived.
We would return Athens later in the trip, but first…
…The next morning we took a short ferry ride to Mykonos.
The island is known as a party destination. And it is definitely that, with many holiday-makers visiting from elsewhere in Greece, Italy, France, and other places.
It has sparkling beaches and hip bars and restaurants. But it’s also idyllic and picturesque. Here are some images (all the pics in this post were taken with my iPhone.)
I mean, can you believe these colors?
We stayed with our friends near the sleepy village of Ano Mera, and spent some enjoyable afternoons at the nearby Agrari beach:
After Delhi’s daily chaos, the island’s beauty and quiet were highly restorative.
And. The. Food!
We ate memorable meals at Giorgos & Marina Fisherman Tavern in Ano Mera village, where the staff were extremely welcoming, and had a spectacular birthday lunch with our pal at the picturesque Kiki’s Tavern, overlooking Agios Sostis beach.
And for a fun evening out, we really enjoyed cocktails at Caprice Bar, downtown, with the seafront lapping at your feet.
- You may want to rent a car to get around. We used a company called Mykonos Drive.
- For all your grocery store needs, visit one of the Flora Super Market branches on the island. They have excellent produce, not to mention actual, live DJs! (High roller? No worries. They’ll deliver to your yacht, as well.
- Grab a coffee and a bite to eat at the excellent il forno di Gerasimo bakery in downtown Mykonos.
- You can easily buy ferry tickets to get around the islands; our friend got ours (from Athens to Mykonos) online before we arrived, then we booked our own on the fly from travel agencies as we continued our trip.
After several days of eating and drinking and beach-going, we took off on our own for Folegandros, a smaller, even quieter island several hours by ferry to the south.
It came recommended by our pal, who we’d asked to suggest a destination where we would find ourselves so relaxed we’d become bored.
We stayed at Hotel Paraporti, which we found online. It was nearly the last room available in the Chora, the central village on the island, as it was high season for summer travel.
As you can see in the map above, the hotel is situated next to the village, where you can walk around, eat, drink, and basically revel in the ridiculously gorgeous surroundings bathed in ridiculously gorgeous Mediterranean light.
The view from our room’s patio:
And some images from around Folegandros:
As if all of that weren’t beautiful enough, there’s also a church high up on a hillside, overlooking the village and coastline.
You can take the 15 minute walk up for the – yes – ridiculously gorgeous sunsets. (There was even a gentleman providing donkey rides up.)
- To get around, it’s easiest to rent a motorbike. The roads are in excellent condition, there’s little traffic, and the views are stunning. We visited a lovely beach not far from Chora called Angali.
Here’s a video from one of our rides:
Then it was back to Athens for some more metropolitan action.
In the photo above, you’ll see the “forever a loan” graffiti, commentary on the country’s economic difficulties. (Speaking of which, lovers of street art will love Athens.)
Meanwhile: If you’re Newley Purnell and you find yourself in a European capital, you immediately check to see what kind of football (soccer) is on offer.
Amazingly, Panathinaikos F.C. – one of Athens’s two biggest clubs – was playing, at home, (are you ready for this?) a UEFA Europa League game against Spain’s Athletic Bilbao!
I asked the concierge at our hotel, and luckily for me he was a Panathinaikos supporter and called the ticket office to see if tickets were still available. It turned out that yes, thank goodness, they were, but only…
…with the ultras.
Obviously we jumped at the opportunity. A scored us some scarves and we were off the game:
The atmosphere was excellent, which chanting and flares; the home team went up two-nil, but sadly Bilbao fought their way back and ended up winning 3–2.
Then, of course, no trip to Athens is complete without a visit to the Acropolis.
I wasn’t able to snap many photos, except this one, from the cafe of the excellent museum not far away.
- If it’s high season, get to the Acropolis early in the morning, before the crowds get too big.
- I wouldn’t worry too much about the precise location of your hotel. Athens is fairly small and easy to navigate by taxi and on foot, so many parts of the city are easily accessible. We stayed at the Melia Athens, which we booked online from Greece, and were very happy with our stay, though the surrounding area of Omonia Square was fairly unremarkable.
After a few days in Athens, it was back to Delhi. It was a fantastic trip.
And finally, I was inspired during the trip to do some drawing and even some watercolor painting. Here are a few of my sketches.
At a Folegandros cafe
Previous trip reports: