Greece’s islands have some of the most picturesque islands in the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula. There isn’t a moment where the view wasn’t spectacular and unforgettable. I was there in 2008 and spent 2 weeks backpacking in Athens, Milos and Santorini.
Greeks are extremely friendly and speak English well enough, that you will be able to get by. The Greek letters are commonly applied in mathematics, engineering, science and other areas where mathematical symbols are applied for special functions. So having a computer science background or being a math enthusiast, will come in handy.
Visting Greece was an incredible experience and I hope you enjoy my first (of many posts), as well as find it useful!
Where I went
This city is rich in history and obviously has some of the best gyros I’ve ever had. I didn’t know this in 2008, but it’s tradition to add fries to your gyros. I personally am not a fan of the fries in gryos, but if you’re a lover of all things fries, then this dish will be perfect for you!
Here are some of the places I visited:
- The Parthenon is one of the most imposing temples on top of the Acropolis. You will feel like you were a part of history as soon as you climb Mount Lycabettus
- The Theatre of Dionysus is also another impressive historic site. It was in this theatre where some of the greatest plays written by Sophocles, Euripides (and more) were first performed
- The Ancient Agora of Athens was the main marketplace and civic center where Greek democracy was born. Other than a place where people gathered in chaos, selling all kinds of commodities, it was also the central location for commoners and politicians to congregate and discuss all kinds of topics: business, politics, philosophy, current events and more
- The Panathenaic Stadium is quite stunning to see. The stadium is made of marble and can seat 50,000 spectators and hosted the 1st Olympic Games of the modern era, in 1896
This is one of the most beautiful islands I’ve been to thus far. It’s about a 7 hour ferry ride from the port of Piraeus, the main port of Athens.
There are many Greek islands you can go to, but this is the one I went to and you won’t be disappointed. The town is small and the people are extremely approachable and genuinely look peaceful and untroubled. It could possibly be due to the inhabitants maintaining its simple ways of life.
I encourage everyone to just wander around the town as it will help you appreciate the finer things in life that most of us take advantage of. I have yet to visit a country that looks so at ease and content with what little they have.
There are many beaches to visit – over 80! I only had time to visit 2 and it was worth it. See for yourself:
Here are the top 10 beaches in Milos that I’d have to agree with.
You can’t visit Greece without stopping by this unforgettable island. Although my visit here was 8 years ago, I still recall my incredulity as soon as the ferry docked. For those who are unaware, Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption and created a cauldron-like volcanic feature or a volcanic crater. When you get off the ferry, you will notice a wall of volcanic rock that acts as the foundation for the capital Thira, that clings at the edges of this crater. It’s unbelievable. The only way to the top is using one of their most reliable forms of transportation – the local donkey.
When to go
You should definitely go during the spring and early summer (mid-Apr to mid-June) or autumn (Sept to mid-Oct). I went in late September – the temperatures are much more bearable, the water warm and there were less religious events (which take place in the spring – such as Easter and Good Friday), so more hotels/hostels were readily available.
The summer’s high season has heat waves of 100°F/+40C – you’ll literally be broiling during the day.
Not only that, but the summertime attracts mobs of crowds, overpriced and overbooked planes, ferries, restaurants and accommodations. If you have an attraction to a rabble of a colossal group of tourists sharing confined spaces, then going in the summer will be your best bet!
You are much braver than I.
I really do suggest going during the Fall season. The weather is much more tolerable and you can spend your afternoons comfortably basking in Greece’s gentle heat. As I mentioned earlier, the water is also extremely inviting and warm enough to swim in. The only slight disadvantage of going during the off-season is there are fewer ferry’s available, and some shops close in June don’t open again until October.
Although I never had any challenges with getting a ferry ride to the islands.
Tips on flights and accommodations
Buy your tickets several months before you plan on departing. I typically book plane tickets 3 months prior to leaving, as typically the prices are cheaper, the earlier you book.
I currently use a free app called Hopper and is one of the best traveling apps I’ve used to date. It monitors price flights, and lets you know if you should wait for a lower price or buy now.
Another thing to consider is Visas when you travel. If you are a Canadian citizen, you will have no issues visiting Greece.
If you are not a Canadian Citizen, click here to check your country will need a Visa to enter Greece. If you are a passport holder of one of the countries listed on the site, here is a check list of what you can do to ensure you have everything you need.
8 years ago, I stayed in private hostels. I paid a little extra to have my own room, but if you don’t mind sharing a room with other people (most are university students) I used hostelworld.com. It was easy to use and extremely reliable.
If you’re traveling on your own, I recommend having your own private room as it’s most likely safer and you’ll have the ability to take afternoon naps or read in peace before bed. If you’re traveling with friends, sharing a room shouldn’t be too terrible.
If you’re not keen on hostels, I highly recommend AirB&B. My fiancé and I will be traveling to Europe in the next few months and most of the accommodations have been booked using AirB&B.
I’ve hopefully persuaded you to visit this amazing place. It’s ruins, temples and many of Greece’s landmarks have been well maintained while others have been re-built while preserving its history.
It’s a place that has the ability to transport you back in time to when many “firsts” (i.e. Mathematics, Politics and Philosophy) were established, and positively impacted Western culture.
It’s a place where a town that thrived from a volcanic eruption could transform to be one of the most beautiful results of a natural disaster.
It’s a place you won’t ever forget.