Island Hopping Greece

2013-enhancements-follow-up

Greece ~ This is one spot that you feel the history when you walk the cobblestone streets.  Maybe this is where Plato or Homer have walked before us.  Drama, art, philosophy and science all started in this country.

The traffic is crazy amid the ancient ruins and you need to find a balance between the crowds and quiet.  The churches with the blue domes and windmills fill the country and one sight not to miss is a walk to the Acropolis.

The Greek Isles are not to be missed, so do a little island hopping.

Terraced hillsides, olive groves, white washed villages and pristine beaches against the azure waters dot the islands.

To island hop ferry rides are a part of the culture of Greece.  Conventional ferries are a great option for the best views.  The fast catamarans and fast hydrofoils will get you there fast, but you will miss the views.  This is one spot you need to slow down and enjoy the scenery.  You need to allow tow to four hours between islands depending on the transportation you take.  Each island has ticket agencies lining the harbor.  Last minute tickets can be purchased an hour or so before the ferry departs.  But it is best to buy them at least a day before you plan to depart.

Mykonos, an island of sun, swimming, surfing and shopping.  The most photographed spot is the Paraportiani, one of the 400 churches on Mykonos.  You will find a group of white washed churches perched under the windmills.  If you are looking for nightlife, Mykonos is the spot.

Rhodes, One of Greece’s favorite vacation spots.  The old town offers shopping and nightlife.  Along the winding path to the Acropolis the locals have set up stalls where they sell handcrafts and handmade lace tableclothes.

Delos, this island is one that is uninhabited and is a really important archaeological sites in Greece.  The island is sacred.  The famous Terrace of the Lions stands guard of the “Sacred Lake” and also the remains of the Temple of Apollo.

Santorini, Probably one of the most well known of islands in Greece.  It is also the southernmost island located just above Crete.  The climate is dry and the year around sunshine makes this island a very popular destination.  If you want to enjoy a local activity, hire a donkey to take you to the rim of the crater.  You can also take a cooking class and learn to prepare traditional Greek dishes.

Greek donkey

Eating and Drinking in Greece,  In many of the restaurants diners are encouraged to visit the kitchen to see how the food is prepared and to meet the chef, which is really a fun experience.  If you need to ask your server “what is this” in Greek, you need to say Ti eivai auto, pronounced Tea eeneh afto.

Coffee is a relaxing activity in Greece, don’t rush the cup of java.  They savor their coffee taking at least 30 minutes or more.  Frappe’s are extremely popular, so enjoy that cup of coffee or iced coffee.

Cultural Manners, When shopping or entering a taverna always acknowledge the owner with a Good Day (Kalimera) or a Good Evening (Kalispera).

The okay sign is considered obscene and rude, don’t use it.

The Moana passing through the Corinth Canal, Greece.

One of the best ways to see the islands if you don’t want to go it alone and island hop is by taking a Greek Isles cruise.  I love unpacking once, having my meals included and paying most of the trip in U.S dollar.  The trade off is not having the freedom to wander and explore.

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