A lot of people and mostly couples have been asking me about the Greek Islands, whether they’re a hit or a miss and if they’re really worth a trip. My response: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? GO GO GO!!
I personally feel this blog, or any other blog for that matter, cannot do justice to the beauty that the Greek islands behold. I tried my best to capture it in pictures but let me assure you that what you see in the photos here is absolutely nothing compared to the real deal. You have to see it to believe it. However, for the sake of all those interested in visiting the islands, I am posting a series of posts containing some basic information regarding itineraries, budgets, places to see, things to do etc. Before I begin though, I think it is pertinent to lay out a basic background about the Islands.
There are a total of 6,000 Greek Islands out of which 63 Islands are catering to tourists. It is practically impossible for vacationers to be able to cover all of these islands, and usually they’d end up choosing two or three. The posts on this blog will be referring to two of these islands i.e. Mykonos and Santorini, both of which are the Cyclades Islands. For more information on all the islands a good guide can be found here.
Anyway, without any further ado, I present to you my list of most compelling reasons to visit the magnificent Greek islands:
- It’s Blow-you-off-your-Feet Romantic
The feeling that you get when you’re on the edge of a mountain watching the sun change the color of the waters in front of you, eventually disappearing into thin air while everyone around you applauds at the remarkable wonder of nature is one of the most mesmerizing feelings ever. The islands are unique and original in not only their topography but also the ambiance. While Mykonos is clad in white wash with hints of blues and greens everywhere, Santorini is perched on top of a cliff that stands over an underwater volcanic crater overlooking the breathtaking Aegean Sea.
2. Straight out of a Disney Movie!
Ever walked in a town where each alley that opens up makes you skip a beat? Mykonos Town is that place. The islands do not require a list of sights to see because all you need to do is walk around their towns to have your breath taken away. Each island provides a unique scenic masterpiece and the hundreds of resorts that have popped up across the islands over the last decade or so ensure that you make the most out of this experience.
3. Super DP-licious!
One of the funnest added advantages to any vacation is a collection of beautiful photos that our tech-savvy generation can share on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. And some of us just want to say my honeymoon was better than yours! I kid. With these islands one thing is certain: the collection is going to be so big that you wouldn’t know where to start. When there’s beauty every, you feel like snapping every bit of it because you don’t want to forget what you’re seeing. But remember that as much as you want to have pictures to remember, you also want to experience the moment. So go easy on that camera friend. The best thing about a trip to the islands is that they’re still so uncommon among the Pakistanis as a travel hot spot that your pictures will definitely stand out. We all know what the Eiffel Tower looks like. No biggie if you had a picture there.
4. Plenty of Delicious Food
I know for many Pakistanis one of the most grave concerns is food options. Obviously since we’re a nation that loves to eat, a vacation isn’t reaaally worth it if there isn’t good food around! Luckily, there are great sea food and other non meat options available. While you will almost never find zabeeha meat anywhere on the islands, you will find some exceptional cheese pizzas and freshly made pasta (vegetarian), along with really delicious Mediterranean catch entrees.
5. A little bit of everything for everyone
If you’re looking for partying it up at a nice beach club, Mykonos is your haven. Highly competitive with Ibiza, this island thrives for a party culture hosting many big names like David Guetta, Afrojack, Fredde le Grand, W&W, and many others (which is primarily why prices here at pretty high). If you’re looking to soak up, the beaches with the most beautifully aqua mediterranean water are your perfect getaway. And what better to book a resort that looks like a cave at Santorini (see top most picture) and enjoy the sunset that the island proudly boasts with your loved.
If you enjoy adventure and want to take a shot at snorkelling and diving head to Paros. Here are some resources that can help you decide what islands to choose based on what you’re looking for:
6. Budget Friendly and Unique
While every now and then you’d find someone who has been to France, Italy and other big cities/countries in Europe, you will seldom find people in Pakistan who have visited Greece. It’s just not as popular as other European countries. Pair the Greek islands with Athens (and Turkey if possible) and you’d have a vacation that gives you a taste of everything you’d want from a vacation in Europe. Beaches, relaxation, sight seeing, romance, history, culture, food, and great weather.
In terms of budgeting the trip, ferries to the islands and the airfare aren’t as expensive as that of the more frequently visited Western European countries. Shopping isn’t very cheap though and I’d highly recommend buying all the essentials from Pakistan and keeping all the shopping for Athens. There are many reasonably priced accommodations available that provide awesome views and great service. Of course if you book for the busy season, then prices will be touching the ceiling. (More on budgeting and tips for Greek islands to follow in other posts).
7. Best getaway from big city life
The best thing about the islands for me was the fact that I didn’t have to run through a strict itinerary. The islands are not about the sights but the experience. You spend time relaxing while finding things to do spontaneously because most islands aren’t too expansive and easy to cover by foot. Buses are also available with reasonable fare to take you to the farther areas. But the simplicity of the islands, the lack of noise and big markets, and a scenic panorama to wake up to every morning is a good break from our usual hustling and bustling lives. If you know what I mean Pakistanion.