The islands of dreams, glamour and too many selfie sticks

The Greek Islands are a destination to dream about. It’s the unique and iconic white and blue buildings, the sandy beaches and blue ocean, the fresh seafood drizzled in olive oil, the donkeys climbing the steep and skinny paths from the docks and the idea of kicking back and living the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. I have to say that visiting Mykonos and Santorini lived up to these expectations and were just as beautiful as I’d imagined but were also a taste of glamour and too many tourists that I wasn’t used to on my trip so far but… welcome to Europe!

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Mykonos
The glamour island. The small but vibrant main town on the seaside with expensive boutique fashion stores, cocktail bars and fancy restaurants with views of the sunset and beach parties every night of the week on Paradise beach.

It’s the island to splurge on and we did. Greece’s economy may not be doing so well but the islands are sure doing alright thanks to tourism. My boyfriend at the time had come to meet me and travel a bit of Europe with me and to surprise me he had organised a really nice and exclusive place to stay for the four nights we were there. We ate out every night feasting on calamari, octopus and fresh fish. We didn’t do much other than relax either at the beach or by the pool at the hotel.

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However, we did take a trip out to the island of Delos which was the centre of a flourishing Greek empire in the 5th century and still has ruins of the city that was there.

Even after four days of wandering the streets we still managed to get lost and stumble upon a place we hadn’t seen before. The sunsets were amazing every night and the food was to die for, yet we were happy to move on to the next island after doing nothing for a few days.

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Santorini
The unique and picturesque island was exactly like the beautiful images you see of it, except with the added extra of tourists everywhere vying for a spot to view the famous sunset at Oia. Rather than stay in the main town, Fira, we decided to head to the south of the island and stay in a small beach side village at Perissa. It was a great decision, we stayed in a little family run pension, had the black sand beach 100m from our door and cheap restaurants along the beach front.

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We took a day trip and visited the volcano, hot springs and another island, Thirassia. Thirassia was a great way to escape the bustle of the tourists and Scotty and I made a bee line for the steep climb up to the town from the port rather than sit in a seaside restaurant for lunch. We got to see a small village completely deserted of tourists and we had a picnic amongst the cobble stone streets and traditional white buildings with a beautiful view of the ocean.

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We had a great time relaxing on the islands, pretending that we weren’t backpackers on a budget for a while. However, after a week of breaking the budget, walking with crowds of people, window shopping, losing count of the amount of selfie sticks we saw and eating at restaurants where people complained about the food being too salty and others being in the view of their sunset we decided it was time to go back to the reality of backpacking.

 

*post adapted from my trip here in June 2015 and previous site elishasbigtrip.wordpress.com