When visiting Greece, we had a great chance to see some of its beautiful islands. While Santorini is popular because of the unique white-washed houses and volcanic landscapes, Mykonos is famous for its golden sand beaches, clear water and parties. Although we stayed in Mykonos only for a weekend, we still had a chance to admire the old town as well as some of the best beaches of the island. This post will be useful if you don’t have too much time to spend there and want to use public transport to see some of the most beautiful beaches in Mykonos.
The island of Zakynthos boasts probably the best and most picturesque beaches in Greece and its famous landmark - the Shipwreck beach is one of the most beautiful little coves I have ever seen. The coast of Zakynthos is exceptionally picturesque and it's surprisingly cheap to get around - if you want to visit the beaches, blue caves and the coastline - the best and easiest way to do it is by boat. There are multiple agencies that offer such tours and therefore, because of competition, the prices are kept low.
Fira is the capital and the first point of entry to the island of Santorini, if you arrive there by sea. You might think that's the town where you will see the most famous, postcard views of the island - especially the blue domes that look so wonderful against the sunset or the whitewashed houses tightly squeezed with the beautiful windmills overlooking them. This is what we had thought. However, Fira is not where you'll find those spectacular views - it's a port town and has a bit more local feel to it. It's Oia that boasts the most spectacular views in Santorini. Here, in this post, I want to show you the photos from Fira and in the next one - Oia, so you can sense the difference and plan your trip according to what you'd like to see.
Although Zakynthos villages don't have the spectacular architecture of Santorini or Mykonos (I'll describe them soon), it is quite nice if you want to explore the off the beaten path, local sites. In this article, I'll describe all the places to see on the island of Zakynthos, besides the coast and beaches. To get a bit deeper inland, you'll need to either drive around or take a tour. A tour is a good and cheap option as you'll also find out about the history of the island and its people.
We took a tour called "Back to the roots", however, to be honest, our primary goal was not the interior of the island but to be able to see the view of the most beautiful beach in the world (at least among the beaches I've seen) - the Shipwreck beach from the top of the cliff. Only this tour offered a stop at the viewing platform, all the others went straight to the beach by boat where there's no way to admire that exceptional bird's eye panorama.
The Greek capital - Athens - is known as the center of the ancient world. The temples attract millions of tourists every year. Although the importance of Acropolis cannot be denied, one can feel a little disappointed while looking at the few remaining monuments - there are other, off the beaten path ancient sites which are way better preserved. Go back to the first part of the article about Athens to learn about our impressions of the Acropolis - expectations versus reality.
But is it only Acropolis that is worth visiting in Athens? I've heard many saying that besides this ancient hill, there's nothing to see. Not all modern parts of Athens may be too appealing to the eye - they remind more of Middle Eastern cities (like Amman - have a look here) with houses crammed tightly between the surrounding hills. To be honest, for me, it wasn't one of the best European capitals, but it's still nice to visit and once you explore it a bit deeper, you'll find some exciting places beyond the famous Acropolis. It's possible to visit all the places described here in one day on foot.
The myths and history of Ancient Greece are probably the most widespread of all throughout the western mainstream media. The very center of Athens - Ancient Acropolis was the cradle of our civilization. Having had watched the films and documentaries about the glorious warriors, Greek scholars, mythical Gods and magnificent temples, it was always my dream to see this magical site in real life. I was warned, however by some people that visiting Athens is a rather disappointing experience and it's better to head straight to the famous Greek beaches on idyllic islands rather than walk around the few piles of ruins that remain today. What is the Acropolis like in reality then? Is it the way you might imagine it in your mind - splendid and impressive - or is it another overrated, overpriced and disappointing tourist attraction?
The Shipwreck Beach (also called Navagio) on the Greek island - Zakynthos is the most beautiful beach I have seen. It's claimed to be the most beautiful - and I agree. After visiting numerous beaches in other, also way more exotic destinations (like Brazil, Thailand, Italy, Mauritius, Georgia, India, Croatia, Albania, Spain, Portugal), I have yet to discover a place that would enchant me as much as Navagio Beach. But there is a flaw in this perfection. The beach is indeed the most beautiful in the world, granted that it's viewed from the edge of the cliff that surrounds it. Looked at from the sea level, it looses its charm. However, most of the tour agencies offering a trip to the beach arrive there by boat and in this case you will not see it as it is on the postcards or leaflets - from above. It's also impossible to climb the steep rocky cliff from the beach. So what's the solution if you want to admire the famous view from the top?