So, last summer I spend a little over a week in Greece, testing out my new backpack ready for the big Asia trip and exploring Athens and a few of the islands!
One of the original windmills on Ios
My time in Greece was unforgettable and its definitely somewhere I want to return to. The food, architecture and street art was incredible. Not to mention the people… so kind and warm. I began in the capital city of Athens and spent a couple days catching up with an old travel buddy and doing some solo exploring. We hiked up Mount Lycabettus to the small chapel at the top, marvelling at the stunning 360° views of Athens. After the sunset we made our way back down, winding through the streets, through alfresco diners and a city coming to life, taking in the warm night air and enjoying the atmosphere and glimpses of street art on the way.
Catching up with Fiona!
Exploring the city by day, taking in all the sights – the acropolis and museum was incredible! And even had a resident cat! As well as losing myself in the winding streets, whilst sampling the foody delights- were days well spent to really get a feel for the city. I loved my time in Athens but one thing I feel I should remark on is how it is a city that as the sun goes down, there is a noticeable shift in atmosphere and as a female solo traveller I did not feel as safe. Going out in groups and sticking to well lit central areas is a must and while this is just common sense to most, I’ve travelled quite a bit but this was one occasion I did feel out of my depth… but perhaps this was due to staying in a dodgy area! As nightlife and partying isn’t really my scene I was happy to miss out on late nights in favour of getting up and out early so it didn’t bother me!! Whilst the area I was in might have been questionable (Omonia) it was a hot-bed of street art!
Various Street Art followed by Peaceful protest image
Whilst I was there it was evident that Greece was (and still is) facing a lot of uncertainty, specifically with the financial crisis and spiralling unemployment rates affecting the population. I passed a (peaceful) protest by teachers who had not been paid in months. They felt trapped; how could they abandon their positions, the children who depended on them, whilst at the same time they needed the financial security to get by themselves. Truly selfless people that just wanted answers and a resolution for the good of the community. It was clear they were desperate for a return to normal. What was clear was that the people of Greece are fighters and this was demonstrated in their sense of resolve in the face of the unfolding hardships and was also expressed visually through street art which was literally everywhere – I was in heaven!
Greek island of Paros
Once I left Athens and headed for the islands things became a lot more laid back, the problems faced in Athens seemed like a million miles away. People were kind and always smiling, I always felt extremely safe and the white washed buildings that i’d seen in magazines stood in beautiful contrast with the vibrant blue windows/doors and pink flowers. Greece has become one of my favourite places, visually it is stunning and it is truly a place to get away and escape to! The islands I stayed on were Paros and Ios.
Greek island of Ios
It was more expensive than i’d anticipated so ferrying about between islands had to be drastically cut back! Paros was my favourite, really sleepy with the beautiful fishing port of Naousa a short bus ride away from the main port but a seriously chilled vibe there. Ios is a known party island, luckily that had died down a bit by the time I arrived there in mid September- as its not really my scene but if its yours then its probably the place you want to be! Luckily there was plenty other things to do there, again they have the very Greek white washed buildings (although a bit grimier than on Paros due to the party nature!) it is a great place to explore and the church on top of the town boasts spectacular sunset views, definitely a must see!
Explorations and wonderful sunsets!
They also have original windmills leading up the hill out of the main town which was pretty cool to see. I rented a moped whilst there and enjoyed a day bombing about, finding secluded beaches, enjoying the landscape and climbing a renovated plath up to an isolated church sat up high on the edge of the ocean and didn’t see a soul – sometimes a day spent in your own company is bliss! Whilst there I also took a boat trip met some other travellers and swam in the crystal clear waters. The things I will take away from my time in Greece is the kindness of the people who live there, the beautiful scenery, architecture and the edgy and raw street art of Athens. Of course the food was also incredible, I consumed my body weight in greek salads and seafood!
Rooftop sunset yoga 😜
I will definitely return to Greece!