Living the Greek Life

Crete. Image: Chris Hau.
Crete. Image: Chris Hau.

The Grecian summer holiday should be on everyone’s bucket list. Of course I’m not saying this because I’m Greek, but I’m sure that almost all of you know about our reputation. We’re known for partying like there’s no tomorrow and living the good old Mediterranean life (no wonder there’s a Mediterranean diet). Greece has more than a thousand islands in total, around two hundred of which are inhibited. I’m sure that each of you could find one that would suit your personal tastes. The magic of it all, however, is that vacationing in the islands can either be really affordable or really luxurious. Take your pick!

Whenever I tell people that I am from Greece, the most common question is whether I’ve been to one of the famous islands, which are Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Crete and let’s not forget Ios, the island that’s dominated by tourists. If you’re the type that loves to drink beginning lunchtime and wants to party in your swimsuit (or not) along with fellow tourists until 9 am, then Ios and Mykonos are right up your alley. Hotels and rooms for bargain prices can be found easily if you plan your trip early on. The streets are filled with bars of all sizes and numerous restaurants with loud-talking Greeks and delicious Mediterranean food. In Mykonos specifically, there are
club-beaches suitable for wild tourists like Tropicana, Super Paradise and Space, as well as sophisticated not-so-touristy places like Astra, Aigli and Matsuhisa Restaurant.
There are bars, especially in Ios, with 1-euro drinks and lets not forget the difference between pounds and euros (its extremely reassuring when spending all that money on nightlife). For all you adventurous types, why not try your luck at kite surfing or windsurfing at Mykonos and understand why people call it ‘the island of air.’ Santorini, on the other hand, is well known for its breathtaking sunsets and romantic atmosphere. Thus it’s the ideal place for sweet couples to create memories. Additionally, Crete is an island that is similar to a tiny little country, with a somehow distinct culture and a number of Greek dialects, which I mostly do not understand. It isn’t uncommon for tourists to spend their whole summer trip exploring the small world of Crete.

However, I’m not as superficial as you think, since my favourite islands are most probably completely unknown to foreigners. Spetses, Anti-Paxos and Kefalonia are some of the more underrated islands that are just waiting to be discovered and eventually become the next best thing. They successfully combine the laid-back island lifestyle with the local way of having fun. These islands are certainly not a snooze fest, but you just have to be willing to have fun in the simplest and purest form. In particular, spending the afternoon having a barbecue on a beach along with a group of friends, with the clearest and most beautiful sea in the world, has a different kind of appeal, than dancing the night away in Mykonos. Everything depends on the type of vacation you’re looking for, as well as your mindset. Being treated by the hospitality of the islanders or camping on a white-sand beach in Patmos is bound to make you feel all gooey and welcome. There is no need for everything to be so extravagant and ‘modern’ all the time. Spending your nights in a quaint bar in Spetses with your group of closest friends, while listening to year-old songs and mingling with Greeks, can sometimes be more precious and memorable than raving in Ios.

All these different islands may seem like a blur to you or even seem like one and the same. Don’t let this fool you. Your role as an informed future tourist is to close your eyes, envision the perfect summer holiday and then select the Greek island that will satisfy your every wish. Reality cannot catch up to you when you’re in the sea!

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