A Greek summer

I dreamt of visiting Greece for years and 3 years ago I could finally fulfil my dream of visiting this lovely spoiled by the sun country and it didn’t disappoint. I usually don’t repeat but I kept coming back to Greece each year since my first visit. I mean, it’s hard not to fall in love with its natural beauty, fascinating history, delicious food, idyllic islands, whitewashed towns and warm weather. No wonder Greece it’s amongst the the most visited countries in the world. On my latest travel to Greece I visited 6 islands, but in this blog post I will share only 3 and about the other ones I will talk in the next posts. Here are the first 3 of them:

  • Naxos
  • Zakynthos
  • Kefalonia

NAXOS

Naxos is not very famous but that’s the magic of this island, the atmosphere here is peaceful, quiet and not invaded by too many tourists. Here you can actually get a good photograph of the classic Greek white houses, without it being ruined by crowds of tourists. Naxos is way greener than many of the Greek islands, keeping the beautiful typical greek towns but with lush mountainous backdrops. You’ll notice a big difference in prices, it is much more affordable than the famous Santorini.

CHORA OLD TOWN

The capital of Naxos is Chora. So we started with the old town of course, because we also had the hotel here. I have to admit that I have been pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is. I was having the feeling like I’m in Mykonos, because the city centre was pretty similar with the main town of Mykonos, with the difference that here walking around is much more relaxed. We discovered many pretty streets full of cute friendly cats, with all the classic Greek tiled floors and blue doors, yet free from the crowds, so I actually could peacefully enjoyed the place.

Here you can find many cute local shops, cafes or restaurants with incredibly delicious food. It’s impossible to pass by and not to buy at least one souvenir or to stop at a cute cafeteria to enjoy a delicious coffee served with super tasty cake made by the owner.

Around the island are many lovely, photogenic mountain villages, that worth to be explored. A super cute village we visited, that is also became one my favourite is Halki.

HALKI VILLAGE

It is situated in the northern part of the island and Halki is one of the prettiest and picturesque places in Naxos. It’s the typical traditional Greek village, with white houses, cats walking around, colourful flowers hanging on the walls and well preserved Venetian towers and Byzantine churches. We had a nice walk among the beautiful houses ending the visit at a charming traditional cafeteria in the centre having a delicious coffee.. The town is pretty small so in a few hours (and this after many stops for photos) you’ve see everything. And after this you have enough time to visit another place, which we did. We visited another cute village that day, called Chalki.

Pretty spots in Halki village

CHALKI VILLAGE

Another charming village in Naxos is Chalki, set perfectly into the side of a mountain. Our first stop here was to have lunch, a pretty tasty one. During the lunch we enjoying the beautiful surroundings given by the most beautiful mountain view and the cute decorated houses. After the lunch we went to explore the place, here you have to be ready for a little “hike” because the village is situated on a knoll. It’s not like you climb a mountain but it’s not strait roads neither. You can also find some cute souvenir shops at the entrance of the village and restaurants. If you came in a car, near the entrance to the village is a parking lot, free of charge.

PLAKA BEACH

In our stay in Naxos we visited only one beach because we preferred to visit villages. Plaka is a famous beach in Naxos and for all the right reasons. Plaka it’s officially one of the best beaches in Greece. It has golden soft sand with 4 km of uninterrupted coast, quiet, calm water, not too windy… I mean, what can you ask more from a beach. This was one of the most tranquil and peaceful beach I have ever been, only a few people around, here you hear only the sound of the waves, which is awesome of course. Only 10 minutes walk from the beach there is Plaka Beach’s restaurants and plenty of hotels.

MOVING AROUND

We arrived to Naxos by ferry from Athens. Naxos does have an airport with direct flights from Athens and we did had a flight, but when we’ve been there the pilots made a strike and all flights from Athens were canceled.

We decided to move around Naxos by car, because renting a car in Naxos is definitely the most efficient way to see the island. So we rented a car right on our arrival from a nice lady in the port. I’ve that heard the public transportation system it doesn’t run to all locations and you might miss some great places.

Driving on the island is great, the roads are in good conditions, however, this is a mountainous island so you’ll have to drive on winding roads up and down the sides of mountains. Just drive cautiously, and you’ll be able to navigate this island with no issues.

After a great, amazing time on this gorgeous island we took a ferry to Milos. We opted for the company Seajets and after 3 hours and 35 minutes we arrived to Milos. But for Milos I will make a different post.

ZAKYNTHOS

Zakynthos or Zante how the locals affectionally call it, is an island in the Ionian sea known by many of us for its fascinating lush forests, mountains and turquoise waters. Each time I visited Zante I was in a rush and this time it wasn’t different. I spent here only 1 night, maybe next time will be more time. We arrived on a late afternoon by airplane and left the island next day by ferry. But we still made time to see some of the most famous spots in Zante.

NAVAGIO BEACH

Off course we had to see Navagio from above and the views are splendid. This is s great opportunity to take a nice shot from the top of the cliffs. We got here by car. From the parking lot you have to walk for 20 minutes to get to this spot. There are not to many people because it’s not super easy to get there, but it’s not hard nighter, but some people don’t want to walk to much and they chose to see the beach from the place where they park the car. Getting here it’s totally worth the effort because the views will mesmerise you and at the same time will give you chills to the bone.

BOAT RIDES

If you want to lay down on the beach it is possible to get there by boat, which I did when I first I here, but this time all the trips to the beach where canceled due to weather conditions. There are many boat options. In case you can do the boat ride, you can take a tour with a group, or private boat where you’ll have a captain or you can sail yourself if you want to. Or if you are full of courage you can get at the beach ski diving.

Greece is the best option if you want to see turtles in Europe. Zante is home to Huge Caretta turtles and can be spotted while snorkelling or on a boat. Best months to spot then is during the breeding season from mid May to early October. You can opt for a glass bottomed boat tour and then you just have to enjoy the magic of being so close to them.

MOVING AROUND

I highly recommend you to rent a car or a quad because in Zante the public transport system is not working very well and you’ll be very limited on places to visit and time.

quad

A pretty awesome and popular way to move around the island is by quad. Quad experience is pretty cool and also very practical giving you the freedom to move better in traffic or when it comes to parking. Zante has many rocky roads so maybe you’ll have to slow down when driving but it is way better than a car when driving on this type of roads.

rent a car

Because of the little time we spent here we opted for a car rental. We had the luggage carrying all the time and of course it the best option. We rented the car on the internet a few days of our arrival. As I told you before we came by airplane so we picked up the car at the airport. You can rent the car the day you arrive but sometimes it seems they run low on cars, so to be sure you have a way to move around maybe it’s better to rent it before.

The cloud shape is not photoshopped

KEFALONIA

Kefalonia or Cephalonia is one of the most amazing Greek islands and one of my favourite too. It’s hard to find in Europe places so untouched by people. Here you step in natural beauty with amazingly lush mountains, a sea so blue that you only get to see in the Caribbean on the Maldives. In Kefalonia nature will spoil you with some of the most beautiful landscapes and the main attraction of the island are the turtles. You can actually see them coming at the harbour waiting for the fisher mans to feed them. It was super funny to see them like puppies waiting to receive their favourite food.

I had an amazing time on the island, I visited twice and I have so much to share and talk about. Kefalonia is not very famous and I don’t know why, this island is incredibly beautiful with so many things to offer. Here you can spend weeks and still there are things to do or to discover.

HOW TO MOVE AROUND

Moving around Kefalonia is not as bad as in Zakynthos, the public transport works way better, it still needs some improvements but it will take you to many places of the island. At my first visit I used public transport and I got to visit some of the most famous spots on the island.

At my second visit I came with my boyfriend and we rented a car. Of course by car you have access to many more places where you normally can’t reach by bus. After testing both ways I can say both are good options, it depend on what you prefer to.

MYRTOS BEACH

At my first visit I couldn’t get to Myrtos because the beach can only be reached by car. But that’s the magic of coming back. It’s located on the foot of a steep cliff and it has impressive views. The road to get down to the beach was destroyed by the cyclone that hit Greece last year in September. Actually the north of the island was completely destroyed as well as the beautiful village of Assos.

The beach was completely empty, there were no people, only a few boats approaching the beach but nobody was getting down from the boat. It was weird to see the beach like this but was still very beautiful. Myrtos has been named one of the best beaches in Greece more than 12 times and I can see why. All you can see is a long white sand beach and turquoise water lapping gently at the shore dotted with a few boats. Simply fantastic!

ARGOSTOLI AND TURTLES

Argostoli is the capital of the island and the best place to see turtles in Greece, it’s very well communicated with the other parts of the island and you can get here by car or by bus. In the lagoon you can see swimming many adult turtles among many friendly fish. They swim here during all summer and sometimes they stay in winter too. Every morning they come on the harbour to be fed by the fisher mans. They’re super cute, with the head out of the water waiting to receive fish. But they can be seen all day swimming in the lagoon. It’s a wonderful experience that I highly recommend.

VISIT MELISSANI LAKE

Not too far from the town of Sami it’s Melissani. Melissani Cave, also called Melissani Lake, is an underground lake that makes me think of the cenotes of Yucatán in Mexico. This underground lake is 20 meters below the Earth’s surface and offers breathtaking views and a mystical experience making you think that you are into another world.

You can buy a ticket for 6 €, then you have to go down on a set of stairs that leads into the cave where you get to see an impressive view of the hole in the ground above you. Then just hop on one of the boats and take a nice, short boat tour across the lake where you can see the caves and admire the beauty of the stalactites as well as the water changes colour. Well this place is touristy but it definitely worth the visit. The water is dazzling and crystal clear, it actually invites you to swim but swimming in here is prohibited so you have to only look at.

ASSOS VILLAGE

Assos is a picture perfect village with Venetian style houses sitting on the water’s edge. Assos has a few beaches, a Venetian castle’s ruins with some incredible viewpoints over this picturesque town and a few cute greek restaurants. I visited Assos when I first came to Kefalonia, because this time I came after the cyclone that hit Greece and it seems that this super cute village has been destroyed and also the road to get to the village wasn’t in good condition nighter. I really hope they will be able to rebuilt the village. So, I will share with you my experience from the last time.

I arrived by bus, from the bus station you’ll have to walk for 2 minutes only. Once here I took a delicious lunch and then I took a little wander around the pretty streets, then I stopped to see the colourful house famous all over the internet. It’s a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.

swimming

If you are in a mood for a swim, Assos has beaches where you can have a nice bath. Lots of people swim here and the water is perfect for swimming, actually the super hot days are inviting you for a swim. So bring your swimsuit and the towel and enjoy a nice beach day in such an amazing scenery.

From Assos village you can reach the castle following the path up to the ruins. The route will take you through stunning olive trees, colourful flowers and greenery. During summer the days are super hot, so bring lots of water. .

This is it my beauties! I hope I inspired you to visit Greece. Any tip is more than welcome, just drop your thoughts in the comment area!

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