Monday, May 19, 2008

Backpacking in Greece (Part III)

I have only wrote about the Islands that i have personally visited myself, and many revisited.


One of my favorites I will always go back to. The main port is called Parikia, and can get very busy especially June/July. Try and head for Naoussa (about 25 mins). You should easily find a room here, it has a few beaches, and plenty of Tavernas to choose from mainly in the road heading to the Church. I recommend - "Takis" restaurant. There are also some splended places to eat around the harbour area (mainly fish tavernas). This area is very RELAXING! Paros is quite a large island, therefore lots to do.
Make sure you visit Anti - Paros


Very close to Paros, only one hour away by ferry. Therefore a must! There is a small kiosk at the waterfront offering rooms this may help you. Naxos claims to have more & more backpackers (visitors) each year. It is also one of the biggest islands of the Cyclades. You first come across Chora/Naxos town, which has a very touristy water front with lots of tavernas & bars. (Which can be quieter out of season) Follow the small streets to the top, lots of little shops on the way. (hard going on the legs) Take a look at The Temple of Apollo!


This island is probably one of the most expensive, the accommodation also seems to be higher priced. But do not let this put you off. Well worth a visit, July/August can be very busy. This is the island where they filmed "Shirley Valentine". It has great beaches, Paradise probably being the most famous beach. Also famous for the 1956 Pelican bird landing here! (Island attracts lots of young people & has a high number of Gay people visiting)


I was unlucky here, as I left the night the Olympic Torch ceremony was being held. Spectactular as you aproach from a ferry. Straight away your eyes look towards the two towns. The main town being Ermoupolis, even here we had no trouble with finding rooms. If you love walking then you must walk to the top. WHAT A VIEW! Do not forget to take the camera.


Another one of my favorites, I will always go back here just to chill out! What a lovely place as you arrive by boat you see this small town surrounded by huge mountains. This is where I met Matt Barrett. We arrived here in early May, it was probably the quietest island I had visited, lovely but had trouble getting food during the day. Catch the local bus at the end of the port which runs backwards & forwards and you can get off at any of the stops and go exploring. Kastro is a must, wow, what a walk down!


This island tries to live up to it's reputation, those looking for traditional Greek Islands would probably do best to avoid it. Saying that, I am glad I visited Ios. Old Chora is very picturesque, the port of Gialos is quiet, apart from a few bars. Behind the port climbs the old mule track up to the Chora, which is worth trying to climb!!
(Ios attracts young people finding bar work)


Corfu is a very green Island, and has many vineyards and orange groves. Probably mostly famous as the number one package deal holiday from the UK. But still worth a visit. It is the second largest Island of the Ionian. The most spectacular scenery is to be found on the west coast. The Greek mainland can be reached from here in under two hours, and Sivota can be seen on a clear day. Make sure you pay a visit to Corfu Town, but if you want a quiet time stay away from "Kavos".


We arrived & managed to sit on a ferry for over four hours stuck at the port (top deck) WOW! Who cared about the dockers strike! The stunning view was worth the long wait. Try and stay in Thira, the main town. Slightly more expensive but worth the extra money. The great attraction in the old town has to be the view over the caldera and the volcano. Try walking down the steps to the bottom port, great going down, wait till you come up!!! That is why they have donkeys down there as some people give up in the heat!
Thira has lots to offer, and becomes very busy at night, shops everywhere & plenty of bars and tavernas to choose from.


This island has something for everyone, being the largest Greek Island, you would find you need six weeks to cover most of the island. Also has the longest and deepest gorge in Europe. "SAMARIA gorge". Which is a must if you like walking (an all day trip) Chania is a very popular destination, also Agios Nickolaos the later being a lot more touristy. Chania also was the capital until 1971.
This island is very mountainous, and worth hiring a jeep or car!


Poros is not to be confused with Paros, totally different Islands. Poros & Hydra are very close to the mainland and can be both reached easily from Aegina, the main village here is called "Poros". This village faces the mainland and has shingle beaches. Poros Town is quite busy, here you will find plenty of small stalls and shops. You can reach most beaches from the harbour where you can get a boat shuttle.


The first thing you notice about this Island are "No Cars", pedestrians only. Most of this pretty Island is covered by pines. As you aproach the Island you are drawn towards the steep white houses, and the harbour full of waterside cafes/bars. If you fancy a two hour steep walk, try walking towards the monastery of Profitis Ilias and the nunnery of Agia Evpraxia they both face each other, on a 500m mountain slope.


This island is great as it is so close to Athens, only 40 minutes away by Flying Dolphin. So worth bearing in mind as a stop over for returning back to Athens when you have finished your trip. Very scenic waterfront, with lots of Cafe/bars. Check out the Church at the other end of the harbour! At weekends this island seems to suffer from noisy mopeds all through the night, especially in Aegina town. (nearly drove me mad) You have to remember a lot of people from Athens come over for the day or weekend. The island can be mostly covered in one day, main places to visit Perdika, Ag. Marina, Souvala, Aegina Town. (This was my first Greek Island I ever visited)

Livadi is the main port with a very nice beach and great harbour. The capital being Chora, this is a place not to be missed. With its ridge of windmills, and hills topped with white washed buildings. Breathtaking! The place is split into two, the older section running along the hill, the newer town runs down the south slope.

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