Spring is coming and together comes the willingness to summer holidays and beach. Many of you are probably look for a place to spend some days in the summer… Have you ever think about Greece? Here is my story!
I have been first to Athens and then to Crete, and there’s no need to say I loved both. You must know that Greek people are very warm and kind, food is delicious and cheap, the sun is always shining, so what else?
When we arrive in Athens, Greece, it was July and very hot but then we grabbed an iced coffee and the city was so amazing! It is full of contrast between the ancient Acropolis, the old town, the not very neat and a bit sloppy borough. You can feel the city was hit by the crisis but so alive and full of life. We stayed there just three days but there are both metro and tram that can help you traveling around the city very quickly.
First of all, we headed for the Acropolis: the ticket is free for children and students, and there are a lot of combined ticket, so if you have to pay you can see most of the ancient monuments with about 20 euros. I chose to visit the Acropolis, the Library of Adrian and the supposed Socrates tomb. They are surrounded by pedal streets with shadows, so is a perfect walking through the centuries. Moreover, from the top, you have a 360° view of the whole city.
The place I love the most there is the old town. Walking there from late afternoon on (when people start to go out), sipping an iced-orange juice and eating gyros is just perfect, especially in the Monastiraki and Plaka borough, the colorful heart of the city. I enjoyed also Syntagma square, especially by night because the fountain has a light shows.
On the other hand, I didn’t like the Piraeus Harbor, there’s nothing historical left nowadays, and the change of the Guards in front of the Parliament because it’s just some kind of touristic attraction and also quite boring. But I was quite surprised by Voula Beach, it’s a very good one despite being near the city, and you can easily get there by a cheap tram (but a bit slow, it takes almost one hour because it stops often).
I love greek food and in Athens, you can find delicious pita gyros in every corner, but my favorite place was definitely Atitamos, where I had my first moussaka – it was love at first sight.
We travel to Crete from Athens by plane, Ryanair flights are usually cheaper than the ferry if you use some special trick. When I am searching for cheap tickets, I also usually check Momondo, not only for Greece.
We were staying in Chania while traveling around the island, that is gorgeous. Sunny every day but not as hot as Athens because of the wind. Staying in Chania was the best choice because is not only one of the cutest towns but it’s also so alive, day and night, and very peculiar. A little old harbor, narrow colorful streets, an old mosque, amazing sunsets – the only annoying thing is crowd by night and restaurant or in the main street close to the sea. I also loved Rethymno, with the same narrow streets full of color but smaller and quieter, with a castle on the top. Heraklion is not that peculiar, but the center is nice for a walk on the (large, this time) main street down until the fortress on the sea.
If you are curious about history and greek mythology, Knossos palace deserves a visit, even if it is not the real one but just a rebuilding based on the ruins they found. Just book a guided tour, and get into the legendary Minotaur story.
And then, the beaches: I can’t speak about every beach I liked because they are like half of the island but there are really stunning places that were kind of paradise on Earth to me: Elafonisi Beach, with incredible pink sand and turquoise water, Balos Lagoon and the island of Gramvousa.
Finally, Cretan food deserves to be mentioned. If you avoid the touristic places (you recognize them because they serve pizza or pasta that are NOT typical, even if they come from the Mediterranean area), you will find some good restaurant in every corner, and it is quite cheap everywhere!
In my opinion, best greek food is moussaka, a kind of lasagna made of aubergine, tzatziki, a sauce made of yogurt and cucumber, that you can put on the mint-flavoured courgette’s croquettes, and dolmades, rice wrapped in grapevine leaves. In addition to that, there’s the typical salad made of feta cheese, olives and tomatoes, and every kind of fish you can imagine. And as a dessert, the incredibly tasty baklava, with some greek yogurt… But be careful, don’t drink too much ouzo! Enjoy!
Author: Lisa Egman
About: Currently a student in Tourism Economics, I spend my free time exploring my neighborhood or traveling around Europe. And I hope to do that as a job one day.