I remember exactly how the idea came up. A friend and I were talking over drinks and he mentioned wanting to go to the Bahamas (or something) in the spring. I nonchalantly said “I’m thinking about island hopping in Greece for 2 weeks, want to do that instead?”
And off we went.
I had just come from my solo trek in Rome when we met in Athens. We were both jet lagged and lost in the airport before finally finding each other outside a bathroom, randomly. Remember – no phones abroad so we had to do it like people did before text messaging. Crazy right? Luckily I was still on the high from traveling alone so I didn’t let a single hiccup phase me.
He and I decided to book our trip through Busabout. It was 2 weeks and 4 islands. There was plenty of flexibility and we were able to stay on each island for longer but we stuck to simple version.
Ps – I highly recommend Busabout. There isn’t an age limit so you get a move diverse group and it is a little less of a messy party vibe than tours like Contiki. They also allow you to put a down payment and set up a payment plan on your trip if you need to budget ahead of time. Plus you get a ton of flexibility with bookings. Also, our tour guide was the shit.
We stumbled around a while before catching the train to Monastiraki Square where we were scheduled to meet our group.
First things first – find the hostel. We dropped our bags and headed out to explore. Monastiraki Square was nuts. There were vendors, cafes, bars and street art all looming under the Acropolis that is situated just above on the hillside. We only had time to grab a beer or two before we had our meet and greet with the group.
Luckly, our hostel had a rooftop terrace and bar that overlooked the Square and the Acropolis. So not only did we get a picturesque sunset over Athens, but we got a chance to break the ice with our fellow travelers and meet our kick ass tour guide.
It was an early night for all of us since we headed out at 7am the next morning to catch our ferry and begin our adventure.
The ferry ride was beautiful and we played card games on the top deck. Once we arrived on the island, we headed straight for our hostel at Paradise Beach Resort.
Our beach was perfect. Beautiful teal water stretched along the coast. It was our first real taste of the Aegean Sea. Basically perfection, right?
There was a dance club and bar (girls were dancing on table tops by 11am) and plenty of food. We got the best gyros I’ve ever had for only 3 euros. The hangover probably had something to do with it, but who cares.
Also, it was ‘nude friendly’… so that kept things interesting too.
We got the cheaper package which were these little huts all in a row, each with two tiny single beds in them. Nothing special but got the job done.
One night we went out dancing at a club I can’t remember the name of and had drinks at multiple places in the area. There was something about fashioning a broken dress strap with a bobby pin at some point and a few girls ended up with free T shirts from one of the bars. Presumably from their bar top dance moves.
Little did I know, dancing on bars would become a common occurrence of the trip.
We spent our longest full day walking through the main town on the island. It was exactly what you imagine when you think of Greece; white buildings with blue doors and grey stone streets.
I can’t even explain to you how beautiful this place was.
That night we partied again, though I don’t remember much of it. And then up early with the first of many hangovers to hop on our next ferry.
Keep in mind this was back in 2012, so the islands could be a little different now given the current migrant situation in the region. There were protests in Athens around this time due to the economic crisis, but we didn’t run into any issues during our travels.
Next up… Paros…