2nd Solo Travel – Greece (Travel Info)

Places Visited and Things Done (In no particular order):

***Athens (June 1st – 3rd & 8th)
– The Acropolis which contains several ancient buildings
– Temple of Olympian Zeus
– Anafiotika; scenic tiny neighbourhood part of old historical neighborhood
– Syntagma Square
– Monastiraki Sqare; flea market neighouhood in old town Athens

I’ve been to Europe before and I find that there are similarities throughout. In Athens, there are a lot of small  neighbourhoods filled with restaurants and shops. Everything seems to be very close together which is nice because I didn’t feel completely alone all the time hehe. To my surprise, there’s a lot of graffiti everywhere! Most of which was not tasteful at all. Apparently, not much is invested in Athens but instead the islands. Other than that, nothing else stood out to me as different. 

Hostel #1: Students & Travellers Inn
The room was nice BUT the receptionist I found was not that helpful. Half the time it sounded like she didn’t want to help you or didn’t know anything about the area. However, the other receptionist was more helpful. They advertised free Wi-Fi but apparently it’s been down for several days. Their washrooms are very small (this is a European thing) and not that clean. I remember visiting the washroom twice in a span of 2 hours and the garbage was still overfilled. This was disturbing because the washrooms are very small. The only good thing about this hostel was that it was in a small neighbourhood and close by the Acropolis.

Hostel #2: Athenstyle
This hostel has been voted one of Europe’s best hostels. It was a bit pricier than the last hostel I stayed in Athens but it was my last day so I didn’t care much about it.Their beautiful terrace gives a panoramic view of the city which also includes the Acropoli *-* The rooms are nice and the washrooms are clean (phew) Their receptionists are super helpful and genuine. The hostel is located right by the Monastiraki Square which has a beautiful view of the Acropolis!

What I’ve Realized/Learnt and More: 
1. There is free Wi-Fi at every single restaurant!!! It is so rare to find a restaurant that doesn’t have it
2. Majority of places take cash and even some places that do take credit, they don’t like it
3. People smoke EVERYWHERE. I saw parents smoke in front of their kids and quite casually too (smoking is big in Europe I find)
4. There are a lot of family owned restaurants.
5. All restaurants have menus out for public to see and usually with a representative close by to try promote the menu.
6. It is illegal to not hand out a receipt
7. They use tour buses as regular local buses

**TIP: CASH OVER CREDIT

***Ios (June 3rd & 4th)
– Mylopotas Beach (most popular beach in Ios and is one of the top beaches in Europe)

Ios was a great way to start off my Greek island hopping adventure. I mainly stayed around my hostel because everything was there. I was impressed by the clean white buildings and the layout. Shopping, restaurants and the night life was just a 2 minute walk away. The beach was also close by. It was just a 20 minute bus ride from the bus stop across my stay and the bus only costed 1.60 euros. I didn’t go during peak season so it wasn’t super busy or anything. Although there was a very young crowd when I went to check out the night life area. I’m guessing because it’s June and high school students just finished school. 

Hostel #3: Francesco’s Hostel
This was easily one of the best hostels I’ve stayed at in Europe in terms of scenic view!! The pool and lobby view is incredible! Aside from that, I was very very happy that they offered free pick-up/drop-off to the port/ferry(a rep would be waiting for you when you come out of your ferry).  I had to get used to the shower being open right next to the toilet though… At least it was clean! lol 

What I’ve Realized/Learnt and More:
(refer to Athens)

***Santorini ( June 5th & 6th)
– Fira
– Oia & sunset view
– Perissa Beach (Black sand beach)
– Red Beach

I really enjoyed my 2 days in Santorini and I’m very happy that I only spent 2 days. The reason is because I expected a bit more from it (specifically areas like Fira and Oia), in terms of things to do and see. Santorini is very scenic and that’s pretty much it. I’m all for scenic views but how often do you really need to see it. I guess it’s because I’m more adventurous and I like to move around. Obviously, there are excursions but it’s mainly to see or be near the Caldera (which is an amazing view by the way).”A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption.” But, you can see the Caldera from every part of Fira or Oia. There are a lot of tourist shops and clothing stores. What I liked about the clothing stores is that they sell clothes that would look very nice with the white buildings and landscape, especially in Oia. What also bothered me a little but is that there were a lot of Asians LOL Nothing against them but I wished I didn’t feel so much like a local LOL Apparantly, a lot of Chinese people travel to Greece because it’s like Dominican to us. It’s close and it’s nice. There are Chinese translations here and there too. That’s how many Chinese people are there. There are also a lot of Chinese wedding photoshoots which were funny to watch because it was SUPER hot but they were fully clothed! hehe OHHH and the beaches that Santorini’s known for. It was okay. I was not impressed by the black sand beach because I think white sand looks way better. It was different but not super awesome to be in because they were pebbles! The red sand beach was very very nice because I loved the colour contrast! Reddish rocks and turquoise like waters!! *-* But again I prefer white sand beaches ^_^ 

Hostel #4: Caveland
I wish I knew how to take the bus to here but it would’ve been super confusing to get to because of the streets. Instead I took a cab and spent 20 euros 😦 But I got a free bus ride to the port though when I left! 🙂
The booked an ensuite so it was bigger and had a kitchen and small living room space. It wasn’t that much more. The room was very nice and clean. I booked this particular hostel because the Greeks used to live in these cave like homes so I thought it would be cool to experience and it definitely was! The only small downside was that it had this smell in the air. It wasn’t  bad smell but something earthy which was probably coming from the rocky walls of the room. The Hostel was a 30 minute walk from Fira which was where the main bus area.
The receptionists were nice and helpful and the rooms, including the washrooms were clean.

What I’ve Realized/Learnt and More: 
– A lot of Chinese people. So many that there are Chinese translations at some of the restaurants

***Mykonos ( June 7th)
– Little Venice
– Windmills

By the time I got to Mykonos, I was ready to get back to Athens and head to Turkey!! All the islands are very nice but had a similar feel to it because of the white buildings and the shops. I actually liked the town in Mykonos the most, compared to all the islands. It was easy to walk around and it was just very white and clean *-* Mykonos is also known for it’s night life but it’s definitely more upscale than Ios. There are usually several or more yachts lined up near the dock. It’s not as busy as Santorini and just a bit busier than Ios. I especially enjoyed the Little Venice area which made me miss Italy just a tad 🙂 I didn’t get a chance to go to the beaches that they’re known for but I was very out of it anyways. Since I came to Athens, it’s just been super super hot! When I had left Toronto, it was still pretty cool so I guess I was just adjusting to the heat xD

Hostel #5: Paraga Beach Hostel & Camping
Omg the pool side view is soooooooo pretty! With this hostel, the hostel reps pick you up as well which is a huge bonus because it’s quite far from the dock. It is also a camping ground so the rooms are in cabins and there isn’t air conditioning but fans. I usually stay in mixed dorms so this is what the hostel offered. THERE ARE A LOT OF BUGS and I wished I brought a net. That’s the only downside to it. If you do not use bug repellent, the mosquitos will eat you alive. I didn’t put any on my face for some reason and I got bit TWICE on my nose. UGH! The staff is very nice and helpful 🙂

What I’ve Realized/Learnt and More: 
(refer to Athens)

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