If you’ve ever heard of the famous Venus De Milo sculpture which resides in the Louvre in Paris then you probably know it’s home was originally the island of Milos, located in the south western corner of the Greek Cyclades. Our prior journeys to these spectacular islands had so far bypassed this exotic beauty but now was our chance to explore her shores in all their exquisite charm. From the moment we arrived in Adamas, the main harbour of the island, we were suitably impressed. The small, bustling marina filled with mega yachts, ferries and cruise boats was fringed with traditional Greek tavernas, sweet-scented bakeries, chatty cafes, souvenir sellers, car rentals and lively bars. The buzzing centre was framed by a backdrop of shimmering, white-washed, village houses and customary hotels running down the hills, spilling into the sapphire blue of the Aegean.
We have travelled extensively through the fascinating mainland and the magnificent islands of Greece and each place has its unique charm. There is one common denominator and that is the characteristic hospitality of this welcoming country. We found Skiathos just as receptive and, even at the very end of the busy season, the locals greeted us like long lost family members. This is also an island blessed with stunning beaches and great food so if it’s a relaxing, indulgent, short break you are looking for, Skiathos is high on our list of recommendations.
It’s mid August and we’re on the car ferry from Zakynthos to Kefolonia, one of the largest and most famous islands of Greece. We arrived at Pesada Port and unfortunately it was a nightmare catching a taxi to Argostoli, the capital of Kefolonia. Crowds of people and only three taxis made our arrival less than ideal. One young Italian woman showed her displeasure by screaming, kicking her bag and yelling out, “F@&$ Grecia!”. Sadly, this is what to expect when you travel to the Greek islands in August. Luckily our hotel sent a taxi to collect us after our cry for help.
Zakynthos, a small, Greek, Ionian island, is just a forty minute flight from Athens. On arrival we caught a 20€ taxi ride to the coastal town of Tsilivi. In our opinion this is the best place to stay on the island. It is much quieter than Zakynthos Town and doesn't have the brassy, wicked edge of Laganas, home to the local nightclub strip, frequented by many a young lad and lass on holiday from the UK and other parts of Europe.
The Gazi (the name of the trendiest area of town) is the centre of gay nightlife in Athens. We visited this European ‘hot spot’ several times during our stay in the city of the Greek Gods. Formerly the old Athens gasworks area, the Gazi is well known for nightlife with dozens of bars, straight and gay (who knows which is which in this city). You will also find restaurants and cafés of every price range in abundance.
Hydra is famous for its maritime tradition, the magnificent sea captains' mansions lining the waterfront, the stark grey hills rising in the background and the brilliant warm turquoise water lapping at the sea front. Today, Hydra is jam packed with sleek luxury watercraft, tourist cafes and restaurants, designer gold jewellery shops and surprisingly, donkeys. Hydra has no motorised transport making this island unique, disarmingly quiet and strikingly quaint. Did we mention it is also 'gob-smackingly' beautiful?