Sian Owen Photography | Greece
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G R E E C E

 

General tips when visiting the Greek Isles:

 

Ferries

It’s not necessary to book your ferries in advance, because apparently they are never ‘fully booked’ but if you’d prefer to play it safe, all the ferries can be booked from here. You can book 3 routes at a time with an 18 Euro service fee. Once you arrive in Athens you will have to collect your printed tickets from the Lets ferry ticket office – easy peasy.

Recommended Dates

Book accommodation early if you are thinking of going in July or August. Most of the accommodation is taken up 2 or 3 months before. If you are looking for a relaxing trip, then I would recommend rather going in June/September as it’s out of season, and away from the tourist hustle bustle. If you are looking for a party/ the nightlife scene then July/August is a good bet.

Island Transport

NB! As of around May 2018, a new law came in requiring tourists from outside of the EU to have a licence specifically for riding scooters or motorbikes. Additionally, many of the dealerships will not rent quads, scooters, or cars unless you have an international drivers licence for insurance purposes. If you do not have a specific licence for scooters or motorbikes then you can only rent a quad or a car (Code B with an SA drivers license). We rented quads for roughly 30 Euros per day. If you find that renting a quad or car is not for you, then the local buses are normally quite reliable and usually cost between 1.50 and 2.50 Euros between destinations.

Greek Food

Feta is life in Greece. It’s literally in everything, so there’s no escaping it – not that you’d want to anyway.
Breakfast – creamy greek yogurt & honey, obviously.
Lunch – almost every lunch was bought from our nearest bakery. I had a traditional spinny & feta pie (called spanakopita) almost every single day, and never got tired of them.
Dinner – When we were feeling broke we opted for the 2.50 Gyros. This is basically a thick pita filled with meat or falafels, potato chips, tomato, onion, and tzatsiki. Occasionally we’d treat ourselves to a meal at a greek tavern. I’d highly recommend trying the Moussaka or a Dakos Salad.
Treats – Cappuccino Frappe; fro-yo and baklava.
 
 

ATHENS

HOSTEL: Pagration Youth Hostel (2 nights)

I arrived in Athens and it was unbelievably hot. So hot that it was uncomfortable to be outdoors between 11am – 5pm. I highly recommend doing the free walking tour, which meets at Hadrian’s Arch at 10am and 5pm everyday. It’s a great way of seeing the major sites in Athens by foot. Unfortunately I did not take too many photos in Athens, as it was too hot for me to carry around my heavy bag all day!

 

THINGS TO DO

> Free Walking Tour

> Acropolis

> Sunset at Filoppou Hill

> Parthenon

> Shopping along Ermou street towards the flea market

 

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MILOS

AIRBNB: Διαμέρισμα 45m2 in Triovalsalos with Mary (here) (6 nights)

 

Whenever we spoke to locals about the places we were or had visited, they’d all ‘ooooh’ and ‘ahhhh’ at the sound of Milos – replying that it was the most beautiful greek island. I can totally understand why. It’s a very sleepy island – much quieter than Ios. The island is a perfect honeymoon destination, which is why the majority of its visitors seem to be couples.

 

THINGS TO DO & SEE

> Captain Yiangos Boat Tour

> Sunset from Plaka Kasto

> Walk through Plaka village & eat at one of the taverns

> Sarakiniko

> Firopotamus Beach

> Tsigrado Beach

> Papafragus

> Fishing Villages: Mandriaka, Firopotamus, klima

> Plathiena Beach (good for sunset too)

 

> Captain Yiangos Boat Tour

Our first day in Milos was perfect for orienting ourselves around the island with the oldest boat touring company: Captain Yiangos. I highly recommend seeing the island by boat, as it’s a great way to explore areas that are not accessible by vehicle. This boat ticket cost us 40 Euro per person, and departs from the Adamantas Port at 9am, and returns at 7pm. The boat cruises around the whole of Milos and stops in beautiful spots for swimming, chilling and cave exploring. Some of the swimming spots include Kleftiko Caves , Kalamos and Plathiena. The boat stops at the island of Kimolos for lunch, where we took our sandwiches and ate them on the tiny church on the hill – and had a far better view than all the expensive taverns below!

 

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> Sunset from Plaka Kasto

Sunset from the church at the top of Plaka was so nice we had to do it twice. The walk up the hill to the top takes roughly 15 minutes. Pack your sundowners and enjoy the typical hazy greek sunset from the church or the castle at the top.
 
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> Walk through Plaka village & eat at one of the taverns

Plaka was my favourite village of all! The typical Greek-style, white and blue streets are filled with romantic taverns surrounded by the pink and orange bougainvillea. The perfect post-sunset dinner spot. Give yourself enough time after sunset to walk through the streets while it is still light, and browse through the quaint boutiques in search of the perfect white linen top.
 
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> Sarakiniko

We took a trip to the moon, and spent the day at these sea caves. Well, at least, that’s how it felt. Sarakiniko’s moon-style rock formations are its claim to fame. This is the perfect spot for some rock jumps or a swim through the beautiful caves. However, unless you don’t mind lying on a rock, I wouldn’t suggest spending the entire day chilling here – head to Firopotamus instead.
 
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> Firopotamus Beach

This was undoubtedly our favourite chilling & swimming beach. From the beach you have a stunning view over the crystal clear water and the small fishing village on the right. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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> Tsigrado Beach

We came across this secret cove while exploring the cliff edges not too far from the crowded Firiplaka beach.
 
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> Papafragus

Unfortunately the day we visited Papafragus was really windy, so we didn’t see it at it’s best, but I’d still recommend visiting!
 

> Fishing Villages: Mandriaka, Firopotamus, Klima

There are a few picturesque fishing villages in Milos, which are a definite must see. The cute houses are carved on rocks around the small port, so close to the waters edges that the water would splash over your feet when as you open the front door. (I wouldn’t mind having a ‘front ocean’ in place of a ‘front garden!’) There are lovely taverns at Mandriaka and Klima, so I’d suggest either going for sundowners or dinner.
 
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> Plathiena Beach

This is a sandy beach, which is quite rare in Milos. I’d recommend packing some sundowners, because since it faces the west it is a good one for sunset too!
 

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IOS

HOSTEL: Far Out Beach Club (here) (1 night)

AIRBNB: Agora Centre Room No. 16 (here) (5 nights)

 

The first thing everyone says about Ios is that it’s a crazy party island. Which is true. If you are looking for festive night life, then this is your island. However, if this isn’t your scene I’d still highly recommend visiting Ios. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve have ever been – you’ll get an idea of it’s beauty after scrolling through the next few photos…

 

THINGS TO DO & SEE

 

> Neverbay

> Kalamos

> Sunsets in Ios

>Chora

> Nighlife

 

> Neverbay

Seeing Neverbay for the first time was a serious ‘goosebumps’ moment for me. If you’re seriously considering visiting Ios, send Brett or I a message, and we will send you the GPS co-ordinates of this secret spot, as it’s really off the beaten track. You will have to rent a quad/scooter, and head out towards Manganari beach. (Google maps might take you on the shortest route – but do not trust the road past Mylopotas beach! Rather take the much longer tar road all the way around!) When you reach the fork in the road, the tar road turns right, and the dirt road turns left. Take a left. Drive along the road until you reach a stone wall, park the scooter, and it is a 15 minute walk from there. You will most probably have this little piece of paradise all to yourselves. There is a perfect rock jumping spot on the left, and if you swim past that there is a long, narrow crevice in the rock which is beautiful to swim through! There is another spectacular bay around the corner from Neverbay, but it is a bit of a trek – to say the least. If you’re up for the mission definitely go check it out!
 
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> Kalamos

The treacherous road to Kalamos is an adventure in itself. The steep ascents and hairy bends deters most people, making it an uncrowded spot.
 
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> Sunsets in Ios

There is no shortage of dreamy sunset spots in Ios. Here are a few of our faves…

 

From Agia Irini

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From the church on the hill

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From the hill above the windmills

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> Chora

Roam through the quaint streets of Chora, and treat yourself to a fro-yo, greek style!
 
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> Nightlife

Check out Far Out Beach Club if you’re in the mood for a day mare. That jol ends at 10pm though – from there everyone heads to Chora to go bar hopping. Lost Boys Bar is one of the top on our list. Fun Pub, Disco 69, Escobar, Circus, Scorpion…. The list is endless. There is a pub crawl you can do for 25 Euros which includes a few free drinks if that’s your vibe. Not too many photos to see here folks – the camera stayed behind.
 
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SANTORINI

HOTEL: Marianna Hotel in Perissa (here) (5 nights)

 

Santorini is the iconic Greek island. It is often believed to be the most beautiful of all the Greek isles but after visiting Milos and Ios it was far from the best for us. We spent 5 nights in Santorini but after the second day we felt as if we had seen what we had needed to see and we were ready to move on. Don’t expect Santorini to be a relaxing beach holiday destination. However, if you’re prepared to pay a small fortune for a room at a boutique hotel and plan on spending your days lounging by the pool then Santorini might be the place for you.

 

THINGS TO DO & SEE

> Sunset in Oia

> Photographing Oia

> Fira

> Volcano Boat Trip

> Pygos

 

> Sunset in Oia

Oia is a million times prettier than Fira in my opinion. It’s a picturesque village on the northern cliffs of the island. The village is predominantly white, with a few pastel coloured houses, narrow streets, blue domed churches and sunbathed verandas. The Greek tourism companies claim that Oia’s sunsets are #1 in the world, but according to Google its #4. Nevertheless, we had to make sure we got the bests in the house for this famous must-see. We were warned that the Oia sunset lookout gets so crowded that you have to get there about 2 hours early to reserve a seat. This is no exaggeration… The Oia Castle ruins on the left of the lookout point are fenced off, but we jumped the fence (as discreetly as possible) and had the whole place all to ourselves. With a touch of risk-taking and a hint of rule-breaking there is always a way to escape the hustle bustle. We watching the setting sun over this beautiful village from our private Castle ruins: Oia sunset, tick.
 
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> Photographing Oia

We walked towards the postcard view of overlooking the three blue-domed churches – which left us in hysterics. A feisty greek granny armed with her two wooden walking sticks made it her duty to fiercely protect these churches from being over photographed. Two cheeky Asian tourists (dressed in their extravagant dresses and wide-brimmed hats of corse) decides to risk it, sneak under the railing, and snap their perfect instas on the stairs in front of the churches. Granny lost her shit. It was extremely entertaining – I actually regret not videoing the whole scene. Just the thought of that sass queen gives Brett and I the giggles. It was very clear that in order to photograph this famous Oia street one had to make sure Granny was not around. This meant: sunrise mission… I highly recommend the early wake up. It was such a treat to see Oia without the crazy crowds or in the sticky heat. The early bird gets the worm.
 
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> Fira

Fira didn’t meet our expectations. We visited it once and didn’t go back, besides stopping for falafel gyroses…
 
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> Volcano Boat Trip

We spent our last full day in Santorini on a boat cruise in an old sailing ship. We were collected from Perissa at 9.15, and left the Athenious port an hour later. Our first stop was the islet (yes, that is the diminuitive of island) of Neo Kameni. It is the youngest volcanic landform in the eastern Mediterranean. It is still an active Volcano, and was only formed 430 years ago. Our tour guide gave us a very interesting explantion about the history of Santorini, Strongili, and the volcanic eruptions. The boat then heads to Palea Kameni for a quick swim in the hot springs, before stopping at Thirissia for lunch. The cruise came to an end then they dropped us at the Oia Port. We had to walk up the zigzag steps in the blazing heat, and I felt like a sweated out a tiny Aegean ocean. The heat wasn’t the only life-threatening obstacle – we also had to dodge a stampede of donkeys coming down the stairs at a pace much faster than I ever imagined donkeys could move. We literally had to plaster ourselves against the wall and say little prayers that they wouldn’t stomp on our feet. We found ourselves a cool tavern to escape the heat, and were picked up by the tour bus after sunset.
 
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> Pygos

This is the cutest traditional village, and is not as touristy as Oia or Fira – definitely worth a visit!
 
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Efcharistó GREECE…until next time!