It feels like we just got back from our interrailing trip around Europe, I still need time to process it all!
Matt and I have just returned from an 11 day trip to the beautiful Greek Islands which we experienced with his family. Ever since watching Mamma Mia for the first time years ago, Greece was one of the places I wanted to visit. Although our trip wasn’t in “mainland” Greece, it was still great to get a taste of what it is like. Plus the sunshine, beach and ocean was also a win, especially when the UK had been miserable for most of June. I never want my tan to disappear 😂
As part of our trip, we decided to go on a bit of an island hopping adventure. Matt’s parents have been exploring the Greek islands for years now so we mostly followed their lead. It was nice to have what felt like a local guide showing us around!
The first island we visited was Mykonos.
We flew from Manchester to Mykonos on a gloomy Saturday afternoon. Although the ride was bumpy and felt like lasted forever (4 hours), the long travel day was worth it. We arrived at our hotel, just before sunset and were shown to our rooms that had a stunning view of the port – which was all lit up at night!
💙 Mykonos Town & meeting my fitspo
Mykonos was mostly a stop over for two nights, but we made the most out of our time there. The next day, we took a Sea Bus to Mykonos town to do a bit of exploring and to purchase a magnet for my mom’s fridge magnet collection. 😆 Matt and I also took a break in the middle of the day to grab a drink at Little Venice – a recommendation by my colleague and his wife.
As we waited for the rest of Matt’s family to join us, we spent the rest of the day relaxing by our hotel’s pool before we headed for dinner at a nearby taverna, which was funnily called Matthew’s Taverna.
Now I usually don’t talk about dinner, because I’m not very much into food blogging and there isn’t usually much that happens BUT THIS ONE WAS SO EVENTFUL. As the evening went on, I caught a glimpse of someone who looked very familiar, entering the restaurant.
It was Karina Elle! For those who know about the Gymshark community, athletes and general fitness community would know how much of a big deal this was. I had wanted to come see her at a Gymshark meet-up in Birmingham last year, but could never make it, so seeing her enter the restaurant was such a big deal! I have to admit, I was so starstruck that I was terrified of going up to her and saying hello but Matt and his family urged me on for what felt like hours 😂 so I finally did it!
I had a fun little chat with her! She was so humble and exactly as she is on Instagram. A highlight of my trip, that’s for sure.
🤦🏻♀️ Getting on the wrong ferry…
The next day we headed to the port to go to our next stop, Naxos.
Or so we thought…
Because of a series of unfortunate events, we ended up getting on the wrong ferry. The one we got on was the one to Tinos, an island north of Mykonos – totally the opposite way we were supposed to be going.
After talking to the folks on the ferry, we found out that the next ferry to Naxos from Tinos was 6pm later that day. We had no choice to stay in Tinos until then! It was easy to point blame and stress out, but we all stayed quite optimistic; treating this slight detour as a day trip and opportunity to explore another Greek island.
Luckily, we weren’t the only ones that made the mistake and ended up making friends with a couple from Germany who were on the same boat (ba-dum-tis)
There was a delay with the ferry, so we ended up waiting quite a bit. When we finally set sail, we had the chance to watch the sunset as we were on our way. It felt all worth it to see the sun set over the islands!
I feel like I learn a lot from travel mistakes, and have grown as a person from each one. Stressing over something you can’t change was a waste of energy, so making the choice to see the bright side was really the only thing to do. And sometimes, it is quite surprising to see the opportunities that arise from them!
Upon arriving to our hotel in Naxos, we were given sandwiches as the hotel staff had heard about our mismatch. It was super nice of them to think of us and leave us some food!
Matt’s parents have always said that they enjoyed Naxos the most, I was eager to see as much of it as I can as well as spend my days doing as little as possible.
🏖 Plaka Beach
*cue the Moana soundtrack*
One of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever been to, hands down.
Shout out to George for fantastic service on the beach!
🌿 Naxos Town
There was a direct bus from our hotel that took us into Naxos Town. Looking back, the town is somewhere I’d like to explore more in the future – especially in the evenings where walking around is more bearable because of the lower temperatures!
One of the first places we went to was to see a monument which was up on a hill by the port. It is the Portara, an unfinished marble framed entrance to a temple. Apparently, the build started in 530 BC, but was never completed because Lygdamis was overthrown.
Eager to explore some of the famous Greek alleyways, we headed upwards towards Naxos Castle. It was quite an adventure!
I absolutely fell stomach first in love with Greek food on this trip! Here are some of the places we visited, can’t recommend them enough:
Out of all the other islands, Paros was by far my favourite. Compared to Naxos and Mykonos, Paros was full of greenery and what looked like great places to hike. This island felt more like home, for some reason. 💜
We stayed at Manis Inn Hotel, closer to another town — Naousa. I was very impressed with the hotel from the moment we got there! Although the pool was smaller than the one we had in Naxos and the beach wasn’t as sandy as I would’ve liked, everything else was pretty much perfect. It definitely was the best hotel we had stayed at!
☀️ Naousa Town
In Naxos and Mykonos, it took either a bus or a sea bus to get into town but in Paros, the town was a short 10-minute walk.
Although the town centre was smaller than the other towns, I found it charming, more welcoming and less touristy. I enjoyed looking around so much that I actually ended up doing a bit of shopping which I usually don’t do anymore (especially jewellery!)
For breakfast and lunch, we mostly ate at the hotel. At Manis Inn, they had a different traditional Greek dishes which had more variety than other hotels we stayed at during our trip. In the evenings, we had dinner the town!
These were some of our favourite places:
🏃🏻♀️ The journey back home
We literally took every type of transportation on our journey back to Leeds:
- 🚌 Bus to Parikia Port
- 🛳 Ferry to Mykonos
- ⛵️ Sea bus to Mykonos Town / Old Port
- 🚌 Bus to Mykonos Airport
- ✈️ Flight to Manchester
- 🚕 Taxi to Leeds
Upon reflection, although I was tired, I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to go through all that in one day! I’m always so proud of myself for using public transport, particularly in a different country because it wasn’t too long ago since my travel anxiety didn’t even let me get on my local Sheffield bus.
The Greek Islands were such an experience, being with Matt’s family certainly added to the experience.
I can’t believe that it has taken me so long to get to Greece, but now that I’ve done it and discovered how truly beautiful these islands are — I’m excited to just see it all again! Until next time 👋🏻
Posted under: Explaw, Travel