It’s time to pick the cherries on top (indeed they had good cherries, and peaches!) of the island hopping in Greece. 

In short: I travelled with my friend Hanna for ten days in July 2013, of which we spent two in Athens, four in Mykonos, four in Paros, including one day in Antiparos. The purpose was quite basic: to relax, get tanned, eat well and enjoy the views and occasional nightlife. 

Here are my pearls of the Aegean Sea:

Mykonos island

The place for sun worshipping: Elia
When the island is filled with beaches and surrounded by turquoise waters, it’s the details that make the difference. Elia beach (15 minutes from the town) seemed to be popular among all kind of travellers: from families with small children to single gay men. And no wonder: everything was as it’s supposed to be. Thick mattresses on the sun recliners, umbrellas that let a bit of sunlight shine through. Clean toilets and a shower to wash away the salt. Waiters that bring anything from food portions to champagne, and when they bring cold drinks, they bring it in ice buckets to keep them cold. On top of that, the restaurant in the shadow served the best drink of the whole trip: something mojito-like with cucumber and green apple, which also gave us enough courage to get on the beach bus that must have transported sun-lovers already back in the 70’s…  So, Elia is not a party place, but perfect for sunbathing. 

Party beach: Super Paradise
This might be hard to believe, but we are in fact 35 years and plus. 🙂 So beach party is not something we’d automatically include in the plans. But yet again, we were on Mykonos – and one of the popular t-shirt prints is ”Mykonos f**ks Ibiza”. We had to do it. Super Paradise beach was actually quite peaceful until 16.30, when the DJ started to turn the volume up. After 19.00 we had to give up, pack our books and sunscreens and join the party crowd. It was fun! Now I know how Kimi Räikkönen must feel on the podium, when being sprayed with champagne. I danced on the sofas and in the sand, and for a brief moment considered continuing the party after midnight in Paradise Cave club. But then we decided to take the bus to the town. We are 35 years and plus, you can’t deny it.

View: Little Venice

Many people told us that ”you have to experience the sunset in Santorini”. Well, Santorini is about six hours from Athens and about as expensive as Mykonos (which, in turn, is as expensive as Finland). In addition, you can fly there directly from Helsinki. So after witnessing this perfect sunset in Mykonos’s Little Venice, we decided to save Santorini for the next time. After all, it can’t get much better than this. Can it?

Hotel: Hermes Mykonos
In addition to the beach business, the Greek know a thing or two about hotel business. Our hotel, Hermes of Mykonos, was simply beautiful. It was 10 minutes by foot from the centre, situated on the hill, and the sunset from our terrace was almost as fascinating as from the Little Venice. With the little difference that here we could enjoy refreshments from our own fridge and not pay 15 euros for a glass of champagne.

 Exploring: the street labyrinth of Mykonos town
A safe way to get totally lost.

Paros island

Restaurant: Levantis, Paros
It is as good as TripAdvisor tells you. Simple, fresh ingredients with some imagination. For example the fish was made with a hint of Moroccan lemon paste and accompanied with leek stuffed in butter. Heavenly good.

Antiparos street life
The ferry from Antiparos to Pounta

Trip: Antiparos

If you stay three days on Paros and one day on Antiparos, does it equal two days in Paros? Antiparos was a cute little island opposite Paros (thus the name, I guess). Picturesque village, excellent Italian restaurant Lollino’s, and apparently many good beaches. Next time we need to take a car with as, as the island does not have any taxis!

Activity: Horse-riding (or diving)

Look at this! I’m the person on the right wearing the white helmet – do I need to say more? If you want to – literally – dive into the waves on a horseback, book a tour from Kokou stables. The top two hours of the island hopping.

Night out: Naoussa town

On Paros, there are two towns: the main town Parikia, where the port is located, and a smaller, a bit more nightlife-oriented Naoussa about 10-15 minutes away. We spent our last night in Nauossa and loved it. A number of cozy restaurants and bars by the seafront and shopping streets that are like a cross-breed of Mykonos and Parikia. Around midnight we sat down to have the last drinks, and there was a Norwegian old couple in the same table. We started talking, and they told us that they had been in Paros already 25 years ago. ”It’s here in Parikia, where he proposed”, she told us. ”We came here to see if that small church is still on that hill”, he explained. ”And it was.” The looked very much in love. Somehow it was a perfect finish for our time on Paros.


The worst way to experience Akropolis
Climb to the hill around noon, when the sun is boiling hot and the place is crowded with stressed cruise tourists that have a tight schedule. Read a guidebook that doesn’t really tell anything but some architectural facts. Stare at the ruins, walk on the slippery stones. Get thirsty, queue to the only water station there is. Feel dizzy,but decide to stay in the sun for some more hours. Spend the night throwing up in your hotel bathroom.

An alternative way to experience Akropolis
As the sun goes down and the warmth gets more tolerable, find a restaurant with a view. Like this Café Avissinia. Sip some ouzo, taste fava and feta salad and simply enjoy the food (very good!) and the view. Life can’t get much better. 🙂

The best way to feel the city: get lost
I visited the Archaeological Museum and somehow, on my way to the food market to meet Hanna, got a bit lost in a dodgier end of the city. I remembered my mom warning me ”do not go and tell people you come from Finland, they might get angry”. So I just strolled the streets, preteding to be local,  with my flip-flops and  wearing my sunglasses (so that my pale green eyes would not reveal my origins!). Some people tried to sell me mobile phones in Greek, so I think I succeeded. But without getting lost I would have missed these beautiful yet sadly abandoned streets. I hope they will return to life one day.

That’s about it – the best of our trip.

Just one more thing:

The must have: Greek frozen yoghurt 
It comes in all possible flavors. My favorites were coconut and green apple. American cookie was not bad either… Can you believe that on one day, I ate frozen yoghurt for 15 euros and nothing else, but a little portion of Greek yoghurt (yes..) from the breakfast buffé? 

Apart from knowing the beach and tourist business, the Greek surely know about good yoghurt!