When I was younger I used to bemoan my parents taking us on the same camping holiday every year to the same place (and yes I’m aware how spoilt-young-child that sounds). But, as a young kid I couldn’t get my head around why you’d return to the same place again and again, year on year. Well, now I’m older and going on my own self-funded holidays, I’ve realised why – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it after all.
If you find a perfect holiday formula that combines the things you love, why would you want anything else? Bear with me here, but it’s what my parents did – their formula involved camping, 6 hour car journeys each way and their delightful children, but it worked for them, and now we all have lovely memories of those holidays together. For me – and my fiance – Greece is the place (or.. as I should say, the group of islands) that we can’t stop returning to, and I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to break the habit.
I’m well aware we’ve barely covered any ground when it comes to Greece, as we’ve only visited Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Zakynthos, which is the tip of the iceberg. Greece has 6,000 Islands – of which only 227 are inhabited, so we’ve only dipped our toe in the beautiful Greek waters to come. There are so many islands I want to visit, and even then I’ve not mentioned the mainland Greek destinations of Athens and Thessaloniki.
I’m certainly no expert when it comes to Greece, so please be aware before I launch into my love letter of all the things that bring me back, I know there is plenty more to this Country and I can’t wait to find it all. It’s not all picturesque white buildings! The thing that always draws us back is our favourite formula for a holiday, perfect weather, incredible food and friendly and generous locals. Yes, it’s the thing at the moment to head off to Santorini for the postcard picture view, but I’d make an argument for Zakynthos as being equally as gorgeous – and 100x less busy.
It’s a perfect place for a budget holiday – you can find cheap flights, and little B&Bs and reasonable dinners at tiny little tavernas. The fish is often freshly caught and prepared, so you get the best food available, and you can taste it. I’m an absolute sucker for calamari (like the pun?) and Greece is the only place I’ve been where I’ll order it off the menu and be met with a mound of little squids enough to feed a village. Greek Salad, Moussaka, Gyros, anything you like – I’ve genuinely never had a terrible Greek meal, and don’t get me started on the wine.
Every time we’ve stayed on a Greek island, the hospitality and warmth we’ve been shown has been second to none. We’ve actually never stayed a chain hotel on our trips to Greece, sticking mainly to little B&Bs which are family run, and we’ve always had great experiences with staff willing to help, pick us up from the airport and help us book excursions. I’d definitely recommend the hotels (links included) we’ve been to in Santorini, Mykonos and Zakynthos as they were budget-friendly places with incredibly helpful staff.
And then there’s the view. There really is nothing like looking out over the crystal blue sea, whilst lounging on gorgeous sandy beaches – in some instances sand black from local volcanoes, which makes it more picturesque. Instagram is awash with photos of the usual – more famous – tourist views, but there’s gorgeous areas to see off the beaten track as well.
I think this love letter has become pretty rambly so I’m going to wrap it up before I go on too much… But I think you can tell from this that my love for Greece is very strong. We’re intending on visiting again next year, and need to pick the next Island. I’m thinking Rhodes.. or maybe Thassos??
If you have any Greek recommendations please send them my way, I can’t wait to go back. In the meantime you can find my snaps – the majority of them of our Greek travels – on my Instagram here