Our first stop on our Greek Island adventure was the island of Cyprus, which was my birthplace. We stayed in the city of Larnaca because we were only going to be here a few days and it was close to the airport. We were so happy with our choice as the beach and hotel were exactly what we were looking for.
We stayed at the Lordos Beach Hotel lordosbeach.com.cy/ and spent most of our time at the beach with a drink from the beach bar. At night we went across the street for dinner or we took the bus into town. If you walk across the street you will see a few family owned small restaurants and make sure you find one that is serving Lamb Kleftiko as this is the most delicious dinner, in fact we looked for it all throughout the Greek Islands. A absolute must is Haloumi (we called it the squeeky salty cheese) it comes with tomatoes and balsamic and is so delish that we eat it at home now on a regular basis.
One night we took the bus (a easy ride) to the waterfront of Larnaca. This is much more touristy, Starbucks of course! We ate at a lovely restaurant arhontikon.gr on the waterfront and ordered the Meze (this is just as it gives you a wonderful sampling of Cypriot dishes.
We booked a private tour to take us to Nicosia to see the archeological museum, visit some of the places my parents took me as a child and also visit the Turkish side too shop for spices. I highly recommend chronostravel.com, the guide was great and so knowledgeable it made our day trip very memorable.
What a lovely island, I would absolutely go back! As you will read the same will not be said of our two other stops in the islands.
We took the ferry from Santorini and upon arriving we knew we would love it. You could see the temple of Apollo as we approached. It was obviously a lesser known island as the town was cute but not packed with people. If you are looking to wander among the white walled corridor street you can find them here just not as many as in Santorini or Mykonos and they are not wall to wall souvenir shops..
Our hotel hotel-galaxy.com was right across from the beach and we rented chairs, umbrella and lockbox for 4 Euro just a short walk to the right of the hotel (it belonged to a restaurant that made delish mango mojitos) It was an easy walk to the marina for shopping and dinner. During the day we rarely left the water, it was so warm and shallow. You could rent paddle boats, jet skis or do as I did and get a daily massage at your beach chair. There are mountain bike tours for the more adventurous and the next time I visit I will stay much longer and take a car around the island to visit some of the other beaches. Truly our favorite of the Greek Islands so far.
Of course we had to go to the iconic island of Santorini but since this is my blog I will tell you that once was enough for me. Yes the views were absolutely incredible but the amount of tourists even in September made it so that I don’t think I would need to go back, that said if you have never been it is impossible to visit the Greek Islands without stopping here for a couple days. We stayed at the Cori Rigas Suites coririgasuites.com and thankfully they helped a bit with luggage which was not easy with hills and cobblestone. The breakfast here was fabulous as was the two bedroom suite that we stayed in. One of the highlights of our entire trip was the sailing cruise we did to see the volcano, swim in the hot springs and see the sunset in front of Oia. (The cover picture for this page). There are many options but we did the dinner cruise on a beautiful sailboat santorini-sailing.gr. You can take the donkeys down to the marina or walk down. We chose to walk and then took the gondola back up after the cruise.
An easy bus ride takes you to Santo Winery santowines.gr and even if you don’t drink wine (what are you a crazy person? How can you not drink wine!) the view is worth the trip. If you do want to try some amazing wine get a flight and you wont be disappointed.
We went here last and it was my least favorite, I would never go back. Every picture you see of the cute little streets must be taken in the dead of winter because there were so many people you never had a view without massive amounts of people and a ton of cigarette smoke. The shops were very touristy and expensive. We took the bus to a beach and it was 40 Euro for a beach chair which we talked down to 20 (keep in mind in Cyprus it was 1 Euro and Naxos 4 Euro). The water was fine but nothing near to how wonderful Cyprus and Naxos were. Our hotel however was very nice, our bartender made great drinks so we spent most of our time there poseidonhotel-mykonos.com. We did find a restaurant that we liked and went back each night called Marco Polo (no website but your hotel should give you directions).
We had a great trip and I can say that I highly recommended visiting Cyprus and Naxos but stay at least a week each. Santorini can be a two or three night stay and skip the crowds of Mykonos. If you go to any other islands I would love to hear your thoughts.