Easy Like a Greek Summer
Europeans have perfected the art of leisure and the Greek islands are their summer playgrounds. While it is a long journey for us Americans, vacation hot spots like Santorini are only a few hours away from the European mainlands. Many Italians, French and Brits jump on a ferry or short plane ride to spend their summer relaxing on the islands. The days are spent floating in the Mediterranean Sea and the nights are full of indulgent long meals that last long into the night.
In mid July we left foggy San Francisco, spent a day in London, and then jetted off to the island of Santorini. During our 10 day stay in Greece, we island hopped between Santorini and Paros to experience the best both islands have to offer. The iconic village of Oia on Santorini boasts some of the most scenic views in the world. Paros is known for its beaches and crystal clear shores. In Paros we stayed in the small village of Drios which is less touristy and gave us a taste of more authentic Greek life (and it's much cheaper!). Airbnb offered some great apartment options in Paros and the locals who hosted us were very knowledgeable and friendly.
Along with perfecting the art of relaxing, the Europeans also know how to dress for their holidays. We saw a French dinner party that looked like it was straight out of a page from French Vogue complete with pieces from designer resort collections. Being the thrifty gal I am, I snagged this Athena inspired dress on Swap (less than $10!) and paired it with a handmade statement necklace and bracelet from Etsy.
The Holiday Regimen
On the Greek islands there's a very slow pace common referred to as "Greek time". Visitors have developed a routine to fill their days in the most relaxing way possible. Your typical day on the Greek islands looks something like this:
11am: Wake up late and enjoy some coffee and breakfast with fresh fruit on your gorgeous terrace. Every place we stayed had a lovely outdoor space filled with flowers and sunshine.
12noon - 3pm: Head to the ocean for your daily dip. The Mediterranean water is so clear and warm that you can just walk right in. The high density of salt makes floating very easy, you don't even need an inter tube. Restaurants serve food right on the beach so you don't have to go far for lunch.
4pm: Nap time. The Greek sun is intense and many retreat indoors to their air conditioners and sleep away the midday heat. Energy levels must be renewed for the nighty festivities that lay ahead.
7pm - the wee hours of the morning: the warm evenings on the islands set the scene for all kinds of night fun. Restaurants are bustling with visitors enjoying long evenings filled with extravagant meals. As you walk along the main strips you can hear live music, singing and fireworks most nights.
Island Hop on the Ferry
Some of the best island views can be found riding on the ferry between islands. This is the most common mode of transportation between islands and is used by both locals and visitors alike. On the ferries you can sit out on the deck and enjoy incredible ocean views while you travel to your destination. Many Europeans travel to multiple islands on holiday to enjoy the best of what each island has to offer. Some are known for their mountainous volcanic views and others have beaches that are perfect for swimming, but either way you can't go wrong with whichever islands you choose.
Dog Days of Summer
Every day in our walks along the beaches and villages we made many furry friends. The street dogs and cats are just as friendly as the Greek people. These street animals seemed to be well cared for by the communities which was great to see. Every night at dinner we had a few friendly visitors who quickly realized that we are suckers for begging puppy eyes. We came across a few puppies and kittens that I desperately wanted to stow away in my bag back to the US. We found dogs playing in the waves on the beach without a care in the world. They are living the good life!
Donkeys are also very common on the Greek islands, we came across several donkey farms on our daytime outings. We even spotted a few white donkeys which I never realized existed!
See more from Santorini and the Greek Islands:
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