The Greek Islands may be suffering its own Greek — read financial — tragedy right now, but the cradle of classical civilization has not lost it’s travel appeal. The country is still a stunning venue where conformity, structure and uniformity, usually a globe-trotting buzzkill, make for a stunning vista. There is a spectacular symmetry to the Greek islands. Blue roofs and white washed walls that defy the fading effects of a Greek summer are the symbol of the locale. Ignore the Mamma Mia effect these islands, embrace a splash of the classic and hit of the modern. Here’s what to do while you’re in Greece!
Stay: Mykonos island remains the entertainment capital of the Cyclades islands and a magnet for the beautiful people of the Greek party circuit. The Belvedere hotel (Rohari, Hora (School of Fine Arts District), Mykonos 84600 ) the high end boutique hotel catering to the expensive tastes of the Greek upper class with an infamously expensive wine cellar and has upgraded its restaurants, including a branch of Nobu, to contend with the rising competition of other stylish boutique accommodation emerging on the island.
Check out: The island of Skiathos has over 60 beaches but stunning cliff side walks to the ancient sites of which the Greeks are so proud. The Evangelistria monastery (Monastery of Skiathos, 37002, Magnesia, Greece) constructed by a group of monks fleeing from persecution and committed to retaining the traditions of the Ortohodox church sits amongst a more peaceful atmosphere from which they fled in a hillside of olive groves. Even the holy need a hobby and a small cottage olive oil industry has sprung up here. From late June till October the Aegean Festival replays the classic Greek tragedies and a sometimes tourist driven pantomime version of traditional Greek music. The Attikon open air cinema on Papadiamantis street screens films in English with Greek subtitles. Unfortunately Mamma Mia appears a popular choice but the venue makes up for Piers Brosnan’s attempts at dancing. Just …
People Watch and Drink: As a four year old I disappeared from a festival in Rhodes Town which terrified my frantic parents who’d taken their kid on holiday, but nowadays I remember the experience fondly. I discovered an old lady’s living room, she was watching Greek soap operas and I gamely tested out her olives, clearly unlike my parents, I wasn’t worried. In 2011, Rhodes Town hasn’t altered much and the town square is still a base to observe and appreciate. Visit the square for bars so tiny and family run that many have no name.
Eat: Greek food is embodied by fresh flavours and simplicity based on produce that has been known to arrive on the back of the village donkey minutes after picking and that speaks for itself. But concentration would be key to really focusing on the food at 218˚ Restaurant (Oia, 84702, Santorini, Cyclades Islands, Greece) where the views across the Santorini cliffs and Aegean sea are a hint of why so many tragic Greek battles were fought over these vistas. This kind of beauty is definitely worth fighting for.
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