PUT DOWN YOUR MAP & EMBARK ON A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY!
Island hopping in the Aegean, around the islands of the Cyclades, Dodecanese, Crete and the Sporades invite you live unforgettable experiences. In the Aegean, you can find yourself in a totally different landscape, on an island with a completely different vibe, in the blink of an eye.Explore medieval towns with narrow alleys and a maze of whitewashed houses.
- Dig your toes into the hot sand while relaxing under the shade of a tamarisk tree.
- Dive in the crystal-clear, turquoise waters of the Aegean…
- Enjoy an evening cold drink at the small fishing port watching fishermen clean their nets while cuddly kittens and sea gulls greedily beg aside.
- Savour organic, home-made food at a local taverna and chat with the local “characters”, all while watching the sun gradually descend into the sea…
It is impossible to list all the things you will experience while island hopping in Greece. There is no island too large or too small for you to conquer. There are islands that are cosmopolitan and luxurious and there are islands that are pure and pristine with untouched beaches of timeless beauty. There are islands in the Cyclades that are arid and islands with lush green trees and exotic beaches.
Greece’s roughly 6,000 islands and islets (227 of which are inhabited) are scattered far and wide across the eastern Mediterranean. Most are in the Aegean Sea (south and east of mainland Greece), while a few are in the Ionian Sea (west of the mainland).
Most of the islands are found in the Aegean Sea and are divided into seven groups (from north to south):
The Northeastern Aegean Islands:
These wild islands invite travellers to experience hot springs, fortress villages, rich history, old-fashioned island cuisine, traditional village culture and dramatic celebrations. Eccentric Ikaria is marked by jagged landscapes, pristine beaches and a famously long-lived, left-leaning population. Nearby Chios is an ecotourism paradise & provides fertile ground for the planet’s only gum-producing mastic trees. Lesvos, Greece’s third-largest island and producer of half the world’s ouzo, is also popular with birdwatchers.
The North Aegean Islands are just a breath away from the Asia Minor coast. Lesvos, Chios and Samos offer easy connections to Turkey’s coastal resorts and historical sites.
Thickly forested and less touristed by international visitors, the Sporades are characterized by dense vegetation; rocky landscapes, and pure blue seas: a uniquely alternative destination.
Trace Skiathos walking routes within dense forests and olive groves and discover its hidden beauties. Visit one of the largest marine parks in Europe at the island of Alonissos, which was created in order to protect the Mediterranean Monk Seal monachus monachus, the most endangered specie in Europe. Visit the island of “Mamma Mia” Skopelos and find yourself in a green surrounding with rich pine forests, crystal blue seas and sandy beaches! Taste the famous cheese-pie of Skopelos, and have a shot of oúzo in tavérnas by the sea! Finally ride a cute pony at the island of Skyros in the heart of a dense pine-tree forest, or participate in the famous carnival celebrations.
Evia, the second largest island of Greece and the third in the eastern Mediterranean, Evia has wonderful beaches, a pleasant climate, renowned monuments, many thermal sources and tasty food and is in close proximity of Athens. It is an excellent destination for agrotourism, activity holidays and for driving around, since there are many villages and interesting places worth visiting as well as many solitary beaches and bays.
Islands of Argosaronic
Aegina, Agkistri, Spetses, Hydra, Poros, Salamina and the peninsula of Methana form the island complex of the Argosaronic Gulf in southern Greece. Sprinkled over the Argosaronic Gulf and steeped in ancient mythology, these islands are small havens in close proximity to Athens. Daily ferry connection from the port of Piraeus makes them a lovely, easily accessible all-year-round destination. Visitors here will enjoy natural beauty, historical treasures, unique architecture, and glamorous, yet romantic atmosphere.
Barren landscapes in contrast with white washed houses and the endless deep blue of the Aegean sea… an ancient network of paths… traditional villages… gorgeous sandy beaches… solitary bays… picturesque fishing ports… friendly and hospitable islanders… delicious food… folk music… are a few examples of what you will experience while walking with us around the Cyclades islands.
The most famous island group in the Aegean Sea, the Cyclades, is a cluster of 24 inhabited islands that forms an imaginary circle (the name in English means: “circular islands”) around the sacred island of Delos. They present the tips of drowned mountain ridges. Although they share common characteristics, each Cycladic island offers you its own unique experiences: from the cultural life of Syros to the relaxed pace of life of the Small Cyclades to the culinary delights of Sifnos and the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Mykonos & Santorini.
The island complex of Dodecanese in south-eastern Aegean is the sunniest corner in Greece. Twelve large islands and numerous smaller ones with crystal clear waters, sandy or pebbly beaches, important archaeological finds, imposing Byzantine and medieval monuments and unique traditional settlements are waiting to be discovered. If you are desperately seeking to discover lesser-known, unspoiled destinations visit Leros or Pserimos. But there is always Rhodes and Kos, larger and more cosmopolitan islands awaiting to offer you strong, and treasured memories. Just take your pick!
Crete is Greece’s biggest island and practically a mini-state of its own. Historically, Crete was home to the Minoans, the earliest advanced European civilization, peaking around 1950 B.C., centuries before “the ancient Greeks” of Athens. Minoan ruins, scenic mountains, enticing beaches, characteristic rustic villages, and dramatic caves and gorges (including the famous Samaria Gorge). A week is not enough to experience all that this island has to offer.
While each Greek island has its own personality and claims to fame, they all offer small fishing ports, traditional villages, solitary beaches and bays, cultural events, byzantine churches, venetian towers, ancient sites, numerous accommodations to suit everyone’s needs and opportunities for various activities and sports.
Many islands have a main town, which is often called after the island itself, or Chora or Hora. This is generally the center of life of the island.
GETTING AROUND THE GREEK ISLANDS
A number of ferries connect the islands and mainland Greece making it quick and fairly easy to reach your island getaway. Be warned, however, that gathering ferry information can be confusing, especially during the winter months. There are set itineraries throughout the year but during the summer months of June-August, more ferries are added. The summer timetable is made available in April every year. Routes can be covered by multiple companies and timetables vary.
- A good approach is to look up your trip online, then confirm the details in Greece at any travel agency.
- Book your ferry tickets online one month in advance, using www.ferries.gr or a similar service, if you travel in July or August. The rest of the year, you can buy your tickets as soon as you arrive in Greece or outside the ferry.
To save time, consider flying. Apart from Athens Kos and Rhodes in the Dodecanese and Mykonos and Santorini in the Cyclades have international airports. Many islands have small airports and are connected daily to Athens. Two major Greek carriers offer daily flights from Athens to many Greek islands: Olympic Airlines and Aegean Airlines.
- Book your flight e few months in advance for the best deals.
Greece is a sailor’s paradise, with immense coastline, consistent trade winds to fill your sails, clear blue water, year-round sunshine, plenty of safe anchorages and islands close enough to navigate by sight. A typical day may involve 3-4 hours sailing, stop on the way at a remote bay for a swim and lunch, short sail to the fishing port or bay where you’ll spend the night. In the evening, you’ll discover the island you visited and more importantly the main village “hora” where you can have supper at the local tavern and sample the local delicacies.
Check the island hopping itinerary our sailing & walking adventure and contact us for special offers…
- Avoid the busy months of August!
JOIN AN ORGANIZED GROUP OR SELF-GUIDED HOLIDAY
There are various operators and services offering guided island hoping holiday such as nofootprint.gr if you don’t have time to research and plan the trip on your own.
- Conduct research before you holiday and choose a local holiday provider with clear sustainable policies.
Greek-island accommodations range from rustic rooms rented by elderly, black-clad women who meet backpackers at each arriving ferry, to chic designer hotels with spectacular views. Some travelers just show up on the boat and are greeted by locals offering cheap beds; this can be a great way to find accommodations if you’re not too picky.
Prices range depending on the season and the peak is August, especially in the most popular destinations, such as Mykonos and Santorini. Prices for other services, such as scooter rentals and restaurant meals, also increase when demand is high.
- If you pick up a room at the port don’t forget to ask about the location before you agree to take a room.
- During the high season months of July and August, visitors can outnumber beds especially in the smaller islands. Book in advance to guarantee your preferred type of accommodation.
- For the best combination of still-good weather, fewer crowds, and more reasonable prices, visit travel out-of-season.
Greece is not only beautiful with its ocean landscapes, distinct architecture and delectable food, but it’s also incredibly affordable. Things costs half what they do in other parts of Europe.
- Accommodation – Depending on the area of Greece you are traveling to, hostels will cost 15-20 EUR and a double room around 30-40 EUR per night, more on expensive islands like Mykonos and Santorini. During the off-season, most rooms are around 20-25 EUR range. Expect to pay higher prices during peak season (July and August) on the islands.
- Food – Greece is known for its food. Supper will cost about 15 EUR for a nice dinner, having local wine. Fish can be more expensive.
- Transportation – Because Greece has a lot of islands, you will be dealing with lots ferries and boats. Expect to spend an average of 30-40 EUR from Athens, though you could spend as little as 8-10 EUR if the islands are really close together. Buses at the islands cost around 1.6 EUR.
- Activities – Visiting the ancient sites around the country will cost between 5-10 EUR for a ticket. Island activities (kayaking, parasailing, banana boats) will cost between 15-40 EUR. You can rent a car for 20-40 EUR for a day and diving trips being around 55 EUR 80 EUR depending on how many dives you choose to make.
- Travel out-of-season!
It is impossible to list all the things you will experience while island hopping in Greece… and it is impossible to visit all of the during one holiday. It is best to select one complex of islands and combine island hopping to larger and smaller ones…
You will love Greece. It’s warm; it’s good value; it has delicious food, beautiful islands, and lively and friendly locals. It’s the perfect summer destination.
BENEFITS OF A WALKING HOLIDAY & HOW TO PREPARE FOR IT
How to get fit for a walking holiday
Walking is an easy and highly accessible way to get fit!
There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It’s the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.
Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
- Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Improve blood lipid profile
- Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
- Enhance mental well being
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
- Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes.
- There really are so many benefits for such a simple activity!
So, if are tired of beach holidays and you’re looking for a holiday that finds you returning fitter than when you went, a walking holiday is the perfect choice.
Here are some tips for getting fit before your walking holiday…
Just go out and walk
You will say that you don’t have the time. But there are ways to squeeze a bit of walking into your everyday life. It’s important to start with easy walks and build up, especially if you’re worried about your health. Even 15 minutes of walking a day, three times per week, to start with will be beneficial and you can build this by no more than 10% each session each week.
- Get up 15 to 30 minutes earlier and head out for an early morning brisk walk.
- Walk the kids to school.
- Get off the bus or train, or park the car, a mile or two from the office and walk the rest of the commute.
- Walk and talk at work instead of sitting in an office for a meeting.
- Walk at lunchtime.
- Walk to the shops/swimming pool/into town instead of taking the car on shorter journeys.
- Encourage family fitness by walking new routes and trails at weekends.
Tips for walking motivation
Sometimes it’s the thought of getting up to go out for a walk that stops you in your tracks. Here are a few tips for motivation:
- Agree to walk with a friend three times a week. You are less likely to let down a friend.
- Keep a chart of calories burned if you walk for half an hour. Pin this to the fridge and see how inspired you become to walk more often.
- Wear a pedometer. It’s satisfying to see the walking steps mounting up.
- Join a walking group.
- Add music to your walk. So long as it’s safe to do so, listen to fast music as you walk.
- If you really can’t be bothered, tell yourself that you’ll go out for five minutes and if you still feel like sitting down you can. What normally happens however is that most people end up walking on.
Walking holiday fitness
“How fit do I need to be?” The answer is: “It depends on your choice of walking holiday.” Walking holidays can range from easy going walks of a few hours each day. There is a walking holiday to suit all fitness levels but the more you’ve walked beforehand the more you’ll enjoy your holiday.
Check our walking holidays at www.nofootprint.gr and contact us for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org
The rule of thumb is to start within your comfort zone and build up by about 10% in terms of distance and effort each week. Walk three times a week, perhaps with two shorter walks mid-week and a longer walk at lunchtime. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get fit.
Wear your walking boots
When walking to get fit make sure you wear the walking boots or shoes that you plan to take on holiday. You can wear trainers for some of the walks but it’s important to wear walking bots and walk on similar terrain if you are heading off for an off-the-beaten-track hill or mountain walking holiday.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.
The noofotprint team