What’s that? We can go on holidays again?! I hear us Brits are buying up almost every flight available to try and get our holidays back on track before the summer’s out. It was nail biting stuff there for a while not knowing what was going to happen with lockdown and quarantine rules but it looks like we’ve made it. Providing everyone keeps washing their hands and doing socially distanced activities we’ll be packing up those see through little toiletry bags in no time.
So with that in mind I though I would share a long overdue video of our honey moon which took us island hopping in Greece. Just incase anyone is looking for some post lockdown travel inspiration… In the interest of transparency, we actually went to Mallorca straight after our wedding. We had planned to go to Vietnam but when we found out it had Zika and we intended to start IVF as soon as we got back we had to change our plans. So the honeymoon went on hold and when, a year later, IVF still wasn’t working we decided to stop holding out for Vietnam and go Island hopping instead.
Did you know that Greece actually has THOUSANDS of islands? Me neither! We checked out just three, starting with the famous black sands of Santorini then onward over the Aegean Sea to Folegandros settling for our last few nights in Sifnos. We took the Seajets ferry which was pretty cheap and cheerful and the journeys to each were under and hour.
First stop Santorini, which lived up to all of Instagram’s promises with blue seas and white iced walls. But its beauty comes at a cost as its both expensive and packed. One takeaway bit of advice is don’t wear heels or at least carry them for your snapshots rather than try to negotiate the busy cobbled streets in them. In Gillis I was wobbling all over the place, especially after a few too many white wine Sangrias. This is Mr Potnoodle and I’s favourite holiday drink, if you’ve only ever had the red wine option then it’s time to switch it up – you can thank me later 😉.
We opted for a self catering apartment but spent one swanky day at the Cavana Oia right in the heart of the action, complete with infinity pool, in-pool loungers and views of white houses against twinning sea and sky. We had a couples treatment in the spa here which suffice to say wasn’t the most romantic. Expecting some sort of couples massage, we were instead shown into a small room, given his and hers paper pants and a small bowl of mud. We were told to rub this mud on ourselves and then sit on seats that looked suspiciously like toilets and wait 10 minutes until the water jets came on at which time we could wash it off… sexy. But as I always say, if you can sit on toilets opposite one another covered in mud with paper pants on and still fancy one another, you’re in for the long haul.
After pretending to be worth a million dollars at the swanky hotel and laughing at each other on our toilets, we checked out Pyrgos, a hilltop village full of little shops, donkeys and more cobbled streets. It’s not the most riveting village you’ll find among the islands but it’s worth a trip.
The self catering apartment we found here was brilliant, we had the Vorias Villa at Anema Residences. Complete with little pool, BBQ and family of kittens, we had a view of the sea and just a short walk to the terraced restaurant (which served AMAZING food) and a small beach. The owner is lovely and so helpful, she booked us on a boat trip that went to the nearby volcanic Island, Thirasia which was one of our favourite parts of the trip. We’d definitely recommend it. She also gave us free doughnuts.
A beach that needs to be on your list if you’re visiting Santorini is Vlychada along with the restaurant that’s there, Seaside by Notos . It’s a magnum in your lounger, pay for the beach type affair but totally worth it for an afternoon, even if it’s just to people watch and get some black sandy toed insta pics.
Unlike the popular Santorini, the islands of Folegandros and Sifnos are smaller and so quiet. You can hire a quad to get around if you don’t want to be dealing with a car and you’ll run into almost no one on the roads.
The smallest island we visited, Folegandros is just 8 miles long, three wide and easily the most charming. The whole place smells of jasmine after sun sets. It’s how you would imagine Greece to be, without the smart shops and the selfie sticks. The kids play around restaurants until the sun goes down and old ladies sit in their doorways. Cats are everywhere.
We visited and did a MASSIVE – but so worth it, walk up to the Church Of Panagia which has a view to die for. It’s best to go at sunset when lots of people gather to see their amazing surroundings bathed in red and orange.
We stayed at the Anemi Hotel, just up from the port which for those interested is really child friendly with play areas and kiddie clubs. The breakfasts here were devine. It’s actually worth saying that every single meal we had on every island was great. Sifnos and Folegandros were also really good value for eating out.
The Papalagi Seafood (with the most amazing shadows) at Agios Nikolaos beach was a real favourite, based right on the cliff tops over looking the sea. It’s a bit of a walk to get to but this, like all the other beaches we visited meant it was quiet and unspoiled by hordes of tourists. Kategro beach is another one to look up if you’re heading in this direction. It’s small and not too sandy but I’m pretty sure you’d be the only ones there.
Sifnos lacked the bougainvillea swathed streets of Folegandros but had its own stunning beaches with rural feeling cafes to make up for it. At Vroulidia beach, a short walk down a pretty steep gravel track you sit next to octopus and fish drying in the sun on washing lines and eat your lunch to a background chorus of rustling tiki umbrellas and slow waves on black sands. Do be careful if you drive down here though. We almost got our hire car stuck and there were some pretty hairy moments of wheel spin and sliding down towards the edge of the cliff… you have been warned!
We stayed at the Selena suites here which are minimal, chic and affordable.
Old Town, which is the main village of sorts was quieter still with just a few restaurants dotted about serving all sorts of fried cheese. Fried cheese seems to be a thing over there and we definitely tried our best to eat our body weight. It’s a wonder we weren’t charged extra for body baggage on flight back.