I bet if you asked anyone if they wanted to travel throughout the Greek islands, the response would be, “Hells to the yes.” Or something along those lines. So when the opportunity came up to do a Greek Island Hopping adventure with Contiki, I packed my bags, kissed my boyfriend goodbye and warned my Instagram followers of the photo frenzy that would ensue over the following two weeks.
Once at Toronto airport, I met up with Karina V, the sweet Montreal style vlogger who would be my travel mate (and clearly my mermaid-haired muse) throughout my Greek journey. Well, her and fifty other 18-35 year olds from around the world. Contiki offers awesome group trips for young travellers, and I was so stoked to have a great mix of Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis and Americans on our trip (plus an adorable Malaysian couple!). Together, we saw the best of Athens, Mykonos, Santorini and Ios, with days spent soaking up the sun and evenings spent living it up island style. Every morning was a new adventure, every night more fun than the one before it.
Ready for all the wanderlust feels? Here’s are a few snaps I took along the way…
Before we got to hopping around the islands, we kicked things off in the Greek capital – Athens. Where the Greek islands excel in picturesque beauty, Athens excels in history, and lots of it. From the Acropolis to the first stadium of the modern Olympics to the Temple of Zeus, Athens is a haven for all things ancient and interesting (or as someone on our trip so eloquently said, it has ‘lots of old shit’). So many sights, so many laughs and just the beginning of an epic two weeks of island-hopping that was about to come.
If it’s true that you leave a part of your heart in every place you visit, you’ll find half of mine in Mykonos. As soon as I stepped inside its winding maze of boutique-lined streets, I could feel myself falling quickly in love. I’ve yet to meet a white-washed building I didn’t like and Mykonos perfectly contrasts that with bold pops of colour, making Mykonos Town a photographer’s dream. I also stumbled upon a gelato shop that makes legit Ferrero Rocher gelato, which was enough for me to consider moving to Mykonos altogether. Not pictured here? The epic party where we all got painted with neon designs and danced the night away under black lights (I’ve gotta put the camera down sometimes, guys…. and that’s usually when I need hands free for cocktails).
When you think of Santorini, you think of the sunset – it’s world famous for a reason. Watching the sun go down over the Aegean Sea and casting a light over the white, blue-domed buildings is an experience you just have to see in person. Luckily, Contiki took us away from the hoardes of tourists wanting to watch that same sunset, and hooked us up with a private space where we sipped wine, had some eats and got a front-row view of the ultimate bucket list experience. But there’s sooooo much more to Satorini than the sunset. The next day, we checked out the rest of the beautiful island, hiking up an active volcano, visiting a winery (obviously one of my fave activities) and diving into the ocean to swim over to a secluded area of hot springs. A spa in the middle of the ocean – oh Greece, you totally get me.
After getting our culture fix in Mykonos and Santorini, it was time for some straight-up relaxation. We checked in to Far Out Beach Resort, an awesome spot right on the white sandy beaches of Ios that would be our home for our last three nights on the islands. With days spent chilling in beach cabanas and playing pick-up volleyball with loads of laughs and ice cold drinks, I basically never wanted to leave. Ios also served up one of my favourite days on the trip. We boarded an actual pirate ship (sails and all), and took off for an afternoon on a secluded beach. Once we arrived, we docked, jumped overboard into the crystal clear waters and swam to shore where a beach picnic, music and more ice cold beverages awaited us. By this time we had all bonded into one big Contiki family, so the vibe was awesome. The perfect way to end the perfect trip with absolutely #noregrets.