Zakynthos, Greece

One of our favourite trips of all time was about two years ago when we spend a long weekend in  Santorini, Greece.   When we sat down  this spring to decide where we should visit for a long relaxing weekend, we both quickly agreed on going back to a Greek island.  We settled on Zakynthos as it was super easy to reach and offered some great resorts.

This will quite possibly be my shortest blog post, as we pretty much spent 90% of the time lying by our resort’s infinity pool overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea.  The remainder of our time we spent on our motorcycle winding through the olive tree farms to see the dramatic coastline or out to eat the most incredible Greek food.

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How we spent our whole first day 🙂

For our first night on the island, Dan found the most amazing Greek restaurant for dinner, Bassia.  We actually ended up loving it so much, we went a total of 3 times throughout our week there!

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The next  morning we drove across the island over to Porto Limnionas, a sheltered cove for swimming.  The 1.5 hour drive was so beautiful, passing through olive farms, vineyards and tiny little towns.  When we arrived to our lunch destination, we were greeted with the cutest little restaurant set high above the cove overlooking the most crystal clear turquoise waters!  After a quick bite, we climbed down the steps to the water where we went swimming and explored the caves.  I couldn’t believe how clear the water was – you could see the sandy bottom the whole time and the water was at least 30 feet deep!

That night’s dinner treated us to one of the best views on the island. Lofos Pizzaria is set up in the hills, overlooking the middle valley of the island.  It is quite the trek to get to on a motorcycle…lots of hairpin turns and a steep climb!  But after a somewhat eventful trip there, we made it in one piece and enjoyed some Greek pizza and a perfect sunset!

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The next day, we did nothing but move from the pool to the beach 🙂 It was perfection!

IMG_3918In the evening, we rode over to another incredible Greek restaurant.  The entire “dining room” is set outside, underneath a canopy of greenery and fairy lights.  It’s magical!

For our last excursion, we drove across the island and to the north to see the Island’s most famous sight – Shipwreck Beach!

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From there, we explored another beach, Xigia Beach.  This area is incredibly unique, as the water has a layer of collagen on the top!  The natural springs flow sulphur and collagen, making the water feel silky and smooth against your skin (although quite stinky too!).

 

For our last night, we went back to our favourite restaurant where the staff treated us to a “going away” meal which included 5 courses of their best Greek dishes.  It was an unforgettable meal, and we made some great friends that we hope we can go back and visit some day.

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We were really lucky to have a late evening flight back to London and were able to spend the WHOLE day pool and seaside again.  It was the perfect trip.  We were able to actually relax, read (and finish!) books and soak up the Greek sun.  I cannot recommend this place enough, particularly our hotel.  It was a 10/10.

Adventure to Greece [Santorini + Athens]

Another fabulous perk of living in the UK are the “Bank Holidays”. Each year, we get a handful of Monday’s off for long weekends. Dan and I decided to take full advantage of the late May BH and took the prior Thursday and Friday off as well and headed to Greece! For as long as I can remember [probably since I watched The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants] I’ve always wanted to visit Santorini. I’ve dreamed of this place for so long – it was finally time to adventure over there!

I really can’t write too much about this trip, because it is one of those places where you
just need to see it to believe it. It’s by far the most beautiful place we’ve ever been. Everything about this trip was perfect: the location, the views, our villa, the friendly locals, the food, the weather, the adventures and of course – the company. I’ll do my best to put the beauty into words!

We arrived super early Thursday morning and checked into our hotel. We stayed in a villa at this adorable boutique hotel called Dana Villas in the northern part of Fira. Our villa was more than we could have ever asked for. It was perfectly situated in the cliff with a private balcony. The staff was amazing and the location was optimum.

We spent the entire day lounging at the awesome pool, enjoying the breathtaking views.

That evening, we took the bus up to Oia for the world famous sunset. We explored the city a bit before out booking at a local restaurant. One thing I was really excited about for this trip was the Greek food – and it did not disappoint. Throughout our time there, we ate our weight in feta cheese, olives, tzatziki, pita bread, gyro’s, and anything and everything covered in phyllo dough.

20160526_183923Oia was SO busy with tourists!  It was so funny to watch the masses come to watch the sunset.  Luckily, I had done my research and had booked a table at the restaurant that has the “best view” of the sunset.  So we were able to enjoy the sunset at our table and not have to fight the crowds for a view! It was so beautiful, and was the perfect first evening on the island.

The next morning, we hiked from our hotel to Skaros rock. This is where the remains of the old capital of Stantorini once stood as a fortress, high away from pirates. Over the years, nature took quite the toll on Skaros and all that remains are ruins and a really great hiking path. It was nice that we started so early in the morning, as we were the only ones up there. The scenery was sensory overload – absolutely breathtaking. Again – you have to see to believe! We spent some time just admiring God’s creation and relaxing at the top.

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After another satisfying Grecian lunch, we rented a motor bike to explore the rest of the island. We actually forgot to pack our drivers licenses [common mistake as we don’t drive anymore!], so we had to find a place that would rent to us without one. Well – we found one – and we were given quite the bike! It was missing the front plastic panel, leaking coolant and as Dan says, we were basically given the most hooptie bike on the island. BUT – it got us around, and it was quite the laugh. *Recommendation for when you visit – BRING YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE!* We took the bike out around the east side of the island and checked out some of the beaches as well as the Santorini Brewing Company.

We spent the evening enjoying another lovely meal in Fira then headed back to our hotel to enjoy the sunset from the jacuzzi. I think this was one of my favourite moments from our whole trip. Out of the four nights we had there, this night had the best sunset. The sky turned the most gorgeous shades of yellow, pink, blue and purple. It’s moments like this where I have to pinch myself and remember to thank God for His blessings. It’s so hard to believe that we live in London and are so fortunate to be able to take these weekend getaways. Never in a million years did I think I would be sitting in a jacuzzi with my husband in Santorini just relaxing. How amazing.

On Saturday, we traded in our hooptie bike for a quad. We started off early and headed down to the south side of the island for some more adventuring. Our first stop was the lighthouse. Again, we were the only ones there, so it was fun to hike around the cliffs and take in the beauty. It was cool to see the island from this view along with all the other islands.

We then adventured over to some of the famous beaches of the islands, including Red Beach, Agios Georgios, Perissa and Perivolos.

We had another lovely dinner in Fira and spent the evening walking around the town, searching for souvenirs to bring back home. Between Oia and Fira – we both preferred Fira. Oia is VERY touristy and busy, whereas Fira was less crowded and felt more local.

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Sunday we spent the day on a catamaran cruise through the Aegean Sea.  It was so wonderful sitting in the nets and being jetted around  and exploring all the little nooks and crannies of the little islands.  We were able to check out some hot springs and go snorkeling.  It was so relaxing, and again, so incredibly beautiful.

We had a really early flight the following morning, so we just grabbed some quick street food (Gyros’s!!!) and spent the evening relaxing at our hotel and packing up to head to ATHENS!

We left our hotel at 6:00 am – and just look at the beauty we woke up to! It was SO hard to leave this magical place, but luckily we still had some adventuring in Athens to do 🙂

We only had one day in Athens before our flight back to London.  Luckily, it’s a really easy city to see all of the sites in one day.  Both Dan and I agreed that one day was plenty in the city.

All of the big tourist sites are all located in one spot together, so it made it really easy to see everything quickly.  We were able to see:  The Acropolis, The Parthenon, Temple of Hephaestus, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Agora, and the Arch of Hadrian.  We also made a quick stop to the Acropolis Museum!

We made it back to London after a typical EasyJet flight delay :).  Overall, this was our absolute favourite trip.  It was so so so hard to leave.  It’s not often where Dan and I say we want to return to a location, as we always say there are so many other places to explore, why do a repeat? But we both decided this was a spot we’d love to make it back to someday.  If you ever get the chance, do go to Santorini – it’s magical!

We’re off to MICHIGAN this week!!!  Can’t wait to see all of our friends and family and celebrate some beautiful weddings!!!