Vacations in the island of Skiathos – Sporades

Wonderful Skiathos

Sκiathos island! The most famous one in the cluster of Sporades.  It is called “the island of Papadiamantis” as a tribute to the famous Greek writer who was born and lived there on the island of Skiathos. You can even find his house remaining as it was back then in the city center. Nevertheless, the magic of Skiathos is far exceeding his historical figure. Perfect blue waters, astonishing beaches, parties, sunsets, and all kinds of experiences are waiting. 

First encounters

While in the main part of the island, you can find the old Venetian fortress that nowadays hosts the Nautical Museum. Besides, you can easily visit the medieval monasteries of Skiathos for a strong experience.
But I shall remind you now that you are on an island. Therefore, it is better instead of just visiting the mainland to discover it all around. 

Just hop off to the truly magical experience that Skiathos has to offer!

Although being on an island for vacations is great, it is different from the city and you can’t just visit every corner of it. Especially if you are a beginner at island hopping. But, my friend, you have nothing to worry about as we are here to help you achieve exactly that.

Proper exploration in Skiathos

Firstly, being there, it means that you can discover lots of beaches and every part of the island. Secondly, with hopwave, you can even explore other beautiful islands around and amazing remote beaches. All in less than a day!

Skiathos- island - women - peaceful- waters

Some of the most famous ones are Koukounaries and Lalaria. Koukounaries is a part of the island that took its name from pine trees existing all over the area. The majestic beach you will find there is called Xrisi Ammos (Golden beach) because the sand is truly glowing like gold. Being there, dare to test yourself a little bit more by trying some water sports, extreme and not only.

On the other hand, Lalaria beach is the other way around.  You can reach it, by small boats existing in the old port of the island. Lalaria beach has not consisted of sand but from rocks and pebbles. The main rock has a path that looks like an arch, reminding you of a fairytale. Adding the clear blue waters, the scenery becomes fully romantic and of course…Instagram friendly!

Other beaches you shall see

Vasilias (king), which is a Blue Flag awarded sandy beach, easily accessible by urban buses. Moreover, Achladies that is very near to the mainland of the island, perfect for water sports fans and a windsurfing experience. Kolios, for all those who like fancy and chilling island experiences.

You gotta catch them all!  

So my friend, are you still waiting? Hop off to the most unique experience of your vacations and explore the magic of Greece!

The Art of Enjoying a Sunset in The Greek Islands

A Sunset for Kings & Queens

One of the most famous events in the Cyclades are the breathtaking sunsets. All of them are majestic in their own way. A perfect sunset can transform a normal evening to a unique summer experience. But, which sunset is the best one for you?

A family of 220 islands at the center of the Aegean sea is waiting and therefore, you can choose between more than 220 unique sunsets to live your own myth. Sometimes they can be overcrowded, other times not. It is possible to spend your night with a drink at a bar or just with a friend on a bench. As always, you are responsible for your experience. Take a look at our favorite ones! 

Santorini, The famous Sunset

Sunset

Believe me, watching the spectacular view of caldera all day long is not enough. The palette of colors that you can ob at the cliffs is like a natural miracle. The perfect spot is Oia but you have to be prepared before it gets overcrowded. That’s why visiting off-season is a wise choice. Oia’s sunset is the event of the island. You should come early to secure a spot in the street or on a wall. People go to great lengths to capture the moment, they are clapping when the sun is disappearing and you will see them holding a bottle of wine to celebrate it. 

Sunset tip: If you would prefer a spot that is less crowded, there is a hill outside Oia, located off a dirt road north of the little town. This hill is your best chance to enjoy the show without the crowd.

Naxos, The Sunset & the Monument

sunset

The best place to watch the sunset at the island of Naxos is definitively the Great Door, “Portara”. It lies close to the port, on the islet of Palatia which date back in the ancient times, a strip of land connected the north side of Naxos port to the islet. “Portara”, it is the remnant from the ancient temple of the Greek God of music and poetry, Apollo. It is not easy to imagine a more poetic moment than the one that the sky will be orange and the emblematic form of the gate will be standing over there since 500 B.C.

There is silence. You can feel both the present and the past at the same time.

Sunset tip: The majority of the visitors are leaving the islet right after the sunset but that’s not the case with you. Stay there and enjoy the scenery less crowded and more colorful. Interesting arrangements of blue and grey are going to appear before the total black of the night and the final combination will seduce you. 

Mykonos, The almost Italian sunset

sunset

Mykonos is all about the party and the fun. Nevertheless, a break is always welcome. The village of Mykonos is beyond incredible and picturesque for the human eye. The neighborhood of “Little Venice” is replete with elegant and gorgeous old houses, balancing precariously on the edge of the sea.

These houses are 18th-century fishing houses with balconies where you can enjoy the view of the sea. Originally, they used to belong to shipping merchants that gave them direct access to the sea. These old fishing houses have long gone and now these buildings have been transformed to cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops. The sky offers some brilliant colors of different versions of orange and pink. Hold no doubts, your mind will be mesmerized from the colorful reflections on the water.

Sunset tip: If you want to watch the sunset from the “Little Venice” balconies, you should arrive earlier because it can be really busy in the evenings. If you plan on having dinner at one of the restaurants, you should phone ahead to reserve a table. 

Milos, The Romantic sunset

sunset

On a hill of 220m above sea level, Plaka was originally built for the protection against pirates and it is known as the best and most popular place in the island to watch the sunset. As a result, it is always full of people by the end of the day. You can go to “Panagia Korfiatissa” church that is the cathedral on the highest point of the island and enjoy a dreamy sunset right from its marble yard. Whether you are a couple or just you and your romantic soul, we definitely recommend it to go there.

Sunset tip: If you prefer waiting for the sunset with a beer or a glass of wine, you can visit the cafeteria with its amazing views on the western side of Plaka. Just return back there on time and finish your drink later.

sunset

Sunset or sundown is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon due to Earth’s rotation. Boring? Maybe.
Obviously, there are plenty of sunsets that you are ignoring during your daily routine. But, when you are traveling through the Greek islands, you should really take your time and enjoy a sunset. You will notice that sunsets are not boring at all.

You can take photos or just stay calm, breath and think. You can wonder how many colors is possible to exist at the same moment in the sky. You could also dream with your eyes open.

You are watching something that is ending but still, you know something new is about to begin. Like everything in life.

Off-Season Traveling: Advantages & Recommendations

Off-season traveling-Greek Islands

Late September is a reality and another summer is reaching its end. Can I still travel to the Greek Islands?

— Absolutely!

Okay, we all know that these places during summer time are glorious. But, don’t you find it strange that nobody ever talks about the rest of the year? It is a great misconception that Greece is exclusively a summer destination. The country provides a serious and diverse amount of beauty despite the season but the summer is absorbing the fame.

A quite different story

Instead of parties, high temperatures and long days to the beach, visualize yourself exploring graphic villages and fascinating towns, hiking the mountains and meeting delightful local spirits. Just follow the trails and prepare yourself. Wonderful surprises are on your way! Off-season vacations in the Greek islands is a tranquil experience, but there can always be a lot of adventure if you want it so.Okay, we all know that these places during summer time are glorious. But, don’t you find it strange that nobody ever talks about the rest of the year? It is a great misconception that Greece is exclusively a summer destination. The country provides a serious and diverse amount of beauty despite the season but the summer is absorbing the fame.

Off-season traveling Advantages

So, why to travel off-season? First of all, The tourism industry is closed and this is a gift. You have no other option but being in touch with the true culture of the island, meeting the locals and eating in the same restaurants. Consequently, the food will be sublimeIn terms of demand, there is no comparison between the summer season with the rest of the year. The prices are great

You are receiving high value wandering around breathtaking scenery at affordable costs.   

In addition, you have the privilege to avoid overcrowded streets enjoying every view without the need to rush at any point. Don’t worry. There will be enough time to experiment with your camera or imagination.

More good news? The climate is truly gentle compared to other destinations. If you are used to cold and heavy winters with below zero temperatures, Greece will be easy like a Sunday morning.

off-season traveling

Recommendations

In the meantime, it is time to make decisions. Which island suits you better?

Maybe Naxos?

Numerous picturesque mountainous villages are waiting to be explored there. The scenery is qualified enough to make you feel like the leading actor in a slow atmospheric movie. Nature is astonishing, the local food is heaven and it’s almost obligatory to taste the wine. Don’t forget to visit “Portara”, a gate of an ancient Greek temple for Apollo, and “Kastro”, a castle from the medieval times. Certainly, wandering around villages in Naxos is something that you will remember for many years.

off-season traveling greek islands beach

Or Crete?

The biggest island in Greece! You need a car for a proper exploration and definitely a week. In the big cities ( Heraklion, Chania, Rethimno) there are universities, so expect students and an active nightlife. Mountains, villages, tradition, and every part of your imagination can be satisfied on this island. Crete is a dreamy destination and a unique experience for every kind of traveler.

Santorini?

I am sure that even once in your life you have heard someone talking about this glorious island. It is one of the most famous Greek destinations and among the most praised islands of the world. When you are traveling off-season, you have the priceless opportunity to enjoy this piece of art without dealing with tourists that can ruin part of the experience. A blissful walk from Fira to Oia is highly recommended. When you arrive at “red beach”, you might feel like exploring Mars or a parallel universe. It’s up to you! Plus, the prices are amazing for Santorini!

What about Milos?

Unique rocky coastlines and landscapes will surely transform your senses in a strange but wonderful world. Everything is a result of the volcanic activity in ancient times. Drink Greek tsikoudia to warm the day up, and be ready for spectacular views, restaurants and naturally friendly people. Off-season traveling in Milos is a “one of a kind” experience.

And, what about Corfu?

Οdysseus’s final stop before reaching Ithaca, well known for its cosmopolitan character and style. Corfu’s old town is a masterpiece. Follow the pathways and explore different cultures by visiting museums and temples. Finally, relax with the charming environment at the Korission lake. You might find your Ithaca there!

Every island accessible by ferry or airplane will have life and visitors.

  • Rhodes,
  • Evia,
  • Mykonos
  • Kea
  • Lesvos
  • Paros  

All great choices, just to name a few. Moreover, you are always getting something special in spite of your choice.

off season traveling

A useful tip

Before booking tickets and hotels for different islands, make sure that there is a boat between them on this specific day. Nobody likes unpleasant surprises.

Break the illusion

Off-season traveling in Greece is seriously underrated and the world should know about it. For artistic souls, writers, couples, or those who love meditating in the silence of nature, Greek islands will feel like a paradise on earth. One of our first aims at hopwave is to create travelers, not common tourists!

Integrity in our vacations is priceless cause everyone is dreaming a different version of a paradise. Be brave! Dare to follow your path. You will never regret it.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

Paros Greece: A quick overview

Paros Greece: A quick overview

Do you want to taste the experience of a Greek island? Tricky question. We all do! 

Located In the heart of the Cycladic region, the island of Paros has been inhabited at least since 3200 BC. Today, it is still standing proud for its history and beauty attracting thousands of tourists every year. 

Paros Greece: What to expect there?

paros greece

Your arrival at this wonderful island it is a reason to celebrate your life. The graphical port with the serene scenery will take your mind away in a more peaceful and beautiful world. Astonishing beaches and villages, crystal-clear waters, gorgeous nature, delicious Greek food, and friendly local souls are waiting for your journey. Of course, the bright sun will gently enlight the graphic scenery.

In Paros, you will meet the Cycladic architecture, picturesque ancient windmills, ruins of Venetian castles and an ethereal atmosphere capable to transcend your senses. Ask the locals for more. They will respond!

Your experience can be peaceful, adventurous, or both, heavily dependent upon your ambitions. The island is perfect for activities like windsurfing and it is always a good idea to go with the wind. Meanwhile, we suggest a life that bears a resemblance to the vacations of Kings & Queens. What else to do on an island? Explore it on a boat. The easiest way to do that is, as you can guess, with a day-cruise.

A journey qualified to immerse you in a world that competes for the most vivid dreams is perfectly possible.

Paros Greece woman traveling island

In less than a day, you will get to discover picturesque remote beaches, waterfront vintage taverns and other amazing islands close to Paros. The best photo on your Instagram profile will come as a direct consequence. Don’t hold back!

Be free to feel like a pirate searching for gold at the “Pirate’s cave” and wait for your arrival at “Koufonisia”, a hidden paradise that more and more tourists are discovering every year. Everything is within walking distance and it will be an unforgettable ride.

Paros Greece: Great villages

It is a good idea to dedicate at least one day exploring the villages. You will be exposed to the real culture of the island and it is always a unique experience. Remember these names and never forget to ask the locals. They know better! 

  • Naoussa
  • Parikia
  • Piso Livadi
  • Lefkes
  • Aliki

Paros Greece: Best beaches

There is a variety of wonderful beaches and they are equally as good as these ones in Santorini that you visualize in your dreams.

  • Santa Maria
  • Golden beach (perfect for windsurfing and similar activities) 
  • New Golden beach (big, organized coast) 
  • Molos
  • Kolymbithres beach (relaxing, sandy) 
  • Punda beach (party beach)

island of Paros Greece

And, what about the night?

Without a doubt, after your tranquil experience during the day, expect an active nightlife around the island. The night bars will be full of life and I bet that you have heard stories about the greek parties. More good news? Contrasting the neighboring Mykonos, this island is affordable for all kinds of budgets. No matter if you are a parent or a student, Paros will surely satisfy your expectations in terms of money, beauty and style.

Make your life easier! With Hopwave you have one more loyal friend during your Greek holidays. And, it is the only place where you can easily book a small day-cruise around Paros from home. Join us!

Alonissos – The Hiking Experience

A traveler’s hiking experience

Alonnisos is the perfect destination for hiking either you are a beginner or an experienced hiker. It is the island of majestic beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning landscapes. The hiking experience is undoubtedly the most charming way to discover the wholeness of nature in Alonnisos.

You can find more than 15 stone-paved hiking paths in the island. It is the network of old transport routes from the era where mules and donkeys were the only means of transport. They can lead you to beaches, villages or even to the top of a mountain. It seems like the perfect hiking adventure, doesn’t it?

Prepare yourself!

Check the hiking paths of the island. You can search online, buy the guide-book that a Danish woman and her Greek husband wrote, or just follow some of the organized tours. Duration varies from 20 minutes to 7.5 hours.

Choose the route that suits you better considering your physical condition and the time. Don’t forget that the whole idea of a hiking experience is to arrive at your destination no matter how slow or fast you walk. So, take your time and enjoy it.

  • Buy a bottle of water and some snacks.
  • Use a solar cream
  • Put on your hat.
  • Grab a book
  • Grab your camera 

The hiking experience is a reconnection with nature and yourself.

hiking experience

While you are walking, you will notice the transition from the built environment to pure nature. The colors are changing. You can hear the song of the birds and the concert of the cicadas. You can smell herbs, saffron crocus, wild chamomile, and mint.

Discovering this botanical paradise creates the desire to activate all your senses. The hiking experience elevates them. You are becoming more aware of your surroundings.

It is a pertinent reminder of how beautiful the world is.

In the southern part of the island, you will find pine forests and olive groves. Throughout them, there is a wide variety of bushes and shrubs. On the other hand in the northern part, there are mostly holm oaks, kermes oaks, maple trees and arbutuses. Last but not least, in the middle part of Alonnisos, there is a beautiful cedar forest.

In Alonissos, nature will provide you with everything with you need to be happy. Alonissos can keep your mind and soul present.

According to the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca, to be happy is to enjoy the present moment. Right now it is just you and the world. You are just walking. One foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breathe out.

You can just be.

Finally, you can enjoy the stunning view from the top of Kalovoulos Mountain. You can swim at the quiet beach of Micros Mourtias. You can visit old restored windmill in the beach Yalia or eat fresh fish at the village of Stevi Vala. Truth is, that probably you could achieve that with a rented car or by paying a taxi.

But none of them it would be the same. Hiking nourishes the mind, the body and the soul in ways that are impossible to replicate elsewhere.

Hiking is real and poetic. Just like Alonnisos.

Naxos island : Find Love & Happiness

Naxos island: A quick overview

In the heart of the Aegean sea, there lies a place where Zeus, the father of the of the 12 ancient Greek gods was raised, and Dionysus, the god of merriment was born. I am obviously talking about the island of Naxos.

But, apart from the mythology and its glorious past, Naxos can deliver an enormous amount of goods today, even for the most demanding travelers. 

Naxos island – Tremendous beauty

To begin with, visualize long sandy beaches and spectacular paths among mountainous villages. Nature is flourishing! In addition, ancient artifacts and the Cycladic scenery full of white houses are making the view even better. It would be a huge mistake to forget your camera in this place.

It seems like there are secret paths everywhere. These graphical villages are incredible, surrounded by tall mountains and valleys full of green.

 Wait for the crystal-clear waters and the feeling of wonder when you are one with them.

A day in the life

The island can be self-sustainable, producing a vast amount of local goods every day. Fresh-baked bread can wake you up in the morning and a romance between you and the Greek food is guaranteed during the day. Always, the easiest and greatest way to discover the most alluring attractions is to talk with a local, and they will surprise you with their help. Therefore, you have to make decisions.

  • Windsurfing or hiking?
  • A peaceful walk around the villages?
  • What about a day-cruise around the island?  

A day-cruise offers great advantages if you don’t have enough days to properly explore the island. You can swim to the greatest beaches, enjoy the best views, and easily attain a good perspective of the beauty. Moreover, you can discover hidden treasures close to Naxos like Koufonisia. You will see people in ecstatic wonder in this dreamy destination. Tranquillity, peacefulness, relaxation, beauty, all great words to imagine this place.

Great beaches and villages

  • Beaches: Agia Anna, Plaka, Agios Prokopios, Agios Georgios, Mikri Vigla, Alyko, Kastraki  
  • Villages: Halki, Apiranthos, Filoti, Potamia

naxos island wine

Naxos island: Is it future or is it past?

Have you ever heard that the past is storytelling the present?

In the island where the mythical wedding of Dionusos with princess Ariadne took place, music, dance, and love for life will always be present in the daily life.

And, what about today?

Most probably the sun is shining brightly in Naxos and a boat-cruise there can offer pure bliss. Life is too short to deny it!

Discover more about the Greek islands and allow your friends in hopwave to help you book a day-cruise around Naxos.

A journey through time in Alonisos

Welcome to Alonissos

You don’t have enough time to explore the wholeness of this small majestic island. It could be just one more stop on your cruise, (there are incredible day-cruises in unbelievable prices). But, if you wish to have a journey through time, all you have to do is visit the old village of Alonnisos. It is called Ηora.

Ηora is the main village and usually is strategically located on a high point of the island. Every Greek island has its own picturesque and charming Hora and it is reasonable to wonder what is so special about the Ηora of Alonnisos. Meanwhile, our journey has just begun.

You have just arrived at the port of Alonissos

You noticed a group of people that consists of both locals and tourists. They are gathered and are waiting for something. Stay with them and when an old bus will arrive you should jump into it without a second thought. Neither are there many buses, nor a lot of destinations. It will not last long. Just a few minutes. Enjoy the ride.

You have just arrived at the Hora of Alonissos

The bus will stop at a square with a huge plane tree in the center. Normally you would love to stop and feel in your skin the shade of the old tree. But now an uphill paved path is appealing you to follow it. It is revealed in a seducing way. On the way up to the highest point, you will find little-crowded squares, old paleochristian churches, stone houses with impressive bougainvilleas and breathtaking views of the sea. The main path will be crossed by even narrower paths. You will find shops with local products and artworks. You will watch women chatting from their doorsteps. You will not meet cars. If you are lucky enough, you will meet a donkey.

Alonnisos scenery

It seems like time is stuck in another era…

Maybe it is stuck in 1965 when an earthquake was the reason for the abandonment of the village. Later, German and English travelers fell in love with the old ghost village and decided to regenerate it. They bought the old damaged buildings and renovated them. They respected the traditional architecture of the island. In other words, we could say that they respected the history and the heritage of Alonnisos, too. You can easily recognize that you are at a place that is loved.

You have just arrived at the end of the path

And now what? You can feel satisfied because of your achievement. But it is not only this.

The way up was a kind of ritual. Wandering along Hora means discovering the periods and the layers of Alonnisos. It is your own Ithaca of Cavafy. It was more important than reaching the highest point.

Hope the voyage is a long one and you will find your personal Cyclops, Phoenicians and Egyptians.

Hope the voyage is a long one and full of adventure and you will smell the sensual perfume of every kind.

Voyage is more important than the destination

Alonnisos travel ithaca poem of cavafy words

Tsikoudia: The Greek traditional drink with body and soul

Greek Tsikoudia – An integral part of the Greek culture and way of life.

First things first! What is Tsikoudia?

Tsikoudia also commonly know as raki is a strong grape-based alcoholic beverage famous all around Greece. It is clear as water, containing 40-60% alcohol by volume. It is made by distillation of pomace and pieces of grapes (stems and seeds) that remained after a winemaking process. Nothing goes to waste in Greek tradition!

And why you should taste it?

First of all, because it is a Greek drink that you will meet literally everywhere in Greece. From the Cyclades to Crete and from Pindos Mountains to Athens Greeks always ordering tsikoudia to taverns or bars. Secondly, because tsikoudia is an integral part of the Greek traditional cuisine for ages.

According to predominant rumors, its history begins eight centuries ago inside a stone monastery on Mount Athos. Several monks tried to keep themselves warm in the cold winter by exploiting nature to the fullest.

History of wine is pretty much the same. Humans trying to exploit vine to the maximum. Apart from the fruit, producers used also leaves, shoots, and its trunk. As a result of this exploitation, there is a huge variety of flavors, colors, and qualities.

Greek Traditional Tsikoudia: The Recipe

After the completion of wine production in Greece, it’s time for Tsikoudia production. Main ingredients are the remnants of the process of turning grape into wine. Those remnants are called “Chikudas”. Producers keep Chikudas in a sunless and dry corner of their warehouse for 30 days of maturing. Then, they are ready to provide us with their precious ingredients once again through the distillation process.

This recipe left monks and spread throughout the Mediterranean meeting several changes and counterfeits. Therefore, within few years Tsikoudia was famous not only in Cyclades and Crete but also in Italy, Cyprus, the Middle East, Turkey and other places.

Depending on the distillation process, there are three types of related products:

  • tsipouro

  • tsikoudia / raki 

  • or ouzo.

All three products are an extra income for breadwinner farmers since 1900.

The distillation celebrity

In Greece, there is a tendency to celebrate whatever makes you happy. This is why there is a festive period dedicated to the production of Greek Tsikoudia. During the last days of fall, people all around the Cyclades come together in “Kazania” or “Kazanies”. Large groups of family and friends gather in the warehouse of the distiller to eyewitness the first production of the year. All together they eat and dance, and welcome the new tsikoudia on production.

tsikoudia greek traditional drink raki

Believe me, drinking Tsikoudia in Greece is more than drinking an alcoholic beverage. Do not miss this chance! Join hopwave and find your next islands destination for the best Greek traditional drink!