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

Visit Akrotiri, An Archeological Treasure in Santorini

Archeological treasure

“I do love these ancient ruins. We never tread upon them but we set our foot upon some reverend history”

John Webster       

Traveling can be a lot more than we think. Walking through the same streets that the habitants of Santorini on 1.500 BC were walking, is definitely charming and invaluable. But, what makes it a once-in-a-lifetime-experience is the fact the 3.500 years old town of Santorini remains uninfluenced by time. 

On 1967, the excavation of Akrotiri, known as the “Pompeii of Santorini”, brought to light a perfectly preserved city which was at the zenith of its power and its wealth when it was destroyed in the mid-second millennium BC. The settlement that its name means promontory, is located at the southwestern part of the island and it is a real promontory.

archeological treasure

Pre-historic timeline 

First signs of habitation in Akrotiri date back to the Late Neolithic Period. By the Early Bronze Age, there was a settlement in Akrotiri that was expanded in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, becoming one of the main urban centers of the Aegean. But, nature had other plans. The growth in the town ended at the end of the 17th century BC, when its inhabitants left due to powerful seismic foreshocks. Then, the volcano erupted. Volcanic material covered the town and the rest of the island, preserving the buildings and their contents. The volcanic lava is the element that both destroyed and protected it for so long.

What happened to the people of Santorini is a mystery, because no skeletons were found. The “previous” island of Santorini was destroyed or submerged. Your visit is an archeological treasure hunt.

From afar, all you can see is the familiar dry landscape of Santorini and a stoned path. Some trees will offer you their relieving shade. You cannot notice ruins. Just a kind of a roof structure. This roof is the shelter of your “treasure”.

archeological treasure

Why are people still going there?

The archeological site is only a small part of the town of Akrotiri but is more than enough for the visitor to feel its majestic energy. The houses are large, multi-storeyed, with a big staircase that leads you to the terrasse. The houses of Akrotiri speak of an affluent society and a cultivated standard of living. This is confirmed not only by the wonderful frescoes that adorn at least one room of each house but also by the latrine facilities in some houses! There are squares and system of streets at the same level as the ancient town. You can almost hear the locals of 1.500 BC talking and organizing their everyday life.

archeological treasure

There is an opinion from some historians that this place was the inspiration behind Plato’s story of Atlantis.

{It is about a fictional island that at the end is falling out of favor with the deities, submerging into the Atlantic Ocean.}

Veritably, you are not going to solve the mystery of Lost Atlantis by visiting Akrotiri. Maybe you will love a little more the lost cities and their stories.

In the end, mysterious stories are made for permitting the imagination to finish the unwritten parts.

So, do your job, imagine and create your own unique story of Akrotiri.

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.

Why are Cyclades white?

Cyclades: White and Blue Aesthetic

When someone is asking about Cyclades Islands all that you can think about is white and blue.

Blue is the sea and the sky. White is every single cubed-shaped house. White is the church that stands out of the rocky ground and the paved paths of white villages.

The scenery is the absolute example of minimalism, but it can indicate more than a minimal aesthetic.

Cyclades Islands weren’t always white

It is known that in ancient Greek art and architecture there were used colors made from plants and flowers. In the Medieval era, when the Aegean islands had a huge problem with piracy, the villages were surrounded by walls. The only color was one of the rocks and the earth, so they were less visible and safer from the pirate invasions.

Cyclades santorini

History is the key

In 1938, the Greek dictator ordered to paint all the buildings with lime, a white antibacterial material, so it could stop the spread of the epidemic disease of cholera.

In 1955, the Queen Frederica of Hanover presented to the Greek Prime Minister a photo of some perfectly-conserved white houses of Mykonos. She suggested white as the “trademark” of Greek islands.

1967 – 1974: The military government commanded to paint everything at the islands white by law. Even the islands that weren’t white before, were forced to change their local identity and to follow the ethnic style of blue and white combination, along with the colors of the Greek flag.

What about now?

Now, the white color is not obligatory. For locals living in the islands, it means cleanliness, clarity, and protection from the heat because is reducing the solar absorption.

But, what does the white color mean to us?

Does it matter if white exists because of past epidemic diseases, the desire of a Queen, political reasons or a touristic branding? When you are witnessing the scenery of Cyclades Islands it is impossible not to fall in love with the beauty.

You can’t help but be in love with the forms, the textures, and the way that the sunlight is reflected on the surfaces. Finally, you have to admit that all of this is a matter of material and color. A matter of white color.

“The white color of the lime made the picturesque unity of the settlement. As a theatrical scene: as if everything was created by only one hand.”

Le Corbusier, modernist architect

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!

Tips for being a Soulful Traveler

A genuine way to become a soulful traveler

There are countless reasons for traveling the world, whether it be for business, pleasure, or something in-between. Nevertheless, you will always meet a person that views traveling as an opportunity for personal growth, self-exploration, and inspiration. They are who we call a soulful traveler.

If you book your boat cruise to the Greek islands, there are endless activities for enjoyment. And, like a photographer needs a great camera to capture the beautiful scenery, a “soulful traveler” needs a clear and focused mind to get the most of their experience. Your mind creates your world and consequently your vacations, so your thoughts are the fundamental component of rewarding experiences.

Why this is important for your next trip?

Whether we are planning vacations or not, we have the tendency to expect things to happen in a specific way, unable to create space for ourselves to enjoy the present moment. Great travelers know how to embrace new experiences.

soulful traveler relaxing in a valley watching sunset

Soulful traveler, you are the creator.

You can travel the Greek islands just to enjoy the weather, the beauty, or the food, and that’s a successful holiday.

But, as a soulful traveler, you can think about how you will wander around the islands where Socrates had a conversation with Plato, under the same sky and over the blue waters. Greek islands and their history are a great place for the mind.

No matter how much you read about it, self-exploration is a unique and different journey for every one of us. You have to experience this for yourself.

As a gift from Hopwave, we gathered 5 “soulful tips” for your next trip.

  1. Get to know a local. Ask them about old myths, and learn about their way of life.
  2. Read a book after you wake up and before going to sleep. Your state of mind matters the most.
  3. Spend at least 3 hours a day without your phone or computer.
  4. Each day, do something you have never done before.
  5. Create your day. As a painter, think of beautiful colours and let your mind guide you to your next masterpiece of a day.

Thankfully, you don’t have to go through this alone. Traveling is always an opportunity for growth both as an individual or as a group.

Don’t think too much, chase the moments!

Allow your friends at Hopwave to assist you in planning your Greek Island explorations.

A Boat Cruise around Greek Islands…

Why a boat cruise…

When traveling to new places, travelers commonly explore on foot, by car, or by the means of public transportation. But, if you consider traveling in Greece, you’ve found the ideal country for exploring on a boat cruise.

Let’s see why a boat cruise can be the best way to explore the Greek Islands.

It’s impossible to experience Greece’s vast number of islands and their countless remote beaches in any other way!

While traveling by bus or car requires significant effort and patience, a boat cruise eliminates these pressures and offers pure relaxation. This allows you to savor every moment of your journey. Choosing a boat cruise amplifies the travel experience at every level.

From the cheerful spirit of the captain to the excited company of your travelers, you will feel a sense of togetherness that is unique to small boat cruises. A taste of exceptional Greek food along with a few icy cool drinks throughout the day is sure to enhance your trip even more. Not to mention, your photography skills will improve with the help of the crystal blue waters and breathtaking landscapes.

Each island is vastly different from the next. Visiting multiple islands in one day is a great way to maximize your potential and see as much as possible. As I’m sure you can guess…

This is attainable only by a boat cruise.

boat cruise around greece

You’ll get the opportunity to swim around beaches and caves that aren’t accessible by land travel. Anything you see on the horizon and would love to know about, just ask the captain and he will fill you in. No breathtaking scenery will remain undiscovered. When the boat is anchored and you swim ashore, there’s even more to see.

You will find yourself floating in the crystalline waters and exploring the beauty around you from an entirely new perspective.

These are the priceless moments that the boat cruise offers, which typical forms of travel cannot.

All you have to do is decide which part of Greece you want to explore and book your tickets for an unforgettable boat cruise like this one around Milos

Don’t ever forget…

“You don’t have to be rich to travel well” – Eugene Fodor

With hopwave by your side, you have one more local friend that is here to help you arrange the perfect trip.