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

Naxos Tips: How to reach an obscure peaceful beach

Naxos Tips

Naxos is the largest island in the Cycladic region, it can offer you various kinds of activities, famous for sandy beaches and picturesque villages. But, what about these travelers that are looking for serenity and tranquility?

If you want to find the place where time can stop, you have to wait…From Chora of Naxos, there is a bus heading towards the northern part of the island only on Mondays and Fridays. You could also rent a car. But why don’t you wait?

You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.

-Craig Bruce

Imagine this. It is Friday (or Monday) and you are waiting for the bus. It is noon and you are watching the port, ancient artifacts and the people that are walking under the hot sun. When the bus for “Apollonas” is here, you will notice that is full of local people. You have a huge backpack with you. They will be probably holding a shopping bag.

Naxos Tips: Where to stop?

You will need to ask the bus driver to stop at “Abram”. The beach of Abram is your destination and definitely not a popular one.

The journey itself is majestic as you will travel a scenic route which stretches along the top of steep cliffs which are punctuated with small coves and attractive beaches. After 20km into the journey, the bus will stop in the middle of the main road and all you have to do is to walk to the beach. During your bus trip, you may wonder if it was the right decision to visit this place. The next bus will arrive in 4 days. But anyway, these days it seems like you are constantly waiting for something.

In a world that we are always in hurry, you can once allow the time just to pass.

At the end of the path, you will discover a secluded and remote cove and its exceptional natural beauty as the blue of the sea mixes with the green of the trees in a wonderful combination of colors. It is sandy with small pebbles and calm waters at its northernmost end near the rocks. The landscape is majestic and wild. Search for a small tree that will offer you shade. 

Naxos tips

Naxos Tips: Taste the food!

The food tastes like your mother made it. Take a look around and you will notice the vineyards, olive trees, and fig trees. You can grab to taste some grapes. Its fertile soil has enabled Abram to be self-sufficient in terms of agricultural products.

From the tavern which is right on the beach, you will taste food which is produced in Abram and recipes who belong to the grandmother of the owner. This hospitable family is running the tavern and after a while, you will feel part of this family too. I can recollect with clarity a memory at this terrasse on the Aegean where the visitors were drinking homemade wine and tsikoudia. They laugh, they socialize, and they celebrate together their birthday’s and life in its entirety. It is hard to imagine a better place on earth to meet people and watch the sunset together.

Naxos Tips: Be ready for surprises

In the end, I am sure that you will not want to leave a place that feels like family in such a short time. You will not want to miss the smiley people and the stunning sunset. Be aware that there is a great chance you will want to stay longer than you expected.

The greek Sculptor Rokos have illustrated his summers in Abram. It is about the person, the nudity, nature, the sun and the sea. It is about the small church on the east side of the beach. It is about how a place can be transformed into an entirely unique experience.

Naxos tips
Art dedicated to this place

But finally, you will leave. You will grab your backpack that now is heavier, full of new friends and unforgettable experiences and you will walk to the main road. You will feel calm, sad and happy. You will wait again. But this time not for the bus. You will just wait for the next time you will see “Abram” again.

“If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life”

– Oscar Wilde

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.

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. Like a painter, think of beautiful colors 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.

Traditional Greek Food – Dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves)

If you know anything about Greece, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about Greek food. This remarkable country has plenty of delectable food to offer, but there are certain dishes that Greece is best known for, such as Souvlaki, Mousaka, and of course, frappe coffee.

The deeper your knowledge of Greece and its lands, the more you discover the country’s wide variety of incredible foods! Let’s learn about traditional Greek specialties.

A well-known dish is dolmadakia, or dolmades, which are stuffed leaves, usually vine/grape or cabbage leaves. Dolmadakia stems from the word “dolma,” which comes from the Turkish verb “doldurmak,” meaning to stuff or fill. The leaves are filled with minced meat, rice, parsley, and different spices. When the “home” of these same ingredients are peppers, tomatoes, or zucchini rather than leaves, the masterpiece is called “Gemista.”

For those that are not familiar, vine leaves pack in a lot of nutritional value. Not only are they low in calories, but they have sufficient levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Furthermore, grape leaves have curative properties for both the body and mind, as studies show they can help combat memory loss while keeping the body young. This traditional Greek dish stays true to the Greek folk saying, “healthy body, healthy mind.”

Ingredients:

Fresh or jarred vine/grape or cabbage leaves – 205 grams (~60 leaves)
Rice – 1½ cups
Olive oil – ½ cup
Water – 3 cups
Juice of 1 lemon
1 onion, finely chopped

Add to taste:

Dill
Parsley or Mint
Salt
Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Start by prepping your leaves. For fresh leaves, wash them thoroughly, remove the stems, and blanch them in boiling hot water. Place aside to cool down. For jarred leaves, rinse them thoroughly, remove stems, and place them aside.
  2. Next, sauté the olive oil and onions in a large pan.
  3. Add the rice and stir for one minute, then add water and let it simmer. Once the water starts to evaporate, add lemon juice, herbs, and spices.
  4. Stuff each leaf with one spoonful of the mixture, and roll the leaves. Here is a helpful video showing you how to easily roll the leaves.
  5. Put the stuffed leaves in a large pan with one cup of water and a bit of olive oil. Cover the pan and cook for half an hour on low heat. Once removed from the heat, let cool for 30 minutes. They are now ready to serve or to refrigerate for later.

 

Dolmadakias are delicious when eaten both cold and warm.

This vegetarian recipe is both vegan and gluten-free, but minced meat serves as a great addition to the filling!

PRO TIP: eat with feta cheese, yogurt or tzatziki, and squeeze some extra lemon juice over them before you eat!

Getting excited about the traditional tastes of Greece? Stay tuned to learn more about Greek food! With hopwave, you can discover the best of the Greek experience.

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.

Aphrodite – “Venus de Milo”

Aphrodite of Milos

Okay, I’m not going to tell you about Aphrodite. We’ve all heard of the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and pleasure.

Then what is this post about? 

A volcanic island in the Aegean Sea known as “the island of Aphrodite.” Since we already know about her, we can imagine the allure of this island, better known as Milos.

Now, everyone has preconceptions about the Greek islands and their beauty. But, Milos may satisfy and exceed your expectations better than most of them.

Have you lost your mind?

With all the incredible Greek islands out there, how could Milos possibly be the best? Let’s remember, it is named after the irresistible goddess of beauty and pleasure after all. 

Aphrodite!

Now, let’s forget what we think we know. Let’s search a little bit more, look further, embrace our imagination and let her go.

Milos is more than clear blue skies, crystalline waters, and uniquely stunning beaches. If we just ogle at Milos’s beauty, we wouldn’t be appreciating the depth of the island’s magic. Don’t you think Aphrodite would be upset if you only saw her for her beauty?

For this reason, we must remember Milos’ villagers. Let’s see through their eyes. Let’s feel the salty waters, gaze at the stars, and hear the hum of the boat as it glides along the waves, just like they do.

Milos fishing boats

Discover Aphrodite 

These rock-backed villages are telling more than an ancient story, they’re calling us to explore, they ask us to feel with a villager’s heart.

We must discover the fishing villages, like Klima, and feel the coolness of the fisherman’s homes that are carved into the rocks.

Or in Pollonia, we can walk along the fisherman’s wharves and watch the bobbing boats as the catch of the day is loaded ashore. There is magic in their way of life

If you want to visit Milos, take our advice and feel like a local; feel like a hopwaver.

To become a hopwaver is to become a traveler

Become a traveler!

Once you have the travel bug, there’s no going back!

To travel is not only to vacation far from home. True travelers, they know how to leave the comfort of familiarity for a place made entirely of uncertainty.

Why?

  • The love for the unknown.
  • The thrill of new experiences.
  • The passion for adventure.

You book the tickets and the accommodations. You find the best island tour guide, then pack your things and set sail!

Or…

You walk out our front door and curiously wander the streets. With no plan and an open mind, you discover the beauty around you!

As long as you embrace the journey and inspire good vibes, there is no wrong way to travel!

  • What should I see?
  • Where should I go?
  • What is the perfect souvenir?traveler

Let me tell you, my friend. There is no right or wrong answer.

Get lost in your favorite island without Google Maps, or Yelp, or even without hopwave! We are here to help you but it’s your trip. So, Take the lead!

Travel like a local. Allow yourself to feel the vibes of the island and discover the ways of the people. Don’t obsess over your tour guide, nor your trip advisor app. Just talk with the locals and learn about all the “hidden” secret places!

Unsure where to start?

You’re in luck. Hopwave is here to help you discover beautiful and unique destinations around the Greek Islands. We want to bring you as many options as possible for you to decide what is the “bestest” one for YOU! Do yourself a favor, discover the most fulfilling experiences and pick the one you like the most.

But what is the difference between the tourist and the traveler?

Imagine: You’re in a square in front of a famous monument. The square is swarming with people, all posing for pictures. Your phone’s about to die due to using Google Maps all day. It’s hot, and you’re wondering if this was worth the long and crowded bus ride.

Now, imagine: You’re wandering down an unknown street. You put your phone away, you’re fully alert, and the world feels vibrant. Not sure exactly where you’re going, but you’re being led by an energy, a feeling. While you feel the air on your face, and hear foreign languages, a smell of an awesome local dish tickles your nose from a distance.

A tourist is told where to go and what to do. A traveler discovers where to go and what to do.

A tourist seeks advice from other tourists. A traveler seeks advice from locals.

Don’t be a tourist, become a traveler. Because being a traveler means that you follow your heart, not a map. Maybe live off the grid, and trust your instinct. Always, the best experiences waiting just outside of your comfort zone!

By now, I’m sure you have the travel bug. So… What is your next travel destination? Just get into the mood and hop from place to place, and let the waves lead you! Taste the hopwave experience and let yourself ride with the wind! What are you waiting for?