The things you must do and the things you can skip in Greece
By Mackenzie Mason, Staff Writer
Greece has been an absolute dream. From the Cycladic architecture to the yummy Greek cuisine and the stunning beaches, almost everything lived up to its reputation. Below, I’ve listed a few of the places I’ve been and whether I suggest you take the time to visit or not.
If you’re looking for a relaxed vacation to Greece, Athens is not for you. If I was asked to describe Athens in one word, I would say ‘chaos.’ The city is bustling and there are people everywhere, but it is beautiful and there is a lot of interesting history to explore.
Do: You have to go to the Acropolis, obviously, but what I would suggest is going to the Acropolis Museum first. You’ll be able to understand more about what the museum looked like over the years and all the beautiful history involved with its creation.
Don’t: Paying for entry to sites such as Hadrian’s Library and the Ancient Agora of Athens isn’t worth it. While they are beautiful, you can see everything from outside the gates and the same information is available online. Save your money for some yummy tzatziki or gyros!
Thira is arguably the most popular Greek island. It is the epitome of Greek Cycladic architecture and a romantic destination for many, though not all. Visiting Thira has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember and experiencing it alone is something I’m really proud of. I ended up meeting two amazing women from the United States and from Australia. We chatted the night away as we watched the gorgeous sunset.
Do: You might notice a trend here, but tourists in Greece schedule their day around watching the sunsets — which is exactly what I suggest you do while in Thira. Go to dinner around 6 p.m. to ensure you get a front row seat when the sun sets. Have a few drinks, order dinner around 7 p.m. and you’ll be watching the sunset in style.
Ios was arguably one of my favourite locations, maybe because it was my first party island of the trip. Not only that, but the landscapes are beautiful.
Do: If you’re coming to Ios for a wholesome and relaxing day, then you have to rent ATVs and drive along the beautiful coast to get to the secluded Never Bay. A huge group of us from the hostel all went together and we were the only ones on this beach. If you decide to venture off to what we called “Adventure Beach,’’ be prepared for a steep and slightly dangerous hike down as there is no path.
If you’re looking to dress up and relax, you have to go to the Diaseli Traditional Cheesery to sample the best Greek goat cheeses you’ll ever have, with complimentary wine to pair. The owners are the sweetest people and gave us a tour of the cheesery! With Ios being a party island, you really have to go to the Flames Bar and get slapped. Yes, that’s a tourist attraction. You buy a shot and they slap you across the face with paint on their hand. Honestly, it’s a rite of passage in Ios.
I met back up with the people I met in Ios and we rented an Airbnb together. This has been one of the highlights of my trip so far. Milos offered tons of natural beauty to explore and the company I had made it that much better.
Do: Milos has tons of beaches all varying in landscapes. Some, like the Sarakiniko Beach, looked straight out of a dystopian world. It feels like you’re on the moon, with the pristine blue waters contrasting with the bleach-white rocks surrounding it. While Sarakiniko beach was absolutely beautiful and a once in a lifetime experience, my favourite beach had to be Alogomantra Beach. It had a perfect sandy beach with the prettiest rocks. Not only that but the water was clear and turquoise, and the cliff surrounding the beach towers over you while you soak up the rays or watch the sunset.
Don’t: While booking things last-minute generally works out well on the islands, don’t try to book any excursions at the last-minute in Milos, even in the off-season. We wanted to do a boat excursion so badly as there are certain beaches on the island that you can only get to by boat, but everything we inquired about for the days to come was completely booked!
Visiting the Greek version of “the city that never sleeps” is something that everyone must do, whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a three-day-beach-party-bender, (I opted for the latter).
Do: The party culture in Mykonos is crazy. We stayed at the Paradise Beach Resort, where beach parties start at 4 p.m. and go until 1:30 a.m. Everyone then goes to the Scandinavian Bar and Club in the town until god-knows-when in the morning. If partying isn’t your idea of fun then Mykonos might not be for you, but if it is you’re in for one crazy night!
Don’t: If you’re expecting a full itinerary of things to do in Mykonos that don’t involve partying, you might be out of luck. If you don’t plan on indulging in the night life, I would stay a maximum of two nights before moving on to a more relaxing Greek island.