2018 is a very special year for us, because Chris and I will be parents! Before things will get serious and maybe difficult, we wanted to enjoy a longer summer holiday. At first we thought of a long distance trip to the tropics, but then we fulfilled another dream that we had talked about over and over again. We wanted to go island hopping in Greece in a relaxed way and have a really good time, also with some luxury, just a real babymoon instead of a normal holiday. And finally we spent wonderful two and a half weeks in Greece visiting the four Cyclades islands Santorini, Mykonos, Tinos and Delos. Previously I had heard very different things about Mykonos and Santorin, which both are currently being extremely hyped on Instagram. Opinions differed greatly between “beautiful”, “very special” or “overpriced” and “overcrowded”. I had to make my own judgment. How did I actually like the islands?
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Babymoon start in Santorini
Santorini is considered the dream island par excellence and I can only confirm this – although the island is really very crowded. My dream was to spend the night in a “cave apartment” in the village of Oia on the caldera, the volcanic crater of the island. Oia with its blue domed white churches can be seen on many travel guide books and tourist brochures. It transports the image of a perfect Greece. The camera is busy in Oia at any time of the day. The first window view from the Caldera onto the deep blue Aegean in the morning was simply breathtaking and every meal on our balcony felt special in this environment. I found the atmosphere in Oia especially enchanting around sunrise. The white village is still very quiet at that time and you only meet very lovable cats and stray dogs, which might accompany you along the quiet paths. During the day the beautiful place is overrun by cruise tourists and day-trippers. Nevertheless, it was absolutely worthwhile to rent an apartment there. Oia is famous for its sunset. Maybe it’s the most famous sunset in the world. The atmosphere is definitely romantic if you manage to find a quieter spot. This is possible if you follow the stairs down towards the harbour town of Ammoudi. But it feels also magical to be in another corner of Oia during this time. And then there is the Blue Hour, when I think Oia looks particularly fascinating with its bright white houses and lights. It is also very charming to enjoy the view of the caldera from your whirlpool – for babymooners as well as for the numerous honeymooners and other couples in love. Oia was the right choice for us on this holiday.
But because we are the way we are, we always have to get out of paradise. We had rented a car for the whole stay to be able to explore the island. Santorini offers an amazing variety of sights and activities. For the next time I could also imagine staying at the mountain village Pyrgos Kallistes as an alternative to Oia. There are also some boutique hotels there and the village had an artistic flair, which we liked very much. Also the village Emporio with its winding old core is a very nice destination, even if you don’t notice it on the first sight. Apart from the villages I found the excavation sites very worthwhile. In Akrotiri you can learn a lot about the ancient Minoan culture and old Thira is worth a visit just because of the great mountain landscape and the wide views of the sea. Santorini also offers relaxing bathing days on black volcanic beaches. Those who enjoy hiking should not miss the Caldera Trail between Fira and Oia with its gigantic views. The list could be continued…
First of all: I had heard some bad things about Mykonos. But the photos I had seen on the web – especially about Hora (Mykonos City) – still inspired me to see Mykonos and its “capital”. Apart from the fact that it is like Santorini expensive and mostly crowded, I cannot confirm the negative ratings. I really liked Hora as much as in my dreams: a whitewashed city with many pink-coloured flowers (bougeainvilleas), cobblestones and pretty buildings like domed churches or houses with colourful balconies. In addition, an atmospheric harbour and the quarter of Little Venice, surrounded by windmills and a lively turquoise sea, where the sunset made our romantic babymooners’ hearts beat faster. Many hip cafés and restaurants, where I also ate very well as a vegan. City beaches, mountains in the background, and…and…and. I really liked Hora, despite the crowds. Especially in the morning it was quite enchanting there. Just like in Oia, you just have to find the right time of day in summer.
Outside the city, Mykonos has a landscape that, with its barrenness and large rocks, may not suit everyone’s taste. I like it, though. The number of small churches that can be seen at the roadside is unbelievably high. Otherwise there are hardly any sightseeing options. The attractions are the many great beach bays. I really enjoyed the comfort of the well-organized beaches in the babymoon. At the beaches of Mykonos you can relax on beautiful and comfortable beach loungers or beds having a smoothie and swim in the turquoise-blue sea. If you want to and have a 4WD vehicle at your disposal, you can also discover wild and lonely beaches. And of course there are the parties for which Mykonos has long been known as an international jet set destination. We were less interested in the parties in the babymoon and if you don’t want to attend, you can easily avoid them. Although our holiday apartment was directly located above the legendary party beach “Super Paradise Beach”, it was very quiet and we felt like to living in the middle of nature. Besides we enjoyed there the comfort, which is typical for Mykonos, like pool and hammock. By the way, we had the pool mostly for ourselves. This was also an excellent place for babymoons.
Delos: Our 3rd wedding anniversary
Mykonos originally became famous because American educational travellers used to stop there before visiting the antique ruins of the island of Delos. Delos is one of the most important sites of ancient Greece and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I learned ancient Greek at school for several years. Greek mythology was part of that and maybe that is why I am still very interested in it today. Of course I really wanted to see Delos. It is already a small tradition for Chris and me that we spend our wedding day traveling and experience something special. Chris loves archaeological sites, so we quickly agreed that this would be an ideal place. On our first wedding day we visited the mythological birthplace of Aphrodite in Cyprus (however, this is not an archeological place, but only the place of a legend because of the romantic scenery). It was a funny coincidence that we traveled to the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis on the third wedding day. The island of Delos, surrounded by the blue Aegean Sea, offers many impressive sights such as the so-called Lion Terrace or mosaics. I was surprised by the quality and number of exhibits in the Archaeological Museum of Delos. My personal highlight, however, was the small tour up to the highest point of the island. This actually felt too exhausting for me at noon in the 6th month of my pregnancy, but the views over Delos, the Aegean and other islands were worth the effort. We ended this beautiful day with a romantic dinner in Little Venice in Hora (Mykonos) and watched the waves and the sunset from the table. We hope that we will spend the 15th of June with baby / toddler in the next years as inspiring as in the past years and in the Babymoon.
Day trip to Tinos
After exploring two very beautiful but also very touristic islands and the ancient and also very well visited Delos, it was time to get to know a somewhat quieter Cycladic island with authentic Greek life. So we got up very early and took the ferry from Mykonos with our rental car. The car was very helpful on Tinos, because the island is quite large in comparison to other Cycladic islands. We headed through a wonderful mountain landscape for the village of Kardiani on a steep slope, which proved to be a direct hit. I love picturesque villages, especially in the mountains, and this is certainly one of the most beautiful ones I have ever visited. After our walk around the village we chilled out for a while in a picture-book cafenion and drove on to Panormos, a small town known for its marble art, which is very photogenic because of its many flowers. Directly located at the sea we had lunch in Ormos Insternion and had fun sitting at the table spotting a “Beware of the waves sign”, after we were asked to sit a little further away from the shore. I love to photograph and “collect” such bizarre signs all over the world… After dinner we visited the harbour town Ormos Panormou on the other side of the island, which with its colourful boats, white houses and crystal-clear sea also turned out to be a very good photo opportunity. Afterwards we drove through the interior of the island and admired the pigeon houses at several spots for which Tinos is famous. Many pigeons are still bred in these houses, which have their own unique architecture. The tradition dates back to the Venetians, who once inhabited the island. In the evening we arrived in the capital (Hora) and visited the famous pilgrim church, because Tinos is perhaps the most important pilgrimage place of Greek Orthodoxy. After dinner by the sea we enjoyed the sunset at the promenade and strolled through the picturesque alleys with their pretty restaurants before we took the late ferry back to Mykonos. What a perfect day!
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