On the Road…to Rhodes!

Back to island life again, whilst I love a city break there’s just something so special about watching the sunrise on the harbour with the fishermen out catching seafood. This time we move onto Rhodes, also very famous for being one of the 7 Wonders of the World (The Colossus of Rhodes).

So, why did I fall in love with this island? Well it’s split into two, Rhodes Old Town and Rhodes New Town. Let me start with Rhodes Old Town, again one for soaking up culture where you are at the heart of Greek history. It is well known for being the oldest medieval town in the whole of Europe – therefore you’d be silly not to take in this beauty!

Whilst Rhodes New Town is modern with a range of café’s shops and bars you’ve really got a good balance and plenty to see…

Now my top tips… you must visit a bakery! I know I’m a foodie and maybe I shouldn’t put this first on the list but honestly, you will not be disappointed (I recently gave this advice to my friends who own a landscaping company in Dorchester and they couldn’t thank me enough!). We visited one in the Old Town just as they’d opened their doors for the morning; the aromas of the freshly cooked homemade pastries welcomed me. I went for one of the sweet pastries topped with sugar as it was literally sparkling at me, I just couldn’t resist. Of course I accompanied this with a coffee, a perfect start to the morning. However for those of you with not such a sweet tooth like me (guilty) I heard the spinach pies were amazing!

My second top tip is visit the beach. Now if you’re a beach lover like me, I’d recommend going to one in the eastern side as these are sandy. Of course it’s personal preference so if you prefer a pebble beach opt for one in the west! And if you like diving, then the crystal clear seas of Lindos beach is the best. This beach is boarded by rocks making it a great diving spot for many travellers and a chance to get that go pro on and snap some underwater shots! Aside from the beach, Lindos is also really rated for the village. The whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and rooftop terraces make this village highly spoken of and not to mention you can pick up a donkey ride and visit the Acropolis – what better way to soak up the culture!? For another top beach spot visit Agios Pavlos Beach, it’s a small bay with a white chapel at the end of it – probably more of a quiet spot for couples but nonetheless beautiful!

If you’re more of the adventurous type like me, then check out the water park in Faliraki – a great day out for all ages, I think I ended up having more fun than some of those kids… And that’s also where the party scene is at. A lot of British holiday makers will come to Faliraki predominantly for the party scene, so if you fancy a wild night out check out what they have to offer. Some say it’s “one of the best destinations in Europe for nightlife”, I know I definitely had fun!

So now I’ve given you an overview of what I did in Rhodes – where’s best to stay? Well I’ve heard amazing things from fellow travellers who have stayed in the Lindos Blu and Rodos Palladium so if your budget is at the higher end of the spectrum definitely pick one of these however sadly these were both slightly out of my budget so I opted for a Guest House which had received great reviews and ratings on TripAdvisor, over 4 stars!

The Apollo Guest House was so cute and had lovely character! Situated in Rhodes town it’s a very small place in the Old Town in perfect walking distance from the shops, restaurants and cafes and some of the best too, you can find some real gems! The owners are lovely and the view over the Palace of the Grand Master and the medieval city are just phenomenal – great for any of you who have a passion for photography, you can get some great shots! Rooms were basic but nice and the interior had a shabby chic feel to it. The courtyard garden is beautiful and is the perfect spot to eat your breakfast – there’s just something about those pink flowers that makes everything so much better! But honestly, no faults – this place was perfect and just what I needed for my trip! If you’re interested here’s the link.

Also a top tip – opting for a B&B is always nice as it means you can still get out and about exploring different restaurants rather than being limited to a restaurant or 2 in an hotel!

So all in all another beautiful place to visit and I’m starting to think, will I ever come home?

Where Next?

Sooo I thought I would give you all a quick update…

So although I thought I would never come home…as I mentioned in my last post all about Rhodes, but unfortunately I am back home – that’s reality I suppose!

Anyway, although it is nice to be back and see friends and family for a much needed catchup, I’m already thinking about my next adventure and want to put some plans in place ready for when I’ve made enough money to jet off again.

So the big question…where next?!

Here’s what I’ve got so far…

  • Central/South America (Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia etc.) – I’ve had friends go to different places here in the past and they all LOVED it!
  • Asian City (Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo) – I’ve always wanted to go to one of these places as they seem like a totally different experience to places I’ve been before
  • North America – Now I would love to do a road trip through the different states in America and even Canada…in a convertible Mustang of course 😉

So what do you guys think? Have you been to any of the above? What did you think? What would you suggest I do in these places? Those who haven’t been, which would you pick?!

I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say!

P.s. Here’s a video which really inspired me to travel…and I bet it will for you too!

Next stop… Athens!

So next I moved away from the high end island life. Obviously now I was on a traveller’s budget so top villas weren’t so much an option for everywhere I went but I wanted to give you a flavour of various budgets, so now Athens.

I went for a more backpacker’s budget here being a city but aside from this I was still able to find some hidden gems. I stayed in “City Circus Athens” which was a hostel (well personally I’d class it more a hotel – it was so clean!) and one of the best rated on TripAdvisor. This hostel was based in a funky hip area of Athens and had an amazing view of the Acropolis! It’s a great option if you want to meet people as the hostel was very relaxed but had a great social element to it and we all ended up making great friends and going out to some amazing rooftop bars around the area (with the most beautiful sunsets).

You had the option of booking either a classic twin room, double/twin room, studio loft or if you wanted to be social 4,6 or 8 bed dorms which are either mixed/ or predominantly male or female. We booked this through booking.com but hostelworld also offer it and a few other sites. Here’s the link!

For those of you who want to explore further it’s also near Monastoraki Square where you can jump on the metro and travel around! (Metro is dead cheap and easiest way to travel personally) or even better… You can join the walking tour to brush up on your navigation around the city which Athens Backpackers offer – 10am start! Again, one of the guys at the hostel found out about this and it was definitely worth it!

Being one of the oldest cities in the world, I really recommend Athens to soak up the culture (3,400 years to be precise), there’s so much to explore like the Acropolis of Athens (and the museum – only 3 euros for students), the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus and many more… But do be aware all archaeological sites are closed on Sunday and the Acropolis Museum is closed on a Monday, so make sure you factor this in when planning your trip or it could be very annoying!

However, if you’re not so keen in Athens history/culture then there are some great shopping spots in Plaka/ Syntagma Square and Monastirak alongside some great weekend flea markets! To add to this, if you are a food and drink lover then try Psiri – endless rows of streets filled with café’s, restaurants, bars and clubs – it has a real buzz here!

And if you’re here in February its Apokreas Carnival Season from February 5th to February 26th where you’re no doubt bound to have a good time! This festival is described as a ‘festival of fun’ which traditionally is based around the Apokries and begins ten weeks before the Greek Orthodox Easter. If you do get the opportunity to visit then I’d love to hear from you!

Of course I cannot leave Athens without trying some traditional food, so this time I opted for a souvlaki sandwich in Monastiraki street (recommended from one of the guys in the hostel) it was mouth-watering! Now dependant on your taste in music you can carry on partying into the night here… they’ve got various different quirky bars playing a range of pop/jazz and rock mainly, but if that doesn’t suit your tastebuds Gazi Square has literally everything! We started a very messy bar crawl here, the rest of the night was just a blur.…

I got a lot out of Athens however something which really touched me was how close knit the community was. Every Friday cyclists gather together in Thission and cycle through the city! (usually just done in the summer) Everyone is welcome to join in and you don’t need to have a bike as many places have these to hire! Great for those who want to explore and get a real feel of the local life…

Whether you’re visiting Athens for 2 weeks, 1 week or a long weekend you definitely can explore it thoroughly in whatever time frame you have be it is at a more leisurely pace or a jam packed city break – I almost prefer these as you get a real buzz from it but really, my point is there is no excuse… Athens really has something for everyone whether you’re on a budget or not! And I can guarantee you will love it! Happy travels!

Back to where it all started…Greece!

So I decided to go back to where I started off – Greece. I’d only ever visited this villa in Crete with my family and knew that this country had so much more to offer, everyone used to brag about how “incredible” Greece was and how I needed to explore, and of course I was not disappointed – I decided to do some island and city hopping to really experience the Aegean islands and the country.

From the mythical history to filling up on the local dishes and dipping my toes in the blue sea I fell in love. The first island I visited was Santorini and wow – what charisma it has. Whenever I think of Santorini I’ve always dreamed of staying in those white pretty houses with beautiful pink flowers overlooking the sea, so I made my dream a reality.

First stop was Oia – north of the island where these postcard pictures I’ve always dreamt of were! Just as I imagined! We hired a villa here through Home & Away – the perfect resource for travellers, usually aimed at larger groups or families, this villa was a traditional ‘cave villa’ built into volcanic rock to ensure coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter. It slept up to 5 people with breath-taking views, an indoor winery and even an outdoor hot tub – I was in heaven! Prices averaged around £200 per night (but split, it’s not so bad!) and I really highly recommended it! You can find the link here!

Of course, if you’re on a budget this is probably not the best option but splitting between a big group of you can sometimes work out cheaper dependant on the villa you choose! Alternatively, Air BNB and Hostelworld offer some budget accommodation so it really depends what kind of trip you are after!

By sunset, I was out at Oia Castle with the friendliest of locals drinking ouzo and raki whilst capturing the sunset (a very tipsy shot!). Being the massive foodie that I am I really wanted to try a range of the local dishes and I know Greece is one country that really prides itself in its food (or so I think).

There were some amazing restaurants here where you could watch sunset, but of course quite pricey however nevertheless I had some amazing seafood at the ‘Catch Bar – Restaurant’ however if you’d prefer to opt for a cheaper eat of grilled Greek Food (after all I was here to try traditional local cuisine) then go for a local stall / street foods – they are so tasty.

I opted for a Gyros and it was amazing! Cheap, quick and just what I expected (right by the bus stops) or…. if you want something a little more authentic than moussaka at “Laokasti Restaurant” is a must try!

So all in all, what do I think? To describe it in 3 words – an unreal island. I could probably talk about it for hours but I can always come back to talk about this place another time – I’ll definitely be going back as well!

Catch you at the next blog post 🙂