Travel Photos: 7 Greek Islands

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.

From Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy (See the entire poem here)

I can’t help myself–I return to Greece again and again.  We thoroughly explored the Peloponnese and much of the mainland before we took to the sea.  Finally, we assembled six friends, rented a boat through a guy I had met on line and in person in Washington D.C.  (we met on a Prodigy travel board, to show you how long I’ve known the guy. Ever hear of Prodigy?). We headed for the Greek Islands.

We plotted  a cruise through several Cycladic islands (the circle of islands in the center of the Greek Mediterranean.)

A note to those who might want to follow in our wake–my friend Robert no longer owns this boat. And although there are other sailboats available in the Greek islands, sailing does not suit everyone. You might find Mediterranean cruises more to your liking with less spartan quarters and more help from crew.

Our boat, Annamaria

“Our” boat, Annamaria in the Athens marina.

Our captain helped us with a little grocery shopping in Athens before we left, and disabused us of the notion that we were in control of the itinerary. The wind and weather would determine much of where we which Greek islands we would visit. As it turned out, that meant striking Mykonos and adding Santorini to our trip.

Our Greek Captain, Nicos

Our Greek Captain, Nicos

We had a captain, but no crew and we were invited to help sail if we wished. (I’ll show life on the boat in a future post).

The islands in the Cyclades are so close together that you sail from one to the other in the morning, explore in the afternoon, and sleep on the boat in the harbor before starting for another island in the morning.  We divided up chores among the eight of us–go on shore to a bakery to get bread for breakfast;  or if we ate on board, somebody to cook and to clean up.  We would eat lunch at the next island, on board or at a little restaurant near the shore, then split up and explore whatever lured us. When we reassembled in the evening, someone had set up cocktail hour on board and we munched on olives and tyropita and sipped an ouzo before going ashore to find a restaurant for dinner.

Here are some highlights from that memorable ten days when we visited seven islands and glimpsed two more from a ferry.

Our first port of call, Kithnos, is small but beautiful. I remember a lady coming out of her house and giving us a sprig of basil for luck.

Island of Kithnos, Loutra

Island of Kithnos, Loutra

At the next stop, Serifos, we did what became a routine, had lunch near the port.

Island of Seriphos, Typical port taverna

Island of Seriphos, Typical port taverna

After lunch we headed out to climb to the highest point of the island. Every one of the Greek islands seems to have an Acropolis (hill of the people) with a  Chora (town). And white-washed houses, narrow streets and cats.

 

Island of Serifos

Island of Serifos

The view from the top made the very windy climb worthwhile.

Island of Serifos, Livadi from Chora

Island of Serifos, Livadi from Chora

Then we sailed out of Serifos on our way to Siphnos (Sifnos). We hated to leave each island, but at that point did not yet know that Siphnos was destined to be our favorite island. So precious to us, that Ken and I returned many years later.

Island of Serifos--sailing out

Island of Serifos–sailing out

Hiking trails that once served as roads, crisscross Siphnos (like the one in the foreground here) . We walked from the capital Apollonia to Artemonas to Kastro, the ancient fortified town on the coast, sometimes following the road and sometimes heading off across fields on shepherd’s paths.

Island of Siphnos, the road from Artemonas to Kastro

Island of Siphnos, the road from Artemonas to Kastro

We had arranged to meet back in Artemonas after the hike for dinner at what one guidebook told us was “the best restaurant in the Cyclades.” We laughed at that superlative, but after our meal at Liotrivi, decided it lived up to the description. (And when Ken and I went back a few years ago we found  it is still a WONDERFUL restaurant for regional Siphnos dishes.)

Island of Siphnos, eating at Liotrivi Restaurant

Island of Siphnos, eating at Liotrivi Restaurant in Artemonas

Next stop, the island of Paros.

The Island of Paros

The Island of Paros

They “shell” things to the tourists in Paros:

Island of Paros, We shell...

Island of Paros.Tourist Shop

The weather had kicked up meaning the boat would have to stay in port in Paros for at least two days.  Since some of our group had never been to the volcano island of Santorini, and our little sailboat could not sail into the caldera at Santorini, we took a 3:00 a.m. ferry from Paros to Santorini. If you go to Santorini, be sure to enter the caldera by ship for the most spectacular views in the world.

Island of Santorini, in the Caldera

Island of Santorini, in the Caldera

I have so many pictures of the photogenic Santorini, that I’ll devote a future post or two just to that island, but now we took the ferry back to Paros, and passed by a couple of favorite tourist islands without stopping.

Island of Ios from ferry to Santorni

Island of Ios, Greece from ferry to Santorni

Island of Naxos from ferry to Santorini

Island of Naxos from ferry to Santorini

 

Since the sea had calmed, we set sail once more, heading for the island of Syros, the capital of the Cyclades district. The modern  main town, Ermoupoli, looks entirely different from most Cyclades towns, but the old town (Ano Syros) seemed more familiar.

Town Hall Square, Ermoupoli, Syros

Town Hall Square, Ermoupoli, Syros with modern sculptures.

 Ano Syros (old town),Island of Syros

Ano Syros (old town),Island of Syros

After Exploring the lovely island of Syros, we headed for our last stop before Athens, the island of Kea, where we found lots of summer home of Athens residents, and some friendly kids on the beach eager to teach us Greek numbers in exchange for learning to say something in English.

Island of Kea, making friends

Island of Kea, making friends

And as the travelogues say, as the sun sinks slowly in the West, we sail off from Kea toward our home port of Athens.

Island of Kea, Vourkari Bay

Island of Kea, Vourkari Bay

 

This has been my weekly contribution to Travel Photo Thursday, sponsored by Budget Traveler’s Sandbox. Drop by that site to see more photos from around the world.

I’ve written about Greece many times before. Click here for my 3 Best Travel Secrets About Greece.

Now if you want to see Greece as shot by a REAL photographer, check out this site of James Maher. Look for Folegandros and Santorini as well as Athens.

All these photos are my property. Some are not great quality because they are scans from old print photos. Nevertheless, I request that you respect my copyright.

Your turn to talk: Have you ever done a sailboat charter? Bareboat where you sail it yourself? Or do you prefer regular cruises? Let’s talk about getting around on water.

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler’s Library, recreating her family’s past at Ancestors In Aprons. She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

Vera Marie Badertscher – who has written posts on A Traveler's Library.


About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons. She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

13 thoughts on “Travel Photos: 7 Greek Islands

  1. I went to Greece when I was a teenager and loved it. Spent some time in Athens and on the Isle of Kos. I have always wanted to go back, and your post convinces me I must. My closest thing to a sailboat charter was sailing down the Nile on a Felucca…loved every moment.

    BTS is up and running again. Although, I am still doing some work in the background. Travel Photo Thursday should go ahead as planned this week :)

    1. Nancie, glad that Travel Photo Thursday is back on your new improved beautiful site. I’m putting my Travel Thursday post up on Wednesday this week, to coordinate with the Republican convention. Nothing to do with politics, but all about Tampa.

  2. Looks beautiful! I’m just not sure if I could spend that much time in such a little space with that many people :) But as I said… beautiful!

  3. Vera – what an outstanding trip. It sounds like a very harmonious balancing of duties – and what a marvelous way to get together with friends. Cruising into Santorini looks amazing.

    1. Leigh, it is a wonderful get together because with these short sails, you have plenty of time on land to have private time if you wish. You don’t have to feel like part of a herd. And, by the way, although it sounds like “sailing the Greek Islands” is only for the super rich, we found it was no more expensive to rent a sailboat and go this way than to travel by land, or get around the islands by ferry.

  4. What a wonderful adventure to have sailed on the Greek islands. I always see Santorini that it’s nice to see the other equally beautiful islands. I would love to visit any of the Greek islands one of these days.

  5. I’ve been heaps to Greece, but oddly never to the Cyclades. Your photos are so inviting – I’m drawn by the narrow winding streets. And the cats.

  6. Very nice. I’m not a water guy, save for a couple of kayaks we use on a local lake, so I can’t help you much there. But I loved the pictures. Which Prodigy guy are you talking about? AWC person?

    Cheers,

    Casey

  7. Everything about this post is so inviting. The Greek Islands are still high on my list. The Annamarie (or similar boat)looks like a wonderful way to explore the islands and I can totally picture myself sitting at Liotrivi Restaurant in Artemonas.

  8. thanks for sharing your cruise, Vera — the photos are lovely, as are you memories.

    I’ve not done any of the sorts of crusies you aks about, but I have
    been on a working lobster boat
    done quite a bit of canoeing — when I was a kid we lived on a stream which ran between two lakes
    spent time in rowboats, tugboats, and other working boats, and
    just finsished reading On the Water: Discovering America in a Rowboat by Nathaniel Stone.

  9. Okay, to say my heart sings over this post probably sounds a bit dramatic, but you and I share a love of Greek islands and you’ve brought back wonderful memories of our travels there. So you understand, my heart IS singing. A wonderful post~about a wonderful place.

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