Some countries with a strong holiday resort culture are often being overlooked when planning active, and independent holidays.
I’m guilty of doing that too. I’ve judged some countries only by basing my opinions on someone else’s stories.
But, did you know that you can create a vacation of your dreams even in the most touristic spots in the world, if you just use a little creativity?
You can merge laying by the pool, adventuring, fancy cocktails, sports and alternative choices, all in one holiday. If you do your research right and listen to your gut.
In this post I’m telling you how Greece is so much more than just forced zorba-dancing, breaking plates and sipping watered down ouzo-shots.
I was at the Nordic Travel Fair in Helsinki a few days back to take part in my travel idols’ lecture on travel safety.
While waiting for the “show” to start, some random guy (apparently the host) entered the stage and tried to humor the audience with lame travel jokes.
For his last joke (the last one of his life),
he asked the audience where would they like to go better
to ITALY or to GREECE.
The majority chose Italy. (Of course, PIZZA BELLA MOZZARELLA!)
This made the host very happy. He obviously would’ve chosen Italy over Greece too.
He then proceeded to tell the audience he’d been to Greece a several times. Why? Because a place with no surprises is good when traveling with kids.
Because he doesn’t want any extra hassle.
That in Greece everything is always the same. That it’s perfect for lazy people who don’t like planning their stay any further.
Then he dropped his jaw dropping one liner: That GREECE IS THE McDONALD’S OF TOURISM because you know what you’re gonna get – and everyone know’s what this reference meant.
Getting mediocre quality, if even that.
Oh honey, you shouldn’t have said that.
I wish this dude had known what he was talking about. He was well traveled. But his experiences in Greece were a little limited.
He had been to Crete and based in my own experiences I kinda understood where he was coming from.
BUT if you only have been to Crete, and stayed in the same hotel for 7 years in a row, you can’t judge the whole country by it. You just can’t. End of story.
If you’re into all-inclusive, lay-by-the-pool, never-leave-the-hotel-kind of holidays
then cool! But don’t say that those are the only things the country has to offer.
Someone might believe you.
The “fast food” holiday options are offered everywhere in the world, but in every holiday resort and every country there are places, hotels, companies and agencies that offer you more customer oriented solutions. People who truly care for their customers’ needs.
You can choose holidays and activities that are not chain products.
If you find cheap flights to a place that has a reputation as a tourist trap – why not just take the chance and break some presumptions? – After all, no one’s stopping you from exploring and finding out about things on your own. You never know where you might end up.
Greece is so much more than a holiday resort outrage from hell.
It has everything a person might need from culture to incredible nature. Amazing food and interesting history. Art and music. Good looking guys and beautiful girls. It might have lost some of its’ “trendiness” over the years but trust me. It’s worth visiting.
Keep reading if:
1. You’re planning a vacation to Greece
2. You’re done that all-inclusive-thing and want to
experience something new
3. You need new ideas on how to spend your upcoming holidays
4. You’re just generally interested in the topic
DEFINITELY NOT A FAST FOOD-EXPERIENCE #1: ACTIVE HOLIDAYS in RHODES
Rhodes is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean islands, which makes it a perfect spot for exploring your surroundings, alone or in a group.
SO FORGET THOSE GENERIC ALL-INCLUSIVE ZOMBIE HOLIDAYS WHERE YOU JUST SIT AND EAT (nothing wrong with those tbh but now it’s time for something new and different).
CHOOSE ACTIVE HOLIDAYS.
For this section I’ve teamed up with the incredibly awesome Rhodescape Experiences and I want all of you guys to know about the amazing way they run their business, giving each customer an unforgettable experience in a friendly and cozy manner.
Rhodescape will take you all around the island of Rhodes to experience magical things under the Aegan sun such as climbing, diving, horseback riding, biking and sailing. Amazing right?
All the excursions include the transport from/to your hotel, snacks, fruits and water, traditional meal, swimming in the sea and an insurance in case of an accident.
You can book the excursions separately, but what I specifically want you guys to know about is their 7-day Stay & 5-day Tour package.
Meaning, you would stay in their own hotel “the Elafos”, a beautiful, recently refurbished historical Italian styled
dream house, with spectacular views to the sea and serene forest, going on excursions everyday, and getting to live your life to the fullest.
Imagine waking up in a place where Disney Princesses could basically live.
I mean…you ACTUALLY COULD BE A DISNEY PRINCESS THERE. Living in a paradise for a week, going for some amazing trips (HORSEBACK RIDING ON THE BEACH OMG) and then eating some local fruits and other goods like a true Greek Goddess would. Or a God.
The total price for an adult for is 900 Euros.
To think, for a week-long stay, 5 days full of excursions, breakfast included and getting to learn about the local culture – this is a pretty good deal. Let me tell ya.
For children and for bigger groups the prices are different. And on top of all the things that I’ve already mentioned, they also offer other options for holidaymakers such as
- Fishing boat tour
- Rhodes town tour – Night life guide (Good add, in my opinion. Holla at my party people!)
- Luxury villa for accommodation
If I still didn’t convince you about their awesomeness – check out the comments that people have left on Tripadvisor.
Nothing, but kind, praising words – determining that these people definitely know how to organize unforgettable experiences that bring smiles to peoples faces. Smiles that last for a long time.
Remember this name, check out their website , and book this amazing trip.
Experience Rhodes how it’s meant to be experienced, live to tell the tale.
DEFINITELY NOT A FAST FOOD EXPERIENCE Pt. 2 : PARTY & GO ALL HIPPIE IN CRETE
For some people Crete might represent exactly all those things I’m trying to break here.
Resorts after resorts, boring plain nature, and overpriced tourist crap.
Well, that’s is basically just what you get if you only stay at your hotel and nearby areas.
What you SHOULD do, is you should rent a car and drive around the island. Crete has amazing things to offer. Start from the beautiful picturesque beaches and houses in Chania, one or two nights will be enough. Stay in a budget hostel to save some money and to avoid being trapped on a resort.
Then drive east for some crazy nonstop parties in Malia. Malia was a legendary partyspot back in the day, and still somewhat lives to the legend. You could compare it a little to the insanity of Aya Napa and Magaluf.
End your road trip to experience some hippie vibes and laid back lifestyle in Matala (CLICK THE LINK AND READ ABOUT MY MATALA LOVE)
Listen to amazing music, make new friends, eat good food, and be the god of your own life.
DEFINITELY NOT A FAST FOOD OPTION Pt. 3: FALL IN LOVE WITH ATHENS
My experiences with Athens are a bit limited since I’ve only spent 12 hours there, but even with this random experience, I can recommend a full holiday over there with my whole heart. I used those 12 hours quite effectively and even with thousands of blisters on my feet, smelly armpits and no sleep (my worst nightmare) I managed to fall in love with the city.
Here are some comments and recommendations from me and some other people:
“Stay at an AirBnB”
Eat breakfast/lunch in local cafés and restaurants, wander around the city and make stops in every spot that’s even somewhat interesting to you. You get to experience the local lifestyle slightly better and are not tempted to only stay in a hotel the whole day.
“Looking for a great place to party? Go to GAZI!”
Gazi is Athens’ vibrant restaurant and nightlife district located by an old gasworks area (sounds promising…). Known for great clubs and partying, the area has lots more to offer with underground music scenes, amazing restaurants, and art.
I’m a bit bummed out I couldn’t stay in the city any longer, otherwise I would have definitely visited this area and spent time in every bar I could’ve have found.
And made acquaintances with some good looking Greek musicians obviously.
More about Gazi in the Urban Travel Blog!
Wake your inner Goddess at Acropolis
Some might say it’s a cliche thing to do, and only stupid tourists would pay to get to see the remains of ancient buildings,
but as a lover of the Greek mythology – visiting the Acropolis for me was an obvious choice. I was mesmerized by the beauty and the feeling that I’m standing in the middle of what once was oh so glorious, and still is.
Take water with you, good shoes, comfortable clothes and ANDIAMO!
If you’re looking for the budget option (don’t want to pay the entrance fees for any reason whatsoever) you can also admire the beauty of Acropolis and the whole Athens from afar by doing a little hike and climbe to some hills to catch some spectacular views and a little history lesson at the same time.
(More about scenic Athens City Views in Travel Greece Travel Europe)
So remember children, don’t judge a book by its covers.
Don’t judge a whole country by one man’s opinion.
Go out there in the world and create memories that’ll always bring a big smile to your face.
Until next time,