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Presenter : Megan McCormick

Greek Islands: Travel Tips

Scattered around the blue waters of the Ionian and the Aegean Seas, the Greek Islands are one of Europe’s favourite holiday destinations.
Greek Islands travel tips - Megan McCormick in the Greek IslandsMegan McCormick begins her journey with a boat trip to the island of Hydra, where the annual Miaoulia Festival is taking place. The festival, which takes place in June, celebrates the fight for Greek independence from Turkey around 1800. The islanders dress up in period costume and they re-enact the events of a glorious sea-battle, when they wreaked havoc by sending small rowing boats packed with explosives amongst the Turkish battle ships. After the explosions have died down, the dancing continues throughout the night.

From Hydra Megan journeys to Patmos, one of the Dodecanese Islands close to Turkey. Patmos is seen as a sacred place to many Christians, and is the only place in Europe where God was said to have appeared on earth. St John was exiled here in 95AD and heard the voice which prompted him to write the Book of Revelations. The cave that was his home is now the focal point for pilgrims, and there has been a monastery on Patmos since 1088. The monks have always been influential in the running of the island and consequently it has remained very peaceful and laid back. Octopus is a favourite dish on Patmos, and Megan joins a local fisherman who sells his catch to local restaurants. That evening she samples the different ways in which the dishes are prepared.

Megan retraces her steps back to Athens, then boards a boat for Mykonos from the port at Piraeus. Mykonos has a reputation for being glamorous and expensive, and people come here Greek Islands travel tips - Mykonos sunsetfor the wild night life and the beaches. Nonetheless, Megan hires a motorbike and discovers an isolated spot on the north coast of the island. She heads back into town for the evening, and samples the relentless nightlife.

Next morning, Megan takes a 20 minute boat trip to nearby Delos. The birthplace of the god Apollo, the tiny island was a sacred site but soon became a wealthy, independent free port. The site at Delos dates back 5000 years, and although only a third of the island has been excavated, it’s one of the most important archaeological areas in the whole of Greece.

From here, Megan continues her voyage to the island of Santorini, another archaeological gem. Around 1650 BC one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever took place on this island. Magma shot up 22 miles into the sky and it created a tidal wave that went all the way to Israel. The ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri was buried under 120 feet of ash and archaeologists are continually making new discoveries.

Next stop is Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands which even in antiquity developed an independent culture of its own. Megan canoes up the coast to the former leper colony at Spinalonga, then continues to the former Venetian enclaves of Souda Bay and Hania, where she visits the war cemetery, final resting place of many of the victims who fell during the 1931 invasion by the Turks.

One of the high-lights of a trip to Crete is hiking the Samaria Gorge. It’s the largest gorge in Europe and during the summer months several thousand people make the hike each day. The Greek Islands travel tips - Windmills, Mykonosgorge gets its name from the Church of St. Maria or Samaria which was at the centre of the village which was abandoned when the gorge became a National Park in 1962.

The last place Megan visits is the tiny island ofGavdos. Located about 50 miles south of Crete, Gavdos is the most southerly landmass in Europe and only 250 miles from Libya. Legend has it that this is where Odysseus was shipwrecked and spent 7 years under the spell of the beautiful Calypso, who fed him on aphrodisiac berries that you can still find all over the island. Megan ends her Greek island-hopping experience on the stunning beach at Agios Yannis.

Your ultimate Globe Trekker guide and Greek Islands travel tips!

Places Mentioned - Greece and the Greek Islands

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