Until last year, my only experience of Greece had been at the end of high school. 60+ of my year group, went on “senior trip” to Hersonissos, Crete. It’s safe to say that as an 18 year old with that number of friends in tow, sightseeing and soaking up Greek life wasn’t exactly primary objective of the trip. Instead, we collectively drank the island dry and I’m pretty sure I single handedly kept the Greek economy alive that month with the amount of after sun I had to purchase on that trip. Note to self: never get on a lilo in the sea with the worst hangover of your life/alcohol still in your system during midday sun. My bikini bow is forever etched on my back as a result.
That’s about all I can
remember write about that trip but understandably, it very much tainted my view on Greece.
Last year I was in dire need of sunshine. I go on a lot of city breaks but I hadn’t actually had a beach holiday for years and although I love roaming a city, it’s certainly not as relaxing as conking out on a sandy beach with the soft ripples of the sea, gently echoing in the background. My mum was in the same boat but I knew she would never book herself a holiday so I decided to make an attempt to win ‘best daughter of the year’ and take her away. When it comes to researching a holiday, I am the QUEEN. So much so, that I could probably run a very successful travel agency. My requirements were pretty simple: affordable, guaranteed sunshine, something to go and see, pool, cocktails, comfy sun lounger. I succumbed to Greece because it ticked all those boxes for a May getaway and after landing on some excellent deals in Rhodes, trawled through more hotel reviews than I care to mention until I found Atrium Platinum. It was a Greek 5*, which for anyone who has experienced true 5* will probably average out around 3.5-4* in normal terms. Regardless, we ended up having a fantastic week away and the hotel was exactly what we needed. (I am that person that writes TripAdvisor reviews so if you’re thinking of heading to Rhodes, do check it out here).
So when 2016 came around, we decided to do the same thing all over again. Late to the party perhaps but this year I discovered Voyage Privé and Secret Escapes. When January kicked off I actually became slightly obsessed by checking in on them each day so that I could really snap up the best deal possible, which paid off because I ended up finding a bargainous deal at the sister hotel of the one we stayed at before in Rhodes, which was on a quieter side of the island near to Lindos. We didn’t get off to a particularly great start at the Atrium Palace and had to move rooms…twice…but ended up being given a superior suite with 2 bathrooms, twin beds, a living area and 3 balconies, one of which had a sofa on and 2 comfy sun loungers, a Nespresso machine, a whirlpool bathtub…and all for the 2 of us. Boom. Unfortunately we didn’t love the hotel quite as much as we had wanted to (I’m still working on my TA review) and the sun wasn’t as prominent as the previous year BUT it was still a much needed week to switch off and unwind and I even managed to get a slight tan (I’m perpetually pale so it doesn’t really take much). It was also my annual digital detox week whilst there, so I was well and truly able to REALLY relax. We decided we won’t be returning to Rhodes again as we didn’t think it gave a true flavour of Greece and was far too geared towards Russian and German tourists (the island is FILLED with fur shops for example). Lindos, whilst beautiful from afar, and in it’s heyday must’ve oozed Greek culture, is now just a town of shops filled with tourist tat and a ton of lazy bastards who think it’s ok to pay to ride a donkey up a hill in the searing sun when it’s actually just a 20min walk away. That’s just animal cruelty IMO and it made me really cross to see.
Now I’m hunting for a new Greek island. One that is REAL Greece. A lovely couple we met on holiday mentioned Nydri on Lefkada and since coming home, I’ve also been looking up Paros, Naxos, Sifnos (thanks to Amy of Daisy Fay for recommending) and am hoping to get something booked for October for a last blast of sunshine before winter hits us once again. Any recommendations for other places/hotels/restaurants/things to do would be warmly welcomed!
Until then, here are some photos of my trip to spur on some holiday envy. I don’t get to do it often (at least not with beach getaways) so let me have my moment!
Lindos from Lindos Square. This is the view you get as you enter the town.
The most apt named bar for me.
An all white church…
The Atrium Palace hotel grounds – looks a bit like the Caribbean right?
The view from one of our 3 balconies.
The hotel’s beach had a lot happening on it…