Greece – a Dream Destination for Backpackers…
Calling all backpackers… if you’re craving sunshine, white sands, azure seas, party-time fun and oodles of relaxation… all on a budget, Greece may be your dream summer-time destination!
Greece won the Conde Naste #1 Travel Destination at the 2016 Readers’ Travel Awards and it’s easy to see why. Backpackers flock here every year, particularly in the summer months, as it’s easy to keep thing simple and explore the country without breaking the bank.
Fly into Athens and take your pick from one of the many new backpacker hostels that have been popping up around the city over the past few years. Some have rooftop terraces which make perfect ‘sunset spots’.
It’s worth being an early bird for your visit to the Acropolis; beat the heat and the multitude of tourists who’ll arrive in coach loads later. Two hours is usually enough to explore these ancient citadel and then head straight for the nearby Ancient Agora. On day two, head to the Arch of Hadrian and Temple of Olympian Zeus (entry is part of the Acropolis ticket) which won’t take too long to look around but is definitely worth a visit. Stroll through the stunning National Gardens and don’t miss the flea market at Monastiraki for some local bargains. And when you’re feeling hungry, stop by Makrygianni Street for a good choice of Tavernas for dinner.
Of course the most popular pastime in Greece for travellers is island hopping. The ferries will transport you from one idyllic island to the next, from the party hot-spots to the peaceful hideaway. If you’re seeking the latter, Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos will fit the bill with pretty landscapes and quiet coves. If it’s the former you’re craving, Mykonos and Ios (amongst others) will keep your cocktail glasses topped up and hips swaying until the early hours. Ultimately, there’s 6000 islands in total (of which only 227 are inhabited) and so there’s no doubt you’ll find the island fit for your dream holiday!
Sail in Greece
For those of you who fancy the ready made ‘trip of a lifetime’, check out Sail in Greece who offer 8 day ‘Yolo’ cruises on their stunning yachts, as well as their 1 day Athens Booze Cruise. Soak in the rays on the comfy sun-deck, hang out playing games and making new friends in the cool lounging room, then party the night away once the sun’s gone down. There’s plenty of side trips too: “Exclusive parties at pop-star Mykonos, breathtaking sunsets at Santorini, adventurous water sports at Ios and even donkey rides at your service.” Relax and let an experienced tour manager do all the organising so you can completely switch off and enjoy the ride!
If you fancy hanging out in one spot for a while, The Pink Palace is an amazing party hostel on Corfu situated right by the beach and a gorgeous swimming pool on site. You can hire quad bikes, join boat trips, get lively in the on-site nightclub and cure any hangovers with a dip in the sea. Traveling around the island can be done by bus, boat or taxi… unless you fancy splashing out and renting a car between a few of you. Make sure you explore Kassiopi, a quaint ancient town with Greek and Roman ruins as well as a lovely beach. Paleokastritsa is another relaxing seaside town with good beaches and delicious waterfront seafood restaurants. Nearby caves are well worth a visit too.
You can take buses or trains to move around mainland Greece but we highly recommend train travel, particularly the Rack Railway from Diakofto to Kalavrita. This is a rack and pin line with spectacular scenery! Kalavrita is a tiny village nestled on the slopes of Mount Helmos high up in the Peloponnese. The rail network connecting to the seaside town of Diakofto on the Gulf of Corinth is a 14-mile narrow gauge cog track renovated just after the turn of the millennium. The journey takes an hour, running aside the Vouraikos river, following the gorge through tunnels, past waterfalls, along cliffs and through pine forests.
Delphi is probably one of the most visited sites in Greece, with Meteora, with its five-hundred year old monasteries sitting atop giant rock formations, not far behind. Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, boasts quite a hip vibe. It has given Greece some of its greatest musicians, artists, poets and thinkers and also has plenty of beautiful beaches to brag about.
When you’re backpacking around Greece, it’s important to travel light… lugging massive bags onto ferries, trains and buses is never fun. The sunny climes mean you only need a few summer clothes & swimwear, a tube of hand-wash and some string for a make-shift washing line! And if you’re booking with Sail in Greece or The Pink Palace, check on the Backpax ‘Special Deals‘ page for any discounts or fun extras.
Greece is most certainly a dream destination for backpackers and so don’t let it slip off your backpacking map this summer!