How to Do Ios in 3 Days

 

Ah, Ios. I would like to rename this beautiful place Party Island, respectively. Here's a quick snapshot of the post!

Bars I recommend

+ Fun Pub
+ Jagerbar
+ Slammer Bar

Where I crashed

+ Far Out Village 

Activities I recommend

+ Pirate Ship cruise! - Private beach docking + jumping into the Aegean Sea (no pirate costumes required)
+ Exploring the small, quaint, town of Hora (grab a crepe!)
+ Dancing on a table and/or bar (I dare you!)

Now onto the rambling...

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Party Island - Day 1

How I suggest you take on your arrival day is to sit back, relax, and enjoy a few calming hours enjoying the island views and the beach. You'll need all your energy for later when I suggest you get ready for an exciting first night out. The scene here isn't fussy about dress code either, it's island life baby! So go ahead, put your fun pants on.

For my own experience we arrived first at Far Out Village. Enter: Pool, hammocks, private beach, cabanas, outdoor restaurant/bar, and an AWESOME included breakfast (or shall i say smorgasbord). There's definitely a reason they call it "Far Out" as it is quite far out, or downhill, from the center of town (Hora). But the amenities would make me come here again and again.

My first night started off by grabbing a scrumptious meal at FO Village, then celebrating my birthday at Fun Pub. I can still hear the joyous chorus of "Happy Birthday" being sung loudly in the deserted street at midnight. There would be a slew of shots afterward, consumed at Jagerbar. And I tell you what, while in Greece, dancing, and dancing on the tables/bars in particular: Mandatory. Just embrace it. Let your inner vacation freak loose.

Second thing that comes to my mind was having that cough I couldn't shake, a pulled calf muscle still haunting me from Santorini, and getting, oh, roughly 3 or 4 hours of sleep every night.

But, of course, this is all irrelevant.

Pirate Ship Day! - Day 2

On your second day, I suggest you take to the seas. In a pirate ship. Because regular ships are just so last year.

I wish I could find a business website or name for this company, but this baby is pretty hard to miss, it literally sits at the dock where you arrive from the ferry and takes you out sailing for the day to a private beach. Bring your swimmers because it will also make a stop along the way so you can "jump ship" and take a swim about in that beautiful blue aegean sea. Very relaxing while at the same time hosting a bit of a unique adventure for you. 

Exploring Hora - Day 3

Spend your last day exploring Hora, especially the church at the top of the hill (Panagia Gremiotissa - can't miss it). It's a pretty small town, you can see most of it in less than 2 hours getting lost on your typical winding, cobbly streets! And remember you can't ever really get lost, down is always way back! Don't forget to stop for some crepes, savory or sweet, whatever your desire. We sure did!

 Panagia Gremiotissa - The church of Virgin Mary Gremiotissa is the trademark of the island. 

Panagia Gremiotissa - The church of Virgin Mary Gremiotissa is the trademark of the island. 

After buying some souvies and having our fill of crepes, we wandered back to Far Out village to relax at the beach and play with our underwater cameras. However, if you still have a bit of energy brewing around, I suggest you do what we did and take to the jet skis or tubing.

Laying on our suntanned bellies gripping the ropes of an inner tube for dear life, the six of us girls were pulled around by jet ski in the small bay area against the beach. At the end, the girls all got t-shirts, and I got a dastardly eye infection. Which apparently happens when your eyes take on copious amounts of salt water with an immune system that's already jacked from the cold from H-E-L-L. But enough about me...

If you aren't quite ready to hit the sheets after dinner and want to make a really unique memory in Ios I suggest you visit a little bar called Slammer Bar - I regrettably missed this (cue: eye infection) - but my friends would recommend you try the infamous Slammer with the Hammer. Read: Put on a helmet, kick back a strong drink and get hit over the head with a hammer, or any other suitable object (a chair, for instance). This is the stuff of legends people, you'll instantly have an epic story to share with all your friends when you get back home! 

My Top 12 Things to Do in Santorini Greece

 

My top 12 Things to Do in Santorini

(because I couldn't narrow it down to 10)

  1. Ride a Mule up the stairs (Take the cable car down, trusssst me)
  2. Dine at a restaurant at sunset on the romantic cliff face in Thira. I fervently recommend Rastoni (greek/italian style restaurant).
  3. Tour the Volcanoes (I didn't get to, but you should!)
  4. Walk the winding, hilly streets of Thira and purposefully let yourself get lost
  5. Wander into a bakery and try 5-7 things that look unfamiliar
  6. Get some Frozen Greek Yogurt! (tart/original with strawberries and choco chips is my fav)
  7. Eat a Gyro (Souvlaki) with Tziki Every. Day. (don't skip the chips!) I HIGHLY recommend you search out and find Lucky's Souvlaki!
  8. For the alchy's of the group: Toast a shot to me at Tropical bar for my excellent recommendations :)
  9. Check out a Wine Tasting at Santo Wines and pick up a bottle for later
  10. Spend the day at the Black Sand Beach (or Red - but watch for rock slide warnings) - Or see the ancient city of Atroki they uncovered (archeological dig) if the beach isn't your thing and you're more into history
  11. Visit Oia! (Truly Breathtaking - Catching a sunset here is a must!) You can also visit the Atlantis bookshop while you're here (if you're a book nerd like me - really neat little store)
  12. Aquire a minimum of 3 bags of SANTO NUTS (personal favorite is the caramel with sesame seeds)
    - First bag you'll tear through immediately
    - Second bag you'll munch on later
    - Third bag you'll want to bring home to share with friends how amazing they are! 
 Behold, the great and formidable Santo Nuts.

Behold, the great and formidable Santo Nuts.

 My favorite part of any day, Lucky's Souvlaki!

My favorite part of any day, Lucky's Souvlaki!

Fira

Ahh Fira (Thira to the non-Greeks). What fond memories I carry for this city. Our first night we were treated to a dinner at a restaurant right on the cliff face. We stayed a little closer to the city than the beach at this stop. Particularly at a hotel (The Hotel New Haroula) that resided at the bottom of a very very very steep hillside. (Pulled a calf muscle not walking properly - or too much! - up this incline). This place really was lovely though. The way up to town was a direct shot over uneven cobbles (no stairs - so steady yourself).

Heels NOT recommended in the capital of Santorini, ladies! (I saw many struggling and one take a tumble) 

Even if the way up was the hardest part, the city was just a windy up, down, around all sort of maze. I loved the maze though. I remember Stacey, Mariah, and Mike and I just wandered the streets without direction on purpose - just to get a little lost and find our way back (it's not that hard to - up was the cliff face and ocean, down was pretty much the way home).  

Fira also had a great nightlife with little pubs scattered about. We particularly enjoyed Tropical - right up on the cliffside - I believe and Aussie owns it. It's small but great drinks and GREAT music. I also enjoyed Murphey's, which was a little closer to the hotel in town, with an upstairs and downstairs area. I recommend going downstairs, there was a pool table and darts and it was way less crowded than upstairs. 

Ride a Mule (technically not a Donkey)

The best experience by far had to be the epic mule ride up the famous hillside in Santorini. Our tour manager  recommended only riding the mules up as riding them down was quite the terrifying venture  - the mules basically hurdle down the winding stairs at top-mule speed. So of course, up was the much slower, enjoyable pace. You'll also want to avoid walking down the stairs as the mule traffic is quite abundant, you'll probably just be up against the wall hoping they don't run into you the entire time. They have no fear of humans. If you are walking down the stairs and you are in their path, they will walk right up to you and stop nose to nose until you move out of their way.

So yes, word of caution if you aren't taking the cable car down - stay out of the mule's way (especially in shady paths - it's their favorite) and watch your step for left behind bowel contents.

Lastly, if you're take a selfie with one - watch where you put your feet. While standing next to a mule,  my friend Mariah's foot was stepped on (not on purpose) and her foot was swollen and black and blue for days! Regardless, this experience was worth every penny and actually was really inexpensive to do. Only 5 euros.

Oia

Oia was another favorite activity of mine. We all were able to find a really nice spot with some wine and snacks and watch the sunset over the water. My regret is not getting to spend more time in Oia exploring the tight, winding streets and discovering different shops and trades. We stumbled into a crystal shop that was really fun and unique experience and also the Atlantis bookshop is fun to see with your own eyes and maybe grab a souvie for the book nerd at home (or yourself!) Don't forget to stock up on Santo Nuts while you're here.

 Beautiful OIa.

Beautiful OIa.

Why I love Mykonos, Greece

 

Some nights I still lay awake in bed dreaming of Mykonos. I'll try to take you there. Imagine: An abandoned beach at midnight. A full moon so bright it resembles the sun. No other sound than that of the waves tumbling and the gentle breeze that rustles the palm leaves. You breathe in clean, ocean air and sigh as you dig your toes a little further into sand that's still a little warm from the day. Then you look up to see a sky sprinkled with more stars than you've ever seen your entire life. And brighter than you ever knew stars could be. 

There was some sort of stillness in that moment -  and a feeling of peace.

This was one of those times in my otherwise busy and chaotic travel days where I found myself. Where I pictured myself as a little spot on the earth, so small and maybe insignificant and yet so free. I felt really empowered. I was in the driver's seat, I was in control, I was the cause of where I was standing. It's hard to explain otherwise why this moment is so impacted in my memory; why still to this day it is like chicken and waffles to my hungry soul. I'll never forget that feeling standing there.

Windy Mykonos

Mykonos was by far the greatest island I went to -- close second was Santorini. The white washed buildings and streets, the food, the nightlife, the scenery, it was just to die for. Be warned though - it gets hella windy at night! Bring a jacket! We danced and partied our butts off every night and every day were in awe of the beauty that surrounded us -- the clear blue water, soft sand beaches, quaint downtown city, rich cuisine and the lively energy of the locals. 

  I was in love with Mykonos's white washed tiny streets and colorful doors.

I was in love with Mykonos's white washed tiny streets and colorful doors.

Aphrodite's ta-tas

We stayed at the Aphrodite Hotel a little outside of the main town (only a short bus ride away) that sat directly on its own private beach in front of two rocky hillsides (which are hike-able and which we later did hike) that are affectionately known as "Aphrodite's Boobs." The story in Mykonos is that if you hike up one of Aphrodite's ta-tas and place a rock atop one or the other said ta-ta, you will have good luck in love. Welp, I hiked up both and put a rock on both, just, ya know, in case one boob was luckier than the other. 

I think it may have worked, honestly, as a month after I came home, I met my current boyfriend of 9 months now who I'm also co-habitating with in Tampa. (Thank you, Aphrodite!)

They also had an amazing beach bar restaurant just a two minute walk down the road  called Thalassa. And there is where I partook in THEE BEST Mousaka I've had to date! 

 I give you THEE BEST Mousaka --  A baked casserole of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and minced lamb or beef under a lush layer of béchamel sauce.

I give you THEE BEST Mousaka -- A baked casserole of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and minced lamb or beef under a lush layer of béchamel sauce.

 Aphrodite's ta-ta's from afar. 

Aphrodite's ta-ta's from afar. 

 The ta-ta trip was quite windy!

The ta-ta trip was quite windy!

 The ceremonial placing of rocks atop one of her breasts. 

The ceremonial placing of rocks atop one of her breasts. 

Did Someone Say...Party?

When in Greece, one must toga, right? And toga we did. This was just a small gathering at the hotel pool and bar area the first night we arrived - but what a blast. Definitely the first time everyone let their guard down and we all really bonded. We simply used bedsheets and safety pins! Check with your hotel to see if they have any extra sheets you could use for your own toga fun. 

Also, as I mentioned this trip was filled with a lot of local pub hopping and one wild, famous beach party at Paradise beach. The special drink there is a green cocktail called "Devil's Tongue" which (I neither will confirm or deny) knocks you into tomorrow. I won't say much on my exploits here so as to retain some dignity, but I think it says a lot to mention the DJ of the party was an ex-Italian porn star named "Elephant-Man" and his speedo was, accurately, in the shape of an elephant. I'll leave it to your imagination exactly how and where this "elephant" was portrayed. 

I couldn't make any of this up if I tried.

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