12 Nov 2014

Greece #1 - West Cyclades : Kea, Kithnos, Sifnos

I won't tell you that the Greek islands are beautiful. 
I won't tell you that Greek food is delicious.
I won't tell you that the sea in Greece is as blue as it can be.
Like me, you probably know that already, even if you've never visited Greece. 

When The Man and I decided to spend 2 weeks in Greece for our holidays in September, our main question was more: how are we supposed to choose between 6,000 islands?
I won't lie to you, there was a fair amount of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" and a bit of reading websites and travel blogs on the matter.

In the end, we settled on looking for islands that would be: 
- close to Athens, to minimise travel time
- nice spots to ramble and snorkle
- not too touristy
and that's how we ended up in the West Cyclades; in Kea, Kythnos and Sifnos, which perfectly fit the brief.

A few highlights: 
- These islands are mainly visited by Athenians during summer and over the weekends. In September, everything was still open and we pretty much had the islands to ourselves - which is rare in Greece.
- A great way to drive around the islands is by quad bike: it's cheap, handy (the roads often turn into tracks), and safe if the roads are quiet (which they were). It only takes about 2 to 3 hours to drive from one end to the other for each of these islands, so everything is accessible. Plus, driving a quad bike is so much fun! I now consider myself a professional racer ;-)
- There seems to be more churches than inhabitants in Greece, so you'll get your share of those beautiful white churches with their blue tops.
- Greek people are lovely, and as always, as soon as you make the effort to at least greet them in their own language, they welcome you everywhere with a broad smile.
- Greek food, even in the simple tavernas, is usually delicious. But Greek food deserves more than a few lines, so I'll come back to that in a specific post.
For the rest, I'll let the photos speak for themselves. If you want to visit these islands and have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch!

As always, I took Chocolat the Travelling Bear with us and he modeled for the photos :-)


Kea

Kea

Korrissia (Kea)

On the ferries between islands, you can even sometimes see dolphins!

There are cats absolutely everywhere on the islands


Kythnos, Loutra

Kythnos

Kythnos



Sifnos, Appolonia

Sifnos

If you don't know me, that's what I look like ;-)


Sifnos is well know for its hand-made pottery

Sifnos


Sifnos

The famous Greek salad

Sifnos

The Parthenon, Athens

Places to stay:
We stayed in the three places below and loved them all.
Kea: Koralli Studio. The owner is really nice and helpful, the studio offers self-catering equipment and is perfectly located in Korissia, 5 min walk from the centre of the main village of the island, which is also the port where most ferries from and to Athens commute.
Kithnos: Kontseta. Once again perfectly located just above the little harbour, which is the main village. The owners are lovely and helpful. The self-catering studio's equipment is minimal but we actually didn't cook. It is very pretty and comfy, with a private terrace overlooking the harbour which offers incredible sunsets every night.
Sifnos: Xerolithia. A lovely hotel just a few minutes walk from the harbour's village centre, with a beautiful swimming pool. The couple who owns it are lovely, and the lady bakes her own cakes for the breakfast buffet!

How to get there: 
From London, it's easy: take a low cost flight to Athens (ie Ryanair). From there, a 1h30min direct ferry ride takes you to Kea. From there, another ferry goes directly to Kythnos in about 1 hour, connected to Sifnos by another 1h ferry ride. From Sifnos, you can go back to Athens directly with an express ferry in less than 3 hours.

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