I want to travel to Greece next year to someplace a bit more out of the way. The last time I was in Greece, I was in peak season and hit all the popular places, and I found it to be stressful at times. For example,I couldn't find a place to stand for the Oia sunset. It was PACKED. Thought I'd try some out of the way places this time. My research has pulled up the following so far - feel free to chime in with any advice or anything to add!
Anafi is a tiny island located in the Cyclades, just a short ferry ride from Santorini. Despite its proximity to the popular tourist hotspot, Anafi is a quiet and peaceful island that is largely untouched by tourism. With stunning beaches, rugged cliffs, and an unspoiled countryside, Anafi is a paradise for hikers, nature lovers, and beach aficionados. The island’s main settlement, Chora, is a charming village with whitewashed houses and narrow streets that offers a glimpse into traditional Greek island life.
Folegandros is another island in the Cyclades that is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors. This small island boasts crystal-clear waters, picturesque villages, and breathtaking views of the Aegean. With no airport and limited ferry connections, Folegandros retains a calm and authentic atmosphere that makes it popular amongst travelers looking to escape the crowds. Take a walk through the quaint alleys of the main village of Chora, have a dip in the secluded beach of Agios Nikolaos, or hike the trails of the island's untouched countryside.
Located in the Sporades group of islands, Alonissos is a hidden gem that has largely been overlooked by mainstream tourism. This charming island boasts a natural beauty that is truly breathtaking, thanks to its unspoiled natural landscapes that are protected as a marine park. Crystal-clear waters, quiet coves, and stunning beaches make it a paradise for beach seekers, while its rugged countryside is perfect for hikers. Along with its picturesque villages and friendly locals, Alonissos offers visitors a peaceful respite from the hectic pace of modern life.
Located in the eastern Cyclades, Amorgos is a rugged, unspoiled island that is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in Greece. From the awe-inspiring Chora, perched on the edge of a cliff, to the dramatic coastline and the beautiful beaches like Mouros and Agia Anna, Amorgos has a lot to offer for those willing to venture off the beaten path. The island is also renowned for the impressive Byzantine monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, which clings to the side of a cliff and offers panoramic views of the surrounding sea.
Sikinos is a tiny island located in the eastern Cyclades that is often overlooked by tourists. The island boasts a unique landscape that combines rugged coastline, rolling hills, and lush valleys. With few cars and no noisy crowds, Sikinos is a peaceful haven for travelers looking to slow down and connect with nature. Spend some time wandering the narrow streets of the picturesque village of Chora, relax on the unspoiled beaches like Aghios Georgios and Dialiskari, or embark on a hike to explore the island's wildlife and flora.
I am interested in visiting some religious sites in Greece. I've written in different threads that I have been interested in Meteora.
I will be staying in Athens for most of the time but I am cool with doing day trips or overnights in other places. I am getting an Air BnB for a few weeks so there is some flexibility there.
Doing preliminary research, this is what I have come up with:
Daphni Monastery - The Dafni Monastery is one of the most important Byzantine monasteries in Greece and is not far outside of Athens.. The monastery's main attraction is the stunning Byzantine mosaics that adorn its walls and ceilings.
Monastery of Kaisariani - this monastery is also pretty close to Athens on the slopes of Mount Hymettus. I hear a must-see is its beautiful courtyard and garden, which is filled with fragrant flowers and lush greenery. Visitors can also admire the impressive architecture and explore the surrounding landscape.
Monastery of Penteli - this monastery is located on a hill overlooking the city. It was founded in the 16th century and was once a center of learning and culture. Today, the monastery is a popular destination for visitors who are interested in its architecture and the impressive views from its rooftop terrace.
Agistri is an easy ferry ride from Athens (Piraeus) and it is possible to spend the day. I hear the beaches alone are fantastic! I don't like to plan a lot when I visit Greece, but I want to make sure I set aside time for a beach day here. Which beaches are the best? A few options I've found:
Aponissos Beach - Located on the southern part of the island, it is only reached by boat, which makes it feel pretty secluded. A great, quiet spot, but there are sun loungers and umbrellas available for rent. There is also a great taverna here.
Chalkiada Beach - This beach on the eastern side of the island is known for its unique white pebbles. The turquoise waters and unspoiled natural surroundings make it a favorite among nature lovers. There are no facilities on this beach. Chalkiada is also a great spot for watching the sunset.
Skala Beach - The largest and most popular beach on the island, Skala boasts a wide stretch of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. There are plenty of opportunities for water sports and other activities, such as beach volleyball. Skala Beach has a variety of bars and restaurants nearby, where you can enjoy a cool drink or a meal while admiring the breathtaking views.
Dragonera Beach - This secluded pebble beach on the southwestern part of the island is a hidden gem, accessible only by foot or by boat. The surrounding cliffs provide a stunning backdrop, and the clear waters are perfect for swimming. There are no facilities here either.
Megalochori Beach - Situated on the northern side of the island, Megalochori beach is quieter and less crowded than some of the other beaches on Agistri. The pebble beach is surrounded by a dense pine forest. You can rent sun loungers and umbrellas, and there are a few beach bars serving snacks and drinks.
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