During the summer of 2019, Danielle took us around the globe while she visits her family in Greece and immerses herself in the European summer we’re all craving. Read her story below:
Hey guys, I’m Dani
Little background info of me, I’m an Aussie with Greek background (both parents are Greek) who grew up traveling with family on school holidays camping everywhere in AUS including staying on friend’s farms, traveling to Europe, bits, and pieces of America and, working away in awesome locations. I’d say traveling has been a big influence in my life choices.
While I’ve been to Europe a handful of times, each time I return, I create new memories and long-time friends. I’m all about beautiful and engaging locations all around the world- it’s what inspires and motivates me to travel. If you’re fascinated with crystal blue waters, hidden gems and, secret spots, keep reading!
2019 was my third time heading to Europe and this time I really wanted to rough it out and find hidden gems that are unique and not your usual Instagram finds. At the start of my 5-month holiday, I went on a road trip for about 9 days through mainland Greece while island hopping with my mates and a few locations my family in Greece recommended. My parent’s family live in small villages that your average tourist would not think about passing by, let alone knowing the name of it.
Now that I’ve gotten your attention, let’s dive into the details of my road trip:
DAY ONE: NAFPLIO
Leaving Athens to get to our first location, Nafplio, a beautiful small town that is approximately a 3-hour drive from Athens.
- Nafplio is known for its large castle on two separate hills with a gorgeous little town.
DAY TWO: ELIKA
An early start for a 3-hour drive to my dad’s village, Elika. It is a very, very small village with THE BEST bakery in Greece and I’m happy to say my family has owned it for over 30years!
DAY THREE: ELAFONISOS
If you’re a lover of the island waters, then you’ll need to stop by an Island called Elafonisos. If you find yourself in Elika, it’s only a 25-minute drive from there. Regrets? None whatsoever.
DAY FOUR: POLYLIMNIO
Once we said our goodbyes to my family (while also grabbing a piece of bread from the bakery for the road), we start our journey to Kalamata. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Elika where you’ll experience the juiciest and flavourful olives in Greece.
Hidden gem alert: efcharistó to my cousin for this tip! We visited waterfalls situated in Polylimnio. They aren’t very well known and I have not come across Polylimnio on any socials, so prepare to be engrossed by the beauty if this location.
DAY FIVE: ZAKYNTHOS
No this isn’t a set off Hollywood, but instead an exposed beach harbor with a shipwreck situated in the middle of the sand on the coast of Zakynthos. It’s a 45-minute drive to the viewpoint from the port. I highly recommend going between 12 and 1 pm as the harbor tends to get a shadow downcast after this time.
DAY SIX: NAVAGIO BEACH
After seeing how beautiful the shipwreck beach was from the viewpoint, we had to find a way to get down there. We managed to get on a boat tour that took us directly to Navagio Beach (or Shipwreck Beach) and spent half the day sun baking.
DAY SEVEN: KEFALONIA
If you plan on visiting this beautiful country, you’ll need to add Kefalonia to the list of islands on your itinerary. Though we were short for time, we made sure to sneak in a couple of morning dips on Myrtos Beach.
DAY EIGHT: GASTOUNI
While exploring Gastouni my mum's village we made sure to stop at my grandfather's home along the way.
My cousin is a major history buff who dedicated her working life to delve into the beautifully mysterious ancient history of Greece. Through her work, we were able to visit the first Olympic theatre situated 30 minutes from Gastouni. I highly recommend adding this to your bucket list as the site is completely untouched from what was originally found there.
Don’t forget to stop by the enormous museum with beautiful sculptures and paintings still intact and, ancient trinkets and tools that were used during that time period.
Well, that’s the end of my adventure, I hope you had fun reading this as much as I had fun reminiscing the memories! I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time and I’m glad I was given the opportunity to share this with you guys through Grëtel. To spare you the novel, I only included the spots truly worth visiting (if you don’t have 5 months to spare) but there were a lot more islands and unknown locations in Greece and through my travel around Europe.
I’ll hopefully be starting my own blog for the public to view at some point with every detail a traveler may need or anyone that wants to vicariously live through my adventures. I’ll be sharing tips on itinerary, accommodation, road maps, budgeting, unusual or unknown spots and transportation on how to get to there!
Thank you for viewing the brief story of my travels around Greece, will hope to share more stories with the Grëtel community.