Ignore The Sun and The Mirror, if you want welcoming warm locals, stunning scenery, jaw dropping local produce and bang for your buck, visit The Greek Islands.
The room to discover
There’s no reason not to travel to major Greek cities like Athens, they’re still bustling cultural hubs. But The Greek Islands are relatively unaffected by the economic crisis. They’re just as beautiful as ever and have the bonus of being a touch quieter than usual. You could take the opportunity to sample delicacies in the sweet little tavernas of Fiskardo or explore the bay only home to goats and one monk in the Sporades.
These little villages are as authentically grecian as you can get. You’ll watch your dinner being caught and filleted minutes before t’s on your plate and the mix of fresh seafood, home made bread and local olive oil is enough to make you dribble at the table. By travelling a little out of the way, you’ll get to see the real Greece while helping the country get back on its feet.
The people are even happier to see you
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Greece is now a country made of frustrated citizens. You couldn’t be more wrong around these parts. Greek people have long been known for their friendliness and warmth and the difficulties they’ve had in the past few years has only exaggerate that quality. They know that people are more wary of visiting so those that do are met with arms opened even wider than before. There are over 6000 Greek Islands, and 227 are inhabited. Every single one of these relies on tourism for a considerable chunk of their income, so wherever you go you’ll be greeted with a smile and given the best of what they have to offer.
And no, all 6000 Greek Islands are not ‘swarming’ with refugees as the The Sun likes to intimate.
A chance to do something life changing
If the idea of lying on a beach in Kefalonia while other struggle seems hard to fathom, you can really help. Plan a trip away, and set aside a couple of days at the end to help one of the affected islands run their sheltering efforts. It only takes a ferry trip and could be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. The programmes are ran by mostly non profit-charities so a huge portion of their help comes from volunteers. Nothing will make you appreciate a country more than seeing it as it it’s very best and during it’s biggest struggle.
Help out in Idomeni or an another affected area. A quick google will tell you how to get stuck in. I’m seriously thinking about making the trip if I get time off from work.