Which Greek Holiday is Right for You?

Vacations in Greece can look very different. Four local travelers share how and where they chose to spend theirs.


A CAMPSITE IN DREPANO, SOUTHERN PELOPONNESE

Sofia Kassiou, landscape architect

What do you look for in a vacation?

The feeling of complete freedom, being close to nature, and in good company. Since I was a kid I’ve gone camping – back then with my parents. I can’t imagine any other kind of vacation. Having everything arranged for you doesn’t equal luxury to me. At the campsite your everyday life disappears, there are no schedules, life is easy to plan. Then, of course, there’s the magic of waking up next to the sea; under different circumstances, you would pay a lot for that! Although I don’t think longtime campers choose this type of vacation for budgetary reasons..

How do you prepare for a trip?

Our caravan is always there, on a beach beneath poplar trees. Over the years we’ve gradually equipped ourselves with all of the essentials: a fridge, a cooler for water, a portable gas stove, and more. We use bicycles for transportation, buy the things we need from the mini market, and often cook our dinners over the fire. You get to know the other campers very well; you form bonds. Of course, there can also be issues, as organized campsites don’t have common quiet hours. Solitude can be a bit hard to find. We spend the whole day together.

How often do you travel?

Once every month or every other month, for weekend trips around the country.

What’s something nonessential you always bring with you?

A stack of books. I don’t have the time to read normally, so I make a list of interesting titles throughout the year. My record on vacation is ten books in two weeks.

How much does camping cost?

We don’t spend a lot, because we don’t need to. We do a lot of things in a group, so we don’t feel the need to go out. Our family of four spends around 1000 euros over twenty days. The average expense per day for the whole family is 30 euros, including the cost of electricity and the plot for the car and the tent. Cooking saves money.

What would be your dream trip?

To travel around the world by train or car. I’d like to have a motorhome and visit as many campsites as possible all over Europe.

AN ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT ON RHODES

Konstantinos Megapanos, barber

What do you look for in a vacation?

More quality free time, and relaxing moments with friends and family. I like to go far away, and I don’t mind the long trips, no matter whether it’s by boat or if I’m driving. My wife and I set up a goal of visiting all of Greece’s biggest islands within the next five years.

Why all-inclusive?

When you have three kids between the ages of five and seven, you need everything to be well-organized to have a good time. An all-inclusive run by a hotel chain is low risk; there won’t be any bad surprises due to lack of planning or because the facilities aren’t what you expected. I’m not a fan of mass tourism and standardization, but it’s a safe environment where the kids wear a bracelet that allows them to eat and join any activity they like, all while you relax at the pool with a book and no worries. Out of the six days of our vacation, we will venture out on three for sure, to visit the Old Town, the Valley of the Butterflies, and other places.

How did you plan your trip?

I don’t leave anything to chance. I booked it at the end of March. The earlier you book, the more options you have and the better the prices. I’ve already booked our next trip, which will be to Poland in October.

How much will your trip cost?

We’ve spent a total of 1.500 euro. That includes 5 nights with unlimited food, access to the gyms, pools, and all the other areas of the hotel. I estimate another 1.500 euro for travel costs, meals at tavernas, and everything else. We’re a big family.

How often do you travel?

Before the kids, my wife and I traveled more often, to various places. Now we travel abroad twice a year without the kids, and all together for 15 days in the summer.

Where did you spend your vacations as a child?

We had a house on Leros where we went every year. The boat trip took 15 hours, and we slept in sleeping bags on the floor. That’s how I got used to long trips.

What’s an unpleasant part of Greek summer that you wish you could avoid?

The extremely busy ports and airports. Also, with regards to what I used to say about parents chasing their kids on the beach – I now catch myself doing the same thing…

What’s something nonessential you always bring with you?

A projector. We use it to create our own open-air cinema anywhere we like.

What would be your dream trip?

I made that trip already, in 2008. I went to New York for amazing shows and food, and returned home with a 90 kilo suitcase.

A RENTED ROOM ON KYTHNOS

Dimitra Kamarinou, journalist, guesthouse owner

What do you look for in a vacation?

Local color, new experiences and pleasant surprises, like those that can come from an offhand remark someone makes at the taverna. Agios Dimitrios Zaraka [in the Peloponnese], where I run a guesthouse and where I’ll be spending the entire summer, is a slice of authentic Greece, unpretentious and simple, where you wake up to the smell of sage. Whereas the island of Kythnos, where I’ve rented a room for five days, is near Athens, but still untouched, with interesting inland villages and wonderful nature.

Why rent a room?

I like the flexibility of it. I always rent a room because it gives me the option to spend time alone, or to get to know other people. The less touristy places usually draw people with similar interests. I pick rooms that offer privacy, are surrounded by nature, and which reflect the traditional local color, without being too folksy. I like the beauty of small farming villages, local architecture and gastronomy. I don’t need a balcony over the sea. For me, tasting a tomato from the garden and the oregano gathered by the landlady is more exciting.

How often do you travel?

No matter where I go, I like to stay for a long time – sometimes up to a month. I avoid weekend trips, so I end up traveling only once or twice a year. I’ve had wonderful times in Cuba, in Istanbul, in London, and in New York. I choose lively destinations, and I usually return more than once. I like to get to know the day-to-day life of the places I visit.

What’s one of your memories from a childhood vacation?

The whole family squeezed into the car for many hours, in a great mood, and with our entire home packed into the trunk.

What’s an unpleasant part of the Greek summer that you wish you could avoid?

The anxiety and stress of daily life in the city, which we so often bring with us on vacation.

How much will your trip cost?

About 30-40 euros per day for the room. In total, I’ll spend at most 500 euros during my time on Kythnos. My priorities are quality food, and I particularly want to find some fresh fish.

What would be your dream trip?

I don’t care about the destination. I’d like to go somewhere with friends where we can cook together and spend the evenings playing music and dancing.

A VACATION HOME IN AIGIO, NORTHERN PELOPONNESE

Anna Katraoura, bank worker

What do you look for in a vacation?

What I need most isn’t exciting new things or getting to know new places. I do that too, I’m going to Kefalonia for a week, but my main priority is to unwind, relax, and spend time with my kids. A familiar place relaxes you; you don’t need time to get used to it, so the vacation begins as soon as you get there – that’s why I choose to spend 15 days at my summer house, where I used to come as a child.

How do you spend your day?

Loggos, in Aigio, is a safe place. We arrive by car, but then we move around by bike and everyone is free to do whatever they please. In the mornings we go swimming and spearfishing, surfing or sailing our Laser dinghy. We gather sea urchins and find sea shells that we turn into jewelry. At noon we nap. In the evening the kids play hide and seek in the square or go to the cinema while I sit beneath the plane tree at the traditional cafe. There are also many day trips to take from here: to Nafpaktos, Kalavrita, and Tsivlou Lake, among other places.

Where did you spend your vacations as a kid?

Island hopping. We had a sailboat and used it to move from island to island, fishing and swimming.

How often do you travel?

I make use of my weekends. I go to Loggos or somewhere else in Greece very often, making a small trip once a month at least.

What’s something nonessential that you always pack?

I always think I’ll need more clothes and cosmetics than I actually do. I wish I didn’t feel like I need them. You always end up wearing the same pair of shorts all day!

How do you plan for your trip?

About 15 days prior, I start preparing the equipment: umbrellas, hammocks, snorkeling gear, bicycles, speargun, etc. I load up the car, and we’re off.

How much does it cost?

Over 15 days, our family of three will spend less than 500 euros. Most of it is spent at the supermarket. We cook a lot.

What would be your dream trip?

A sailing trip around Greece.


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