John Wilkie in Greece

This month's Passionate Traveller is Rainbow High Vacations and Thomas Cook Rainbow Travel's own John Wilkie. The culture, history, architecture and people are part of what makes John so passionate about Greece.

John Wilkie in Greece

It’s all Greek to me!

Greece is one of my favorite countries. The culture, history, architecture and people are what you think of when Greece comes to mind. With each island there is more to see and experience. And whether you are looking to dive deep into the historical ruins, or lie on a beach and relax, there is an island that will suit your needs.

My trip was a combination of a 4 day island hopping cruise followed by 3 days in Athens. Our ports of call included Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete, Satorini and Kusadahi Turkey.

Each island has it’s own claim to fame within Greek Mythology and offers something for everyone. I won’t go into great detail on each port of call but share some highlights from my experience.

Mykonos is perhaps the most well known within the LGBT community and has long been the destination to visit in Greece. With it’s famous windmills dating back to the 16th century, to the night life it is the island to visit. There are a variety of gay owned and operated hotels to choose from. There are 3 main beaches, Paradise, Super Paradise and Elia. Although the beaches are not right outside your hotel, they are easily accessible via public transit. The gay sections on the beaches are scattered throughout, with a mix of sunbathing naked bodies, bars and restaurants. Most of the streets in Mykonos are not named – just ask the locals if you need to find something as they are always pleased to help. You will not find any mega dance clubs, but will be hard pressed to find a bar that is not gay friendly. There are about 10 gay bars and clubs near the old harbour front. At night if you are in the mood to explore, take a walk around the famous little white church – a popular ‘cruising’ area for gay men.

Picture perfect Satorini is worth a visit. Prepare to be stunned by the breathtaking white buildings emerging from the steep cliffs as you pull into the port.

Once ashore we boarded a bus for a ride that could top any amusement park. As the bus wound its way up the curved road, all you could see was the cliff edge and the steep drop to the sea below. The heart-thumping ride was well worth it once we reached the top. The view of the buildings built into the rock with the bright blue Mediterranean Sea below takes your breath away.

Stop by Thira to shop or take in the views overlooking the cliff from the many cafes, restaurants and bars. To make your way back down the cliff you have a couple of choices, there is a Tram Cable Car that holds 4 or 5 people at a time. Or for the more adventurous, do as the locals and ride a mule!

Rhodes is one of the largest Islands, and has many historical sites to visit and explore. From the old walled city to Acropolis of Lindos. prepare to be amazed.

I took a side trip from Greece to Kusadasi, Turkey. This was an amazing stop along our island tour and can easily be included with most packages. Explore Ephesus, an ancient city and a wonder to be seen. Explore the ruins and see how the people lived – from shops and homes to a library. Even the local brothel stone address is still there. Don’t miss the shopping bazaar near the port where you can purchase hand woven rugs, leather jackets, spices and of course Turkish Delight.

Tourism to Athens has picked up tremendously since the city played host to the 2004 Summer Olympics. Athens is a great base to stay while taking day trips to the many archeological sites nearby. Take the time to see the Acropolis – this is a must for every visitor. In Athens you will find a variety of both Gay and Lesbian bars to go to at night where you can mix and mingle with locals and other tourists and share your trip highlights. A perfect end to daily adventure!

I want to go to Greece



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