While many African holiday packages
provide travellers with a cultural shock, a visit to Greece will provide a cultural adventure. Greece has 166 inhabited islands with only 78 of these being home to more than 100 residents. While the popular islands such as Crete, Lesbos and Santorini are firm favourites, there are three lesser known islands that are filled with traditional charm and serve as quiet sanctuaries for both tourists and their handful of residents; Spetses, MonemvasÍa and KÍthira.
Spetses is a small island just 18 miles off the coast of Peloponnesse and its harbour is used by the wealthy to dock their elaborate yachts. The architecture of the city is traditional but the vibe of the area is heavily influenced by a young summer tourist air.
Art stores and restaurants line the streets where culturally rich dishes can be enjoyed accompanied by breathtaking views. Explore the many hills that are covered with pine forests or take a boat out to the many coves and find your own secret hideaway to soak up the Greek sun. You’ll have to walk through the town though as there aren’t many cars available and only a total of 4 taxis on the entire island.
The island of MonemvasÍa is even smaller and is so named because of its English translation which means “single entrance” – fitting due to the only entrance and exit to the island being through a stone archway. The archway leads onto cobbled stoned streets that form a maze down the hill towards the ocean down below.
The streets of MonemvasÍa are filled with untouched stone cottages and buildings that reflect the tradition that this island is steeped in, earning it the name of “the island that time forgot.” The island has hardly any permanent residents as well as no internet capabilities – a reminder of the age-old tradition of this island which used to be used as a trading point famous for its wine, unfortunately it no longer produces this commodity.
KÍthira boasts a postcard worthy curtain of white washed houses broken only by bright purple bougainvillea. The surrounds of the town itself are verdant and evergreen much like other Ionian Islands. Even though the town is inundated with tourists in the summer months, there is still bound to be a spot available on the beach or a hidden pool covered by trees in which to while away the day.
No matter which island you choose to traverse, a visit to Greece will be filled with as many exciting things to do as there are animals on African Safari tours.