Covid-19 is here to stay and safe travels during this difficult time are very essential. One can minimize the risk by adhering to the travel rules. Vantika Singh shares her travel experience and tips from her recent trip to Greece during Covid times.
Traveling – it leaves you speechless,
then turns you into a storyteller ~ Ibn Battuta
Greece is blessed with lovely weather and stunning landscapes. The proximity to the sea makes the experience even more memorable. We chose Athens as our base, as it is quite central to fly to the many islands on the Aegean Sea – the bluest sea that I have seen so far!
Some useful tips when you are planning your vacation
Always make a travel plan when the pandemic curve flattens, the infection rate is the lowest at this time.
Step 1 – Avoid weekend flights and try traveling during midweek – afternoon / late afternoon flights. The crowd is less during these travel times. Always observe the protocols while on the move.
Step 2 – Avoid big cities and choose an isolated destination – islands are your best bet.
Step 3 – Instead of booking hotels, book an apartment which has no extra traffic and less crowd.
Step 4 – Wherever possible, upgrade your tickets during travel. We did this during our ferry trip from Santorini to Mykonos and it was smooth sailing with only 5-6 passengers seated at different places in the lounge and the price difference between the tickets was between 10-20 euros.
The islands, Santorini and Mykonos
Both the islands, Santorini and Mykonos were the least crowded with no long queues, less noise and you get to shop, eat and enjoy the nature and touristic landmarks in peace. Autumn is the best time to visit the country with pleasant temperatures, though afternoons can be hot.
These white-washed islands are simply magical. They are spotlessly clean, with numerous alleys bursting with bright, colorful doors and windows, bougainvillaeas and a lot of cats.
Santorini is famous for its sunsets, cave houses, a trip to the volcanic islands, red beaches, boat cruises, scuba diving, the orthodox churches with blue domes and much more. On the other hand, Mykonos is full of alleys but it is easy to manoeuvre through the numerous streets riddled with cafes, eateries, shops, bars and clubs. It is mostly a party island but we were lucky to enjoy the eerie calmness which the locals were not used to. Little Venice and the Kato Mili Windmills are just stunning and situated along the vast blue-green Aegean flowing next to it. The old harbor is also worth a visit; here, you can enjoy your breakfast with a great view. If you spot the legendary Petros the Pelican, somewhere next to the harbor or next to the sea then you’ll be the luckiest tourist around!
Athens was hotter than the islands, but still bustling with life and history. The Acropolis seated on top of a mountain shone royally during the sunrise and sunset every day. You can reach this historic site by taxi or take the 30-minute walking route. We walked with our son Advay who, surprisingly, loved the hike as he could see greenery around him and was happy to be away from the city hustle-bustle and noise.
The Monastiraki Flea Market in Athens is a shopper‘s paradise with beautiful and reasonably priced souvenirs. There are some nice cafes and antique shops that you will find in the inner lanes of the market. I spotted Briki and instantly fell in love with the traditional Greek copper coffee pot. The Greeks are proud of their coffee, olive oil, evil eye, leather footwear, handmade jewelry, traditional cotton clothing, natural soaps, pottery, herbs, honey, pistachios and a lot more!
In Greece, there is no concept of space. Even during the current pandemic, they would sometimes pat you on your back while talking or just forget about the 1.5-meter distance. You need to constantly be on guard and take measures. The relaxed atmosphere gave us ample time to mix with the locals. The people are very forthcoming, friendly, helpful and they speak very good English. Also, the local food is simply delicious and to die for!
Hope this article was helpful and hope your next trip through this situation that Covid has brought along will be a safe and a memorable one.
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