All Greek islands are very different it almost feels as if you are visiting a different country with each visit. Island hopping as a vacation began as a way to experience the real Greek Islands with freedom, and as a local, well almost.
Some islands, such as the Ionian Islands are much greener and have a little more rain. Samos in the Saronic Islands has a much drier and hotter climate.
The one consistency is the warm welcome that Greek people give to visitors as they are all equally welcoming.
Island hopping in and around the Greek Islands can be an entertaining, enjoyable, fun and rewarding way to explore and have a great holiday. It is suitable for all ages but would need to be adapted for the less able-bodied traveller. The cost can be reasonable and the possibilities are endless.
Here is some advice on Island hopping in Greece, for the novice.
There are so many islands to choose from. Some are near to mainland Greece so to visit these islands you could base yourself on the mainland and hop to and fro. The Greek Islands are in groups such as the Dodecanese, Aegean, Ionian and the Saronic. You could hop around the islands in a particular group or travel further distances. The choice is yours.
To organise an island hopping holiday you have a few choices.
For me, however, the best way is DIY, 'Do It Yourself'.
Most islands have regular ferry services which local people use to get to work or go shopping on the bigger islands, for example. If you travel on these ferries you have the freedom to pick where and when you will travel, and go native.
Research your islands well.
Some Greek Islands are great if you want a peaceful laid back atmosphere with gentle country walks. Others have wild night-life for the young and young at heart. So consider what you want to get out of your holiday before choosing the islands. Check out the Internet when considering your holiday. This will enable you to finalise ferry timings and prices, and cost your holiday out fully or just roughly.
You can probably book through a travel agent.
Some visitors will want to know that they have accommodation waiting for them whilst others will be happy to find something when they arrive. Remember though that at certain times of the year the islands will be busy and accommodation, which is good and good value, may be hard to find.
Don't pack as you would normally. If you are going to be constantly travelling you need to travel as light as possible.
An example of an organised hop
The Yorkshire Dales is an area of outstanding natural beauty in England. Certainly it may have changed in more recent years but on the whole it is still fairly unspoilt. In fact it is the perfect destination for those wanting to explore the English countryside and its pretty villages.
For walkers there are miles of countryside to explore. Dotted around the area are farms, English pubs, cafes, Tea Rooms, restaurants, towns and more.
As children we would visit distant relatives of my Mum who lived in a small village a few miles outside of Skipton. Skipton is a busy market town and used to hold the bus station with all the linked services around The Dales.
We would take a train to Leeds where we would change trains hopping aboard the Trans-Pennine express which would take us on to Skipton. From here we would take a bus to the small village of Hetton.
Skipton is often called the Gateway to the Dales as it is on the Dales boundary. The bus stopped at the road, at the edge of the village of Hetton meaning that a steep walk was needed to get to our destination. The small village had a few houses, a farm, a pub that doubled as a shop selling almost everything and some beautiful countryside.
Even back then the village was becoming a little more built up as retired mill owners from Bradford began building beautiful homes in the village.
A fish and chip van would visit the village a couple of times a week and, barring the pub, there was no place to eat out. Of course, I am talking about more than 50 years ago and so this will have changed no doubt. However, the area was green, peaceful, pretty and a great place to base yourself for touring The Dales.
The house where we stayed had fields at both the back and the front of the house. At the back these steadily climbed upwards. There were sheep and cows in the field in the day-time and as Townies we loved to play in these fields. The fields at the front sloped down to a valley. In the distance though was Cracoe Fell rising high above the area. We could just see the cross at its summit.
Fairy Walk, as my distant cousin called it, was a pretty little round trip walking through the village. There was a little bridge over the brook and some beautiful countryside.
The Yorkshire Dales has been a designated a National Park for more than 50 years. In 2009 there were 60th celebrations as National Parks had been established since 1949.
The Dales is a perfect destination for walkers, cyclists, horse-riders, caravaners, campers and those who simply want to enjoy rural England. As primarily farming country the Yorkshire Dales epitomises a rural England almost of the past.
For bird watchers and photographers the area is also perfect.
You will discover pretty villages, museums, towns, cities, history and much more. There is the Dales countryside museum which is in the old railway station at Hawes which is in Wensleydale. Wensleydale also produces its own cheese of the same name that is Wensleydale. This of course has been immortalised by the animation Wallace and Gromit.
Touring the countryside you may meet traditional Yorkshire folk some of whom may still speak with a broad Yorkshire accent.
Towns such as Harrogate, Grassington, Settle, Malham and Kettlewell all nestle in the Yorkshire Dales. These are just a few of the places to see though. The choice is vast.
No matter which season you choose to visit the Yorkshire Dales there will be plenty to entertain visitors.
A tiny string of rocky islands called the Tremiti archipelago and situated in the Adriatic Sea is now a place tourists love to visit but it has a secretive past.
In 2013 the B.B.C. reported
“Seventy-five years ago in Fascist Italy, a group of gay men were labelled "degenerate", expelled from their homes and interned on an island. They were held under a prison regime - but some found life in the country's first openly gay community a liberating experience.”
Benito Mussolini was fascist leader of Italy in the 1930's.
As a supporter of fascism few exceptions from what was classed as "the norm" were tolerated by Mussolini the leader of Italy. His hit list included Jews, people who were physically or mentally disabled and homosexuals.
They were unwanted and the scourge of the country. and one way or another Mussolini was determined to rid Italy of such people.
He decided to purge the country of undesirables as Hitler was doing in Germany, ensuring a pure and manly race of men.
"Fascism is a virile regime. So the Italians are strong, masculine, and it's impossible that homosexuality can exist in a Fascist regime," says professor of history at the University of Bergamo, Lorenzo Benadusi speaking of Italy at this time in history.
As the mood in the country soured one police prefect in the Sicilian city of Catania used it to full advantage.
In 1938 around 45 men in the area were identified as homosexual, rounded up and exiled many miles from home. They were forcibly shipped to the island of San Domino, in the Tremiti archipelago.
Although some men allegedly found the experience of living openly as an identified homosexual liberating these exiles were kept as prisoners and had to obey a curfew.
Italy has continually tried to bury details of the men and their island exile and existence leaving people to only guess what it involved. Some local people however still have memories of the men arriving and living as prisoners in their island community.
For decades tourists have flocked to the area and tiny islands for some tranquil time in the sun during the summer months, totally unaware of the island’s dark past.
More recently however a group of visitors including gay men, lesbian women and transgender rights activists, came to the Tremiti archipelago. For them the purpose of their visit was not a quiet vacation in the sun but a more meaningful visit.
They came to this remote place to remember and reflect and a small ceremony was held to mark what is viewed as a shameful episode in the islands' history, one which unfolded in the islands more than 70 years ago.
Cornwall is the county that covers the south-west corner of England. It narrows as it moves west finishing with Land's End at its tip. Cornwall borders Devon but otherwise just has a coastal border.
The coast of Cornwall has some beautiful beaches, spectacular cliffs and wonderful rugged scenery. Most of the areas and towns worth a visit, or an actual stay, are on the coast. Despite the often harsh winds Cornwall has one of the mildest climates in the UK and the plants and gardens are lush, plentiful and the grass very, very green.
I first visited Cornwall for a one week holiday with three school friends, all at the ripe old age of 16, way back in 1968. The holiday was our first without adult supervision and we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast where the owner was known to my family.
We stayed in Helston which was a relatively small village a short distance from the coast.
The nearest coastal village was called Porthleven and we visited Porthleven on more than one occasion. It had a small harbour and was unspoilt but I imagine it has changed these days. There was no transport link to Porthleven and we had to walk up and then down a hill in order to access. However it is a place that still holds fond memories.
Most of the places we visited back in the sixties will have changed considerably these days but when I visited in 2006 with my husband there were some constants.
We stayed near St Ives on the opposite coast of Cornwall at a place called Carbis Bay. This tiny pretty area has a golden sandy beach that resembles the type that you find abroad in countries such as Spain. St Ives was a short walk, train or bus journey away. I preferred the lovely walk through the countryside along the coast to St Ives.
St Ives is a bustling resort with many Art Galleries including a local Tate Gallery, quite a few beaches, shops, scenery and good local restaurants. We visited in late August and St Ives was busy no matter what day we visited from our base at Carbis Bay but it was still pleasant and not too overcrowded.
Carbis Bay would be a good place to base yourself if you want to tour around Cornwall.
Our visit was an organised five-day coach trip which included the hotel accommodation. However there are many camp sites and bed and breakfast establishments in Cornwall. Cornwall is not the cheapest place to visit though, especially St Ives.
St Ives also has plenty of surfing and water sport enthusiasts who holiday there regularly to enjoy water based activities.
We visited Land's End but for us it was nothing too special. Sure the scenery is rugged and the air fresh and bracing but it is very commercialised. Better to visit Lizard Point, which is the most southerly point of England, as the scenery is much better.
Marazion is also worth a visit if only to look across the water to St Michael's Mount. At low tide it is possible to walk across an old roman road to the mount but be careful as the tide soon changes. At 16-years-old we started to walk across only to find that the tide almost overtook us and we came out looking like damp squibs.
I was pleased to note in 2006 that Marazion and St Michael's Mount were much as I remembered them.
You can take a small boat trip across to the mount which is not too pricey a ride. Also the village here has some nice local shops and good views.
Nearby Penzance is more a coastal town where you can shop and visit the gardens as along its coast it is more a working town.
Overall what you will find with Cornwall is:-
Cornwall is a great place to visit, it has so many attractions, things to do and great places to visit that having written about it, I cannot wait to visit again.
We travelled to the south of Cyprus, quite a few years ago now, for a two-week vacation. The north at that time was not visited by western holiday-makers much at all.
Today the north has some tourism, but in a lesser degree to the south. Northern Cyprus is Turkish held and Southern Cyprus is Greek. There is still evidence around of the Turkish invasion and there is still quite a lot of bad feeling between Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
We took our vacation January, after working over the Christmas period in the UK. We stayed in Paphos on the south west coast of Cyprus and enjoyed a lovely relaxing winter break.
Cyprus has an all year round holiday climate, however it can be chilly during January and through to March. We were glad that we had took a mixture of clothing as we experienced everything from warm days on the beach, to snowy days when we visited the Troodos mountains.
Cyprus is an interesting destination with lots of history and sights to see. Enough to satisfy even the most well travelled tourist.
There are archaeological sites, beautiful traditional villages, architecture, lovely beaches and much more. The locals are friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy chatting with tourists.
Local food served is similar to Greek food with Meze's, and kebabs, as well as European offerings. The local specialty to drink is Cypriot brandy mixed with fruit juice to make Brandy Sour's.
We visited the Island's capital Nicosia where you can see the divide between the north and the south quite literally; the green line.
Nicosia is a bustling capital city which is interesting on many levels
One of the best sights and visits for us in Nicosia was a Museum which housed a huge statue of Archbishop Makarios in its grounds. This man was a previous leader of the country.
Nicosia has great cafes and restaurants also and you can travel to and from here by local buses.
Paphos in winter was lovely but, during the summer months, the over commercialism it has suffered is more evident. This is true of other resorts such as Ayia Napa and Limmassol.
Stay in these resorts, in high season, only if you enjoy hustle and bustle and a wild night-life. Cyprus however if you pick your destination, and time of year well, offers something for everyone.
There are still places a little of the beaten track and the Cypriot countryside is beautiful.
Travelling in winter we had the benefit of seeing a fairly green terrain. Spring would probably be lovely with all the early flowers too.
Cyprus is one of the largest Greek Islands in the Mediterranean
It's position means it is not far for anyone wanting to visit Israel and Egypt and back then many tourists did short stays. Current conflicts mean both countries are not such good options in 2018. Short cruises were available to take whilst holidaying on Cyprus and I assume they are still around and easy to book. Recent conflicts in these countries though may have limited such tours.
The island of Cyprus is a military base for some including British units.
No special visas are needed for holidays on Cyprus and there are no special health requirements such as vaccinations. However take an anti-mosquito plug and repellent as you may need it.
If you choose to visit Cyprus you will find a warm welcome and have a great holiday. You may find however it is a little more expensive when you are there than when you visit the Greek Islands.
Accommodation ranges from luxurious five-star hotels to basic bed and breakfast. As always the choice is yours but on the whole the accommodation is pretty good.
The currency is the Euro.
We have visited the Balearic island of Menorca a fair few times now but still have lots of places left to visit. Part of the reason for that is we do not drive. Many tourists hire a car, race around the island and see most of what it has to offer in two-weeks or less. In reality though there will always be new places and things to see.
Menorca is more about chilling out anyway
The bus service around the island is pretty good but covers much more of the island between June and September. Check out the local tourist board for the exact timings. We have visited more in late October and May when the public transport is more limited, meaning there are places still on our Menorca Bucket List.
At these times of year though the temperatures are better, unless you yearn for the searing heat of July and August; then the bus services run at their peak but you may feel too drained to trot around Menorca, plus it will be full of like-minded tourists.
One September, during a two-week stay near Mahon, we decided to hop on a bus to Binibecca.
We had not visited that resort in the south of the island before and had been given mixed reviews by others.
Well for us we loved it and it was a treat as a beach bum day out.
You will need to bear in mind that the bus service, at least when we visited, was not frequent and ended fairly early in the day. Taxis are reasonably priced if you want to visit for longer.
The weather was glorious when we visited.
It was a stifling hot mid-September day which was perfect for lazing on a beach. The sun-beds were a reasonable price to hire and much more comfortable than laying on a towel on the beach. They included an umbrella to give some much needed shade.
There is small residential area, with presumably a few shops, that you can wander around but we stayed on the clean, sandy, man-made beach.
The village houses are crisp white and resemble those on postcards from Greece or what you will find on the Greek Islands. Some visitors to this area head for those white houses to wander the streets and relax..
A bar come cafe on the beach was fairly good value. The nearby toilets were clean and free to use.
It was a great relaxing day, reading, dipping in the water and people watching.
The majority of tourists staying in and around Binibeca are Germans. I lost all interest in my book and became fascinated with an older lady, much older than myself, with pert teenage breasts. This German lady was happy to be topless and why not? However those overly youthful breasts just looked so wrong and out of place. Still to each his or her own.
In no time we had to race for the last bus back to Mahon in the late afternoon.
However Binibecca did not disappoint and is on our return visit list. If you do not want to pay bar prices make sure you take some water and a snack with you on a day trip to Binebecca.
If it is not too hot it is fairly easy to walk to the nearby resorts and during high-season a tourist train operates in the area.
Note: The following brief video was a bit of a lash-up. Without my reading specs I could not make out when I was snapping photos or taking footage. It will however give you an idea of the beach at Binibecca.
Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England, was Britain's first Seaside Resort
Scarborough is in the county of North Yorkshire, in the North of England. If I visit from where I live it is a 3 hour journey by the bus and around 11/2 hours by train.
Of course many tourists choose to visit by car but parking can be difficult in Scarborough.
There are many Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels and camp sites nearby so it is a great place to visit for a weekend, a week, or longer even as a base for touring the county.
Scarborough holds lots of fond memories for me of my childhood. As one of the furthest destinations that we visited as kids for just a day out it was always a little special. It was less commercial when I was a child but still had plenty of attractions.
Like so many resorts these days it has become more commercialised however it is still easy to explore Scarborough and avoid the one armed-bandit machines and bingo halls. Visit slightly out of season, and the school holidays, in order to see Scarborough at its best.
Scarborough was the first official seaside resort in the UK and has retained many traditional features
With two splendid bays, that are situated either side of a headland, it is a resort of many faces.
The headland holds the remains of an old Castle which can be reached by foot, either a long, tiring, uphill but pretty walk or a shorter cut via the road. However half the fun of a visit to the Castle is the walk to the top.
On a sunny day it is a perfect place for a picnic but it can be cold and windy at the top even when the sun is out. The Castle allows access to either the North or South Bays of Scarborough, it just depends which way you choose to make your descent.
If you walk down into the North Bay you will find a more old world Scarborough. You can however take a bus back along the seafront. These are double decker buses and the top deck is open to the elements, for those daring to brave the often cold sea breezes.
South Bay Scarborough
The train and bus station are situated in the South bay. There is an old funicular railway which takes you down to the sea front, at a cost of next to nothing. Valley Bridge is close by and will lead you toward the old Spa building. Unfortunately this bridge has seen too many suicide jumpers over the years and now has some protection.
If you choose to walk down to the sea front you will pass a myriad of shops, cafes and bars. Scarborough is hilly and the walk to the sea front is downhill. Remember that the walk back will be more tiring. It is a better option to take the funicular on the return journey.
Not far from the train station there is a fairly new theatre, which is much acclaimed and has a good programme throughout the year.
The Seafront of the South Bay has a long sandy beach. It is fairly commercial though. There are plenty of tacky tourist shops and amusement arcades. Venture a little away from the centre to enjoy a better selection. Further to the South is the traditional Spa building where you may find a craft show or an afternoon tea dance.
Toward the Castle there is a working harbour with freshly caught crabs and fish on sale. Treat yourself to a Fish and Chips lunch near here. Scarborough has more of a traditional feel around this harbour.
Across from Scarborough Castle is Oliver's Mount. I have never actually visited Oliver's Mount. It is often the venue for motorcycle races and as children we were told that it was named after Oliver Cromwell, and a battle that took place in Scarborough.
The seafront of the South Bay is also the home of the Grand Hotel a fine old building that is used now by Butlins Holidays.
Heading to the North there is Scarborough Castle, with funfair rides on the headland near to the lighthouse.
North Bay Scarborough
As you leave the South Bay behind you will see a totally different coastline. The bay here is initially rugged and there are rugged cliffs above which can be dangerous. This is where Scarborough Castle sits above the mayhem of 21st Century seaside life.
There is a small cafe on the seafront for those walking to the North Bay and then, as the paths down from the Castle peter out, there is a small sandy beach. Near here there used to be a large open air swimming pool. It may still be open.
There is a quaint park called Peasholm Park that was always fun when we were kids. Recreations of naval battles were held every afternoon. The ships were small craft which were just big enough to hold a man who, hidden away, operated the controls.
The park has a central section, like an Island, which these days is set out as a Japanese Garden. A small, miniature train runs from here and will take you to the nearby Sea Life Centre. This centre is interesting and has plenty of sea creatures to amaze you. The train, although a children's ride, is suitable for adults and will. save your poor old tired feet.
North Bay has only a few shops and has retained a more refined stance. In the past the wealthier holidaymakers tended to stay in North Bay. There are still some lovely old guest house buildings dotted around Scarborough Castle's slopes.
When I was a child, in the late 1950's and early 1960's my Mum always visited Scarborough's open air theatre in the South Bay, for a Summer performance of a production of Carousel or the like. Now it hosts very different productions.
Scarborough is a great place to use as a base for your holiday.
Once you have explored Scarborough, head out to the North Yorkshire Moors or explore other coastal resorts such as Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay, Flamborough, Filey and Bridlington.
Scarborough Tourist Information
What a name for small and scenic village by the sea - Robin Hood's Bay.
It conjures up many visions but the reality is one of the most scenic bays in North Yorkshire.
Robin Hood's Bay lies about seven miles along the coast, to the south of Whitby. My first visit was about 16 years ago although we were actually holidaying in Whitby.
Wakening one morning to a beautiful, clear late spring day we grabbed a quick breakfast, crossed the bridge over the River Esk, walked through a cluster of quaint shops and set off up the 199 steps in Whitby which lead to the Abbey ruins that include Whitby Church and Monastery.
As the day looked so clear it was decided, keenly by me but reluctantly by my husband, that an after breakfast walk was needed.
We set out along the cliffs, following what is known as the Cleveland Way. It was not our intention to walk as far as Robin Hood's Bay but somehow we did.
This walk takes in a large part of the coastal countryside of North Yorkshire.
As we were both dressed in casual day wear, wearing only sandals on our feet, it was lucky that the day stayed so warm and clear. The North Yorkshire coast can have dense fogs, especially in spring and the walk turned into a bit of a marathon.
It became too far to go back, but still too long a distance to the Bay and it seemed as if the trek would go on forever.
Then all of a sudden we were there.
We had seen some fine scenery on our journey but nothing to compare to the sight of Robin Hood's Bay as we approached it. We were on the cliffs at the North of the bay and, as you look down, you can see the full sweep of the bay.
The traditional houses have red tiled roofs and are very higgledy piggledy in shape. We stopped at the first cafe which was just as we left the cliff approach.
After welcome refreshment we set off to explore.
There is a small village with a few bus stops and some lovely surrounding countryside.
However the tourists tend to head straight down to the sea front. The beach is not a lovely sandy beach although it is sandy in parts.
Fishing boats are launched from here and when the tide is out the beach is a mixture of sand, stones and rock pools.
It does feel like an unspoilt natural beach which is good.
It is one of those beaches that children who love exploring rock pools will adore. When the tide is in it comes very close to the buildings at the front.
The actual walk down to beach is part of the attraction of Robin Hood's Bay, as it is all downhill and through a real mish mash of shops, pubs and buildings. Parts of the walk down have railings which you can use to steady yourself in bad weather as it is so steep.
Obviously the walk down is generally a doddle but the walk back is another matter altogether.
Still you can keep stopping off at ice cream stalls, pubs and cafes for much needed refreshment. Among the buildings there is at least one museum, a church, some houses and many more unusual shops, rather than the old run of the mill seaside sellers.
I have visited Robin Hood's Bay many times since and have always enjoyed my visit.
The air is clean and fresh and the whole area is so picturesque whatever time of year, although it looks different depending on the particular season.
Robin Hood's Bay like Whitby and surrounding areas is very dog friendly. Though there are beach restrictions in the area many shops, bars and cafes allow dogs inside. Just make sure you ask first.
Where to stay
Images below are from a more recent visit to Robin Hood's Bay, late Summer 2017.
Even now I am not as well travelled as many people my age but I have been lucky enough to visit a fair few places I guess. As with most things in life it is all relative.
There are still so many places that I would love to visit and any of these could become a favourite but one that provides very fond memories is the Portuguese Island of Madeira which I was lucky enough to visit in 2006.
I love Madeira because:
The nearby island of Porto Santo is a beach lover's paradise.
Our vacation also included good company. We were lucky to meet up with a lovely couple from Yorkshire and enjoyed each other's company.
All in all a wonderful holiday and a place I would love to experience again.
Is there any wonder it is often called "A floating Garden"
As a child Cayton Bay was a beautiful place that I only ever viewed longingly as a passer by.
When we visited Scarborough, in North Yorkshire, on the East coast of England, our mode of transport was bus and the bay was the last notable place we travelled through as we approached our destination. Of course this meant that excitement levels would be rising at the prospect of a fun day by the sea.
Cayton Bay though always managed to enthral me, even though only glimpsed. The double decker bus travelled along the cliff road, the last major lap of the journey from Bridlington, which at times seemed all too close to the coastal edge; this though did give spectacular views of what was only really a bay, albeit a very beautiful one.
The bus would pick up day-trippers who were staying at Cayton Bay's holiday village, for the short trip into Scarborough.
What's on offer at Cayton Bay?
Well if you are in the area, and the weather is beautiful, you may just fancy stopping by for a day at the beach. Surfers brave the cold North Sea and with a clean sandy beach it is perfect, given the right weather conditions.
However as the great British Summer regularly misbehaves each Summer you may experience rain, rain and more rain.
With such a small resort there may not be a lot on offer at Cayton Bay in dire weather but is great for a holiday base.
Within easy reach either by train, bus or car you have Whitby, Flamingo Land, Scarborough, Filey, historic York and more,
A few miles north of Cayton Bay Scarborough offers much for the visitor. Beaches, two large bays, shops, restaurants, pubs, a Castle and much more.
To the south there is the brash seaside resort of Bridlington. Not my cup of tea, as we say, but it may be yours.
Between the two
Between the two above resorts there is Sewerby, Flamborough and Filey plus lots of small villages. Sewerby has an interesting park and museum. Flamborough is great for coastal walks and bird watching, of the feathered kind. Filey is a quaint seaside resort that has a bygone feel.
Even smaller resorts and villages such as Hunmanby and Reighton Gap offer stunning scenery, quaint villages, local pubs and clean unspoilt beaches.
The Dales area of Yorkshire will be on your doorstep and will provide scenery, fresh air and more.
Cayton Bay has a village caravan park that is set in stunning countryside. There is also a holiday park resort which has holiday homes, restaurants, a water-world, crazy golf and more.
Cayton Bay is one of Yorkshire's best kept secrets. This means that although there has been some development in recent years it has retained much of its beauty and charm.
Discover Yorkshire Coast
Where in the world do you want to go today? One Woman uses personal experiences to show you some of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom and beyond. Enjoy!