Back in August, Gary and I went to my cousin’s wedding in Greece.
We flew to Mykonos from Gatwick, and stayed overnight at the Rocabella Mykonos – which I fully recommend because it is BEAUTIFUL.
The staff were lovely from the get-go, and we were so impressed with the service. As soon as we arrived they handed us glasses of champagne… alongside a free upgrade! (I don’t know what it is about Gary booking our hotels but this is the second time we’ve had a free upgrade. Long may it continue!)
Our room was gorgeous. Light, airy, AND it had its own hot tub on the balcony. They also gifted us a 15 minute back massage each, and a bottle of sparkling wine (which we drank in the hot tub – because why would you not?)
We ate dinner in the hotel restaurant that night. Reeza happens to be ranked Number 1 for restaurants in Mykonos on Tripadvisor, and it has a 5 star rating from nearly 160 reviews, so I was pretty excited!
It turned out to be one the best decisions we’ve ever made. Not only was the food the best we had in Greece, it’s probably one of my top ten meals ever. Tender lamb ragu, served over rigatoni pasta, with local cream cheese. Sounds simple, but that ragu was mind-blowingly delicious!
The next day, we grabbed a taxi down to the New Port, with just enough time to pick up our tickets and jump on the ferry. We met up with my aunt, uncle and cousins, settled in to our seats, and waved goodbye to Mykonos.
Next stop: Syros…
HOW TO GET TO SYROS
Despite Ermoupoli being the chief town of the Cyclades Islands, Syros isn’t as well known Mykonos. I know that until my cousin got engaged, I’d never even heard of it.
It’s so much quieter than Mykonos, and it just feels more peaceful and authentic. My cousin joked that if we overheard anyone speaking in English, they were probably wedding guests – and he was right!
It doesn’t have an international airport, so it’s a bit of an effort to get there and apparently that puts people off. But honestly, it’s so worth it.
There are two ways to get to Syros from London:
A) Fly to Mykonos (4h), then ferry from Mykonos New Port to Syros (50 mins)
B) Fly to Athens (3h 30 mins), then ferry from Piraeus (Athens’ sea port) to Syros (4h)
The flights to Mykonos are more expensive, but the boat from Athens is longer, so it really depends on your preference. I get severely sea-sick, so we did Option A. However, the rest of my family did Option B, flying from Mallorca and Rome to Athens. They spent a couple of days exploring the Acropolis, then took the long ferry to Syros.
On our second day we ate breakfast at the hotel, then slathered ourselves in sunscreen and set off to climb the hill up to Ano Syros, the Old Town in Ermoupoli.
We wandered slowly, soaking up the views, and snapping photos at every turn. (You think I’m enthusiastic with a camera? You should see my Dad!).
The buildings are all beautiful shades of pastel, with shutters and lace curtains that shield the inside from the midday sun. Bundles of bougainvillea are dotted everywhere, and the whole place is just SO pretty.
It’s a tough climb in the summer heat, but worth every single drop of sweat for the views you get at the top!
The streets are pretty enough as it is, but while you’re up there, it’s worth visiting St George’s Cathedral too. It’s the most colorful church I’ve ever seen in my life and definitely one of the most beautiful.
We stopped at the top of the hill, and settled ourselves on the shaded terrace of a tiny (and utterly adorable) taverna. Several iced cappuccinos later, we were ready to brave the climb back down to the city, arriving just in time for lunch with the rest of the family!
WHAT TO EAT
We had fantastic food at every meal in Syros, with the added bonus of it being super cheap too.
Breakfast was included at our hotel, and seemed to be pretty standard for the island. You eat in courses, so we’d start every day with fresh bread and local jams. Next you’d choose between a cheese toastie, or fried eggs on toast, followed by giant bowls of Greek yoghurt and honey, or huge plates of fresh fruit.
For lunch and dinner, we’d wander along the back streets of Ermoupoli and pick a taverna at random. A whole hoard of restaurants have set up shop, one right next to the other, and you can have your pick: each one serves very similar fare.
My favourite Greek dishes: baked feta (lightly battered and drizzled with honey – see below!), courgette fritters, tzatziki (and lots of it!), fresh tomato and cheese salad, grilled octopus, meatballs in tomato sauce, and souvlaki: grilled meat on a skewer, served with pita bread, fries and salad.
RESTAURANTS TO REMEMBER
To Kapilio tou Markou – The loveliest taverna! We ate here twice in 4 days because the food was fantastic and the staff were so friendly.
Mazi – The wedding reception was held here and it’s STUNNING. Fabbb food too.
Sta Vaporia – We had lunch here on the first day, and it was also the venue for the champagne reception right after the wedding ceremony. Views to DIE for.
Taverna to Petrino – Another lovely taverna (see above). This is where I ordered the baked feta with honey!