Travel

Opa!

Opa, in Greek,  has the literal meaning of “wait!”, “halt!”, “hold on!”, “stay!”,  which is exactly how I feel each time I have visited the beautiful country of Greece.  I have been fortunate enough to visit this magical country twice.  Once in 2009 on a girls trip and a second time with my husband and two stepdaughters.  Each trip was unique in there own special way and each time when it was time to part from the beautiful, majestic country I thought to my self, OPA!  Hold on, wait a minute, let’s stay! 🙂

If you are considering a visit to Greece here are some beautiful reasons to jump on the next plane and head on over.  Here are some highlights from the de la Mora European vacation to Greece.

Mykonos.  Sigh…  A small, charming, cosmopolitan island that offers a little of everything.  The food, beaches, and nightlife were a hit and this island is known for all of it.   We rented a little convertable to explore it and literally got lost.  What’s an adventure without getting at least a little lost..?  #delamoraeuropeanvacation 😉

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Be sure to check out Nammos Beach Club. It’s Greece’s answer to Ibiza.  Swanky superyachts, cabanas and excellent food and drinks. On the sexy and sunny island of Mykonos, it won’t get any more over the top than this.  It’s just the extreme opposite of what you expect in a country that has been hit by a financial crisis.  Be prepared for Bosa Nova, wine, and topless European beauties sunbathing on the beautiful white sand beaches overlooking the Aegean sea.  It may have been a little too much for our young teen girls to be exposed to but hey, you only live once and they experienced a threshold of different things to see culturally.  OPA!  😉 If this sounds too much for you, another awesome beach club was Scorpios with a more laidback-luxe, nonchalant appeal.  Both are beautiful.thumb_IMG_7337_1024

For dinner, an absolute must is Matsuhisa Restaurant at the Belvedere Hotel.  The world-renowned Sushi Chef Nobu Matsuhisa opened up a restaurant in Greece due to their abundant fresh seafood.  Some of the best sushi I have ever eaten so don’t miss out! The sunsets are also breathtaking so be sure to be there in time to see it!

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Santorini. Bigger sigh….

Catch a ferry and head over to this beautiful island and be prepared for serious eye candy.  My favorite place to stay is in Oia. It gets a little congested these days with a lot of the tourists that come in daily from the cruise boats, but it’s still, in my opinion, the best spot on the island. It is a coastal town on the northwestern tip and the town has whitewashed houses carved into the rugged clifftops and overlooks the most beautiful view of the Aegean Sea.  Literally, stop you in your tracks, breathtaking.  thumb_IMG_7722_1024

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One of my favorite things to do while in Oia,  is to spend the afternoon taking a small trek down to the harbor. There is a long set of steps that take you from the old castle down to the water. It’s a fun, scenic walk down that takes about fifteen min. Be sure to bring a swimsuit, flip flops and towel.   Around the cliffs is a swimming area between the volcanic rocks where you will find beautiful, crystal clear water with volcanic rocks that you can climb and dive into the Aegean sea.  Once finished, walk back up the steps and take a ride on one of the donkeys up the hill.  It is definitely an experience you won’t forget.19510388_460702837610095_6086014943869031848_n

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My all-time favorite and the hubs and girls loved it too,  Pito Gyros in Oia for lunch.  The best Gyro you will ever have.  Either lamb or chicken.  Both are amazing and you for sure need to eat at least one while you are there.

Another fun adventure: either rent a convertible fiat or some four wheelers and explore the island while ending up at the Seaside Beach Club.  Crystal clear waters, cabanas, and amazing food.  Very relaxing and chill on a black sand beach from volcanic ashes.  The service is impeccable along with the food and drinks. I could have stayed all day.  OPA!

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Another must do, take an afternoon and go on a catamaran sail around the island.  We took the sunset cruise and it was beautiful.  They offer dinner and wine and will anchor off so you can take a dip in the ocean.  The girls enjoyed it and so did we.   I accidentally signed us up with a group which was fun however one of the crew members became seasick though.  Not a pleasurable experience.  EEK!  The sail was beautiful though and we were able to see the entire island with all of the beautiful volcanic rocks.  It was also a cool experience getting to know the other crew members.  A cultural experience for all of us and cool to chat with people from all parts of the world.

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So much to see on Santorini, between the vineyards, restaurants, sunsets, and beaches.  I loved it all.  The most important stop of all is this: it’s an absolute must to eat dinner down at the harbor at the Sunset restaurant.  The seafood is AH-MAZING and ambiance is perfection.  It’s an awesome way to end your stay on this beautiful island and I highly recommend it.

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It’s always sad leaving Santorini but you can’t go to Greece without experiencing the ruins in Athens.

To finish up our trip, we hopped on a small plane and headed over to the mainland.  The Acropolis is exactly how you would imagine it. You can either hire a tour guide or just explore it on your own.  Either way is educational and fun.  I’ve done it both ways and personally prefer exploring it on my own but with the kiddos, I think the tour guide was the way to go.thumb_IMG_7691_1024

All in all, it was an amazing trip and again, I am ready to go back.  Until next time, that’s a wrap.

OPA~ Rachael