Life is too short to not go on that spontaneous road trip-Anonymus
I just want to start this blog post by addressing the fact that I know how hard this worldwide pandemic has been for everybody and how much it has impacted the travel community.Not being able to travel/explore and discover the world continues to be an issue considering that at the moment traveling is still quite restricted.Moreover, having to cancel trips we were all looking forward to is something that I truly hope we will never have to face again. With all of this in mind, I just want to say that we need to stay positive and trust that everything will go back to the way it was. In the meantime, my advice is that we start shifting our focus on destinations that are closer to home – beautiful places that maybe we never paid attention to before and thus, we can slowly start traveling again.
Where is Vourvourou and why is it so special?
Vourvourou is a small fisherman village situated on the peninsula that is known as Sithonia, just 120 km away from Thessaloniki. It is considered to be one of the most popular destinations in Halkidiki amongst tourists due to its breathtaking views, incredible silence and some of the most beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean.
How did I get there in the middle of a worldwide pandemic ? And what do I mean by ‘spontaneous trip’?
A bit of an intro on the situation and some context : Even though I moved to Amsterdam 2 years ago for the duration of my university studies, I have been at home (In Bucharest, Romania) since march – due to coronavirus. For those of you reading this who might not know it already , Romania is extremely close to Greece which makes it one of the top holiday destinations amongst romanians. What do I mean by close ? – Well, it takes around 600-700 km to reach a beautiful island/beach destination from my home city. As a kid, me and my family used to go to Greece a lot and, due to its close proximity we would always drive there and used the opportunity to have a family road trip.
On June 15th, Greece opened its borders to tourists again. Prior to it, an agreement was signed between some Balkanic countries, according to which traveling of the citizens of the signatory countries would be allowed without any risk of being put in self-isolation or quarantine at their return to their countries of residence. And thus, on the night of June 15th my uncle, auntie and two cousins decided to leave on holiday to Greece.
So here is the part where spontaneity kicked in – it had been raining non stop for more than 3 weeks in Romania and it was quite chilly as well so the options on activities in our country were quite limited. And thus, on June 16th my dad just randomly came up with the idea to go to Greece at the end of that week and surprise my auntie and uncle. At first, me, my sister and my mom laughed thinking that he was joking -it should be noted that my family has rarely been spontaneous. My parents love structure and, for that reason, when it comes to a holiday,we always have everything organised and sorted out at least half a year in advance so you can understand how my dad’s idea came a bit as a surprise. However, we soon started to think about it and we decided to go for it not even knowing if my parents can even take some days off from work. That is the story behind how we spontaneously decided to leave so abruptly and head to Greece without having booked any sort of accommodation.
After a very long (10 h including the stops) and uncomfortable drive – uncomfortable because we were 5 in the car as my boyfriend also joined in on our little holiday, we finally reached Vourvourou. I was charmed by its beautiful,peaceful beaches and the clear blue water.
For the duration of our stay, we had a beautiful apartment at Fillis House Vourvourou (https://vourvourou-apartments.business.site). I thought the location was the perfect combination between Tuscany and Greece. It was really peaceful and, considering that tourism had just opened again a few days before we went there, we were the only clients so that was fun. Everyday I would start my morning chilling at the beautiful infinity pool and taking in the view.Moreover, the owners had a cat that just gave birth to 4 tiny little kittens that I would play with every time I saw them.
Some pics from @FillisHouse
Things to do
Vourvourou is a very quiet place, perfect for a relaxing getaway. Moreover, it is well known for its great boat tours to the beautiful Blue Lagoon or nearby islands and beaches. The village roams with tourists every summer that are very excited to explore the numerous beaches of the area.
Views from Vourvourou
Once in Vourvourou, you can opt to rent kayaks for a day and have a very fun time at sea. This activity is the perfect combination between sports and nature and it can guarantee an unforgettable experience. Most tourists (especially families with kids or big groups) opt for guided kayak tours along the Vourvourou coastline. These organised tours can take anywhere between half a day or a full day (depending on the preference) and during it, tourists can immerse themselves into beautiful secluded sites.
Boat rental – another great idea to spend a day in Vourvourou. Renting a boat just for you (your friends/family) gives you more freedom over what you can do. You will be in charge with your own schedule and you can enjoy boat rides wherever you want – the possibilities are endless.We had a boat for the duration of our stay there and I absolutely loved every second of it.
Another thing to do in Vourvourou is SNORKELING!. This is by far one of my favourite activity whenever I am holidaying at a destination that is known for beautiful snorkel spots. Vourvourou has so many spots where the water is crystal turquoise which makes it just perfect for swimming and snorkelling. However, some of these spots cannot be reached from shore so, you should look into either renting a boat/kayak for the day or go on a boat tour with a guide.
As Vourvourou is a very small village, there are not a lot of things to do when the night comes. So, if you want to do something in the evening (apart from eating at a greek taverna in Vourvourou), you can hop in the car and drive to Nikiti. Nikiti is only 11 km away and has a bit of a nightlife. There is a boardwalk and lots of cafes, restaurant and even some bars.
Overall opinion + Recommendations
I really loved the village and it was the perfect place for what I needed from a holiday at the moment – a quiet place where I can relax and unwind from all the coronavirus stress. So, if you are looking for a a relaxing getaway to just unwind and rest for a couple of days, I think you would love Vourvourou.
The Blue Lagoon – I would recommend not missing this beautiful place. I have never seen such a crystal clear turquoise water – that lagoon literaly looks like heaven on Earth.
Moreover, if you are a fan of the greek bougatsa ( their famous pies), you should definitely try out the Casa la Creme (https://www.facebook.com/casalacreme/) famous ham and cheese bougatsa. It is a family recipe that has been preserved throurgout the years and it is the only place that makes it. I have to say it was the most delicious bougatsa I have ever tried.
How traveling after the covid-19 pandemic felt like
To be honest, one of the reasons why this particular trip was so special is because for the time that I was there I completely forgot about the Covid-19 pandemic. Greece had a very small number of cases In general and the area we went too, Halkidiki had no cases at all which felt like a fresh breath of air after all the stress the coronavirus has created. People-( tourists and locals) were very relaxed. Nobody was wearing masks (as that is not a requirement in Greece apart from the staff at restaurants/bars/cafes) and that reminded me of normality. It felt incredibly weird to be able to travel after 2 months of very strict lockdown especially when I would have never thought I would be able to travel so soon. I truly am grateful that I got the chance to have a nice holiday in the midst of this global pandemic because even if I wanted to, the coronavirus pandemic is not over. So , continue to stay safe to protect yourself and those around you and if you do travel these times, make sure you are doing it safely!