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3 Reasons You Should SKIP These Greek Islands

First of all, I understand that a lot of people want to go to these places because they are one of those things that has to be seen yourself. And if that is the case, then don’t worry about this list! But if you are someone wondering if you should go out of your way to see Santorini, Mykonos, or Ios, then I’m telling you what I think: SKIP ‘Em.

1. Lack of Culture

I don’t think that you can fully understand what “culture” means until you see an absence of it completely. It’s one of those broad words that can be hard to define, and people like to through it around to make themselves feel better about their trips. But what is it really?

It’s just LIFE. People living in their own unique way that they will not change just because you are there. I read a quote the other day that said it perfectly:

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”

Clifton Fadiman

I think that quote describes exactly what experiencing a culture in a new place SHOULD feel like.

But in these islands, that is completely missing. You walk around in Santorini and Mykonos and realize that all these beautiful white houses that used to be homes have been turned into stores and hotels. The locals have been pushed out so that we can enjoy the place more.

a girl standing on a street in Mykonos

Now we feel comfortable and that takes all the joy out of the place entirely. The life and the great food and music and culture is not there at all. Instead, it’s filled with “Instagram-spots” and boutiques.

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I have no problem going to a few Insta-spots, in fact, I love finding a great place to take a picture. But when that is the only reason left to visit somewhere, I think maybe we should reevaluate our reasons for going.

You should see people doing their regular things during the day, everyone heading in a different direction, eating their foods, and just doing what their “normal” would be. But to you, as a tourist, this normal is completely new.

In Athens, we felt that. There was so much life there. Then we went to Mykonos, Santorini, and Ios and wondered what had happened.

Everyone had told us that this was the place to be, it was the dream location! And you do have to admit: it is gorgeous. But at what cost?

The locals. I think we met one or two locals the whole time.

2. THAT Insta-spot in Santorini? It’s off-limits

This came as a total shocker to me. The landmark of basically all of the Greek Islands and the picture that you have seen a million times, is OFF-LIMITS. That’s right. That, to me, was like if the Eiffel Tower were to be off-limits and only people who could afford it could take pictures with it. That’s ridiculous.

a girl standing in front of a blue dome church on Santorini
This is a different viewpoint that we found!

There’s a gate because basically all of Santorini is a closed-off hotel that you have to pay for a night there in order to see, or sneak in and risk getting yelled at by the angry owners who are sick of the tourists.

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Which is exactly what we witnessed when I excitedly reached this bucket-list spot. A Greek man was yelling at a photographer who had a couple on top of the church taking wedding pictures. He had a beer bottle in his hand and as he was screaming, flipped the bottle and held it by the neck to show that he was ready for a fight.

I honestly had never seen anything like that except for in the movies, and for those of you who know me well, I absolutely HATE getting in trouble. So we didn’t go in there. I got a few shots by squeezing myself in a tiny corner and poking my camera lens through the gate while hundreds of people were pushing past me.

Definitely not the bucket-list experience I thought we’d be having.

3. It’s EXPENSIVE

I am totally fine with spending some time in an expensive place and basically just eating ham and cheese sandwiches for every meal (which is exactly what I did) but when you are paying that much for a place that doesn’t have very much depth to it.

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Some options in Greece where you should do instead:

  • Athens
  • Rhodes
  • Crete

Options outside of Greece:

  • Madeira
  • Sardinia
  • Majorca

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3 reasons to skip these greek islands