Many people go to Greece to visit ancient temples and look at historic landmarks. Some people, however, go to Greece to enjoy the sand and surf.
If you are a beach lover and are planning to visit Greece with a partner or with family, you might be looking for hotels close enough to the beach so you can maximize your time by the water.
Want to stay by the beach in Greece and spend more time near the water? Here are 4 beautiful beach hotels in Greece you might be interested in.
Delfinia Hotel, Corfu
Delfinia Hotel is a hotel on Corfu Island that rests amidst the lush wonders of nature just north of the Moraïtika resort’s commercial end.
Its style is an elegant rendition of Meditteranean architecture, with three wings surrounded by an assortment of trees that frame the way down towards the hotel’s private and well-catered end of the beach.
The hotel has 185 rooms including many family-oriented suites. Further encouraging families to come over, the hotel provides a fully dedicated children’s play area, along with fitness facilities, a restaurant and a bar for adults only.
Lindos Blu Hotel, Rhodes
Lindos Blu has an “adults only” policy, making it a great vacation spot for couples who can manage to get away from their children for a little while.
Situated 30 miles from Rhodes Town, this picturesque resort sits on the hills overlooking Vlýha Bay. Its interior is minimally designed, with a monochromatic blue outlay that is calming to the eyes.
All of its 74 rooms and suites come with balcony views of the bay that go as far as Haráki. The hotel has a fully equipped spa and fitness centre and offers regular free yoga classes for its guests.
Adorno Beach Hotel & Suites, Mykonos
Adorno beach is only 1.5 miles from the Old Town of Mykonos, making its namesake hotel an excellent choice of residence for those who want to get as much beach action as possible while in Mykonos and still be close to the many awesome sights and activities in town.
The hotel keeps things traditional, from its architecture to its breakfasts, and each every room is gorgeous, they either have a view of the private pool or one of the sea.
Adorno is welcoming to single guest as well as couples and families, and they encourage intending visitors to make reservations at adornosuites.com.
Skiathos Princess, Skiathos
The Skiathos Princess is among the most impressive beach hotels on the island and is located 5 miles from the Old Town of Skiathos, nestled by the beach of Agia Paraskevi Bay.
Beyond the grand marble lobby, the rest of the hotel gives off a relaxed vibe that gives its guest permission to get comfortable. The hotel has two swimming pools, which are framed by an expansive lawn which in turn leads down to the beach.
Also, a great hotel to take children, there is a kid’s club and play area. Adults are not left out as there is a small gym, and there are two yogalates classes offered daily.
These are only four of the hundreds of beach hotels that beautiful Greece has to offer. If you are planning a trip to Skiathos, Mykonos, Corfu or Rhodes, consider visiting one of the hotels on this list.
Do you want to travel like royalty through Europe, but on a pauper’s budget? It’s easier than you think with a little research and planning.
First, make sure you have all the technology essentials you need if you plan on renting a car, from converters to your go-to must-haves for road trips.
For Americans, the dollar is relatively weak in most European countries, so everything is going to feel like it costs more. One of the most significant money sucks in Europe is buying items you forgot at home.
When shopping for tech, remember to check out the voltage requirements for each country you’ll visit. There are some fantastic voltage converters that work in most European countries.
These cost a little more than a converter for just one country, but if you’ll be travelling across Europe it’s worth it—and helps save room in your suitcase.
Technically, there’s some wiggle room in voltage conversion. As long as the conversion is within ten volts, you and your equipment will be safe.
Don’t forget that there are often two kinds of converters: Those that simply convert the technology so that it can plug into a foreign outlet, and those that actually convert the voltage. You need the latter if you want to keep your tech safe.
Here are a few ways on how to travel Europe on a budget.
Take the train
At first blush, taking a train certainly doesn’t seem more lavish than flying. However, the trains are the best way to really immerse yourself in an authentic culture.
You’ll get to take in sweeping views of rural parts of the country as well as get a front row seat in the heart of metros.
Trains also whisk you from the city centre to city centre, often with no need of a costly cab ride to get to your accommodations once you arrive. You can avoid the time spent at airports, the stress, and the ghost taxis at airports when you travel by train.
Sometimes travelling by train is even a little more expensive, but the costs quickly even out when you consider the money saved with taxis. By design, airports simply can’t be in a city centre.
Eat like a local
Research how what, and when locals eat to maximize your food budget. Many Europeans pick up fresh ingredients every day to whip up delectable meals.
In many countries, you can grab a quick bite in the morning from a local bakery for less than two dollars. Locals know how to actually live where you’ll be travelling, and this means avoiding overspending on the food budget.
For example, a croissant from a local patisserie in Paris and a black coffee is mouthwatering and cheap. However, if you spring for a full English breakfast in England, you’ll be out quite a few pounds (and be the only one doing it).
Rent a room or apartment with a kitchen and avoid hotels
Hotels ultimately all feel the same around the world, and few in Europe are going to have kitchens.
If you really want to experience the culture, check out room and house shares. This gives you access to a kitchen for cooking and often better locations for a fraction of the price.
Depending on how you’d like to travel, you could opt for a homestay with the resident and get insider tips on how to really experience the neighbourhood.
Walk as much as you can
How is walking luxurious? In Europe, it is because this is how you’re going to discover all those little gems that aren’t mentioned in guidebooks.
From a bookstore you’ll fall in love with to the best little shops tucked away down alleys, walking in European cities is an absolute must. It will feel like a simple coincidence that you’re also saving oodles on taxis and Ubers.
Rent a bike
If you want to cover a little more distance while getting around Europe on a budget, you’ll feel right at home renting a bike.
Many shops in Europe offer these services, and many hotels do as well (while renting someone’s home can often come with the use of a bike).
Understand the tipping culture
Tipping is sometimes expected in most European countries, but the average is often much less than the American standard.
Research who to tip and how much in each country to make sure you’re sticking with regional tradition. After all, nobody is going to refuse a whopper of a tip.
Travel in the offseason
The offseason in Western Europe is what you’d imagine it is in the US. Cold weather months mean cheaper airplane tickets, excepting major holidays and festivals.
Yes, you’ll need to bundle up but you’ll also experience certain events, festivals, and experiences that you’d miss in warmer months. It’s a trade-off, but you’ll save quite a bit doing it.
Keep your luggage to a minimum
One of the easiest ways to inconvenience yourself and pay more for flights and taxis is by overpacking. Try to ditch at least one suitcase you plan to take and know exactly what the fees are for your particular airline.
A European getaway is a wish list item for many. Of course, there’s also always backpacking Europe and staying in hostels, but that’s a romantic endeavour that’s often more challenging than you think.
You can start exploring Europe on a budget and feel like a prince or princess without committing yourself to solely hoofing it everywhere.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this travel guide to Europe on a budget. Do leave a comment below if you did.
“Ahoy Matey,” I called out as I took the steering on The Golden Eagle, the yacht we boarded in central Tromsø, just a short walk from our Tromsø hotel, the Clarion Collection Hotel With.
I would have added a more piratey “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum,” if I wasn’t so busy watching the horizon, hoping I wouldn’t ram us into another boat. Luckily for us all, my stint as skipper was brief and I was relieved when Tobias took the wheel again.
We were on our fjord sailing excursion from Tromsø, and I was enjoying the splendid view and the breeze hitting my face as I kept warm in my thermo suit.
When I was planning our trip to Norway, researching what to do in and around Tromsø in September, I realised that it was the perfect time for a Norwegian fjord sailing excursion.
The weather was great (between 8 and 16 degrees C), the days are not too short, and the fall colours are lovely. Sailing the fjords of Norway was one of the Tromsø excursions on my bucket list, so it was a no-brainer.
I booked our fjord excursion in Tromsø with a tour operator called Pukka Travels, that sails in the fjords 364 days a year.
After a quick breakfast at 8 am, we met the three crew members, Tobias, Nick and Jonas (I kid you not!), near their lovely little yacht parked in the Tromsø harbour alongside the Scandic Ishavshotel.
Luckily for us, early September is the lean season in Norway, so we were the only people on the excursion and got their full attention.
Tobias gave us a rundown of all the safety measures to be followed and what to do in the unlikely event that the boat sank. He offered us the thermo suits because the wind chill was brutal, despite the pleasant weather. I gladly took one.
As we set sail along the harbour, Jonas told us about the mountain peaks up ahead and about the stone-age settlements that were found there.
They also pointed out some prehistoric stone carvings on the distant shore as we sailed through the fjord.
Tobias informed us that we needed to catch some fish so they could make fish soup for lunch, or else we’d have to settle for a vegetarian soup. I don’t like to fish, but Arun was game, so Tobias gave him a quick lesson with the fishing rod.
Arun managed to get a couple of nibbles, but they got away.
Tobias caught a little fish which he let go since they’re not supposed to catch small fry. He finally managed to snag a decent-sized one for our lunch and proceeded to gut it in a bucket.
While the crew cooked our meal, Arun and I sat at the bow of our fjord sailing boat, taking photos and enjoying the journey.
Soon our lunch was ready, and the crew called us down into the dining room where they served us a piping hot fish soup, accompanied with some bread.
The fish soup was delicious and very filling, and we downed it with the bread pretty quickly. After the soup, they offered us a choice of a number of teas or coffee.
We chose the coffee and sat around the table exchanging travel stories and enjoying a few laughs. Nick happened to be an expat from Australia who moved to Norway with his wife, so we found his experiences quite unique and interesting.
Our Tromsø fjord excursion lasted around 3 hours and, although we didn’t spot any wildlife (it was too early in the year for whale-watching), we had a very enjoyable time, thanks to the amiable and funny crew of The Golden Eagle.
“How do you sleep during the Midnight Sun?” I asked GuideGunnar.
“I close my eyes,” he said, tongue-in-cheek, eliciting a laugh from us as we waited for the Northern Lights to appear at Rekvikeidet, a chilly, open plateau near Tromvik.
Arun and I shivered in the icy winds, looking to the heavens for a glimpse of the elusive Lady Aurora until I decided to stop torturing myself and put on one of the thermo suits that GuideGunnar had offered us. Arun took one too, and we both felt much more comfortable.
It was after 10 pm on the 5th of September 2018, and the long days and short nights of autumn meant we had to leave an hour later than usual on our Tromsø Aurora chase.
The Northern Lights Tromsø tour left from Guides Central, which turned out to be just behind our Tromsø hotel, the Clarion Collection Hotel With.
We were expected to report at 7.45 pm, so we left just a few minutes before that and climbed up the stairs of the two-storey building to where GuideGunnar was waiting.
He welcomed us and told us that one other couple would be accompanying us, so there’d be just four of us tourists on his small Northern Lights group tour from Tromsø.
The young Chinese couple who came in turned out to be from Hong Kong. They didn’t speak much, except to giggle and whisper to each other during the tour.
I was very curious to learn more, so I paid close attention when GuideGunnar told us what to expect on our Northern Lights Tromsø bus tour.
He explained that depending on the weather and if the clouds came in, we may have to drive for hours, and even cross the border into Finland, if necessary.
He also told us a bit about the history of Tromsø, which played a big role in World War II (more on that in another blog) and was generous in sharing his in-depth, local knowledge.
We told him about our upcoming trip to Lyngen North, and he said he knew Ola, and that his grandfather would probably be able to tell us more about the war since the Germans had built the Spåkenes kystfort in the area.
Because it was still early and quite bright, Gunnar took us first to a spot where some wild reindeer had been spotted, and we could see them grazing from afar.
When I asked him which supermarket was the best place to pick up provisions, he recommended the Eide Handel in Eidkjosen, where you can get the best quality produce. He even took a detour to Eidkjosen so we could pick up some stuff.
Since we didn’t want to be lugging big bags around on our Northern Lights chase from Tromsø, we didn’t pick up any provisions. Instead, Arun picked up some premium tobacco called Snus. Gunnar found this very funny, considering that the supermarket had some of the best produce available.
Our next stop was a scenic spot called Henrikvika by Kaldfjord, where we stopped to take photos of the beautiful bay at twilight.
After that, we made a stop at the fishing village of Ersfjordbotn, and enjoyed the sunset while Gunnar chatted with a fisherman.
Next, we drove to the top of a hill at Grøtfjord, where we waited by the side of the road wearing the luminous, reflective wristbands that Gunnar had given us for night safety.
We spent quite a while here, watching for the Aurora borealis and enjoying the fabulous view of the bay and the long sunset until Gunnar decided that it wasn’t happening and decided to take us to another location.
This involved a drive on some roads that seemed a bit unfinished, to an open and windy plateau where we would have the best chance of spotting the lights.
Here, GuideGunnar provided us with tripods, helped us set up the cameras and gave us an impromptu lesson in Northern Lights photography. He set the camera to manual, increased the exposure time and set the ISO to 800, telling us to change it as needed.
Since I had no experience with night photography, his guidance proved invaluable as darkness fell and the first wispy threads of the Aurora made their appearance on the horizon.
The Aurora borealis, when it is weak (GuideGunnar rated that night’s Aurora activity as 2/10) looks like translucent clouds with little to no colour to the naked eye. It’s only when photographed through the DSLR that the greens and purples appear.
Once I got comfortable with adjusting the camera settings to capture more light, I got much better photos.
I even tried my hand at some Milky Way photography when the Aurora took a break. It didn’t turn out too bad, even if I say so myself. 🙂
GuideGunnar set up a campfire for us and served us a delicious snack called Skattøra Lefse – Arctic Norway’s traditional and locally made pastry with cream and sweet goat cheese.
Since I’d taken a liking to the Norwegian brown cheese or Brunost, I enjoyed it thoroughly. He also served some hot blackcurrant jus, which was very welcome on that chilly night.
As we sat around the campfire in our thermo suits, Arun and I lay back in the grass and watched satellites drift slowly across the sky. With no light pollution, we could see them clearly. It was a rare sight for city folks like us.
Gunnar decided that we should wait till 1 am to see if the lights returned. Arun and I were still jet-lagged and exhausted by this time, and we had a Fjord sailing excursion planned the next morning, so we rested in the bus till it was time to go back.
According to GuideGunnar’s Aurora blog, we covered 120 kilometres and spent 6.5 hours on our Northern Lights chase from Tromsø. It was our first excursion in Norway and a very enjoyable one.
GuideGunnar was the perfect tour guide and his photography tips served me well when we stayed at Lyngen North. He also happens to be a local TV star of the Chasing the Northern lights TV series.
Tips for your Northern Lights Chase in Tromsø with GuideGunnar:
The best time to see the Northern Lights is from early September to early April. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not rise above the horizon during the middle of winter (from around mid-November to mid-January). This is called the Polar Night.
The Northern Lights are visible when darkness falls so you can see them from mid-August. The tour guides begin their Aurora chases from the beginning of September. However, when I tried to book an Aurora chase for my dates (5th and 6th September), GuideGunnar was one of the few tour operators in Tromsø willing to take small groups on a tour before the 15th. That’s dedication!
You can download the My Aurora Forecast app to see how likely you are to see the Aurora borealis and find out about solar wind activity (which is what causes the Northern Lights). However, no one can guarantee that you’ll see them. It takes a combination of good weather and solar wind activity to have a good chance of seeing them. Oh, and a good Aurora guide and a healthy dose of luck, too!
The Northern Lights are most likely to shine often and strongest between 8 pm and 2 am, but it’s also possible to see them before and after this period.
The nights can get pretty cold, even in early September, and when you’re chasing the Northern Lights outside Tromsø, the wind chill can get quite uncomfortable. Wear 2 to 3 layers of clothing when you go on a chase and if you’re freezing, don’t try to be brave and ride it out. Put on a thermo suit and stay warm, even if it looks a bit ridiculous.
GuideGunnar will show you a movie or two about the Northern Lights while he’s driving you in his bus. Soak it all in, including the fascinating science behind them and the strange beliefs and superstitions that people had about the lights in days gone by.
For Northern Lights photography, you’ll need a DSLR or mirrorless camera. A mobile phone won’t cut it, no matter how good it is, as you need long exposures (some of mine were 30 seconds long). Guide Gunnar will provide the tripod so you don’t need to carry one. Follow his guidance on taking Aurora photos as he’s an expert on it.
The Northern lights danced above our heads, cascading across the clear autumn sky in an explosion of green and purple.
As they raced in an arc across the heavens, the lights waxed and waned, and I gave up trying to use a tripod in my effort to catch something of them before they completely vanished.
The amazing performance lasted about 30 minutes before it faded to a few lights glimmering on the horizon. It was our third and last night at Lyngen North and the most spectacular one by far.
We had journeyed to Norway from India in early September 2018 – a bit too early to see the Northern Lights, some would say – and we’d travelled around 200 kilometres north from Tromsø to enjoy the Aurora borealis from the unique vantage point of a glass igloo.
Ola Berg, whose family has lived for three generations at Lyngen North, picked us up from Tromsø in his Tesla Model X, and drove us to Spåkenesveien in Rotsund, where he settled us into our glass igloo at the shore of the Lyngenfjord.
Contrary to my expectations (early September isn’t the optimum season for Northern Lights), we saw the lights on 4 out of our 6 nights in Norway, despite the long days and short nights of autumn.
On our first night at Lyngen North, the sky was clear and we saw them dance above our heads from our little wooden bench on the shore of the Lyngen fjord.
We were thrilled when we saw a shooting star streak past the lights and I managed to catch it on camera.
The second morning, we awoke to a thick fog that enveloped our glass igloo in its wet embrace, leaving droplets of condensation inside my camera lens and concealing the peaks of the Lyngen Alps across the fjord.
The Northern Lights still shone from behind the fog that night, giving it a spooky and eerie glow that would not look out of place in a Stephen King movie.
On the third morning, too, we woke to a thin fog that dispersed quickly as the day progressed, but not without leaving us a magical fogbow that left us marvelling at Mother Nature’s generosity.
Sometimes called a white rainbow, a fogbow is similar to a rainbow. However, as its name suggests, it appears as a bow in fog rather than rain.
Because of the very small size of water droplets that cause fog, the fogbow has only very weak colours, with a red outer edge and bluish inner edge.
The Glass Igloo Experience at Lyngen North
A year back, when I was planning my bucket-list trip to see the Northern Lights, I decided to go via Tromsø (for reasons I explain here).
I’d read about something similar at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland, but the glass igloos there cost three times as much as the ones at Lyngen North. At both resorts, they tend to get sold out pretty quickly.
The glass igloos at Lyngen North are self-contained studio apartments outfitted with a kitchen with stovetop, refrigerator and electric kettle.
They also have heated floors, private bathrooms with tinted glasses for privacy, free high-speed WiFi and private parking. The bed is ultra comfortable and has a slightly oversized mattress.
As of now, the property doesn‘t feature a restaurant, but the owners were in the process of laying down the foundations for one when we were there, and Ola hopes to have it running by December 2018.
The kitchen cabinets have crockery, cutlery, coffee cups, wine glasses, salt, pepper, sugar and a few spices. But, for now, you have to carry provisions and cook your own food. Ola stopped at a REMA 1000 supermarket on the way to let us pick up groceries.
Since I don’t have much faith in my cooking skills, we mostly picked up canned food, and stuff we could use to rustle up a quick meal.
If you stay in the glass igloos in the summer (for the Midnight Sun experience) you might have trouble sleeping at night because of sunlight streaming in from the top.
We went in early autumn and the short night (most of which we spent staying up to watch the lights) made it difficult to get a sound sleep since the sun rose pretty early.
The glass igloos also act as greenhouses, trapping heat inside, which makes the afternoons quite warm. Since igloos are, for the most part, designed to keep the wind out, very little wind enters the room even if you keep the door open, which we did most of the day.
But there’s an air-conditioner to keep you cool during the warm afternoons and who wants to spend all day inside anyway, when you can sit by the shore and enjoy the breeze and the spectacular views of the Lyngenfjord and the Lyngen Alps.
Since the temperature was a very bracing 10-12 degrees C in the day, we were quite comfortable sitting outside. The nights, however, got much colder and I needed 3 layers to stay warm when I was out watching the Northern Lights.
The property also features a hot bath under the stars that you can climb into when it gets too cold. We chose not to use it because of the potential for chlorine allergies.
Activities at Lyngen North
Lyngen North is located in a remote peninsula of Norway. If you’re lucky, you may get to see moose or elk, foxes and rabbits in the nearby woods and fields.
Birdwatchers will find quite a few species to spot, from noisy seagulls squawking in the distance to ducks and many more species of birds that we couldn’t identify.
Depending on the time of year you visit, there are quite a few outdoor adventure activities you can enjoy, including snowshoeing, skiing, fishing, and visiting the Reisa national park nearby.
The owners offer boats on hire to go boating and fishing on the fjord. Not being well-versed in the art of boating, we chose to opt-out of these activities.
Instead, being the history buff I am, I wanted to visit the ruins of an old German fort near the property. The Spåkenes kystfort (Spåkenes coastal fort) is a ruined coastal fortress built by the Germans during World War II, and it has quite a fascinating history.
The Spåkenes kystfort is on the Storbakken hill, the highest point of Spåkenes and consists of four bunker complexes, each of which included a gun, ammunition bunker, trench, and infantry bunker.
The work to build the bunkers began in 1941. After the Germans left, one of the bunkers suffered extensive damage in an explosion.
Unfortunately, the Storbakken hill was rather steep for me and I couldn’t climb it thanks to an old injury, so we weren’t able to see the fort with our own eyes. Arun, being half-German, was not impressed with German fort ruins and didn’t care to climb and explore it on his own.
However, the view from the coastal road leading from Lyngen North to the fort and beyond was so amazing, we took a long walk along it, admiring the homes along the cliffs and imagining what it would be like to live in one of them.
If you’re a Liverpool fan, you’ll find a kindred soul in one of Ola’s neighbours who seems to be quite vocal about his devotion to the football team.
If you don’t want to drive or can’t drive yourself to Lyngen North (we didn’t) contact Ola directly and ask if he can pick you up. Of course, you must pay for the pickup and drop, but Ola’s a very thoughtful and accommodating young man and he’ll do what he can to help you. As a bonus, you get to ride in his Tesla. 🙂
If like us, you don’t speak or understand Norwegian, you might find it hard to read the labels on groceries in the supermarket, as some of them are not translated into English. Ask for help from the person at the counter. When we couldn’t locate the butter, we asked the lady at the checkout counter and she helped us find it. Norwegians speak English so communicating is not a problem at all.
The sale of alcohol is restricted in Norway and it’s only available in certain stores. Ask a local for help to find a store that sells it. Ola took us via the AMFI Pyramiden on the mainland side of Tromsø city where we bought some wine and a bottle of Jagermeister.
To identify the mountain peaks in the Lyngen Alps and some on the way, Arun used the PeakLens app on Google Play. It helps you precisely identify mountain peaks and hills in real-time and works online and offline with pre-downloaded maps.
To know how likely you are to see the Northern Lights, you can download the My Aurora Forecast app. It tells you exactly how likely you are to see the Aurora borealis and offers information about solar wind activity and high-resolution sun imagery. However, your chance of seeing the lights depends largely on a combination of solar activity, good weather, and a healthy helping of luck.
If you want to stay in the glass igloo at Lyngen North, you’ll have to book months in advance, as they have only two and they tend to sell out very quickly. Contact Ola if you’re not sure about availability.
Finally, do spend at least 2 to 3 nights (if not more) at Lyngen North. No photos can capture the magnificent views of the fjord and Lyngen Alps, and Lyngen North is truly one of the best places to stay in Norway to see the Northern Lights.