AUGUST 27, 2022

My Favorite Mediterranean Villages

discover PICTURESQUE spots in EUROPEAN ISLANDS

Traveling this Summer felt so special because I was able to discover unique hidden spots that I had never heard of before. After spending a magical day visiting multiple traditional villages in Tinos island, Greece, I decided that I would make it a mission to find and explore new villages in all my next destinations in other Mediterranean islands such as Mallorca, Spain and Sicily, Italy. I am excited to share those magical spots and explain why they will forever stay in my heart. 

VALLDEMOSSA

Mallorca, Spain

Walking through this picturesque Spanish village in Mallorca felt like scrolling down a dreamy Pinterest board. 
Valldemossa is known for its warm color palette, green doors and small alleys. Every single corner looked like a painting. This village is a 30 mn drive from Palma, the capital of Mallorca and can also be reached using the local bus. I came from Sollér and the total commute by bus was about 1hr and costed under $5. 
What I loved most about Mallorca was how peaceful and quiet it was. We went on a Saturday afternoon and had a lovely 3-hour stroll, stopping in small shops for ice cream or pastries. There were no queues anywhere, alley paths were clear, and occasionally you would see locals getting some fresh air outside their beautiful homes or watering their decorative flowers while giving us the sweetest smiles. 
This is a place I will keep dreaming about over and over again; pure magic!

PYRGOS

Tinos, Greece

While in Mykonos, I decided to take the ferry and visit the nearby island of Tinos for a day trip. 
The transit time is 20mn and costs about $25 for a roundtrip ticket. 
An awesome friend of mine lives there so I was lucky to have an amazing tour guide. 
I discovered the beautiful village of Pyrgos where we stopped by for dessert and I kept getting lost in the endless beautiful alleys. I was in awe of the minimalist architecture, whitewashed walls, beautiful arches and colorful doors and windows everywhere. The best part; no crowds unlike Mykonos. 
Here you could feel the authenticity of the place, with locals slowly enjoying their meals in beautiful outdoor restaurants. I just felt a wonderful sense of ease, love and inspiration.

Tinos island has so much to offer and I had the amazing opportunity to visit other picturesque villages such as Ysternia, where we had a wonderful brunch at Mayou, or Kardani where we watched the beautiful sunset (it still feels like a dream). 
We also got to visit beautiful beaches such as Kolibithra known for its mushroom-style umbrellas and Agia Thalasa, a secluded beach surrounded by marble formations. 
I loved discovering the seaside village of Panormos,  where I got to experience an authentic greek taverna for lunch. We enjoyed an assortment of traditional recipes such as tzatziki, eggplants, grilled octopus and calamari. 

Tinos is a place I will definitely visit again one day. The day I spent there holds a very special place in my heart for so many reasons. 

CEFALU

Sicily, Italy

After Spain I decided to go to Italy and to stay on brand with my island-themed Summer, I picked Sicily. 
I landed at Palermo airport and took the train to Cefalu, a small seaside village with beautiful architecture, amazing food and a famous cathedral. 
This was one of the most relaxing weeks of my break. I sometimes even forgot that I owned a phone. The beach was a 5mn walk away and during my entire stay I was committed to a sunrise and sunset swim. 
This village probably has the highest number of gelato spots per square mile that I have ever seen. I discovered so many iterations of pistachio, from ice creams, to sauces, creams, etc...
I highly recommend visiting Cefalu and really immersing yourself in the Italian 'dolce farniente'; the pleasure of doing absolutely nothing. 
This place is a famous vacation spot in Sicily but unlike places like the Amalfi Coast it wasn't very touristy (yet) and the majority of people I met were Italians from other regions enjoying the Summer with their families. 

Cefalu was special for me due to its proximity to the beach and abundance of unique restaurants and beautiful shops. When I wasn't napping on my balcony or swimming at the beach, I was walking around beautiful streets and discovering new local culinary and artistic creations.

FINIKIA

Santorini, Greece

This is a small traditional village in Santorini, near Oia and I am so happy I stayed here. 
Finikia is a 10mn walk from the Oia pedestrian street and gives you the benefit of proximity to the iconic Santorini views while also the authentic experience of being somewhere with a local community. 
I stayed at Lotza Studios, which used to be a traditional greek family home that has been turned into a guesthouse with a plunge pool. 

This village felt very special. I loved having two amazing restaurants with the most delectable meals, Lefkes and Krinaki just 2mn away. Another highlight was being able to walk peacefully and experience life in the village like a local. 

If you visit Santorini. I highly recommend skipping the touristy hotel spots and staying in Finikai instead. You should still visit beautiful Oia, Imerovigli and Fira, but it's nice to come 'home' at the end of the day to something quieter and more authentic.

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