First travel experience together… Achtis Hotel.
Can you believe that? Over 10 years together and this is the first time that Xen and I have left the country together! We’ve always intended to go away together but for whatever reason, we always opted for a local getaway instead of flying somewhere new. So, with Covid still a thing, we decided to do the opposite of what everybody else was doing and went abroad instead.
All in all, it was a pretty easy experience although we both agree that planning a better time to sleep / flying later in the day would be a priority for next time. Gatwick was a breeze and the only hiccup that we encountered was the parking barrier not automatically recognising that we had pre paid parking. Xen’s not a huge fan of flying, so naturally I was granted the window seat.
We’ve always had a long list of places that we wanted to visit but we opted to go to Greece and thanks to some high recommendations, stayed at an incredible place called Achtis Hotel just outside of the village Afitos. The hotel was not what I was expecting at all, with an incredible garden area, a couple of free roaming peacocks and amazing rooms – it was actually hard to leave the hotel sometimes!
The hotel was fantastic. Unfortunately after no sleep and a lot of travelling, Xen felt ill and they put her in a room straight away, offering food and drinks to help. They quickly got to know us and we were greeted by name everywhere we went, something that I had never experienced before at a hotel. It felt that we had been going there for years and years, which is exactly the case for most of the people we met whilst staying there. Everybody had been before and they had already planned on coming back in the future. It felt more like a home from home rather than a holiday abroad.
The food was incredible! The breakfasts had everything ranging from cooked meats, cheeses, cereal, fruits and pastries. Their menus had a snacks section which would fill you up in no time and were practically full meals and the dinners there had specials on each day where they used freshly grown vegetables from their garden and local ingredients.
Honestly, the entire experience of Achtis Hotel was amazing and I would highly recommend it to anybody. 10 out of 10.
The village, Afitos, was only a short (though steep) walk away from the hotel. For a small village, it was very busy in the evenings and after speaking to some locals, we found out that Afitos was a popular destination for Greek holidaymakers. There was a long street full of restaurants overlooking Afitos beach and the peninsula, where you could get lunch or dinner with an incredible view.
Amongst the many souvenir shops were great restaurants, bars, ice cream parlours and the odd bakery, it was definitely a pleasure to walk around during the day. That said, sometimes in the evenings it could get very busy and with the smaller streets, we often found it a bit overwhelming. We always felt safe though, which I think is an important point to note. We often found ourselves venturing out of the main village area and exploring away from the shops, which helped us come across an almost private viewing area of the peninsula.
Littered throughout Afitos was artwork which was great to see. From paintings on rocks to garden displays, you didn’t need to walk far to find something new to look at. It really felt that art was a big part of the culture of the village and you could often purchase artwork from street vendors who were painting away right there in front of you.
In the centre square of Afitos, was an orthodox church. It felt like the village had grown around it and it seemed like a focal point for Afitos. It was open to visitors late into the night and was a feature to the village. When we visited, there was a religious festival going on during our final day and it attracted a larger crowd than at night!
Everywhere in Afitos was very welcoming and despite the souvenir shops (which felt more like hand crafted boutique shops rather than tourist shops), it didn’t feel like you had entered your typical touristy location. Everybody loved it when you tried to speak Greek and would encourage it and all of the greek-ness that I’ve heard about from Xen was there. (They never took no for an answer when it came to more food!)
I’ve never really attempted street photography before, as I’ve never felt that I live in a place that would be interesting to people. That said, I’m quite fond of these photos as I feel like I captured the place quite well!
After such a fun trip and with the smooth journey there, of course something had to go wrong on our return journey. When the aircraft was starting their engines, one of the crew members set off the emergency slide at the front. At the time, we didn’t realise that was the reason why we had to leave and of course that meant that passengers thought that something else had actually gone wrong.
We went back to the terminal and were waiting for a couple of hours without any information until finally they said that people can re-board but about 1/3rd of the passengers would have to wait for a flight the following day. (nightmare) Anybody with small children or mobility issues were allowed to board first and then they allowed around 50 more passengers based on a unique number on their ticket.
Thankfully we were allowed to board and returned home the day that we were supposed to, even if it was a few hours later. Easyjet were actually really good about the whole situation and refunded us half of the total cost of our flights due to the delay which we weren’t expecting!
Despite the return journey, the whole experience was incredible and we look forward to going away again!