Few people in the world know the Greek islands better than Peter Maneas. As host of the TV series My Greek Odyssey, the Sydney-based Greek-Australian has entertained and educated viewers the world over while sailing around Greece in his yacht, Mia ZoI. But while the luxury of the super-yacht may be the dream for many, Maneas is adamant that you don’t need a yacht to experience the Greek islands.
Speaking to the Ouzo Talk Podcast, the Sydney businessman and TV host says that Greece’s islands are all within reach, even on a modest budget thanks to the country’s maritime infrastructure which includes regular ferries.
“You don’t need Mia Zoi to sail the Greek islands,” says Maneas.
“You could easily do the Greek islands – a Summer, five or six months – on a limited budget and have an awesome time.
“You can enjoy the wonderful infrastructure that the Greeks have, and with €40 you’ll go from island to island.”
But by his own admission, picking the right time to go to each island is a key part of planning your trip – a conclusion Maneas has come to having only now achieved his goal of setting foot on every inhabited Greek island.
“There’s a time to turn up to different islands,” warns Maneas.
“If you turn up to Mykonos in July or August – or Santorini in July or August – and it’s your first Greek island, you may not have the best time.
“If I was travelling to a Greek island, I would go to the smaller islands at peak season (July August). I’d be going to Koufonisi, I’d be going to Skinousa, Donousa, Paxos, Antipaxos.
“If I was travelling to the Greek islands in May or September or October, I’d be going to Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos because that’s the edge of the season – not too many people. You’ll see it well.”
And there’s plenty to see. Even a casual viewing of My Greek Odyssey showcases the diversity that the Greek islands have to offer, from a historical, cultural and gastronomic perspective – among many others – a fact that Maneas puts down to the sparse geography of the country and the tyranny of distance.
“Every island does have its own identity,” admits Maneas.
“We can travel from Sydney to Athens in 23 hours today. You couldn’t do that from island to island 150 years ago.
“They were very distant from each other, so for the last 2000 years – more in some cases, 5000 years), they’ve grown up in their own bubbles so they’ve developed their own personalities. They’re all different.
Having now wrapped filming for seasons five and six and achieved his goal, the inevitable question is; which islands are Maneas’ favourites?
“I get that question asked a hell of a lot – it’s like asking my favourite child?” smiles Maneas.
“But what I do answer that question with is a follow-up question, and that is; ‘what do you like when you visit a location?’
“Do you like history? Do you like hiking? Do you like adventure sports? And if someone answers all those questions, I can generally tell them four or five islands that they can go to. It changes for every person.”
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Find out more about My Greek Odyssey.