I've Got A Confession: I Don't Really Like Hiking
By Bella Westaway
I don’t always like hiking holidays.
I know I shouldn’t write that because it’s kind of my job to inspire women to lead adventurous lives, but, you know… I’m also committed to being honest. And the truth is, sometimes they suck.
The main reason is that I really like showers. And make up. And coffee. And earrings. I like glamour, and that doesn't always go hand in hand with adventure.
And sometimes I’m happy to suffer through a bit of not-so-glam to experience something epic, like the remote wilderness of Iceland or Everest Base Camp.
Attempting to be glam at Everest Base Camp... not so successful!
But if I can enjoy an incredible, mind-blowing adventure, have a physical challenge AND wash my hair when it’s over… well, sign me up. Bonus points if cocktails on the beach is also on the agenda.
So I’m writing this blog about our Mt Olympus trip. Not because it’s my job or because I’ve been there – but because it is honestly the most wonderful adventure I’ve ever done.
It’s a trip of contrasts
Zeus' throne, Mt Olympus, Greece.
One day, you’re standing on the summit of Mt Olympus, home of the Greek freakin’ Gods, immersed in cloud and wearing a down jacket. The next, you’re lying on a private beach in the Mediterranean drinking margaritas.
Enjoying my kinda afternoon on glorious Crete. How's that water!
This adventure has lush forests, sun-dappled gorges, sunny coastlines, little Greek fishing villages, gorgeous European towns, and staggering – and terrifying – rock scrambles. It’s summer and it’s winter. It’s coast and it’s mountains. It’s physically challenging and it’s relaxing. It’s perfectly balanced.
That view though! This is ACTUALLY what it looks like.
The food is sensational
Normally on a trek, food tastes great because you’re really, really hungry. But it’s not always that great. The food in Greece is heaven. We enjoyed gourmet banquets on so many occasions we actually felt overfed – not that I was complaining. Fresh fish, Greek salad, baked vegetables, barbequed meats and the most creamy, delicious yoghurt with honey. It is truly EPIC.
Hey, it’s a great time to travel to Greece! This is the best value trip we offer – and it’s not because we’re sacrificing on quality. Instead of the usual hiking accommodation – tents or very basic huts – this was luxury… but at no additional cost. Aside from a few nights in cute but rustic mountain huts, we enjoyed gorgeous accommodation in seaside villages, enjoying fabulous little whitewashed hotel rooms and crisp sheets. The food, wine and shopping is also super affordable! Win, win, win!
The little town of Loutro. I think I could live here.
Travelling with a team of women is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. Sure, this is not specific to this adventure, but I want to point it out because this trip was particularly special for me. We laughed ourselves silly all the way up and down Mt Olympus, chatting to our handsome Greek guides (I know this is not the point but hey… I’m only human!) and learning about the mythology of the place.
What a team. We are sensational.
We enjoyed a night on the town in glorious Chania, sipping cocktails on a cobblestone patio overlooking the water. We skinny dipped in crystal, Mediterranean water, giggling like teenagers. We supported each other through the challenges you inevitably face when you hike challenging trails. Many tour companies talk about making friends on their adventures, but I’m yet to experience one that does it like Wild Women.
The most beautiful girls. We all live in differnet cities across the world, but we'll be friends for life.
The history and culture
So first – Athens. Holy crap. What a place. In one jam-packed, jet-lagged day we explored the Acropolis and its surrounds, marvelling at the ancient ruins, our bellies full of Greek salad and joy.
Then on to Mt Olympus – home of the Gods. This was my childhood dream brought to life. I bought a book of Greek mythology and immersed myself in stories of Hermes and Aphrodite and Hera. Being so immersed in the place that inspired these stories was mind-blowing – it’s hard to explain how much.
I don’t always love hiking holidays but this one I did. Every minute of it.
So if you’re like me, and kinda not really sure if sleeping in tents and eating rice for three weeks is really your thing, but you want to enjoy spectacular nature, a physical challenge, great food, culture and history, this trip is so for you.
It’s so good I’m seriously considering going back!
Want to come to Greece with us? Of course you do! Check out the details of this Wild Adventure here.