It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that Cornwall and Greece are my two favourite places in the world. In fact, in pre-Covid times you would often find me mermaiding between them regularly.
One a small county in southwest England where I was lucky enough to grow up and call my home, the other a vast country located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, where I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time due to my cruise career. What makes me love them both so much? The colours, the landscapes, the nature, the light – both of them so rich in all these qualities and in many ways so parallel.
Of course, there are many differences too, the consistency of the weather being the main one that comes to mind (you might notice that the photos in this blog were all taken on sunny days!), but when walking along the coastal path near Looe the other weekend, I was struck once again by just how similar the landscape looked to Northern Greece, and so let’s ignore the weather and put the pasties and souvlaki aside for a few minutes…
One of my favourite things about Cornwall! Cornwall has an abundance of bustling fishing towns and villages and just like in Greece, there are even many places where you can buy fresh fish right off the quay. Over the past few years fish restaurants have become more and more popular – Padstow on the north coast has always been renowned for fish restaurants largely due to the presence of Rick Stein’s various eateries, but they are now starting to be more popular on the south coast too. The little gem of Mevagissey is a prime example – with colourful boats and plenty of places where you can sample the catch of the day both in a formal or informal setting. When walking through Meva as the boats come in, I am often reminded of fishing towns in the Peloponnese, such as Gytheio – an unspoilt port town close to Sparta.
Over the August Bank Holiday weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting a private tour to discover some of the gems of North Cornwall, you can find a similar self-guided itinerary here – Gems of North Cornwall. On the day that we were visiting the English Heritage site of Tintagel Castle, we were blessed with the most fantastic weather – cloudless cornflower blue skies and just a gentle breeze – perfect for exploring the vast site! The site which is shrouded in myth and legend never ceases to impress people, as it did my guests on this day, but as we stopped at a quiet section to take a photo out across the Atlantic, I was reminded of archaeological sites in Greece. Knossos Palace on the island of Crete first sprung to mind, but perhaps Sir Arthur Evans made that a little too colourful during the renovations, so the castle in Mytilini on the lush island of Lesvos might be a better comparison of such stunning coastal ruins. And of course, although not a ruin, we should mention the wonderful Minack Theatre near Land’s End at this point which always feels and looks like a Greek theatre!
On the same tour in August, we visited a lesser-known site close to Tintagel - St Nectan’s Glen. Both a geological and spiritual wonder, it makes for a great few hours discovery and can be paired nicely with lunch in their eco-inspired Tree of Life café! From the car park, there is a long wooded-walk along the river to the waterfall, and as you meander your way along the path (and steep steps in places) you happen upon colourful ribbons, inscriptions, and stacked stones called Faerie stacks. The sense of mysticism when walking through this beautiful valley in North Cornwall always reminds me of an expedition cruise I was on which stopped at the off-the-beaten track Greek island of Samothraki. This little-known island is a firm favourite with nature lovers – and with the boulders, natural pools and waterfalls the two places bear great resemblance to each other. Yet I do remember the barefoot walk through the water to the main waterfall being slightly more pleasant in the Greek waters!
I’ve previously written a blog referencing the subtropical climate we have here in Cornwall and every year I am one of the people that grow brightly coloured bougainvillea on my Juliet balcony. It doesn’t always bloom for very long and certainly not to Greek standard, but we try! What does bloom successfully however, is the pink English rose and many of the Cornish cottages are adorned with their pretty pastel colours and subtle fragrance from May to September. A walk along such colourful flowery streets in the summer months can be compared with those on many a Greek island – paired with a little outdoor seat, a crisp glass of white wine…well let’s face it, you could practically be on a Cycladic Island!
And last but not least – the spectacular sunsets!
The Greek Island of Santorini is famed for its incredible sunsets and, having been lucky to sail out of Santorini as the sun is going down, I can certainly vouch for them! Yet Cornwall can definitely compete! The north coast of Cornwall especially boasts some fantastic sunsets all year round, and so striking when paired with the dramatic coastline and sweeping bays. One of my favourite places to chase the sunset is Crantock beach, near Newquay, and in my mind it doesn’t get much better than a swim in the sea, stroll along the sand, some takeaway fish and chips and a spectacular Cornish sunset to end the day.
Thinking of coming to Cornwall next year? Get in contact with us now and let us design the ultimate Cornish holiday for you!
Read more about how we ensure our tours are COVID-19 secure and how we keep you safe.Read More