When I think of my favorite vacation… I can’t help but think of Greece! I can’t wait to go back one day! Along with breathtaking views, the people of the country stole our hearts; they were so genuine, caring and welcoming. The food was outstanding; every meal was really fresh and delicious. I was in feta heaven to say the least.
We went for eight days and visited three cities: Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. If you have more time, I would suggest going to Crete as well.
On the first day, we arrived in Athens around noon, where we picked up our ferry tickets to travel to Santorini the next day. We went to our hotel, freshened up, grabbed something to eat and walked to the Acropolis (just minutes away from our hotel). We then got drinks and dinner and called it an early night because we had to wake up super early. Athens was a city that had a lot of history and charm to it. We didn’t get a chance to explore Athens as much as neither my husband nor I are big on history, however we did get to see the Parthenon and stadiums and enjoyed our time there.
The next morning, we took a ferry to Santorini and stayed there for three nights. Santorini was the MOST beautiful place I have been to, thus far. The beaches and the sunsets were surreal and it seems as if very corner of Santorini is breathtaking. We chose our hotel a little out of town to get a little privacy and the service and staff were both spectacular. The breakfast and the sunsets were my favorite parts of the day. We started every morning by having breakfast in our balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea with the volcanoes in the background. Then we would head out to explore the different beaches and the town centers – Fira, and Oia. We started a tradition of having sunset drinks in Athens and continued it throughout our entire trip; this is something we still do now when we go on vacation. The sunsets were so beautiful from anywhere in Santorini… every sunset made me want to hold time still and keep reliving that moment. It sounds crazy, but Santorini is really that amazing.
Our next stop – Mykonos. We took the ferry there and stayed for three days and two nights. Mykonos happened to be extremely windy when we were there which limited us from doing certain things but we made the best of it. We stayed around the little Venice area, the streets are so fun to get lost in – there are an abundance of shops, restaurants and bars there. The cobblestone streets of Mykonos have a photo op in every corner! Mykonos is known as a party island – so if you want to party, this is the place to go! Our agenda wasn’t really to party but regardless, we had a great time there!
Finally, we took the ferry back to Athens to wrap up our trip. We spent our last night in Athens exploring Monastiraki Square and eating gyros!
- I would suggest taking “fast” ferries while island hoping if you are planning on taking ferries. You can also fly but ferries are easier since you don’t have to worry about luggage and they are large with lots of accommodations such as a restaurant.
- Bring comfortable shoes; you will be walking a lot.
- Bring lots of sunscreen!
I would say stay in Athens for 2 nights max – unless you’re really into history, this is enough time to see the main attractions and explore the city. (For us, it was the day of arrival and day of departure)
Sights to see:
- Acropolis/ Parthenon (tour is optional although we just walked through it all ourselves and there are plenty of signs and maps the help navigate through)
- Monastiraki Square is a fun area to walk around in – they have lots of shops and restaurants!
- Go to a rooftop bar at sunset/ night time for great views and drinks. The two best ones are 360 Cocktail Bar and A for Athens.
- Go to Syntagma Square to see the changing of the guards (we didn’t do this)
Food: we just walked in wherever the menu looked good!
Where to stay: we stayed at two different hotels – the day we arrived, we stayed at The Herodion, because of the proximity to the Acropolis. We stayed at A for Athens on our last day it was right near the Monastiraki Square, and their roof top view is the best!
The best mode of transportation is renting an ATV and walking around. You can ask for rentals at your hotel or just walk around downtown and you will find many rental shops. Get one between two people and make sure you get the more powerful ones because there are many steep hills on the island. You can basically explore the entire island by yourself. There are very limited taxis so plan out your day/ night accordingly.
Where to stay: We stayed at Petit Palace in Fira. I would go back here a million times, as the customer service was exceptional and the views were fantastic. From cleanliness to a friendly staff that’s accommodating, I really feel this hotel would be hard to beat!
Things to do and see:
- Go to Oia for sunset and dinner one night. Get there early enough to get good seating for the sunset. It gets REALLY packed there.
- Amoudi Bay for sunset and dinner (also near Oia)
- Santo Wines for wine tasting! We didn’t do a tour, we just did regular testing at their restaurant. If you plan on going here for sunset go early, all the good spots will be taken. We walked from our hotel as it was only 10-15 minute walk, but you can also take an ATV or have your hotel call you a taxi.
- Walk around Fira for many shops/restaurants, beautiful views
- Go to the beaches. We went to Red beach and then Kamari Beach (black beach) where you can sit at the beach, drink, eat food and even have hookah (based on the place you go to). The beach chairs are part of the restaurant so they are free as long as you order stuff. There are many next to each other!
- Other things you can do that we did not: to visit the volcano and ride donkeys in Oia.
- We also got a fish pedicure in Fira which was a pretty cool experience.
Restaurants/bars in Santorini:
All restaurants are good and comparable so you can’t go wrong. Below are few I remember that we went to.
- Lucky’s in Fira (town) for really awesome soulvaki. They also have a hot sauce, which was excellent. It is a hole in the wall in Fira but definitely a staple of the town and known worldwide so I highly recommend this! We went twice because we loved it so much!
- Italian Restaurants are good in Fira. We went to Convivium.
- In Oia, we went Skala. (This place was okay, you can just walk around look at the menu and walk in, also can ask your hotel for suggestions.)
- There was a hookah bar/ club type of place called Two Brothers – fun place to hang out and grab a drink… we were out all day so stopped here for an hour to hang out and the went about our day. (The name or the place might have changed because we went about 3 years ago)
- One of my favorite places was a cocktail bar called Kameni which has now changed to PK Bar in Fira. We went there for sunset and it was amazing – the drinks are outstanding.
Where to stay: We stayed at Rocabella Mykonos, it is very boho-chic type of hotel. They had a PILLOW MENU; it was about 10 pages, how cool! Also this hotel had the best damn orange juice I have ever had in my life, I still dream about that orange juice and I’m not even a big OJ person.
Sights to see:
- Little Venice
- The windmills, you walk through little Venice to see them.
- We did not do much sightseeing in Mykonos as it was windy and got a bit chilly the days we were there. We rented an ATV and went to the beaches – Paradise Beach, Super Paradise Beach, Platios Gialos, Psarrou Beach.
- Definitely go to both Paradise Beach and Psarrou Beach for a party scene during the day. Psarrou is where the celebrities go – pretty small but very exclusive and definitely on the pricy side. We went, grabbed a drink and then left because there was no room. So if you are trying to go there to party, get there early!!
Night life: we didn’t really go out much, we just went to this outside/inside bar which had hookah. It is called Narghile… we just hung out there both nights. The owner was very nice and gave with free shots of Mastika. Mastika is a Greek liquor; make sure you guys try that if you drink!
HAVE FUN!! The people of Greece made us love this country! Get lost in the little streets of Greece and savor each and every moment you are there, it will leave you wanting to stay just a little more. Happy Traveling!