Laura and I spent a very hot 10 days traveling around Greece and loved every minute of it. Everyone we met was very helpful and passionate about the beauty of their country.
Sites Visited: Athens (2 days), Meteora (2 days, 1 night), Delphi (1 night, half a day), & Santorini (4 days).
Favorite Things: Cats, Feta, Dolmas, Mythology/History, Landscape, Wine.
Things to know: As of this year Santorini is limiting the number of cruise ships that are allowed to enter their island, as they are negatively impacting the environment. If you were planning to reach Santorini by water vs. flying, please reconsider. When leaving the island, get to the airport early. Just ‘cuz it’s a small island does not mean there won’t be a long ass (disorganized) line to go through security.
Athens Accommodations: Airbnb is cheap and lovely here. Stay anywhere within 20 minutes of the Acropolis for easy access to everything. You can walk everywhere.
Athens Eats: Big portions, cheap prices.
Seychelles – Yes, like the island. Located on a very charming square with outside seating. A little out of the more touristy areas, but worth the 20 minute walk or $3 Uber. Everything is delicious. Don’t be fooled by the cheap prices, the portions are big. There’s an aged tsipouro (a classic Greek liquor) on the menu that’s worth trying, especially if you eat as much as we did. We try not to repeat eat, but this was good enough that we went twice.
Falafellas – I don’t even like falafel and this was delicious. You can “half-size” one for like 3 Euros…it’s not small.
Elvis – Traditional Greek souvlaki, a local favorite. A nice Aussie man ordered for us since we didn’t speak Greek.
Balcony Bar & Restaurant – This was a bit “fancier,” but the prices were still cheap. I had bone marrow with bottarga and uni and it was divine and only 6 euros.
The area called Psyri, just north of Monastiraki, had several cute lunch spots as well. The name of where we ate is escaping me, but it was packed with locals and had the best dolmas we’ve ever eaten.
A for Athens and 360 Bar – Both have rooftop bars from which you can see the Acropolis. The drinks are nothing to write home about, but the view is. We did one during the day and the other at night to see the Acropolis lit up. It was lit.
We stayed in an area just north of Plaka, which was slightly less touristy and full of cute bars. There are lots of inviting spots with pretty courtyards if you wander around between Mitropoleos st. and Kolokotroni st. (look at google maps). We liked Drunk Sinatra and & 7 Jokers. Athens is as alive at night as it is during the day. So far Athens and Paris are our two favorite European cities. Drink all the wine, even the table wine is usually good.
DRINK FRAPPES EVERYWHERE. They are a delicious iced coffee situation that only the Greeks know how to do right. If you want it black tell them, cuz otherwise it comes with milk.
The Acropolis – Duh. In case you forgot, it has existed since BEFORE JESUS! It’s hot, bring water.
Plaka – The area leading up to the Acropolis. It’s touristy, but with good reason. The streets start to ascend the closer you get to the Acropolis, and restaurants are set into the sides of the city along stairs that climb towards the Parthenon.
Yes the cats are stray, but if you love cats like my wife does (she has claimed the title of Catlessi), then you should probably pet them, give them food, and then wash your hands.
Meteora Accommodations: Doupiani House was utterly charming and has a lovely patio with an incredible view of the mountains. Sit out there and drink wine after sundown and watch the lights from the town sparkle. I think it was 70 Euros for the night. It’s located in Kastraki, the neighboring town to Kalampaka, which is the main town in the Meteora area. We liked Kastraki better.
Meteora Eat/Drink: Lots of good little local restaurants. We liked Meteora Vavitsas (bellow). Wifi is spotty, so if you need it there’s a coffee shop called Rapsody.
Meteora Do/See: Meteora is about a 4.5 hr drive from Athens. Make sure you stay over at least one night. It’s famous for monasteries built onto the tops of mountains. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. One monastery is closed each day of the week, but you can do the other five all in one day. If you only want to do one or two (climbing involved), The Great Meteoran Monastery and Varlaam where our faves. There are two spots to catch the sunset from up in the mountains over looking the valley. Just ask the people wherever you are staying how to get there (they are also marked on google maps). Go at least an hour before sunset if you want to get a good spot to sit. Bring a picnic, or wine and just enjoy the glorious view.
Dephi: We stayed overnight here just to shorten our drive back to Athens, but you could certainly do it on your way to or from Meteora. Give yourself 2-3 hours to walk around the Sanctuary of Apollo and Sanctuary of Athena. Like everything else worth seeing in Greece, climbing is involved. Arachova is a cute mountainside town nearby where you could grab lunch.
Santorini Accommodations: Santorini is a big price jump from the mainland. We stayed at Finikia Memories, which we loved, but isn’t located directly in one of the main towns, making it more affordable. 125 Euros a night-ish. We ended up being happy that we weren’t in either of the main towns, as they truly are packed with tourists. It just meant we had to take the bus to get into town and rented a mini car one day to go to the beach. The people at the hotel had the car dropped off and picked up from the hotel (super convenient) and it was 60 euros for the day, well worth it to get to the beach! Finikia’s restaurant has a beautiful sunset view as well and cheap yummy wine.
Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna – Quite the hike down from the town of Oia, and you’ll have to steer clear of donkeys, but it’s worth it. They catch their fish fresh every day and grill it right outside the restaurant. Make a reservation for “out front” for the best sunset view. Note, the sunset is long and gets better and better, so eat slow or drink more and just enjoy it.
Domaine Sigalas – This is the oldest vineyard on the island. It’s right down the road from Finikia Memories (drive or take a cab though), and it’s yet another great spot for watching the sunset. One wine flight is 12 tastes and two people can definitely share it, then pick your fave and have a glass, order some snacks and enjoy the beauty.
Oia and Thera – These are the two main towns, with Oia being the “bougier” one. Both have incredible views of the ocean and white building hillside towns that Santorini is famous for. We preferred Oia, but wandering around both was enjoyable. Thera gives you the best view of the volcano, which you can also take a boat out to, but we didn’t.
Beaches – Santorini isn’t actually known for it’s beaches, but we enjoyed going anyways. We went to Parissa, which is one of the black sand (volcanic pebble) beaches (there are also red sand beaches). It’s an “organized” beach, meaning it has lots of beach bars with chairs you rent and people will bring you piña coladas all day. Yes it’s crowded, but the black sand is cool and you’re still on a beach.
YOU WON’T WANT TO LEAVE!