11 hours on a plane was well worth it for this vacation. Greece was everything I imagined and more! I know that I have been promising to post about my trip here on the blog, but we took so many pictures that it has taken weeks to go through them all and narrow them down. Well, the wait is over and this may be a long post, but it will be a two part series that way I make sure I don’t miss any details.
We flew from Houston to Philadelphia and had about a 5 hour lay over. We decided to get the vacation started with a mini tour of Philly, and grub on some philly cheesesteaks. Since we checked in our carry on bags, all we had was our back packs with us (looking like real tourist), and called a uber to and from the airport. From Philly we flew into Athens for one day. We started our trip in Athens because they offer the cheapest flights into Greece.
WHERE TO STAY:
Staying in a hotel can become pricey when traveling with a group. Airbnb is definitely the way to go when you are trying to travel on a budget, and don’t want to rack up the cost of hotel rooms for each night. We stayed in a lux apartment that was located near the train that was literally one stop away from the Acropolis. I highly recommend where we stayed because its also across the street from their “night life” and restaurants. The host was super nice and arranged all of our transportation to and from the airport, and even gave us a map and a mini lecture on where to go, eat, and how to get around. Seriously, we would have been lost if it wasn’t for him.
The apartment was a 2 bedroom, with a pull out couch (that wasn’t as comfy according to Sasha), and two modern bathrooms. There was a roof top Jacuzzi and lounge chairs which were perfect because you could see the Acropolis from the roof top.
WHAT TO DO:
- Acropolis: 30 Euro
- Acropolis Museum: 5 Euro
- View Olympic Games Stadium: 5 Euro
- Parliament: Free (every hour is the change of the guards show)
- Flea Markets (great prices for souvenirs, cheaper in comparison to Santorini and Mykonos
We flew from Athens to Santorini, which was only a 30 minute flight. I would say get to the airport early because it is about a 10 minute walk in the airport to the next terminal. The check in process is a little different, so make sure to keep out your boarding pass and ID along the walk as they will check it 3 times before you get to your gate.
Set up your transportation ahead of time, that way you have direct transportation from the airport to your hotel and or Airbnb.
WHERE TO STAY:
If you are looking for something a little outside of the ordinary, and don’t mind not having locks on the doors, a private pool, a true Grecian feel stay, and the best homemade omelets then opt for the Greek Goddess Bed & Breakfast. Zoi was super nice, and very informative. She literally planned out our whole trip while we were there, and made travel super easy. She set up our transportation to and from the airport, as well as our rental car while we were in the city. The property is set up more like an apartment feel, and the unit we had a loft at the top with two beds on the floor.
One of the cons about the airbnb is that the car service doesn’t know how to locate the b&b, and we got lost. Our driver literally just left us on the side of the road, and we had to walk and have Zoi and crew come find us. There are no street names, so it is really hard to find and not a way to really translate how to get to the location.
WHAT TO DO:
- Black Sanded Beach (tons of bars and restaurants along the beach. If you eat at one of the restaurants you get a free lounge and shade on the beach) The beach is very rocky, but the black sand is so beautiful and a must see.
- Rent a car or ATVs to get around
- Red Rock Beach (can’t swim there, but they have trails to take you there or you can layout on the beach)
- Drive to Thira (bars, clubs, nice restaurants) All of the clubs and bars are free to get in, and most give out free drinks if you come to their club. It was like they were all in competition to get the biggest crowd. Nonetheless, they played current music which was a good thing.
- Oia: Go early in the morning (around 10am and spend the day there), because it gets very crowded with tourist, and ruins the experience. We were lucky that Zoi told us ahead of time, and Ahmad was able to capture tons of shots for Trenace and Bruce engagement pictures. Oia was my favorite by far because the views and scenery is so beautiful. Everything in Oia is very expensive, and prices are increased due to it being such a big touristy spot.
- Catamaran Tour: 160 Euros per person, but totally worth it. Take the sunset tour because you will get the best views! Our tour had a smaller group than usual so it wasn’t to crowded, which made it perfect. The food on the tour was amazing, and everyone went for seconds. I was actually quite surprised about how good the food was.
Let me start off by saying that I had no ideas what to expect about our ferry ride, but I was just shocked all the way around. The ferry was late arriving, but once it did all I saw was hundreds up people rushing off of a boat with their luggage. At the same time they were routing us onto the boat, and screaming for us to drop our luggage off along the wall and get up stairs. I was so lost and confused, and my husband and I was trying to figure out why there was so much commotion going on. Once we put our bags up, we went upstairs and it was like heaven. The boat looked like a luxury airplane and was broken up into 3 levels. You could go outside and sit there if you liked which was pretty cool, or stay in your seat. They had a bar and food station which was much needed after waiting for the boat to arrive.
The ferry ride was very choppy, and many of the passengers got sea sick. They said it is usually not like that, but just imagine a huge boat going super fast over large waves. It wasn’t a good feeling at all, but I think they were trying to get back on track with their time frame.
The ferry is around 67 euros per person, and we went with Hellenic Seaway. You can either buy your tickets online ahead of time, or wait last minute like me and Ahmad and buy the tickets last minute at their kiosk in the city. The ferry ride wasn’t full at all, but that could have also been because we traveled during the last week of their busy season, so it was pretty quiet.
WHERE TO STAY:
We stayed in the most beautiful villa (Villa Veggera Super Paradise) in the mountains overlooking the ocean. The view was amazing, and everything about our house was great. I literally wanted to send for the kiddos and move in there permanently. Our host was Kat, and she was super sweet and set us up with a personal driver for the weekend. Since the house is in the mountains, taxi services do not know how to get to the house, so it was the best decision. Our villa was in the mountain overlooking Paradise Beach, and literally within walking distance (well a hike down) to the beach and bars. The night view was to die for! My husband caught some great shots for our pool , and there was a fire work show on our last night which I swore they did just for us.
WHAT TO DO:
- You will need a driver, especially if you stay in the mountains. 35 Euros each way, so plan your day and outings accordingly
- Jackie O – super posh and cute bar and restaurant
- Paradise Beach
- Super Paradise
- Go grocery shopping if you stay in Airbnb, as the food is very expensive here. The grocery store there is so cute (weird, right?) but foreal its the cutest place I’ve ever seen. We cooked one of the nights, and got meats from their fresh meat market and it was so good!
- Watch the sunset at Scorpios
- Go to town where there are tons of shops, restaurants, and even can walk through the village and see the everyday life. I was so amazed by all the blue doors surrounded by white everywhere, and a lot of the people had their doors open so you could see in side (or maybe I was just being nosy).
THINGS TO KNOW:
- wear tennis shoes or comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking in Greece
- We went the last week of September, which was the end of their season. The beaches and bars were closing in Mykonos on our last day. The weather is cool during that time of year so bring a light jacket, scarf, and hoodie. It gets very windy there, so you want to make sure you stay warm at night.
- carry cash and exchange your money at the airport because we found that the exchange rates were better
- no tips, no tax
- plan your budget around getting around everywhere (taxis, car service, train, etc)
- get more bang for your buck when you book airbnb; however their are really nice hotels that you can stay in especially in Oia, but they are super expensive.
Ok well, I think this post is long enough, but if you have any questions please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would love to help you plan your trip or answer any questions you may have. I feel like I left out so much, but I tried to hit the main points for you all.
Talk to you all later…. I’m already planning my next vacay!