Greece has been on our bucket list for years. When it came time to plan a celebratory trip, it seemed like the perfect time to go. We were also excited to plan the trip with our close friends, Michael and Shelley.
Choosing Greece was the easy part! From there, we had to research where we wanted to go for our 10 day break, how to fit in all of the highlights, and our mode of transportation between the islands. Here's how we experienced Greece.
We arrived to Athens around 10am and immediately hit the ground running. We visited the the Acropolis and Parthenon, the original Olympic Stadium, and other historical sites. Surprisingly, the jet lag was not horrible since we slept on the plane and arrived in the morning. I highly recommend doing it this way! For dinner on our first night, we ate at Kuzina, which offered a beautiful view of the Parthenon.
One of the main reasons why I wanted to go to Greece was for the food. It did not disappoint. Everywhere we went, we had delicious salads (most do not have lettuce, so are just fresh vegetables), beautiful seafood, pita, the best feta. I could keep writing about the food for a long time! It was fresh, simple, healthy and absolutely wonderful.
The next morning, we had an early wake up call to catch the Blue Star Ferry to Mykonos. There are two ways to travel between islands in Greece - by ferry and by plane. The ferries were not at all what we expected and unlike any ferries in the United States. They were more like cruise ships with restaurants, bars, TVs, and countless places to sit and relax. We enjoyed traveling by ferry.
We arrived to Mykonos in the afternoon and met the owner of our VRBO at the edge of town. Like many places in Europe, there were no cars in Mykonos town. Everyone travels by foot. Once we arrived to our home for the next few days, we were in the center of town and began exploring.
Mykonos is a cross between St. Tropez and Ibiza: glamorous, fashionable and known for its summer beach parties. We spent the afternoon exploring the town and found some great cheap eats. The guys loved the 1 euro gyros throughout Greece. We were surprised that they almost always came with French fries in the middle, but now I find myself craving them.
We spent the next couple of days at the beach. A highlight of our trip for me was venturing to a private beach that we were told was frequented by celebrities and super models. We took a bus and had to ask the bus driver if we were in the right place because it dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. He told us to starting walking and pointed to the start of a very curvy path down a cliff.
When we got to the beach down below, there were mega yachts and a helicopter landing pad. Sam told me that one of the guys on a yacht near by looked like Kit Harrington, and as he came closer, we realized it was him. I'm a big Game of Thrones fan! If you are heading to Mykonos anytime soon, let me know and I can give you directions to the beach.
We also loved watching the sunset in Mykonos by the famous windmills and spent one night at Caprice, a picturesque bar on the sea.
From Mykonos, we headed by ferry to Santorini. Santorini is probably the most photographed island in Greece with its white architecture and blue domes. A volcano eruption hundreds of years ago shaped its landscape and resulted in a semi circle shape that looks out over an underwater caldera. The shape of the island means there are beautiful views from almost everywhere.
In Santorini, we splurged to stay in Oia at a villa built into a cave called Lydia's House. Once again, we met the property caretaker at the edge of town and began the journey to the house. There are no cars in Oia either. We opted to travel with backpacks and are so glad we did. We saw countless groups attempting to lug suitcases down the narrow, winding paths.
Lydia's House was absolutely stunning. It was walking distance to anywhere we wanted to go and had the most amazing view of the caldera. We really appreciated the architecture in Greece and the thought that goes into planning beautiful, functional homes that fit in with the landscape.
We began our time in Oia by venturing to the cliff made famous by Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. To get to the cliff in Amoudi Bay, you have to walk down a donkey path and walk along rocks under the town of Oia. The path takes you through several seafood restaurants that were amazing. The fish were caught right by the restaurant and when ordering, you chose your fish from the counter and they grilled it over charcoal. The cliff jumping was really fun after I worked up the courage to do it.
The following morning, we took a bus to another town on the island called Fira. There is a famous hike from Fira to Oia that we were excited to try. The trail is six miles one way and winds along the cliffs and through small villages. It was one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done. We enjoyed watching the sunset from one of the highest points of the hike.
The next day, Shelley and I surprised the guys with a gift to celebrate graduation from medical school. We spent the afternoon on a catamaran exploring the volcano and different beaches on the island. The day ended with a sunset dinner on the sea that was stunning.
On our last day in Santorini, Sam and I rented an ATV to explore the island. We had a blast exploring small villages and a monastery on the island. We didn't realize this before traveling to Greece, but there are fantastic wines. We visited a vineyard near Oia called Domaine Sigalas and had one of the best wine tastings I've ever had.
The next day, we took a plane back to Athens and spent our last day enjoying the wonderful Greek food and people. We are already dreaming of our next trip and plan to visit some of the smaller islands.
For more travel inspiration, visit sanaratravels.com/blog.