Traveling to Greece from the states is a big endeavor, especially from LA! Jet lag is no joke. We did a non-stop flight on Lufthansa from LA to Munich, and then Munich to Athens. All around was about 15 hrs for us to get there, but was overall pretty easy. We went back on forth on whether or not we should take a ferry boat right away to Santorini, or hop on a quick flight, but we were so pooped, we deiced to stay two nights in Athens to recover. I am SO GLAD we did this, as we were exhausted, and it helped us catch up, plus we got to see what we wanted to see in Athens. We thought about tagging the Athens part of the trip to en tail end of our Greece visit, but we were so glad we didn’t! Once we got to the islands, we didn’t want to leave!
WHERE TO STAY IN ATHENS:
We stayed at A77 Suites in Plaka, and it was UNBELIEVABLE! The service and the rooms were top notch! From our room, you could see the Acropolis, and the street surrounding were filled with amazing restaurants and shops! This place is brand new, so I think we were able to get a super good deal on Expedia, but I bet the prices are going to get more and more pricey, because it’s a GREAT place.
From Athens, we headed to Santorini.
There are two ways you can get to Santorini from Athens. Ferry boat or plane. Depending on how quickly and how much you want to spend determines which way you want to go. You can take a fast ferry boat that will take about 5-6 hours, or the slow one which takes about 8. The prices differ on each ferry, but you’re looking at probably about $45-$48 per person. With limited time and being exhausted, we decided to take the 45min flight option, which was about $150 total for both of us.
Santorini is absolutely a dream. The caldera views are simply magical, and the aesthetics of the white buildings on the sides of the cliffs are just breathtaking! Be prepared to walk a TON of stairs. Mike and I are very active people, and were EXHAUSTED due to the amount of stairs and the heat. Luckily, there are many restaurants and cafes you can stop into to grab a drink and rest.
There are a couple of popular places to stay in Santorini. Fira, Imerovigli, and Oia. Many of the cruise ships dock in Fira, where there are many food choices, hotels, and shops. It’s a great place, but was a little crowded, in my opinion. We stayed in Imerovigli, which was more of a residential area. There aren’t as many food stops, but it’s quiet and cozy. This is the place to stay if you don’t want to deal with the crowds, which we prefer. Oia is one of the most popular picture spots that you see when you google Santorini. The shopping here in unmatched to anywhere else on the island. I had A BLAST walking through all of the stores, and peeking in all of the cute cafes. This place looks like something out of a movie. I highly recommend spending at least a day in Oia, just to check it all out. YOU MUST STAY AND WATCH SUNSET HERE. Warning: if you think Oia is crowded in the day time, wait for sunset….. it’s PACKED. Rightfully so, the sunsets are probably the best here than anywhere else on the island. We walked around all day, watched sunset, and then had dinner at the very bottom of the cliff in Amoudi Bay at this amazing fish restaurant called Katina Fish Tavern. You have to walk down almost 1000 steps to get to this place, and the walk back up isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. This was our favorite meal of our entire trip. They caught many fish that morning, and we were able to pick out which one we wanted, and they cooked and served it right there on the waterfront. Just the best! If you have a few days to spend here, I would suggest popping over to the east side of the island and checking out the beach towns! Everything from Perissa beach and south of there is beautiful. The sand is dark, and the water is clear! It almost looks like a black bottom pool! The ocean water in Greece has been my favorite over anywhere I’ve traveled!
WHERE TO STAY IN SANTORINI:
Aqua Luxury Suites- This place has amazing views of the Caldera, and an amazing staff. The rooms were big, and very clean. Be prepared to walk many steps to get to your room though!!
From Santorini, we took the SeaJets ferry to Naxos Island. Naxos was our favorite island because the crowds were a lot less, it felt more rural and authentic, and it had variety. There were so many beaches, small towns, and mountain ranges to explore! Definitely take time and explore Naxos town, as there are so many nooks and crannies that are worth exploring! Our most memorable day there was when we rented a car and drove to the mountain town Halki. The roads are super curvy and unnerving, but the town was so incredible. It was very small, and everyone there lives off the land. There’s goats waiting to be milked, people making and selling cheese, and lamb cooking in a stone oven in the center of town. If you’re vegan, this definitely may not be the town for you… but we LOVED it. It felt so pure and quaint. I also recommend driving around the island and stopping at all of the little beach towns. They are all different, and they are all equally as beautiful. However, our favorite beach was a very secluded one at the very end of island called Panermos. There was barely anyone there, and we couldn’t believe it!! It is a small bay with CRYSTAL CLEAR water. We rented paddle boards there for $8 for an hour. It was incredible.
WHERE TO STAY IN NAXOS:
Illiada Suites- This place is about a 5 min walk outside of town, but it is SO QUIET, and the views are the best we saw in town. Eva and George were totally incredible and were so accommodating. You can’t get a bad room here. All of the room have an equally amazing view in my opinion! The hotel sits right on the cliff side and overlooks Naxos and the crystal blue ocean. We slept with our patio door open overnight and listened to the waves!
After an amazing experience in Naxos, we took the ferry to Paros.
Paros is the JAM. Especially if you are looking for a remote location to spend your vacation. There is not much going on here at all, especially this time of year. We were so glad we ending our trip here, as we were exhausted and just wanted chill time! The two main towns on this island are Parikia and Naoussa. Parikia is the main town of Paros, and it’s beautiful don’t get me wrong… but if you’re going to stay somewhere, stay in Naoussa. Naoussa is a little fishing village on the north side of the island and it’s so incredibly special. There are so many wonderful restaurant and bars, and it has a great nightlife! I highly recommend checking out the bar Trickster, as it was out favorite stop on the island! We stopped there overnight before or after dinner. Both George’s are so accommodating and welcoming! For us, it was definitely worth renting a car to see the island, but to be honestly with you, compared to the other islands, there isn’t that much to see. Naoussa is where it was happening for us! I recommend taking the boat taxi from Naoussa and checking out the different beached in the little bay. Kolimpithres was our favorite beach of that day. Overall, the best beach on Paros was Santa Maria!
WHERE TO STAY IN PAROS:
Villa Isabella- This place is owned by Isabella herself, and she and her daughter are completely sensational. They were there for anything we needed, and treated us as family. The villa is about a 3-5 min walk from town, has beautiful views, and a beach located just below the hotel! There is a pretty large staircase you have to walk up and down to get to and from town and the beach! But hey! It’s a good workout after all of the food you consume during this trip!!
Overall, Greece was amazing. We went in September where the crowds are dying down and some of the stores and restaurants are closing down for the season. We wouldn’t have done it any other way. We love a good, quiet, chill vacation. I hope that you are able to experience it for yourself very soon!!