Getting to the Greek (islands)

This is my second visit to Greece but my first time on the islands.  When I had first made my way out there back in 2012 I was pretty disappointed because the pictures you see advertised are mainly of the islands so there is none of that scenery in Athens.  Totally my fault because I should've done more research lol This time around I was prepared and on a mission. We started our trip in Athens to visit some relatives and made our way toward the Islands to explore Mykonos, Crete (by accident, keep reading) and Santorini. 

-Souvenirs: I would highly recommend buying all your souvenirs in Athens, especially if you are traveling from island to island. Of course you’re going to see different things in each location but most places have the same items and in Athens it will be way cheaper.  The islands tend to be more expensive and you will for sure overpay. See my top souvenir list below: 

  • Olive picker

  • Olive Oil

  • Evil Eye (necklace, bracelet, etc.)

  • Greek sandals

  • Any items made from Olive wood

-Food: My favorite thing about Greece is of course, the Greek salads.  They are so good and have no lettuce whatsoever.  Next would be the chicken kebabs and gyros.  These are a definite must try.  My favorite Greek beer was called Fix.

-Currency: EURO

-Language: Greek (duh lol)

Helpful Tips:

-Haggle with the vendors to get the best possible price, they will give you better deals if you have cash. 

-Most hotels offer a pick up service (for a fee)  from the airport or port.  Call ahead of time and give them your arrival schedule.  It was so much easier than waiting for a taxi. 

-Ask cab drivers for the receipt so they don't overcharge you.

-Fly from island to island if you can, it’s only 45min to an hour. If you keep reading you'll know why I highly recommend it lol

-If you fly, remember that the airports on the islands are small, be sure to check-in online 3 hours ahead of time or face a ridiculous fee of a "late charge,'' plus a baggage fee if it doesn't fit the standard carry-on criteria.  We flew from Santorini to Athens to avoid the boat drama and got on Volotea airlines.  Check the direct website for whichever airline you fly on to see any extra charges and fees. 

ATHENS:

-Transportation: The best way to get around is by the trolley, underground subway or taxi. Be careful with taxi drivers though, they tend to over charge so always ask for the receipt because it will tell you the actual price on it, do this before you pay.  You can purchase subway tickets by the kiosk in the station. 

-Nightlife: Make sure you go bar hopping; you can get a great view of Acropolis at night while it’s all lit up and it’s AMAZING.  Nothing like what you see in the states.  There are a ton of bars with this view so it won’t be hard to find one. 

  • A for Athens: Cool bar but didn't serve beer, only mixed drinks but a great view of Acropolis and located in Monastiraki.

-Parthenon:  Located in the heart of Athens at the very top of Acropolis and is in extremely close walking distance from Syntagma square and Monastiraki Flea market.  It costs 20 EURO to enter but there are different types of tickets to buy, we only purchased the acropolis entrance fee.  It’s quite a bit of walking so make sure to wear comfy shoes and clothes since the weather can be pretty hot and humid around this time (July).

-Monastiraki Flea Market:  We spent a lot of time in this area because there are so many food and shopping spots located around, as well as bars and many of the historical sites are within close walking distance (Parthenon, Hadrian’s library, etc.)  The local metro is located right in the middle so you can easily jump on it from the center of the flea market making it a perfect little area to explore.  This is where I bought 90% of my souvenirs because there is so much around and you can negotiate prices with the locals. 

- Lykavittos Hill:  The best way to get here is by taxi, way too hard to make the trek up the long road (you'd be walking in the road), especially in the hot and humid weather.  We were dropped off at an area that takes you up by an elevator, which costs 10EURO, plus the taxi ride, totally not worth it lol I suggest just having the taxi driver drop you off at the top for one fee instead.  It is the most beautiful view of the entire city of Athens; you can even see the acropolis and Parthenon from the top.  

MYKONOS:

-Paradision Hotel:  Small,  quaint, clean, very helpful staff and located right in front of New Port, which is perfect if you decide to travel by boat from Athens to Mykonos. Breakfast is complimentary and served by the pool.  The hotel is located about an 5 min taxi ride from the city, totaling 7 EURO.  I would not recommend walking because there aren’t any sidewalks and you’ll be in traffics way. 

-Transportation: There are only 30 taxis on the whole island, so try to stay as close to the city center as possible.  If you plan on renting a car or ATV you would need an international driver’s license and many places would not rent to us.  At least that’s what we were told at a few places; in Santorini we were able to rent ATV’s with no problem so who knows. You can also take a water taxi or the local bus for 2 EURO each way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Mykonos Windmills:  Located in the heart of the city and they are just as beautiful in person as they are in pictures.  We were able to get so many great photos here.  I highly recommend going at sunset for the best scenery. 

-Nightlife: Mykonos is known as a party island, they have a famous club called Scorpios which is supposedly the spot to party at.  They are also lots of places on the beach where you can rent an umbrella, lounge chair and towel for about 15 to 30 EURO depending on the place you visit.  Ricky and I opted for the beach party and had a great time swimming and drinking.  Totally going back with all our friends. 

-Delos: This is an archaeological island with many ruins.  If your into history it's a must see, you can only get to the island through a guided tour and it last's about 4-5 hours.  I booked my adventure on Viator. Be prepared because it will be very hot, make sure to wear a hat and bring lots of water.  There is only one store that sells food and it's extremely overpriced.  You can also buy snacks on the boat. 

CRETE:

-So the story behind this misadventure is plain and simple, we missed our exit while docking in Santorini and got stuck on the boat for an extra 12 hours. The reason we missed it is because the boat was still moving and we thought it was still pulling into the harbor, sadly, we were wrong lol  At the time it felt like a movie and we couldn’t believe it was happening.  We could literally see the deck fold up and the boat push away from the dock.  We were totally bummed because we lost a day but luckily the crew was very helpful, they let us keep our cabin and we eventually made our way back.  A boat ride that should’ve lasted 6 hours ended up taking us 18. We eventually docked in Heraklion and with our 3 hour layover we were able to have some of the best seafood, explore the town, see the old Venetian walls, do a little souvenir shopping and watch a band play in the city center.  Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands so we are definitely heading back here soon for longer than a few hours lol  

SANTORINI:

Fileria Suites: This hotel was absolutely gorgeous; the rooms were so comfortable we didn’t want to leave them.  Every morning we were served complimentary breakfast in our rooms on the balcony.  The only downside was there wasn’t a pool, but we didn’t mind because we spent our days at the beach.  It was located right across from the city of Oia (e-ya), we literally took one step across the street of our hotel and there we were.  The view was breathtaking.  I highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting; the staff was super helpful and accommodating.  They helped us book our boat tour and ATV rental.  A one stop shop =)

-Location: There are two areas that are recommended to stay at, one is Oia (e-ya) and the other is Fira.  I personally liked Oia, which is where we stayed.  The views were exactly what you would see in the pictures.  We visited Fira while riding around on the ATV and in my personal opinion it wasn’t anything spectacular, view-wise.  The city was great and bustling with tourists, shops and food but if you want to see those picturesque views Oia is the spot. 

-Transportation: We rented an ATV and toured ourselves around the island for a day, I highly recommend it.  We paid 65 EURO for the rental.  Other than that there are taxis available. 

-Nightlife: Santorini is a lovers island, there are clubs but not as many as Mykonos.  It's definitely more relaxing and scenic.

-Boat tour:  We were able to book a boat tour (caldera cruise) around the island and had a stop off near the hot springs to take a dip by Nea Kameni Volcano.  It was a small group of 15 people max and cost about $150 per person.  It was a great little adventure which included food and drinks.

-The below photos are taken across the street from our hotel with tons of restaurants and shops.