Oh Greece. What a beautiful country. Greece was probably my favorite place I’ve traveled to so far. Everything about Greece that you’ve seen in pictures or movies is exactly how it is. The people are beautiful. The buildings are as white as you imagine. But the sunsets… my God. The sunsets are everything and more, especially in Santorini. We spent two nights there and I was in complete awe at the colors that were painted across the sky before dusk came. Going there for Myles and I’s 3rd year anniversary was truly something special and more romantic than we could have ever imagined.
The trek to Greece was a long one. We started at PSC and then flew for 30 min. to SEA then another 4 hr. to DTW in hopes of getting Delta One to either FRA or CDG. Unfortunately, we missed Delta One to FRA by two seats but got to sit next to each other on the 6/7 hr flight at least. Right when we were cleared, I immediately bought our ZED on Lufthansa to ATH where we were assigned seats right when we checked in. We had about two hours in between landing in Germany to get to our next gate, which we did just in time. When we arrived at our gate at FRA to Greece, boarding was just about to start. It was a 3 hr flight, and we were fed a hot meal and given drinks. Very great service and thank you to the LH staff that day.
We arrived in Athens at 1:35 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. All taxis from the airport have a set price of about 40 euros to take you anywhere, regardless of where exactly it is. However, the metro from the airport which takes you directly downtown was only 18 euros roundtrip per person, so needless to say we opted for the metro. At this point, we had been traveling for almost 24 hours, so I started to feel a little sick on the ride and was so exhausted, but we pushed through just fine.
In Athens, I opted for an Airbnb rather than a hotel. I am not the kind of person who typically prefers one over the other. I base it all on the location and the pros and cons of an Airbnb vs. a hotel. In Athens, Airbnb’s were way cheaper (about half the price) and everywhere around downtown. I knew we were only doing Athens for one night as well, so I also took that into account. This is the Airbnb we stayed in Athens for $50 a night. It was less than a five minute walk from the metro and was the perfect size for the two of us.
Now, after we checked in, we showered and rested a little but we didn’t have much time. The Acropolis closes at 8 p.m. every night and it was already around 5 p.m. at this point. Instead of taking the metro, we Ubered to the Acropolis, which was very cheap (around $15) and took way less time. When we arrived at the Acropolis, we bought our tickets at the front gate and walked in with about two hours to explore.
After the Acropolis, Myles and I walked around the area. The Acropolis was in the center of everything, with several bars, restaurants, shops etc. surrounding it. We decided on an outdoor restaurant with a great view of the Parthenon all lit up and sat and had a traditional Greek meal with different types of meats, yogurt and fries. Myles had a beer and I had a glass of wine and we gushed about how we could not believe we were finally in Greece after all these months of planning. After dinner, we walked around a little bit more and had some delicious ice cream for dessert before ubering back to our Airbnb. Looking back, it probably would have been fun to check out the nightlife in Athens, but we were so exhausted from all the travel and we had to be up early and back at the airport the next morning. We hung out for a little before calling it a night.
The next morning, we headed back to the metro to catch a ride to the airport. Our tickets were good for a round-trip price, so we didn’t have to go back to the ticket booth or anything. The ride was a little confusing because it involved an extra transfer at one of the stations, which we did not know anything about but thankfully some nice locals helped us out. When we got to the airport, we checked in at the Olympic Air/Aegean Airlines counter. I bought a ZED a few hours prior for about $60 USD each. The man at the counter told us we should be fine to make it on the flight, so we went through security and had brunch while we waited for the flight to start boarding. Once it did, they called our names at the end and assigned us seats and we were on our way!
The flight from Athens to Mykonos was a short one. Myles fell asleep like he normally does and I stayed up and looked out the window. When we landed, it was a dream. While Athens was beautiful, the Greek islands are truly a different experience. Everywhere you turned, there was water and white buildings.
I reserved an ATV in advance for us to get around the island through Superise Mykonos Car & Bike Rental. The cost was 40 euros per day and that included helmets, insurance, pickup from the airport and drop off at the ferry. The owner, George, was very nice and accommodating, even after our arrival time changed! Once we picked up the ATV, we were on our way to our hotel.
We stayed at the Corfos Hotel in Mykonos and LOVED it. It wasn’t too far from Mykonos Town and the rooms were gigantic. We had a living room, full kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The inside was completely white and mesmerizing. The pool was right in the center and they had comfortable lounge beds to relax on. They also included a free hot breakfast. It was only $90/night and we stayed for two nights.
Once we arrived, we were so excited to be there. We immediately put on our swimsuits and took an ATV ride to the closest liquor store. We got a cheap bottle of gin (ballin’ on a budget) and some tonic and went back to the hotel where we drank and hung out by the pool for a couple hours. Then, it was time to hit Mykonos town. I changed into a really cute two piece I had been waiting to wear and we were off. It was abut a 15 minute drive, all along the coast, so we saw some gorgeous views along the way.
I saw pictures of Mykonos all over Instagram before we arrived, and once again, it did not disappoint. The white walls combined with the blue details or vibrant flowers were really a dream. Eventually, after all the walking, we picked a random spot for dinner before heading back to the hotel. In case you didn’t know, Mykonos is known to be Greece’s party island. The party starts late and goes until the early morning. At this point, it was only about 9 p.m. so we had a long way to go before the party started. We decided to take a nap on the huge couch in the living room for a couple hours before we got ready and pregamed for the night.
When we went out, it was about 12 a.m. and we had no idea where we were going to end up. We rode our ATV into town and walked around before finding a cute bar outside that was playing good music. We ordered gin and tonics and eventually linked up with a couple from Chicago who had a hookah they invited us join in on. We ended up getting way more drunk than we planned and had about three or four rounds of drinks. This is what showed me how expensive Mykonos was. That one night out and the cost of 6-8 drinks later was about $130 USD! Myles and I never spend that much money when we’re out so I was shocked when we got the bill to say the least. After we paid, it was about 4 a.m. so we went back to our hotel, drunk and exhausted.
The next morning I planned out for us to beach hop around the island on our ATV.
We had breakfast, then packed our bag with snacks and our liquor before going to the first beach. We actually got kind of lost along the way, but eventually found a nice beach we settled on for an hour or so. From there, we went to check out the famous Super Paradise Beach, which was not too crowded but it was a shoulder month. I was invited to dance on stage with the workers, and shots were 5 euros each, so we had a good time. Next on our list was Tropicana Beach Bar, which was crowded and lively. People were dancing everywhere, ordering food and drinks. We stayed here for a few hours just drinking and hanging out before we drove back to the hotel, as we wanted to beat the sunset since the ways to the beaches were kind of on the back roads.
Drunk again, we took a nap before going out that night. When we woke up, we bar hopped more this time, checking out about 4-5 bars total. It felt like everyone on the island was out, and everywhere we turned was a party. Even when we were about to call it a night, we ran into some place that was too turnt up that we had to stop in and dance for a little. We got food at a quick place in town and then went back to the hotel while the sun was rising. It was definitely a much more fun night than the previous one.
When we woke up the next morning, we had breakfast before George picked us up to take us to the ferry. I did some research between catching a flight from Mykonos to Santorini or the ferry, and the ferry was clearly the better option. We booked the Seajets ferry for about 65 euros each, and the ride was only two hours long. Seats were comfortable and they sold food and drinks on the ride, which went by fast. However, Myles thought it was crazy that you were advised to just leave your luggage on the bottom floor, with no one to watch it. You were just expected to retrieve it on your own when you disembarked. Thankfully, we had no problems with that and everything went smoothly for us.
My favorite part of the trip. Greece’s best known part. Santorini… so many things I could say. We arrived in the early afternoon. I did not want to do ATV’s here because things were more spread out. Myles and I normally try to avoid renting cars when we travel, because driving in other countries is normally a different kind of beast, and we also drink majority of the trip, so it’s just plain unsafe. However, a taxi just from the port to our hotel would have been 30 euros, which was also the price to rent a car for a full day. We opted to rent a car for the two days we would be there, especially since we were planning on taking the first flight out the day we were leaving and a taxi would have most likely been impossible to find. Our rate for the rental was 30 euros a day, but the agency scared Myles into getting the insurance, which was an extra 10 euros a day. We got a cute little car and were on our way!
We stayed at the Caldera View Bungalow Resort, which was a little south of Fira. The hotel had a beautiful view of the caldera (hence the name) and had the biggest pool on the island. It was $40/night for the two nights we stayed, so you couldn’t beat the price.
By the time we got to the hotel, we were kind of tired but the traffic on the way there made it take longer than we thought it would, and we knew we needed to hurry if we wanted to make it to Oia (pronounced E-Uh) for the sunset. Oia is the town in Santorini with all the white buildings hanging off the edge, the blue-topped churches and the sunsets that everyone raves about. We had a full day planned out for the second day, so the first day is the only day we had to explore. We got dressed and then headed out to Oia, which was about a 20-30 minute drive from our hotel. Along the way, we listened to music like “Santorini Greece” by Rick Ross and the new DJ Khaled album.
Once we arrived to Oia, we were in complete awe.
Like I mentioned earlier, everything about Greece was exactly like the things you’ve heard or seen in movies or pictures, especially Oia. The way the buildings were so gracefully hanging off the cliff as the sun shined so beautifully off the pure white surfaces. Breathtaking to say the least. We parked our car and just started exploring the whole area.
We walked around, snapping so many pictures in the places we’ve seen so many other people take pictures at. We bought wine and beer to walk around with and take in the scenery until it was dinner time. Then, we picked a restaurant with a great view of our surroundings and sat down and ate. There weren’t too many people there yet, but that’s because it was a shoulder month. During high season (Jun.-Aug.), they have reservations months in advance and are a completely full house.
The memory of dinner that night… staring at Myles and the view. I will forever remember that.
After dinner, the sunset was in full motion. We made our way back to the car but found the perfect spot to watch the sunset. It was everything and more. The pictures don’t do it justice at all. The colors God painted in the sky that night were unbelievable. We stopped and took a couple pictures, but it was something you’d have to see to believe.
After that, we went back to our hotel to rest. We had plans to meet up with the couple from Chicago for a drink before we would go out that night. It was chilly, but we were at a bar on the cliff overlooking the ocean and they provided blankets for us as we sat and talked. After that, we went out to Two Brothers Bar, which was the littest night out of our entire time in Greece. The bar is two levels, you can get drinks, hookah, etc. The DJ was playing the most up to date rap/hip hop. We stayed there all night, getting so drunk before eventually heading back to our hotel.
The next day we only had a couple hours to kill before our excursion. We headed to Fira and got one of the famous fish pedicures that is a must in Greece.
It felt like little tiny vibrations all over your feet.
The spas make sure you are good to go before the pedicure. They check to see if you have any open wounds, you have to wash your feet and legs with soap and water before. The pedicure itself is about 10 minutes and 20 euros. It was a cool experience.
After that, we went back to our hotel and waited for the shuttle to pick us up. The rest of our afternoon was going to be spent with this Sunset Sailing Cruise that I booked via TripAdvisor. The excursion included pickup/drop off, a cruise with a stop at the hot springs, a place to swim and a spot to watch the sunset from, unlimited wine and soda and lunch. It was $115/person but was so worth it.
We really got to be out on the blue waters during the excursion and were lit off of the white wine. The food was tasty, and it was not that crowded at all, so it was pretty intimate between our group. Watching the sunset in Oia the night prior was an experience of its own.
Watching the sunset on the water was something else.
We were able to really take in all phases of it and see it in what felt like slow motion. The sun was inching its way further down and we got a front row view of it all. When it eventually set, everyone that was on a boat at the time just clapped, celebrating what I’m sure was an incredible view for us all.
After we were dropped off at our hotel, we packed up and stayed in. Our flight was early and even though the nightlife was fun, we were so exhausted from the day. I bought our ZED on Olympic Air/ Aegean Airlines from JTR to ATH and it was about $40/ea. We opted for the first flight of the day, because it showed a yellow face, but when we got to the airport, we were told it was full but we could still try. We did but we did not get seats. I started to get nervous because the next flight showed a red face, but there was an equipment upgrade, opening up more seats, so we made it on the flight. At this point, the United flight from ATH to EWR looked good for us, but that changed when we landed in ATH. A canceled AA flight to Philadelphia filled up all the US flights for the rest of the day. I was confused and annoyed, but we decided to try anyway. We came close to the Delta flight, only missing it by 3 seats, but had 0 luck on United. We knew we were stuck for the night. We could have went back to the downtown area, but that meant having to spend $40/ea on round trip metro tickets. We instead decided to stay close to the airport. Since I have a Hotels.com account (which I recommend all of you get), I get a free stay every ten nights I book through their app. I had a free stay saved up, and since this was an extra night we didn’t budget for, I knew now was the perfect time to use it. I used it at the Seasabelle Hotel, which was newly built hotel with a very kind staff. It was located directly across from the ocean, but at this point Myles and I were bummed about not making the flight and exhausted. So we slept, ate and relaxed the entire day.
The next day, we made it on the DL flight to JFK (yay!) and were finally on our way home via the 10 hour flight. JFK customs was quick, and we maneuvered our way to the gate for the SEA flight. It was full, but we had nothing to lose. Thankfully, there were some misconnects so we again were on our way home via the 6 hour flight. Upon landing at SEA, we took the flight back home to PSC, landing at 11:50 p.m. on Saturday night, giving us the whole day on Sunday to rest, officially ending our amazing trip.
What I Would Have Done Differently
Looking back at the itinerary, I would have did just one day in Mykonos and a third day in Santorini. Mykonos was fun, but it was too expensive. I think everything that there is to see in Mykonos could be done in one day.
For Santorini, while our hotel was cute, it could have been more convenient. The hotels in Oia are super expensive, but the ones in Fira are a little cheaper. I would have shelled out some extra money to stay in Fira, so we could have been in the center of everything. Fira is a walkable town, so we could have walked to the club, to get food, everything. That is definitely something I would have changed.
That last, unexpected night in Athens should have at the very least been spent at the beach. As nonrevs, we should know things are not always going to go our way, but we should not be upset when they don’t. We travel the world for free or for a very small price, so we should accept inconveniences gracefully. That is what we will be doing from now on.