My second trip to Europe was just as amazing as the first. If you recall, I traveled to Europe for the first time back in 2015, where I visited Spain (Madrid and Barcelona) and I have been eager to go back ever since. Well, it finally happened and I traveled to Greece!
For those that know me, know I love Greek culture. One of my favorite movies just happens to be “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. The music, history and mouthwatering foods are just a few of the reasons I was so excited for this trip.
So, here are my top tips for traveling to the beautiful islands of Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.
Best time to Visit:
The best time to visit in my opinion is in September and October. Why? It’s definitely less crowded and not as hot. If you don’t mind the crowds and extremely warm weather, then July and August would also be ideal.
Things you should Pack:
Aside from your usual travel essentials you’d bring on vacation, here are a few items that were extremely useful for this trip.
My favorite, natural products that I brought with me were, my face wash/scrub and organic deodorant. As women, we all know how important skin care is – even on vacation, so I had to bring along my favorite skincare products.
This face wash is great for washing away dirt, oil and makeup, and can be used on combo to oily skin.
I recently switched to a more natural deodorant and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. No sticky residue when I shower and the fact that it’s aluminum-free makes it that much better.
- GoPro/Camera: Greece has some really gorgeous views, Santorini being my favorite so you don’t want to miss out on capturing those amazing moments.
- Kindle/Book: You’ll most likely be spending a lot of time by the beach/pool so be sure to bring your favorite book along.
- European outlet adapter: I learned this the hard way when I went to Europe for the first time and realized that my USB outlet was not going to work in the hotel I was staying in.
Places to visit when in Athens, Mykonos and Santorini:
Visit the Acropolis of Athens and Acropolis museum for architecture and great history of the classical era. In my opinion, I would suggest paying for a tour guide, this is something I wish I did. I usually prefer to go at my own pace but there’s just so much history and so much to learn in Athens, that having a tour guide would be really helpful. Stop by Ermou street and Kolonaki square for shopping. There are a ton of shops in this area to buy pretty much anything you can think of. I stopped by this area towards the end of my trip for souvenirs. Dress comfortably! There’s a lot of sightseeing and walking involved in Athens. I brought a small carry-on sized tube of sunblock, a bottle of water, sunglasses, my fedora and camera.
Mykonos is known for its beaches and nightlife. You should definitely check out Paradise beach. Keep in mind that it is a nude beach, so if you feel uncomfortable with public nudity, this beach may not be for you. The water was amazing and I spent a nice relaxing afternoon there. You can order food and drinks and they offer massages as well. Beach chairs cost 10 Euros per chair. Be sure to get there early to find a good spot. We also rented a 4 wheeler (ATV) for the day and drove to the beach. It cost us about 35 Euros per day. If you plan on renting one, be sure to always have a map with you! The street signs can be difficult to see and the roads are very narrow, so if you’re not confident driving in an unfamiliar territory, you may want to pass on renting one. Little Venice is a great spot for a sunset dinner. Little Venice is full of bars, restaurants and shops, and the perfect location to take breathtaking photos of the sunset. Try to get there before 6 pm to avoid crowds. Interested in nightlife? Scorpio beach club is a super trendy, popular beach club and is great for dancing all night. I absolutely loved the vibe there and the music was great!
The traditional villages of Fira and Oia are known for their gorgeous white houses and beautiful sunsets. This picturesque island was my absolute favorite. Did you know that Oia is the most photographed place in Greece? I had no problem believing that as Oia has some of the most captivating villages I have ever seen. Charming blue skies and striking whitewashed architecture made it that much easier to fall in love with this breathtaking island. In Santorini, it’s a good idea to do your research on tours. There are a variety of excursions, such as catamarans, boat rides, snorkeling, wine tasting, visiting volcanic beaches – your options are never-ending, so it’s really up to you on what you decide to do. I visited Nea Kameni, which is Santorini’s youngest volcano. There we hiked to the top of the caldera and took a dip in the hot springs. This excursion also included making a stop at a black sand volcano beach, Santo winery for some wine tasting and ending our evening at Oia to watch the sunset. It was the perfect way to end my visit in Santorini.
Best Food to Eat:
I am a huge advocate of believing you should try everything at least once so eat any dish your heart desires, especially since you are on vacation. BUT listed below are my top three favorites:
- Greek salad
- Gyros/Falafel gyros (for vegetarians)
- Greek fries topped with melted feta cheese
Here are some restaurants I would recommend from each of the islands I visited:
Oroscopo Restaurant (Athens) – Kefte dish and grilled octopus
Piatsa Kalamaki (Athens) – melted feta cheese fries
Apomero (Mykonos) – Greek salad
Lucky’s Souvlakis (Santorini) – Gyros and fries
Overall, visiting Greece exceeded my expectations and I could not have been happier. If Greece is not on your bucket list, then you NEED to add it!
Yamas to all my readers!