My husband and I finally took a trip to Greece. You will fall in love with their culture and you will dream about their food EVERYDAY! Plus, the views are truly amazing! Here is the itinerary we followed. If you have a husband who has to have every piece of the vacation planned out in advance and does not like to wait I highly recommend booking your trip with a travel agency that is familiar with Greece and also hiring private transfers everywhere. I can't speak highly of the travel agency we used so I won't recommend them. Let's just say friend recommendation FAIL!
Day 1 - ATHENS
We finally landed in Athens and had a private transfer take us to our hotel. On the way to the hotel we noticed a ton of graffiti and trash on the streets. Our transfer told us that there is a graffiti problem because the kids really aren't punished and the disposal workers are on strike.
Once we arrived to our hotel at check-in we asked for adapters and they were able to provide us with two. We thought about relaxing and catching up on sleep but we knew we only had less than a day in Athens and we wanted to explore. We were walking distance to everything. Be prepared to be annoyingly stopped by the restaurant owners/servers to come into their restaurant to dine with them as you walk along the streets to get to the shopping from the hotel. Also, be prepared to bargain with the shop owners in Athens. We were able to get so many things for less because we did a little bargaining. Warning, every shop owner told us everything was authentic and made in Greece, even the packaging said "made in Greece." Well...we came home with some beautiful ceramic tile and once we opened the package directly on the back of the ceramic tile it said "made in Barcelona." Paintings are everywhere, some will look like real hand paintings but pay close attention, a ton of them are definitely not hand painted and again, they will tell you local artists have painted them. We paid 50 euros for our painting that was originally priced at 100 euros.
We headed back to the hotel to wait to be picked up by our tour guide for our half-day sightseeing tour. Transfer from your hotel to the tour and back are included in your tour. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and so friendly. The people of Greece are just very friendly people and you will pick up on that immediately. The tour included a drive by the Greek Parliament, a site visit to the Panathenaic Stadium (not to be confused by the Olympic Stadium) and an amazing tour by foot through the Acropolis. It was amazing to touch and physically see that part of history. Wear tennis shoes during this tour, it is extremely rocky and there are marble floors at the Acropolis. You'll also get to see a ton of olive trees.
Once we returned from our tour the hotel recommended dining at Manh Manh. The hotel called and made a reservation for us. Another warning, we noticed that the server allowed people to order their food and start eating but then come back and all of a sudden tell them that their credit card machine was not working but that there was an ATM across the street. Bring cash! The food was amazing! I had their seafood special and my husband had their pork special.
Day 2 - SANTORINI
The next morning we had another private transfer take us from the hotel to the ferry to head to Santorini. You can also fly to Santorini from Athens which will save you a lot of travel time. The ferry that we took was not a speed boat so it took about 7 hours to get to Athens to Santorini - there were 3 other island stops along the way. I believe the speed boats save you 2 hours of travel time. We upgraded to Business Class which I highly recommend because we had plenty of space to relax, spread out and even take a nap. There are also servers that walk around to get you whatever food/drink options you need. There is also access to the outdoor deck if you want to sit out and soak up the sun or just enjoy the views. Plus it was really quiet compared to the Economy Class tickets. I believe Economy Class tickets are around 20 euros and Business Class is around 50 euros but our travel agency upgraded us for no additional charge due to issues I encountered with them.
We finally arrived to Santorini. Be prepared to experience chaos as soon as you get off the ferry. There are people standing everywhere with signs to pick up people who have scheduled private transfers, hotels who are picking up guests and if you do not have any transfers scheduled there is another huge line you can stand in to get a transfer. We seriously didn't even know where to go when we got off the ferry but somehow found our transfer. You can also take the local bus which will cost you 2.50 euros. The local bus is clearly marked but fill up quickly. There are typically 3 different local busses parked and ready to go to different locations but by the time I could get a picture there was only one bus left. Our private transfer cost around 28 euros. Your drivers do not expect a tip but of course is appreciated. I have read that 1 to 2 euros is an acceptable tip.
We arrived at our hotel at Senses Boutique. The hotel is located in Imerovigli which is about a 15 minute walk to Fira (the capital of Santorini) and about a 5 hour walk to Oia. The hotel is very small with limited guest rooms. There is a nice pool with lounge chairs with a beautiful view of the water. We had breakfast every morning with these views (see photos below). Breakfast is included in your stay. I still dream about the greek yogurt that I had for breakfast every morning - so creamy and so thick.
The only thing we couldn't see from our hotel was the sunset but we were walking distance from the perfect location to see the sunset. You could also see Oia from this sunset location in Imerovigli. It's located near Astra Suites where we originally wanted to stay but was already booked. We personally thought the location of Imerovigli was perfect. We did notice that Oia was much cleaner but there were definitely more options in Imerovigli.
We had nothing planned for our first day so we just relaxed by the pool until dinner. The hotel made reservations for us at Anogi. It was our favorite restaurant that we tried so we went back twice. The service was amazing! I felt like we sampled a good portion of their menu - tzatziki, grilled octopus, their house red wine that they made (1 liter only cost 13 euros and you have to try it), lamp shank, mussels, you name it, we tried it. The prices were extremely affordable. I believe the most expensive thing we got off their menu was around 15 euros. And whatever you do, your must try dishes in Santorini are definitely their greek salad (you'll never have anything better because of their sweet tomatoes that are locally grown), tzatziki, greek yogurt and their house wine. Be prepared to be served HUGE portions.
Day 3 - SANTORINI
After breakfast outside our patio we walked down to the bus stop to be picked up by our wine tour transfer. While we waited for our transfer we saw this truck selling fresh fish to locals. He drove through the island selling fish with his megaphone.
The Santorini Wine Adventure is the best tour I have ever taken on a trip. The wine tour included transfers to and from your hotel, wine tasting/pairing (one of the best pairings I've ever experienced) and a tour of the vineyards. There were 3 winery stops total. The wines in Santorini are different but I thought most were very good. The grapes are also grown differently than what I am used to seeing back in the U.S. Due to high winds the grapes are grown closer to the ground and surrounded by bushes/vines so the grapes do not blow away. I was a little hot in the long dress I wore so I would recommend something more light to wear during your tour.
After the tour we went back to the hotel to change and then headed down to Fira to explore the shops and grab something to eat. It is a short 15 minute walk. Wear tennis shoes. It is a rocky walk down to Fira from Imerovigli. I slipped walking through the shops wearing sandals. We also weren't able to bargain with the shops in Santorini compared to Athens. We found this amazing bakery called Kalimera. The shop owner was extremely nice and invited us in to try his chocolate pastry. It was so good. Just a simple flaky chocolate pastry. We went back twice and one night the owner himself sat with us and gave us free beer/wine as he talked about Greece and where he would recommend us to visit other than Santorini. He even asked why we visited Santorini because there are no beaches here and the sunset is just another sunset. I laughed because honestly, I couldn't agree with him more. As beautiful as Santorini is I can't say we would ever come back to Santorini. It was a little over crowded for me and extremely hot and their tourist season just started when we went in June. Maybe we came at the wrong time and if we do come back another time we'll get a different experience? But he did mention Zakynthos and we can't wait to visit! But please visit Kalimera in Fira and try their chocolate pastry and take a little break outside their back patio. We did try their local beer and I wasn't a fan.
We had dinner later that night at The Athenian House. Our hotel made reservations for us but we ended up at the wrong restaurant and just stumbled upon The Athenian House. It was the priciest restaurant that we ate at in Santorini but had the best view. The food was amazing, the portions are smaller than the typical Greek meal but we still left full. Their speciality cocktails were very tasty too. We seriously think they thought my husband was some famous athlete because we got amazing seats with no reservations (the restaurant was full) and the dessert was on the house.
Day 4 - SANTORINI
After another breakfast on our patio we went back to Fira to do a little more sight seeing and shopping. We did a lot of walking on this trip but it was much needed after feasting for days. You can ride the donkeys through Fira but please do not ride those poor donkeys!
Later in the afternoon we had a sunset tour scheduled. Again, the tour provided the transfer from our hotel and back. I have to say that the sunset tour is a must during your visit. We did a semi-private tour with Santorini Yachting Club. The tour included transfers, food, alcohol (beer and wine only) and a stop to the hot springs. The water was a little too dirty and warm for my liking so I swam back and do not wear a white bathing suit because it will get ruined. We also made a few stops to see the Red Beach and White Beach and swam in the water which was super salty and cold but you have to get in to experience it all! The final stop was to see the sunset. To get 10% off simply email Labrou Vera (sales manager) at email@example.com and just mention my name - Hyun Ah Perez.
Day 5 - SANTORINI
We had nothing planned for our final day in Santorini but I knew I wanted to make the long walk from Imerovigli to Oia. It took us about 5 hours. We did stop several times to take in the views and take photos. I would highly recommend this walk but you must wear tennis shoes. It is very hilly and rocky. There are very few small shops (maybe 2) along the way where you can purchase water. Bring snacks, water and wear sunscreen! There are no bathrooms along the walking trail.
Once we got to Oia we immediately noticed how much cleaner and more open it was compared to Imerovigli. We explored a little and then walked down to a restaurant that was recommended by some new friends we met on the sunset sailing tour. We ate the biggest lobster and pasta dish, ever! It did cost 99 euros but my husband was happy. The tuna tartar that I got wasn't great. I can't say I recommend this restaurant because of costs and taste. After lunch we took a cab back to Imerovigli. It cost about 28 euros to get back. There are very few cabs in Santorini, I believe 29 cabs all in total and are expensive. But my husband didn't feel like waiting for the bus and was ready to get back to shower. The bus is very cheap in Santorini costing you 2.50 euros and air conditioned.
We ate our final dinner at Mama's, which came highly recommended but the food was just okay there so I would not recommend it.
Day 6 - ATHENS
We had a private transfer take us to the ferry from the hotel. We wished we would have just taken a flight out of Santorini back home. The 7 hour ferry ride back was exhausting. We didn't get back to our hotel until late but did end up dining at our hotel's restaurant on the roof and had this amazing view.
Greece was an incredible experience with an amazing culture and the best food. We'd love to go back to visit other parts of Greece but Santorini wasn't at all what I expected. If I were to do it all over again, I'd do a day in Athens to see the Acropolis, spend 2 days in Santorini doing the wine tour in the morning and then a sunset sailing tour in the evening, walk to Imerovigli to Oia and then head to other parts of Greece.
Hi! I'm Hyun Ah and the photographer behind this site. I've created this page to personally share with you my life and travels since so many of you have allowed me to be a part of your family and photograph some of the best moments in your life. Follow along as I explore the world through my toddler's eyes and mark things off my bucket list.
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