If you follow me on social media then you know that I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Greece. If you have been following for a while, then you also know that the hubs and I actually went to Greece for the first time two years ago, and that this recent trip was our second go-round. Well, with that being said, I figured it was about time to give you all a little Graceful Guide for all things Greece...or at least how I know it.
This recent trip, we stayed in Santorini the entire time, so truthfully, there will be a strong focus on Santorini as that is where we have spent the most time. BUT, we have also seen Mykonos and Athens and I told some of you that I would do my best to round up the spots, so here is my attempt. So if you want some tips of how we have traveled Greece, then please keep reading. If not, well...the pictures are pretty fun.
When I was trying to decide how to break this things down I figured I would start by city. With each stop I can recommend places to stay, eat and things to do. But first, I want to give you all a few overall tips for when you start planning your travels.
- First...we DID NOT do a cruise. Many of you asked me if that was how we chose to travel and it was not. I personally like to be in each city for a few days at least, because I feel like I am able to see more. I have heard of many people doing them though so they may not be a bad thing to consider.
- The first time we went, we were there during the first week of June. The second trip was the third week of July. And it was very hot. It was hot both times, but they tell you that their most touristy season is July and August and I think I could tell that this time around. It was definitely crowded.
- Definitely make plans ahead of time as far as excursions go. If you will be traveling during the summer, like I said, it gets very crowded. There are only so many boat companies and scooters on each island, so plan ahead!
So in my opinion, Athens is cool to see. I probably would not spend majority of my time there, but if you are going to go to Greece then you should definitely visit Athens. Both times we spent one evening in Athens and were within walking distance of the Acropolis. We chose to walk from our hotel, to the top of the Acropolis so we could truly experience it and it was worth it. There are some beautiful views of the city from the top and the ruins are AMAZING!
You Should Rest Up
1. Wydham Grand Athens - We stayed here the second time around. It was much bigger than the other hotels I had seen in Athens and they had a great rooftop pool, bar and restaurant.
2. St. George Lycabettus Lifestyle Hotel - This was where we stayed the first time we went to Greece and I did love it. It was a smaller hotel, but also had a great rooftop with views of the Acropolis with a great restaurant!
Truthfully, I LOVED Mykonos. This was our very first stop during our first trip to Greece two years ago and it was amazing. In my opinion, Mykonos feels like a much more laid back island and definitely has a strong night life. We felt SO welcomed by the people and LOVED the relaxed culture while we were there!
Lay Your Head Down
1. Royal Myconion Hotel and Thalasso Center - This was one of my favorite hotels ever. First, it was beautiful and the views were even more stunning. Then, the staff was absolutely phenomenal as they did everything they could to make sure we had the best stay. Upon arrival they upgraded our room. We had free drinks at the bar once we were settled. They arranged everything. It was amazing. The Myconian collection actually offers several hotels around Mykonos so I looked mainly within this collection when booking.
2. Boheme in Mykonos Town - This is another hotel I had my eye on when we were booking. It looks so beautiful in the pictures and there were great reviews!
What Should You Do
1. Rent a Scooter - So Mykonos is an island. GO EXPLORE! It is honestly easy to navigate and fun to just go roam! We rented a scooter one day and road around most of the island. We stopped at a few local beaches and would take breaks in the water but we just enjoyed the island.
2. Go into Mykonos Town - The iconic images you see when you google Mykonos are all from Mykonos town most likely. So go check it out! You can walk through the beautiful streets and enjoy the local shops, bars and restaurants.
3. Little Venice - Our favorite thing was going to to the bars that overlooked Little Venice on the water. You could sit and have a cocktail while you watched the most amazing sunsets!
4. The Wind Mills - They are iconic so you should definitely go check them out!
The Best Food Around
1. Kiki's Tavern - This might have been one of my favorite memories from Mykonos. As I said, we rented a scooter and rode around the island one day. Kiki's Tavern sits right by a local beach so you can walk up once you have had enough sun to fun some food. The place is TINY but the food is authentic which made it such a fun experience.
2. M-Eating - We ate here on our second night in Mykonos and love it! The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was even better!
3. Sakis Grill House - This spot is worth it. Basically a "fast food" option, this was one of the best meals I had...we went twice!
Buy Me A Drink
1. Interni Restaurant - This was amazing. Our hotel told us to go to this place but just sit at the bar and that is exactly what we did. We actually went two nights in a row because we loved our bar tender and the restaurant was beautiful! Actually I think one night we even skipped dinner because the conversation was so good. We walked over to Sakis for a quick bite before heading home!
2. Scarpa Bar - This is the bar we chose to have drinks at when we went to Little Venice. It was right on the water and had really good drinks!
Because we spent a full ten days in Santorini this past time...I fell in love. Seriously this is one of my favorite places ever. From the hotels, to the views, to the people I would go back to Santorini every summer if I could it is that amazing!
I will say that I do LOVE Oia. But you you followed along with my posts this past trip, we ventured over to Parissa Beach for a few days for the retreat with Lauren and Josh Riboldi. I really loved the beach town and the house we rented was awesome, so it was fun to see that side of the island! I definitely felt more like a local over there!
You Need A Place To Sleep
1. Charisma Suites - Ok so if you watched my stories at all, you probably saw that we spent a lot of time here. We stayed here on the front end of this last trip and it was phenomenal. The staff was AMAZING (Maria and Arturo are our legit friends now!) and the hotel itself was stunning. I would recommend this place in a heart beat! Charisma sits at the end of Oia so you have a perfect view of the sunset each night. And Arturo serves champagne!
2. Solstice Luxury Suites - We stayed here on the backend of our recent trip and I LOVED this room. It was stunning and had such cool decor! With only 3 or 4 rooms this hotel is small and they definitely cater to your every need. This unique spot sits pretty much in the middle of Oia so it is a good location for everything!
3. Canaves Oia - We stayed here the first time we visited Santorini and it was beautiful also. The resort is a little bit larger with more rooms but their property is beautiful! Now this spot is one of the first hotels you will run in to when entering Oia, but still a great location!
4. Aeolis House - This was where we were in the middle portion of our most recent trip. This house is located over at Perissa Beach which is a very different feel from Oia. I actually love this house and loved spending time on this side of the island because it has more of a beach town feel! The staff at Aeolis is so helpful and is willing to help you with whatever you need. This spot was so great because it felt super homey!
Eat & Drink
1. Oia Vineyart - My babe, Paula Rallis, suggested this spot to us and we loved it! We sat on the roof and pretty much ate wine and cheese all night but all of the food was so good!
2. Fino - Maria at Charisma Suites made this reservation and it did not disappoint. It was SO good! Such a cute little spot and fun to just sit and have along dinner. Another couple at our hotel ended up eating here every night!
3. Ambrosia - Definitely go here for the view. The food and drinks are good, but this is a great fine dining, date night spot! You can see the lights of Fira and it is stunning.
4. Sunset Taverna - This spot is down at Amoudi Bay and has the FRESHEST seafood! It is literally right on the water so it has a great atmosphere. You might even feel a little splash while you eat!
5. Skala - We had lunch here one day and I just thought it was a cute little spot. They are right on the main road in Oia so it is a good location!
6. Lolita's Gelato - they have a super cute patio and the gelato is so good!
Fun Things to Do
1. A Catamaran Tour - We have done this BOTH times we were in Santorini. They seriously are so much fun. You get to spend a day on a boat with lunch and drinks included...who would'nt love that???
2. Rent an ATV - During our first stay in Santorini we decided to do this for a day. We rode around and saw different wineries and even rode to dinner that night!
3. Explore all the Villages - Oia is just one village in Santorini! Yes it is probably the most famous, but the others are so fun to see. Imerovigli is one that is very similar to Oia with the cliff side hotels and restaurants. Fire is the capital so it is always full of people with plenty of food and shopping. Then Perissa Beach (where we stayed during this last trip) is like a true beach town!
4. Hike from Oia to Fira - We have not done this because we did not have enough time but for those who love to be active, I hear this is fun!
5. Watch Sunset from Skaros Rock - It is a mini hike for sure but well worth it because the sunset is AMAZING!
6. Swim at Amoudi Bay - You definitely need to visit the bay (you can take the stairs down or drive) but follow the coastline around to the coolest swimming area! There is even a big rock you can jump off of!
I am seriously so in love with Santorini. When the whole retreat with Lauren and Josh came about at first, I wasn't sure what to do since we had already been to Greece. My initial thought was, "why would we do it again?" But now I thinking, "I want to go EVERY year!" From the people, to the food, to the views, I love it all. I am so beyond thankful that we were able to experience it for a second time, and even more thankful for the relationships we made while we were there. If you have ever even considered going, you totally should because it truly is magical!