January 17, 2019
Our trip to Greece was extremely memorable as it was my first time traveling to Europe! I was left speechless at the views of Santorini and the historical significance of Athens. I’m one of those travelers that likes to do a mixture of visiting tourist attractions, as well as assimilating with things the locals love. Here are my Top 10 Tips for Traveling to Greece (Santorini & Athens)!
1 GO TO SANTORINI IN THE FALL!! – Most people travel to the islands of Greece in the summer, which is fantastic if you want beach vibes. However, in the early Fall, we experienced 68-72 degrees for our entire stay and it was PERFECT! We did quite a bit of walking up hill, and at that temperature, we were comfortable and could truly enjoy! Plus there are less people, and in Santorini, that made a HUGE difference (see #2). When planning outfits, wear a light shirt and jeans with a sweater easily accessible as some of the overlooks are breezy.
2 SANTORINI IS PACKED, BUT THE VIEWS ARE WORTH IT – Most of Santorini lies at the side of a steep mountain with narrow passages from one town to the next. This creates a backup of people. Fira, which is the town in the middle of the island, is a cruise line stop. At a certain time of day, hundreds of people come off the ships and it gets crowded very quickly. That being said, the views, especially from Oia, are absolutely breathtaking.
3 VISIT AMMOUDI… IT’S WORTH THE 300 STEPS! – Ammoudi, a fishing village tucked at the base of Oia, is worth every second. There are a series of restaurants that have a more peaceful aura than the hustle and bustle of the city above. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy. The only issue? The 300 steps to get there… and yes, they are numbered. Traveling down is fine, the issue is getting back up. You have three options: 1. Walk back up (we took it as a challenge), 2. Pay for a donkey to take you up. I kid you not, I tried but my boyfriend was not about it, or 3) Call a cab, which may take a while, I warn you.
4 SPEND MONEY EATING – The food in Greece is incredible! As you are budgeting for your trip, save a hefty amount for eating! Planning your meals is key for your trip. Consistent walking = hangry quickly (…no, I don’t speak from experience). I suggest getting a Donkey Beer by the Santorini Brewing Company and a Santorini Salad while on the island, which is traditionally tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta, and capers. Naoussa is a great traditional Greek restaurant overlooking Fira. La Maison, a fine dining restaurant with a beautiful overlook, is expensive but delectable! In Athens, EAT THE LOUKOUMADES!
5 PLAN OUTFITS WITHOUT HEELS – I can’t stress this enough! In my brain, I was going to be a stylish fashion blogger and wear heels with my cute outfits. The look I’m wearing above depicts this, with my 70’s inspired skirt, H&M Top, and over the knee heeled boots. But like I said, Santorini is on a very steep hill and you do a TON of walking in Athens. So do yourself a favor and plan those cute outfits with flats!
6 ALMOST EVERYTHING IS WALKABLE IN ATHENS – When you gaze over Athens, the city looks so vast. In reality, we found that almost everything is only a 20 minute walk away. We saved a ton of money on cabs and enjoyed the walk in the 70 degree weather.
7 STAY IN PSYRI – After Santorini, we were looking for a less tourist packed atmosphere. We got an Airbnb in Psyri, which is home to a more local audience but only a 15 minute walk to tourist sites. Also, the cost of the Airbnb was on point and we had a beautiful view of the Acropolis.
8 WALK TO THE TOP OF THE HILL OF THE MUSES – Of course visiting the Acropolis and many of the large attractions are 100% a must see! However, the Hill of the Muses, also known as Philopappos Hill, is so underrated! It’s a bit of a hike, but at its peak, you’ll find the Philopappos Monument overlooking the best view of the city (in my opinion). You can clearly see all the monuments, the Acropolis, and the entire city of Athens!
9 EVERYBODY SMOKES… YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO GET OVER IT – While this is probably not news to most, I had no idea how common place smoking is in Europe. I have become so accustomed to the non-smoking aura in the US. My advice, get over it, it’s their way of living.
10 GO SHOPPING IN MONASTIRAKI – Possibly my favorite part of the trip was flea market shopping in Monastiraki. This is not to be missed! I recommend going on Sunday as there are a ton of extra sellers that come out to play! And yes, you can negotiate prices.
Overall, Greece is a beautiful country and I wish we had more time to explore. It was a beautiful first visit to Europe with great food and nice people. If you are traveling to Greece and you have any questions feel free to message me!