Welcome to Greece! This guide is a 7 day trip to this Greek islands of Mykonos and Santori, and also includes 1/2 day on each end in Athens. I flew on Lufthansa airlines to and from the states, and I highly recommend them. This is my favorite airline, and I try to fly with them any time I’m going international! You will also need to pre-book your ferry tickets to each island destination. You can do that here. I would advise to book the high speed ferry unless you want to spend your whole day on a boat. Another thing you’ll need to do on that same website is pre-book transportation/transfers from the ports to your hotel/vacation rental. I missed this step in my travel planning, and it provided for quite an interesting situation! Luckily, a bus driver felt sorry for my friend and I and let us on for free. Now... on to the fun stuff!
If you are going to be in Athens, I think we all know that it’s a must for you to go to the Acropolis. There is a lot to see here so you can spend a couple of hours. There’s also a museum where you can have breakfast if you’re travel times allow it.
Aeolou street is a main street you can walk down in Athens that has a bunch of shops (including familiar faces like H&M) and many restaurants. Pera cafe is a great place to stop in for a quick bite to replenish yourself for more shopping 🙂
While in Athens, I stayed at the Polis Grand Hotel which is right off Aeolou street. It’s a 4-star hotel (by European standards), and there is a rooftop restaurant/lounge that you can go to at night and get a great view of the Acropolis lit up. The food is good, and the atmosphere is very casual and relaxing.
Piraeus is the area where the ferries depart from. There is so much to do around here that I would try going early before your departure time if you can to check it out. Lots of seafood restaurants, and the olympic stadium is here is well.
I would suggest a hotel in Mykonos over an Airbnb because there is a free shuttle bus that runs from Mykonos town out to the beach hotels. If you’re in an Airbnb you’ll be responsible for getting yourself around, and let me tell you that you’d likely be risking your life! The roads are small and winding, and I know that I wouldn’t want to be on a scooter trying to share the road with the big shuttle buses, especially at night.
I stayed at Hotel Petasos which is a little bit further out than the other beach hotels, but it’s very nice and quite. It’s also within walking distance to Nammos and other “party” places, and has a nice restaurant on-site, as well as beautiful views from the pool bar.
The one thing I always recommend/stress to anyone traveling to Mykonos is to have dinner at a steak and oyster bar called Uno Con Carne. It’s one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve ever seen. The food is good too 🙂 It’s in Mykonos town, and can be difficult to find so don’t be afraid to ask people for directions.
Other great places for dinner are:
-Caprice Sea Satin Market: next to the windmills, beautiful views in the day time. One thing to note is that the prices are per kilo not per pound like you might automatically think being American 🙂
-D’Angelo Italian: in case you get tired of Greek food and want something less powerful
-Catari: great place to stop for lunch while shopping in Mykonos town
- Buddha Bar
Psarou Beach is the hottest beach area (also great for celeb spotting), and a great way to spend a fun day lounging and having cocktails. OR you can opt for a water adventure like jet-skiing. Just an FYI, you have to pay for chairs, towels etc. This is pretty common in Europe so if you’ve been before it won’t come as a surprise. If you haven’t, here’s your warning 🙂
There are a few areas to consider when booking accommodations in Santorini. I stayed in Fira which is more touristy. It’s great for anyone looking for a busier atmosphere, and multiple restaurant and shopping options. The only downside is that the cruise ships stop off here every afternoon, and the city gets flooded with cruise travelers. I recommend booking a vacation rental through Homeaway or Airbnb over a hotel here. You can get some really great deals, and the views are beautiful. There is also a free bus on the island than can take you to Oia for a day to see that side (it’s more for honeymooners, but has shopping and restaurants), and vice versa if you choose to stay in Oia and travel over to see Fira.
There are several restaurants to choose from along the cliffside, and the views are AMAZING at night... and during the day! Santorini is one of those places you will visit that not one photo you take will ever do any justice to the way it looks in real life. It really is breath-taking.
The volcano hike is one of the most popular things to do in Santorini and is fairly cheap. Just buy tickets and make SURE you have the actual copies with you when you go to check in or they will not let you go out there. I do NOT recommend riding the donkeys up the hill like in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants unless you’re a real thrill-seeker. I can tell you from first hand experience that it’s nothing like you see in the movie 🙂
I did a wine tour with Santorini Wine Adventures that was the most fun wine tour I’ve ever done in my life. It’s really neat to see how they harvest their grapes on such dry soil, and you get to see a lot of the island. A very unique experience, and one that I highly recommend.
Another must while in Santorini is to take the bus over, and take the boat out to the red and black beaches. You can get off and hang at either if you want, or just ride the boat around to see them. The “sand” is made from volcanic ash. There’s another area with a bigger, more popular black beach that you can go to and rent chairs under umbrellas to lounge around.
Now for some important travel tips:
In my experience with international travel the taxi drivers will take advantage of you if they can. I highly advise booking a car service to get you to/from the airport to wherever you’re staying in Athens. IF you do need to take a taxi, get the price from the up front to wherever your destination is. Not all drivers are this way (if you use an Uber in Athens you’re safe), but the cab drivers will if they can get away with it. There is a metro in Athens that’s meant to be nice so you can always give it a try! I was only there for a half day on both ends of my trip so didn’t need to utilize it.
Take dramamine for the ferry. I do not get seasick, and I got nauseous on there so luckily I was prepared! The ferries are nice and you can walk around, and they’ve got little cafes where you can get food and drinks. *Word to the wise*, be prepared to run/sprint/race on there to put your luggage on a rack. It is a rat race! This is not an exaggeration.
I chose to fly Aegean airlines back to Athens for something like $50pp, and it’s worth it because the flight is so short. The ferry ride is approximately 6 hours on the high speed ride so I opted for a longer stay in Santorini and a shorter commute back to Athens.
The Greeks are overall very friendly. It’s a great place to visit with so many unique things to see and do! Have you been to Greece? If so, what were your favorite things?? Shoot me an email using the link at the bottom of the page if there’s anything you think I should share!