What can I say? I love me some history – and Athens came up with the goods. From the Acropolis (which we could also see from our hotel!) to the Panatheniac Stadium, to the streets and bustling markets, I always felt like I was surrounded by rich history. The Acropolis was probably my favourite place…I don’t want to geek out too much, but if you’re planning a trip to Athens, I would highly recommend watching a few YouTube videos on the Acropolis. The architecture will blow your mind! It will also give some insight as to why it seems to be forever under restoration.
One small word of warning though, make sure you wear shoes with some grip! The marble is slippery as hell, and you want to be able to enjoy the view without worrying about stacking it every 5 seconds!
We also found so many great food spots in Athens. Gryos and tzatziki heaven! I’d also say that Athens is a great place if you are on a budget. You can get food super cheap (especially compared to other European summer spots) and you can walk to so many of the tourist hot spots. In saying that, we usually walk when we can which also means we do upwards of 10-15km a day…but hey, it helps to balance out how much food we consume! I’d also recommend getting any souvenieres In Athens…the Islands are notoriously more expensive and they mostly sell much of the same bits and pieces.
Ur second Greece spot, Santorini, was something different altogether. It truly is a beautiful island with so much character. We stayed in Oia, and made great use of our hotel pool since it was mid 30s the whole time. Again, food is great here but not nearly as cheap as the average eats in Athens. If you have your walking legs on, I’d recommend trekking down to eat at Sunset in Ammoudi. Literally right on the water! This place does get busy though, so see if you can book or try to go when it isn’t a peak time.
The walk back up to Oia is not as fun as the walk down…but I’d urge you to brave it, book a tourist bus or pay for a taxi. Please, for the sake of our four legged friends, don’t make a donkey lug you back to the top. They’re cute and I wanted to hug one, but I don’t think they should be made to haul a well fed adult up a couple of hundred stairs…but that’s just my opinion. Anyways…
Santorini also has some pretty spectacular sunsets, and Oia is in prime position to see the sun go down. There are plenty of great view points, but most of them get pretty packed. If you’re on a budget, get to the vantage points early, maybe pack some snacks! If you can afford it, you can get a booking or try to pop in to one of many restaurants with a view. We stumbled across a public pool, bar, snack place where relaxed and sipped on cocktails while watching the sun slowly (then very quickly) set. Seriously…sunsets are much like avocados in that sense. They take forever to get good then the prime time is over ridiculously quick. Avocados. Damn them. But I digress…
Personally, I thought Santorini was most beautiful just after the sun had set. The sky is a beautiful arrangement of pastel colours and the buildings seem just a little bit brighter. The perfect time to wander around.
I’d also recommend an early morning walk to take in the scenery. And when I say early morning…I mean Greek time early morning…so anytime before 9am. It gives you the perfect opportunity to get photos and wander the streets before the hectic crowds set in.
We certainly loved almost everything about Santorini. The only negative to the gorgeous Island is the seriously shitty shit airport. And I mean…shit. I have flown out of rural airports that are basically glorified sheds, which are better than the Santorini Airport. All I can say is: prepare to line up for a line to line up for another line which is for yet another line. Confused? Yes, so were we. Not fun. But…who knows, maybe it’s improved? Would love to know!
All in all…Athens and Santorini were spectacular. I already miss the fresh and authentic food, the rich history and the unforgettable views. I know I’ll be back!
Any recommendations on other Greek Islands?