In March earlier this year we stumbled upon the fact that Sting was going to be on tour in Athens in the summer. Since he’s been a huge music influence in both our lives we blindly booked the concert tickets & of course that’s how we knew our holiday was going to be in Greece!
A T H E N S
As much as we love our hotels, we started using AirBnB last year in Spain & it has been nothing short of amazing.
Of course we do our research before we book them. I always turn on these filters when looking for a place :
– Entire Place
– Free Cancellation
– Air Conditioning
I make sure that it’s walking distance from all the main attractions/city centre etc.
Last but not least I go through each & every review & check that most of them are very recent in date, so I know the apartment will be more or less in the same shape as the last visit.
We found the cutest one in a neighbourhood called Thissio, behind the Acropolis. Our AirBnB host was the best, she helped us book taxis, co-ordinate other stuff & her home was neat, clean & super affordable!
Airport transfers by taxi cost around 20 to 30 euros minimum depending on where you’re staying in Greece. You can always ask your host/hotel to book pick ups and drops for you.
Uber is available in Athens, but you have to attach your credit card to the account, they don’t accept cash. Trains are a cheaper option.
Most of the restaurants have traditional Greek food like Gyros & Souvlaki etc but I suggest doing a bit of walking/exploring to get a feel of what cafe you want to sit in etc
– ‘Thissio View’ – one of the first cafes we went to had the most amazing view of Athens & the Acropolis & great food as well. Located in Thissio, the neighbourhood we stayed in.
– ‘O Kostas’ has great gyros to go, in Syntagma Square.
– ‘A for Athens is a great rooftop bar to check out Monastiraki Square by night (Thanks to my friend Beven Fonseca for the recommendation)
There are so many restaurants & cafes it’s impossible to list them all!
THINGS TO DO
I always book tours from two main apps : Viator & GetYourGuide. It’s good to compare prices & check out the reviews before buying them.
– Walk around the neighbourhood you stay in. You end up discovering so many hidden gems that way!
– Visit The Acropolis, and the Acropolis Museum for sure. Do an early morning guided tour to avoid the crowds, it can get pretty crazy up there. The history behind these magnificent eras is crazy.
– Take a day cruise to visit the islands around Greece. We saw Hydra, Poros & Aegina. This was totally worth the trip. Beautiful sights!
– Shop for souvenirs & fresh fruit in Monastiraki square
– Visit the neighbourhood of Plaka to see cute house & tiny cafes
– The flea market is nice to walk around & see old stores, mostly souvenir and t-shirt/hat stores. Athens shopping is not that great according to me. They have all the brands but not too many local labels which is what we love checking out.
S A N T O R I N I
The island of Santorini is pretty from every angle & Oia is one the most expensive places to stay. This is the coast with the blue dome churches that everyone dies to get pictures of. There are many parts that one can stay in and travel daily to other sides of the island to visit other beaches & sun set cliffs with white houses.
We chose to stay in Firá which is a coastal area that has its own little town square as well as a beautiful cliff side full of amazing hotels and suites to give you that typical Santorini view.
We booked a great boutique hotel, 15 mins walking from Firá main town & would come to the main square for cafes/bars & shopping.
You can rent cars and ATV quad bikes to move around from one side of the island to the other but if you plan things well, the buses are super cheap & luxurious as well. Walking is convenient if you plan to stay close to the main sights.
We ate some amazing food in Santorini, at some of the most romantic spots one could find. Honestly the whole island has such a romantic vibe to it!
– Porto Firá Suites bar for an amazing view of the sunset in Firá.
– Fanari restaurant & bar for awesome cocktails, sunset views – their bartender is the best. This is on the slopes of Oia.
– Argo restaurant for the best meal ever! Pricey but totally worth it. Try their ginger mojitos! So good.
– Lucky’s Souvlaki in Firá town for the BEST gyros ever. I wanna go back there!
– Demilmar Beach restaurant & bar for amazing shrimp pasta & sangria! This is on Perissa beach. You can rent a beach bed & go swimming right there. Crystal clear water.
– Vanilia Restaurant in FiroStefani town for the best meal, rose prosecco & amazing sunset views off the cliffs.
THINGS TO DO
This island has many attractions but we wanted to do a lot of chilling as well. We did one tour that took us to a couple of amazing spots around the island.
– Walk around Firá/Oia & explore the cafes with sunset views to take typical tourist photos 🙂
– Take a cruise ship to the volcano, visit the hot springs, check out the ancient ruins in Akrotiri
– Swim at Kamari beach our favourite one to visit, the cafes/restaurants/shops are lined up & sun beds are free for customers.
– Santo Wines a beautiful place with a killer view is great for wine tasting.
1. Make sure you wear really good shoes to walk around Greece. The amount of steps & slopes everywhere is crazy.
2. Don’t bother packing jeans (even if you think you’re going to go somewhere fancy) everyone is in their summer best with shorts, cute dresses, slippers, hats etc.
3. Make sure you wear sunglasses. The glare of the sun is very strong & it actually hurt my eyes to go without sunglasses for even a minute.
4. The portions when eating out are huge in some places so two can easily share a meal.
5. Don’t only eat Greek food there, explore other cuisines as well like Italian, Mediterranean etc
6. Try out the sesame bread pretzels you see everywhere, they are soft & fresh!
7. Before booking taxis with your hotel to go from point A to B, try the bus. They have great quality luxury seats & you can spend that 30 euros on a meal instead!
8. When going to a pebble beach make sure you take slippers with you. It takes some getting used to & isn’t easy to walk barefoot there.
9. Clear out your memory on your phone & carry a battery pack because you’re going to take a million photos!
10. Always check the weather before heading out because you don’t want to be caught in the rain unprepared (even if it’s the middle of summer)
Hope this blog helps in a small way if you ever plan to visit Greece, I wish we had the time to visit all the other beautiful places like Mykonos etc!
My entire Instagram Greece story with pictures & videos is @shannondonaldofficial