Ahh Greece! The home to thousands of islands, white cobblestone streets, white/black sand beaches and picture perfect sunsets. A place of natural beauty and unique landscapes that are even more beautiful than the pictures. If you ever have the opportunity to go, please do! I promise, this country will blow your mind.
So I am a blend of many different races but mostly Greek, so I knew that the first country I wanted to visit would have to be Greece. Both of my grandfathers are Greek; however, my family is the most non-cultural family you could imagine so I needed to be with my peoples for a bit.
Since I have never left the country, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am not a big traveler but it is something that I want to do more often. Knowing that I for sure wanted to go to Greece this year, I started my planning 1 year ago. I originally wanted to buy a Trip Groupon but the airports available were always not an option for me and my location. I talked to a travel agent and she was trying to charge me $1800 for a plane ticket when Tripadvisor had tickets for $1000. So I stayed patient and kept looking around, wondering to myself, how the fuck am I going to do this? I knew I wanted to go in June but everything was getting sold out and tickets to Greece were stopping in Turkey, which worried me. I called another Travel agent and she told me to just go for it and I did. After all, it was so nice not being a part of a tour or anything like that because I saw the tours and they looked beyond boring. My biggest tip for those of you who are unsure about how to go about island hopping in Greece, just go for it but put the time in and do your research!!! If you do the research and put the effort in, then your trip is going to be designed exactly how you want it and you will not get ripped off by travel agents trying to make a quick buck by charging you a ridiculous amount to plan the trip. Not everything is going to be perfect, but it will definitely work out in the end.
SIDE NOTE: If anyone needs more pointers for traveling to Greece, leave me a comment!
Our trip in a nutshell went like this: Fly out to Athens from San Francisco. Tip: It is much cheaper to fly into Athens than flying directly to the islands. We stayed the night in a local town called Artemis the first night since we had to leave early in the morning to fly to Mykonos. Ferrying would take a much longer time and booking directly through a budget airline was just as cheap as a ferry ticket. We stayed in Mykonos for 4 days then ferried to Santorini (BTW more in depth details about Mykonos and Santorini are in separate posts). From Mykonos we ferried to Santorini. Lastly, we flew from Santorini to Athens since it was only a 45 minute flight and would have been 5 hours by ferry. We flew out at 6:30am and had the whole day in Athens in order to explore and visit the Acropolis. We stayed in an Airbnb’s both nights in Athens because it was extremely cheap and were in great locations. The Airbnb apartment that we stayed in for the last night was located 10 minutes away which was walking distance to the Acropolis and restaurants. I highly suggest doing this for your trip. Greece exceeded my expectations and was an unbelievable trip. Please do not let people try and tell you not to travel somewhere because it is not “safe” regarding what is happening in the World right now and with Trump as president. Anything could happen at any time or place so do not stop living and traveling because of fear!
Random Facts about Greece:
- Athens is like a larger SF so really pay attention to where you are going cause a lot of streets do not have visible street signs.
- Most Greeks speak English as well so don’t worry about brushing up on your Greek before you go
- Lamb is not as common as you think: There are no lamb burgers or lamb gyros- It’s an Americanized meal
- People in Greece do not usually eat breakfast. People stay up all night and wake up late. This means that lunch is usually at 4pm and dinner is at 10pm. People do not hit the bars till at least 11:30pm.
- Buses are more reliable than what I read about them. Greek bus drivers are always prompt and if they say they are leaving at 12pm, then they are leaving at 12pm. In addition, they are obviously going to make other stops on the way to the destination so do not think that you are getting a direct ride without any stops.
- There are ATM’s everywhere so do not feel the need to get all your cash before your trip. Also, there are fees but the amounts do not show up until you check your bank statement.
- Greeks are crazy drivers but they know what they’re doing. For this reason, I would not recommend renting a car or ATV. Just stick with the public transportation. It is cheaper and police give tickets out all day for ATV’s parked anywhere on the streets.
- Greek music is rarely played, 90% of the music played was American but sang by different artists and have different tones. Just imagine an Eminem song sang by a female with a piano. I’m serious.
- BEST TIME TO VISIT GREECE: The shoulder seasons- May/June and September/October. The water is warm enough to swim and its not blistering hot. There’s still going to be tourism but not as many people as in July or August.
- Lastly, you’ve GOT to try stuffed squid and octopus in Greece. Just sayin’