Travel Guide: Greece

My sister Madi and I have been wanting to plan a girls’ trip FOREVER. At the top of both our bucket lists was Greece, so this summer we decided to make it happen!!! This country was one of the most beautiful and picturesque places I’ve ever visited and I’m soooo excited to share about our travels on the blog today (and hopefully encourage you to visit Greece, too!) Turn up your Mamma Mia playlist and let’s get started :)

Our first stop was Athens. We flew into the Athens International Airport from the US and spent one full day and night exploring the capital, which for us was plenty as we wanted to spend the majority of our stay on the coast. Of course we had to visit the legendary Acropolis! We toured in the evening which was a hot hike, but worth it for the sunset views over the city. The Parthenon is under construction and will be for many more years, but it’s still stunning to see and appreciate the ancient columns.

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Next up was Santorini!! This was my absolute favorite place we visited. When you picture Greece, you’re likely envisioning the steep cliffs of Santorini lined with white cave houses and blue domes, with the sparkling Aegean Sea in the background. I know it sounds impossible, but Santorini is EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL in person than in pictures!!!

Santorini was where we really kicked back and relaxed. We treated ourselves to massages, fish pedicures, and lots of white wine toasts. Our favorite activity was definitely the sunset catamaran cruise - the hospitality and food was amazing and you can't beat the picturesque views! It was also nice to get away from the mainland on a private boat and experience Santorini more intimately. We made stops at different beaches and hot springs, and we swam at each one!

We absolutely LOVED our Airbnb in Santorini. It was in a prime location right in the heart of Oia, but still felt private from bustling tourists. Our hosts were absolutely amazing!!! Each day they came by to make our bed, clean the room and private balcony, and left us sweet gifts. They booked our tours and transportation and even helped carry all our luggage. Angels on this earth.

(We especially loved our Airbnb jacuzzi!!!)

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Our final stop was Crete. Here we got pretty adventurous and decided to rent a car. The positive was exploring the island on our own time, the negative was navigating steep + narrow roads and finding parking in the city! I’d say rent a car at your own risk - if you’re up for a challenge, it’s nice to have since the must-see beaches of Crete are pretty spread out. All I can say is, God bless Google Maps because all road signs are written in the Greek alphabet.

Our favorite activity in Crete was the foodie walking tour. We did this on our first day to get our bearings of the city. Our guide Manos was such a sweetie and gave the most wonderful recommendations for our visit! He even shared his What’s App contact info with us which came in handy more than once.

Crete has AMAZING FOOD! Everything was so delicious and healthy, we enjoyed Greek salad and dolmas almost every day. In true European fashion, meals take hours (they are intended to be an experience). After you’re finished eating, waitstaff will bring out Tsikoudia shots instead of your check. It’s a strong grape-based liquor supposed to help with digestion. We tried it straight which was rough, but the honey flavor I actually enjoyed!

In Crete we visited Elafonissi, the famous Pink Sand Beach, and Falassarna. The water in Greece is like nothing I’ve ever seen, warm and crystal clear without a single piece of debris! I could seriously live on these beaches all summer!!!

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How to get around -

There are two ways to hop from island to island in Greece - by land or by water. We did both, and I’d recommend flying over taking a ferry. The ferry isn’t the nicest experience, as they often run late and you have to stand in line in the blazing hot sun waiting for the boat to arrive. People are pretty pushy to board with all their luggage and it felt stressful at times!

What to wear -

If you’re visiting in the summer, leave your long pants and sweaters at home. We loved frolicking around in our swimsuits, layered with activewear or sun dresses. Oh and don’t forget a hat!!! Preferably one with a drawstring or a baseball cap that fits snug (it’s windy on the coast.) Finally, make sure you wear walking shoes, as there are lots of steep steps to climb and uneven cobblestone streets to navigate!

Other tips -

Pack light!! We intentionally packed only backpacks and carry-on luggage, as we knew we’d be hopping between trains, hotels, ferries, and small planes all week. I’d suggest looking for hotels or Airbnbs with washers so that you can do laundry during your visit!

Don’t ride the donkeys! The “mule taxis” are a popular option to get around in Santorini, as the hike from the coast up to Oia is over 200 steep zig-zag stairs. If walking is not an option for you, there are taxis or a cable car lift you can take. We were told by local sources that the donkeys are abused and mistreated by handlers and are subjected to horrible working conditions, carrying heavy tourists all day in the hot sun. It broke my heart to see them being whipped up the steps, so do the right thing and use other forms of transportation!

That’s all for now, I hope you guys enjoyed this travel guide because I sure do love making them!! Feel free to message me with any specific questions about our itinerary, I’d be happy to help!

Xo, Rach