It all began in Santorini, our full-fledged obsession will the Greek Isles.
After briefly resting our heads in Athens, we hopped on a quick flight to Santorini to spend two incredible days. There are a lot of ways to get to and from the islands, and if you have a plethora of time, ferries are the way to go. Time was a premium to us, so we decided to forgo the eight-hour ferry and instead took an early flight to Santorini. For any/all Santorini related questions, our expert source was Santorini Dave. We had a little communication mishap when another Bailey family took our designated taxi from the airport, but after a few phone calls to our bed and breakfast hostess and some laughs, we made our way across the island to Oia. Friends looking to visit Santorini – spend the extra dollars and stay in Oia. The views are unparalleled, and if you stay close enough to the main town, you’ll find the entire area is walkable.
We spent our first day there walking the main pedestrian area, picking up a few souvenirs and of course the straw hat that saved my face from sunburn. After a nice lunch, we decided to throw on our swimsuits and make our way down to Amoudi Bay. 300 stairs and a pair of jello-legs later, we finally found our way to a swimming area. Jen and Jess opted to jump off the cliff area, while I photographed them from a safe distance 😉 We enjoyed some wine and snacks right down by the water before dinner. With our harrowing experience going down the stairs earlier, we decided to take the donkeys back up. Friends, I’m not ashamed to admit that I screamed and cursed for the entire ten minutes I was on the back of that donkey. I was not at all prepared for how scary it was. Don’t be fooled by their adorable looks – these donkeys were my nightmare. I’ve never been more thankful to be back on my own two feet. Let’s just say plenty of wine was needed at dinner that evening.
The next day we opted for a morning hike outside of Oia, and it was so beautiful to see more of the island. We didn’t make it all the way to Fira, but if we had an extra day on the island we definitely would have spent some time there. After our brief hike, we grabbed a quick lunch and then were picked up for our snorkel and sail adventure! There are several options for catamaran tours of Santorini, and they are a great way to see more of the island. Santorini itself is a volcanic island, and we were able to swim in the hot springs near the old volcano (which were more like slightly warm springs) and visit several beaches and rock formations. Santorini doesn’t have your typical sandy beaches, and it takes quite a downhill journey to reach the water from the cliffs. But it’s completely worth it to take a dip in the deep blue Aegean. Our cruise included dinner and drinks, and we had a wonderful evening watching the sun dip below the horizon.
We took the ferry to Mykonos the next day, and immediately hustled ourselves to the beach. On our way in from the port, we actually witnessed a four-wheeler accident where people were thrown from their ride, and it was super scary. A lot of reviews say that scooters and four-wheelers are a great way to see more of the islands, and while I imagine it’s true, I’m such a safety freak that I would not be able to ride one of those. Greek drivers are pretty crazy, and it’s all too easy to lose track of your surroundings or lose control of those vehicles. So we stayed safe by walking on our own legs or by taking a bus, which was convenient to our location in Mykonos Town. Our first stop was Platis Gialos, which was a beautiful beach where we spent a few hours before getting ready for dinner. Our very favorite meal was at Kastro Bar Restauarant in Little Venice, and I
demand recommend that you eat there if you ever get the chance. We sat in the outside alley overlooking the water, and were gifted with another incredible sunset that evening. After making our way through a few bottles of rose, we braved a couple of clubs in Mykonos Town, which were completely crazy. We only lasted half an hour before making our way back to our bed and breakfast. It’s worth mentioning at this point that although Mykonos is much more flat compared to Santorini, we still somehow managed to stay at the top of a humongous hill just outside of Mykonos Town, which meant that we had to crawl up the dreadful hill several times a day. Lucky for us, aside from the hill we were super close to the city center, and Mykonos Town is so charming! After a productive morning shopping and walking our way through Little Venice in the daylight, we took an afternoon ferry back to Athens, and the rest is history.
- Oia – stay there if you can, it has the best views of the caldera! And definitely plan to do a nice dinner overlooking the sunset one evening!
- Catamaran sail around the island – we did one that stayed out until sunset and really loved it!
- Amoudi Bay – whether you walk or take a donkey, definitely make your way down to that gorgeous water and hop on in!
- Platis Gialos Beach
- Walking and shopping around Little Venice
- Dinner at Kastro’s Bar Restaurant
Island life and general tips:
- While there are taxis available at the ports, arranging your transfer ahead of time with your hotel or bed and breakfast is the way to go!
- Eat outside whenever possible, and it’s never too early to stop and sip a glass of rose 😉
- There are buses available that circulate around each island, and once you’re in a specific town/neighborhood, it’s really easy to walk around that area on foot. Plus or minus some stairs or hills. For example, we took a short walk to Mykonos Town where we caught the bus to Platis Gialos, and from there walked around the rest of that area on foot. There were several other beaches in walking distance from there as well.
- Have some cash, but most places also take cards. I used my credit card that doesn’t charge international fees and withdrew 200 euro from an ATM to have as additional spending money, and that worked well!
- Ferries are generally the easiest way to get around the islands, but for larger islands that are further away, flights might be another inexpensive option as well.
- Ask your host or hostess for recommendations! And always check out Santorini Dave 😉
- Have an open mind. I wasn’t super impressed when we first arrived in Mykonos. Santorini was just so stunning, and I’ve been to nice beaches before. But what makes Mykonos stand out the most is the Little Venice area of town – once we explored those beautiful whitewashed alleys, I fell in love!