Welcome to Greece!
This incredible country has so much to offer: rich history, gorgeous views of the Mediterranean, delicious food, and friendly people. Greece is a relatively cheap place to travel, and there many reasons people are drawn to this unique country. From hiking mountains and ancient fortresses to relaxing on the beach to its epic night life, there is something for everyone. There are so many places to go it can be intimidating trying to sort it out. Luckily, I’ve done that for you!
If you’d like to see a photo collection from my trip, head over to my Wix website.
Language: Greek & English
Currency: €1.00 = $1.10 USD
Climate: Summers are very hot and dry, winters are more mild and rainy. I was in Greece for 5 weeks between May and June and it only sprinkled twice and the temperatures began around 80 degrees (F) and were over 100 degrees (F) during my last week in Athens.
Founded: February 3, 1830. Greece has a long history of conquering and being conquered. It won its independence from the Ottoman Empire for the last time in 1829 and has been a free country since.
Common Phrases: Hello – Yasas // Thank you – Efkaristo // Cheers – Yamas // Please – Parakahloh //
While in Athens I always walked around the city. It’s very easy to navigate if you use the Acropolis as your guide. Everything encircles it, so navigating the streets became second nature very quickly. Almost every place I went I walked once I was there. The islands are small and easy to navigate, and even cities like Delphi and Nafplion were easy to walk around. Once in a while, when it was available, I could take a cab. I took one cab in Athens, Mykonos and Santorini. The fares are standard to those in the U.S.
Once you’re outside of the city, we always took buses since it was study abroad program. There are public buses you can ride, as well as a subway system in Athens. However, if you want to go to multiples places on the mainland (which you do) then renting a car might be your best option.
Getting between islands is very easy. You can buy ferry tickets and sail from island to island. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip! The Blue Star Ferries go just about everywhere, and I had the best time exploring the ship and sitting on the open decks. The Piraeus is the port near Athens, and from there you can go to all of the islands! Tickets range anywhere from €10-40 one-way.
WHAT TO EAT
Mediterranean food is known for being healthy and delicious. Another great thing is that the food in Greece is relatively inexpensive, and the street food is delicious! Anywhere you go you can grab a gyro or souvlaki for under €3 and either sit down or walk around to eat it. Typically budget €15-20 per day for food, not including alcoholic drinks.
Best meals to try:
Moussaka: It is described as an eggplant casserole, or I like to describe it as an eggplant lasagna. It is a staple in the Greek diet and one of my favorite dishes.
Soutzoukakia: Traditional Greek meatballs in a tomato sauce, often served with rice.
Pastitsio: a baked beef pasta dish.
Spanakopita: spinach pie in a flaky pastry.
Gyro: Often kebab, chicken or pork wrapped in a pita with tomatoes, onions, fried potatoes, and tzatziki sauce.
Souvlaki: Chicken or pork on a stick.
Greek Salad: Tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, Greek salad dressing.
Baklava: a Greek pastry with nuts and honey.
Frappe, Freddo Cappuccino or Freddo Espresso: The Greek version of iced coffee.
Ouzo – Traditional Greek liquor.
WHERE TO GO
For a little island hopping…
This well-known island is a dream destination for many people. Eat at restaurants along the water and shop through the beautiful cobble-stone streets. Day time is perfect for exploring and relaxing, because its Mykonos’ night life that is really exciting. The Scandinavian Bar Disco is a hit! There are many bars so you can hop around!
Because of its popularity the prices here were more expensive than many of the places I went in Greece. Some people actually chose to skip this island because of its increase in prices. However, the people are beyond friendly and I loved the excitement of the island!
Take a half day trip over to the island of Delos. It is completely uninhabited, as the entire island is an archaeological site. You can climb Mt. Kynthos and explore the entire ancient city in its ruins.
Recommended stay: 3-4 days
Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort: Prices for rooms begin at €250 per night, and suits begin at €465 per night.
Royal Myconian Resort & Thalasso Spa Center: Choose from Deluxe, Premium and Superior rooms starting at €150 per night, or suites from €257.
Sofia Village: Price ranges from €50 to 200€ per night, depending on the number of guests and the dates of your visit. This is my personal recommendation! It is about a fifteen minute walk into town, up and down a pretty steep hill, but the staff is incredibly kind and the hotel itself was wonderful.
Hostels starting at $23 per night.
AirBNB starting at $55 per night.
Similar in popularity to Mykonos, the island of Santorini is full of tourists who have been dreaming of visiting for years. There are so many incredible things to do on this island!
You can ride a cable car down to the port where we booked a sailing tour to Nea Kameni, the volcano which formed the island. Ride out on a boat and jump into the sea! You can swim up to hot springs at the base of the volcano. Then you can hike to the top! It takes about 30-45 minutes and from the top. You can ride a donkey back up the mountain at the end of the excursion.
Santorini is famous for its Red Beach, a few miles south of Fira Town. It has red volcanic pebbles that attract visitors. Because the beach itself is relatively small it is easily crowded. However, the view from the top is just as magnificent as being at the shore.
Head to Oia for the post-card pictures of Santorini. Eat at a restaurant on the edge of the island and watch the sunset over the Mediterranean. This is the part of Santorini that is always photographed and that people dream of visiting. Prices will be much more expensive here, but it is worth the trip to see the incredible town and view from the island.
Recommended stay: 5-6 days
Oia Mare Villas start around $200 per night for standard caves and increase in price for more luxurious accommodation. The best feature about this hotel is the location, in the heart of picturesque Santorini. All hotels in Oia will be more expensive than in other villages on the island.
Santorini Princess Hotel & Spa starting at $175 per night. The rooms are apartment-style and range from basic to superior to the honeymoon suite.
Antonia Apartments are located in Fira Town, Santorini. Prices begin around $100 per night.
Hostels starting at $16 per night.
AirBNB starting at $45 per night.
For beach-goers and cliff jumpers, head to the island of Milos. There are 70 beaches on this island! One of its most famous beaches is called Sarakiniko, nicknamed Moon Beach because of its white rocky shore. The huge slabs of white stone resemble the surface of the moon and being there is out of this world! Just make sure to wear lots of sunscreen as the rock creates a very hot and reflective surface for the sun.
The island is a little cheaper and easy to navigate. There is great night life along the water in Adamas, and a few restaurants located on the harbor where you can eat. There is an incredible dessert shop here called Aggeliki where I enjoyed some delicious ice cream!
Recommended stay: 2-3 days
One of the great benefits of visiting the less popular islands is that accommodation is cheap. I recommend staying in the port city and taking taxis to other parts of the island.
Nefeli Sunset Studios offers studios and suites, starting at $140 per night. It is located on the northwest side of the island.
Delmar Apartments and Suites offers rooms, studios, apartments or suites that start at $80 per night.
Alexandros Village is located in Adamantas and rooms start at just $50 per night!
Because the hotels are very inexpensive on Milos, I would recommend them over AirBNB! I found many more hotels at lower prices that these accommodations. There are two hostels on the island, but they are comparable to hotel prices.
This is the largest of the Cycladic islands, and it is a spectacular place to visit. The port city, Agios, is beautiful, filled with shops and restaurants on the water. The Portara is an easy walk on a small peninsula, with an unfinished ancient temple that greets travelers that arrive on the island.
The beach at Agios is sandy and shallow, so you can swim pretty far. It’s a small beach, but was not too crowded.
Some fun things to do are exploring the Kastro (castle) in the ancient part of the port city. Heading inland, explore Vallindras Distillery. They make a special liquor called Kitron, and you can tour the family-owned distillery and sample the three different flavors.
Recommended stay: 4-5 days
Botique Hotel Glaros has charm and is centrally located in the harbor city. Its rooms begin at $375 per night.
Nissaki Beach Hotel has suites starting around $150 per night.
Hotel Anatoli is a beautiful hotel, and my personal recommendation, with rates starting at $41 per night. It is a short walk into town, and the hotel itself is beautiful! They offer great breakfast in the morning and I had a beautiful balcony overlooking the Kastro and the sea.
AirBNB rates start at $25 per night.
Hostels start at $12 per night for dorms.
This is an island for those who like to relax. The port city is small, but filled with friendly locals. Relax on the beach in the beautiful cove and sip cocktails at the Captain’s Bar. This was my favorite island because it was quaint, and I needed a few days to relax after so much traveling.
Head to the other side of the island to explore its ancient Acropolis and see the Kastro. There is great snorkeling here as well!
Recommended stay: 3-4 days
Hotel Boulis has rooms starting at $42 and is my personal recommendation. The owners are incredibly nice, the hotel is a short walk from the ferry, it sits right on the beach, and there is a delicious restaurant in the courtyard.
Windmill Bella Vista is gorgeous, but not in the port city, and has rooms starting at $105 per night. It is close to the Kastro.
There are no hostels on this small island, and AirBNBs are pricy. I don’t recommend either of these options on this island.
WHERE TO GO
On the mainland…
This is the city of rich history and culture, and one of my favorite cities I have ever visited. Must-do activities include the Acropolis and museum, temple to Zeus, Hadrian’s gate, Hadrian’s library, the Agora (ancient city-center) and the Olympic arena. Athens also has some incredible museums and beautiful gardens.
A gem in Athens is the Poet sandal shop. A family-run business, these sandals are unique because they are perfectly fitted for your feet! That means they will fit perfectly, and you get the experience of having shoes fitted specifically for you. The down side is that because they are custom-made, they are not available for purchase online. However, you can browse the styles. They cost around €40 per pair. Fun fact: these are the sandals that the women wear when they light the Olympic torch before the games!
Recommended stay: 4-5 days
Hotel Attalos has rooms for around $190 per night. This hotel is in the very heart of Athens, on Athinas Street, and is my personal recommendation. It has a beautiful rooftop garden bar that overlooks the Acropolis and is in walking distance from everywhere you’d want to go in Athens.
Royal Olympic Hotel has rooms starting at $140 per night.
Mariana Athens Hotel is also centrally located and much lower in price. Single rooms start at $46 per night.
AirBNB starts at $30 per night.
Hostels start at $10 per night.
This small town has so much history. You can walk onto the original Olympic track where the ancient people held the original Olympic games. The entire ancient city is very well preserved and you can explore around the ruins and ancient temples, as well as race on the track.
The modern city is small and filled with tourist shops, but it is fun to explore.
Recommended stay: 1-2 days
Because Olympia itself is so touristy, some people choose to stay in the surrounding towns. These options are for downtown Olympia.
Hotel Amalia Olympia is a great option and very pristine. They offer standard rooms starting at $80 per night.
Olympic Village Resort & Spa has single rooms starting at $76 and also offer double and triple rooms, or suites.
Hotel Anagennisis rooms start at $65 per night and this is another great option in Olympia.
AirBNB rooms start around $50.
There are no hostels in this small city.
Delphi is a magical, spiritual, ancient site that visitors from around the world flock to. After being there, I see why. Walk up the side of a mountain and explore the ancient temples to Athena and Apollo, experience the ancient theater that is so well preserved, and make it to the top to see the ancient gymnasium. The museum is also incredibly well-done and worth the experience.
Downtown Delphi is small and quaint, matching the serenity of the site. It has the perk of being high on a mountain and offering views of the sea in the distance.
Recommended stay: 1-2 days
Amalia Hotel Delphi is a beautiful and popular option, with rooms starting at $86 per night.
Hotel Pan is downtown Delphi and offers single, double, triple or family rooms starting around $40 per night. This is where I stayed for one night and enjoyed it.
AirBNB rates start at $34 per night, but they won’t be as close to the little downtown or the historic site as the hotels will be. There are no hostels here.
This ancient Biblical city is beautiful. It is small in size, but its ruins are pretty spectacular. There are Greek, Roman and Christian influences and much history. The best thing to do here is stop and climb AcroCorinth, the city’s ancient fortress. From the top there is an incredible view of the water and the countryside.
Recommended stay: 1 day
Corinth itself does not offer much accommodation, so I ended up staying in a town called Loutraki, where prices are cheaper.
Enalio Suites has suites and stuidos, beginning at $120 per night. This is south of Corinth, in Loutra.
Kosmopolit Hotel is located north of Corinth in Loutraki. This is where I stayed and would recommend to others. Rooms are basic and simple, but you must inquire about availability and prices on its website.
Hotel Petit Palais is one of the top-recommended hotels in Loutraki. Rooms start at $50.
AirBNB begins at $25 per night. There are no hostels in this little town.
This is the most beautiful city (in my opinion) in all of Greece. There is so much history here, including an ancient fortress you can climb! The streets are lined with buildings in beautiful colors and flowers and balconies. There are shops and restaurants, and the very best gelato I have ever had. The Galleria di Roma is a must. You can sample their signature flavors: dark chocolate and hazelnut.
There is also an English cafe that serves great Freddo cappuccinos and has a Volkswagen Beetle booth. Walk around the city, eat and enjoy the nightlife in the city center, and explore the water as its a city on the shore.
Recommended stay: 4-5 days
AirBNB rates start at $40 per night. There are no hostels in this city.