With the economy crisis that was happening in Greece I figured it would be a less expensive time to travel there. Little did I know the economy crisis didn’t change much for tourists (at the time I went the ATM limits were even lifted for tourists).
The trip started in Athens. When I arrived in Athens the customs line moved very fast, right after customs was the tourist center. The people there were friendly and explained how to get to my hotel (with a map). I walked to the metro station and was quickly confused. They said to take the red line, but all the trains were the same color – they weren’t color coded so you had to get on one and hope you were going the right way (which thank goodness, I went onto the right train after speaking with other tourists there). After getting out of the train station the hotel was only a short walk away.
On the streets of Athens there were many kids out on the street playing instruments and asking for money, the police of Athens would shoo them away and ask them not to play there. The streets were lined with restaurants (a representative from each restaurant stood on the street and invited tourists to come eat with them, and briefly explained their menu).
The first stop in Athens was Acropolis. I went to go visit the Parthenon. The Parthenon was in close proximity to my hotel (Divani Palace Acropolis), so it was about a 10 minute walk away (no taxi required). The Parthenon was a decent uphill walk. If the ground was slippery I don’t think I would’ve made it. (When you purchased tickets for the Parthenon, the tickets were also good for Zeus’ Temple.) The Parthenon was beautiful, it really made you wonder how beautiful it looked when it was first built. During that time period, having architecture that grand, is amazing.
After The Parthenon it was time to visit Zeus’ Temple. Zeus’ Temple was about a 10 minute walk away from The Parthenon. It was a small area, and you could see all of Zeus’ Temple in about a 5 minute walk around the courtyard, but it was beautiful scenery none-the-less.
I only stayed in Athens for one night, and I’m glad I did. There wasn’t much to do or see in Athens. The Parthenon and Zeus’ Temple took about 3 hours all together. The only other thing that was recommended there was the bus tour (although I didn’t do that, it could be a nice way to extend the day in Athens).
Next stop – Santorini. My hotel was in Imerovigli. Imerovigli was a 5 minute walk from one of the main towns in Santorini. On every block there was a shop to rent mopeds, ATVs, and cars from. I wound up renting an ATV ($25 for the day). The ATV was such a good investment. I was able to ride around the town with ease, and also took the ATV to Oia. Oia is mostly known for its amazing view of the caldera and breath-taking sunsets. The ride to get to Oia was a scenic route. I was happy that I was on the ATV to really experience the scenery.
I couldn’t have asked for a better hotel in Imerovigli if I tried. Dreams Luxury Suites was in a beautiful location, private, and had the best views. The hotel only has 6 rooms, therefore they treat every guest like royalty. My room was the Lokai Suite. My suite had a patio with an amazing view, a pool, and a jacuzzi. I booked this hotel through Expedia (in order to get points), but they have a direct site you can book through as well. Click here for Dreams Luxury Suites official website.
The next day I journeyed off to Akrotiri, Santorini. This location was on the opposite end of the island, with a lot less tourism. I stayed at the Neptune Luxury Spa & Suites (another boutique hotel). This hotel was located near many vineyards, in a quiet area of town. I was told by locals that I must go to a restaurant called “The Cave of Nikolas” so that’s where I decided to have lunch. The location of the restaurant was right on the water, and they had many fish to choose from on the menu. (The menu was all fish – so if seafood is not your forte I wouldn’t recommend going here). After I finished lunch I noticed a sign pointing right for the “Red Beach” – so I decided to wander off and see what all the hype was about. When walking to the Red Beach you have to scale the side of a mountain and walk up and down many rocky edges. If I were to ever go back again, I would take the water taxi (a lot less dangerous and drops you off right on the beach). For the Neptune Luxury Spa & Suites official website click here.
From Santorini I took the high speed water jet to Mykonos. Upon arriving at the hotel (Palladium Hotel) I was immediately treated like royalty. They welcomed me with a glass of champagne and then told me everything there was to do in the area, and explained how I’d be able to get around. After they welcomed me, they showed me to my room, while carrying my bags. Once in my room they showed me the features of my room, and where everything was placed. It was by far my favorite hotel experience of the trip (just the way they treated their guests was absolutely amazing, worth every penny). I went during the down season at Mykonos, but during the summer it is the party island. After getting my stuff settled in the room I decided to journey off to the main town. I took the local bus there (which picked up right in front of the hotel and dropped off right at the beginning of the town). I was immediately taken back by how beautiful this little town way. The paths were painted (white paint made the ground look like cobblestone), all the houses were white, and the shutters & railings were bright colors. It was a photographers heaven. I loved the scenery.
When you reached the outskirts of the town there were the Windmills of Mykonos. At this location you had the bet view of the town of Mykonos. Watching the Windmills during sunset was a spectacular sight.
The next day I ventured off to Delos (which is only accessible by ferry from Mykonos). Delos is one of the most sacred places of ancient Greece, the city is almost all destroyed but is still such a beautiful sight to see. The ferry departed Mykonos at 10am and returned back at 1am (believe it or not this was plenty of time to walk to island and get a good look at everything).
Even with everything destroyed you can tell how beautiful this island once was.
All and all Greece was an amazing experience, I would love to go back and visit the rest of the Greek Islands. I would also be interested in visiting Sparta.
Please feel free to leave questions and comments about Greece, I will respond to every one in a timely manner. If you have ever been to the other Greek Islands or Sparta, leave me some things that I must do when visiting.
Until next time.