We are just wrapping up a wonderful week in Greece – Athens and Santorini, to be exact! – and want to share all the amazing times we had! Also…this is our LAST stop in Europe…so we are about to completely switch cultures and continents!!
First off – Greece was EASILY one of our favorite countries. If you asked us to name our top 3 (out of 14) right now, I guarantee we would both put Greece in it without question. So let’s see what we did!
This was one of only two stops this entire trip where we are lucky enough to get TWO visitors at once!! My lovely little sister Christine and our wonderful friend Bob both joined us for the entire time in Greece. I think if you polled these two, they would agree the trip was amazing!
So we all ate WELL in Greece. Never too much but truly an amazing selection of fresh, flavorful food every single place we went. We were allllways excited for and planning our next food stop to maximize how much Greek food we could eat. From the walk up gyro stands to the beautifully grilled and seasoned meat…from the perfect feta cheese to the dips and sauces. We wanted to – and did – eat it all.
Obviously one of the main draws to Greece is the incredible ancient ruins and the stories behind them. We spent our last full day in Athens exploring the Acropolis and visiting the Acropolis museum and we loved every moment. We could barely wrap our heads around the fact that we were looking at a 2500 year old set of ruins – the stories and history behind them only makes it more impressive. Did anybody else know that the reason the Parthenon looks so badly damaged isn’t because of age and time but because of some sort of gunpowder explosion that happened in the mid-1600s!? Because we didn’t!
The Acropolis Museum itself was also totally worth the visit – built in 2009, it’s an incredibly designed and beautiful museum. They managed to preserve so much from the Acropolis’ site and display them in ways that really show off how remarkable they are. In other fun news, when they began excavating for this museum, they discovered additional ruins – an entire neighborhood!! – at the site that is not only wonderfully preserved, but able to be walked through *under* the museum, only as of this year. Definitely visit!
Since we’re talking ancient Greece here, the Acropolis is by no means the only interesting set of ruins to visit so check out other things too! Hadrian’s Arch, Hadrian’s Library, the old Ancient Agora, the Temple of Zeus, the original Olympic stadium…all of these were relatively close to each other and easy to explore. A real walk back in time, worth every step.
It’s Greece, so we had to take some boat rides, right?
We took the ferry to and from Santorini from Athens which was great for watching all the beautiful islands pass us by and seeing some of them more up-close while we docked in certain ports.
Our most memorable boat ride though was the catamaran sunset cruise we took one day in Santorini. Picked up from our Airbnb and transported up to Oia (on the northernmost part of Santorini), we boarded the catamaran around 2:45 in the afternoon and we loved every minute of it. We stopped at a hot spring for a quick swim and two other beaches with the clearest waters you’ve seen for a little swimming and snorkeling. We had a delicious Greek meal for dinner and got to watch the sunset from the boat in the evening. One of the best activities we’ve done on this trip, for sure.
The Views, the Sunsets and the Beach
There is a reason people vacation in Greece and specifically on Santorini…every single night, regardless of what town we were in, whether we were on a boat or whether we were even looking for it, the views are marvelous. Every sunset was amazing and there are just so many places to watch them! The infamous views of the white buildings and the blue rooftops from the top of Oia was every bit as beautiful as you see in the pictures and while it was VERY crowded, we sat on the wall, ate chips and had a few cold beverages and loved every minute of it.
Once we discovered how amazing the bus system is in Santorini (and really the only way to travel around the island at a reasonable cost) we really hit our stride on fun for the week. We discovered one of the main beaches – Kamari Beach – was the perfect spot to park ourselves multiple days. A quick 15 minute bus ride away and a beautiful black pebble beach, we read, sunned ourselves and ate and drank leisurely multiple days. Also a really adorable little beach town to grab food and to shop. After our time in Santorini, we all agreed that staying at Kamari Beach may be our first choice for a next visit!
Yes, friends. We were in Athens when a 5.3 earthquake hit. In fact, we were on the first floor of the Acropolis Museum and my sister and I had never experienced an earthquake so it would be a fair statement to say we were practically paralyzed by fear when it started. Poor Christine looked up at the walls and said she could see these massive concrete walls looking like they were just wobbling around. Luckily no one (of us) was hurt and the building we were in was practically brand new so no real danger. Just shocking!! More on this topic in a future “disaster” blog post…
Random things of note:
- Santorini has no street addresses…at all…it makes no sense. It’s like anarchy. Where do you want to go? Uh…my Airbnb? It somehow worked but it was odddddd.
- Didn’t like Greek wine. Nope. None of it.
- There are loads of cats and dogs hanging out everywhere – and they’re all lovely and friendly and I couldn’t stop petting them (much to Bob’s chagrin)
- For being a major international vacation spot, we were surprised to find pretty reasonably priced food and drink.