$7K Romantic Couples Getaway to Greece
My Best Trip is an anonymous, vacation-in-the-life diary that provides a real-world look (including cost!) at exceptional trips.
*A 42-foot catamaran, sunset hikes, and late-night gyros.
MEET OUR TRAVELER
Your job: Teacher
Your age: 27
Where you’re based: Norfolk, Virginia
The month you traveled: July
Trip goal: We had previously considered Greece for our honeymoon because some friends had recommended it but ended up going to Africa instead. We were fortunate to sneak in a second honeymoon the next year to Greece. This quickly became one of our favorite trips.
Destination: Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini
Travel time: 14 hours
Length of trip: 10 Days
Cost of trip: $7,000 total
Trip type: Romantic couples getaway
Vibe: Pool time, sunset sails, and late-night gyros
THE QUICK & DIRTY
Dinner at Remezzo
A delicious, authentic Greek restaurant with the most beautiful view of Skaros Rock and the Caldera. This was one of our favorite restaurants of the whole trip!
Sailing around the island
We booked a half-day, semi-private cruise on a 42-foot catamaran through Santorini Yachting Club for 135 euros a person. Our hotel highly recommended the company and helped us book it when we arrived. We had an amazing time. It was definitely one of the highlights of our time in Santorini. The company will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the port. We went with 12 other people from all over the world. It was really cool to see the island from the water. We had an awesome crew who were so fun to talk with and get to know. They treat you with local beer and wine, soda, and water. There is also a HUGE dinner, including steamed shrimp and mussels, spaghetti, Greek salad, fish, chicken, and bread.
Aenoan Villas Hotel
I cannot recommend this hotel more! In all of our travels, this is one of our favorite places we have ever stayed. George and Alexandra are the couple who run it, and they immediately make you feel like family. They helped us plan and schedule all of our reservations and excursions once we arrived and made sure everything was easy and perfect. The hotel is made up of six villas with the most beautiful infinity pool and the best views on the entire island. The villas are spotless with separate bedroom, living room, and bathroom. Every morning they served the most amazing complimentary breakfast on your private veranda overlooking the caldera. Ilia waited on us constantly and made our stay so enjoyable, always bringing us fresh fruit and drinks at the pool.
Hiking from Fira to Oia
There is an awesome walking path that runs from Fira to Oia. You can hike any portion of it. They say the hike from Imerovigli to Oia takes about two-and-a-half hours. We hiked from our hotel (which was halfway between Imerovigli and Oia) into Oia, and it took us about an hour. It is definitely something to put on your list, and definitely take your camera because the views are amazing. Make sure you are dressed for a hike because it is a dirt path and there are some steep inclines. Bring water. When we got to Oia, we walked along the main shopping path and just explored the cool town. We then took a cab back to our hotel.
Renting an ATV to explore the island
It was such a cool way to see the island and explore on our own schedule.
THE NOT SO GREAT
We switched hotels, just for something different, but if I were to go again, I would probably stay at Aenoan Villas, or a hotel in Oia, the entire time.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
Sunsets in Oia. We absolutely loved Santorini, and there was something overwhelming about the beauty of the sunsets each evening over the caldera in Oia.
THE DEEP DIVE
Arrived at 8p.m. and a cab driver picked us up (which we scheduled with our hotel ahead of time). We spent one night in Athens in order to sightsee the next day and then flew out at 6p.m. for Mykonos. Our cab driver confirmed along with all of the research we did that you can see 95 percent of Athens in about six hours (which we found to be totally true because everything is located in the center of town and is all walkable).
That night we stayed at Athens Was, a beautiful brand new hotel probably 100 yards from the acropolis and the perfect location - would definitely recommend. The rooftop restaurant/bar has the most incredible view of the Acropolis lit up at night, and they serve a complimentary delicious breakfast.
We spent the day exploring Athens.
We started at the Acropolis. The ticket into the Acropolis is 12 euros and gets you into other areas around the city center as well, such as the Temple of Zeus and the Agora so keep the ticket*. Be sure to get to the Acropolis in the early morning before it gets too hot and too crowded. The new Acropolis Museum is located right next to the Acropolis and is worth seeing – it houses a lot of the artifacts found at the Acropolis. The ticket is around 5 euros
Plaka – The neighborhood surrounding the Acropolis and located in the city center is a really cool neighborhood to wander around and eat lunch in. Lots of charming winding streets and gives you a cool sense of Athens. There is a flea market open every day, which is fun to wander through if you have time.
Parliament – Located right in the city center, and it is fun to take a picture with the guards. Depending on when you are there, you can watch the changing of the guards, which is supposed to be impressive.
The National Gardens - Located behind the parliament and are pretty to walk through
Olympic Stadium – Located next to the National Gardens. Need a ticket to go in, which we decided not to do, but it is fun to walk over and see from the outside.
Temple of Zeus – Your acropolis ticket gets you in and is interesting to see.
We then grabbed our bags from our hotel and caught the Metro to the airport. The Metro was redone for the Olympics and is very clean and easy to use. It is an hour to the airport by Metro. We flew to Mykonos. Day 2 continued once we arrived in Mykonos late afternoon.
Getting there We flew Aegean Airlines from Athens to Mykonos, which was an easy 30- minute flight, and our hotel shuttle picked us up at the airport.
Check into Rocabella Mykonos, where we stayed for four nights. Upon our arrival, Allen, the manager, sat down with us with glasses of champagne and helped us map out our stay. He recommended the best restaurants on the island and best things to do, all of which we found to be amazing. The hotel was located about six minutes outside of the town in Agios Stefanos, and they ran a free shuttle into town at all hours, which was perfect. Breakfast was complimentary and delicious every morning.
Had breakfast at our hotel
Delos Island (Apollo’s Birthplace) - Delos Tours runs a tour from Mykonos Town to Delos Island from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The ferry is a 30-minute ride (can be very choppy, but better if you sit up on the deck). When you arrive, the tour guide walks you around the ruins and gives you all of the history surrounding the ancient city and the Greek mythology behind the island. After the tour is over, you have about an hour to wander by yourself. My husband and I hiked to the top of the mountain in the middle, which took about an hour total. It was a beautiful view and a cool hike. I definitely recommend Delos as a great half-day trip if you are at all interested in seeing the ruins of a city or Greek mythology.
Note- ** Make sure you wear sunscreen/ hat because it is literally like a desert island with no shade, and make sure to wear tennis shoes because the terrain is very rocky.**
Lunch- Since dinners were fairly expensive, my husband and I found the Gyros so delicious and a perfect lunch to grab from one of the many snack bars around Mykonos Town.
Mykonos Town- We absolutely loved Mykonos Town. It was built as a maze for the inhabitants to be able to hide from the pirates who came to shore. It is such a charming, unique place. It is a completely pedestrian city and a fun place to spend an afternoon wandering around and exploring.
Note - ** Petros the Pelican – Petros is the “mascot” of Mykonos, and he is a real pelican who lives within Mykonos Town. See if you can find him while you are there. We stumbled upon him in a little square, and he is really cool!**
Remezzo - Located on the edge of Mykonos Town. Has a beautiful view of the sunset. Ask to sit out on the balcony section. According to our hotel, they have the best moussaka (a Greek kind of lasagna made with potato instead of pasta) in Greece, which my husband had. I had lobster pasta. Delicious!
We spent this day relaxing at our beautiful hotel pool overlooking the sea. We ordered drinks, swam, ate lunch, and napped. For dinner, we went to Koursaros (https://koursarosmykonos.gr/) in the middle of Mykonos Town for seafood. The food was good, but the cocktails were better. After dinner we went for crepes.
**Note - Beaches- Mykonos has tons of beaches, and our hotel offered to shuttle us to them, or many people rent an ATV for a day to get there. On the south side of the island are many of the party beaches, and the north side of the island has some of the more secluded, quiet beaches. Our hotel manager recommended Panormos Beach on the North Side as his favorite destination. We loved our hotel pool so much that we did not go to the beach, but we heard they are great.**
We took the High Speed Sea Jet- Champion Jet 2 from the New Port in Mykonos to Santorini. It was about two-and-a-half hours and was a bit rocky, but was an easy way to get to Santorini. *Make sure you schedule ahead of time with your hotel a cab or shuttle to pick you up at the port. There are only about 30 cabs on the total island, so unless you schedule ahead of time, it will be hard to just grab a cab when you arrive**
Check in to Aenoan Villas, where we stayed for three nights. I cannot recommend this hotel enough! In all of our travels, this is one of our favorite places we have ever stayed. George and Alexandra are the couple who run it, and immediately you feel like family. They helped us plan and schedule all of our reservations and excursions once we arrived and made sure everything was easy and perfect. The hotel is made up of six villas with the most beautiful infinity pool and the best views on the entire island. The villas are spotless with separate bedroom, living room, and bathroom. Every morning they served the most amazing complimentary breakfast on our private veranda overlooking the caldera. Ilia waited on us constantly and made our stay so enjoyable always bringing us fresh fruit and drinks at the pool.
We sat by the pool for the afternoon and then went into Oia for dinner.
Dinner - Ammoudi Fish Tavern - We took a cab to Ammoudi Bay, which is located right at the bottom of the town of Oia and is in perfect view of the sunset. (You could also walk down the path from Oia to Ammoudi Bay if you are staying in Oia.) We had a grilled whole fish, which was amazing, and our table was right on the edge of the water with a beautiful view of the boats coming in. The staff were very friendly and called us a cab when we were finished to get back to the hotel. We also heard Sunset Tavern next door is good, but we didn’t get a chance to go.
Breakfast on our villa terrace
There is an awesome walking path that runs from Fira to Oia. You can hike any portion of it. They say the hike from Imerovigli to Oia takes about two-and-a-half hours. We hiked from our hotel (which was halfway between Imerovigli and Oia) into Oia, and it took us about an hour. It is definitely something to put on your list. Take your camera because the views are amazing. Make sure you are dressed for a hike because it is a dirt path, and there are some steep inclines. Bring water. When we got to Oia, we walked along the main shopping path and just explored the cool town. We then took a cab back to our hotel.
Dinner - Red Bicycle – in Oia had an awesome view of the caldera and sunset. We ate during the sunset to avoid the crazy crowds. We had delicious ox grape leaves and rooster and fish.
Go sailing around the island! We booked a half-day, semi-private cruise on a 42-foot catamaran through Santorini Yachting Club for 135 euros a person. Our hotel highly recommended the company and helped us book it when we arrived. We had an amazing time. It was definitely one of the highlights of our time in Santorini. The company will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the port. We went with 12 other people from all over the world. It was really cool to see the island from the water. We had an awesome crew who were so fun to talk with and get to know. They treat you with local beer and wine, soda, and water. There is also a HUGE dinner, including steamed shrimp and mussels, spaghetti, Greek salad, fish, chicken, and bread. We did the sunset cruise from 3 p.m.- 9p.m., which was amazing because we started on the south end of the island and then stopped at different swimming/ snorkeling spots along the coast and ended up in Oia to see the sunset from the water, which was clearly the best view in town.
**Note- One location is the “hot springs” (which are really more like warm springs), but beware that the sulfur can stain, so do not wear your favorite bathing suit. Also if it is windy, the catamaran can bet a bit bouncy, so if you get seasick easily, pick a calm day to go.**
We had late-night street gyros in Oia when we got back to land.
Santorini Wine Tours – Wine Roads Tour was 75 euros a person, and we visited three family wineries with seven other people. We did the daytime tour from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. They picked you up and dropped you off at your hotel. We had a great guide, and it was very interesting to learn about growing wine in Santorini. The wine is grown differently than anywhere else in the world due to the volcanic soil and the strength of the sun. I would definitely recommend if you enjoy wine tasting or are interested in wine.
When we returned from the tour to our hotel, we took a cab to Imerovigli for our next hotel.
Artemis Villas – (Stayed two nights) Located in Imerovigli and overlooks Skaros Rock with beautiful caldera views. A number of villas clustered on the cliffs. Has a nice Australian owner, Chris, who was very helpful and friendly. It was fun to explore the small town of Imerovigli and to walk the 30-minute path into Fira one evening for dinner. We caught a cab back. We switched hotels, just for something different, but if I were to go again, I would probably stay at Aenoan Villas or a hotel in Oia the entire time.
Late afternoon we walked into Fira for drinks and dinner.
Crystal Bar - Located in Fira great drinks for an awesome sunset view
Rent an ATV and explore the island! ATVs are everywhere to rent and easy to drive and park. Make sure you get one over 150 cc’s to get up the hills. We paid 30 euros to have it from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. The island is not very big. It’s easy to just follow the signs on the roads and have fun exploring. We headed to Perissa Beach, which is a black sand beach and beautiful. There are many chairs and umbrellas that are free! Most places want you to order a drink to use their chairs. There are many little shops and restaurants on the beach. Perissa was cool, and we enjoyed a swim and a drink in our beach chairs there. The sand is VERY hot so be sure to keep your shoes on until you get to your chairs. We then drove to Pyrgos, which is a town in the middle of the island and stopped for lunch at Metaxy-Mas right outside Pyrgos. (We had to ask for directions to find it, but everyone is very friendly and eager to help.) We then drove down the road and stumbled upon the Santorini Brewing Company - where you could sample the different “donkey” beers. Nick bought a t-shirt. We also drove up the east coast of the island exploring the small beach towns and driving down the road running along the beach. It was such a terrific way to see the island and explore on our own schedule.
Fly back to the U.S.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Greece is and will remain one of our favorite places in the world. It is a trip filled with relaxation and a bit of adventure sprinkled in. We loved the itinerary of visiting Athens for a day and then Mykonos for a few days and ending with Santorini for a few days. We have traveled all over the world, and hands down we found the Greek people to be the warmest, friendliest people we have ever met. They are eager to offer any kind of help or recommendations to make sure your visit is as amazing as possible. We absolutely fell in love with Greece. and I have no doubt you will absolutely love it!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Mykonos is known as “the windy island” for a reason. It is extremely windy all year round, which is nice because it does not ever feel as hot as it is, but especially for girls make sure you bring a headband/bobbypins/hat to keep your hair out of your face.
Mykonos is known for being very expensive. We did find dinners to be fairly expensive and some shops to be very high end, but we also found all types of price range shopping and countered the expensive dinners with less expensive lunches and complimentary breakfast at our hotel.
Although my husband and I both have skin that tans fairly easily in the summer, the sun is extremely strong in the Greek islands (stronger than at home), so definitely bring with you enough sunscreen (we brought a container of 30 and 50 spf).
You can make all reservations and get tickets when you arrive on the islands, which is what the hotels recommend. This was very easy and allowed us to be a bit flexible with what we wanted to do. (Delos Tours), Sea Jet Ferry to Santorini)
Santorini Brewing Company is the local Santorini craft beer company. Their Donkey beers are definitely worth trying from one of the bars or street vendors.
Stay along the caldera if you can (it is worth a bit more money). Oia is known for its sunsets, and all of the tourists flock to the city in the evenings to see them. Fira is the capital and busiest of the cities along the caldera. Firostefani and Imerovigli fall between Fira and Oia along the caldera and are a bit smaller and quieter.
We found taking cabs was fairly easy, and our hotel and restaurants were helpful in calling them for us. The bus runs between the main cities and is cheap and nice, but in the evenings it can get very crowded, so be careful of what time you plan to take it. Also depending where you stay, you can walk a lot, too.
You will see the donkeys along some of the paths available for rides, but the Santorini people encourage tourists not to pay to ride them for the owners are known for mistreating them.
We found Santorini not as expensive as Mykonos.