Greece is the ideal summer holiday location. I could spend an entire month going from Athens to different islands (if anyone wants to sponsor that trip, here’s your chance), but realistically most Americans are lucky to get two weeks away from the office at one time. I studied a bit of Greek Mythology in college so I am well versed in the history of Greek Gods, but even that didn’t prepare my eyes for what I was about to see beyond the Acropolis.
Buy your tickets to the Acropolis in advance. I didn’t and honestly, it was a good thing I didn’t because between American Airlines and British Airways, I had delayed flights (and lost luggage) and that would’ve been completely useless. Why am I including that detail?
Always pack a good outfit in your carry-on! I nailed my Acropolis look in this Italian outfit because it was the only thing I had. Ladies and gentleman, always have a spare (or two) set of clothes in your carry-on.
Angelopoulos is my favorite shop in Athens as far as jewelry and accessories are concerned. I bought headbands to wear since my luggage was nowhere to be found, and they turned out to be the best buy. I wore them all over Greece and when I got back home. People have not stopped asking where I bought them.
I bought shoes at a few places. The best deals and pompom sandals, which are still being sold for a lot more in the states are at the place in the pictures. It’s in Greek too so I can’t link to it here.
Tabepna has great gyros and fried zucchini. But the best part was the people. I sat and talked to the waiter and the owner and just really enjoyed the afternoon. It’s nice to slow down and you can people watch too!
Eskimo Ice cured my craving for gelato! Do not skip this if you’re in Athens. I stopped to do a Snapchat in Italian so my friends would know just how good it was.
This might be the shortest and simplest of all. I stayed at Boheme Mykonos, which is uber chic (review coming) and walked into town. Shopping is an assortment of places throughout. I didn’t have one place that had a must-have item. There were a lot of places catering to cruise ships so avoid that part. The shoes I bought in Athens would’ve cost a lot more in Mykonos (tourist trap). Rhapsody had a great view for sunset and Greek music. I mostly ate at the hotel but there was another restaurant on the water where I had soup and salad.
I wouldn’t stay in Fira. That is the first thing. I preferred in Oia and taking a car to other places on the island (and by car, I mean driver, not driving myself). I stayed at Santo Maris Oia, which is an adults only property if I’m not mistaken. From there I could walk to the caldera and that was so convenient.
In the caldera, there are several shops you will want to buy from. Ceramics, bracelets and shoes… you name it. There isn’t one shop but I did find many things including Manebi shoes that were sold-out in the states. Atlantis Books is one place I recommend as far as things not in the clothes category go. I collect books from all over and it was neat to go in this store.
Skiza Cafe is where I made friends from London and watched the sunset. This pizzeria is one of my favorite places to eat in Greece. Unless you really don’t like talking to people, you are bound to make friends here!
Lotza Restaurant in Oia is hands down my favorite restaurant in Greece. I have tried to find a better chicken souvlaki and I cannot. The view is breathtaking but the food is mouthwatering. I am still trying to learn how to recreate this at home.
To Do: Make sure you take a car to Akrotiri (bring a spare set of shoes and be prepared to climb). Go to Red Sand Beach, White Sand Beach and in general, just go all over the island. I was all over the place here. The views are spectacular.
This island is so big you have to come back more than once. There is no way you can do several islands in a one or two week trip and think you can see all of Crete.
Ntakos was in Agios Nikolaos (outside of Elounda). I had a basic meal but for the braver souls, they had lamb, pork and even fried rabbit. It’s on a small but beautiful lake.
Arrange a tour of Knossos Palace, explore Heraklion and wineries. There is so much history here. I cannot even begin to explain it but I can tell you the story of Icarus comes from Crete, you will learn about Minoans if you take a good tour of Crete (not just Knossos) and the wine can be shipped! There is a Zara in Heraklion and of course a lot of small shops too. I had a bracelet made in Agios Nikolaos and I want to go back because I lost it in Lisbon.
Details: I have never taken a cruise and don’t know if I ever will to be completely honest. If you are looking for a way to get from Athens and island to island, pre-book through Eurail if you aren’t Beyonce and using a private yacht and/or helicopter.