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  • Make the requisite – and utterly rewarding – pilgrimage to the Parthenon, on Athen’s Acropolis.
  • To better understand what Classical Greek life was like, while away a few hours at the Acropolis Museum.
  • In Athen’s Pláka district, sit at an outdoor taverna at sundown, and enjoy Bouzouki music.
Athens street art
Street art in Athens.
Temple of Hephaestus Agora Athens Greece
The Temple of Hephaestus rises among greenery in the Ancient Agora of Athens. The sprawling, modern city is off in the distance.
Parthenon Athens Greece Tricia Shawn
Sunlight streams through the columns of the Parthenon.
Acropolis Museum Athens
Old meets new at the Acropolis Museum.

Meteora Monasteries

Varlaam Monastery.
Great Meteoron Monastery paintings Greece
Rich paintings adorn a wall of the Great Meteoron Monastery.
Kastraki Greece Meteora Vespa Flowers
Spring blooms and berries were at their peak when we arrived to the village of Kastraki. It was a beautiful time of year to explore Meteora’s monasteries, though I suspect the area looks attractive in any season.
A man paints a Byzantine religious icon with a delicate paintbrush.
At his studio in Old Kastraki, Greek iconographer Dimitrios Moulas paints a Byzantine-style icon.


  • Take a cooking class to learn about – and savor – ingredients unique to Santorini and the Cyclades.
  • Go on a wine tour of the island and swirl, sniff, and sample Santorini wine varietals like AssyrtikoMavrotragano, and Vinsanto.
  • Santorini, believed by some to be the inspiration for Atlantis, has a fascinating history. Delve into the past at the Akrotiri Archaeological Site, as well as the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. The latter is filled with objects uncovered at the Akrotiri site, which was once a sophisticated Minoan settlement.
  • Glimpse ruins and postcard-worthy views on Skaros Rock. In the 15th-century a fortress was constructed here to help defend against pirate attacks. Unbelievably, a small community of people once lived among this treacherous landscape.
  • Days on Santorini are bookmarked by some of the most majestic sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen. Enjoy a few of Mother Nature’s shows from different vantage points.
  • The volcano that erupted on Santorini roughly 3,600 years ago, was one of the most powerful volcanoes in recorded times. By taking a boat trip you can explore the caldera and the still-active volcanic island of Nea Kameni.
  • Spend the day strolling through Oia, arguably Santorini’s most photogenic village.
  • To get a feel for the island’s steep and rugged nature, climb the almost 600 stairs from the Old Port to the town of Fira. Santorini’s donkeys will thank you for using your own muscles. :) An alternative to powering yourself is the quick and scenic cable car ride.
A white building with a blue dome in Oia, Santorini.
Shawn and me in the village of Oia.
Blue, white, and a few more fabulous splashes of color for good measure: the village of Oia.
Georgia, the sommelier who taught a portion of our Santorini cooking class.
Santorini Street Scene
A man and woman walk through the Akrotiri archaeological site in Santorini, Greece.
Known as the ‘Minoan Pompeii,’ Akrotiri predates Pompeii by more than 1,500 years. The archaeological site is located near Santorini’s southern coast.


While our Athens hotel is not one I would recommend, I would happily revisit the wonderful properties we stayed at in Meteora and Santorini. Some are affiliate links.

  • Meteora Monasteries – We stayed at the cozy Guesthouse Patavalis in the village of Kastraki. The hotel’s owner, Marina, whom we dubbed our ‘Greek mama’, even surprised us with samples of tasty, home-cooked Greek food like spanakopita, candied figs, and milk custard pie. In total, we spent about a week at the Guesthouse Patavalis, staying in its ‘Purple Room’. We enjoyed our terrace views of the surrounding rock formations, and the guesthouse’s convenient location. It made a great hub for hiking to, and exploring several of Meteora’s monasteries.

  • Santorini – While on Santorini, we spent one week at the Rhapsody Apartments in the village of Imerovigli. Owner George was helpful and friendly, even going so far as to share delicious Santorini zucchini from his own garden with us. We loved the apartment’s quiet location, and it was a walkable distance to Fira, the island’s public transportation hub. The sunrise views from our balcony were extraordinary!
A cluster of holiday apartments on the Greek island of Santorini.
The Rhapsody Apartments, our home for one week.
Glimpsed from a balcony, the sun rises over the island of Santorini.
The sunrise views from our Santorini apartment balcony were special. To take in sunsets, we’d walk a short distance from our accommodation, to the villages of Imerovigli and Firostefani. Compared to Oia, which can be overcrowded at sunset, we found these to be wonderful alternatives.


  • Bus – We’ve used long-distance and local buses (Athens and Santorini) to get around Greece. In the rare chance you’re hoping to get from Macedonia (the country) to the Meteora monasteries, it is possible. Our connections were Skopje to Thessaloniki, then on to Trikala, and ultimately Kastraki.

  • Ferry – There are several ferry companies that travel from Athens to Santorini. We traveled via Blue Star Ferries, and the journey took about 8 hours. Seeing Santorini for the first time – from the deck of the ferry – was incredible: rugged mille-feuille-like cliffs, whitewashed villages, all framed by cerulean skies and sea.
A ferry leaves the Port of Piraeus in Athens.
Our ferry — bound for Santorini and other Cyclades islands — leaves Athen’s port of Piraeus.

Additional Greece Resources

Pinkish-green flowers fill the foreground of a Santorini seaside landscape.
Flowers fill the foreground of a Santorini landscape.

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