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Table of Contents
- 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.
- Hike to Meteora’s majestic monasteries. We hiked two different days – once accompanied with a local, and another time alone. Along the way, we encountered beautiful flora, a turtle, even a snake.
- Savor the Meteora monasteries at sunset.
- Stop into the workshop of a Byzantine iconographer in Old Kastraki. Icons are for sale there, and you might even catch Dimitrios at work.
- From beautiful blooms to Greek Orthodox icons, stroll Kastraki’s streets and admire the village’s details.
- Watch rock climbers as they brave Kastraki’s dramatic, finger-like rock formation known as Adrachti. For the less daring, you can also hike to the base of the rock – an afternoon hike Shawn and I greatly enjoyed.
- 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 Assyrtiko, Mavrotragano, 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.
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!
- 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.
Additional Greece Resources
- Greece’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Calculate the current exchange rate.
- Since 1981, Greece has been been a member of the European Union. It is part of the Schengen Area.
- Greek Tourism Organization (official website)