Greece has been on my mental list of must-visit countries for the longest time. And I know I’m not alone!
My first visit was in 2016. It didn’t start off with months of planning or searching #Greece and pinning all the Instagram-worthy spots to visit for the perfect shot.
My 2 sisters and I were preparing for a trip to Thailand 2 days later and we were finalising the flights as one of my sisters worked with an airline at the time.
Then we found out that the King had just passed away so the entire country was in mourning, which meant it was not an appropriate time to visit.
We started brainstorming places we all wanted to visit that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg and also didn’t entail a very long flight.
Enter Greece!!! We got heart-eyed at the thought and that was it. Thirty minutes later, we had booked a 48-hour trip, arriving in Athens on Saturday afternoon and leaving Monday afternoon.
What we did
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We arrived at Athens International Airport just after lunch. After taking a train from the airport to the city centre, we grabbed a quick lunch and mapped out our way to the nearest site that was walking distance.
Visit to the Acropolis
With our luggage in tow, we made our way to the Acropolis. We got there around 5 pm and they closed at 6 pm. You can’t go in with luggage or large bags so we had to leave them at a checkpoint located right outside.
The sun was setting by the time we got to the Acropolis and we didn’t have a lot of time at the site. However, we thankfully got some photos we were happy with.
Want to hear a funny-now-but-not-so-funny-at-the-time story? We all had visions of capturing these fabulous shots that would catapult us into instant internet stardom. Ha! 😉 We bought headpieces (as one does when visiting Greece clearly lol), wore maxi dresses and memorized our top-model poses.
However, as fate would have it, my camera battery died soon after we arrived, my sister’s phone had no more memory plus low battery and my other sister’s phone accidentally got water-logged and stopped working. Awesome!!! lol
We had a good laugh at ourselves for getting so carried away about “getting THE shot” and just enjoyed our time there.
After the Acropolis, we walked back to the city centre and hung out at a hostel with a rooftop bar for a few hours. We then took an Uber to the airport.
We arrived at Santorini Airport before sunrise and got a bus to the town centre. As the coach drove along the at-times winding road, we passed sleepy villages that dotted the mountainside and valleys. A soft, ethereal light glowed from the white-washed houses.
When we got to Oia, we got slightly lost looking for the hotel and ended up on the main street (Nik. Nomikou) which overlooked the sea. We each became lost in our thoughts while looking at the sun slowly bringing its warmth over the Aegean Sea. I think I loved that moment of serenity the most as everywhere was quiet and still.
Later that Sunday, we took a sunset cruise, which lasted approximately 5 hours. The cruise included lunch and there were 2 stops. It was extremely relaxing (except for the part where we had to jump off the yacht and swim to the sulphur pool…I thought I was going to die!).
The views of the mainland from the boat were gorgeous.
On Monday morning, after another delicious breakfast, we walked along Nik. Nomikou again, just taking in the sights.
Where we stayed:
Our flight to Santorini was quite early in the morning, so we decided not to book a hotel for the night in Athens.
In Santorini, we stayed at Hotel Aethrio, a lovely, reasonably-priced hotel off the main street. We booked a triple room with a small kitchenette. The room got a little nippy at times but overall we were quite comfortable.
Their reception was awesome; the staff were very friendly and accommodating. Breakfast was absolutely delicious and full of tasty Greek pastries. Yum!
If you’re looking for a budget option, book a hotel that’s not on the hillside or on the main street (Nia. Nomikou). While you may not get the typical “lounging in a pool on the hillside” photos, you will still be able to capture the picturesque landscape with the famous whitewashed architecture and blue domes of Santorini.
I also liked being away from the main tourist foot traffic since the hotel is tucked away on a side street.
I am definitely planning to return to Greece in the not-too-distant future and will stay for a longer period.
Are you planning a trip to Greece? Which islands would you love to visit?