Greek Islands: Adventure Guide

Greek Islands: Adventure Guide

The Greek Islands are just as magical as you would expect. But, it seems like only honeymooners and old people have the $$ ability to travel there.

What if I told you that my summer spent Greek Island hopping was one of my least expensive adventures yet?

Even though I’m sure someone would try to call B.S. on that – it’s true! Greece was a true “value for money” adventure – probably because the beautiful beaches are free, and vegetables are so fresh you could pick them off the vine (literally). If you need a summer escape where time just seems to stop – start planning your Greek Island hopping adventure pronto.

 

Overall trip costs: Around $1,100

How to get around

  • Total costs: $600 (flights from NY – Athens; Rome – NY) + $75 (ferries from Athens – Mykonos; Mykonos – Santorini) + $50 (flight Santorini – Athens)
  • Flights
    • To Greece: We purchased two one way tickets, which ended up being cheaper. We also ended our trip in Italy for a little extra fun – but prices home from Athens were about the same. Check out Norwegian Air if you don’t mind long layovers in Scandinavia.
      • Pro tip: Travel after Labor Day – flights to Europe are significantly cheaper (and now that you’re not in school, hell yeah you can travel in September!).
    • Between islands: We only took one flight (Santorini – Athens), because the ferry for this part of the trek was hella long.  If you buy these long enough in advance, they’re super cheap. RyanAir does this flight – even though they are the worst to fly with, it’s kind of worth it.
  • Ferries – Definitely recommend this mode of transportation! It’s a beautiful, cheap way to take in the Mediterranean while traveling. Some ferries even have outdoor seating, so you could multitask and get a tan 🙂 There are only a few ferry companies – we took Blue Star Ferries to Mykonos, and Sea Jets to Santorini. Both are ~2 hours long.
  • Other 
    • ATV – Definitely, definitely definitely rent one – even if it’s just for the day. This is the main mode of transportation on most of the islands. Do not be scared. Do not operate while drunk. Do not drop your phone while driving.
    • Bus – Mykonos has a pretty robust bus system. It literally costs spare change and runs most of the night. Please read above and use this as transportation of preference when coming home from the clubs.
    • Car – We used a car in Santorini, because it was included in our AirBnB package. Also, if you’re not staying close to Oia, it would be quite difficult to get around without one.
 

Where to stay

  • Total costs: Hotels/Bed & Breakfasts ($30-50/night)
  • Mykonos – Stay at Artemoulas Studios. This is not a suggestion; this is a must. Think: beautiful pool, lots of outdoor lounge space, morning frappes, gym, close walk to the beach and spacious rooms. I’m still confused how we were able to afford this spot. And a huge plus – Artemoulas runs this place, and she is an adorable, cheek-pinching yiayia whom I still miss.
  • Santorini – We stayed at a cute little apartment-house called Rousettos, which we found on AirBnB. For the money we spent, this place was well worth it. Our apartment was spacious, clean, had a kitchen and balcony (?!), a big pool, and included a car (remember?!).  The only downside was that the location was on the opposite side of the *main* part of the island – Oia. It wasn’t a big deal, because we had a car. Also, it’s walking distance from the Black Sand beach, which was nice and relaxing on days we didn’t want to do much driving.
    • If you’re looking for the quintessential Santorini experience – look for places closer to Oia. These do get quite expensive though!
 

What to d0

  • Total Cost: Food ($3-25) + Boat trip ($40) + Other activities ($5-60)
  • Nature/Adventure
    • Beaches – duh. This is probably the only thing you’re going to want to do on any island. All of them will be just as beautiful, but here are some of my favorites:
      • Nammos (M) – this shit is expensive, but you’ll want to splurge here. This place has the most comfortable beach chairs ever (they better – they cost 60e !), and is filled with people who have their own yachts. But you can pretend, right?
      • Super Paradise (M) – this is the Jersey Shore of Mykonos. There’s a club with a fog machine. That’s all I will say.
      • Fteria (M) – This beach is a quiet escape on the North side of the island. It’s pretty windy, but no less beautiful.
      • Black Sand Beach (S) – This is a must-see, just because the sand is completely black. Most seats are free, but you’ll have to buy something from the restaurant. Please bring flip flops.
    • Boat trips – We did this on both islands and highly recommend. This is a great way to relax, see all parts of the island in one shot. They can be organized through your hotel or when you’re exploring the town.
    • Cliff jump (S) – Pretend you’re in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and jump off a cliff into the clear, turquoise Mediterranean. Literally. Get directions to Amoudi Bay in Oia (you’ll have to go down a big set of stairs), and follow the dirt path to the left of the cliffs. You’ll come to a clearing where people are lounging on rocks (l0l) and jumping off a cliff in the distance. You’ll have to do some swimming and climbing to get there, but it’s totally a bucket list thing.
    • Donkey Ride + Ancient Thira (S) – Near the Black Sand Beach, you’ll see a (very) Greek father & son sitting on the side of the road with a bunch of donkeys. For about 5 euros, they will take you on a real, live donkey ride up the side of the mountain to Ancient Thira. It may seem scary, but do it. Then, explore the ruins of Thira once you’re up there.
    • Wineries (S) – There are some beautiful wineries in the Caldera (middle of the island). We went to Santos Winery but you can drive up to any of them and enjoy an inexpensive bottle of wine on their outdoor patio. Go around dusk to watch the sunset 🙂

  • Food + Drink
    • Monarch Restaurant (M) – This restaurant is a bit splurge-worthy. You’re sitting on the beach, in a tastefully decorated open-air restaurant. Highly recommended. Short walk from Artemoulas’!
    • Tasos Taverna (M) – Ahh fresh, simple food that feels like it just came out of Yiayia’s kitchen. Enjoy as a break from the beach during the afternoon.
    • Mykonos clubs – The going out scene in Mykonos is insane (rachet? fun?). Some of the most popular clubs are Cavo Paradiso, Jackie O, Scandinavian Bar (this one is rachet). Just ask around at the beach, and you’ll see where the party is that night.
    • Fratzekos Fish Tavern (S) – This random little seaside restaurant in Perrisa had some of the freshest fish I’ve ever eaten. Go here.
    • Pelakanos Restaurant & Bar (S) – Beautiful rooftop restaurant and bar in Oia to watch the sunset. Come early (aka 5 or 6pm). It gets super crowded, because sunset-watching is Santorini’s main activity. Grab a drink, and then stay for dinner, because their octopus is perfection.
    • Oh, and gyros – literally anywhere.

 

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