Greece had been on both Chris’s and my travel wish list for awhile, so when a friend’s perfectly-timed Italian wedding nuzzled up with our honeymoon dates, we decided to hop down to the Greek Islands post-wedding. You really can’t believe how stunning the white wash against the blue Aegean really is until your feet are planted on one of the islands.
The dreamiest sunsets, salty feta cheese, light local rosé, oily olives, and fish on the bone. We were in heaven. Below are our favorite treasures from two weeks of Greek bliss.
Santorini is broken down into three main areas: Oia, Imerovigli and Fira. We stayed in a beautiful cliffside hotel in Imerovigli and were happy to be out of the tourist frenzy of Fira and Oia. Choose your hotel in Santorini wisely. Unlike other destinations in Europe, you’ll spend a good amount of time at your hotel, so a fun pool scene—or private plunge pool!—makes all the difference.
By day, we reveled in over-the-top hotel breakfasts, splashed in our little plunge pool (with plenty of rosé—the mini marts sell the same ones as the hotels, but for a fraction of the price), and walked to the other towns to explore. There’s a stone pathway that connects Imerovigli to Fira (20-30 minute walk), and a much longer path going the opposite direction from Imerovigli to Oia (a much more intense 2-3 hour hike). Uber/Lyft don’t exist on the island, so the easiest modes of transportation are taxi, private transports (arranged by your hotel), or the local bus (which isn’t a bad way to get around!).
Sunset Amoudi Taverna—Lunch & Dinner (Oia)
This was one of our favorite days! We took the bus into Oia and headed straight for the LONG flight of stone stairs (300+ uneven, deep, curved stairs, and you must yield to donkeys!) to reach Amoudi Bay. There are several restaurants nestled so close to the waters edge, it would be easy to tumble into the crystal blue. We landed at Sunset Amoudi Taverna, but you can’t go wrong—they all serve unbelievably fresh seafood (wait for a seaside table though). We did a bottle of local white wine, lots of crusty bread and good olive oil, stuffed squid, and mussels. The best part though? You can catch a taxi back up to the top!
Mezzo – Dinner (Imerovigli)
We landed here by recommendation of our hotel concierge. It was one of our favorite dinners. Sweeping views of the caldera, local food and wine, and the dreamiest sunset. Our waiter was extremely friendly and finished off our meal with a few complimentary treats from the chef! Make a reservation.
Anastasi Church – Sunset (Imerovigli)
We had an hour before our dinner reservation so we grabbed a bottle of rosé from a local mini mart and posted up outside this church for the most magnificent sunset.
Anogi – Dinner (Imerovigli)
We ended up here after dark and in the middle of a wild wind storm so we didn’t get the full experience (and—it’s down a small side street so there is no ocean view) but the food is amazing. One of my favorite things we ate on the entire trip was an appetizer from Anogi: warm feta in philo with honey and toasted sesame seeds. I’ll definitely take a stab at recreating this!
Lucky’s Souvlkaki – Lunch (Fira)
It was a hot, dusty walk down there, but worth every step. You can’t leave Greece without indulging in a few gyros (stuffed with fries of course!). We sampled a few different spots but this was by far the best. The restaurant is a total zoo, and you’re lucky to grab a stool at the “bar” (we were, and got to sit down with a cold beer for a few minutes while the chef joked with us and made our gyros). But even if you just grab and go, it’s the best souvlaki you’ll find in Santorini.
Petra Kouzina – Cooking Class (Closest to Fira)
We took a cooking class with this sweet Greek couple out of their home. Lots of local wine, and we learned to make tzatziki, tomato fritters, Greek salad, shrimp saganaki, and moussaka. They told great stories and kept us entertained for hours.
We discovered Milos is where all the Greeks vacation (good sign!). After a choppy ferry ride (seriously, so seasick) we arrived in paradise. Milos is a small island that once harbored pirates—it’s a treasure map of unique beaches. Break the island up into two days: one for north-side beaches, and one for south-side beaches (each part of the island has its own personality and topography).
You absolutely need transportation to navigate this island. We lucked out and rented an ATV Four-Wheeler (although we heard there are new regulations for Americans and Australians that require an international drivers license…) for several days to buzz around. Unlike Santorini, Milos is a lot quieter with less road traffic, so navigating the island via ATV felt safe. It was the most fun way to beach hop (we’d usually hit three beaches in a day, after a long lazy breakfast). You can easily rent a normal car—but our little ATV allowed us easy access to parking and secret, tucked-away beaches.
Miland Suites - Hotel
The highlight of our trip was this quaint little bed and breakfast, run by the sweetest Greek family you could imagine. The rooms are perfect and the landscaping/pool scene picturesque. There’s even a vegetable garden on the property, and the owners father would pick fresh veggies for our breakfast each morning. Then the owner would bring us her latest baked treat for breakfast dessert (my kinda place!) and was extremely patient and helpful answering our million questions. We spent most of our days exploring, but loved the moments just lying by the pool looking out over the water.
Sarakiniko (North Milos)
It feels as though we landed on the moon—softly sculpted white rock originating from calcium. We sat on the rocks and ate a flatbread pizza we bought on the side of the road, then walked into the water to cool off. We later discovered that you can walk up around the rock to a cliff and jump from various heights. It’s definitely a mini-adventure to leap off the rock, then swim up through the current vortex to get back on land. Be careful :)
Mandrakia Beach (North Milos)
Mandrakia is a tiny hidden fisherman town. The highlight was our lunch at Medousa (one of the absolute MUSTS of this island—they don’t even have a website). It’s super casual and the food is amazing. Skip the rosé but the vinegar octopus was the best we had in all of Greece. After lunch, we hopped over to the beach to put our feet in the water and catch some sun.
Tsigrado Beach (South Milos)
This one required descending down a steep, fifty meter cliff with only a rope and a rickety ladder (definitely don’t want to do this in flip flops!). But, we were handsomely rewarded with the shallow turquoise water and white caves we could just walk into. A very serene, peaceful place!
Fyriplaka (South Milos)
This was one of our favorite beaches because of the lively beach bar scene! A lemon margarita (who knew!?) and a few Aperol Spritz’s later and we were in heaven. You can rent sun beds with umbrellas for 15 euro, and stroll right into the shallow clear water where there is a long, stretching sandbar. We were glad this was our last stop of the day because we wouldn’t have been able to leave!
Kleftiko – (Boat Tour Required)
A beautiful rock monument where pirates are said to have stashed their treasure. It’s only accessible by boat. There are many boat tours in Milos, though the one we heard the most about was booked (reserve in advance!). We found another company and got to explore Kleftiko as well as several other hidden caves and rocks (that we snorkeled through!). The water is breathtaking, warm (in most places), and very mild (no currents or waves).
Restaurant Navagio (Port)
Milos is not known for its food, so we ended up at this restaurant twice. A beautiful view and no shortage of twinkly lights. The staff was super friendly and we had one of our favorite Greek salads (can’t get enough).
ISLAND: Mainland (Athens)
We were in Athens for fewer than 24 hours, but glad we made a quick mini trip out of it—though we were exhausted, I couldn’t imagine traveling all that way and not seeing the Acropolis.
We walked up to the Acropolis in the early evening (wear something other than flip flops, the white marble is very slippery!) and there were very few people. You can buy a ticket at the bottom of the walking path.
A fun, vibrant place full of shops, restaurants, and people. We sat down for a long dinner and enjoyed watching the world walk by. (And, there’s no shortage of gelato, so we had to get a quick fix before heading to the airport the next morning).
360 Degrees Hotel
We didn’t eat here, so I can’t speak for the food but the drinks were fun and the atmosphere buzzing. Watching the sun go down over the Acropolis is a must!
We took ferries between the islands (we went through a company called Sea Jets, which, charters high-speed catamaran like boats). Opt for the faster trip (and splurge for first class tickets—they’re only about $20 more and worth every penny).