Back for the 4th time- Greece! June - July 2019
Oops I did Greece again.
Me and 14 friends - on 2 boats, sailing through the Aegean Sea, island hopping. What do I love about this vacation that I've now done it 4 times?
Hanging with friends during the sailing, followed by lunch and dinners on a different island, and then hitting the bars at night! Seeing so many different places in Greece in just one week. Being forced to relax each day for hours on a boat. The swimming stops every day on the way to a new spot. The only downside? Boat life can be tough. It's not always the smoothest of sails, it gets super hot (that's why the swimming is key), the shower situation is not ideal (basically you are hosing yourself off), and sleeping is tough at least for me (other friends of mine got in crazy power naps- so this might just be a me problem). But I don't like repeating visits to places unless they are stellar, and Greece is just that.
What made this trip special, besides the great group of close friends who joined me for this adventure, was I finally did a full 24hours in Athens and visited the Acropolis (reminder, this was my 4th time to Greece, and I had never actually spent any quality time in Athens.) Pleasant surprise- it was a really cool city! A smaller group of us rented an Airbnb about a 15min walk from the Acropolis- arrived on Friday morning, hit the Acropolis in the afternoon/evening. We actually bought tickets online for admission ahead of time, and had to find the ticket office to pick up our physical tickets. Don't do this, the line at the Acropolis was not long if you go in the evening, and it didn't save us any money- just a tip. After our Acropolis tour, we then had dinner/drinks at a nearby rooftop bar (pretty pricey but that's what you get for eating in the touristy spot) and walked back to our place. If Greece gets a 5th visit, I would 100% do another 24hr prior trip to Athens- lots to do, very nice bar and restaurant scene, worth checking out!
Our boat excursion (per usual, arranged and performed by Greekseas) started Saturday with lunch at Dia Noche, followed by a quick grocery trip to stock up our boats, then departed port around 6pm. We arrived to our first island, Poros, around 10pm. Sailing at night was super fun, the sunset was amazing to watch from the boat. Once at Poros, we had one of our best dinners at Poseidon club, and hit up a bar called Malibu after for some first night dancing.
The routine for the week was as follows: we would eat breakfast that day in the port town, then we would sail to a new island each day, with a swimming stop on the way. Lunch and dinner at the new island, dock overnight.
Sunday: Poros, stopped outside of Dokos for a swim, then on to Tyros - a quiet fishing village where the port's backdrop is beautiful tree-covered mountains. This sail from Poros to Tyros was the longest of the trip, a good 10 hours, but it was a good way to start the week. We had dinner at the Legend of Kostas restaurant in Tyros, at a table right on the water's edge.
Monday: Tyros to Nafplio. The marina in Tyros was pretty clean, so I was able to do a quick swim before the sail started, and then we stopped for another swim around Tolo. Once at Nafplio, we did a hike up 999 steps (actually 913 but the locals like to say 999) to an old fort for some amazing views. After another epic dinner, we found a really cool beach bar called Blublanc for some nightcap cocktails. Nafplio was my new favorite island, the fort hike was awesome, it had a ton of cute streets and piazzas filled with restaurants and shops, lots to do.
Tuesday: Nafplio to Spetses. Spetses was super packed so we couldn't find a slip to dock, so we anchored out for the night and had water taxis take us into the town and back to the boats at the end of the night. A friend with a motorcycle license was able to rent a scooter to ride around the island. Last time I was in Spetses, you didn't need a license, however now the law has changed so if you want to ATV or scoot get yourself an International driver's license, or motorcycle license, ahead of time. As an alternative some of us rented electric bikes and rode around the island (the full loop took us a little over an hour, and we also stopped for a drink at a quiet beach bar). Totally worth it, really fun, I'm a fan of the electric bikes now. For a change up from traditional greek food, we went to Clock pizza restaurant for our italian fix (really good). Spetses is another island that definitely has some really good shopping/stores, cute streets to wander, a good amount of stuff to check out.
Wednesday: Spetses to Erimoni. Once in Erimoni we went for some swims, checked out beach bar Madraki for some cocktails and snacks, and had dinner at Tzieri's overlooking the water (great spot). Dinner was followed by another dance party at Millenium cafe- where the music sucks but the DJ will let you take over the playlist if you ask, and that's just what I did. Erimoni is one of the more high end islands that we went to on this trip. Check out both port towns if you go- lots of great bakeries, swimming spots, cute restaurants.
Thursday: We stayed in Erimoni because the ocean was a little rough for sailing that day. As an alternative transport mode, we bought ferry tickets and took high speed boats about 40mins over to Hydra for the day. I love Hydra, it might be my favorite smaller island in Greece. It's super cute, the port town is really built up with a ton of shops, lots of swim spots to wander to, cliff jumping right by the port, and a 20min walk gets you to Magic at the Beach Castillo- a really beautiful beach club, formerly a castle, where you can rent chairs/loungers and relax/swim/eat/drink/etc. We spent the day there and then headed back to Erimoni in time for dinner at Maria's and drinks at the Whiskey bar.
Friday: Our last sail! We sailed most of the day back to Athens, with a quick swim outside of Aegina (which looked like a really nice island I'd like to go to one day- very close to Athens). This ended the sailing portion of the trip, but Greece was not over. From the port- we headed to the airport where we flew to Santorini! My second time on this beautiful island, and I can honestly say it just takes my breath away every time. All the islands we sailed to were amazing, but Santorini cannot be touched.
We arrived pretty late into Santorini, and unlike the rest of the islands we visited where people were going out to dinner at like 10pm, things closed down a little earlier here. Luckily our hotel restaurant stayed open for us, and we were able to meet a few more friends, and my Mom and Stepdad, for dinner at Ombra restaurant in the Esperas resort in Oia. This officially kicked off Vacation Part 3 (Athens being Part 1, the GreekSeas boat trip being Part 2). Off the a great start, the dinner was small portion wise but really good.
Saturday: Breakfast at the Hotel Esperas was awesome- included in the reservation price, and each day before you requested what you wanted and a time to deliver it, and that morning it would arrive to your private patio. Loved it. A couple of friends stayed at a resort way down in the port of Oia, so we walked the path all the way down, dodging the donkeys, to meet up with them and do a little cliff jumping. So much fun cannot get enough- the walk there is a little dicey but it's worth it. Then time to relax- our resort pool was amazing, so pool time was due. We spent the afternoon enjoying the hotel pool (the perfect temperature, with great views and food/drinks and plenty of seating)- then wandered up (literally so many steps up) into the town of Oia for lunch at Skiza cafe. Every damn place in Oia has an amazing view of the caldera- so get ready to take a bazillion photos. Our hotel not only had an amazing pool, but each room had really nice patios set up to watch the sunset- which is a big event in Santorini. For the sunset views alone you should stay at this hotel. We had wine on our patio, watched it go down, then headed back up a million steps to the town for a 15min walk to Roka for dinner. A little hard to find off the main walkway down a side alley but worth going to the trouble- great meal.
Sunday: Patio breakfast followed by Joe and I doing the hike from Oia to Fira town. Took around 2.5-3hrs, alot of inclines and declines, but a very easy to follow the path and the views made it all worth it. Once in Fira we had lunch at Dionysus in Atlantis which was really really good. We took the bus back to Oia (about a 30 min ride, cost 2 euro). Quick hotel pool stop, and then we taxi'd to Santo Winery (make a reservation ahead of time this place gets packed at dinner/sunset) for happy hour/wine tastings/snacks/all with another amazing sunset view- this time of the volcano which was just beautiful. From Santo we taxi'd to Fira town for dinner at Naoussa, which of course had great views from their 2nd floor open air patio and really delicious traditional greek food. Might be the one type of cuisine I didn't mind eating every night for weeks.
Monday: Another long pool filled day, with some shopping in Oia town, and a 10min Kissing fish spa sesh (the fish eat the dead skin off your feet- it sounds crazy but I'm a fan now). The Kissing Fish Spa is in Oia town, you can get longer sessions but the 10min trial is just enough for me.
This was our last day and it went by so fast!
Greece you are incredible with your epic sunsets, amazing waters, incredible food, perfect weather. Being able to share this place and adventure with my friends and family was a truly special experience I will never forget.
Favorite Greek islands of all time:
For nightlife- Mykonos. 2nd place: Poros, Paros and Hydra
For views- Santorini. 2nd place: Hydra, Nafplio and Antiparos
Shopping: Santorini and Mykonos (more expensive) Hydra and Spetses
Scoot/ATVing: Mykonos and Spetses
Cliff Jumping: Santorini and Hydra
For dining: All of them seriously
If you want to see a ton of different islands- GreekSeas is a great option. If the idea of camping on a boat is not for you, or you are just traveling by yourself or with one other person- great options would be staying in Hydra and taking ferries (very cheap and only about 30mins each way) to Erimoni and Poros for day trips. All worth visiting.The bigger islands like Mykonos and Santorini, just fly from Athens- only about a 45 min flight to either and also usually pretty cheap ($60-$100 round trip). I love them all- endless possibilities for amazing trips in Greece!