Having been back in the states for a week, I figured there’s no better way to start off the work week than with a Greece travel guide. At least, part 1 of it (check back on Thursday for part 2)! Greece was our favorite country we’ve visited, hands down. That’s saying a lot! Since there was so much to share, today’s post is everything you need to do and see in Athens and Mykonos!
First, let me just say that I really love the order in which we visited places in Greece. We started in Athens and then went island hopping, starting with Mykonos, Naxos, and ending in Santorini. I’ll cover the last 2 places in Thursday’s post! But after coming back from the trip, both Matt and I agreed that was the perfect order to see things in! If you’re headed that way, try to follow that agenda if possible.
We took a red eye out of Chicago so we landed in Athens around 5PM on a Friday. I did that since Matt can never sleep on planes. We got to the hotel, grabbed a quick dinner and drinks, then headed to bed. I feel like this helps us jump right into a different time zone and reduces jet lag!
The second thing to know about Athens is that you only need one full day there. I’ve heard people say that Athens is very underrated and while I can understand that, there really isn’t that much to do there if you have your heart set on those island views. If you follow our schedule of landing at 5PM, leave yourself that evening and the next day in the city. Fly out first thing the morning after!
What to Do
Athens is known for its historical sites. The culture is so strong – everywhere in Greece – and it’s an incredible experience to see things built so long ago. Our first night in the city, we could see the Acropolis and Parthenon glowing atop the mountain from our hotel and couldn’t wait to wake up early to visit. That’s another thing, make sure to go early or late in the day to the Acropolis and Parthenon. It gets extremely hot during the summer so also make sure to stay hydrated. There are also tons of crowds so be prepared! We got there right as it opened and still couldn’t get a shot without tons of tourists walking through! This was the best we could do!
That said, I liked this view of the Acropolis better. After exiting, there is a hill outside and to the right a little way down the road. If you climb up the stairs and onto this giant rock, that is where we took this photo! You can still see how busy the Acropolis is but it’s definitely a less seen view! Keep in mind this was at 10AM!
We also visited the other sites with our multi-site pass. If you’re into history, I’d recommend opting for this pass. If you’re not, you can probably just get away with the Acropolis pass. It’s 10 euros less and you can get the gist if you just walk by the other sites. Here are the other sites:
- Ancient Agora of Athens,
- Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos
- Archaeological Site of Lykeion
- Hadrian’s Library
- Museum of the Ancient Agora
- Roman Agora of Athens
We ended the day visiting the Olympic Stadium. It’s still within walking distance of the other sites (we visited after going to Olympieio), but bring your walking shoes. It was a 5 euro entry fee and we were debating whether or not we should do it. We ended up really loving it though – it was so serene and quiet. Matt even pretended to race on the track – we had fun with it! I’d definitely recommend making the stop! We walked back to our hotel through the National Garden.
If you find yourself with extra time to kill, go to the Central Market (it’s closed on Sundays) or go shopping. If you’re there during the summer, stay at a hotel with a pool! You’re going to want a place to cool off and pools are very hard to come by in Athens without paying a premium!
Where to Eat and Drink
With only a few meals in Athens, choose wisely! If we’re being honest, Matt and I only had one or two bad meals in Greece so the food is really good. I’ve mentioned this before but Matt is a genius when it comes to picking options off TripAdvisor (especially vegetarian friendly places).
One thing about eating in Greece, dinner typically starts very late – around 10 or 11 PM. That means all meals start a little later so keep that in mind when you’re making reservations in advance! Since we are accustomed to eating around 6 or 7 PM in the states, we tried to compromise by eating around 8:30 to 9 PM every night with lunch being around 2PM!
- Nolan: This is a Michelin star restaurant and it does get busy so try to make a reservation in advance. They were really accommodating for me and everything Matt and I had was amazing. The food wasn’t traditional Greek but it had Greek flavors and really interesting combinations. It was also reasonably priced!
- Moma: We stopped here for lunch during our historical tour of the city. It was on a street lined with restaurants and we kind of walked in on a whim. Their “healthy” menu drew me in!
- The Clumsies: One of y’all recommended this to me on Instagram and it was amazing! It’s a great spot for drinks. Amazing vibe, eclectic menu, and good music. Definitely a spot to visit after dinner!
- Baba Au Rum: Also recommended by one of you! This was another fun spot with a more tiki bar vibe! Very happening and located on a cute little street!
- A for Athens: We didn’t make it to this hotel but I’ve heard it has amazing views of the Acropolis at night. Since we could see it from our hotel, we felt like we were set!
- Avocado: This was a vegetarian/vegan restaurant that we were dying to go to but its open hours weren’t working with our plan! The menu looked amazing and we walked by it several times – so cute!
Where to Stay
Stay within walking distance of the Acropolis! In order to get there early in the morning, you’ll want to. I’d recommend finding a highly rated hotel on TripAdvisor that is to the East or Northeast of the Acropolis. Coming up from that side is a little easier of a walk and you’ll be centrally located to all the historical sites as well as the restaurants I listed above. We stayed at Hotel Amalia which is right on the edge of the National Gardens – no complaints but it wasn’t outstanding either! Check back on Friday because I’ll be sharing tips on how to pick hotels off TripAdvisor!
I don’t know if I was looking forward to Santorini or Mykonos more! I was looking forward to all the instagrammable spots in both locations. That said, they had very different vibes. Mykonos was definitely more pretentious (which I could have done without). The people that work there definitely know it’s a hot spot and there’s a lot of status/judging going on. That said, walking through downtown Mykonos at night was really charming. It is definitely worth a visit – just avoid the pretentious spots which I’ll cover below!
What to Do
Mykonos is definitely the party city! This is why I’m glad we visited second while we were still full of energy. It was also home to tons of shopping, great eateries, windmills (see below) and beaches.
To get around on the island, rent an ATV. There are only 29 or 31 taxis on the entire island (depending on who you ask) so getting around is a little tough. I’d recommend renting an ATV for every day you don’t plan to just stay at your hotel. We tried to cab one way and private car back (our hotel offered to coordinate this through What’s App) and it cost the same as renting an ATV for the full day but it took way longer. Our ATV was about 65 euros for a full 24 hour period, the company was really lax, and it was easy for Matt to learn how to drive. I had to convince him at first but he really got into it after his first drive! The hotel arranged this for us based on what was available. I’d recommend trying to reserve at least one day in advance although you can still get one day of – it just might be later in the day!
- Go to the beach. Your hotel will recommend the best beaches based on what you’re looking for. We went to Agios Sostis Beach one day and it was really peaceful and isolated. It you’re looking for a slower change of pace, check it out. You can head down to the beach right after lunch at KiKi’s.
- Walk through town. Going into downtown Mykonos a few hours before dinner was one of our favorite things to do. I loved all the little shops especially this jewelry store where I got all my evil eye jewelry. For those asking where I got my necklace, it’s from this shop and they ship internationally. They will make you anything custom in the store if you visit too! To get some good photos, you can walk down in the morning. I was a little worried about getting photos of the iconic streets since I didn’t know exact addresses. Don’t be worried. Literally every single street is like this. I’d encourage you to get lost for a little bit – you never know what you’ll find!
- Lounge by the pool. After a night out, you need a little R&R to recover. Take a few hours to work on getting that olive skin. There’s something about the Greek sun that makes you 2 shades darker than usual!
What Not to Do
Avoid the beach clubs! Everyone had told us we had to go before our trip but honestly, they weren’t that special. Not only that but we got a ton of attitude from both of the ones we visited. The staff was incredibly rude, we were often forgotten about, and everything was outrageously overpriced.
- Principote. We tried this club first after spending most of the day at Agios Sostis Beach. The host wouldn’t let anyone enter without talking to her first. So, we went up to her and let her know we wanted to grab a drink (it was after 4PM so getting a day bed didn’t make sense). She walked us through the restaurant/club and told us there were no seats available and that we would have to sit at the bar. There were tons of tables available and the bar area was extremely awkward, right in the middle of traffic. We ordered 2 drinks and after looking around saying how ridiculous it was, we sat ourselves down on one of the couches the host had told us wasn’t available. No one came to kick us out and they definitely weren’t busy enough to need the table although we did get a few side-eye glares from the staff. I got a daiquiri and Matt got the worst mojito of his life. Overall, definitely not worth it! Just an overrated scene not worth dealing with all the rudeness!
- Nammos. Having heard so much about it, I felt like I wanted to see what Nammos was about. Before we even got inside, I could tell it was going to be Principote part 2. The staff chased us down when we were trying to find a day bed and informed us we had to check in at the front. So, we walked up to the front to talk to the host. She asked us if we called ahead or had a reservation, to which we answered no. She sighed and checked her notebook. Then another host made an attempt to walk us to day beds. We were still early in the day but they refused to give us day beds in the front near the ocean. And it was 120 euros for 2 for the day!! I had read beforehand it was about 25 per day bed so was shocked at the price increase. We had planned to beach hop throughout the day on our ATV but after paying that premium, we figured we better stay put for the whole day to get our money’s worth. We also had a lunch reservation there but the food was terrible, they shoved us in the back, and our waiter was incredibly rude. You definitely don’t need to go anywhere near this place!
Where to Eat
- Scorpios. This was our favorite meal in all of Greece. It’s also a beach club/party scene so just know what you’re walking into before you go! It was definitely right up Matt’s alley with the dance music. We got to enjoy people watching while we sipped on cocktails while we were waiting for our table to be ready. It had a great boho vibe and tons of little areas to grab a drink as well as a full dance floor. When we got to our table, it was a little secluded from all the excitement although the music was still audible. It was a really fun vibe though. And the food was incredible. I had a citrus burrata, the best fried zucchini I’ve ever had in my life, and they had the best pita we tried in Greece (sometimes it’s about the basics!). Matt ordered salmon and said it was just as delicious. We loved Scorpios so much that Matt said he wanted to come back for his 31st birthday!
- Kiki’s. This place was one of the most in demand restaurants on the island! They don’t take reservations and they only take cash. It opens at 1PM and closes at 7PM (although their hours change seasonally). The wait is 1-2 hours long and it’s worth it! If you want to get the first seating, I’d arrive an hour before they open. Check in with the manager when you get there to save your spot in line – he doesn’t write anything down and remembers your name by heart. It’s right by Agios Sostis beach and the rule is one person in your party has to stay waiting in line at all time. So, the other(s) can go down to the beach if they want! I thought the pre-made salads inside were the best part of my meal (they had 16 different varieties and they change every day). I’ve also heard the stuffed chicken is the best thing on the menu!
- Funky Kitchen. We loved this meal too (and it was vegetarian friendly)! Everything was really delicious and we split a great bottle of local wine. One thing we didn’t realize before visiting Greece was how prominent Greek wines would be. You don’t see a lot of them stateside but none of the ones we tried disappointed – even the house wines!
- Vegera. This was our last dinner in Mykonos and it was decent but not outstanding. It was right on the water so it was a neat change of scenery. Next time, I’d try Remezzo instead which was recommended to me by Jess of Dressed by Jess!
- M-eating. They were booked solid during our trip but both Matt and our hotel staff said it was supposed to be amazing! Make sure to make a reservation a few days in advance (your hotel can help you arrange it).
- Interni. We also didn’t go here (make a reservation in advance!) but it was apparently a must go! When the staff at our hotel was guessing where we wanted reservations, they guessed this place first!
Where to Stay
We stayed at Andronikos. It was about a 15 minute walk to downtown and the staff was incredibly welcoming. They helped make reservations for us at every meal and arranged our ATV rentals, called a cab, and shuttled us to/from the airport. We asked them to do about a million things and never once did they seem annoyed! Breakfast was included and the spread was amazing. The rooms were a really good size and the grounds were beautiful. The next few photos were all taken at the hotel!
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