I am finally getting around to posting pictures and sharing all of our honeymoon adventures in Greece! Please keep in mind, I’m a wedding planner not a photographer. A lot of these are fun phone pictures or ones taken with a Nikon by an inexperienced individual – bear with me. Luckily Greece speaks for itself.
If you didn’t follow along on Instagram – After an amazing wedding day, we were stuck in the St Louis and Chicago airports from 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM. American Airlines delayed our flights causing us to completely miss our flight to Greece. For a while we didn’t even know if we were going to have a honeymoon. It was a frustrating, tear-inducing, tiring day of navigating airports, being told no, and not eating. We finally, through the gift of my aunt, got to a hotel to rest before finding out our honeymoon fate the next day. When we got back to O’Hare at 10 AM the next morning, AirItalia employees told us immediately they would re-book us for their flight that day and not charge any fees or cancellations. It was the most amazing thing we had heard since, “I now pronounce you as husband and wife.”
So fast forward – A day late and exhausted from 36 hours of travelling – we finally made it to Almyrida. Almyrida is a small town in Crete on the side of Chania. This part of our trip was for relaxing and beach time. Definitely needed after the work it took to get there! The views were amazing and the blue waters do not disappoint. The water was so clear that even my ocean-fearing husband swam every day.
Even though we were exhausted, we spent our first few hours on the island exploring the little town, going to the beach to see the sunset, and eating the first of many amazing meals. [You’ll see a trend throughout that we really enjoyed the food in Greece – and still talk about it on an almost daily basis.]
We stayed at an AirBnB apartment which was perfect. We had our own space, bought cereal for breakfast, had lazy mornings, and still had cleaning services every day.
Our second day, we slept in (obviously) and went for a jog to see the views of the town. We spent most of the day on the beach and what is so great about this little beach town is that all the restaurants are ocean-side. So we could get meals to go and eat on the beach or we had an amazing view from our table. Plus all our meals were actually much less expensive than we had budgeted for!
This was our first day trying gyros (pork), (real) Greek salad, and the acclaimed saganaki (fried cheese with honey). I hate to say it, but we did not enjoy saganaki like we assumed we would. It is one of the foods that anyone who has been to Greece LOVES – and maybe it was the hype that made it disappoint. But, to each their own and I’m sure you would still enjoy it if you tried it! The salad and gyros were amazing though – so fresh and full of flavor. It is amazing how RED their tomatoes are compared to what is in stores in the U.S.
We watched the sunset every night from atop a cliff overlooking the blue waters. Then we would wander into the town again and pick a new restaurant to eat food at.
The food and restaurant below ended up being our absolute favorite from the trip. The customer service here was incredible and they really pulled out all the stops – homemade dips and bread, special drinks, and free dessert. But the meal …. chicken souvlaki (skewers) with fries and a four cheese penne pasta that I still dream about. It was legitimately the best chicken and pasta I have ever tasted in my life (and I eat pasta a lot).
The owner of the restaurant even gave us his beach side chairs the next day, brought us drinks and pizza right to the beach.
A few quirky things in Greece:
-Their restaurants are split apart by a street. So the kitchen and prep space is on one side of the main road and then the dining area is on the other side. People also drive crazy in Greece so it’s a wonder the food makes it to the table.
-They have LARGE sizes of drinks and lots of experimental ones too. We don’t necessarily recommend the Snickers shake..
Our final day in Crete we went “hiking” to see the sunset from a farther west cliff. Conner was bored in the process and started playing baseball with a stick and a rock.
After the hike back to town, we capped it off with an ocean-side cheese bread and gyros.
The next morning, at 4:30 AM, we drove to the airport for our leg in Santorini. Here’s the thing about Greek islands – you have to fly back to Athens pretty much anytime you want to go to another island. You can also take a ferry but it takes a lot more time. So we ended up with 10 flights during our entire 9 day trip.
Once we made it to Santorini, we explored the surrounding shops and a bit of Fira. Our first meal was more chicken saganaki and white cream pasta at Katerina’s.
We stayed at a hotel called the Pension George in Karterados, a small town right next to the capital of Fira. Things people don’t tell you when they post pretty pictures of Santorini:
-the beds are not comfortable (sorry, but I’m a girl that needs my memory foam mattress)
-the water is not drinkable. ALWAYS buy water bottles (they are very cheap due to this)
-the island is so small that internet is very spotty, if available at all
-you can’t flush toilet paper, it has to be disposed of in a trashcan
Fira was a short walk from our hotel – they had some amazing restaurants and cute shops. I promise that pictures of Oia and Imerovigli are coming up, but I think the most surprising thing to me about Greece is how barren it looks unless you are in one of the white-washed, blue-domed cities.
Lucky for us, Santorini is a very small island and relatively cheap, even though it was tourist season. We were also concerned is was going to be too hot since we were there in August – but the temperatures remained around 82 degrees and there was always a nice breeze being so close to the ocean.
Our second day we rented an ATV (HIGHLY recommend – they are easy to drive and ours cost only $40 for 24 hours in peak season). We took one of the two main roads in Santorini up to Oia. Knowing there are always crazy crowds that visit this city each day, we went earlier around 10 AM and the streets were almost empty. It was so great to explore this city without the crowds pushing at you and everyone taking the best photo spots.
The winding alleys and marble streets are so amazing to explore. There are doorways to nothing and paths to beautiful views. Let me tell you, the first time you step out on the edge of the city and see the city at it’s fullest, it does not disappoint. My whole life I had dreamed of the moment I would see it and both Conner and I were speechless.
Cue endless pictures of this beautiful place.
Another neat thing about Greece is that all the restaurants display their menus and prices outside of their doors. So you can look through all that they offer, pricing, and descriptions. I did have to Google a lot of things and had a cheat sheet for many of the common foods for quick reference.
The best pizza of the trip was also consumed in Oia – with a breathtaking view of the city and unbelievably blue water.
We are so glad we went early because after just a few hours in Oia the streets were so flooded with people and tourists and cameras. Through the winding alleys and buildings we finally managed to find our ATV again and headed back out of Oia. We drove along the coastline all the way around the island. It only takes about 30 minutes to drive from the top to the bottom of the island! We ate gyros for dinner and drove the ATV the few miles to Imerovigli to watch the sunset.
Most people will tell you to view the sunset in Oia as it sits out on more of a cliff and has the unhindered view of the ocean – but after careful research and whispered secrets – we discovered people enjoy the view from Imerovigli even more. A big bonus is that there are very few people so you aren’t fighting for a spot and you get to enjoy the sunset in peace.
Conner also got bored during this sunset, “These last forever!” Cue the nap.
After the sun (finally) set, we headed back to Karterados and walked until we found an ice cream shop. This was definitely a highlight for both of us (specifically Conner) because it cost only $1.60 for two large scoops of ice cream. Safe to say, we went back the next three days.
A few other food highlights from Santorini:
Our beloved ice cream shop also made waffle ice cream creations. They were amazing and still so cheap. Definitely recommend these! Another of my favorite things was the potato fries below – I wish I could have these at every meal.
Our final day in Santorini we walked to Fira to explore the city, ate our final Greek pizza and salad with another great view, and view the old port / cable cars. Yes, there are still donkeys that transport people down the winding roads to the port. Cable cars or a donkey, that’s the only access they have down the mountain!
We did not try these flavors, but how interesting what they choose to experiment with!
Our final part of the trip was to go back home. Even though we lost a day of adventure, we were both ready to come home and settle into newlywed life. At about 8 PM we took a shuttle to the Santorini airport to wait for our midnight flight back to Athens. As many tourists that go in and out of Santorini, their airport is by far the least conducive to travelers. So beware!
When we arrived in Athens, we found a spot amongst the other late night travelers and settled in for our six hour layover. Neither of us slept much so we ran on about 7 hours of sleep for the next 32 hours.
The perk? Our tickets were again messed up from the first day in Chicago so we got bumped….to FIRST CLASS. It was a glorious moment and Conner cried.
It was a pretty amazing experience and I won’t ever be able to fly cabin again. Not after the four course meal, special headphones, toiletry bag, and seat that turns bed. If you ask Conner, this was his favorite moment of the trip. I can’t really say I blame him.
So if you are planning on going to Greece anytime soon, just keep price watching those flights! We took AirItalia and their service was really great with no issues or delays! If you’re looking for any other tips or tricks, comment below!