Guest post by Dani the Wanderer
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
We traveled to Greece with 10 friends to celebrate a 40th birthday. Some of the group started in Athens for a few nights but we started our trip in Mykonos. We used JayWay Travel to help plan the trip. We traveled with them in 2018 to Croatia and can’t recommend them enough. They are a boutique travel company and with a group of 10 it was nice to have someone assist with the logistics. They provide you with the contact for an in-country guide and they can help you with anything from reservations to recommendations on what to do. They made the transition between islands and airport transfers seamless for us. I would highly recommend JayWay for any European travel.
Day 1: Mykonos
Our first night we just enjoyed catching up with our friends and then dinner in Little Venice at Vegera. Most restaurants will start you off with a welcome drink and sometimes complimentary dessert. We started with traditional Raki which is what I would consider the equivalent to Moonshine. The food was delicious and then we ended the evening with dancing at the bar Porta. We stayed at the Mykonos Bay Hotel – wonderful location within a 10-minute walk to the main town. The rooms were gorgeous. Lovely pool and open-air location of the restaurant in which breakfast was included. Wonderful hospitality. Highly recommend.
Day 2: Mykonos
- Gioras Bakery
- Sea Satin
- Mykonian Spiti
We had a walking tour of the city for Day 2. This was very educational regarding the history of Mykonos. We stopped at a traditional bakery, “Gioras Bakery” and had the best spinach and feta pie of the trip. Gioras is the oldest working Bakery on Mykonos Island, Unbelievable! We had lunch at Nice & Easy and then enjoyed drinks under the windmills at Sea Satin, would highly recommend Sea Satin for the views, you wouldn’t even realize it was there. That evening had a wonderful experience at a local Cooking Class, Mykonian Spiti. We made spinach pie, stuffed tomatoes, tzatziki and enjoyed a delicious feast at the end. We were with a few other couples so this event I would imagine you would always be with another group. It was a very educational and fun experience. We came back to our hotel and had a night cap at our friends room with a private pool.
Day 3: Mykonos
- Tropicana Beach Club
- Panagia Paraportiani Church
- Funky Kitchen
We spent the morning at breakfast at the hotel and then ventured to the Tropicana Beach Club. The Beach Clubs are supposed to be one of the number one things to do in Mykonos. It was nice to see the beach but I would suggest it is something that can be skipped. It seemed more laid back and I imagine there may be clubs that provide more of the club atmosphere but that wasn’t what we liked with our group. We had a good lunch there but we were also told to check out Kiki’s Tavern so I think if talking to anyone going I would suggest they try that instead. We got back to the hotel later afternoon and our friends that we were traveling with booked a photographer for the group. During this event two of our friends got engaged at the Panagia Paraportiani Church. It was such a special thing to experience. The church is a must do in Greece to see as it is extremely beautiful (even more so watching your friends get engaged in front of it).
Afterwards we had drinks at Skybar – great views and dinner at Funky Kitchen – a MUST! The entire experience was excellent at the restaurant. We finished the evening at our favorite club Porta.
Day 4: Naxos
- Asteria Beach Cafe Bar
- Temple of Apollo
- Apollon Paradise Cafe
- To Elliniko
We traveled to the island of Naxos via Ferry. The ferries can be very crowded and fast moving. Highly recommend knowing where you’re going and be ready to move fast. They provide comfortable seating and snacks/drinks if you’d like.
We at lunch at Asteria Beach Café Bar for lunch while we waited for our hotel rooms to be ready. Nothing impressive about the food but the views were great and you could walk right out to the beach. There were a lot of places within walking distance right on the beach. After that we checked in and hung out by the pool. Before dinner we waked to The Temple of Apollo Ruins. It was an easy walk with wonderful views of Naxos. We had a drink at nearby Apollon Paradise Café, very nice atmosphere right on the water. I would recommend stopping here for anyone in Naxos for the views specifically. That evening we had dinner at Elliniko. Wonderful restaurant with a gorgeous atmosphere. We were shocked by how much less expensive it was for a nice meal in Naxos vs. Mykonos. They do say Mykonos is the most expensive island, however.
We stayed at the Argo Boutique hotel, which was wonderful. Best included breakfast of the trip, a homemade buffet. Two pools and nice rooms! We were able to walk everywhere we needed to.
Day 5: Naxos
We took a Catamaran Small Group Cruise which included a homemade lunch of Pastitsio. We stopped at three locations to jump in the water. The water was very cold but we made the most of it. Upon our return we had some drinks on the water and then had dinner at Scirocco which was excellent. One of our favorite meals of the trip.
Naxos was a wonderful island. Much more laid back and less people than Mykonos. It was nice to have this “relaxing island” to break up the trip.
Day 6: Santorini
- Fira to Oia hike
We took the ferry to Santorini. This ferry was much more chaotic than the ferry to Naxos and upon arrival could tell how touristy Santorini was going to be. I would recommend if you want to explore downtown Fira or Oia do so either early morning or after 7 to try and avoid the cruise ship traffic.
A driver picked us up and took us to our hotel, Aressana Spa Hotel and Suites Fira. Nice hotel with another excellent buffet breakfast. One thing we were blown away with was how hospitable the people are. The hotels and their staff went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. Nice pool – only negative is there weren’t great views, but we weren’t at the hotel much. It was very close to all the main attractions in Fira.
There is a hike from Fira to Oia that we started on midday. The starting point is the Atlantis Hotel and we went about 3.5 miles and saw breathtaking views. Would have loved to finish but we started late and had to get back. I would recommend doing the hike first thing in the morning or before sunset to beat the heat. It was really hard to get through the cruise crowds on the initial portion of the hike.
That evening we had dinner at Marinera. The views were breathtaking, and we could watch the sunset from our dinner table.
Day 7: Santorini
- Brusco Cafe
- Venetsanos Winery
- Metaxi Mas
- Tropical Bar
We started our day with the Best of Santorini Private Tour. Our guide, Lazarus was wonderful. We explored the off-the-beaten track scenery. We learned we were staying on an active volcano. We started in the village of Oia and got to see the portion of the hike that we didn’t finish on foot (this was much easier). The views of the city were incredible, and we went early enough to miss some of the cruise traffic. We ended the time in Oia with a stop for some delicious Gelato at Lolita’s. Next, we traveled through the countryside and saw some lava cliffs and had local Greek tapas and beer in the Pyrgos Village at Brusco cafe, some of the items were capers, caper leaves (supposed to help with the liver, which we all needed with all the carafes of wine), cucumbers, feta, tomatoes, tomato paste, fava beans, smoked dried sausage and an eggplant mix…as weird as it may sound the fresh tomato paste was incredible. This was a very cute little café away from the main part of Santorini to check out. Our last stop was a wine tasting at Venetsanos Winery. The winery views were breathtaking. It was nice to see Santorini from other viewpoints and not the main downtown areas of Fira or Oia.
That evening we had dinner at Metaxi Mas, this restaurant was also off the beaten path and delicious. Highly recommend the atmosphere and food (the free cheesecake dessert was also a bonus). We ended the night with dancing in town at Tropical bar. Great views and the music was fun!
Day 8: Santorini
- Stamna Garden Tavern
- Red Beach
- White Beach
Our last day we spent doing some last-minute souvenir shopping and had an authentic Greek lunch at a place called Stamna Garden Tavern. We all wanted one last authentic Gyro meal. They Gyros weren’t the same as in the US a lot of places serviced them on platters with the meat and the pitas separate.
Spent our last evening on a Catamaran Small Group Cruise. We went to the Red Beach of Akrotiri and a White Beach accessible only by boat – we were able to jump out at each location but didn’t go on the actual beach. The water was just a tad warmer than in Naxos. We went to the Sulphurous springs which were called “hot springs” but they were not hot at all. There is a man who has lived there without electricity named Sostis. They then fed us an amazing homemade dinner of fish, prawns (grilled on the back of the boat), chicken, spaghetti, Greek salad – it was a great dinner with even better views. We watched the sunset from the boat which was a spectacular way to end our last night.
We had an early flight the next day so we went and got some pizza and gelato.
Greece was a wonderful place with great people, food and views. I would highly recommend making dinner reservations (especially if you have a large group of people or it is peak travel season) in Mykonos and Santorini.
Traveled in June 2022