Kalimera! As the Greeks say.
Greece is a stunning destination! I recommend traveling in the shoulder seasons. September/ October is perfect for Athens plus some island time. Any later than mid october expect there to be very thin crowds and less shops and restaurants to choose from. i had only 10 days in this beautiful country and so i opted for 2 islands (Naxos and Santorini) and then time in Athens.
Arrive by plane in Athens and take a quick cheap flight for our first stop Naxos!
Naxos has my heart forever. We stayed at the St Georges Hotel right on the beach. We slept with the patio doors open and let the ocean rock us to sleep. Naxos has a comfortable routine available for settling into your vacation. Wake up and walk to the bakery. Try all the phyllo dough pies, orange cake, and the multitudes of cookies. Try the chilled take on a cappuccino or any classic coffee options. After breakfast head to the beach! Naxos has lots to choose from so pick one close to your hotel for ease or explore a bit. Swim, read and lay out until you get ready for lunch.
When it comes to dining alfresco is the name of the game. I didn’t eat a single meal inside the entire trip. Some dining suggestions:
Irinis- best spot on the island. Try their wine, kitron, grilled squid, sardines, and yogurt for dessert.
Little Mix- for juice and smoothies.
Meze 2- best for breakfasts and lunches with greek yogurt!
While on the Island don’t miss the Jolandas Castle house and the Portera at Apollo's Temple.
After the sunshine and swimming head to Santorini.
We traveled to Santorini via ferry which takes a few hours, but is a nice way to see the scenery. For reference the port for the ferry is called Thira (or Thera). I suggest staying in Oia, but it is a bit pricier. This island is all about the sunsets! Make your way to the look out spots early if you want to capture the classic blue domes and white buildings. Also on the island I recommend enjoying a gondola ride and going to the fish spa. The best place we ate was at Vineyart. So fresh and delicious. Wine from Santorini is actually really wonderful due the volcanic soil so get a bottle for the table.
End your trip in Athens
There is a lot to see and do here! Of course the Acropolis and archaeological museums are the must see locations. Expect crowds and lines. I would suggest you start with the museum. It gives great context to what you will see in the actual ruins. There are archeologists onsight so don’t be afraid to bring your questions. There is a solid little cafe inside so take a break with a coffee before heading to the ruins. There is so much marble up there so watch your step! End your day enjoying a tasting of greek wine and liquors. The best spot and also the oldest in Athens is Brettos Bar in the Plaka. They are so kind and friendly! There is more than just the classic ouzo to enjoy, try the cinnamon and honey, and the lemony kitron. Also wines from all over greece. The prices are also quite good for the US dollar conversion and it makes a great gift to family back home.
After a day in Greece’s past, I suggest enjoying some modern art as well at the National Museum of Contemporary Art.
Before you head home stock up on olive wood and olives! Athens has uber, which is the easiest way to get the airport to head home.