Tips for Your Trip to Greece
Before I left for Greece, you guys sent in amazing advice, so I thought I’d return the favor. These places were the highlights of our trip.
Palia Taverna tou Psara
This was our first meal in Greece, and we returned for our last night as well. Overall, the Plaka neighborhood is touristy, but this place is tucked away from the gelato-wielding mobs. Our travel book called it the best fish tavern in Athens, and the fish is certainly fresh and simply prepared. The real draw, however, are the romantic outdoor tables winding up the steep roadside, and the glow of the Acropolis above. Had Aubrey not been busy feeding scraps to the cat under our table, she would certainly have succumbed to my advances.
Climb to the top, if only to use Laura’s line, “This whole city is ruined!” High comedy folks. Tip your bartenders, we’ll be here all week.
All kinds of artifacts from the Acropolis are on view, but the design of the museum itself is fascinating. The building is elevated above an Athenian city dating back to prehistoric times, which was unearthed during construction. Transparent panels in the floor and a large viewing deck reveal the ruins beneath. There’s also a tasty, reasonably priced restaurant on site, though after you’ve climbed the Acropolis, you’d probably give them your first born just to sit in an air conditioned dining room.
Dream Island Hotel
We were looking for a nice, reasonably priced room near the bars and restaurants on the caldera, and this is it. We spent most of our time gazing out over the ocean while we read by the pool, but all the action is about a three-minute walk up the street, and there are no big hills between you and town. The rooms are comfortable, and cost about half of what many neighbors charge. Breakfast is included, as is a ride to and from the airport or ferry, and the proprietor is kind and helpful. Thumbs up.
Ampelos Wine Bar
Fabrica Center in Fira
This was one of the best meals we had in Santorini, where many of the restaurants rely more on crowd turnover than quality ingredients to keep the tables full. Good wine here too.
This is a splurge, but come on — a bottle of wine, a lawn chair overlooking the sunset, and a classical music soundtrack? That’s a quality evening. Don’t sit too near the speakers, or your conversation will be drowned out by the crescendos.
Ammoudi Port near Oia, Santorini
Our day trip to Oia was one of the loveliest days we spent on Santorini, and our lobster spaghetti meal at Taverna Katina was the best meal of the trip. Plus, you can’t beat that view. Look for the orange chairs.
Il Gelato d’Oro
We had this handmade gelato nearly every day after lunch.
Then we chugged some bacon fat, and ordered some deep-fried cheese.
Pension Irene II
This is where we stayed on our last-minute detour to Naxos. It’s a budget place, but it had a cute little pool (which I’ve made much more dramatic in the photo above). Also, a well-stocked kitchenette, if you like to prepare your meals. Great deal.
On Paparrigopoulou close to the court square of Hora Naxo
Everything here is good, but try the Naxos Sausage.
Sunbeam Toy Store
Also on Paparrigopoulou, close to the court square of Hora Naxo
I nearly cried with relief when I saw this store. It’s stocked with every kid-gift you’d ever want to bring home from Greece. Mostly wooden and handmade toys meant to spark imaginative play, but the reproduction tin toys are also magic. It was, I kid you not, open until 1 a.m., but I urge you to head in before you go out drinking. Aubrey almost bought a tambourine for the ferry.
Hands down, the best room (and pool) you’ll get for the price on Mykonos, but be prepared to join the community if you stay here. The owner wants guests to be acquainted with one another and to have a great experience on the island, so she hosts an orientation every evening to introduce everyone and share tips. If you prefer to be incognito on your trip, that won’t be particularly possible, but if you like lots of guidance from a local in the know, go for it.
Agia Moni Square
A local recommended this place to us as “Yanni’s, with the green chairs.” We searched in vain, until a shop owner nearby finally told us that Yanni was the owner’s name. Ah! Worth the hunt. Excellent ingredients, everything made by hand. The vegetable soup was a tonic after two weeks of excessive Ouzo and gyro consumption.
My Do-Over Itinerary
While we were in Greece, we visited Athens, Santorini, Naxos (by accident when our original ferry was canceled), and Mykonos, all of which were lovely. We lingered too long on Santorini, and didn’t have enough time on the other islands. If I had it to do over, my perfect itinerary would look like this:
-Fly into Athens and take a half day or so to decompress if you’re coming from far away.
In the cool of the early morning, visit the Acropolis, then the Acropolis museum for lunch, perhaps a walking tour of the major sights in the late afternoon or the next morning.
-Fly to Santorini and stay either in Fira, or Kamari beach if you’re on a budget.
-Stay for three nights, and rent a car one of the days you’re there so you can visit Oia, and drive around the island.
-Ferry to Naxos, rent a car immediately, stay for two nights and see what you can.
-Ferry to Mykonos, two or three nights there enjoying life, driving around.
-Ferry to Athens the day before you have to catch your flight home.
And that’s it. If you missed your chance to share Greece tips the first time around, please let us know about your favorites in comments. Thanks again for your help in planning my trip.