Our family of 3 including DH (darling husband) and DS (darling 25 yr old son) and myself traveled to Greece for my milestone birthday on our dream come true first time to Greece trip. We flew16 hours from Los Angeles arriving in Athens and stayed at the Sofitel one night flying out the next morning to Santorini. Stayed in Santorini 4 nights and then took the ferry to Naxos for 5 nights. Then took the ferry to Mykonos for 4 nights and flew back to Athens for the last 3 nights. I will post trip reports for each stop after getting over jet lag.
We liked all of our hotels especially the family hotels on the islands. I booked 3 of the hotels with my British Airways points. Naxos was our
very favorite island. I was concerned about 4 nights on Santorini after comments here but we loved it as we got adjusted to the time change
and took time to explore it. The Greeks there were the friendliest of the entire trip. We met many Greeks who are working so hard without a day off during the season and then during the winter work so hard to update their businesses. We fell in love with Athens, I wish we had more time there. The ancient ruins were absolutely amazing and one of the highlights of our trip. Mykonos was our least favorite island (sorry donnyb), it was just too crowded with tourists and cruise ship folks for us; but to be fair my DH got sick there curtailing our plans.
We loved the people, culture, food, ancient ruins, everything. We spent time visiting Greeks, Europeans and Australians and never met Americans until we were in Athens. It was one of the most economical vacations we have ever taken, minus the airfare. The greek breakfasts were so good and filling we usually only had one other meal and snacks for the day. Their portions are huge and we usually spent 30 to 35 euros per meal including alcohol for the three of us. The food was so healthy and homemade. Their salads taste so much better, the tomatoes actually taste! I loved frappes, had one every single day, how can I make those? I got used to ouzo, it packed a punch and was cheap, didn't really like raki but still drank it every time they offered it. We always tipped but I did not see that many people tip, if you can afford a trip to Greece you can afford to tip, they are hurting with their economy.
The beaches were so beautiful and clean compared to California beaches. Actually I thought every place was clean with little litter. I felt they took pride in their environment. The people were so friendly, proud and honest. It was so refreshing just to leave your stuff on the beach as you explored. It was so quiet and peaceful, I realized when I got home thar we never once heard a siren not even in Athens, I hear them every day here. We did rent a car twice but didn't really like driving the narrow streets but Europeans didn't mind so I think it was just us used to our big wide streets. Our son went out clubbing every single night and loved it, especially meeting all the girls. Noticed more young
women traveling together than young men. Lots of couples and retired folks.
Was concerned about the strikes and they were striking in Athens when we arrived but our taxi driver just took a different way to the hotel. They did close the ancient ruins early so I would check with the hotel as had to leave ancient agora early.
Favorite hotel - Villa Evengia, Fira Santorini
Favorite restaurants - Santorini - Metaxi Mas
Naxos - Irini's
Mykonos - Fato a Mano
Athens - Tzitzikas Kai Mermigas
Thanks so much for all who helped us with the planning, we would love to return someday, maybe upon retirement. We usually travel somewhere new year, such a huge world to explore!