Greece had been on my life list for years. Aside from its obvious beauty, I was obsessed with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 when the girls went to find Lena’s love Kostos, only to find out he’s *SPOILER ALERT* married. My trip was full of Instagram photoshoots, and thankfully not relationship drama. Along the way, I learned a few new tips and tricks about planning a spring break vacation in Greece. Keep reading to get Greece travel tips and recommendations, dos, and don’ts, about Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos!
Transportation Tip: Even if you plan on going to any of the Greek Islands, fly into Athens. It’s cheaper and there is more flight availability.
Understand high season vs. low season travel
Instead of saying there are “good” and “bad” times to see Greece, I would say there are crowded and less-crowded times to visit. June, July and August are the peak months of their tourist season. Though I was told by a local that Spring Break unofficially begins high season, I went to Santorini and Mykonos towards the end of April and it was still too cold for swimming. This is probably one of the most important Greece travel tips.
Pros to Low/Off Season: Less people, less crowds, cheaper housing options
Cons to Low Season: Not as social, limited public transportation, possibility of bad weather
Pros to High Season: More lively atmosphere (great to meet new people), festivals
Cons to High Season: Long lines for tourist attractions, more expensive, crowds, and cruises
Weather Warning: I went to Athens at the end of April and it was HOT. There is little to no shade at the Acropolis. Remember to pack water, a hat, sunglasses, and/or a visor. Watch your step walking across the Acropolis too, the marble floor is slippery in sandals!
Spend at least 2 days in Athens
In school I always loved Greek mythology, thus I was beyond excited to go to Athens. I had a 1:30am flight from Madrid to Athens, so I arrived to see the beautiful pink sunrise on the train from the airport to the metro station. Seeing the Acropolis, especially the Parthenon, was surreal! It’s a huge open space and, before you get to the top, you can see a picturesque skyline of the whole city. Though I only stayed for one full day, I wished I stayed longer to get a better feel of the city and see more Greek ruins.
Greece Travel Tips and Acropolis Advice: Book ahead of time to avoid long lines. Also, if you’re living in the EU and have a residency card, you may get into the Acropolis for free (even if you’re not from the EU). This happened to me, but I don’t know if it was supposed to…
Fly from Athens to Santorini
Need a place to stay in Santorini? I recommend Dina’s Place! They offer free transport to and from the ferry or airport on your trip.
While you could take a ferry, to maximize your time in Greece I would recommend flying to Santorini from Athens. The flight itself is via Ryanair, under 45 minutes, and under $30 one-way, if you book far enough ahead of time. Depending on the ferry speed, it can take 5 to 9 hours for the same, or a more expensive, price based on the company.
Wine Wisdom: Go to Santo Wines in Santorini during sunset! It’s gorgeous and not the norm since most people stay in Oia, the Instagram-famous white-housed village, to enjoy this view. Also, the wine is delicious and rival’s my favorite Spanish Rioja.
Hike to Oia
You can catch a bus or take a car or ATV, but if you want to walk along the cliffs of Santorini, HIKE! Walk through the touristy shops to start. Continue and you’ll hike outside the villages of Imerovigli and Firostefani. It can get rocky, so wear solid shoes! It can also get windy so bring a jacket if you go in early Spring.
How to get around the islands
Greece Travel Tips: Stay in a hostel! Looking for one in Mykonos? Try Orpheas! It’s in the city center, a perfect location.
In Santorini and Mykonos, everyone either walks, rents ATVs or rents a car. Since I didn’t have my license yet (no judgment people), I chipped in to rent a car with friends. However, the ATVs looked way cooler. In Mykonos, you can walk and there’s a bus to take you to the famous Paradise Beach for drinks and fun in the sun.
Transportation Tip: To get from Santorini to Mykonos, take a ferry via Hellenic Seaways! It’s only 2.5 hours and 67 euros one-way. However, if you get motion sickness quite easily, I wouldn’t recommend it because you can definitely feel like you’re floating.
Food for most lifestyles
Greece is one of those countries where I think most people can find a meal to enjoy. I’m not gluten-free or vegan, so I can’t speak for them. But I am pescatarian/vegetarian and I think Greece had the best food variety. It was a mix of traditional dishes such as moussaka, meatballs, Greek salads, and gyros. Plus, my favorite and cheap street food, which were spinach pies! I ate at least one a day.
Food Finds in Santorini: Mama’s House, which has a mix of American and non-American breakfast foods. Go to dinner at Naoussa! It’s traditional food with music too. I danced with other visitors and the waiters. Such a fun experience.
More Greece travel tips, sights to see and helpful information
- Visit the Red Beach and Akrotiri, a prehistoric city, in Santorini! They are nearby and nice additions to a full day.
- Between the Instagram photoshoot you’ll probably take in Oia, go to Atlantis Books! It’s a bookworm’s dream.
- Mykonos is more expensive than both Athens and Santorini. It’s known to be a party island, thus there are many clubs and bars.
- The infamous Windmills of Kato Mili are huge and right along the beach in Mykonos across from Little Venice. Then go to Little Venice for drinks and food along the water to get a beautiful view of the windmills during sunset.
- While up by the Acropolis in Athens, tour the Acropolis Museum! It’s full of tons of Greek mythology and history
And that’s it! I hope these Greece travel tips help you book your dream vacation. Book your flight and fall in love. I’m already thinking of new islands to visit! Meteora anyone??