Honeymoon Recap - 2 Weeks in Greece!
Writing this recap is a little bittersweet. Of course, we felt a little sad when our amazing honeymoon drew to a close and it was time to get back to reality. Although, I don't know if we've fully made that transition just yet. I'm still waking up at 5:00 a.m. from jet lag and Blair is dealing with a bit of an after vacation sickness (a.k.a man cold).
All in all, we really did have such an amazing honeymoon, which I figured I would share if not for some amazing photos of Greece, but also to share some of the highlights and our favorite things as well as tips and tricks we learned along the way.
Let's get into it.
When it came time to decide where to go on our honeymoon, Greece was certainly at the top of my list. Fascinated with historical cities having taken a few Greek Culture & Mythology courses in univeristy, traveling to Greece was a bucket list item for me personally. Blair and I both wanted to go to Europe. He'd never been to Europe before this and we both wanted a vacation that could be relaxing as well as offered a lot to do and see.
Greece ticked all of those boxes.
Our trip included Athens, Santorini, Ios, and Myknonos so I'll talk about each of these cities, what we liked and perhaps disliked about each, as well as a few tips and things we learned with each destination.
A FEW THINGS WE'LL NEVER FORGET
THE FOOD & DRINKS
What's a vacation if not an excuse to eat and drink whatever you want? Trying out new restaurants almost everyday was one of the best parts about the trip. Greece, of course, is known for it's amazing mediterranean cuisine and I was already a huge fan before we even landed. Not to mention, Blair and I connect a lot over good food and wine. It's something we're both quite passionate about. So yes, it was a bit more expensive to eat out for almost every meal but it was worth it.
3 of our 4 hotels had complimentary traditonal mediterranean breakfast and this easily became something we looked forward to each morning, not to mention, helped us to be a bit more budget friendly while indulging elsewhere. Each morning they served the freshest yogurt, fruit, pastries, honey, eggs, cheese, & meat.... what more could you ask for?
Santorini and Ios were the best for food. Our favorites included To Briki in Firastefani. The staff here were amazing, attentive, and friendly. They had wonderful food and even better coffee. We also had a mini Gyro competiton, trying about 6 different places while on our honeymoon and Lucky's Souvlaki in Fira won hands down. They were inexpensive coming in at 2.50 euro and were so delicious.The best cocktails were from PK Bar in Fira. The drinks were definitely on the pricey side but well worth it. A close second, The Garden in Mykonos. Again, insanely expensive but oh so good.
The overall winner of food, however, was Ios. Surprisingly, the least expensive of all of the cities as well. Salt Restaurant and Cantina Del Mar in Ios were two restaurants we'll talk about for a long long time.
What we quickly realized is that most of the dishes weren't overly complicated, they just used the best, freshest ingredients and let them speak for themselves. It was an incredibly refreshing dining experience.
To save a bit of money get beers or drinks from the little street kiosks for 1.80 euro.
Eat cheap by getting fresh produce, olives, & snacks from the local markets (even better if your hotel has a fridge or kitchenette)
In some places gyros were inexpensive and others not so much. Somedays it was nice to grab a gyro for lunch of dinner but it wasn't something I wanted to eat every single day for almost 3 weeks straight.
Try to get a hotel that offers breakfast service. It's delicious and one meal out of the day you don't have to worry about. Often we'd eat a big breakfast and be able to go without food until dinner.
Experiment! Try new things. You won't regret it.
WHAT WE LEARNED
As I mentioned before, we both wanted a honeymoon that allowed us to relax but had lots to do. Between the ancient sites of the Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens and exploring the volcano in Santorini as well as an amazing wine tour, we sure learned a lot.
I think that's what I love about traveling the most, learning something new but also learning more about yourself and the people you travel with. Even after 12 years together, I still learned more about Blair and I'm sure he learned about me as well. As we stumbled our way through a new language, and got lost a few times without a map, we realized a few things:
I like grilled octopus
Blair's really good at picking up new languages
We learned a ton about wine on our tour
We like being busy on vacation and we get bored if we aren't doing something
We're both fairly good at navigating with or without a map
I am in better shape than I thought and got up those stairs and hills pretty fast most times (That hike to Oia in Santorini was hard but I did it!)
I get hangry pretty easily but Blair can go a pretty long time without food
... and so much more!
But perhaps what's more important is what we learned about Greece while we were there and some of the tips & tricks we picked up along the way.
There's so much walking! Bring good shoes!
High season & Low season mean different things in different cities. We traveled at the end of May which is considered low season (June-August are high season). Santorini & Mykonos were still super busy and required reservations in restaurants while Ios was almost like a ghost town.
Dinner time is late - around 9 pm. This took some adjusting.
It got pretty chilly at night time despite being sunny & hot during the day. A lightweight jacket or sweater was my best friend.
Mykonos is expensive...enough said.
Get an international drivers license so you can rent scooters or ATV's. We didn't and felt like we missed parts of the islands. You can definitely see a lot by walking but we didn't realize how difficult the terrain was. Some cities had city buses that were inexpensive and great options for getting around but others were more difficult. Cabs were generally the most expensive option yet the easiest when you get off the plane or ferry with all of your luggage.
Ferries were the simplest way to get between the islands but keep in mind that they can be costly & were a lot longer than we expected. Our ferry rides ranged between 6 hours & 40 mins. Choose 2 to 3 islands to visit to cut down on cost as well as travel time. Most of our ferries were delayed as well so keep that in mind and just go with the flow.
Choose lightweight, relaxed, easy clothes that hold up well. With all the travel you do between islands you'll basically be living out of your suitcase and items that wrinkle easily are the worst.
Most hotels and restaurants offer free wifi. I have a travel plan built in automatically to my phone contract - If I have to use cellular data it costs a flat rate of $12 a day. However, I managed to keep my data turned off and connect to wifi throughout the day. Easy Peasy!
Tours (wine tours & boat tours etc. ) can be pricey but are soooo worth it. You learn so much and see things you wouldn't be able to otherwise.
Having a background in Interior Design, I obviously look for and appreciate well designed spaces. There was no shortage of that in Greece.
Each city had it's share in beauty. Santorini with it's Caldera views, winding staircases, and cave-like hotels is obviously amazing. I was surprised, however, to find so much luxury in Mykonos. Almost everywhere you look, you see stylish people blending the beachy boho styles perfectly with on trend fashion. The stores, restaurants, and hotel interiors are doing the same, taking the traditional white building you come to know as Greek but they seamlessly add modern and boho elements that make them amazing. I could go on forever talking about the interiors and fashion because I found it incredibly inspiring.Travel is one of the best sources of inspiration and I'm full to the brim.
Bring a good camera as well as your phone and document literally everything. The food, drinks, animals, details that catch your eye, sunsets, all of it! Just do it. You won't regret it.
Keep a travel journal and be diligent about writing out your experiences. You'll appreciate it later on when the trip becomes a distant memory. Try to write not only about what you get up to but also how you felt and what you thought about the experience.