In May of last year, I had my very first experience in Greece! It was kind of a last minute thing, and it was the most incredible trip! We did two nights in Athens, only one night in Crete (the ferries went on strike so we had to leave early) three nights in Santorini, and two nights in Mykonos. The people are amazing, really wonderful and friendly!
Rooftops in Athens
The first night we stayed at this gorgeous hotel called the Grande Bretagne in Athens, it had a rooftop restaurant. After dinner that first night I took my iPad up to the rooftop deck with an amazing view of the Acropolis and the city lights while enjoying a glass of wine and answered email. What a surreal moment to relax there with the rest of group inside, I had this incredible experience with a new city in my moment alone.
The next day, after touring around the city of Athens, we went to another great restaurant that had a three-tiered rooftop deck! It was there that we met two much older English men, who told us all about their travels in Greece. They loved the restaurant so much, it was their second time there on their trip. I think that’s what traveling is all about – getting to know other people and sharing experiences. Enjoying great food with an amazing view doesn’t hurt either!
The Black Beach
We took a ferry from Crete over to Santorini, and I’ve never been on a ferry like that! It had 3 different classes of service, and I was lucky enough to be in the area that had our own bartender. We were spoiled on the way over! The next class was club class, which had a bar too, you just have to go up to the bar and order. It was a really nice elegant ferry, not like the utilitarian style that I’ve been on in the past.
When we got to Santorini we went to Perivolos beach – and it has black volcanic sand! It’s not pebbly or rocky, it’s just like the sand most of us are used to – really pretty fine sand and easy to sit or walk on. They really had quite the set-up out on the beach – our little area had two chairs, with an umbrella, and even a couch section for lounging.There were little wooden decks that went between each row of chairs, so you could walk as little as possible on the black sand, if it was a hot day. But it was fairly cool when we were there.
We had a full two hours to just chill and talk there, while enjoying a Bloody Mary under the umbrellas. There was a button on the back of the umbrella stand if we needed anything! Of course, we just had to take a picture of our flip flops on the black sand.
There’s this amazing place to stay in Santorini Greece called Altana. Local twin brothers Mario and Christo Bekiaris have taken a traditional old mansion from the 1700s and made a hotel with individual suites and rooms. They are quite charming! They bought a few homes around the property and created little villas out of them too. You take about 6 million steps (just kidding, it seems like it, after you’ve done it a couple of times), you get to the bottom there’s a walkway that goes from one property to another. Some rooms even have their own private dipping pool!
What I really loved about it most is that they chose different themes and colors for each room. These two guys had a flair for decoration. One room had lots of pops of red, one was all nautical with pretty blues, and in another property everything was all white! Everything about the hotel provided such a personal touch, we all got know the staff and they were wonderful.
Singing Around Santorini
After we left Altana, we got to take a catamaran ride around parts of the island. It was really cool to see Santorini that way. Plus the captain and first officer were young men that were easy on the eye! There’s a volcano off the coast of Santorini that has thermal baths. Some of our group took a boat over to swim and do the hot springs. On our boat someone had a great playlist on their phone, we had similar taste in music, so we were all singing along and having a great time. No worries in the world! We were twelve people who didn’t know each other, but became close friends after that. The captain and crew waited on us hand and foot, and we pretended just for a day we were royalty.
Rough Seas in Mykonos
When we were in Mykonos, we took a fun boat excursion to Delos. The whole island is an archaeological site! It was interesting to see the digs and learn about the civilization that was there. Because it’s uninhibited place, there were tons of stray cats around.
We were there a couple hours, when the weather had changed, so we decided to start heading back. The short boat ride there took over an hour back, with all the wind on the seas. It was really rough ride. And, it quickly became comical because, as we were sitting around a large table on the boat, one after another of us were getting up to get ‘fresh air.’ I was a seasoned sailor, but even I had to go to back of boat for some relief.
That night we enjoyed an evening at the Buddha Bar Beach Restaurant – it’s now become a chain with locations in Paris and Budapest. We sat outdoors and watched the yachts in the harbor. There was a DJ there, and so we danced and enjoyed a ouzo shot. I was very impressed with the Greek wines, I didn’t expect that! I don’t think I tried any that I didn’t like. The Rose was darker than you’d find from France and it was really yummy! There was a group of us that were wine people, and we all agreed that the Rose was a big winner. It was a splurge night after a busy day, and we all slept really well. Luckily, we all felt great the next morning!
My favorite part of traveling is that I get to meet new people, and after this trip I now have 11 incredible new travel agent friends that went on the trip with me! We still exchange messages through email and social media, learning about other places… the best spots to eat, drink, and be merry! There are so many fond memories that I can now pass onto my clients to help them find the best places to go in Greece too.