7 days in an Aegian Paradise – Our trip to Santorini and Mykonos
Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog. Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of beautiful locations along the sun-kissed beaches of Greece, and I just had to tell you all about it as soon as I got home. Before we begin, I’d also like to mention that today’s post will likely be my last travelling blog for the year. Because, as much as I love travelling, I still have my businesses to take care of.
Before we begin, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to Absolute Lifestyle Travel. I’ve been exclusively relying on their services for over two years now, and I’ve got to say that I’m absolutely delighted with them. They’ve done a brilliant job with organising trips for my family and me, and I’ve always had an enjoyable and relaxing time.
Greece Travelling Preparations
I’ve never been to Greece before, so I made sure to do my homework well in advance. As always, I’d advise you to prepare and follow a checklist of your own, making sure that you’re adequately dressed and equipped to get the most out of your time in Santorini. Here are a few quick pointers on what to what out for:
- Clothes and shoes – The days are almost always hot in Greece during the warmer seasons, but the mornings and evenings can get really chilly really fast, especially on the islands with their rapidly changing wind currents. I’d advise you to bring along at least a couple of jackets and cardigans, along with your standard beachwear, sunglasses and hats. If you’re there to see the sights, don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
- Hotels – during our trip, we had the pleasure of staying in two beautiful hotels, both of which I’d highly recommend: On The Rocks in Santorini and the Myconian Imperial Resort & Thalasso Spa Center in Mykonos.
- Tour Guides – I’d highly recommend getting a tour guide, especially if you’re short on time. There are a lot of interesting things to see and experience in Santorini, and you wouldn’t want to miss out. Absolute arrange the whole trip for us including transfers and tour guides.
Staying green on the move
If you’re a fellow eco-friendly enthusiast, packing your green travelling supplies should be pretty high up on your checklist. Sadly, green living trends still haven’t fully caught on in Greece, and the unprepared tourist will be faced with a lot of plastics. I made sure to bring my reusable bags, cups, straws and make-up removal set.
- Business Hours – I was surprised by the fact that, even though most shops and restaurants are open during the evening, things like the banks and post offices only work until 2 pm.
- Taxis – these were very expensive. We asked our tour guide to arrange transport for us to Oia, and we were delighted with the driver because he gave us detailed information about everything that we needed to know. This transportation didn’t end up expensive at all – 25 euros.
Santorini and You
Our plane landed on Santorini airport and as soon as we set foot on the ground, we were met by a local tour guide. After a short introduction and the usual exchange of pleasantries, we were pointed towards our hotel, which ended up being not too far from the airport. No amount of information, however, could prepare us for what we saw when we arrived.
Where to stay
Our hotel – On The Rocks – was located atop a small hill, overlooking the nearby beaches. When I first took a glance out of the balcony, I was stunned. Anyone can tell you that Greece is beautiful, but I don’t think I can even find the words to describe this place. The view from our balcony was amazing. The hotel was also equipped with a bar and a swimming pool area. And, even though a lot of the guests preferred having their breakfast there, we were more than happy to have our breakfast on our balcony.
One thing that I disliked was the fact that we didn’t have access to safe drinking water. As soon as we arrived at our hotel, we were notified that the tap water is entirely unfit for consumption and that we would be provided with safe-to-drink water by the hotel. As it turns out, however, their solution came in plastic bottles, and we had no say in it. This got me quite upset. As a dedicated green living enthusiast, I’ve been doing my best to lead a zero-waste life, and that includes eliminating plastics from my immediate environment. So, I spent my first few days at the hotel being irritated, yet unable to do anything to change my situation.
Where to eat
If you ever find yourself in Santorini, I definitely recommend that you give the following restaurants a try:
- Aegeon Restaurant
- To Briki
- Aktaion Santorini
Our driver was very accommodating – he told us which locations we absolutely need to visit and made sure that we know where we’d get the best view of the sunset. Following his recommendation, we made sure to spend an evening on Oia’s picturesque pier, with its traditional restaurants, and excellent view. There, we observed one of the most memorable sunsets that I’ve ever seen in my life.
Where to eat
We had a great experience with the local restaurants, and I’d highly recommend Sunset Ammoudi in particular.
All the restaurants that we went to were steeped in the traditional atmosphere and cuisine, and the food was marvellous. We got to enjoy traditional Greek dishes as well as the standard restaurant cuisine that you’d see around the world. The cherry tomatoes, beans, white eggplant were all locally grown, and most of the wines were made from entirely local products. We had a lot of Greek salad with feta cheese (which is a personal favourite of mine). Almost all of the meals served in the restaurants there had eggplant.
After Oia, we headed to Mykonos by ferry. At first glance, the ferry seemed very snug – sure, it wasn’t big or impressive, but there is always a certain charm to smaller boats. Then, I noticed the number of people that were getting off. I felt like I was being stuffed in a clown car – there seemed to be way too many passengers and way too little space.
Luckily, my initial assumptions turned out wrong – as soon as we went to the second floor, we realised that the insides were actually quite spacious. The trip across took about two hours, during which we got to enjoy some excellent tea and coffee and stunning views.
Where to stay
Once we made landfall, we were greeted by a “welcome committee”, the members of which had excellent English and were prepared to give us detailed instructions. We made our way to the hotel and found ourselves surprised by Absolute Lifestyle Travel’s service quality yet again. We loved everything about Myconian Imperial Resort & Thalasso Spa Center the staff was friendly and professional, the rooms – spacious, modern and spotless. Even though the view couldn’t really match what we had in Santorini, it was still gorgeous. As a matter of fact, the entire complex was excellent and lived up to its 5-star reputation. They also had glass bottles, so no more needless plastics for us.
The breakfast in the hotel was top-notch – they had everything I could think of and more. There were standard croissants and pastries, a wide selection of coffees and teas, and a whole host of exotic foods and juices.
The hotel offered free bus trips to the town centre, which we happily boarded. The busy streets were lined with stands, souvenir shops and boutiques, offering everything from hand-made seashell accessories to designer bags and clothing. I was taken aback by just how many people there were here, even though it was the beginning of September. Yet, despite being filled to the brim with tourists, the entire place was spotless. There were also restaurants all over the harbour, each with its distinctive aesthetic and specialities.
Where to eat
If you ever find yourself in Mykonos, you should really give these restaurants a try:
- Niko’s Taverna
- Funky Kitchen
- Kavos Fish Taverna
Thank you, Absolute Lifestyle Travel. If you’re looking for a travel agent, I’d highly recommend that you give them a call or email Carol firstname.lastname@example.org
Things to watch out for:
Even though I enjoyed our trip, there were some things that I disliked, and they stuck with me. I can’t blame any of these on our travel agency, and I’d have a hard time being upset with the locals about them either.
- The roads and streets are very narrow – while this is somewhat understandable, seeing how it’s an island, it still felt unpleasant.
- The streets aren’t well lit – the place can get really dark after sunset, and if this isn’t your cup of tea, it can be quite stressful (as it was for me). There’s just something unsettling about the combination of narrow roads, no lights, sharp turns and large busses.
- Things were rather chaotic – Most of the things that weren’t taken care of by our agency or the hotel were very confusing. The public transport system, for one, had us stuck for a solid 20 minutes until we figured out which bus we’re supposed to hop on.
Our trip home was once again, on the chaotic side. Thanks to all of the clutter and small delays with local transportation, we were forty minutes late to the airport. We spent the time worrying about whether we’d even make it in time for our flight and what we would do if we don’t. Fast driving, courtesy of the driver, however, managed to get us there just in time and we boarded the plane.
Well, would you look at that – seems like we’re all out of space for today. Luckily, I’m all out of stories … for now. But, before we wrap it up, I’d like to give one last shout – out to Absolute Lifestyle Travel. It was all thanks to Carol and her amazing team that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing all those amazing locations over the last few years. You guys did an outstanding job.
And what about you – do you enjoy travelling? Have you ever been to Greece? Would you like to visit? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below – I love hearing from you. Join me next time when we’ll return to our investment series.
Until next time – stay green and motivated.