Greece is a dream destination for many. The birthplace of an ancient civilization, the beautiful shoreline of Aegean Sea, and the delicious tastes of Mediterranean food draw thousands to the country. With so many choices, so little time, we found it hard to decide where exactly to go. Since we’ve been there, this won’t a problem for you any more. Here’s our one week in Greece, and our recommendations.
Duration: 8 Days 7 Nights (Saturday to Saturday)
Number of Persons: 2
Theme: Romantic, Food, Sightseeing
Places: Athens, Santorini, Delphi
Day 1: Athens
After an 11-hour long flight, we touched down in Athens International Airport at 9:30AM, cleared immigration and got to the metro an hour later. When we reached our apartment, it wasn’t ready for check in yet, so we headed out for our very first meal in Athens.
Day 1 Lunch: Montakiou – Sandwiches
Tasty, freshly made, sold by cheerful sandwich makers. Located in an indoor alley just off Stadiou 30‘s Accessorize. On Saturday 1pm, the sandwich bar wasn’t too busy. It’s self-collection at counter. We had our seats in the courtyard, phone charging from the depletion on airplane. A cup of Greek coffee recharges ourselves before exploring the city.
|Name in Greek||ΜΟΝΤΑΚΙΟΥ|
|Address||Stadiou 30, Athina 105 64, Greece|
|Address in Greek||Σταδίου 30, Αθήνα 105 64|
|Google Maps||Montaikou 4.7/5|
|TripAdvisor||Montakioy 5/5, #13 in Athens|
|ΜΟΝΤΑΚΙΟΥ Στοά Κοραή 5/5|
|Opening Hours||Mon-Sat; Closed on Sundays|
|Phone||+30 21 0331 6500|
Day 1 Afternoon: Ancient Agora of Athens, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Aristotle’s Lyceum
After refreshing ourselves with hot showers, we headed out again at 3:30pm. European summer is wonderful as the daytime is so long, so we spent the next 4 hours going to the ancient places. To better make use of our €30 unified ticket, we went for the following sites:
* Ancient Agora of Athens (including the Museum of the Stoa of Attalos)
* Olympieio (Temple of Olympian Zeus)
* National Gardens (free) with a stop at Zappeion Hall
* Panathenaic Stadium (view from outside)
* Archaeological Site of Lykeion (Aristotle’s Lyceum)
There’s a €30 unified ticket, valid for 5 days for Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion (Aristotle’s Lyceum), Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Museum of the Ancient Agora (Stoa of Attalos), North slope of Acropolis, Olympieio (Temple of Olympian Zeus), Roman Agora of Athens, South Slope of Acropolis.To avoid huge crowds, you need to visit the Acropolis early in the morning, that’s going to be our Day 2.
Day 1 Dinner: Atitamos Mezedopoleio – Grilled Octopus
For dinner, we decided to dine somewhere near our apartment. Atitamos is a small Greek restaurant bar, fit with perhaps ten tables and an alfresco area. The restaurant seems to attract regular guests who would sit or stand outside and enjoy some sips of wines or shots of liquors. The servers are some jolly folks who bring food and drinks delightfully. After a short wait, we took an indoor table. We loved the grilled cheese which is fragrant. We were astonished by the huge size of the grilled octopus, and it’s nonetheless tasty. The place is pretty value for money, with starters around €5, and mains less than €10.
|Name in Greek||ΑΤΙΤΑΜΟΣ ΜΕΖΕΔΟΠΩΛΕΙΟ|
|Address||Kapodistriou 2, Athina 106 83, Greece|
|Address in Greek||Καποδιστρίου 2, Αθήνα 106 83|
|Google Maps||Atitamos Mezedopoleio 4.7/5 (174 reviews)|
|TripAdvisor||Atitamos 4.5/5, #17 in Athens (1933 reviews)|
|Ατίταμος 4.9/5 (90 reviews)|
|Opening Hours||Open all days, 12pm-1am|
|Phone||+30 21 0330 0864|
Day 2: Athens
This is the day – the day exploring the most renowned historical sites! Before our trip we didn’t imagine we could finish visiting all the places on the unified ticket, somehow after the first day we realized we could actually do it all.
Here’s our itinerary:
- Acropolis (8-10am)
- Roman Forum (10-10:30am)
- lunch – Maiandros (10:30am-11:30am)
- Hadrian’s Library (11:30am-12pm)
- Keramikos Archaeological Site (12pm-1:30pm)
Day 2 Lunch: Maiandros
We turned hungry after getting up to the top of Acropolis hill early in the morning, and it was still early for any eatery to have guests for lunch at 10:30am. We found ourselves in the most touristy area, on Adrianou Street, the oldest commercial street in Athens over the centuries, but we were glad to find a not so tourist trap eatery. We loved a few dishes here, especially loved the fried zucchini, and all the other dishes we got with mediterranean herb scents.
|Name in Greek||ΜΑΊΑΝΔΡΟΣ ΕΣΤΙΑΤΌΡΙΟ|
|Address||Adrianou 47, Athens 105 55, Greece|
|Address in Greek||Αδριανού 47, Μοναστηράκι|
|Google Maps||Μαίανδρος Εστιατόριο 4.5/5 (540 reviews)|
|TripAdvisor||Maiandros 4.5/5, #62 in Athens (2012 reviews)|
|Ατίταμος 4.8/5 (122 reviews)|
|Opening Hours||Open all days, 10am-1am|
|Phone||+30 21 03210181|
With the quick recharge, we continued to finish all sites on the Athens unified ticket. We went back to the apartment for the much needed rest in the afternoon. Before sunset, we headed out again for dinner.
Day 2 Dinner: scala vinoteca
Tucked on a side walk on the top a flight of stairs, this restaurant and wine bar is a real gem. This was one truly impressive meal. We simply love the flavours and the presentations of the dishes. A reservation is recommended.
|Address||Sina 50, Athina 106 72, Greece|
|Google Maps||scala vinoteca 4.7/5|
|TripAdvisor||scala vinoteca 5/5, #6 in Athens|
|scala vinoteca 4.7/5|
|Opening Hours||Open all days, 6.30pm-1am|
|Phone||+30 21 0361 0041|
Day 3: Athens -> Santorini
As metro was on strike, we woke up early to take the bus to airport. A smooth 45-min flight by Olympic Air (operated by Aegean Airlines) later, we arrived, and picked up our pre-booked car just outside of airport. I found out this car rental Halaris when I was checking the area around our hotel, and after seeing sufficient good reviews, I booked the cheapest automatic gear car from them costing €126.00 for a 3-day rental. Halaris’s staffs practically escorted us all the way to our hotel, saving our trouble of navigating in an unfamiliar place.
|Address||25 Martiou, Firostefani, 847 00, Greece|
|Google Maps||Halaris Car Rental Firostefani Santorini 4.5/5 (32 reviews)|
|Opening Hours||Open all days, 7am-11pm|
|Phone||+30 2286 023229|
Day 3 Lunch: Pirouni – Grilled fish and seafood pasta
We took our chances with human instinct and technology aid, there were only this many restaurants in the village after all. Sadly the meals on the day was nothing too notable. Lunch we had a decent Mediterranean grilled fish and seafood pasta from Pirouni. The caldera view was beautiful.
|Name in Greek||ΠΙΡΟΥΝΙ|
|Address||CCGH+CF Thera, Santorini, Greece|
|GPS Coordinate||36°25’34.2″N 25°25’43.4″E|
|Google Maps||Pirouni 4.6/5 (86 reviews)|
|TripAdvisor||Pirouni 4.5/5, #5 of 21 in Firostefani (1649 reviews)|
|Pirouni 5/5 (5 reviews)|
|Phone||+30 2286 021378|
As for the afternoon, we explored the surrounding village by foot, and soaked in the beautiful view of the caldera. Sunset was quick and the fog coupled with the golden colour was splendid.
Day 3 Dinner:
Casa di Te
For dinner we decided to go to the number 1 restaurant of the town on TripAdvisor at that time, Casa di Te. It was already after sunset, so we took the downstairs table. It was regrettable, terrible service, I didn’t even take any picture due to the dim light, and the food wasn’t palatable. I believe I ordered the paper-bagged Lamb which was cooked with potatoes and overwhelming rosemary and unbalanced taste of sauce. The other dish which left me no memory was probably borderline passable.
|Address||CCGH+7F Thera, Santorini, Greece|
|GPS Coordinate||36°25’32.3″N 25°25’43.3″E|
|Google Maps||Casa di Te 4.6/5 (40 reviews)|
|TripAdvisor||Casa di Te 5/5, #2 of 21 in Firostefani (303 reviews)|
|Casa di Te 4.9/5 (15 reviews)|
|Phone||+30 2286 021378|
Day 4: Santorini
Our sea view room was the perfect place to watch the mysterious sunrise in fog. After a simple breakfast at hotel, we decided to head south for our day’s itinerary. The traffic around the town of Thira was pretty bad, but from there on, the scenery along the way was just so beautiful. We spent our morning at the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri near the southern coast of the island. It’s a museum preserving the archaeology site of the prehistoric human activity at this village.
Day 4 Lunch: Melina’s Tavern – fresh catch
We didn’t want to go far for our lunch, and we found a few restaurants on the nearby coast. Melina’s Tavern is one of those just by the shore. It offers fresh catch of the day on its menu. Looks decent and we took our seat with a nice sea breathe and view. We had one fish, and one squid as our mains. They are delicious and taste fresh indeed.
|Address||8CX2+P4 Akrotiri, Santorini, Greece|
|GPS Coordinate||36°20’57.5″N 25°24’01.1″E|
|Google Maps||Melina’s Tavern 4.6/5 (131 reviews)|
|TripAdvisor||Melina’s Tavern 4.5/5, #4 of 33 in Akrotiri (421 reviews)|
|Phone||+30 2286 082764|
In the afternoon, we drove to visit the Akrotiri Lighthouse at the southwest end of the island. The view along the way was better than the lighthouse itself. We took the path all the way to the southeast coast seaside village of Perissa, where we thought we could go up to the Ancient Thera. We were greeted with the black sand beach, which was beautiful, and a steep rising terrain right beside the town without driveway.
After a short break sipping cold drinks in a beachside drink bar, we went on to Pyrgos. Pyrgos is a well preserved medieval village, with charming narrow streets, and a panoramic view of the island. It’s not the typical white-and-blue Santorini view, but more of the expansive natural geography which brings your sight to the ends of the island.
Day 4 Dinner: FlyAway Restaurant – beautiful sunset
We booked this fancy dinner, both because it was the top fine dinning restaurant on TripAdvisor at that time, and for the picture-perfect caldera sunset view. We arrived early, got our table on the pool side, and sat back on the cushioned sofa to enjoy the slow sunset and the food. In the middle of May, the sea breathe was still a bit chilling when the night falls, but the place has blankets prepared for the guests.
|Name||FlyAway Creative Bar & Restaurant|
|Address||CCVG+89 Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece|
Eparchiaki Odos Firwn-Ias, Imerovigli 84700, Imerovigli 847 00, Greece
|GPS Coordinate||36°26’35.9″N 25°25’33.4″E|
|Google Maps||West East Suites 4.9/5 (57 reviews)|
|TripAdvisor||FlyAway Creative Restaurant & Bar powered by WEST EAST SUITES 5.0/5, #2 of 38 in Imerovigli (237 reviews)|
|FlyAway creative Bar & Restaurant 5.0/5 (38 reviews)|
|Phone||+30 2286 036279|
Day 5: Santorini
If there’s one thing I learn about travelling in this trip, that one thing would be never to waste your effort driving back to find something as trivial as a leather pouch. I had dropped my leather camera pouch (that contained nothing inside) on the hill of Pyrgos on the previous afternoon. I loved it even though it was worth only a few dollars. I thought there could be chance to find it, but no it was a waste of efforts. On the brighter side, we explored Pyrgos once again, on a sunny morning.
Day 5 Lunch: White Cave
Back to Firostefani, we had our lunch at White Cave at the Ira Hotel & Spa on the Caldera side. Sitting alfresco we sipped a glass of house wine, and enjoyed our lunch of black angus beef fillet and Mediterranean quinoa salad. It’s tasty, and the place is slightly away from the most bustling part of town which pleased us much.
|Name||White Cave, Ira Hotel|
|Address||CCHG+2X Thera, Santorini, Greece|
|GPS Coordinate||36°25’39.2″N 25°25’38.8″E|
|Google Maps||White Cave 4.6/5 (5 reviews)|
|TripAdvisor||White Cave Restaurant 5.0/5, #18 of 21 in Firostefani (38 reviews)|
|White Cave Restaurant 5.0/5 (20 reviews)|
|Phone||+30 2286 028835|
Between lunch and our prebooked afternoon cruise, we still had some time. We decided to drive to visit the upper end of the island, Oia. It’s less than half an hour drive from Firostefani, but the busy town of Oia was packed with tourist buses and we couldn’t find a parking for the short stop we needed. Turning back we went straight to our hotel, where the driver picked us up for the cruise. We arrived at Thira port and shortly we departed for the Nea Kameni Volcanic Island.
The rest of the people went as far as the top of the volcano island, but for us, we chose to be more chill and went for a short walk half way.
Dinner was buffet served on board, and we enjoyed a beautiful tranquil sunset on cruise.
Day 5: Santorini – Athens
Day 6: Delphi Day Trip
I run out of time detailing about the remaining two days.