A journey through Greece is no less than an odyssey. It offers everything anyone would want – beautiful ruins, crystal mountains, glistening beaches, whitewashed villages, warm people, mouth-watering food, party islands, unbelievable sunsets, and a whole more. Given the size of the country and the vast spread of sights to see, deciding where to visit can get extremely arduous. We suffered from severe FOMO while preparing our own itinerary. Eventually, we caved in and agreed to re-visit Greece soon to explore the regions we missed out on.
Our itinerary, detailed below, will suit those who aren’t too keen to party, prefer isolation over buzz, and like a good mix of off-beat and “on-beat”.
DAYS 1 & 2 – ATHENS
Irrespective of where you’re flying from, chances are that you will be arriving directly into the capital city. Athens is markedly different from most other European capitals and it deserves its own share of time. Hike up to the top of Acropolis, gaze at the Parthenon, and sample some of the best in-land Greek cuisine in your two days here.
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- Go to the Acropolis through an alternate path, going up from Plaka. Just climb through any route that will keep taking you up the mountain past beautiful garden houses, and enjoy 360 degree views of Athens.
Where To Stay
AirBnB is the best option as regards Athens. There are gazillion options available. Our host, Willian, was a wonderful person and we LOVED our stay in his beautiful apartment with views of the Acropolis. At 25 USD per night, the apartment defines ‘value for money’. Have you signed up on AirBnB yet? If not, do so using this link and get $15 off on your first stay.
DAYS 3 & 4 – DELPHI
In history, Delphi was known to be the centre of the world, home of the Oracle. Remember King Leonidas climbing a mountain for war predictions? Yeah, that was here. Located in a tiny pretty village in the mountains of Arachova, Delphi is a must-do in Greece for a taste of its incredible past. On the third day, get a local KTEL bus from Athens to Delphi, check into a small hotel, walk around the village, enjoy the sunset, and crash early.
Wake up early on the morning of 4th day to hike up the ancient site of Delphi, a long tiring hike but nothing difficult. Absorb in all the history before the crowds rush in by 10 AM. If possible, catch the sunrise on your way up! You could then head to the nearby village for lunch and head back into Athens, from where you’ll be catching your ferry to the famed Greek isles without which no Greece travel itinerary is complete.
Once the seat of the Oracle where even King Leonidas came for advice before war, Delphi today sits perched on the beautiful Central Greek mountains quietly waiting to be talked to. Delphi deserves more than a day trip from Athens, if you’re planning one. #Travel #AroundTheWorld #Greece #visitgreece #history #ancientcity
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- Buses to/fro Athens and Delphi run only at specific times. Look up the KTEL bus timings, if you’re on pubic transport. Alternatively, you could rent a car via Hertz or Sixt for two days.
Where To Stay
We stayed at the Athena Hotel in Delphi but faced a few issues with the place. They overcharged the card, had a sloppy WiFi, and breakfast was so-so. Hotel Orfeas was highly spoken of by other travellers as the best value for money. A double room with attached bath & free b’fast was priced at around 30 USD per night.
DAYS 5, 6, & 7 – MILOS
Although every guide book and blog we referred to categorised Mykonos as a must-visit in Greece, we chose to skip it in favour of the sleepy island of Milos. Reason being that we weren’t looking to attend rave parties or stay in super-luxe villas or get stuffed under the large wave of tourists that frequent the island. In retrospect, one of the smartest decisions we ever made. Seriously.
The blue in Milos is a special shade, the people are friendly, the beaches are empty, and the waters are clear like a shining diamond. In fact, we loved Milos so much we’ve considered settling down in Milos, many times over.
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- There are plenty of options on Booking.com for Milos. We suggest you stay in Adamas, close to the port, as it gives you quick access to sailing/ snorkeling tours. We stayed at the Semiramis Hotel near Adamas Port and strongly recommend it.
- The famous boat, Thalassitra, runs fantastic sailing tours to Kleftiko beach. This includes the trip inside the caves, freshly cooked seafood on board, and opportunities to snorkel in the clear waters of Aegean Sea.
DAYS 8, 9, & 10 – SANTORINI
You’ve seen the pretty postcard images all over Instagram already of Santorini – the honeymoon capital of the world. Although we are generally wary of Insta hotspots/ over-touristy locations, we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to skip Santorini and we’re glad we did not. Inspite of the crowds, Santorini blew us away.
Rent a bike and drive around the length of the island – beach hop, visit ancient sites like Akrotiri to understand the island’s history, catch the world-famous sunset at Oia, and indulge in spectacular seafood.
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- Staying at Oia is an experience – the infinity palls overlooking the volcanic island and Aegean sea is a postcard for a lifetime. If you want to splurge, make this the time to do it. If you’re on a budget like we were, stay down south near Perissa – the views aren’t all that bad, either.
Where To Stay
We stayed at Onar Rooms & Studios near the Perissa beach, far south of Santorini. It was by far our favourite stay during our time in Greece. Gorgeous views of the beach & mountain, easy access to the popular black sand beach, and some amazing seafood restaurants to choose from – you got it all.
But, if you prefer to spend your time in picture perfect Oia, then it may be worth exploring options in Fira or Imerovigli.
DAYS 11, 12, 13 & 14 – CRETE
Crete is one of the largest islands in Greece, yet the most un-Greek in its outlook. The blue domed churches and white washed villages are replaced by colourful buildings, Mosques from yesteryear, African-style ruins, and Jewish synagogues. It is worth road-tripping around the entire island if you can afford to although public transport isn’t all that bad.
Conquer famous Samaria Gorge if you’re a hiking enthusiast, watch time crawl in the fishing villages of Loutro or Agia Roumeli, delve into the ancient city of Knossos if you love your history, or laze away at the Elafonissi beach if you’re into tracking down the world’s best beaches. Four days is barely time enough to experience Crete but it’ll be a good introduction, none the less.
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- Even if you’re staying eons more in Greece, continue to explore Crete as there is no dearth of what you can do here, like hiking the incredible Samaria Gorge.
Where To Stay
- We absolutely loved our stay the family-run Frini Hotel right in front of the beach. While this would’ve been perfect value-for-money option, the hotel seems to be no longer taking any reservations. But, there’s plenty of budget options available on Booking.com
Staying longer? Here is a list of places you could add on to your Greece trip:
For the mountain lovers: go Meteora – old monasteries cut into standing rocks – is another bus ride further north from Delphi and you could fit two more days in for this if you’ve got more time on hands.
For the island lovers: All the islands mentioned in this itinerary are close to each other in what is known as the “Cyclades” region. But, the other side of Greece (West) has some gems too. The insta-famous Navagio beach is in Zakynthos while Corfu is one the most idyllic islands you’ll ever visit.
For the history lovers: Add a road trip to https://www.mycomputererror.com/autodesk-autocad-design-suite-standard-2013-discount-rn56ihes16/ Olympia and Sparta from Athens, going by the beautiful town of Nafplio to indulge in your share of popular Greek history.
VISA FOR INDIANS
Greece is still part of the European Union which means that you can secure a Schengen Visa to travel here. If you want to couple Greece with a visit to any other European nation, you can do so as the visa required is the same.
Schengen Visa is secured via the agency of VFS. Fill up the online application form here, print it out, schedule an appointment, and go with the documents on the given date. All details of the requisite supporting documents can be found here.
In a couple of weeks, you might barely scratch the surface of Greece but it’ll be an introduction none the less. In spite of spending close to 17 in this paradise, we’re longing to head back to Greece as it remains our favourite place on the planet.
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