Greece: the one with the sea urchin

So I know Greece isn’t a city, but since I only went to two places in Greece (Athens and Santorini), I thought I’d write just one post. I’m pretty stoked that I’m finally writing about Greece, almost a year later haha. I told you guys I have all my notes saved, didn’t I? I’m not even going to break this post up between Athens and Santorini – you should definitely do both. I spent two nights in Athens and only one in Santorini. If I could do it differently, I would stay three nights in Santorini (and still two in Athens).

As I mentioned in my previous post (Tips for Southeast Asia), I will no longer be uploading photos of everything I did/ate. My photos for Greece can be found on my 500px account here.

I believe I flew to Athens from Italy. I arrived in Piraeus. There isn’t much to do in Athens, but the few things there are to do are amazing. Most of Athens won’t look very special to you. It’s a city that appeared (to me, at least) to be more practical and less about the artistic architecture. The buildings are simple and rectangular. There are these little convenience store shops/tents everywhere, and they’re 24 hours. Large 1.5L of bottled water was 1 euro. Much more affordable than Italy, and also so much more accessible.

To get to Santorini, I took a Blue Star ferry. I bought the ticket online, but I’m pretty sure you can buy it the day before as well. Economy seats don’t actually exist (there aren’t enough for everyone), so get there early and grab seats.

Santorini is a small island.. but a very beautiful one. Enjoy every moment of it. Rent an ATV or a car with people at your hostel. Stay in every location as long as you possibly can because trust me, it’s like you’re in a real live painting.

WHERE I STAYED

  • In Athens, I couchsurfed. Check it out here.
  • In Santorini, I stayed at Caveland Hostel. Loved it so much. Beautiful with flowers everywhere and a pool. Towels provided. I think breakfast was included also. Highly recommended!

WHAT I DID

  • Korina’s hair shop (Athens): I got my hair done here. Super cheap compared to North American prices, and she did a great job! I got highlights. My natural hair is dark brown/black (I’m Asian, so this comes as no surprise). She managed to make it into golden blonde and take our most of the brassiness. It took a few hours but definitely worth it!
  • Marina Zeas (Athens): a nice pier to go to, walk around, and look at stars
  • Acropolis (Athens): it was blazing hot, but this was one of the most beautiful historical piece of architecture I’ve seen in my life. I took public transit to Monastiraki Station, walked around a bit (there are little shops and cafes here, super cute!) and did a mini hike up to the Acropolis. I remember wanting to melt into the ground, but it’s still nothing compared to Southeast Asia. I never really figured out how to pay for public transit. It was pretty confusing. If you figure it out, please leave a comment! Apparently nobody in Athens pays for transit?
  • Rented a car in Santorini: I met some people at Caveland hostel and we didn’t want to wait for the bus (super not timely..) so we rented a car together for 30 euro a day. This was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. We got around the entire island in one day! I still wish I stayed longer, but I’m grateful that we got to drive around. The roads are winding, but the views are beautiful. So.. drive safe and keep your eyes on the road! P.S. there are no speed signs!
  • Oia (Santorini): the most beautiful sunset you will ever see in Europe. Believe, me, I’ve seen sunsets all over the place. There is something about the sky here that just makes the most wonderful combination of colours. There are also a lot of stores and small streets here. Super romantic place for you and your significant other to take a stroll.
  • Akrotiri Red beach (Santorini): GORGEOUS! The sand is red and the water is blue… and it’s just so pretty. But wear shoes in the water. I was avoiding stepping on the corals and ended up stepping on a sea urchin instead! The spikes got stuck in my foot and never ended up “coming out naturally” as the doctors said they would.. so I spent a few hours tweezing them out a month later. NOT FUN.
  • Kamari beach (Santorini): black sand beach! Basically, it’s not actually sand but round black pebbles. Wonderful place. Get there before 5PM because I remember it being closed or something at a certain time? Or maybe the tanning chairs under the umbrellas just aren’t available after that time.
  • Fira (Santorini): the centre of Santorini, where there are busses to every major destination on the island. Walk around! There’s a short street with little markets/shops. I bought my mom a scarf/towel here.

WHAT I ATE

  • Street Souvlaki (Athens): they deliver! My couchsurf host ordered this for us, and I liked it so much I had it every day. I tried the Sambuca Molinari. Super affordable due to the economy in Greece at the time.
  • Falafeland (Fira): BOMB FALEFELS. Great service. That is all.

  • Chef’s Garden: Super affordable and delicious Mezze. The four of us shared one and it was enough 🙂 go here!

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Santorini has a really small airport. It’s super disorganized and claustrophobic. Get there early! Eat beforehand.
  • Taxiing from the port in Santorini to your hostel should cost no more than 10 euro.
  • Watch your bags! I almost got robbed in the subway in Athens. Two people coordinated to push and shove me unnecessarily and I saw one of them putting his hands on my purse. I shoved them back and got out of the train.

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