On our most recent adventure, we teamed up with Busabout tours to see all the best that Greece has to offer. After our epic trips with Busabout’s partner companies in Scotland and Ireland, we knew from the start we were in good hands.
Traveling can be incredibly difficult when it comes to logistics, especially in a place like Greece (full of tiny islands, “relaxed” local ferry schedules and numerous port transfers). This is one reason why we LOVED traveling on our Busabout tour! There was a guide who, apart from being incredibly hilarious and a blast to be around, took care of all the details of our trip and was a wealth of local knowledge. We also had the option to join in on several culturally authentic events that were among our favorite experiences from the trip! The Busabout tour concept is very relaxed, you can join in on the fun when you want, or you can do your own thing. With flexible itineraries and routes on the Greek Island Flexi Hopper, you can see Greece at your own pace but also have the convenience of a tour when you want it. We had a group of like-minded people on our tour and by the end we all felt like a little family! Everyone we met along the way at each island was so much fun – Busabout cultivates relationships with the best local spots! If you want to explore with people as equally passionate about traveling, a Busabout tour is the way to go.
During our trip, we were able to explore 4 of the many (over 6,000!) incredible islands in Greece, as well as the capitol city of Athens. Not only is the food AMAZING (can anyone really ever eat too many Gyros?), the people were also so welcoming and friendly! The majority of people we met were happy to speak English, and they were delighted when we stammered out the few Greek words we had managed to learn.
Random tidbits to know:
- There are stray cats EVERYWHERE. But they are cute and won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. :) The Greeks love their stay animals and all chip in to feed them.
- Don’t drink the tap water on the islands – bottled water only! In Athens, tap water is fine.
- Don’t flush tissues down the toilet on the islands – the plumbing systems are not the best.
- In Athens, be wary of pickpockets and cab drivers who take “creative” (aka longer than needed) routes.
- You’ll need to operate on GMT (Greek Maybe Time). Ferries will be delayed and things will not be on time for no apparent reason, just accept that fact now and go with the flow! Don’t plan two modes of transportation (ex: ferry then a flight) too close together.
The city is built from layers upon layers of ancient history. You can even see it for yourself, the older the structure, the lower it was in the ground. We wandered up to the Acropolis (be sure to wear shoes with good grip, the rocks are very slippery) and had incredible sweeping views over Athens. We stayed near the center of Monastiraki and loved being surrounded by cool streets of flea markets and trendy restaurants. Exploring the neighborhood of Pláka is a must as well. If you want gorgeous sunset views (and a great workout!) we would recommend hiking up Lycabetus Hill where you can see the sprawling white city and where it meets the sea.
Our first stop on the tour was this gorgeous island. If you want nice beaches, a thriving night life, and dreamy white-washed buildings, then this is the island for you. We stayed at Paradise Beach Resort, which is a beach-front property that sits just outside of the main town area. Between the bars, cafes, lounges and aqua waters, the resort has everything you need. Around 4pm things start popping off- remember your university spring break trips back in the day? Well, we relived ours. Dance competitions, shots, DJs, you name it! We were only a short bus ride away from the center of town. Fun fact: residents must white-wash their houses by law in Mykonos…a law for which we are eternally grateful (so many photo ops!). We had a delicious traditional Greek meal at Opa Taverna and then wandered down to watch the sunset by the famous Mykonos windmills. If you want a night out in Mykonos, just wander the streets and you will quickly be met with a plethora of fun options. Or, you can just travel with Busabout and join in on one of their epic bar crawls (which is what we did)!
Paros is a very relaxed, authentic, no-frills island. We really appreciated the lower prices and smaller crowds. Our Busabout crew enjoyed a private 4 course Greek dinner on the beach, followed by Greek dancing lessons and plate smashing! Another fun fact: although very common in the 60s, Greek businesses must now have a special plate-smashing license. The next morning, we set off to sail around the small island of Antiparos for the day. We stopped on a private beach for a traditional Greek lunch, complete with freshly caught octopus and Ouzo shots. The remainder of the day was spent snorkeling in crystal clear waters, cliff jumping and sun bathing on the boat.
We were especially excited to visit Santorini and it did not disappoint! With its pastel houses creeping up dramatic cliffs, it is truly a photographer’s dream destination. The island has several small towns, Fira is the largest and where we stayed. We spent one day driving around the island with Busabout and visited The Black Sand Beach and The Red Beach – both were incredible to see! If you are visiting on your own, look into renting an ATV (as long as you have some experience with driving them) so you have the freedom to roam around the entire island. On our last night we went to the village of Oia to catch the sunset. It was without a doubt one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen! Be sure to get there early and get a good spot, due to its famous reputation it gets VERY crowded. Oia was so beautiful, we ended up catching the first bus back from Fira the next morning (at 6:30am!). We were able to wander the winding paths for several hours uninterrupted, taking photo after photo in the pastel morning light.
The last island on our tour was the quirky little party island of Ios. If you like long days of sleeping on the beach and equally long nights of dancing, Ios is the place for you! There are hundreds (literally) of bars all packed into one tiny little village. We stayed at Far Out Beach Club, which was a short drive from the main town on its own gorgeous beach. The beaches in Ios were soft and sandy (the other islands had mostly rocky beaches) and the water was the clearest we’ve ever seen! We had limited time on the island, but were told by locals there is a treasure trove of secluded beaches that you can only really access on foot or by boat. So, this might be the place to rent a boat for the day. Oddly enough, there seemed to be more Aussies living on the island than Greeks, so you know you’re in for a good time!
Enjoy some more of our favorite moments from the trip below!