Please sign in to post.

Greece Trip Report - June 2022

I was on this forum for months before this trip and can't thank everyone enough for all of their help. I read so many trip reports and Q & As posted by others that I had information overload. You all helped plan our trip, even if you didn't know it. This wasn't my first trip to Europe, but it is my first trip report and I hope it helps someone.

We ended up with colds (covid tests were negative), but we still had a great time.

Who went: Me, my husband, daughter, sister, and brother-in-law
Who planned it: Me. They all said, "tell me where to be and when to be there".
When: June 1-15, 2022

Day 1 - We had a long layover because I waited too long to buy tickets to Naxos and the earlier flight sold out. I knew we would be tired and sitting at the airport for hours would be torture, so I booked a trip to Cape Sounion with George the famous taxi driver. We landed in Athens at 11:40, collected our bags and met our driver Alex at the exit. We saw him right away (in the mass of people holding signs with names on them). On the way to Cape Sounion, he told us about the area and taught us some Greek words. He told us that he never had English lessons. He learned from watching tv! That impressed me because I’ve always heard that English is not easy to learn.

When we arrived, Sis was feeling motion sickness, so she & BIL stayed at the little cafe while DH, Kid, and I checked out the temple and took lots of pictures. By the time we were finished, Sis was feeling better, so Alex took us to a restaurant on the water to eat. I don't remember the name of it, but it was good and very relaxing. After lunch, he took us to an ice cream shop by a marina. We sat there for a while, drinking coffee and eating ice cream, and then he took us back to the airport for our 18:45 flight to Naxos.

Our hotel arranged two taxis to pick us up at the airport, which made it very easy. When we arrived, we were informed that the room that DH, Kid, and I had reserved wouldn't be available until the next day because the people who were in it before us tested positive for covid and they had to leave it empty for a certain amount of time. She apologized and put us in the family apartment, which was better than the room we reserved. We were so tired by dinner time that we just ate at a place on the beach. It was surprisingly good for a tourist restaurant.

Day 2 - We all walked down by the docks and had breakfast at a restaurant right on the water. The food was ok, but the location made up for it. After breakfast, we walked around town and then picked up the car at 10:00 from Fun Car.

After we picked up the car, we went to Plaka beach. The navigator took us on a bumpy dirt road, and someone said, "Are you sure we're going the right way?". I said "Who cares? We're on an adventure!". We ended up on the south end of the beach and there wasn't much there at all. We stood there for several minutes, looking around, not knowing where to go. Then I looked on Santorini Dave's website and realized that we wanted to go to the north end, called Maragas beach. So, we got back in the car and bounced along the dirt road to go to Maragas beach. It was much better (more beach chairs & restaurants). We picked a place that had huge umbrellas. I like to be in the shade (because getting basal cell carcinoma cut off of my face was no fun at all) and we ordered drinks and food. We weren't expecting great food on the beach, but it was delicious! I had read that by the end of May you can swim. You can, but it wasn't warm enough for me. I was disappointed about that.

That evening, we walked down to Mani2 for dinner. I know this isn’t the popular opinion, but we thought dinner was just ok. But the yogurt with candied carrots that they brought after the meal was delicious.

Posted by
50 posts

Day 3 - We went to the Temple of Demeter, Chalki, Aparanthos and Filoti. When we were in Filoti, we followed the guidebook recommendation and went to check out Barozzi tower. There were a couple of doors, but we didn’t see an obvious entrance, so I asked a lady who was standing near there with her daughter. She said to go around and pointed around to the back. We went the way she pointed, but there was no way to get to the other side because there were other buildings. While we were looking for a way in, BIL asked a guy who was walking with his son. He said that you can’t go in because someone lives there. I’m so glad we didn’t try to walk in one of the doors! I’m not sure why the guidebook didn’t mention that. It dates back to 1650, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to find it just so you can look at the outside. Next, we stopped near Melanes to see the two kouros. We went to the first one and there was a big tour group there, so we didn’t linger. I told the family that I really wanted to see the second one because I had seen pictures of it and it’s huge. It was a longer hike than we expected, and Kid was complaining toward the end. I kept saying “it’ll be worth it”. When we got there, I realized that it wasn’t the one that I thought we were going to see! Lol. It was still neat to see.
That evening, Sis and BIL wanted to have a meal in their room, so DH, Kid, and I went into town to eat at Vassilis because it was recommended by the guidebook. It was delicious! It was the best meal that we had on the island.

Day 4 – In the morning, DH and I walked out to what looked like an abandoned restaurant that we could see from our balcony. It was on a little peninsula like piece of land, so it had water on three sides. The views were nice, and I got some good pictures back toward the hotel and beach. The wind was so strong that it was hard to stand still.
Later in the morning, we explored the castle and town some more. When we got hungry for lunch, we were just wandering around and ended up at Naxian Capriccio Restaurant. It’s one of those restaurants on the tourist strip that has a restaurant in the building and an outside area by the water. We ate on the balcony of the restaurant instead of down by the water. The view was better and there wasn’t anyone else up there. Sis and I had pasta with avocado pesto and the rest had pizza. It was good. Afterward, we walked up to the Portara to take pictures.
Later, we went back to that abandoned restaurant to watch the sunset. Afterward, Sis and BIL wanted to eat in their room again so DH, Kid, and I decided to just go back to the restaurant where we ate on the first night because it was good (and close). After we were seated, we realized that we accidentally sat at the restaurant next door. Those places on the beach are all right next to each other & it’s hard to tell where one ends and the next begins. The food ended up being ok, but I couldn't wait to leave because I was choking on smoke the whole time from the chain smoker at the next table.

Posted by
50 posts

Day 5 - We could have spent more time on Naxos, but we already had other plans. If we ever go back to Greece, we will definitely go there & will spend more time. Our next stop was Milos. My original plan was to get there early this day so we would have more time on the island, but I made the mistake of not looking at the ferry times & there wasn’t a ferry until evening. I wanted my daughter to have the experience of riding both the slow ferry and fast ferry, so we took the slow ferry to Paros in the morning. I don't know if she thought the ferry was cool or not, but she liked it when I brought her hot chocolate and a donut. 😀

When we arrived at the Paros port, we followed the luggage storage signs and dropped our luggage off at a hotel across from the port. They stored them for the day for two euros per bag. We didn't shop around; we just went with the quickest way to get rid of them.

We walked around and shopped a bit and visited the church of 100 doors. I was surprised that female tourists were going in with shorts on. I guess they didn't realize that the sign saying "modest dress" meant no shorts. I got two of the wrap-around skirts that were hanging in front for me & Kid. Kid complained because no one else was wearing them, but I told her that it's the respectful thing to do even if no one else is doing it.

After the church, we decided to go to Livadia beach because it was walking distance. We sat on lounge chairs at Tango Mar - a beach club that had music playing. We ordered food and drinks and hung out there until it was time to go back to the port for the fast ferry to Milos. The service was excellent.

Day 6 - On Milos, we loved that the owner of the house delivered delicious, warm baked goods each morning. This morning, we had to be down at the port by 9am for a half day boat tour. It was really nice, even though the water was freezing. I did swim, but not as much as I would have if it was warmer. The scenery was spectacular, with the blue water and rock formations, and when we sailed past some catacombs on the side of a cliff, there were two goats in there. The captain acted like he’s never seen that before. Since we were only here for two nights, my plan was to rent scooters after the boat tour so that we could drive around the island, buy we didn't get back to the port until 3pm and we were all worn out from the sun and swimming, so we just went back to the house. The next morning, we had to leave early to go to the airport for our flight to Athens. We wished that we could have spent more time there. Even though we didn’t stay long, we all thought that the boat tour was worth it.

Posted by
50 posts

Day 7 - We flew into Athens in the morning. There was supposed to be someone there from Athens Car Rental to meet us, but we couldn’t find him (it was really crowded, with people holding signs & people looking for their names). I ended up calling and the man told us to wait in a certain spot and he would tell the guy to go there. We waited for 10 or 15 minutes for him to show up. He apologized and said he was stuck in traffic.

After doing the paperwork, we headed to Nafplio. I had told the family that I wanted to stop at the Corinth canal to see it. Once we got there, they understood why. They said that they were wondering why I wanted to stop at a canal.

Day 8 – We drove to Palamidi Fortress. We were surprised that it was so big. We really enjoyed exploring in the fortress - climbing up and down hills and steps. Sandals weren’t the best footwear for this day. If you go there, wear better shoes. We did get rained on a little bit, but we didn’t mind.

Day 9 – We went to Epidaurus and then Mycenae. Sis and Kid were tired and didn’t want to go in Mycenae, so BIL, DH, and I went in. We really enjoyed both places.

Day 10 – We drove to Delphi. On the way, we stopped at a café in the middle of nowhere because I had to use the WC and Kid wanted a snack. After we parked, we realized that it was closed. I looked over and saw an older man next door waving us over. Then I realized that he had a café as well, but it wasn’t as new or as noticeable. I’m guessing that when the newer café is open, they probably get most of the customers. I went over there, and he seemed very happy to see us. He offered me coffee or cappuccino. I asked if he had chips or soda and he took me inside. Then I realized that no one else had followed. I was thinking that this scenario could be the beginning of a horror movie. Haha. I picked out the chips & soda and asked for the WC. When I came out, BIL was inside talking to him. We chatted a bit, and he offered us coffee & cappuccino a couple more times. He really wanted us to stay, and I got the feeling that it was more for the company than to get us to spend more money. We wanted to get to the hotel, and no one else wanted anything, so we left.
We had planned to go to the museum after dinner, but Kid started not feeling well, so we went back to our rooms. The man working the check in desk at the hotel brought welcome drinks to our room. DH told the guy that we didn’t want alcohol for our 14-year-old. He looked at DH funny and said he could bring juice. We didn’t realize at the time that there isn’t a minimum drinking age in Greece.

Posted by
50 posts

Day 11 – We had a tour of the archeology site at 9am with Georgia Hasioti. She was really good and we really enjoyed it. She gave us a good understanding of what it was like in the past. When she finished, we weren’t all the way up to the stadium yet, so we decided to continue up on our own. Right after she left, it started raining. Guess who didn’t have any rain gear. Kid and Sis hid under a tree while DH, BIL, and I said “who cares? We’re on an adventure.” and continued up. By the time we made it back down and out of the site, we were all soaked but we didn’t care. We didn’t stop at the museum because we were coughing more that day and didn’t want to be inside with other people. Even though the tests were negative, we were still nervous that they were wrong.
When we drove past the café, I wanted to stop to see the man again, but we didn’t want to get him sick, so we kept going. We stopped in Theologos for lunch. It was right on the water but didn’t seem like a big tourist area at all. I’ve since looked it up online and it looks like it does get crowded at some point, but there weren’t many people around when we were there. We went to a beach club but found out that they only had drinks. Sis asked the waiter where he would eat for lunch, and he told us to go to a place right up the street, called Psarotaverna Vythos. I think we were the only non-Greek people there, which is good. When our waiter realized that we didn’t speak Greek, a waitress came over to help him. She seemed happy to be able to translate. I think he understood perfectly well but might have been uncomfortable speaking to us. The food was very good.
We returned the car at the airport and took two taxis into Athens. Our taxi charged the fixed rate. The other driver tried to charge extra per bag. He & BIL ended up yelling at each other in the street, but he ended up taking the fixed rate.

Day 12 - We walked around Plaka and the National Garden in the morning and had a tour of the Acropolis and Ancient Agora with Nadia Pavlikaki in the afternoon. She was really good, and we really enjoyed the tour. It lasted about 4.5 hours.

Day 13 – Sis and BIL left this morning to fly home. DH, Kid, and I decided that it would be a relaxing day with no real plans since we were moving to a smaller apartment. We walked around some that day, but that’s it. We spent a lot of time that night killing mosquitos. We didn’t leave any doors or windows open, so the people before us must have. We killed 8 and saw at least one more a couple of times that was too quick to kill. At one point, the place looked like a murder scene because one of them had feasted on someone (and none of us had bites). Gross.

Posted by
50 posts

Day 14 – DH, Kid, and I went to the Acropolis Museum. We ate at the café. It was just ok. The museum was good, and we really enjoyed the ruins under the museum. Seeing everything in the spot that it was found, including the old mosaic floors, made us really think about the people who lived there.
That evening, we went to a sausage place that Matt Barrett suggested on his site, and then went to see the changing of the guard. Before they were finished, it started raining huge drops of rain, so we left to go to a restaurant that was recommended in one of the guidebooks. It was called Tzitzikas Mermigas. They brought us some alcohol and three shot glasses. We were surprised that they brought one for Kid, so I looked up the drinking age on my phone and that’s when we learned that you must be 18 to buy it, but there isn’t a minimum age for drinking. She didn’t have any, though. 😊 The food was delicious!

Day 15 – we went to the airport in the morning to fly home.

Lodging

On Naxos, we stayed at Kalergis Studios. It was nice, and we would recommend it. https://studios-kalergis.com/

On Milos, we stayed at Casa Aiora. It was also nice. It only has one bathroom, but has an outdoor shower, so we thought the men could shower outside. But it turned out that the outdoor shower only had cold water. It wasn’t a big deal, though, since we weren’t there long. It was a nice place anyway. https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/casa-aiora.html

In Nafplio, we stayed at Pallazo Palamidi. It was really nice, and in a great location. The owner met us at a nearby restaurant to take us there and explain a few things. We really liked the big balcony upstairs and we ate out there a few times. https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/pallazo-palamidi.html

In Delphi, we stayed at Nadimos Hotel. It was nice as well. https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/nidimos.en-us.html

In Athens, we stayed at: https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/mansion-at-the-foothills-of-acropolis.html, then moved to Acropolis Lovely Flat: https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/acropolis-plaka-lovely-flat-free-airport-transfer.html?aid=356980&dksc=2&label=postbooking_confemail. Both of those apartments had lock boxes and we never actually met a person but were able to talk to them using whatsapp or booking.com. These were my two least favorite places that we stayed. The first one had a huge balcony on the roof, but we didn't end up spending much time up there. Both had awkward showers and could use updating.

Milos Boat Tour: https://www.getyourguide.com/milos-l32653/west-milos-and-kleftiko-beach-5-hour-catamaran-cruise-t126140/?partner_id=SOFBH69&cmp=cmt

Guides - we really liked both guides & would recommend them.

Athens: Nadia Pavlikaki
www.athenstourswithnadia.com
[email protected]

Delphi: Georgia Hasioti
https://sites.google.com/site/delphiguideen/
[email protected]
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189408-d8426437-Reviews-Georgia_Hasioti_tour_guide-Delphi_Phocis_Region_Central_Greece.html

Posted by
50 posts

I used these guide books and websites for research, and probably others that I'm forgetting:
- of course this site
- https://santorinidave.com
- https://greecetravel.com
- http://www.visitnafplio.com

Books:
There were two books that I can't remember the names of because I ripped them into sections and threw away each section as soon as I didn't need them anymore. I wish I could remember them. The one that I used the most for Naxos is written by a Greek lady.
Rick Steves Greece travel guide
The Rough Guide to the Greek Islands
The Rough Guide to Greece
Kid read this one: Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook: From Aphrodite to Zeus, a Profile of Who's Who in Greek Mythology
DH read this one: Ancient Greece: An Enthralling Overview of Greek History, Starting from the Archaic Period through the Classical Age to the Hellenistic Civilization

I also watched YouTube videos of Tim and Fin in Greece.

Posted by
2501 posts

Great report, Susanna. I loved the “Who cares. We’re on an adventure.” comments. Great attitude to have. Some aspects of your report remind me of Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad minus the chipping off chunks from the Parthenon, of course. I like that you added the foibles encountered and kept it real. So many reports just add glowing commentary. Traveling with a 14 year old girl can be difficult at times (been there myself) but you handled it well.

.

Posted by
50 posts

Thanks, Mary.

I forgot to write that when we were in Nafplio, the place where we stayed was right next to a church. On Thursday (I think), the church bells rang at 7am and it sounded like there was a huge bell right next to our bed! It was jarring, but funny. We all laughed about it later.

Posted by
323 posts

Thanks for sharing your adventure! I love reading these trip reports, and yours was quite useful and helpful- and I chuckled out loud at a few points!

I love your resourceful nature and the only reason I giggled a bit is because I know what a pain it is planning travel for more than two people. Your voice came thru very clearly in your post and I can see you are a fun loving and go with the moment lady. Sometimes the worst moments end up being the best memories to laugh over!

Posted by
2599 posts

Thanks for the trip report. I was in charge of a group of seven to Greece following much of the same itinerary in 2018. You do have to roll with the punches. I thought your idea of a guided tour on arrival was very resourceful and sound like fun.

Posted by
3961 posts

Susanna, thank you for your great report. Very helpful! I really enjoyed reading it & reminiscing about our journey in 2017. We used many of the resources that you spoke of. Like you, I was so grateful to all the advice we gleaned from this amazing forum! ;)

Posted by
2501 posts

“I forgot to write that when we were in Nafplio, the place where we stayed was right next to a church. On Thursday (I think), the church bells rang at 7am and it sounded like there was a huge bell right next to our bed! It was jarring, but funny. We all laughed about it later.”

The things that go wrong are what you will remember most and laugh about in years to come more than what church or museum you visited. And there is always something that goes wrong no matter how well you plan. Learn to roll with the punches or as you say “No matter. We’re on an adventure.”

Posted by
30 posts

Hello Susanna, that was a great trip recap report with loads of helpful details. We are also interested in visiting and perhaps staying at Cape Sounion to see the Temple of Poseidon when we visit Athens in the future, how did you find George the famous taxi driver? Was that something you arranged in advance or something you did on the spur of the moment after you landed?

Posted by
50 posts

David - I emailed in advance. Nicholas answered all of my questions. Our driver ended up being Alex. He was a very likeable guy. They aren't licensed tour guides, so can't go in the site with you, but he told us about the area and taught us some Greek words. All of their info is here: https://www.greecetravel.com/taxi/

Posted by
3062 posts

Naxos Town was a big disappointment for me. I was expecting the old town to be a scenic haven and it was not. I would never recommend Naxos Town to anyone.
I arrived by ferry from Santorini thinking four nights in Santorini was more than I needed so a day trip to another Cycladic island would be ideal. I will say I enjoyed the ferry ride through Santorini’s caldera. It reminded me of taking a boat between Maui and Lanaii
I arrived in Naxos early so I walked up to the top of the castle, what a disappointment this shabby old town is. The shops near the castle open closer to noon so the stores had not opened yet. I then walked all the way back down into the city which was loud and dirty with lots of traffic. I worked my way to the port again and that was starting to pick up but I had all day so I walked back up to the castle seeing if anything had opened. Eventually shops began to open their doors, but the merchandise catered to the cheaper end.
There was one restaurant that had a good menu but it didn’t open until 6p. I ended up eating closer to the port and hated my entrée. I was glad to get back to Santorini and saw an incredible sunset on the shuttle from the port to my villa.

Posted by
323 posts

@marypat thanks for your honest evaluation of your Naxos trip. I remember seeing Anthony Bourdain’s episode and it made me always want to visit this Greek island.
That’s the blessing of this website- you get all sorts of feedback so you can decide based on all of the comments.
Again- thanks to Susanna for posting her thoughts on her trip. Just like she mentioned, I also get a lot of research in by looking at this website. I loved and appreciated her honesty and fun facts with reading advice, she gave us a great evaluation of Greek islands. Thanks, Susanna!

Posted by
30 posts

@ Susanna, thanks a bunch for that info and link, it's great when you can set up your local transportation in advance. Much appreciated . . . David.

P.S. I have included here as a convenience the direct link to George's Taxi Service, they cover a lot more than one would think.
https://www.georgestaxi.com/

Posted by
50 posts

Thank you all for the kind comments.
@MaryPat It's nice to hear other people's opinions. It's interesting that people can go to the same place and have totally different opinions of it.