Our Amazing Grecian Odyssey

Old Jun 8th, 2022, 06:03 PM
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Our Amazing Grecian Odyssey

Our Amazing Grecian Odyssey

My husband and I just returned from an amazing 16-night journey around Greece. This was my husband’s first trip to Greece, and my second trip. I first visited Greece in 1972 with a tour group. It was my first trip to Europe, and I was smitten! We spent a week in Athens and took several daytrips during that trip. This was the time when people could actually walk on the Parthenon! And the original caryatids were on the Erechtheion on the Acropolis.

First, I want to thank the Fodorites who helped me plan such an amazing trip: Travelerjan, Heimdall, Geetika, KayF, Progol, Brotherleelove2004, Balthy, Crazyh, Debbielynn, and if I have left anyone out, please accept my apologies!

We departed Boston on May 12, and we flew home from Athens on May 29. This was our itinerary:

Santorini – 3 nights

Naxos – 4 nights

Nafplio – 5 nights

Athens – 4 nights

MAY 12, 2022 – DEPARTURE FROM BOSTON

We flew from Boston to Santorini via Zurich on United/Swissair. The flights went very smoothly. No problems at all. We had about a 4-hour layover in Zurich. I remember when I was planning our trip some people suggested flying to Athens, and purchasing a separate domestic ticket from Athens to Santorini. Personally, this didn’t make sense to me, and I hope I am not offending anyone. For me, it would be too stressful doing this because if we were delayed leaving Boston and missed our flight to Santorini, we would be responsible for booking a new ticket. And we would have to pick up our luggage in Athens. By doing what we did, we did not see our luggage until we reached Santorini, and if we missed our flight from Zurich, the airline would be responsible for putting us on the next available flight. So this works for us.

MAY 13, 2022 – ARRIVAL IN SANTORINI, AN EVENING WALK TO FIRA & DINNER

We arrived in Santorini at 7PM. Because I knew we would be tired from jetlag, I had made arrangements in advance for our hotel’s driver to pick us up at the airport. It is so comforting to see someone holding a sign with your name on it!!! So off we were, to our hotel.

Blue Dolphins Apartments

Firostefani

We really enjoyed this hotel, recommended by Travelerjan. We had a room with a balcony overlooking the caldera. I was concerned about the number of steps going down to the hotel from the road. There are about 40 steps from the road to the Reception Desk, and then 2 flights of stairs to our room. We stayed in room #7, the Mykonos Room. The staff are wonderful and very helpful, especially Nikki. For an extra 25 euros for 2 people, you can have a delicious, huge breakfast, which we did for 2 of the 3 mornings we were there. We loved staying in Firostefani!!! Fira and Oia are too busy and crowded for us, and Imerovigli is too quiet with very few restaurants.



Nikki recommended the Argo Restaurant in Fira for dinner, and she made reservations for us for 9PM. This meant we walked from Firostefani to Fira as it was getting dark. The walk was a bit treacherous in places because there was some repair work on the walkway. We had to walk in dirt and over rocks, so a bit scary, especially for us old folks!



Argo is in an awesome location with a great view. We sat on the upper deck. Our food was good but not great. I had 3 lamb kabobs with tzatziki sauce, cucumbers and tomatoes. It was satisfactory. My husband, Ed, had a seafood medley but he said the shrimp either was overcooked or not fresh.



We knew we were not going to walk back to our hotel on that path, so the waitress told us how to get to the road, and from there we grabbed a taxi back to Blue Dolphins, and called it a night!
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 06:06 PM
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view from Blue Dolphins Hotel
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 06:08 PM
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View from the patio of our hotel room
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Old Jun 8th, 2022, 09:54 PM
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What a great view from your hotel room. Looking forward to reading more.
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 05:34 AM
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Lovely photo of your view - very moody!

Those roads are not easy, especially at night! I’m glad you were able to get a taxi back - much saner!

Looking forth to more.
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 05:58 AM
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What a joy to wake up to that view! Looking forward to further installments of you TR, especially Naxos, would love to go there some day…
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 05:59 AM
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I'm sure that the next day you found the flatter, easier narrow flagstone lane leading to Fira, just parallel to the main N-S Road. No one seems to talk about it, and it's hard to pinpoint on Google map -- just a faint line to the Left (on a map), toward the cliff. I always advise, on first arrival, go from Firostephani to Fira on the rimside path, so beautiful, and downhill all the way. but coming back, by day AND by night, find the flagstone path... it leads off from the porch of the big church just at the end of Fira's busy shop-packed lanes.
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 01:49 PM
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Sunset from Blue Dolphins Apartments!

Evening view from our balcony!
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 02:22 PM
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MAY 14, 2022 – THE ICONIC OIA – VIEWS AND MORE STUNNING VIEWS!

After waking up late, we decided to have breakfast out instead of at the hotel. We ate at To Briki in Firostefani.

https://www.tobriki.com/breakfast/

I had their delicious mushroom and goat cheese omelet, and Ed had fried eggs with cured meat, tomatoes and gruyere. The food was delicious and the location is excellent overlooking the caldera. It would be a lovely place for lunch and dinner, too!

We returned to our hotel to meet our driver who drove us to Oia. It’s about a 20 – 25 minute drive from Firostefani. The parking lot was already a mad house in May! Jam packed with cars and tour buses. Our driver dropped us off, and the plan was to call him when we were ready to return. I was a bit concerned we wouldn’t find him!

We stayed in Oia for 3 hours. It’s as beautiful and lovely as all the photos people have seen. But it was already crowded. I can’t imagine what it’s like here during the summer months. We love the white-washed buildings, blue domes, and the iconic views of the caldera. Took our time walking around, taking photos, enjoying the views, and we had a light lunch at a restaurant overlooking the caldera. I didn’t write down the name of the restaurant and haven’t had time to sort through our receipts. But we had a delicious fresh Greek salad and beer! I had Greek salads just about every day. Most of our lunches were salads or appetizers with beer or wine.

So, we called our driver to pick us up, and when we returned to the parking lot, it was even more crowded than 3 hours earlier. Gigantic tour buses!!! I was on the look-out for our driver, and spotted him waiting in line to get into the lot. We were very happy to see him.

For dinner, I made reservations at Aktaion, recommend by Travelerjan and Santorini Dave. This was one of the best meals of our trip! We didn’t eat outside because the temperature had dropped and it was quite cool and very, very windy. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed our dinner. I had sea bass, which was very fresh and my husband had pork cheeks. We shared 2 apps: Calamari and stuffed eggplant. And a delicious dessert! https://www.aktaionsantorini.com/akt...estaurant-menu
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 02:28 PM
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Beautiful Oia!!!

Classic white-washed buildings with blue domes!


More photos of Oia!!!


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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 02:32 PM
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Oia puppets

Oia puppets
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 02:42 PM
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And one more from Oia!
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 02:45 PM
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Delicious calamari and stuffed eggplant!

Pork cheeks and sea bass!

And our delicious dessert!
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 04:00 PM
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Wow! The photos of Santorini are gorgeous. The white and blue is exactly how I imagine the Greek Islands, although I understand there are other landscapes. I've always thought of going to Greece, including Santorini, to be ahead of the crowds; guess I need to think about more off season. Looking forward to more.
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
Wow! The photos of Santorini are gorgeous. The white and blue is exactly how I imagine the Greek Islands, although I understand there are other landscapes. I've always thought of going to Greece, including Santorini, to be ahead of the crowds; guess I need to think about more off season. Looking forward to more.
I definitely recommend visiting Greece in May. Santorini was crowded but it was manageable. Naxos and the Nafplio area were much quieter. Athens was busy. In the spring there are tons of beautiful wildflowers! Yellow Spanish Bloom everywhere we went.
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 06:12 PM
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MAY 15, 2022 – THERE IS MORE TO SANTORINI THAN THE CALDERA, AND THE AMOUDI FISH TAVERN MEAL THAT WASN’T!!!

We decided to have breakfast this morning on our balcony so we ordered breakfast from the hotel. The cost is 25 euros for 2 people, and it was amazing! Pancakes with fruit sauce, eggs, sausage, Greek yogurt, pastries, bread, coffee and juice. It was so relaxing having breakfast on our balcony overlooking the caldera! What a great way to start the day!

After breakfast, we walked to Tony’s Car Rental to pick up our rental car for the day. When we arrived, one of the employees was hand-washing our car. When he finished and handed us the keys, he told us to drive around the block to make sure everything was ok!!! We drove off with a little bit of trepidation. Our car was old; not sure what year but nothing was automatic. It had handles to roll down the windows (remember those?) and you put your key into the lock to lock and unlock the car. My husband said the clutch was “tricky”!

Our first stop of the day was the archaeological site of Akrotiri, a prehistoric settlement that was first abandoned because of earthquakes and then a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC. It was not crowded when we were there. There was a guide waiting outside who had lined up 8 people, and then she recruited us to make 10, and we were ready to go, so we thought. But when she told us we had to pay in cash, 3 people dropped out, and then more people started falling by the wayside because they didn’t want to wait for more people. So we ended up not having a tour guide. But Akrotiri was still very interesting and amazing. There is some signage although not very detailed. The storage jars are intact, and you can make out rooms, windows, and beds. The excavation has been ongoing since 1967. It really is a fascinating site.

From there, we drove to Red Beach and took a short hike to the top of the hill for great views of the red cliffs. Then we proceeded to Akrotiri Lighthouse for beautiful views of the Aegean. And from there, we drove to Black Sand Beach at Perissa. We stopped for drinks and Greek salad at a café on the beach and chilled out for awhile.

I highly recommend renting a car at least for a day to see Santorini. Obviously, the caldera, white-washed buildings, etc. of Oia, Fira, etc. are beautiful. But I think it’s worthwhile and important to get out and see the rest of Santorini. We really enjoyed our day driving around and seeing beautiful beaches and scenery.

And now on to our dinner! I had called Amoudi Fish Tavern to make reservations, but they don’t take reservations over the phone. We had to make them online, and they charge 10 euros per person for the reservation. We had our rental car for 24 hours, so my husband wanted to drive to Amoudi Fish Tavern. I suggested getting a cab or having the hotel’s driver drive us there. But he was being stubborn and insisted on driving our rental car. I’m sure the Fodorites who have been to Amoudi’s for sunset are laughing at us now!!! It was a beautiful drive there (we certainly got to see a lot of Santorini) but as we approached Amoudi Bay, the traffic was insane! I hadn’t really looked at Amoudi Fish Tavern’s website so I didn’t realize it doesn’t have a parking lot. We drove down to the end of the road, and could see the walkway and tavern around the corner, but there was absolutely no parking. Cars were parked on both sides of the narrow road. We had to back up the road to get out but it was so difficult with the “tricky” clutch and very little room. A nice man helped direct my husband out of there so we wouldn’t play bumper cars with the parked cars. As soon as we could, we hightailed it out of there and drove back to sane Firostefani. So, the moral of the story is: do not drive your car to Amoudi’s Fish Tavern! Take a taxi or hire a driver. Or go at lunch time. Maybe it’s quieter.

Tony’s was still open when we arrived in Firostefani so we returned our car that evening. Mrs. Tony gave us snacks! Very nice people!

I remember walking past Restaurant Remvi in Firostefani, and I know Travelerjan and Santorini Dave recommend it, so we walked there for dinner and had a delicious meal on their deck overlooking the caldera, with a lovely sunset. Maybe not as spectacular as Amoudi Bay, but still very pretty. I had a pasta dish with egg, cheese, and prosciutto, and Ed had fresh fish. Everything was delicious but he said his fish was maybe a little “too fancy”. Ha! Not a bad thing, necessarily.

https://remvirestaurant.gr/
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 06:17 PM
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Storage jars at Akrotiri

Akrotiri Archaelogical site

Akrotiri

Storage jars

Akrotiri
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 06:23 PM
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Red Beach, Santorini

Akrotiri Lighthouse

Wildflowers by the lighthouse

Greek Salad for lunch, again! Black Sand Beach

Black Sand Beach at Perissa

Black sand beach at Perissa
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 08:52 PM
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Great to find your TR! Love the photos. They bring back memories of our trips to Santorini. Looking forward to reading more,
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Old Jun 9th, 2022, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Great to find your TR! Love the photos. They bring back memories of our trips to Santorini. Looking forward to reading more,
Karen, you’ve captured the beauty of Santorini so perfectly, am loving your TR. We stayed at Finikia just outside Oia, where it was calm and quiet. We were also out during the day and went into Oia only early morning or late evening, so avoided the crowds.

Yes, going down to Amoudi Bay is a nightmare. Luckily my nephew was driving and he managed to find parking. Getting out after dinner was tricky though.
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