Looking for amazing places to visit in Greece? I hear you! Greece most certainly has its essentials. Before planning our trip around the world, we had never considered Greece to be a dream destination. But as we looked at more and more photos, it became obvious that we couldn’t pass this country by. And we’re so glad we didn’t! The Hellenic Republic impressed us with its pleasant temperature, relaxed locals and breath-taking landscapes!
The Amazing Places to Visit in Greece
The Cyclades islands captivated us the most with their beauty. I’ll therefore start with them.
Santorini is probably the most beautiful island of the Cyclades, and definitely the most photogenic of them all! Just the syllables in its name are dream-like : “Santorini”. Many of its towns, like Oia, Imerovigli, Fira, Perissa or even Emporio, are as much a delight to the ears as to the eyes.
Santorini has made it to second place on my list of the most “Wanderlust” destinations, after Cappadocia in Turkey.
The caldera, or crater, of Santorini, was formed with the help of multiple eruptions of the dormant volcano upon which it lies. The view from the cliffs encircling the caldera is particularly spectacular. Its impossible not to feel small and powerless when imagining the force of nature which created this… “thing”.
The things that will always stick in our minds when remembering Santorini are its white and cream-coloured houses, its blue-domed churches, its multi-coloured doors, its quaintly embedded staircases, its evening-lit pedestrian walkways, its view of the sea and mountains, its black and red sand beaches, and above all… the sunset over Oia which we classify as near-mythical! The sunset we witnessed on our first night on the island will forever leave an indelible trace on our memories. It was a supernatural display which we never could have dreamed of; so awe-inspiring that the ecstatic crowd applauded as the final rays disappeared, as if to unconsciously say : “Thank you Lord for this magnificent and free display of beauty!”
Obviously, not everything was perfect. We had to stay two extra nights due to strong winds which were shaking up the Greek islands and this shortened our trip to the island of Crete. But hey, you have to expect some unforeseen circumstances when travelling around the world!
This Greek island, one of Cyclades’ most famous after Santorin, is beautiful beyond compare. Many people told us it wasn’t worth visiting Mykonos, that it was overpopulated, that there are only youths having parties, that other islands are more beautiful etc. Not in the slightest bit deterred, we went anyway and we were amazed by the splendour of its small streets, its windmills, its beaches, its landscapes and its way of life!
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands. The gateway to the temple of Apollo, perched on top of a hill, welcomed us into the port. It felt like entering another dimension. Our apartment was right in the centre of Chore, the main city of the island. We loved wandering the streets, at night the atmosphere was fantastic!
We crossed the island from West to East and saw charming villages and sumptuous landscapes. The panorama from Mount Zeus, the highest peak of the island (and of all the Cyclades), is stunning! We also visited Zeus’s cave, where his mother hid to protect him from his father, the titan Cronos, who wanted to eat him.
But the absolute highlight of our visit to Naxos without a doubt was the time we spent on the magnificent beaches of Agios Prokopios and Plaka, where the water is so clear your can see the fish swimming beside you. With another beautiful sunset, who could ask for more?
Meteora is a geological rock formation. Monasteries are perched at the summit of the rocky peaks. The view at the top is sensational!
Delphi is not only an IT term for a programming language. The name actually comes from this Greek sanctuary which was once considered “the navel of the world”. It’s here that the oracle Apollo spoke through her prophetess 2500 years ago. Delphi was the true centre and the symbol of unity of the Greek world. Delphi sanctuary sits on the flank of a mountain. The panoramic view of the valley is phenomenal!
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthiens 13).
The words which Paul the apostle addressed to the Christians of Corinth in his two letters still resonate today. We went to Corinth to see if they have kept these two letters but were disappointed. In their place, we found the ruins of ancient Corinth which was destroyed by the Romans. The remains of the temple of Apollo and the fortress of Acrocorinth bear witness to Corinth’s rich past.
At over 5000 years old, Athens is one of the most ancient cities of the world. It’s also here that democracy was established 2500 years ago. The first Olympic games were also held here in 776BC. Our two days in the Greek capital continued with a visit to Acropolis and all that surrounds it, that is to say, ruins. It’s strange to say, but I was expecting to be a bit more impressed by a city with 5000 years of history.
We were supposed to spend 3 nights in Crete, but we ended up being there only one night due to the ferry not being able to leave Santorini because of violent winds. Our hotel was located in Heraklion, and we drove the car all the way to Chania to take the plane. The road that separates these two big cities took us a lot longer than the 2 hours we predicted, as we had to stop so often to admire all the beautiful sights! We had time to visit Knossos, a Cretan archaeological site from the Bronze Age, and also the most ancient town in Europe! Knossos palace was the political and cultural capital of Minoan civilisation.
For a better preparation
The highlights of our journey in Greece can be summarized as follows:
- Athens and its Acropolis, 2 nights;
- Meteora and its monasteries perched on top of rocky peaks, 1 night;
- Delphi and its Pan-Hellenic sanctuary, 1 night;
- Corinth and its antique city;
- Return to Athens for 2 nights;
- The island of Mykonos and its charming narrow streets, 2 nights;
- The mountainous island of Naxos and its beautiful beaches, 2 nights;
- The volcanic island of Santorin and its magnificent caldera, 5 nights;
- The great island of Crête and its wonderful seascapes, 1 night.
Accomodation and transportation
Out of our 16 nights in Greece, we slept in 4 apartments and 5 hotels. We rented 5 cars during our trip, one on the mainland, and one on each of the islands (Mykonos, Naxos, Santorini and Crete).
Gyros, Souvlaki, Mousaka. We’ve eaten very well in Greece!
The biggest part of our expenses was transport, as we took 4 ferries to visit the Greek islands and we rented a car in each destination. In the end, the final cost of our trip in Greece for our family of 4 is as follows:
- 2.837,52 EUR (3,292.09 USD)
- 177,34 EUR (205.75 USD) per day
- 44,33 EUR (51.43 USD) per person per day.
In detail :
|Expense Category||Amount Spent|
|Plane||280,58 EUR / 325.53 USD|
|Ferries||536,04 EUR / 621.91 USD|
|Accomodation||750,85 EUR / 871.14 USD|
|Transport (including gas)||597,66 EUR / 693.41 USD|
|Eating out||325,04 EUR / 377.11 USD|
|Groceries||234,85 EUR / 272.47 USD|
|Activities||112,50 EUR / 130.52 USD|
|Total||2.837,52 EUR / 3,292.09 USD|
In a nutshell
|Dates||2018-09-13 to 2018-09-28|
|Number of days||15|
|Cities we visited||Athens, Meteora, Delphi, Corinth, Mykonos, Naxos, Santorini, Crete|
|Inbound||From Lebanon by Plane|
|Outbound||To Cyprus by plane|
|Mode of transport||Rental car|
|Distance travelled (car, ferries & foot)||2100 km|
|Number of photos taken||5740 (359 per day)|
|Currency||The Euro (1,00 EUR = 1.16 USD)|
Greece is definitely a country which has impressed us with its rich history and beautiful islands. When we have the chance, we would like to return to visit the other islands such as Paros, Milos, Ios, Hydra, Patmos and Rhodes! We would also like to go back to Crete to see the famous Balos beach. It was good to briefly return to Europe after Turkey and Lebanon. Next stop : Cyprus!
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