Greece Travel Guide

Beautiful architecture of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece

This Greece travel guide will help you plan your next trip to ancient Greece with plenty of recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do!

Filled with rich history combined with sun kissed beaches and delicious, mouth-watering food, it’s no wonder millions of tourists flock to Greece every year. With proper planning, researching, and perfect timing, your own Greek adventure will be one to remember. One full belly and a Mediterranean tan later, you’ll be saying ‘opa’ in no time!

Acropolis of Lindos in Rhodes

{Why Travel to Greece?}

Greece is, and always has been one of the cheaper European countries to visit. Some would argue whether it is a “developed” country, or because of its recent economic turmoil, an “emerging market economy.” Regardless, Greece is an affordable and, in my opinion, well developed country, and perfect European destination for any budget.

My three determining factors on where I travel are based on: amount of vacation time, budget, and weather. In our case, we had seven full days (with two days of flying), on vacay in October, and had about $4,000 to spend (which included our flights). Traveling to Greece in October is the “shoulder” or “low” season, which means lower prices for both accommodation and flights. Keep in mind, if you are traveling during the high season (like summer), prices will be sky-high. 

View from the top of Acropolis in Lindos overlooking the Mediterranean waters
Acropolis of Lindos in Rhodes, Greece

{Where to Stay In Greece}

I’m all about the intimate hotel experience. The details, location, food – everything. The hotel is just as important as the country you visit. When I research hotels, I first consider location. Next, I read about the hotel, check out their rooms and the style/decor, and if they offer free breakfast. Lastly, I always check out Trip Advisor reviews and read comments left behind from other travelers. I’ve researched all the hotels we’ve stayed at throughly, and they are the best in the area. 

The Top Hotels We Stayed in Greece:

Hotels in Athens:

1) Andronis Athens: The Andronis is a boutique hotel with Acropolis views, and a total of six rooms. I recommend booking months in advance, especially during the summer season! It’s centrally located in a lively area surrounded by bustling shops and restaurants. The hotel is attached to a highly rated restaurant called ifeel. Enjoy free, homemade, Greek style breakfast either at the restaurant or in your room. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews.

Pro Tip: Request the premium suite for an Acropolis view

2) The Zillers: The Zillers is another boutique hotel centrally located in Plaka, another lively part of Athens surrounded by shops and restaurants. With only four rooms available and some with Acropolis views, this is another hotel you will have to book months in advance! You’ll appreciate the intimate feel, welcoming atmosphere, and quality service. However, great location comes with a steep price. The hotel is situated right across from a church. The church’s bells ring every hour, on the hour. It didn’t bother us, as we use a sound machine app on our phone to sleep. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews.

Pro Tip: Request a room with an Acropolis view. Enjoy crafty mixed drinks in their roof garden while watching the sunset over the Acropolis.

The Zillers Hotel in Athens, Greece
Enjoy delicious, craft-made drinks overlooking the Acropolis in Athens
Hotels near Meteora Area (specifically in Kalabaka):

1) Pyrgos Adrachti: This hotel completely surprised me as I wasn’t expecting much from a 3-star hotel. Located just a stone-throw away from the rock formations, the hotel was the perfect location to spend 2 nights while we explored Meteora. The location, views, and mix of traditional and modern design was absolutely perfect! With only 10 rooms available, it’s another small hotel that books quickly. Breakfast is charged separately. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews.

Pro Tip #1: For an amazing view, and bit more money, request the Junior Suite with panoramic Meteora views. The room includes free wine, beer, water, and a full kitchen if you plan on staying longer. Plus, a balcony, so you can enjoy a front row seat as the sun sets off the rocks.

Pro Tip #2: Stay in Kalabaka or as close to Meteora as you can. If you book a tour (we chose Visit Meteora) and you’re staying close to Meteora, chances are, you’ll be the last one to pick up, and the first ones to be dropped off!

The Pyrgos Adrachti Hotel in Kalabaka is just a stone-throw away from the Meteora rock formations.
Rhodes:

1) In Camera Art Boutique Hotel: This is a family-owned, boutique hotel located in Medieval Town of Rhodes with only 10 rooms available (book early, this is a highly rated hotel). The hotel was absolutely amazing and one of my favorite hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Each room is inspired by the past, and carefully designed and decorated to reflect a specific time in history. The owner is a famous Greek photographer, and his daughters also help operate the hotel (one of his daughters is an architect and designed the hotel). Each room also plays tribute to the owners love for photography, and in our room, showcased the owner’s personal camera. History paired with modern design and features, you’ll fall in love with this hotel pretty quickly. I highly recommend staying here – it was my absolute favorite! Breakfast was included in the price and one of the best. Check out the glowing Trip Advisor reviews.

Pro Tip: Request Temple of Apollo, not only was it spacious and beautifully designed, but it’s the only room with 14-15th century walls incorporated into the room. It will bring you back during the Medieval times.

Santorini:

1) Astra Suites: We came to Santorini for the views, and Astra Suites fulfilled that need. Located in Imerovigli, it provided panoramic views of the caldera and Aegean sea. Prices are extremely steep in Santorini as it’s a top destination spot. Breakfast was included in the price and was absolutely delicious. We normally never dine in hotel restaurants, but arrived late our first night. The restaurant was surprising delicious with 5 star quality and service. The cost of dinner also reflected a 5-star fine dining experience. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews.

Pro Tip: For complete privacy, I would recommend staying in the Senior Suite. We stayed in the Classic Junior Suite, which did not have a private terrace.

Our view from our hotel in Santorini overlooking the Caldera and Aegan sea

{Where We Ate in greece}

Have you heard about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet? Well, guess what? You’re in diet heaven. Greece is one of the Mediterranean countries that was included in the study and showed significant benefits to our health. So, eat up, cause you’re in Greece.

Whenever I travel, I always try to actively avoid tourist trap restaurants. Typically, tourist trap restaurants are overpriced, and may not boast the best, most authentic Greek food. There are a few “restaurant rules” I live by:

1) Avoid restaurants with anyone standing outside the restaurant trying to lure you in while shoving a menu (with pictures) in your face. That’s an automatic “no” for me.

2) Is the menu written in the native tongue? If so, locals must eat here. If it has both native tongue and English, that’s okay too.

Breakfast in Greece:

Breakfast was usually free, and included in our hotel price. My typical breakfast order was Greek Coffee, Greek Yogurt w/ Greek honey, Greek Egg Omelette with olives, tomatoes, feta, and a few Greek pastries. Yes, I seriously ordered everything on the menu. I couldn’t resist, but made sure we walked a lot pre and post meal times. 

Breakfast with a view overlooking the Caldera and Aegan sea
Greek omelet filled with olive, feta cheese, green peppers, tomatoes, and smoked salmon.

Lunch In Greece

Most of the time, we ate a big enough breakfast to skip lunch. However, when you see Guy Fieri’s picture and signature in a packed restaurant, you gotta go and eat.

Mediterranean Food from Greece

Dinner in Greece:

Athens:

You’ll find some great spots to eat pretty much at every corner. A few top spots to check out are: Mani Mani, Strofi, Fabrika tou Efrosinou, ifeel, Palia Athina.

Meteora area including Kalabaka:

I’ll be honest. You didn’t come to Meteora to eat, you came to see the magnificent rocks. The food scene consisted of four restaurants, and all were tavernas (aka small Greek restaurant) that served mayirefta, grilled meat, and salads. You’ll find both Greeks and other tourists dining here.

Rhodes:

I had some of the best dining experiences in Old Town. My favorite place in Old Town was Marco Polo Cafe. Don’t miss this place. Their culinary creations of flavors were out of this world. I mean, every single bite was so tasty. My favorite was the lightly fried feta cheese covered in creamy Greek honey topped with sesame seeds (see below). I bet you’re salivating right now. 

Santorini: 

We found a few cheap places to eat that were delicious and didn’t break the bank.  For lunch, we grabbed some seafood on the go at To Honaki Fish and Chips. Basically, it’s a mix of fresh seafood served in a cone. Another great option, and highly popular among Greeks and tourists is Theoni’s Kitchen. It isn’t fancy, and there isn’t a view, but you will get delicious Greek food at an affordable price. Book in advance for a reservation, or wait in line. 

Greek food is delicious. My favorite was the lightly fried feta cheese drenched in Greek honey with sprinkled sesame seeds.

{What We Did in greece}

Day 1-2:

We started our first full day exploring the city of Athens. First, we walked to the National Archaeological Museum which showcases thousands upon thousands of prehistoric artifacts discovered from all over Greece. Next, we walked through the streets of Athens toward the Acropolis. Our walking tour took roughly 4-5 hours total (includes visiting both sites). While there was plenty to do in Athens, I am one to explore locations more off the beaten track. Our main goal in Athens was to see the city (we did, by walking) and visit the Acropolis. In my opinion, spending one full day in Athens was plenty.

Day 2-3:

We rented a car from one of the major car rental companies and drove four hours to Meteora in Northern Greece. Driving in Greece is relatively easy, especially the drive to Meteora (it’s mostly highway once you exit the city of Athens), but if you are uncomfortable driving, there are plenty of tours that drive you from Athens to Meteora.

The rock formations in Meteora was one of my favorite highlights in Greece. It’s extremely inconvenient to get to, but definitely one of the most magnificent natural sites I’ve ever seen. The rock formations were made almost 60 million years ago from a seabed pushed upwards, creating massive vertical rock formations. Years later, monasteries were built on top of the rocks for protection. Now, out of a total of 24 monasteries, only 6 monasteries remain open to the public. Dressing conservatively for both men and women are required. Cash is the only form of payment to enter the monasteries (and bring exact change!). Check the schedule for each monastery as one closes each day.

Meteora Rock Formations with a view of one of the oldest monasteries
Beautiful sunset of Meteora
Day 3-5:

We chose to fly with Aegean Airlines instead of take a ferry to the Greek islands due to limited time. We flew to a highly popular Greek Island called Rhodes. 

Rhodes is one of the largest of Greek Dodecanese Islands, and mostly known for its ancient ruins and beaches. There are two areas in Rhodes: Old Town and New Town. I would highly suggest you stay in Old Town. Old Town, also known as Medieval Town is one of the oldest inhabited towns in Europe, and also the most confusing to navigate. With over a hundred streets or lanes, and barely labeled streets, it’s inevitable you will get lost walking the narrowed, cobbled streets. My hubby and I got lost a few times, but always felt safe in Old Town, even walking the streets at night. We never had an issue, but as always, stay alert. 

Old Town had plenty to explore.We ran along the old moat (see picture below) for a nice tour of the exterior, walked to the harbor, and visited museums and other sites including Palace of the Grand Master, Jewish Synagogue Museum, and Street of the Knights. We also took a local bus to the town called Lindos to see the Acropolis of Lindos. Although we only stayed in Rhodes for 2 nights, we could have stayed atleast a few more nights.  I loved it. 

Enjoy 1.5 mile walk or run along the moat outside of Old Town, Rhodes
Day 5-6:

We flew to Santorini and stayed for one night. Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. The pictures of the white washed buildings with blue roofs are built into the mountain cliffs overlooking the sea. The pictures you see on Instagram of Santorini are pretty accurate. It’s a beautiful place with a view that will leave you speechless. I had to go to see it myself.

It’s also extremely expensive and overcrowded with cruise ships and tourists. I’m glad I checked it off my bucket list, but Santorini isn’t ideal for budget travelers. One night was perfect for us.

Beautiful view overlooking the caldera and Aegean sea
Day 7:

Flew back to Athens. Explored the city one more night before embarking on our long journey back to the States.

Tips I’ve Learned for this Trip:

1) Don’t bring a blow dryer, even with an adapter. It will blow out your hair dryer.

2) Even if you’re not hungry, pocket the snacks Aegean airlines gives you! They are great snacks, and energy boosters when you’ve been walking around Athens.

3) Save the extra honey the hotels give you at breakfast (we packed them in our suitcase!).

4) Bring lots of olive oil back to the States, not just 1 canister.

Got the travel bug? Check out another travel guide to Washington D.C.

I hope this provided some travel and food inspiration as you plan your trip to Greece! Please share in the comments if you’ve been to Greece or planning on visiting. 

Comments