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santorini & mykonos travel guide

By 7/14/2016

the greek islands are just as picturesque as your pinterest board.  i was there for 9 days, splitting my time between santorini and mykonos, and am glad to offer my tips on visiting the two gorgeous islands.

i traveled from raleigh to philly, then a 12 hour flight to athens, a commuter jet to thera, and a quick shuttle to my hotel.  it's definitely a schlep, and i don't sleep on flights, at all, so it becomes a bit of a mind game for me, but you can do it.  i'm sure.  the plane tickets are a fairly good price right now - around $1200 round trip.

my first friend in santorini
santorini is a city on a slant; you can take hundreds of winding staircases down down down to the ocean, passing homes, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.  we stayed in firostefania village, a bit north of crowded fira, and enjoyed amazing views, particularly of the volcano fira, and were central to everything we needed.  

the hotel belvedere is a great affordable option (make sure to ask for a room with a window), and the grace hotel is a splurge, boasting an amazing infinity pool over the ocean with killer sunset views.  at the least, have dinner at the hotel one evening to enjoy the vistas.

sunset at the grace hotel

the food in greece was a real treat.  i splurged on seafood pasta almost every night - spaghetti with clams, huge prawns, the best calamari, so much octopus and delicious local fish.
too pretty not to take a picture at the galani cafe
galini cafe was a great breakfast spot, just a few minutes down from the hotel belvedere. i took my laptop and worked a bit overlooking the ocean, and had an excellent eggs benedict with fresh salmon and a latte. totally insta-worthy banquettes and a sweet pup who kept watch right by the open kitchen.

i forgot to pray and love.  but i ate.

i'm still dreaming about the calamari at mama thira.  before meeting friends for dinner one night (dinner is late in the islands!), i grabbed a table for one on the rooftop and enjoyed the most amazing fresh squid topped with feta and tomatoes.

mezzo is another must-try spot for dinner.  the restaurant is an old mansion, built in 1891.  we dined in a charming bougainvillea covered private nook overlooking the water, and tried just about everything on the menu - nothing disappointed.

ask for an extra spicy margarita from the white bar, and enjoy the view on this terrace.

onto mykonos, a 2.5 hour ferry ride from santorini - the island had a totally different vibe. the town was unbelievably charming, and full of life.  restaurants, shopping and people watching around every turn.  you could lose yourself on the winding alleys, and happily end up in a corner of the town you'd never seen.

we stayed at the mykonos grand - and it was certainly grand.  amazing views from the oceanfront rooms, impeccable service, a gorgeous pool and a private beach to enjoy. although it was about 15 minutes outside of town, the hotel offered an hourly shuttle and cabs were easy enough to catch home after dinner.

familia, smack in the middle of mykonos town, was about as picturesque as you can get.  we had a late dinner here our first night in town - pulled in by the charming decor and friendly hostess, we had a great meal and eased into the vibe of the vibrant nightlife.

avra was another lovely restaurant with the most delicious seafood spaghetti on the island. our party of 11 had a gorgeous table tucked in the corner, and the wine, delicious apps, and welcoming staff made for a memorable evening.

although our meals were late - starting around 10 or 10:30 each night, we didn't try out the super-late nightlife of mykonos.  the days were too lovely to waste, so i can't speak to the 'biggest party town in the world', but the crowd grew as the night went on, and by the time we would leave around midnight each night, you could see things were starting to pick up as locals, tourists and the cruiseship passengers flooded into the cafes and clubs.

pom pom leather sandals are a fun find in a lot of the boutiques
shopping in mykonos town is plentiful.  there aren't that many great deals per se, but plenty of fun finds - look for leather sandals, linen clothing, crochet-trimmed swimwear, tons of evil eye jewelry and pom-poms galore.  a lot of the boutiques carry great brands, like self-portrait, ulla johnson, mara hoffman and antik batik, plus there are plenty of knock-offs.

we showed up early saturday morning to snag chairs at nammos, one of the most famous beach restaurants in europe.  you can grad a chair for the day at 45 euro, and if you aren't scared off by the champagne menu boosting $250,000 bottles, you can find a lovely bottle of prosecco for $45, and spend the day people watching and swimming.  the vibe picks up around 4pm, and the restaurant quickly transforms into a club - immediately the scene gets turnt, with everyone climbing on tables to dance.

you can check out more of our travels on my instagram, jessica's and anna's!


  1. Both places are on my bucket list. Thanks for the tips.

  2. OMG! How could I only find your blog today? It's so perfect! <3

    I always wanto to visit Greece and I really loved read your post. Such a pretty pictures! :)

    Please, stay in touch!
    xx, Edna
    Blog - Mercury Rose

  3. Mykonos sounds amazing! Will definitely follow these tips when I visit!

    xx Anna

  4. Only just found your blog it's so good I love it xx