For Greece week we had one goal in mind: find the Green girls a beach! It’s island time, baby! We spent 8 days exploring 3 islands in the Cyclades, the most famous group of the Greek islands in the southeast Aegean sea. The Cyclades are known for its stunningly simple architecture - the whitewashed houses with signature blue doors and window panes. Every single part of our trip to Greece felt surreal and it was so fun to have such happy visitors along for the ride with us!
We landed in Athens late in the evening and met MK's sister, Madeline Green, and MK's cousin, Bo Murray, in the airport. Taxi to our hotel, quick dinner, 5am wakeup call and 4.5 hour ferry by 6:30am…we were off to Paros!
Before we get to Paros, lets talk about the ferry. The word “ferry” does not do this thing justice. I’d prefer to call it a cruise ship or even "the Titanic”. It was MASSIVE! A two floor car garage, an escalator and even a first class cabin told us that we were not in the USA anymore. It made for a more pleasant ride than the Steamship Ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket that we are used to!
Paros felt like we had the island to ourselves! We were literally the only guests in our hotel and pretty much had the beaches to ourselves. We stayed on the east side of the island, in a laid back beach town called Aliki. Even after an early wake up and 4.5 hour ferry, within one hour of being in Paros, Madeline and Bo both said it was the best trip they had ever been on. These two were the easiest to please and a fun duo to explore Greece with.
Paros is known for its wind, and kitesurfers from all over the world come here. Unfortunately, on the day Patrick was supposed to surf, the wind was too weak. But we still enjoyed the huge beaches and paddle boarding in Pounta, the cove between Paros and Antiparos.
A big highlight from Paros was renting ATVs and cruising all over the island. There were barely any people or cars, so ATVs were a great way to explore the small towns and hidden beaches. You appreciate your surroundings so much more when you are not in a car and we were able to cover more ground than by foot or on a bike. Such a fun day!
Paros has two big towns—Parikia, a port town, and Naoussa, a fishing village. We drove to Naoussa for dinner during sunset and literally pulled over on the side of the road because it was so gorgeous! The shopping in Naoussa was dangerous...every corner we turned there were cool little shops with Greek brands! There were so many great restaurants, if only we had more days to explore.
Our first island was by far the most relaxed of our three stops. Paros was beautiful and laid back. If we were to come back, we would stay at the even cooler island next to Paros, Antiparos, at a hotel called the Beach House.
Next up: Santorini! Anyone the we have met that has been to Greece has been to Santorini. We HAD to go. And with no expectations, we were blown away. It is pretty indescribable. Coming from Paros, Santorini’s landscape could not be more different. The entire island sit high up on these cliffs. The ferry pulls into port and you immediately get into a car that goes up a series of switchbacks until you are almost 300 meters up. The views from the top are breathtaking and you can understand why Santorini is continuously named one of the world’s most beautiful islands.
If only we had more time in Santorini!! Our hotel was exactly what you would imagine when you think of Greece We stayed in Oia for two nights and packed in some great activities. Here are our big highlights:
1. Hiking from Fira to Oia - We have done some cool hikes on our trip and this might be one of the most beautiful. It was hard to focus on the trail! The ferry port is in Fira - so we had our hotel take our luggage, while we hiked right from the ferry. The hotel staff thought we were crazy, but we wanted to make every second count! It took us a little over two hours to go from Fira to Oia. We started around 5:00pm and ended in Oia right around sunset. It was a breathtaking experience!
2. Amoudi Bay Cliff Jumping - from Oia, you can take 300 steps down to the small harbor with a few restaurants. We ran into some donkeys along the way. This was fun at first, until the donkeys started chasing us and the girls started screaming! Once you get the the bottom of the stairs, you follow a path to the left for about 10 minutes and come to an awesome cliff jumping spot. Bo and Patrick swam right out to the cliff and started jumping. After a few jumps, they convinced MK and Maddy to swim out to the cliff where the girls both pushed aside their nerves and jumped in. As MK said, “I’m so glad I did it, but I’ll never do it again." We had so much fun and would definitely recommend the jump! On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Pitogyro. Brendan and Libby honeymooned in Santorini and infamously went to this small little Gyro shop multiple times. Brendan wanted confirmation that this hidden gem wasn't just sentimental - we can definitely confirm these gyros lived up to their hype!
3. Sunset Catamaran Cruise - The top highlight from our time in Santorini. We hopped on the catamaran in the afternoon, cruised around the island, jumped in the water a few times, ate dinner, and watched the sunset. We had perfect weather. Watching the sunset from the boat, with Santorini behind us, with great music and beers could not have been cooler. It made for some incredible memories!
If we were to come back, we would definitely spent at least 4 nights in Santorini and probably split our nights between Oia and Fira.
Our final island stop was another popular one, Mykonos: the party island! Fortunately for some (unfortunately for others), the parties had not begun on Mykonos yet. We arrived at our hotel on a beautiful beach and Maddy declared that she was in heaven. She was known as Mykonos Maddy for the rest of the trip and Marykate was right behind her with a new fedora in tow.
Our hotel had very cool, laid back, beachy vibes. It also had a day beach club (which we did not know or expect). The hotel was practically empty, but a DJ played strange music all day long...it made for a lot of laughs.
We explored the cute little town. Like every other Greek island, it had AMAZING shopping and great, authentic restaurants.
Our top experience was going to Kiki’s Tavern on a remote side of the island. Marykate had been talking about Kiki's for the whole week. Its a tiny restaurant that is frequented by the likes of Kim & Kanye (need I say more?). When we arrived, our hotel told us it was still closed for the season. Even our cab driver told us it was closed for the season. Yet, MK insisted we check it out for ourselves and to our surprise when we got there, it was opening day! The look on Marykate’s face was priceless. We hung out on the quiet beach nearby until it opened for lunch and were the first customers of the season. It was a lunch we will never forget. As we left, a crowd of people sat outside waiting to get in. We all just smiled and high fived MK, realizing that it had lived up to the hype.
We loved exploring all of the great, remote beaches on Mykonos! There are so many hidden gems - and we loved walking to dinner along the cliffs to discover beachside restaurants and bars!
We were so sad to leave Greece! The weather was perfect, there were no crowds, and we felt like we had the islands to ourselves! A lot of the locals told us that April/May or September/October are the best times to visit because the summer months can be overwhelming. It was especially fun to share the trip with Maddy and Bo! It will not be our last time in Greece and we plan to explore other islands next time!