Greece Trip CliffsNotes

Exactly 1 year ago today I left on my first trip overseas to visit Greece! This also means I’ve been putting off making this post for 1 year. Instead of continuing procrastinating writing an amazing post for another year, I’m going to just share my raw notes I took right after the trip. I think that’s better than potentially never sharing anything…

blue domes by chris mcclanahan

^ The blue domes in Oia!

Overall quick summary:

Landed in Athens, then stayed 3 nights in Athens at Novotel hotel. Novotel has an amazing rooftop 360 panoramic view of the city. It’s kinda in/near the ghetto, but still walkable to all the downtown historic stuffs.

We took a ferry to Santorini and stayed 1 night in Oia (famous blue domes, northern part), and 1 night in Fira (more center). Santorini was super touristy, but oh man the views are incredible! The sprawling nature of the architecture is really neat and one of a kind.

We then took a ferry to Mykonos and stayed 1 night. This place has many beaches all around the island and has the famous windmills.

Finally our last night was back in Athens by the airport for an early flight out.

One fun thing a couple of us did was teach ourselves to read the greek alphabet while there. Pretty soon we were able to read and pronounce most greek words. This added a fun educational aspect while wondering around.

I wish we could have stayed another night in each place.

We didn’t know this beforehand, but I highly recommend visiting Athens first then the islands. This (for us) made the trip more vacationy as it went on, as Athens was very historic but pretty ghetto, and Santorini was very touristy but had amazing views, and Mykonos was less touristy, but with beaches and resort style hotel.

santorini sunset by chris mcclanahan

^ Santorini Oia sunset

athens rooftop sunset by chris mcclanahan

^ Novotel rooftop sunset view

fira sunset by chris mcclanahan

^ View from our hotel rooftop in Fira

Random other Notes


  • Total cost including airfare:  << $1500 each


  • SFO -> JFK -> ATH   (Sat Apr 9, 2016)
  • ATH -> CDG -> SFO (Sun Apr 17, 2016)
  • Athens is +10 hours from Pacific Time


  • Novotel Athens – awesome 360 views / rooftop pool&bar
  • Villa Agnadi – Santorini – walking distance to downtown Oia / homemade bed&breakfast
  • Antithesis – Fira, Santorini – in the middle of it all / great view / unique architecture
  • Olia Hotel – Tourlos, Mykonos – infinity pool, easy access to ferries
  • Holiday Inn Athens – Athens – offers shuttle to airport


  • Pireas -> Santorini | BlueStar Ferries, 8 hrs
  • Santorini -> Mykonos | Dolphin Hellas, 2 hrs
  • Mykonos -> Rafina | Dolphin Hellas, 5 hrs


  • Walking tour –  –  George Kokkos
    • Learned about story of marathon and Nike, lots of “local only” knowledge
    • George was super nice and did an amazing job!
  • Explored on our own mostly


  • Athens, has some ghetto parts, lots of cool Grafitti
  • Parthenon / Acropolis, walk to top, restoration/construction going on
  • National Archaeological Museum, historical context, artifacts
  • Walking tour, learned secret local stuff/ history
  • Stadium/track, school running track at top, go around back to access for free
  • Church of St George (top of hill), overlook everything
  • Oia / Fira: blue domes churches, cool downtowns, amazing views
  • Mykonos: Beaches, Windmills, little italy
  • Ghetto area : avoid! (Aristofanous road and Menandrou road, in Monastiraki)
  • Blue line that traces the original Marathon


  • Real gyros have french fries!
  • Cheap in Athens, tourist prices on Islands
  • Lamb, gyros, moussaka, fetta
  • Cafe-freddo coffee, Metaxa


  • Greece’s economy is in the hole
  • Deportations right before we left
  • Riots in streets right after we got back

What was your favorite part?

Our crew atop Parthenon/Acropolis plateau







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