Question: What were your favorite places if you had to narrow it down to 3 or 4 days? Also, what are the best budget travel tips to see Greece on the cheap?
Take a look at this post first, then read on. If you have to go to one or two islands and your time is limited, definitely visit Ios and Santorini. They are a half hour ferry ride from each other and tickets from Ios to Santorini are very cheap (about 7 euro). Get a Bluestar ferry from Athens to Ios for 30.50 euro around 7am and you’ll be there around noon, with plenty of beaching and exploring time. As soon as you get to Ios, buy a ticket to Santorini for the following morning. Prebook a reservation with Far Out Camping on Ios. For 10 euro a night you can stay in these little wooden huts… its a “camping” area for young people and has great beach access and a pool. When you get off the ferry look for a Far Out representative who will be holding a large sign. They will point you in the direction of the bus and they will take you back to the camping area. Also, the morning to head to Santorini they have buses from the campsite to the ferry.
Sidenote: European camping is not really what we Americans think of it to be. There are hot showers, little wooden huts, beds, along with a supermarket to buy food. Think: it’s more like a budget resort.
Go out at night to Ios town, one of the best party towns in Europe. There are tons of bars and discos to explore. Try and find a group of Australians to tuck in with as well, they are always tons of fun… Ios is the cheapest island for drinking– you can get shots and cocktails for a few euro (compared to 10+ euro on other islands) and huge thing of Greek beer for 3 euro.
The next day catch a ferry to Santorini. When you get off the boat there will be reps from lots of youth hostels shouting prices for rooms at you. Pick one that looks good and they will take your bags and give you a ride up the hill to the hostel. Make sure to buy a ticket back to Athens while you can, and talk to the hostel owner about arranging a ride back to port to catch the ferry.
On Santorini, go to any car/motorcycle dealership–they are all over– and rent an ATV 4 wheeler. They will show you how to use it (you drive with your thumbs, very easy) and grab a map and go. There are two main roads that run the length of the island so it’s impossible to get lost. It takes about 40 mins to get from one end of the island to the other, so if you drive at night keep that in mind. Go explore the red and black sand beaches, grab a bottle of wine and watch the sunset in Oia, where all the movies are filmed (the most famous sunset in the world) and definitely stop in Fira (the capital of the island with lots of cute shops).
Bring three bathing suits because you essentially live in them. I don’t think I wore real cloths for the whole week I was there…
You can do Athens in a day so I’d recommend seeing as much of the islands as you can since its the true beauty of Greece.If you go out at night in Athens, be very careful. It’s not exactly the safest city, hold on to your purse and stick with your girlfriend.
As far as saving $$ goes, watch how much you are spending on food/drink. That is the easiest way to cut your budget and the easiest way to overshoot it. Go to supermarkets and buy lots of fruit/bread/ a jar of jam etc. You can get a Greek salad (fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, onions, olives, olive oil etc.) for 6+ euro. Try it, it’s amazing.