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Europe, Greece, Travel

5 Alternatives to Santorini

June 18, 2018
Ios, Greece

After I wrote my post, Why I Didn’t Love Santorini, many people ask what islands they should visit instead. So I am giving you my five alternatives to Santorini.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

A few of these islands are close to Santorini and a few are closer to Athens. Each of them has comparisons to Santorini in some way and all of them are less expensive than Santorini, Greece. You could visit one of these islands or go island hopping between a few of them.

1. Paros

Alternatives to Santorini

Paros is one of the larger Cycladic Islands and is accessible by ferry daily from Piraeus port in Athens. Do not confuse it with Poros, which is an island close to Athens.

There is something for everyone on Paros. You can visit historic sites, get a tan on the beach or go windsurfing! It is a great alternative to Santorini because the villages have a similar style and since the main village, Parikia, is flat it is more accessible than Oia on Santorini.

Things to See and Do on Paros

  • Visit Panayia Ekatondapiliani Cathedral – This is also known as the church with 100 doors. It is very beautiful and there are tons to see.
  • Old Port of Naoussa – This is one of those iconic Greek places where cafe tables meet the sea!
  • Wander Parikia Town – This is one of the most beautiful towns on the islands I have seen. Tons of shops and restaurants to see as well.
  • Go Windsurfing – For the more adventurous, Paros has lots of wind making it a top spot for windsurfing.
  • Visit Golden Beach – One of the most beautiful beaches on the island and it is large. You might even be able to see the windsurfers from here.

Paros Hotel Recommendations

Parikia – Check out the Argonauta Hotel right in the center of town with great access to everything.  Click here to check prices.

Naousa – Hotel Liprando lovely hotel is in the center of Naousa and is comfortable and convenient. Click here to check prices.

2. Naxos

Right next to Paros is Naxos, the largest of the Cycladic Islands. Naxos has tons of beautiful beaches. It is also extremely family-friendly. You can fly to Naxos as well as take the ferry.

Book a day trip to Paros from Naxos here.

I like Naxos better than Santorini as it is also flat at the port and the Chora is right next to a great beach. It means you don’t have to walk far for dinner or rent a car. There are also some amazing restaurants in Naxos as well so you will never lack for great food.

Things to See and Do in Naxos

  • Visit the Kastro – Located right in the Chora, the 13th century Kastro is an ancient castle with three gates. Two of those gates are still in existence. The Kastro has several things to see inside including the Archaeological Museum.
  • See the Temple of Apollo – This is hard to miss as it sits at near the entrance of the port. Walking out to it is easy and offers great views of the sea.
  • Take a Dip at Agios Prokopios Beach – This great beach is right next to the Chora and has plenty of cafes and bars to hang out as well.
  • Go to the Eggares Olive Press Museum – The olive tree and oil are a very important part of Greek life. This covers the whole operation of the press operation.
  • Take a Day Sail – Spend the day on the water and visit places only reachable by boat. Book your day sail here!

Naxos Town – Galaxy Hotel in right on the beach and also offers easy access to Naxos Town. Click here to check prices.

Plaka Beach – Located at the quiet end of a stunning beach, Plaza Beach Hotel is a great option. Click here to check prices.

3. Ios

Alternatives to Santorini

Ios is close to Santorini and in my opinion, has the better sunset! The Chora is up on a hill just like Santorini but without the volcano.

Ios has 75km of beaches and is the island to visit if you are wanting to party or even if you are not. Given that parts of the activities are geared to young people, it makes much of the accommodation more affordable than Santorini.

Is Santorini still on your list? Buy my Santorini Itineraries – 1, 3, and 5 Day Guides to make the most of your trip!

Things to See and Do in Ios

  • Explore Skarkos – This is one of the best-preserved ancient sites in the Cyclades. You can see some artifacts from Skarkos in the Archaeology Museum in the Chora.
  • Visit Managanari Beach – One of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. You can take a bus for the day to the stunning beach.
  • Eat at Octopus Tree – This tiny port restaurant has some of the best Greek food on Ios. I recommend the fried zucchini fritters. Here is my list of all the best places to eat in Ios.
  • Watch the Sunset from the Liostasi Hotel – The sunset in Ios is stunning and due to its unobstructed views, the Liostatsi is one of the best places to see it. You don’t have to be staying there, just order a drink from their bar.
  •  Visit Homer’s Tomb – Homer the poet is supposedly buried on Ios. It is a drive, but worth visiting. The view from here is amazing.

Near the port – Kritkikakis Village Hotel is one of my favorite hotels in Greece. The staff are friendly and the room are comfortable. Click here to check prices.

Near the Chora – This luxury hotel offers amazing views of the sunset and a great pool. Click here to check prices.

4. Kea

Alternatives to Santorini

Kea is a great alternative to Santorini that is close to Athens. It is also great if you want a less touristy option as it is mostly Athenians that come here. You could come to Kea on a day trip if you wanted to as well.

The hilltop village is white and blue like Santorini and offers great views of the island.

Things to See and Do in Kea

  • See the Lion of Kea – Located in the hilltop village of Ioulis is a Lion sculpture. It was carved before 600 BC.
  • Visit the Archaeology Museum – Also in the village of Ioulis is the small but great museum. The pottery has feminine features and I have never seen anything like them before.
  • Go Scuba Diving – This is one of the few islands have seen with a dive shop. The waters here were calm making it a great place to dive.
  • Hike to Ancient Karthea – This is a long hike but worth it to see the site and go swimming after.
  • Eat at Bourkarion – This family-owned restaurant is located in the village of Vourkari, which is just down from the port of Korissa.

Kea does not have tons of hotel options but the ones they do have are wonderful, including the Porto Kea Suites. Click here to check prices.

5. Kythnos

Kythnos is also not far from Athens and is another great alternative to Santorini. The island is not too big, but if you really want to explore you will need a car as some of the best places to eat are not in the port. Kythnos still has some of the best food I have eaten in Greece.

It is also great as it is not crowded and much more affordable than Santorini.

Things to See and Do in Kythnos

  • Take a Dip in the Thermal Springs – In the village of Loutra right in the sea is a thermal spring.
  • Eat Mussels at Sofrano – Also in the village of Loutra is the great restaurant of Sofrano and has some of the best mussels I have ever had in my life.
  • Visit the hilltop Chora – This is one of the most charming white and blue villages and reminded me most of Oia in Santorini.
  • Swim at Kolona Bay – This two-sided bay offers great swimming and a stunning view of the surrounding island. There is a narrow strip of beach to relax on, but it is never crowded.
  • Visit Katafiki Cave – This is one of the largest caves in Greece. It was a mine and is now a tourist attraction.

Loutra – The beautiful Kythnos Bay Hotel is right on the beach! Click here to check prices.

At the port – Kontseta is right at the port and offers great access to restaurants. Click here to check prices.

Book an ancient trail hike on the island of Kythnos here.

I would never tell you not to visit Santorini, but it is expensive and is very crowded in the high season. If you are only going to Greece once, then visit Santorini for a day or two and then visit one of these great alternatives. There are over 200 islands in Greece, so you have plenty to choose from!

Still planning on visiting Santorini? Check out my ebook, Santorini Itineraries – 1, 3, and 5 Day Guides.

Do you have favorite Greek islands that are alternatives to Santorini? Share with us in the comments!

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Places Like Santorini
Greece, Sailing, Travel

Sailing in Greece

September 28, 2020
Sailboats with sunset behind them in Athens, Greece

Sailing in Greece is how fell I in love with Greece on my first trip. Taking a sailing holiday in Greece is a great way to see several Greek islands and even some of the mainland in one trip. Not only do you get to see many places in one trip, but you can find spots that you want to revisit on your next Greece trip.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

You sail from one beautiful Greek island to the next. Each will have a wonderful beach with clear turquoise or blue waters that practically beg you to swim in them. Then each night you will dock under the glowing harbor lights of a Greek village harbor and get to know the warmth of Greek hospitality.

There are several options for taking a sailing trip in Greece that can fit all types of vacations. Except for a few options, anyone can go on one of these sailing trips.

Sailing Charters in Greece

A sailing charter in Greece is probably the most common kind of sailing trip. On a sailing charter, you rent the boat, get crew, and the boat is provisioned for you. Usually, the crew and provisioning are included. Sometimes a hostess or cook is also included or can be added to the rental.

If you want a luxury sailing holiday in Greece, this is the way to go! You and your friends can rent the sailboat or yacht together to split the cost.

The other good thing about this option is that you usually have much more say in the itinerary so you can visit the Greek islands that you want or make a change if you decide to stay longer in one place. Dietary issues may also be more manageable since they will provision the boat as requested.

You can opt to have all your meals onboard or visit one of the many tavernas or restaurants in the places you visit.

Cabin Charters in Greece

A cabin charter is how I did my first sailing vacation in Greece. The cabin charter allows you to book a cabin on a charter with others. It can be a cheaper option if you can’t find enough people to charter a whole boat.

On a charter like this, the itinerary is set with mostly set in advance. Although, all sailing trips are dependent on the weather. The nice thing about this is that the captain usually knows the islands or towns very well, so you get top tips for each place.

I have done this type of sailing trip in Greece twice. Most recently, with Sailing Jollies. Although we were also doing a boat delivery and there was no hostess, and there was more responsibility. What I like about the cabin charter that usually you can learn a bit about sailing if you want.

 

Bareboat Charter in Greece

If you have your skipper’s license, you might be able to charter a yacht in Greece. Usually, this means there is no crew, and you provision the boat. This is a great option if you have a large family or group of friends already ready to go on the trip. You can make the food you want.

You also get to set your own itinerary so you can see the places you want without compromise. The only thing is having the yacht or sailboat back to the agreed-upon marina by the end date.

A bareboat charter in Greece is probably only a good idea if you have sailed in Greece before since the winds can be strong at certain times of the year. Another option is to join a flotilla of boats that may be a combination of bareboat or charter sailboats. Going on a flotilla is useful if you are confident in your sailing ability but unsure of the sailing waters. 

Day Sails in Greece

Almost every island has an option for a day sail around that island or to another island nearby. A day sail in Greece may also be possible from Athens and other major ports on the mainland. 

A day sail means that you will leave early in the morning and sail to points during the day. It usually consists of sailing to a swim stop, having lunch, and then sailing to another swim stop before returning to the port. Many times these swim stops are in spots on islands that may be unreachable by car or walking. 

Going on a day sail in Greece means that you might get to see parts of the country you may not have seen on your island vacation only.

Boat Delivery

Maybe you have some sailing experience and would like to build miles, then going on a boat delivery is a great option. The only drawback to these is that sometimes the delivery is on a schedule, and you cannot stop much for leisurely days in the ports. You may only have a few days to make the delivery.

As with some cabin charters, the trip is not going to be round trip, so you will need to find your way back to the starting point if that is where your flight leaves from. Of course, you might be able to pick up another boat delivery or enjoy the place you are in for longer.

Most boat deliveries need people with sailing experience, so this might not be an option for the casual sailor. It depends on the skipper that sail with.

Sunset Sails on the Greek Islands

By far, the most popular option for sailing in Greece is to take a sunset sail. Greek sunsets are out of this world, and unless a cloud blocks it, I have never seen a bad Greek sunset.

A sunset sail will usually leave in the late afternoon or early evening, depending on the activities involved. Some are quick for about two hours just to get out to watch the sail, usually with a drink. Others include swimming and a light meal. The boat will head back to the harbor as soon as the sun sets to avoid getting back too late in the dark, usually.

Keep in mind that the time of the sail may vary during the year for the sunset sail since the sunset changes times.

Greek Island Hopping Itineraries

Now, where should you go on one of these fantastic sailing trips in Greece? There are so many options. Of course, if you are going on a cabin charter, flotilla, or boat delivery, you may not have much choice in your sailing itinerary.

However, if you have booked the entire boat, you get to choose! If you depart from Athens, you can choose from the Saronic islands, the Peloponnese, or the Cycladic islands. For example, my first sailing trip was Athens, Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Sifnos, and Ios. The return was Ios, Paros, Syros, Delos, Kea, and Kythnos. This trip was great since we got to see both the Saronic and Cycladic islands.

If you have less time, you could leave Athens and head to Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetes, and return to Athens. My second trip was from Athens to Corfu. This trip was great as we saw lots of mainland villages and sailed through the Corinth Canal.

Another area to consider is the Dodecanese islands in eastern Greece. These islands are closer to Turkey so your itinerary could include Turkey as well as Kos, Kalimos, Leros, and Patmos.

Each of these areas of Greece offers something different, so you will want to do your research and see what kind of experience you would like to have.

Types of Boats

There are many options for types of boats to charter in Greece. If you know what kind of boat you want, you have already narrowed down your choices of charter companies. Some companies only do monohull sailboats and some do a mix of monohulls and catamarans. If you are only looking for motor yachts, then you can look for those as well.

Going on a monohull sailboat is my top choice. If you are unfamiliar, a monohull is a single hulled boat with sails. Many sailing enthusiasts prefer this as you get the real feel of sailing this way. When underway with higher speeds the boat will keel to one side. This is when one side of the sailboat is lower than the other. The wind whips through your hair and occasionally you will get a light spray of seawater!

Another type is a catamaran. These usually have two hulls that are connected. These offer more stability than a monohull. The cabins tend to be larger as is the saloon. These are a great option for people new to sailing or those traveling with young children.

Then there are motor yachts. There are many different kinds of these and I won’t go into them all. The ones you charter will have cabins for sleeping and it will vary on where the helm is. This may or may not matter to you if you are the skipper or not. If you are skippering your own boat, you will know what you prefer. If you going with a skipper, make sure the yacht has the features you desire.

Wondering what to pack for you Greek island sailing trip? Check out my post all about it by clicking here!

Have you been sailing in Greece? Share your experience in the comments!

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Beach, Greece, Travel

The Best Naxos Beaches

August 27, 2020
Best Naxos Beaches

Many people say that Naxos has the best beaches in Greece and I would have to agree with them. Not only are the Naxos beaches amazingly beautiful but there are many to choose from. Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades and is accessible by ferry and plane. It is an excellent alternative to the more popular Santorini.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Beaches in Greece can be either organized or unorganized. Organized usually means they are maintained and have umbrellas, chairs, and sometimes restrooms. Most of them have several tavernas or bars serving food and drinks. Unorganized means there are no facilities. Unorganized ones are usually further out of town but are usually less crowded. A few of the unorganized ones will still have a taverna or two but not always.

Agios Georgios

Agios Georgios beach or Saint George is the beach right in the central town. You can walk there from the center in about 15 minutes or stay right next to the beach and walk there in less than 2 minutes. The beach is a good size and has plenty of options for tavernas and bars. The umbrellas and chairs are usually run by one of the restaurants or bars. Prices vary, and some will let you use them for free if you purchase something.

The water is shallow closer to town, and it gets deeper further down the beach. Although it can be windy further down near the lagoon.

The section that is shallow is shallow for quite a ways out, and you can walk out far before the water gets above your waist. Given that it is so close to town, the beach is more crowded than some others. The sand is also packed down until you get further away from town.

Agios Prokopios

Naxos Beaches

Agios Prokopios beach is the first beach out of town. The water here is stunning. It is the perfect shade of turquoise that reminds me of the Caribbean. The sand is golden and soft although not fine sand. The beach is organized and is long, so there are lots of choices of places to sun yourself all day.

To get to this beach take the bus from Naxos Town. The bus driver will announce the stops. You purchase your tickets from the bus station in Naxos town. You should buy a return ticket as well. If you have rented a car, there is public parking about a 10-minute walk from the beach. The parking is before the beach.

Agios Prokopios beach is my favorite beach in Naxos. The water depth is perfect and it is long and wide. This usually means that no matter how crowded it is, you will be able to find a spot to sunbath in.

Agia Anna

Naxos Beaches

Not far from Agios Prokopios is Agia Anna beach. This beach is small, but the water is shallow making it a great place for kids and snorkeling. The beach is surrounded by cedar trees, so the unorganized part has shade. There is an organized section of the beach as well.

Agia Anna is also reachable by bus from Naxos Town. The public parking for this Naxos beach is near the end of the beach. The entrance is not easy to see due to the trees though.

Plaka

Naxos Beaches

Plaka beach is one of the longest beaches in Naxos. The sand is fine and soft. The water is deeper here and has incredible color. Most of Plaka beach is organized, and you have many options of where to sit. The umbrellas and chairs are usually run by restaurants behind the beach and offer their full menu on the beach. Plaka beach provides excellent views of Paros and the ferries running to and from Naxos.

The bus also runs to Plaka and offers several different stops along the way. If you drive you should know that after Agia Anna the road changes to a sand road. The road is compacted so any car can drive on it. The road gets more narrow here, and you may need to go one at a time through some sections. My advice is to drive slowly. A good place to park is behind Picasso on the Beach restaurant.

Orkos

Naxos Beaches

I hadn’t heard of Orkos beach and only spotted it on my road trip to discover all the Naxos beaches. I noticed it because it was so pretty. The beach is smaller than many of the other beaches, and it is unorganized, but it is worth visiting. Orkos has thick sand so you won’t have fine sand all over you.

There is no bus access to Orkos so you will have to rent a car to get here. You can walk from Plaka if it isn’t too hot.

Mikri Vigla

Mikri Vigla is known for being the spot for kitesurfer and windsurfers in Naxos. Of course, you don’t have to be a kitesurfer or windsurfer to enjoy this beautiful beach. The sand is fine white soft sand. The beach is organized, but the umbrellas and chairs are few, so arrive early if you want one.

The bus does go to Mikri Vigla from Naxos town. It is also accessible by car, and there is parking along the road. The Naxos buses don’t run to many beaches in the winter so if you travel to Naxos in the off-season, you will need to rent a car.

Kastraki

Naxos Beaches

If you seek fewer crowds, then Kastraki beach is the beach for you! Due to its distance from town and the fact that it is a larger beach means there are fewer people and they are spread apart. The beach has beautiful soft white sand. While the beach is organized there are not many umbrellas and chairs. I recommend you bring your own so you can enjoy the quieter parts.

You can drive or take the bus to Kastraki. There is a large parking area that is unpaved right next to the beach. You will have to walk through some small dunes to get to the actual beach so make sure you have shoes on to protect your feet from the hot sand.

Pirgaki

Another beach that is less crowded due to its location is Pirgaki. Although it isn’t any less beautiful than the other beaches. It can get windy on this beach, but offers great views and is frequented by windsurfers. The beach is organized but with a few umbrellas and chairs. There are a few cafes, but you might want to bring some drinks and snacks of your own just in case.

The bus from Naxos Town goes Pirgaki although not as often as the other buses. You can also reach Pirgaki by car.

Glyfada

This small beach is very pretty and very popular with the windsurfers and kitesurfers. There are few hotels nearby so you might find an umbrella or two to rent but best be prepared to bring your own. The sand is a nice fine white sand.

You will need a car to reach Glyfada beach as there is no bus service. There is a parking lot right by the beach, though.

Alyko

Alyko beach is an unorganized beach, but I wouldn’t let that stop you from visiting! It is one of the largest beaches on Naxos and is made up of three beach coves. It is less busy than other beaches and offers great views of the sunset. The rocks and cedar trees help shield this beach from the winds.

You can reach Alyko by bus. It will drop you at the second beach of Alyko, called Hawaii beach. You can also drive and park along the road or between the cedar trees.

At Alyko beach, you will find some street art in an unfinished abandoned hotel. The artist is Wild Drawings from Indonesia. Every few years, he returns and adds new pieces, so it is worth it to visit each time you go to the beautiful beaches of Naxos.

Naxos Buses

As I have mentioned, many of the Naxos beaches are accessible by bus. However, the schedule is different for some seasons, and you should check the website for the most up to date timetables. If you are staying near the beaches and not in Naxos town, you can usually purchase your tickets at the mini-markets near the bus stop.

Naxos Hotels

I wish I had booked a week at the beach and then moved to town. Most of the beaches here have hotels or studios to stay in right across from the beach, which makes Naxos travel for beaches easy! Click here to check your options and rates.

Have I missed your favorite Naxos beach? Tell me which one in the comments!

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Best Naxos Beaches
Greece, Travel

What to Pack for Greece

February 17, 2020
What to pack for Greece

Visiting Greece is on many people’s lists but what to pack for Greece is one of the most frequent questions that I see and get. For the most part, packing for Greece is pretty easy. However, there are things you should keep in mind with packing for a trip to Greece. This list what to pack for 10 days in  Greece.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Most people will visit Greece in summer so this Greek packing list is a summer list.

What to Wear in Athens

Almost everyone that visits Greece will spend at least one day in Athens. Athens is an old city and many of the sidewalks are in need of some help. They are also often made of marble which is slippery even on a dry day!

Stick with flat shoes and sneakers for lots of walking. Many of the ancient sites are within walking distance and it isn’t worth getting on the metro to reach them.

People dress up in Athens but not so much as say in New York City. Dinner out can be formal or casual depending on where you want to go. I would also say that darker colors are favored amongst the Athenian crowd so dress similarly if you want to blend in with the locals.

Make sure to keep valuables near your person in Athens because like in many big cities pickpocketing can be an issue at tourist sites and the metro.

What to Wear on the Greek Islands

Dressing on a Greek island is less formal than in Athens. You will see everything as well. Shorts during the day are common and even at night on most islands. I like to wear a casual dress on the islands for dinner though. However, no one will care if you wear your nice shorts for the restaurant though.

Even in the summer months, it can get cool at night on the islands so you may want a light jacket or cardigan for the evenings. Also a pair of pants. Take an umbrella or a rain jacket in case it rains.

The pants are also good for taking the ferry where the air conditioning can be intense!

Light colors are best for the islands since the heat and the white of the buildings can make it seem hotter than it is. Choose cotton clothing that is breathable and dries fast.

Packing List for Greece

Three Dresses –  One nice dress for a nice dinner out. The others can be a casual dress for walking around in the day or used as a swimsuit cover-up.

3 Shorts  – It gets hot in Athens in the summer. Bring ones that are cotton and easily washable. I love linen shorts for all my hot weather travels, such as these.

Pants – One should be fine unless you are in Greece in September. Then you might want it for the evening. Jeans are an option as well.

5 Shirts – Make sure the colors match all your bottom pieces. These should be cotton or lightweight material. You will feel cooler this way.

One pair of walking sandals – Athen is very hilly and as mentioned the sidewalks are made of marble. I have fallen in Toms walking in Athens. You will need something with a good grip on the sole. I love these closed toed ones from Keen. You might be more comfortable in sneakers for the traction.

Dressy sandals – You will want something nicer for dinners out but make sure they have a good grip as well.

Flip flops  – Flip flops are essential for visiting a Greek beach. The sand can be hot and you won’t want to use your nicer sandals since the sand will come back to hotel with you.

Light cardigan – Nights can be chilly here even in summer since it is close to the sea. You may want a light layer to take with you at night. This cardigan is similar to the one I have.

Tesalate Beach Towel – You will need to bring your own beach towel as you can’t rent them on the beach and the hotels usually don’t let you take theirs to the beach.

This beach towel is the best beach towel I have found to date. The towel repels sand which is great when you are on a Greek beach! Your hotel will be sand free thanks to this beach towel. The Tesalate towel is compact and comes in tons of beautiful patterns.

You can even get a double for a couple or families. I also liked it because it is quick dry meaning it could be used as a travel towel. (I was gifted a Tesalate towel but all opinions are my own.)

Tesalate Towel on a chair near the sea

Beach bag – A bag to take your towel, sunscreen and book is necessary since you will not want to take a nice handbag to the beach. I like to bring a reusable tote bag that can double as a grocery bag or laundry bag. Like many countries in Europe, Greece grocery stores charge for using plastic bags.

2 Swimsuits –  You will want to swimsuits even for a short trip since it can be really humid in Greece in the summer. It might take a day to dry out and no one likes putting on a wet suit.

Sunglasses – The Greek sun is intense and even more so when it is being reflected off the white buildings of the Cycladic islands. Pack at least one pair and bring backup in case you lose yours in the sea.

Pajamas – Obviously you will want something to sleep in. This can be tricky in Greece as many hotels will only offer a sheet on the bed. I think this is because Greeks don’t sleep with the air conditioning on so you won’t want a heavy blanket. However, you may want the air conditioning on so bring the PJs you will be comfortable in.

Camera – You will want a camera for all the beautiful scenery you will be seeing in Greece. I used a Sony A7rii camera, which I love. However, it may be more than you want. Here is a good Sony camera alternative to it if you are looking for a good camera that is easy to use.

Laptop or Tablet – Most you won’t need a laptop on vacation but you may want it for entertainment on the plane or in the hotel in the evening. A few times I have been in Greek hotels without any English channels. A tablet is also a good option and may offer you a way to read some books on your beach vacation.

Packing cubes – Want to pack a bit more without having to bring a bigger suitcase? Consider using packing cubes to compress your clothes.  I use them on every trip and prefer the Eagle Creek brand packing cubes.

Water bottle  – Water on the islands is not drinkable but you can refill a water bottle at some city water fountains on the Greek islands. They look like fancy places to wash your hands or feet but they are actually potable water. It is a good place to fill up rather than having to buy plastic water bottles all the time, plus its better for the environment.

Toiletries  – Bring the minimum you will need to survive a night or two. After that, you can purchase larger toiletries in the pharmacy in Athens or the islands. Some of my favorite Greek cosmetic brands are found in the pharmacies and not in the grocery stores. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

This will save you weight and space in your toiletry bag plus you get a useable souvenir if you don’t use them all.

Backpack or Suitcase

Personally I think this is a matter of preference but many people will want to know what kind of suitcase to bring to Greece. If you aren’t island hopping then a rolling suitcase is fine in Athens since you will most likely check in to one hotel and not move around.

If you are going to an island after visiting Athens you might want a backpack as it will make walking to the ferry or your island hotel much easier since the sidewalks can be uneven on the islands as well as in Athens.

I personally take a rolling suitcase on almost all longer trips. It makes getting on the Greek ferry easier for me and saves my back. I also arrange transport on the islands with the hotel or take a taxi for arrival.