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Part 1: Island Hopping in the Cyclades Islands, Greece

I recently went on my dream vacation to Greece! The Cyclades Islands in Greece have always been one of my top destinations to visit. From ancient ruins and beautiful beaches to mountain views, Greece has it all!


If Greece wasn't on your list of places to visit, keep reading to see why that has to change!

Itinerary in Brief:

  • Day 1: Travel to Athens from the US

  • Day 2: Athens

  • Day 3: Athens to Mykonos

  • Day 4: Mykonos, Excursion to Delos

  • Day 5: Mykonos to Naxos

  • Day 6: Naxos

  • Day 7: Naxos to Santorini

  • Day 8: Santorini

  • Day 9: Travel from Santorini to Athens, Athens back to the US



Athens is the capital, the largest city of Greece, and one of the world's oldest cities. We stayed in Athens for a night before continuing our journey to the islands. Our hotel was located in the heart of Athens so we were within walking distance to the most important landmarks.

Activities:

Private walking tour of Athens

We loved our private walking tour! Our guide met us at our hotel and walked us around the city. Winding through food markets and shopping streets, we listened to our guide tell us some historical facts about Athens. Did you know that Athens is home to the first known democracy?


I would highly recommend doing an excursion like this for an introduction to the city of Athens. Although our tour was only a few hours, we felt like we got a little taste of the city and felt very safe and comfortable with a local guide showing us around unfamiliar territory.

Visit the Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located above the city of Athens with several historically significant buildings, the most famous being the Parthenon. The marble template was built in tribute to the goddess Athena.


Tip: Bring comfortable shoes and water because exploring the Acropolis requires a lot of walking. It would be best to visit in the morning or late in the day to avoid the heat.

Eat at a cozy restaurant in Plaka, an old historic neighborhood

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens is located on the northern slope of the Acropolis and is where the core part of the ancient city of Athens used to be. Plaka has a Greek-island vibe with its narrow streets decorated with colorful chairs and magenta flowers.


We ate dinner at Zorbas Restaurant and tried some classic Greek dishes like "Dolmas" stuffed vine leaves and "Souvlaki" tender cuts of meat with vegetables.



Situated in the center of the Cyclades, Mykonos is known for its summer party vibe, golden beaches, and clear waters. Due to the windy conditions of the island, Mykonos enjoys perfect, sunny weather with very rare cloudy days.

Activities:

Visit the archaeological site of Delos, the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis

Delos is a 30-minute boat ride from the port in Mykonos Town and is a must-do while visiting Mykonos. The sacred island of Delos was a major religious center and port during the 1st millennium B.C. The island's ruins include temples, markets, an amphitheater, houses with mosaics, and the iconic "Terrace of the Lions" marble statues.


Tip: Bring comfortable walking shoes, water, a sun hat, and sunscreen for this excursion. It can be quite hot and there is virtually no shade!

Reserve a table at 180⁰ Sunset Bar for gorgeous sunset views

Perched on a hill overlooking Mykonos Town, this outdoor bar offers breathtaking panoramic views of the sunset. Listen to the live music and take in the beautiful views from all around you. In case you get cold, cozy blankets are available to keep you warm.


Tip: There are select tables available for reservation with a minimum spend amount, or you can plan to arrive early to get whatever is available for seats. However, I highly suggest having a reservation so you can skip the large line and pick the table you want to sit at.


Visit the traditional windmills

The famous Mykonos windmills were primarily used for grain production beginning in the 16th century by the Venetians. Today, the windmills are an iconic scene of the island for tourists to visit.


Tip: If you want to snap a photo in front of the windmills without people in the way, it would be better to come earlier in the day. A lot of people are at the windmills for sunset, but it is incredibly picturesque either way.

Explore Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town is a popular Instagram destination with its maze of narrow cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and colorful windows and doors. There are plenty of charming stores and restaurants to explore.


After we found our way to the windmills one night, we ate an amazing seafood meal at Nice N Easy right next to the water!

Enjoy the Mykonos beaches

Our hotel was a short walk to Platys Gialos Beach. The shallow and clear waters make it one of the most crowd-pleasing beaches in Mykonos.


Tip: Rent out a sunbed on the beach all day and relax by the turquoise waters.


Next up are the islands of Naxos and Santorini!