Whether or not you’re an avid traveler, a honeymoon is the perfect time to take a trip or getaway to celebrate your nuptials. What better way to bask in the newlywed glow (and toast being done with wedding planning?!) than by taking off for a week?
We were lucky enough to spend just under two weeks on our Greek Islands honeymoon. It was an amazing trip, and I already want to go back! (…or figure out how to make heavenly tzatziki in the meantime!)
Since our trip involved a lot of planning, I thought I’d share my advice in case you’re looking to book something similar. These are my best tips!
Where possible, fly direct.
This one may sound obvious, but it’s worth discussing, especially given the distance and cost.
On our way to Greece, we flew from Toronto to Athens which was about 10 hours. Flying direct was fantastic, since it kept our travel time at a minimum. On the way back, we flew from Santorini to Athens, and then had a 3 hour layover before flying back to Toronto. This made the day quite a bit longer, especially since the return flight was longer, at around 11 hours.
Where you can, look into direct flight options. If they aren’t available or if they cost a ton more, make sure your flight schedule allows for ample time to make your connection.
Take advantage of airport lounges.
My husband and I are by no means “fancy” people who would have gone to airport lounges in the past… until we realized that we could go for free! My credit card annual fee includes a membership to Priority Pass and 4 lounge passes which has been a great perk.
If you’re not familiar with Priority Pass, they give you access to a network of over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. These lounges almost always feature free food, drinks, and wifi so they’re a fantastic place to kill time before a flight. Before any trip, I look to see what lounges they work with in the airports we’re visiting, and where they’re located in the airport. Then my fiancé and I can both use the lounge at no extra cost by simply using some of our passes. This saves money on food, drink, and wifi, and also provides a more comfortable and quiet space while we wait for our flight.
Check to see if your credit card includes a Priority Pass membership or something similar. If not, it may still be worth paying to use a lounge depending on the lounge fee and other options.
Note that you may need to apply for your membership card with Priority Pass to use their services. While my credit card gives me the membership for free, I still needed to contact Priority Pass to claim my membership and receive the card.
Consider flying in and out of Athens.
Athens International Airport is a good option to fly in and out of, especially if you plan to spend some time there. We found it to be easiest (and cheapest!) to fly in and out of Athens direct, go into Athens right away, and then just use it as a stepping stone for flying home on the way back.
Once you set your itinerary (more on that below!), look to see what makes the most sense.
We actually booked our flights to/from Athens as as starting point, and then filled in the time (about 12 days) with the more specific stops afterwards.
Start by choosing a region (or two!)
The Greek Islands can be “grouped” into different regions or clusters. While you don’t have to stick to only visiting islands in one region, it will make it quicker, easier, and likely cheaper to focus on one region at a time.
As a starting point, I’d suggest reading up on the Greek Islands to determine which ones you’d like to visit. You can browse travel guides (from companies like Fodor’s, DK Eyewitness, Lonely Planet, and Frommer’s), or check out some of these great blog posts:
We chose to stick to the Cyclades Islands which are quite popular. They are located southeast of the mainland in the Aegean Sea, and include destinations like Mykonos and Santorini.
Decide which islands you want to visit and for how long.
With your region(s) in mind, decide which islands you want to visit and for how long. This will act as the foundation for your itinerary.
I’d recommend planning for at least 2 nights in each place to avoid spending too much time travelling between islands. We spent longer in the places that had more to see, more to do, or that we saw as “rest and relax” destinations.
Here’s what our itinerary looked like:
Athens (2 nights)
Mykonos (3 nights)
Naxos (3 nights)
Paros (2 nights)
Santorini (3 nights)
This worked really well for us, and there isn’t much I would change. I would consider shortening our time in Santorini to 2 nights and adding a night to Paros, but otherwise it was a solid itinerary.
I was expecting Mykonos to be too much of a party atmosphere, but I ended up LOVING it. We stayed in Mykonos Town which was lively and bustling, with tons of restaurants, shops, and bars. It was easy to explore on foot, and everyone was really nice and had great English. The hotel we stayed at has a sister hotel on the south side of the island which is actually a beach resort. They offered a free daily shuttle to visit it, so we did that most days.
Having a mix of relaxing days and busier nights was the perfect balance!
Naxos was my favourite of all the islands. It’s pretty rural, but beautiful, and it was a nice change from the bustle of Mykonos. The food was exceptional, the people extremely nice, and our hotel was gorgeous.
Definitely rent a car if you go there! It will be great for getting around and exploring different sites.
We stayed at the Finikas Hotel and loved it.
Paros was our beachy, relaxing part of the trip. Our hotel was right on Golden Beach and had two beautiful pools, so we spent most of the time vegging out. After the adventure of Naxos, it was nice to have a few slower days to read and rest.
We stayed at the Poseidon of Paros. I highly recommend it!
Despite Santorini being beautiful and thought to be a romantic destination, it was a bit of a let down. Our hotel was a 10 minute walk from the caldera, but the walk was down a busy street and pretty unpleasant. Everything is on the expensive side, and by that point in the trip, we were getting ready to go home.
First world problems, I know! It was still an amazing place to visit and I think we would have had a better time if we had stayed at a closer hotel and if it was earlier in the itinerary.
(Though, looking at these pictures again, I realize how stunning it is!)
Lastly, Athens isn’t an island, but it’s worth seeing while you’re over there. We spent 2 days there, and probably could have done it in 1. We spent the first day walking around exploring and saw the National Gardens, and then went to the Acropolis for the second day. If you like souvlaki/gyros, check out Origin Souvlaki by Syntagma Square – we loved it!
If you’re a history buff or like visiting museums, maybe you’d want to stay for longer.
In Athens, we stayed at the Amalia Hotel which was OK, and had a great location.
Recommendations for Getting Around
We flew from Athens to the first island, and then from the last island back to Athens. Both flights were through Olympic Air/Aegean Airlines and were quick and efficient. Depending on itineraries and cost, you may want to consider booking flights between Athens and the islands.
Keep in mind that while the flight may be fast, you’ll still need to arrive at the airport early and account for time getting to the airport. Ferries can be more efficient depending on the route.
We took ferries between the islands, and we had a great experience. The cost was as low as $10-15 per person per direction since we booked them in advance, and they were quite efficient. We didn’t have to get there nearly as early as for a flight, and on one of them we could even sit outside on the deck for the ride.
The big companies you’ll want to look at are SeaJets, Golden Star, and Blue Star. I typically used a Greek ferry search engine like GreekFerries.gr to compare options and pricing, and then booked directly with the ferry line.
Keep in mind that if you choose the pickup tickets option, you’ll need to grab your tickets from a ferry travel agency before departure. They often charge a small fee for printing them for you, and you can pick them up the day you leave (or earlier).
There is no shortage of opportunities to rent cars or ATVs in Greece! We rented a car in Naxos and it was necessary. It let us explore, gave us more flexibility, and didn’t end up being too stressful. It’s more of a rural island, so there weren’t crazy drivers or traffic to deal with.
I’d recommend seeing if your hotel can book a rental car for you and coordinate things. Ours did, so we had someone from the rental car company greet us at the ferry with the car. On the way back, we were able to leave the car at the ferry terminal for them. It was very smooth and only a small premium over booking it ourselves.
Our car didn’t have GPS, but I opted for the “Roam Like Home” option from my wireless carrier to pay a flat fee per day to use my data as if I were in Canada. The GPS wasn’t as effective as at home (since Naxos is pretty rural), but it got us where we needed to be!
There is no shortage of delicious food options in Greece! Here are some of my tips for eating there.
Grab snacks at bakeries
Looking for a quick snack or breakfast? Consider shopping at a local bakery! Our hotel in Santorini didn’t provide breakfast, so we ate at the Mylonas bakery nearby most days. The food was delicious and really affordable.
Opt for Souvlaki instead of a sit down meal
Eating every meal at a sit down restaurant for days on end can get expensive and a little tiresome. Sometimes you just want something quick, cheap, and simple.
We ate a ton of souvlakis/gyros in Greece, and one of my favourites was from Lucky’s Souvlaki in Mykonos, pictured below.
Share meals at restaurants
The portions at restaurants are often generous, so consider sharing an entree or both an entree and appetizer. It prevents food waste (since in most cases you won’t take the leftovers to-go), and helps you save money.
Take advantage of hotel breakfasts
Many restaurants in Greece will offer breakfast included in the nightly rate. They’re often buffet breakfasts that run for a few hours each morning, and while not always incredible, they do the job.
Look to see whether your hotel offers breakfast and if it does, definitely check it out.
For tips on how to save money on your honeymoon: Honeymoon Hacks: How to Save Money On Your Trip
Looking for a thorough packing list? I have you covered: What to Pack for Your Honeymoon: The Ultimate Checklist
That wraps up my top tips for a honeymoon in the Greek Islands! If you’ve been to Greece, do you have any additional tips? I’d love to hear them!