So a lot of people have been asking who I planned my trip with. Well, the answer is the internet! I didn’t use a travel agent or anything to help with the planning. I did it all myself. So I thought I would post a full layout of everything we did and where we went to help anyone else trying to plan a trip to Greece : ) No I am not sponsored by anyone, but I sure would like to be!!!
Be prepared, this is going to be lengthy and probably not too exciting unless you are going to Greece and planning the trip.
To start with I got the Bank of America travel rewards card before moving to Germany knowing we would be doing a lot of traveling. You get points no matter what you spend your money on but if you spend it on travel related things you get double! So we have been putting everything on the card and just paying it right off to gain points. We already had about $300 in points racked up so one of our tickets and a little more was paid for in points! I also booked our tickets through the Bank of America booking agent website (they charge you a small fee to have them book it over the phone, but they will assist you over the phone for free). This got us, even more, savings! The tickets were showing up as more on their site than Swiss Air (who we flew with) though. It took a LOT of call transferring (I guess not many – read no one – people use the price match feature) to find someone to help me do the price match. You have to purchase the ticket at full price and then they issue a refund for the difference. The lady who helped me just pulled the ticket up on Swiss Air at the same time I booked through B of A and as soon as it went through she issued the refund. So that was a pain in the rear but it got us lots more points – so worth it.
So we flew with Swiss Air as it was the cheapest ticket in our time frame. That’s also something that helped in booking cheap. Not only did we travel to Greece during their off season but we knew we wanted to go for 7 days but had more like 15 days to choose from. So we could pick and choose our 7 days according to the ticket price. Unfortunately, we would have saved quite a bit more if we could have left just one day earlier but, Billy’s schedule said no. But we still got good deals on tickets. We had some layovers but it really wasn’t all that bad. Swiss Air is an awesome airline. They gave us food and refreshments even though the flights were 2 hours or less. Also… they give you Swiss chocolate. I was sold after that.
So we flew out of Nuremberg and we left our car in parking. Tip: If you leave you car in parking, pre-pay for your parking online before hand and you save a TON of money. If you do this, when you get there you just slide the card you used to pay for the parking slip slot when you get there and again when you leave. Do it! It will save you lots of money! From Nuremberg, we flew to Zurich where we had a short layover and then we flew to Athens.
When we arrived at Athens we walked up to the train station that is so conveniently right outside the airport. I had figured out exactly what we needed to do before we left so it was super easy.
“Metro is running from 06:00 to 23:00 every 30’. You can take it to Syntagma Square 45’, as you come out the station you can see Mitropoleos street, walk down to number 46. Bus X95 is running 24 hours and every 15’ connecting the airport with the city center, take the bus to Syntagma Square (terminal), as you come out you can see Mitropoleos street, walk down to number 46.”
This dumped us out right in the middle of town and it was a short walk to our hotel that I also pre-mapped out on google maps.
We stayed at the Metropolis Hotel in Athens and got a cheaper rate here for booking online ahead of time also. It’s not the fanciest hotel and the rooms are little. But your butts shouldn’t be in the room anyway, they should be out getting educated by Athens! And the location of the hotel is ideal for walking to Plaka and all the ruins.
We got settled in and thought about going to a museum but instead took it easy and went out for a nice early dinner. (we had been up since 3AM)
We had dinner at Tzitzikas kai Mermigas and then went back for a quick nap before heading out to take a night time stroll around Athens. We also went to Chill Box for some ice cream. The mango is to die for! I still crave it. Sadly I can’t find a link to that but it’s super close and in that area.
We went back to the hotel, got a good night sleep before getting up bright and Early the next morning!
We got up nice and early for a day of 10 miles on foot and loads of history. We went ahead and checked out of our room and had the hotel store our bags for us. We headed out on foot towards Ancient Agora. We stopped at Attica on the way to grab a bite to eat and a coffee. I had Spanikopita and it was yummy! It was so cool getting to try all of the Greek dishes that I had growing up actually in Greece. We chowed down and then kept walking until we arrived at Ancient Agora, where we purchased our tickets for around $12 each. These tickets will get you into all of the ruins of Athens and are good for 4 days! It also includes the museum in Ancient Agora, but not the Acropolis Museum. Agora was a perfect starting point for us so we could hit everything else on the way up the mountain to the Acropolis. Some of the highlights of Agora are The Temple of Hephaestus and The Museum of Ancient Agora. Once we walked all of the Agora we headed out to visit Hadrian’s Library before grabbing lunch at Maiandros in Plaka.
From here we made the hike up to the Acropolis making our first stop to see the view of Athens. Don’t skip this – it’s worth the extra few stairs! Then we made a stop at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and continued our hike UP. Entering through the Propylaea, we saw the Temple of Athena Nike to our right. Then we walked out into the open with the Parthenon to our right and the Old Temple of Athena to our left. On the way out we visited the Theatre of Dionysus and then made our way to the Acropolis Museum.
This was the end of our whirlwind tour. So we went back to the hotel and picked up our bags and then walked to the train station to hop on the train to Piraeus Port where we would catch our boat to Crete. I booked these tickets ahead of time through Anek Superfast. The boat traveled overnight from 9PM to 6AM so we didn’t have a hotel that night. We did, however, have to sleep in airline style seats, which kind of sucked but the cabins were WAY to pricey. We checking in at the little kiosk and got our actual tickets (for the return trip also) and then got on the boat. Make sure to grab dinner before you get on the boat, though – the food isn’t very good.
We arrived in Heraklion at around 7AM and walked up into town to find some breakfast. We ended up eating at another Attica and taking some down time. We had planned on going to the Archaeological Museum but they didn’t allow backpacks but also didn’t have anywhere for you to store them. I hear its amazing and I really wish we had gotten to go. But we decided to have some lunch and then head on to Rethymnon. So we found a place called Izmir Kebap – some of the best food on this trip! We ordered the platter for two with a little bit of everything and EVERYTHING was good.
We walked back to the bus station at the port after lunch and got our tickets for the next run to Rethymnon. This bus ride was one of the prettiest things I have seen. It travels along the coast and I just couldn’t stop looking out the window. We arrived in Rethymnon and walked through Old Town and found our hotel – another trip highlight. We stayed at the Casa Vitae Hotel for two nights and we both wish we could have spent the entire winter here! It was decorated perfectly and had such a warm and cozy feeling. The staff took our bags and gave us drinks and local holiday treats on the patio as soon as we arrived. It was so relaxing and peaceful. I just cant say enough about it, and I havent even mentioned the breakfasts… oh the breakfasts. I still think about them every morning and I only ate there twice. Anyway, as you can tell, I think you should stay there is ever you find yourself on Crete in Rethymnon (which I also think is a good idea).
Full from our lunch we wanted something small and I found a little local place online I wanted to try. We went and had dinner at 2 Rue. Ask some locals where it is! Its just around the corner from Casa Vitae. The Old man that owns the place makes his own wine, Billy thought it was really good. We did some more walking around and exploring and then came back and went to sleep.
We had a relaxed day and slept in. We had breakfast at the hotel (amazing) and then went out to see the Fortezza. Don’t miss the museum. It doesn’t have much of an entrance, but the stuff inside is worth hunting it down! We went to lunch at Taverna Othonas (a tip from our hotel) and it did not disappoint. We had a relaxing afternoon and went back out later for a sweet treat and a walk around town.
Another Casa Vitae breakfast and then we did some exploring around Rethymnon. Still full from breakfast we decided to go with tapas for lunch at Raki Ba Raki before catching a bus to Chania. After walking around downtown Chania we walked out to the water to find dinner and settled on Taverna Kavouras – which ended up being our favorite meal! We got the shrimp in garlic sauce and calamari and split the two with some locally made white wine. From here we caught the bus to Souda Port where we met a really nice group of Greek military going home for the holidays. We had another night on the boat and would wake up in Athens.
We set our bright and early from the Port and took the train back to Athens to go drop our bags off at our hotel – The Diamond Hotel. (I went back to Attica for another Spanikopida for breakfast on our walk there) Another nice choice and oh so nice! Thy let us check in SO early. We needed showers and a quick nap before our last adventure day. So we got what we needed and then set out to the train station to go to Ancient Corinth. Just ask the ticket counter where you need to get on and off and they will help you out. It is about an hour trip and once we got there we took a quick taxi ride to the site. The public transportation was a little pricey compared to the rest of the trip but well worth it! Make sure to walk through their stunning museum! We ended up grabbing a snack for lunch because a lot of the restaurants were closed for the off season. Also, make plans with a taxi before hand for your return trip if you go outside of summer because no one will be out there where there are supposed to be taxi’s to catch. Fortunately, the Greek people are a friendly helpful people and a shop owner called us a taxi : ) So we made our way back to Athens and had a low key dinner at Savvas Souvlaki Gyros Restaurant and another Chill box for dessert… mango again – I need Chill Box here!
This was just a travel day, but we got to sleep in! We walked to the train station and took the trail back to the airport to catch our plain to Zurich. We had a quick lunch at McDonalds in the airport, which was actually cheaper?! Once we got to Zurich we had a LONG layover and then on to Nuremberg where we go the car and made the hour drive home to arrive right around midnight to a very happy pointer dog : )
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