In 2020 we had an epic journey planned through Europe, starting in Budapest and visiting Bucharest, Brasov, Sofia and then travelling through Greece from Thessaloniki to Athens. Unfortunately Covid put paid to that trip and when we were able to do it again Covid and the uncertain situation with Ukraine meant it made more sense to focus on seeing as much of Greece as possible.
We kept some of the original itinerary and added in some extras.
Below is our itinerary for 18 days in Greece.
Day 1: Fly from Manchester to Thessaloniki (You can find the Thessaloniki blog post here)
Day 2: Thessaloniki – Day trip to Lake Kirkini
Day 3: Thessaloniki – Day trip to Pozar Thermal Baths and Edessa
Day 4: Train to Meteora (Sunset tour) (You can find our Meteora blog post here)
Day 5: Meteora – Monastery tour.
Day 6: Train to Delphi (visit to Delphi Archaeological site), bus to Athens
Day 7: Athens – Open top bus tour (You can find the Athens blog post here)
Day 8: Athens – Day trip to Cape Sounion, Temple of Poseidon and Archelon Turtle Rescue centre.
Day 9: Athens – Harry Potter walking tour
Day 10: Athens – Acropolis and Acropolis Museum tour
Day 11: Ferry to Santorini (You can find the Santorini blog post here)
Day 12: Day in Thira
Day 13: Chill day in Oia
Day 14: Ferry to Athens and then overnight ferry to Crete
Day 15: Crete – Pool day (You can find the Crete blog post here)
Day 16: Crete – Perfume workshop at Bioaroma and boat trip to Spinalonga
Day 17: Crete – Plaka
Day 18: Fly from Chania to Newcastle
We booked all of our accommodation through Booking.com, most of it only a couple of weeks before we went. The fact we could do this and still have lots of choice was partly due to post Covid quieter travel and partly due to it being April and the very beginning of the summer season. All the accommodation was fine although the apartment in Thessaloniki was very noisy so we probably wouldn’t recommend that one.
2 planes, 2 trains, 3 ferries, 2 buses, a few mini buses, several taxis, 2 boats and a horse! I think we managed nearly every form of transport. We did a mixture of public transport and organised tours and everything was really easy.
Trains – Greece does not have the same kind of train infrastructure as the UK. We took 2 trains from Thessaloniki to Meteora, the first was delayed but we did somehow managed to make the second. All the announcements on the first train were in Greek, most of the stations didn’t have a station name on display and there wasn’t any information on display but we managed. We were supposed to get trains from Meteora to Delphi but there was a train strike on the day we were due to travel and the company we had booked with organised alternative transport.
Our ferries were booked using ferryhopper.com.
Blue Star Ferries – We took a Blue Star ferry from Athens to Santorini, these are bigger car ferries and really comfortable. We booked Airseats which were really comfortable and great for snoozing but there were plenty of other seating options. There was a Goody’s Burgers on board so lots of options for food and drink.
Blue star have a luggage room for your larger luggage on the car deck.
Sea Jets ferries – These are smaller passenger ferries and are faster than the larger ferries for getting between islands. There is an economy and business seating area, both with rows of seating and a cafe with food and drink options. The downside to the smaller ferry is that it bounces around on the waves more and as a result their were times when we all felt a bit sea sick.
Luggage storage on the Sea Jets is on the outside deck, it was covered with a tarp but ours still got covered with salt spray.
Anek ferries – We booked an overnight ferry from Athens to Crete through Blue Star but when we got there it was an Anek ferry. We really enjoyed our crossing, the room was comfortable, we had a 4 berth cabin made up for We left Athens at about 9pm and arrived in Crete at 7am. There were a couple of different food option on the boat. We took our luggage on board with us but you can check it in to a large lorry before you board and then collect your luggage at the other end.
It felt a little like cruising (not that I’ve ever been on a cruise) as when you check in to get your room key there is a line of porters waiting to take you to your room.
We used the Beat app (similar to Uber) for taxis in Thessaloniki and Athens. It was really easy and not too expensive.
We only hired a car in Crete and used Greenways. We were really impressed with them, they met us off the ferry in Chania and we returned the car to one of the airport car parks at Chania airport. The car was new, very clean and all insurances included and a second driver free.
We used our Revolut card to both for paying for things and to withdraw money and as usual it worked really well. Most places took card but it was handy to have cash as well.
We visited Greece in April 2022 when Pip was 9.