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Athens, Mykonos, Santorini and Ios, doesn’t this sound like the dreamiest of dream trips?? Well I can tell you that it is, as this is the trip I have just done with Travel Talk Tours. If you haven’t heard of Travel Talk Tours, they are a tour company who offer trips all around Europe and to some Countries in Asia & Northern Africa, they are very competitive in price and they attract a great group of people, especially people from Australia and New Zealand. I went to Egypt with them last year and saw so much of Egypt in just one week (you can read about my Egypt trip here as I would really recommend this trip too) so I was very excited to head to Greece with Travel Talk Tours again and tick off some bucket list places like Mykonos and Santorini!
I went on Travel Talk Tours Athens + 3 Island Explorer Tour which I then extended to the Best of Greece Tour so I had a ferry back to Athens plus a nights accommodation so I could fly back to London from Athens.
The tour was 10 days which includes the day of arrival to Athens a long with the welcome tour and dinner. The last day was breakfast and departure from Athens, so essentially we had 8 days of Greek Sun, Fun and Adventure!
I have written individual blog posts and made videos for each destination that we visited on the trip which I have detailed below. However if you are thinking about booking this trip or looking for the best way to travel Greece, read on for some extra information including costs of extras on the trip:
Please note that if you book your tour via the links in this blog post I get a small commission for recommending it to you and producing this content but it costs you no more! Thanks in advance!
The tour does not include transport from the airport to Athens like it did on my Egypt tour so my sister and I caught bus X95 from outside the airport terminal for €6.00 each and then caught the metro to our hotel (in hindsight we should have taken the metro as although it costs €10.00 it’s direct into the centre, much cooler and quicker). Athens really surprised me in a number of ways and the metro system was one of them, it’s really clean, easy to use and good value and it was nice to experience this local side of Athens even though we were arriving in Athens to be on a tour.
The hotel that is included on Travel Talk Tours Greece Tours is the Arion Hotel however unfortunately my sister and I, plus a few others were in another hotel which was pretty awful. I spoke to Travel Talk Tours who said this was a one-off and I hope they won’t be booking guests into this hotel again. The Arion Hotel is beautiful though and in a great location so it’s the perfect place to start the trip, just ensure that Travel Talk Tours do book you into this hotel.
The whole group met in the evening for the orientation by our guide George, an Australian with Greek heritage who moved back to Greece 20 years ago, he was going to be with us for the rest of the trip and I couldn’t have hoped for a better guide. We were told some facts about Greece, important information like what good foods to look out for, plus we had a low down of how the next week was going to look, and it was looking pretty good!
Dinners and lunches are not included on the tour for Greece however as with most of our meals on the trip, George had a place booked if we wanted to eat there together and if we didn’t it was fine. We all took the chance to go out for dinner with him and get to know the rest of the group though and he introduced us to our first (of many) Gyro experiences in Greece.
This is when the trip really started and it started with a tour of Athens! We met at 9:00am and walked from Monastiraki Square which is one of the main squares, up to the famous Acropolis. Acropolis actually means the highest point of a city which means that all Cities in Greece have one but the one on Athens is the most popular because it has the Parthenon on top.
The walk initially looked quite tough as the Acropolis looked very high compared to where we were standing in the square but it wasn’t too bad and the views, pretty streets and good company meant we were at the top in no time at all.
We met our guide Daphne who was going to take us around, the entrance fee was not included in the package, a cost I wasn’t aware of, it costs €20.00 however if you’re a student I would recommend bringing your student card as we heard you can get entry for just €5.00 instead.
Daphne walked us round, she was well experienced in where to stand so we got the best views and missed the masses of other tour groups, she then gave us time to walk around by ourselves and get our photos which was much appreciated. On a popular day in high season the Acropolis can get thousands of people per day! So I was glad we got there early and left at 11:00am just as it was getting even busier.
We headed back down into the Centre, we walked through some really nice streets of Athens which again, really surprised me, they were so green with lots of restaurants and cafes and it really made me think that Athens is such an underrated city for a city break. We got an iced coffee as George had said they were really good in Greece (and they are!) before jumping on a bus and heading to the Olympic Stadium.
We only briefly stopped at the stadium but it was really impressive, George told us about the history of it a long with the battle and the run which is where the term Marathon comes from. We got back on the bus and headed to the Congress Hall before stopping at the Parliament building and Tomb of the Unknown Solider to watch the changing of the guards which happens on the hour, every hour, all year. This was really impressive and great to see.
Before long it was lunchtime and we had a restaurant organised if we wished to head there which most of us did. By 15:00 we were finished and had the rest of the afternoon and evening as free time to explore Athens and relax.
I really liked the area around Monastiraki Square which is close to the Arion Hotel, it’s full of restaurants, cafes, bars, fairy lights and street art so later on I headed there for an evening drink on MS Roof top which has incredible views over the city with my sister and a few of the group!
It was time to head to the islands! We had an early wake up call and by 6:15am we were all heading to the port to catch the ferry to Mykonos! We got on board easily and I was pleasantly surprised to see that we all had seats in the Air Seating section of the ferry, meaning the seats were all really comfy. The journey was 5 hours and passed by nicely with a few trips to the top of the boat however it was so windy we pretty much had to come back inside straight away! My only regret is that I didn’t pack more food and drink as the prices on board the boat were quite pricey which I guess is to be expected!
We were soon pulling up to the island of Mykonos with its’s white wash buildings lining the sides of the island. We got off at the port and drove the quick 5 minute journey to our 2 hotels. We were again split over 2 hotels due to our group side but both were really nice. I was in Alex Hotel and on check in I was in love with the white buildings, the iconic blue shutters and the ocean view from our room.
We headed to Compass restaurant which is next to Alex Hotel, this is where we experienced our first taste of just how expensive Mykonos is and can be. George told us in the welcome meeting that Mykonos is expensive and will be the most expensive island we visit. Burgers started at about €11.00 but pastas’s and salads went up to €15.00-20.00, due to the location of the hotels we were not near any other restaurants or the main town for any other options, however a clever group did go to the supermarket which was a 5 minute walk away and stocked up on some snacks there instead.
The nearest beach to the hotel is about a 15 minute walk away but we had a pool at the hotel with a decent amount of seating and great sun coverage in the afternoon so quite a few of us chilled there for a few hours before showering and meeting up at 7:00pm to head into the Mykonos town!
Mykonos town was a short drive away and a 30 minute walk, George knew our priorities and we stopped at a bakery before we started our walk as we wouldn’t be heading for dinner until after sunset at about 9:30pm because we were on greek time now of course!
After one Spinach Pie for €2.50 and a few chats to members of the group that I hadn’t yet spoken to, we were right in the middle of Mykonos Town. I was prepared for it to be busy and I didn’t pressure myself to get too many photos as I had plans of coming back in the morning and that was definitely the best way to do it. George told us a bit more about the town, like how it seems confusing to navigate because it was designed to confuse pirates who would dock at the island. They would get off, get lost in the streets, be ambushed by the locals so word got out that Mykonos was a death trap and pirates stopped invading!
Our sunset spot in Mykonos was up by the iconic windmills, we had plenty of space to chill as a group and there was a shop selling beers for €2.50 just down the road from the windmills so we got a beer and chatted to more people in our group until the sun went down and it was pretty much the iconic Mykonos sunset that I wanted to see!
Next up was dinner and we headed back through the streets, all 30 of us in tow, we passed all the cute shops and I still could not get over the beauty of the streets even though it was still very busy. We had some tables reserved for us at a restaurant, we had a beer, some good food which was a reasonable price for Mykonos and as the restaurant know our group well they presented us with a mini magnum ice cream followed by a shot before we left!
We were all in good spirits now and ready to check out Mykonos’s nightlife which it is well-known for! We started at Scandinavian Bar which I really liked. It was quiet when we got there but soon got busier because the nightlife in Greece doesn’t start until much later! The only disappointment was the price of the drinks, a vodka and mixer was €10.00, and a beer €6.00 so although we all had a good dance and a drink or two, we didn’t end up too drunk as we didn’t want to pay those prices (in hindsight maybe a good thing though) and George said that Scandinavian Bar in Mykonos is one of the cheapest places for drinks!
No pick up was arranged back to the hotel which was fine as everyone was leaving at different times so a group of us walked the 30 minute walk back to the hotel which really wasn’t that bad by the time we had navigated the streets of Mykonos town to get on to the main road!
A drunken night is usually needed to break the ice of a group trip and this was certainly that night and it was perfectly timed too after knowing each other for 48 hours!
This day of the trip was actually completely free with no set activity so we could do as we pleased however I guess from experience Travel Talk know that the group wants to do something and needs something arranged, especially as our hotels were not that close to the town or a beach, so a day at Paradise Beach had been arranged if we wanted to go, which most of us did. Luckily the pick up was not until 10:30am meaning we got a bit of extra sleep to help with the headaches from the night before.
I was still really keen to see Mykonos town in the day so my sister and I got dropped off in town while the others went straight to Paradise Beach, this was a great idea and I’m so glad we did and would really recommend others to do this too! The town was still pretty busy, especially in the main streets, most of the shops were open now but the beauty of the streets was still so evident. I literally felt like I was walking through a picture (one of the many I have seen on Instagram), the blue shutters, the red shutters, the pink flowers, it was very dreamy!
We weren’t following a map, just walking up any street that took our fancy and this was a great way to do it, we actually found some really quiet, residential and very beautiful streets around where Scandinavian Bar is and after seeing these I was happy that we had seen the best Mykonos Town has to offer and as it was getting busier and busier we headed to Fabric Square to catch the public bus to Paradise Beach.
The buses all had signs on them so it was easy to see which one was going where and the tickets were easy to purchase at the ticket hut too. A one way ticket cost €1.80 so 30 minutes later plus a bit of crazy Greek driving we were arriving at Paradise Beach.
Paradise Beach is a beach lined with bars, a few of these have their own accommodation and although it was very busy during the day with lots of sun beds and just enough space on the beach to lie down on a towel, which is what we did as we didn’t want to pay €20.00 for a sun lounger, it was pretty chilled.
George gave us the heads up that its pretty liberal on Paradise Beach, there’s a fair amount of top less sunbathing, and in some cases complete naked-ness which we definitely saw. Another thing Mykonos is known for is its gay scene and this was very evident at Paradise Beach but it definitely makes the beach what it is and gives it it’s awesome vibe.
We sun bathed for a few hours popping in and out of the ocean which was a beautiful colour, we randomly found a €3.50 Gyro from Tropicana which was really good and got some drinks and snacks from the mini market where the bus dropped us. Paradise Beach surprised me in the fact that it is actually a public beach so you can go there during the day and not spend any money on hiring a sunbed, and you can take food and drink from the shop onto the beach to keep costs down.
4:00pm soon came around and we were told to meet in one of the bars as this is when the party at Paradise Beach starts. We ordered some 2 for 1 cocktails starting from €12.00 each, we were given a few buckets complimentary plus a shot and I couldn’t believe how quickly the atmosphere changed! The music was pumping, girls were up on the stages and trying to get us up dancing and before long the DJ came out, he started dancing too and didn’t stop for the next few hours!
I love day parties like this and it was such a fun vibe. Within an hour or so most of us were dancing along with a few hundred other people, some were still in bikinis, most of us barefoot, the beach had emptied but the ocean glistened in front of us while were dancing and drinking away! What more could you want?
7:00pm came around far too soon and this was our time to leave on the coach, we were all pretty gutted and didn’t know why we couldn’t stay for an hour longer or why the pick up wasn’t 8:00pm but George assured us that the party dies down from 7:00-9:00pm before picking back up again.
Some people went for food at Compass once back at the hotels, some of us didn’t want to pay those prices again and instead got a beer and a snack from the supermarket to have by the pool before calling it a fairly early night which was well needed!
RELATED BLOG POST: Visiting Paradise Beach in Mykonos For a Beach Party!
Now it was time to head to the famous island of Santorini! Our pick up was at 9:00am which wasn’t too bad as most of us had had a fairly early night the night before. We got on the boat no problem and again I was really pleased with the quality of the boat.
Santorini port was hectic and this made me so glad that I didn’t have to worry about finding my way myself as we found George when we got off and he got us on the bus. As we started the climb up the hill to our hotel in Santorini George told us a bit about the island.
For the first time on the trip we were all in the same hotel which was really nice and it was a nice hotel called New Haroula Hotel in the town of Fira.
We were all pretty hungry so checked in and headed straight back out on the bus to one of Santorini’s famous black beaches. George had told us that a positive to Santorini is that if you eat in one of the restaurants you can usually use their sunbeds for free and not pay (which isn’t the case in Mykonos) so we enjoyed a lovely lunch at a reasonable price on the beach, chilling and napping on sunbeds right by the ocean, it was the perfect way to spend our first few hours in Santorini.
We had enough time to get showered and changed when back at the hotel before meeting in reception and walking into the town of Fira. We were really close to the centre which was great. Fira really surprised me as I guess I expected it to look like the photos I had seen of Oia but Fira does have a different vibe, I mean it has a McDonald’s (!), but pretty soon we were walking through the small streets and about to walk down some steps, look to the left and see the Santorini we had seen in all the photos, and yes I loved it!
This spot was really busy so we moved further up the street and although it was really, really windy we were able to watch the sunset with some beers we’d got earlier and what a beautiful sunset it was!
Dinner had been arranged again in a nearby restaurant, after dinner most of the group headed out to get a taste of the Fira nightlife which is actually really good, I headed to bed and saved myself for tomorrow!
This was probably the best day of the trip because we hired quad bikes to explore the island of Santorini! Day 6 is another free day on the itinerary and quad biking is an optional and additional extra and not actually mentioned in the itinerary for the trip so I didn’t have any idea we would be doing this.
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous especially when one of the guys said that quad bikes can be easier to tip than mopeds but thankfully it was fine and we all had such a good day!
The quad bike hire was €40.00 which we split between 2 of us, plus €10.00 for petrol so €25.00 in total each.
George gave us some tips on what to do and gently reminded us to stay on the correct side of the road, we handed in our license and before we knew it we were off to the first stop which was the famous town of Oia. If you’ve seen a photo of Santorini (and who hasn’t!), it’s more than likely from Oia.
Oia was busy but wow is it beautiful, although very windy too! We explored the small streets at our own pace but because we were such a big group in a small area we kept bumping back into each other.
After Oia was the highest peak of Santorini, unfortunately some of us girls missed the turning and ended up at the beach which was our recommended lunch spot. It was a shame to have missed the view over Santorini but we weren’t too bothered and we were ready for some food which we had in a beach side cafe of another black beach.
The final stop was to a lighthouse on the very tip of the island, again it was so windy here and it kind of ruined it because we didn’t stay for more than 3 minutes but if we squinted hard enough we could see the town of Fira spilling over the rocks in front of us.
Although the spots we visited were amazing, the best part of the day was of course driving around on the quad bikes, it was fun driving them and not as scary as I thought, and it was fun just chilling on the back looking at the ocean, the mountains and the wineries!
We had another chance to watch the sunset this evening but it was soo windy and England were playing in the World Cup so a few of us grabbed a cheap Gyro and went to the pub. It pretty much ended up as the few people who went to bed early the night before were the ones out and those who were out the night before went to bed! George was a trooper though and stayed out both nights with us!
We also said bye to a lot of the group at this point as some people had just been on the Athens + 2 Island Explorer Tour and others were on a combined Greece and Turkey Tour and were heading off to Turkey in the morning which was such a shame! Although their Turkey section of the trip looked amazing!
On this note (and if you’re still reading this as I know it’s a long post, we just did so much!) if you are trying to work out which tour to do, if you have the time I would really recommend doing the Athens + 3 Island Explorer Tour . The guys that left to go home and even the guys that went to Turkey said they had major FOMO of us going onto our 3rd island because by this point in the trip we felt like family!
Please also remember that if you book your tour via the links in this blog post I get a small commission for recommending them to you and producing this content but it costs you no more! Thanks in advance!
We had a 10:00am start and an hour ferry this morning to head to Ios which wasn’t too bad! I hadn’t heard of Ios before which I was surprised about but I was told its more of a popular party island for Aussies and Kiwis which was alright with me!
We pretty much fell in love with Ios as soon as we docked, the water around the port was a beautiful aqua colour and we were picked up by our hotel owner who was full of jokes and kept us entertained on the way to the hotel! Most of us stayed at Hermes Hotel, however the group was split again and unfortunately the few people in the other hotel weren’t in a very nice hotel! They passed this feedback onto Travel Talk Tours though so hopefully they will keep this in mind for future trips. On arrival to Hermes Hotel, looking at the views of the ocean behind the hotel I could not believe that we would be staying here for the next 2 days!
We checked in and walked the 15 minute walk down to Mylopotas Beach. It was a gorgeous walk with ocean and mountain views, George later told us that Mylopotas Beach is one of the longest stretches of sand beaches in Greece!
We had lunch at Far Out Village and chilled on the beach for the afternoon which was just what we needed as we knew that Ios was the last place we could top up our tan.
Later that day we got our glad rags on because this evening on the itinerary is the official party evening, and met the whole group in town before going for dinner and then onto our first bar! George knows Ios well and knows that the groups like cheap drinks so we started in Soho bar which offered Jagerbombs and cocktails for super cheap! The rest of the night is a bit of a blur of bar hopping, lots of dancing and more drinks (if you want to get an idea of what happened have a look at my YouTube video below, including the bar called Slammers where you buy a shot, put a helmet on and get hit over the head with a board or hammer, whatever the staff desire before drinking your shot!).
Most of us got back to the hotel at about 5:00am just as it was getting light which was a pretty good way to end a night on one of Greece’s best party islands!
Luckily for us Hermes Hotel know what their guests are like and their breakfast starts at 10:00am and finished at 12:00, pretty good hey!
This day was totally free, the first one we had all trip and it worked out perfectly! Some people slept, others chilled by the pool, some went on a boat trip that had been recommended to us the day before and some of us chilled on the beach again.
Our only plan was to go on a walk through the town in the evening and head up the hill to see the sunset which is a popular thing to do in Ios. I wanted to take some photos of Ios town and have a wander around it slowly myself so I left the hotel an hour before our meeting time to do just that and I’m really glad I did! Ios is only quite small but it’s really beautiful and nothing like Mykonos or Santorini even though it has many of the same features in terms of the white washed buildings and pink flowers, I’d really suggest making time in the 2 days on Ios to explore the town yourself as the walk that we did in the evening was pretty quick and we pretty much went straight to the top of the hill.
This was ok though as the hill gives an incredible view over Ios and on a clear day Santorini can even be seen in the distance. We weren’t the only ones wanting to see the sunset from the top of the hill and although it was technically quite busy it wasn’t bad at all, everyone was in their small groups and we watched the sun set literally into the mountain in front of us and the sky set on fire.
We grabbed our last Gyro as we got back into town and because the football was on again this night we went to Fun Pub to watch it which then turned into a few games of Beer Pong. Again some people went straight back to the hotel after the sunset, others stayed out for a bit and the rest of us had pretty much a repeat of the night before going into all the bars, and although there were talks of karaoke we didn’t quite get there which I was glad about!
RELATED BLOG POST: A Guide to the Greek Party Island of Ios!
Luckily because I was on the Best of Greece Tour which has the ferry back to Athens included we didn’t have to leave to go to the port until 12:00. Others had booked a boat to Santorini and flight from there or boat to Athens themselves and some had to get up really early!
Note that if you want to make it into work the next day it is possible to book the Athens + 3 Island Explorer Tour and book a boat yourself leaving Ios early in the morning and you can then go straight to the airport to fly home!
The boat journey back to Athens is about 5 hours and again it was totally fine, although in my opinion the best journey of the trip was the first boat ride even though it was a long one too.
This time I was staying at the Arion Hotel which is the hotel detailed on Travel Talk Tours website and it is really nice and fancy with a beautiful rooftop view. We didn’t get to the hotel until about 19:00 so the few of us that were left went for dinner and ice cream and reminisced over the trip and future trips, it was really nice! This was all followed by a well needed good nights sleep in the incredibly comfy beds that are in the Arion Hotel!
I was flying back to London in the afternoon so my sister and I had breakfast, checked out and got on the metro back to the airport for €10.00 which was super easy!
We felt so sad to leave Greece but I had definitely felt more sad the day before when leaving Ios and having to say bye to everyone! Now that it was just us two it felt ok to be leaving and we had constant messages being sent in the Facebook chat to organise when everyone would be in London so we could meet up again!
5500 words later I hope you have a good idea of what a Travel Talk Tour around Greece looks like!
I honestly had the best time, I loved meeting so many new and amazing people. Travel Talk definitely attract awesome people, as I said this was my second tour with them and the people have been amazing on both trips, as have the guides and although the destinations were amazing its always the people who count and make a trip!
If you’re 20-35 and want to go on a fun trip with fun people who are travelling Europe or generally live in London and are trying to see as much of Europe as possible, Travel Talk Tours are the best company to go with and their Greece tour was amazing too! I can’t wait to go away with them again!
If you’re convinced that you need to go to Greece, why not look up some flights on Skyscanner now!?
To look on their app, click here!
I went to Greece on a press trip with Travel Talk Tours but all opinions and thoughts are my own. This posts also contains affiliate links but at no extra cost to you, I just get a small commission for recommending them to you if you book.
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a total travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010 and has visited over 55 Countries. (Yes I’m a Country Counter!)
I love travelling, visiting new places and meeting new people but what I also love is sharing my experiences to help you travel better which is why I pour so much love into this travel blog.
I hope to inspire you to visit new places, make you realise you don’t need to spend that much money to travel and give you helpful tips on how to get to places and what to do there!
In the Summer of 2018, I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time so if this is your dream too, follow along because I post lots of content around how I did it. And it really is amazing!
Be sure to follow me on social media and you can read more about me here!
NOW: SRI LANKA
BETWEEN: SOMEWHERE IN ASIA!
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