Roma, Italy

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Rome given the very mixed reviews I’d received about the city over the years from friends and colleagues that have visited. It was a fairly 50/50 split of those that either loved Rome or those that didn’t like it at all. I kept wondering why this city was so polarizing. I promised myself that I’d enter Rome with zero expectations and fully commit to forming my own opinions about the city. Spoiler alert: I loved every second of my time here!

I found Rome to be extraordinary. I also found the sheer size of the city to be a tad overwhelming at first, but only overwhelming in a way that I wanted to ensure I saw everything that I wanted to see – not actually overwhelming to navigate. There are seemingly endless ancient ruins to see and so many points of interest. We only had three days to explore and were kind of worried that wasn’t going to be enough time, but it ended up being a very good amount of time as a first introduction to the Eternal City. There is something for everyone here. A busy city center, tourist attractions, quiet neighborhoods, lots of green spaces, and don’t even get me started on the food. The food was beyond!

With a city of this size, you really need to come in with a plan though. For us that meant researching what landmarks, museums and neighborhoods we wanted to visit and what restaurants we wanted to make reservations at. Whenever we visit a new city we always plan ahead by grouping our interests by neighborhood. If you fail to do your research ahead of time you’re not setting yourself up for success and you’re likely going to be disappointed.

Where to Stay:

After a ton of research we landed on the Testaccio neighborhood and we can’t recommend it enough. We loved how it felt more peaceful and tucked away from the bustle of the city. We found an amazing AirBnb that was walking distance from the Roma Ostiense train station as well as several bus stops and a metro stop. Just around the corner from our place there was a dog that was always snoozing in the middle of the sidewalk. Everytime we took that route, we saw the snoozing dog. It was adorable and pictured below of course.

Another area that we would have loved to stay in was Trastevere. If we ever return to Rome, we’ll stay there.

Restaurants:

The best rule of thumb when picking restaurants in any major European city is not to pick a spot near the tourist areas, as you’re more likely to pay more and get a sub-par meal. Venture into the side streets, go off the beaten path and visit the neighborhoods – cannot recommend this enough.

My food/beverage recommendations are a bit light because we only had a few days in Rome and for some meals we opted for takeaway sandwiches (think fresh focaccia, local meats and fresh mozzarella). 

  • Morning Cappuccinos: Grab yourself a takeaway cappuccino and pastry while you roam the streets. We always opted for a simple cappuccino and a pastry with either Nutella or pistachio cream (the local favorite).
  • Marigold: An adorable modern-rustic restaurant and micro bakery near the AirBnb we stayed at in Testaccio. The coffee was amazing, and the brunch was delicious.
  • Enoteca Trastevere: We had a leisurely lunch here while people watching in Trastevere and it was so good. The best Amatriciana I’ve had to date.
  • Roma Sparita: This place is legendary as Anthony Bourdain visited here years ago and raved about it. We made reservations ahead of time.
  • L’Antica Enoteca: We had dinner here one night at and it was so fun. We sat outside, split a bottle of wine – as we did with every dinner – and had incredible people watching. We sat right next to Henrikh Mkhitaryan and his family. Not going to lie, I had to google him to see who he was. Him and his family were so nice. (Also, this entire neighborhood is full of restaurants that are equally as good)
  • Tacito: We wanted to check out a different neighborhood, so we had dinner here one night and it felt like a fun and modern take on traditional Italian dishes.

What to Do:

  • Visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. There will likely be a very long line to get tickets if you don’t purchase them ahead of time. We got our tickets online weeks before our trip and walked right in with no wait. You can purchase “skip the line” tickets for most, if not all tourist attractions in the city. Here are the tickets we got.
  • Take in the sights of the Colosseum: We walked all around the outside and snapped pictures but didn’t purchase tickets for a tour inside – although I hear it’s amazing – we were just short on time so we skipped it.
  • Explore Piazza Navona and surrounding areas: This square of Rome was so charming with all the picturesque restaurants, shops and a gorgeous fountain. Luke and I proceeded to take one million photos here because we couldn’t get enough of its cuteness.
  • See the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps: I’m not going to lie, the fountain is downright awe-inspiring but the amount of tourists all standing shoulder to shoulder at any given moment feels a bit chaotic and claustrophobic. It’s a definite must-see but just remember to be aware of your surroundings here. Not far away is another must-see, the Spanish Steps. Interesting fact: you cannot sit on the steps. 
  • Check out the Pantheon: Entry is free, the line moves quick and it’s beautiful. Plus, all the marble that was used in construction is just incredible and beautiful. 
  • Walk along the Tiber River: The river runs right through the middle of the city and offers some beautiful views! We walked along the river a few days and it was such a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of busy Rome.
  • Spend some time strolling around Trastevere: This neighborhood is a vibe. Spend some time getting lost amongst the beautiful cobblestone streets and take in all the beautiful sights. There are many wonderful bars and restaurants here. We had lunch here one day and dinner another.
  • Explore the neighborhood just south of the Piazza del Popolo: Wander the narrow streets that are packed full of shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s the busy side of Rome at its best. 

Getting Around:

We arrived in Rome via train. We purchased one way tickets from Naples to Rome on Trenitalia for 26/person. We arrived in Roma Termini (the main train station) and for 1 extra we hoped on a quick transfer to Roma Ostiense as that train station was across the parking lot from our AirBnb in Testaccio. The entire trip was seamless and effortless to navigate. Gosh I love train travel in Europe. We also purchased our journey to the airport on our last day via Trenitalia.

Metro: As far as getting around Rome, we were excited to try out their metro system but were admittedly very underwhelmed. To be clear we didn’t have a terrible experience, the lines were just rather limited. Since we were staying in a mostly central location, there were only two lines that could be utilized and the metro stops weren’t always located in the most convenient locations for us. If you do choose to take the metro, tickets can be purchased at the train stations prior to boarding.

Bus: We found far more success riding the local bus. For the most efficient bus route, just open Google Maps, type in your starting point and destination, select the transit option and you’ll receive the most efficient route(s) and directions. It really makes navigation sooooo easy. Or if you’re feeling adventurous you can just hop on the first bus you come across and see where it takes you. We did this a few times just for fun 🙂 You can purchase tickets in advance from vending machines at metro stations, major bus stops and most tobacco shops.

Capri, Italy

Capri was one place I knew I wanted to visit on our trip and I’m so glad that we did. We opted for a day trip and I’m wishing we could have extended that day trip to a 2-3 day trip. This little island is packed full of so much to see.

When we arrived on Capri the weather was a bit chilly and overcast – which actually ended up being perfect for walking around. Towards the end of lunch the clouds started clearing the way for sunny skies.

What I loved most about Capri was the natural beauty. There are flowers everywhere and the entire island smells so sweet, like perfume. Everything just looks more beautiful here. We spent a good amount of time just wandering around the streets to see what we’d stumble upon. We were continuously in awe of the meticulously manicured villas with stunning gardens and picture perfect sea views. What a luxurious little island.

What to Do:

  • Explore the Marina Grande area before taking the funicular to Capri town
  • People-watching and window shopping in Capri town
  • Walk along Via Tragara to Belvedere Tragara for beautiful views of the Faraglioni Rocks
  • Another beautiful viewpoint to check out is Scala Fenicia
  • Take a bus to Anacapri to experience the slower side of Capri
  • Grab a takeaway gelato and wader around the streets on Anacapri
  • Visit the Blue Grotto
  • Spend the day at La Fontelina – this is my dream for my next visit to Capri!
  • Sample limoncello and chocolates from the local shops

Getting Around:

The only way to reach Capri is by sea. Since we were already on the Amalfi Coast, we took a ferry from Positano to Capri. I can’t remember how much we paid, but I do remember thinking it was more money than I would have liked to have spent, yikes. I want to say that for 2 people it was around €80 round trip. The trip there and back was roughly 40 minutes each way and was quite a pleasant trip.

Funicular: The funicular (cable car) runs between the port in Marina Grande and the Piazzetta in Capri town and costs €2/per person each way. It runs every 15 minutes and the trip up the island lasts only 4 minutes. You need to purchase tickets at the ticket office prior to boarding the funicular. Keep in mind that the ticket office is not located at the entrance to the funicular. It’s located at the end of the arrival pier to the right [facing the island], right near the high speed ferry ticket offices. 

Local Bus: There are public buses on Capri that are more like mini buses. We took a public bus over to Anacapri and back. If my memory is correct we just purchased tickets as we boarded and it was under €3/per person each way. Please keep in mind that the lines tend to get rather long for the buses because they don’t accommodate a lot of passengers.

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”

— John Steinbeck


Positano was a dream. It’s one of the more unique and fascinating towns we’ve visited with colorful buildings that are seemingly built straight from the sea and into a ravine that shoots right up the steep cliffside.

We took the local bus from Praiano to Positano and hopped off at the La Sponda bus stop. Immediately off the bus you’re greeted with beautiful views, both of the sea and the town. As you walk towards town take notice of the wrought iron fence with built-in benches. They’re absolutely adorable. There are a few spots on the walk into town to get your “money shot” photo with the sprawling hillside full of colorful houses, shops and restaurants in the background. I don’t think you can take a bad photo in Positano, it’s just not possible.

Where to Stay:

While we opted to stay in Praiano on this trip, I would love to come back one day and stay somewhere luxurious. My dream would be to rent a place with sweeping views, like Le Sirenuse. Sadly we don’t have the disposable income for a hotel bill that Le Sirenuse would run us. A girl can dream though.

Restaurants:

  • La Zagara: We had a lovely breakfast here one morning in their outdoor garden with beautiful views of the cliffside town. On another morning we had takeaway cappuccinos and pastries before sailing to Capri for the day.
  • Casa e Bottega: We had lunch here one day and it was one of my favorite meals of our entire trip. The space is gorgeous and the owners were delightful. We were lucky enough to grab a table with a view. Not only is Casa e Bottega a great place for breakfast or lunch, it’s also a design store with beautiful housewares that you can purchase.
  • Chez Black: A famous restaurant on the promenade and a place to be seen. We found the food to be just “meh” though.
  • Blu Bar: One afternoon we sat under an umbrella on the Marina Grande and ordered drinks for a few hours while we enjoyed the view. Another afternoon we sipped drinks from their bar, which was great for people watching.

What to Do:

  • Follow along with Rick Steves on his Positano Stroll to learn about the towns history and landmarks not to be missed
  • Wander around the winding streets and bop in and out of the shops
  • Purchase ceramics from a local shop to take home as a souvenier
  • Make your way down to the beach promenade and take in the views of Spiaggia Grande
  • Take a fiat or vespa tour around town
  • Take a boat tour
  • Take a ferry to Capri
  • If the weather is warm, rent a sun bed and bask in the sun or spend some time at a beach club
The local bus dropped us off at the La Sponda stop where we were met with this first view of the town.

We had breakfast one morning at La Zagara in their beautiful open air garden with cliffside views.

Spiaggia Grande views

A limencello spritz

Praiano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Because of its obscure location, the Amalfi Coast can be a difficult destination to reach. You have options though! Depending on where you are starting your journey, you can take a bus, ferry, taxi or private transfer. We started our journey from Napoli and opted for the more affordable route of the local express train (€38/two people RT) to Sorrento and then the local SITA bus (€8/two people RT) as opposed to roughly €150 for a private transfer one way. The route we chose only ended up taking about an hour longer than a private transfer so it was worth it for us to save the extra money. The logistics were seamless and quite easy. While researching for this trip so many people said to avoid the hassle of public transportation and just hire a private transfer. That’s not really our jam though. We always prefer public transportation when traveling in Europe. We always find it efficient, easy to navigate and more affordable.

Where to Stay:

When we started looking for accommodations on the Amalfi Coast we started our search in Positano but because we wanted something with a view, but we quickly started looking elsewhere as everything we came across was well over €400/night. We ended up staying in the town next door, Praiano, because we wanted something in a quieter area that wasn’t going to break the bank. We found this AirBnb with an incredible patio that overlooked the sea and was shocked to see that it came in around €100/night. Luke and I are travelers on a budget, always.

If you’ve never been to the Amalfi Coast, something to keep in mind is that a lot of the properties and hotels aren’t very modern, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re likely to pay a lot more.

Another benefit to choosing Praiano as your home base is that it doesn’t take as much time to travel between towns for day-tips. We chose to visit Positano on a few different days and Amalfi on another day.

Restaurants:

We loved every meal we had in Praiano! There are a few things I do want to mention about the food situation in this town though. While there are not a ton of restaurants in town, the places below were so good, I’d recommend them all. All dinners were accompanied by a bottle of wine and had a view of the sea, because every meal should be enjoyed this way when you’re on the Amalfi Coast. For the few times that we did not dine out, we picked up fresh ingredients from the local markets tucked into the winding hillsides and made meals at our AirBnb. I’m really missing those €1.50 packages of fresh mozzarella and €4.00 packages of prosciutto right about now.

  • Il Pirata: We ventured down to the water for a leisurely lunch here on our first day. It was a bit on the pricier side, but the location was just lovely and the views cannot be beat.
  • La Moressa: We had dinner here one evening on the patio and it was delicious. We especially loved their version of tiramisu for dessert.
  • Kasai: Probably the most memorable meal of the trip. We made a reservation a few days in advance and dined outside to take advantage of the views. The food was so unique and the lemon dessert blew our minds!
  • Ristorante Il Pino: An amazing restaurant in the middle of Praiano serving Italian dishes with a modern twist. On a few different occasions during our meal the waiters would sing traditional Italian songs and get the entire restaurant to follow along – it was beyond delightful. When we were finishing up and paying for our meal our waiter informed us that the restaurant owner provides transpiration back to your hotel – it was a dream come true to hear this as we were staying at the top of the hill, lol.
  • Che Bontà: We stopped here for snacks and drinks on a rainy day. Grab a spot on the stairs outside for some good people watching.
  • Cafe Novantaquattro: We grabbed a few takeaway cappuccinos here in the mornings.
  • Open Gate: We stopped here for lunch when we were out exploring. Our waiter sold us on their lasagna as it’s an old family recipe. It was incredible!

What to Do:

  • Go on a self-guided walking tour of the sleepy little town
  • Visit La Bacheca ceramics studio for the most beautiful pottery (we picked up a few pieces for our moms)
  • Visit the tiny Bob Art studio – when we were walking around town we saw so many Bob Art pieces built into the walls
  • Visit the tiny markets tucked into the hillside for fresh produce, cheese and wine and unbelievably affordable prices
  • Hike the Path of the Gods

Getting Around:

We utilized a few different buses during our stay.

Mobility Bus: Our AirBnb host let us know about the local bus that operates specifically between Praiano, Positano and Nocelle. You can purchase tickets in advance at most markets in town and they run €1.30/person each way. You can also purchase tickets on the bus, it will just cost a little more. The local bus operates between 8am to 10pm with frequent pick ups and drop offs. We also very conveniently had a bus stop located right at the base of the stairs to our AirBnb.

SITA Bus: For the day that we spent in Amalfi, we hoped on the SITA bus. There are a few bus stops along the main road through Praiano. You need to purchase tickets ahead of your bus journey and you can do so at most newsstands, bars and tobacco shops.

Bus Tip: When purchasing tickets for either the Mobility or SITA buses, make sure to let the cashier know your starting and end city as fares vary depending on how far you’re traveling. Fares can run €1.30 to €4.00.

Beep beep, the cutest Fiats

A very special dinner at Kasai

I spy some Bob Art ceramics built into the wall

We loved making dinners at the AirBnb with fresh ingredients from the market

The patio of our AirBnb, I will forever miss this special spot. We spent many mornings and evenings relaxing out here.

Napoli, Italy

Back in May of this year Luke and I took our first trip to Italy. We mulled over different cities to visit and ultimately landed on splitting our time between the Amalfi Coast and Rome. Because we chose the Amalfi Coast, we flew into Napoli and spent some time there before making our way south.

We flew into the Naples International Airport in the late afternoon and had the whole evening to explore as well as the entire next day. Napoli and the surrounding area is quite large, but we felt like we saw what we wanted to see in that short amount of time.

We booked this AirBnb in the Centro Storico neighborhood. The Centro Storico neighborhood is known for its ornate churches and is jam-packed with trattorias, bars and local shops. The area felt very local and everyone we encountered was nice and helpful. Upon arrival to our Airbnb we were having difficulties with our door key and an old man appeared out of nowhere with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, house slippers and a robe that was barely covering his body, to help us out. He was quite the sight, lol. After he helped us out, he disappeared back into the winding alleyways never to be seen again. I would like to think that experience sums up the vibe of the neighborhood quite well.

One convenient aspect to the AirBnb we booked was that it was walking distance to the central train station, Napoli Garibaldi. We strategically planned this so we could easily get to the train station the morning of our departure to the Amalfi Coast. We purchased tickets ahead of time here for the Campania Express local train from Napoli Garibaldi to Sorrento and our total cost was €38 for two passengers, round trip. When we arrived at the train station there was some confusion on what platform we were departing from as nothing was listed for our train number. A quick check-in at the ticket counter confirmed that we’d be escorted by an employee to the correct platform with other travelers going in our same direction directly before departure. I don’t know if this is because we were taking the local express, or some other reason, but this should serve as a good reminder to always ask when in question.

Where to Stay:

I really shouldn’t be giving advice on where to stay in Napoli because of our short visit, lol. Had we been planning on spending more time in Napoli we probably would have booked a place in either the Quartieri Spagnoli or Chiaia neighborhoods as those areas were very charming, full of character and right near the water.

What to Do:

Due to the fact that we only had a day and a half of exploring, this section is going to be on the lighter side.

  • Visit Castel Sant’Elmo for sweeping views of the city
  • Wander around Via San Gregorio Armeno and get lost in the alleyways
  • Wander around the Napoli Harbor
  • Eat lunch in the Vomero neighborhood, we found a great street with a lot of restaurants and shops
  • There’s a famous pizza joint that was featured in Eat. Pray. Love. but there were so.many.people waiting it would have been hours before it was our turn.

Sisters in Paris

Heather and I were lucky enough to get to spend a week together on an epic girls trip to Paris, France this past October. We’ve both been separately, but this was our first time visiting the city together. We stayed in an AirBnb in Montmartre and loved our little neighborhood so much. I’m happy to share the actual AirBnb booking if anyone is interested… we loved the space and the location but the bed was extremely uncomfortable and we had some of the worst nights sleep we’ve ever had. We were consistently up all hours of the night tossing and turning. So maybe you don’t want to stay there, haha 🙂 Bad sleep aside, the location was great and it was easy to take the metro anywhere in the city and even easier to just walk anywhere as well. I listed out everywhere we ate and all things we did over the week. Anything with an asterisk next to it means we LOVED it!

Where we ate:
Pink Mamma * (delicious! we shared a pizza and drank some delicious red wine. make sure that you walk to the top floor and check out this beautiful space)
Odette * (we stopped here for a sweet treat, the location couldn’t be any cuter if it tried)
Laudree (mandatory stop for sweet treats in a collectible box)
Bouillon Chartier (we had a quintessential Parisian meal here one night)
Frenchie Bar a Vins (I’m a HUGE fan of FTG, so I loved visiting their wine bar)
Ob-La-Di * (we had breakfast here one morning and loved every sip and bite)
Kozy (if you’re looking for their brunch it only happens on the weekend, oops!)
Cafe Kitsune (fueled up on a delicious iced chai one afternoon)
La Bossue (we had our final petit déjeuner of the trip here and it was heavenly)
Corto (a small inconspicuous place near our AirBnb that happens to have out-of-this-world-delicious-steak-tartare)
Creperie Framboise (because crepes)
Wine and snacks in the park

What we did:
A LOT of walking!
A LOT of metro riding! (we purchased the Paris Visite 5-day pass and it basically pays for itself in a few days. taking public transportation is my favorite way of getting around a city)
Shopping at Merci * (I fell in looooooove with this concept store)
Galeries Lafayette (go for the high-end shopping but don’t miss the incredible rooftop views)
Stamp Market * (check the hours before you go… I found handfuls of beautiful old stamps here)
Paris Flea Market  (the flea market was not a highlight for us… most stalls were closed so there wasn’t a lot for us to see)
Explored the artists square in Montmartre (we purchased a small watercolor for our mom here)
L’Atelier Des Lumières * (I cannot recommend this place enough, it was the most beautiful artful experience I’ve ever had)

And in no particular order, here are our photo favorites from a week in our favorite city. I hope you enjoy 🙂

One Day in Amsterdam

My sister and I recently got back from a week in Europe – just us girls! It was the trip of a lifetime for us. We’ve never taken a trip so far away, just the two of us. We’ve also never spent every second together for an entire week, haha! The trip ended up exceeding my expectations and reconfirming that my love for all things European runs deep.

We decided on a week in Paris with a quick day trip to Amsterdam via train. I’ve been to Amsterdam before, but it was Heather’s very first time stepping foot in the Netherlands. We took the early morning train from Gare du Nord to Amsterdam Centraal station. Since we arrived at Centraal station we were a quick walk over to the center of the city to start our exploring! Surprise to absolutely no one, we started our day off with pancakes at a cute little spot called… Pancakes! In all honesty we were starving and it was the first place we saw upon leaving the train station, haha. It ended up being exactly what we needed though. The pancakes were DELICIOUS and the mint/lemon/ginger tea was a refreshing wake up!

We spent our entire day walking. We walked quaint and quiet streets with our favorites being Groenburgwal, Raamgracht, Kloveniersburgwal, Oudezijds Voorburgwal and Herengracht. I particularly loved strolling those streets because my most beautiful photos from that day are of the canal houses located there.

One area that I wanted to spend some time in was De Pijp, located directly south of the city center. I’ve heard that it’s a fun neighborhood to explore, so I’m happy we to got to spend some time there. We visited the Albert Cuypmarkt and indulged in fries with fritessaus (so good!) and then stopped in Bakers and Roasters for some coffee to keep us going!

Amsterdam, to me, is the absolute most picturesque place my eyes have ever seen. I’m perfectly happy to just throw on a pair of comfortable shoes and explore by foot – which is exactly what we did 🙂

 

A Travel Guide to Naxos, Greece

The last stop on our Greek holiday was the island of Naxos. When we were researching what islands to visit in Greece we happened to watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: The Greek Islands. It’s because of Anthony Bourdain that we decided to spend 5 days on this less-than-popular island. We were craving some serious down-time, relaxation and local living. Naxos seemed like the perfect place that checked all of our boxes. I think we can both agree that Naxos was likely our favorite portion of this trip, in large part to its laid-back vibe, lack of tourists and overall affordability.

We booked tickets on the Blue Star Ferry from Santorini to Naxos for about 40€/a person. The ferry ride was relatively quick, only 2.5 hours. When we arrived in Naxos we walked right off the boat and right into the main area of town. No other transportation needed! We walked right up to our studio, got checked in, and were ready to start exploring. Our studio in Naxos couldn’t have been more perfect. It was walking distance to everything, had a view of the water and we found out there was a free breakfast every morning at their cafe across the street. Plus it was about 70€/a night! We instantly fell in love with Naxos. There was a vibe you picked up on right away, you just knew this place was going to be chill. We took the local bus everywhere, just like Santorini. You can rent a car or ATV, it appears we like local busses though.

Bus Tip:

Unlike Santorini where you can purchase bus tickets directly on the bus, you have to purchase bus tickets in advance on Naxos – either through the main Bus Station or in a local market.

Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Naxos itinerary!

 
 
 
 

Our recommended itinerary for four to five days on Naxos:

Day 1:
Breakfast in town
Wander around Old Town Naxos and get lost in the streets
Take the local bus to Plaka Beach for the afternoon
Lunch at a beach restaurant near Plaka Beach
Dinner at Meze 2
Drinks at Gemma

Day 2:
Breakfast in town
Take the local bus to the villages of central Naxos (Filoti and Chalki)
Lunch at Duetto in Filoti (the best lunch of the entire trip!)
Kitron tasting at Vallindras Kitron Distillery in Chalki
Dinner at Taverna Kastro
Drinks at Rum Bar or Like Home Bar (both have water views!)

Day 3:
Take an all-day trip on a Catamaran with Naxos Yachting
Dinner at To Spitiko

Day 4:
Visit the Temple of Apollo at sunrise
Breakfast in town
Dinner at Metaxi Mas

Day 5:
Breakfast in town
Take the local bus to Agia Anna Beach
Lunch at a beach restaurant near Agia Anna Beach
Visit the Temple of Apollo at sunset
Dinner at Kozi

We’re a bit light on the food recommendations as we had breakfast at our hotel every morning and we picked up gyro pitas and souvlaki pitas at small shops along the way for under 3. We firmly believe that the majority of the restaurants on Naxos are amazing. Walk around and find a place that speaks to you, you won’t be disappointed with the food here!

A Travel Guide to Santorini, Greece

After a few days exploring Athens we hopped on an evening flight from Athens International Airport to Santorini International Airport. We flew Ryan Air (hello, cheap airfare!) and had a bit of a flight delay, arriving in Santorini close to 1:00am. Thankfully we had transportation arranged through Ersi Villas (where we stayed in Fira) so we didn’t have to worry about finding a ride in the early hours of the morning. Our driver was kind enough to point out all the important information like restaurants, laundry, bus stops, etc… the only issue is that it was dark and the roads were winding, so we couldn’t get our bearings and everything seemed so far away. When we woke up the next morning and met with our villa manager, he directed us where to go and we were pleasantly surprised to learn that everything in Fira was no more than a 10 minute walk. Whew!

We chose to stay in Fira (the capitol of Santorini) because of its central location on the island. From Fira you could hop on a bus at the Fira Central Bus Station and get anywhere on the island in about 20 to 30 minutes for 1.80€ to 2.50€/per person each way. We noticed that a lot of visitors rented ATV’s to get around the island, which looked like a ton of fun!

Bus Tip: If you take the bus from Fira to Oia or Kamari Beach (or anywhere else for that matter) start your bus journey from the Fira Central Bus Station in town. We made the mistake of picking up the bus not far from our villa then having to stop at the bus station and pay for another bus to our destination. Starting your journey at the Central Bus Station ensures that you don’t double pay. Also, you pay when you get on the bus, no ticket needed in advance.

Before arriving in Santorini we received a lot of feedback from friends and co-workers that had visited the island and the reviews were definitely mixed. We were surprised to learn that a lot of people didn’t particularly care for Santorini (what?!?). All of the feedback was that it was overrated and overcrowded. While we did find Oia to be especially overcrowded, the rest of the island was very pleasant. We visited in May, before tourist season (tourist season is mid-June to September) and believe this was definitely in our favor. We couldn’t have been happier with our time on Santorini – it truly is one of the most beautiful places our eyes have ever seen! We would hands down recommend visiting, just make sure you do so before all the tourists arrive 😉

Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Santorini itinerary!

You can rent a donkey to take you up/down the Old Port. We did not do this… It was hot and I felt bad for these poor animals. I would never pay for an animal to walk me up and down stairs. I am an animal lover through and through and I wanted to take all these donkeys home with me and let them roam free and graze all day. Unrealistic, I know, but my heart hurt for these poor animals, forced to work hard in the heat.
Also, stray cats everywhere!
There were dogs everywhere (hello, dream vacation!). This one followed us and even took a break with us.


Our recommended itinerary for three days on Santorini:

Day 1
Breakfast at Zafora in Fira (or any place in town that speaks to you)
Spend the day getting lost in the streets of Fira
Walk from Fira to Imerolgivi and take in the views
Grab lunch at Anestis Tavern (it doesn’t have the caldera view, but at only a few steps away from the views it will save you money and you’ll get a delicious and authentic meal)
Dinner at Mama’s House

Day 2
Spend the day in Oia
Wander aimlessly through the winding streets and stairs to catch the famous views from every angle
Grab a pita gyro at Niko’s Place
Drinks on the third level at Flora
Dinner at the Red Bicycle
Grab a good spot near the tip of the island for those famous Santorini sunsets

Day 3
Breakfast at Creme de la crepe in Fira
Walk down the steps to the Old Port 
Lunch at Taverna Sirtaki in Old Port
Take the Cable Car back up to Fira (5€/person)
Take the local bus (from Fira Central Bus Station) to Kamari Beach for the afternoon
Walk up and down the street on the beach to find your favorite restaurant/bar with a sun-bed (we loved Korda’s at Kamari Beach Hotel)
Dinner at Rastoni (stop by the day before or earlier in the day and leave a small deposit to secure a table with a view)
 
A few other activities that looked like fun were a sunset sailing adventure and visiting the red beach.