Greece: A Trip of a Lifetime – Athens, Mykonos and Santorini

Mesmerizing Landscapes, Romantic Sunsets,  Crystal Clear Waters and Amazing Food. A trip of a lifetime to the Greek Islands

The Acropolis
The Acropolis
The Acropolis
View of The Acropolis from afar

I have always been in love with the ocean and the beautiful sunsets, specially in the Pacific coast. Growing up near the ocean one learns how to be appreciative and respectful of the seas.  I’ve heard and read many things about the history of Greece and that the islands display one of the most romantic sunsets in the world. I was invited by some dear friends to embark on a journey of nine days. I was so excited and humble to start this trip. Many people can only dream of visiting such beautiful place but I was one of the lucky ones about to experience this enchanted place.

My friends and I had in mind to visit the three most popular places in Greece: Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.  We planned the itinerary carefully in advanced, paying attention to every single detail so we wouldn’t miss a thing. We wanted to be sure our vacation was a trip of a lifetime.

Entrance to the Acropolis
Entrance to the Acropolis

Our Journey started from Newark, NY to Athens Greece in a 9 hour flight. Emirates Airlines does it best!

First Stop – Athens: The beginning of Europe, Rich in History and Temples

Temple of Zeus
Temple of Zeus

Athens is the perfect blend of antiquity and modernity, a tour around Athens transports you back 6,000 years. Blessed with a rich ancient and medieval history, the city features the Acropolis, the ancient agora as well as a few temples dedicated to gods of the past. You can also see the Temple of Olympian Zeus, is one of the most striking monuments to human vanity in the world.

Delicious Food and Rooftop Restaurants

@idotwright
Lucky to take a pic of Mr @idotwright

It is widely known that Greece is home to one of the most delightful cuisines in the world.  It is Characterized by ample portions of fresh seafood, sun-grown vegetables, tender meat, amazing yogurt and delicious house wine to accompany any meal. Greek cuisine deserves to be enjoyed and appreciated not only in Europe but worldwide. Depending on the area you find yourself in Greece, you can find many dining options.

Food is tasty and also very affordable. Skip the tourist traps and explore the city like a local. Ask around where to enjoy authentic food to people on the streets and they will be happy to direct you to the right place.

Second Stop – Mykonos:  Crystal Clear Water, Beautiful Architecture & Never Ending Parties

Center of town in Mykonos
Walking thru the alleys in Mykonos

After two nights in Athens, we set to depart to the island of Mykonos by ferry. It is so worth it and economical to travel by ferry. Not only do you save money, but you also get to see other beautiful islands that many times are overlooked.

Mykonos is straight out of a fairy tale book, surrounded by cycladic white houses, crystal clear waters and golden sands, so no matter what beach you choose to spend the day on, you know it’s going to look like paradise.

Sea Urchin
Delicious Sea Urchin

While you are in the center of town don’t forget to make a pit stop at one of the souvenirs shops to get a white tee with the Mykonos logo on it and if you are a foodie, dine at one of the outdoor seating restaurants near the wind mills. A picturesque photo or a selfie from this area is mandatory, and a taste of the sea urchin is highly recommended.

Jackie O'
Jackie O’

Party time is never ending in Mykonos and you can’t go wrong with beaches like Paradise and Super Paradise, where beach parties start from 4pm every day. And if you are looking for something out of the ordinary visit the memorable Jackie O’ where you can enjoy a good drag show.

Third Stop – Santorini: Romantic Destination and Best Sunset in the World

Amazing Views in Santorini
Amazing Views in Santorini

After a shot of espresso and a delicious breakfast to kill the hangover. I was on to my next stop. I was sad to say goodbye to Mykonos , but I was happy to continue with my journey to one of the most iconic places in the world. Anyone who has been there seems to come back filled with stories of this wonderful place.

The ferry ride was smooth; looking for a ride to the town of Fira wasn’t so bad. You could get a ride by van for only $10.

Beach made up of red and black in Santorini
Beach made up of red and black in Santorini

The van dropped us off at the door step of the hotels where we were staying. “Oh my,” I thought as I caught my first glimpse of our cute boutique hotel. Travelers could get amazing views from many hotels from any side of the island. I recommend booking a reservation at one of the boutique hotels on the opposite side of La Caldera. Rates are usually half than if you stayed at one of the hotels near la Caldera and not only that but these hotels also include a breakfast meant for the gods.  Nóstimo!

View of La Caldera from the road
View of La Caldera from the road

As soon as I got to my hotel, I contacted the ATV company to deliver a four wheeler to my hotel. I couldn’t wait to get on with the adventure on  this fascinating island.

From wineries, red-white and black sand beaches, amazing sunsets in Oia to nude beaches (known by locals only), Santorini has something for all.

View from the hotel window in Thira, Santorini
View from the hotel window in Thira, Santorini

 

I wasn’t such a big fan of the typical cliché “Love is in the air”. What does that even mean? You wouldn’t even know the meaning of these words until you travel to Santorini. Sitting by the ocean at a restaurant in Oia, enjoying a glass of wine and seeing couples proposing, or celebrating anniversaries around you, you’ll definitely know that love is in the air.

Beautiful sunset in the city of Oia
Thousands of people attend the beautiful sunset in the city of Oia

Everything was just surreal, too beautiful and so perfect that I couldn’t help but let escape a couple of tears.

I definitely made a promise to myself that I would go back to this place with that special someone that I’ve been waiting for my whole life, and who knows, maybe get married there. Until then I will just keep traveling and living a life of adventure.

Safe Travels!

Israel Montesinos is an ocean lover, social media & marketing specialist, travel blogger aficionado and a zumba fan who enjoys traveling to a new destination every year and likes to taste authentic traditional food wherever he goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter at the Vatican!

Is the Vatican City in your bucket list?

Easter at the Vatican!
The Vatican

Easter Sunday is celebrated in many ways around the world. Many Americans identify Easter with pastel colored eggs and a big, fluffy bunny that leaves candy for children. The history behind Easter tells a very different story, centered around the Christian religion, Easter is a feast that ends a 40 day stretch of fasting and penance. In combination with the spring-time weather, Easter at the Vatican marks a time of renewal.

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Why Should You Visit The UK This Year?

4 Good Reasons Why You Should Visit The UK This Year

Why Should You Visit The UK This Year?
Big Ben London

There are many reasons why you should visit the UK this year. However, it will take us more than 100 pages to mention them all. We wanted to compile at least four good reasons that we’ll make you say “let’s go”

1. Brexit Means Big Savings for UK Tourists

Why Should You Visit The UK This Year?
Two beautiful women taking a selfie in London with Big Ben and red phone booth on the background.

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9 Things You Should Do With Your Credit Card Before Traveling Abroad

Please pay attention to 9 things you should do with your credit card before traveling abroad

9 Things You Should Do With Your Credit Card Before Traveling Abroad
Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

Traveling is an amazing experience through which you can see the world and expand your experiences. Unfortunately, there can be some stressful elements to travel, most of all the impact it can have on your finances. While it is highly recommended that you travel with plenty of cash on you, using a credit card can sometimes be unavoidable in today’s fast-paced world.

There are 9 things you should do with your credit card before traveling abroad:

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The Best Time to Travel to Europe

When is The Best Time to Travel to Europe?

Everyone dreams of the perfect vacation to Europe, but it can be hard to find the time to turn dreams into reality. So what’s the secret? When is the perfect time to visit countries like the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, or any of the other proud European nations? The answer is now. And it’s not just because we at TakeTours are super-positive and want to help you realize your ideal getaways (although both of those are true!); it’s also because airfare to Europe is currently cheap, and, on top of that, the value of the Euro has gone down significantly in the past few years, meaning that you’ll get more bang for your buck. Luckily, you’re dealing with the experts, and we’ve got in-the-know details about the best times to travel to  Europe!

Spring is a great time to travel to Europe: you’ll avoid the cold winter, instead getting treated to warmer, sunnier days (although, there may be some rain here and there) while also not having to deal with the large crowds that can flood to Europe’s most popular cities during the summer. The point is that strategizing the perfect vacation can be hard work. Therefore, we have compiled some European adventures that won’t break your bank.

Italy

The Best Time to Travel to Europe
Grand Canal in Venice Italy

Hey, mambo Italiano! Upon entering the country, travelers to Italy are immediately struck with a feeling as if they just stepped out of a time machine into the high Renaissance. Though the Italian summer is of unmatched beauty, it is the season with the highest airfare. March and April are good months to visit Italy. Combining the reduced cost of flights with good weather and smaller crowds, you will realize this is important when you try to visit the Sistine Chapel, located in the Vatican Museum, a must-see for any visit to Rome. This city is also extremely popular among history buffs because there are few other places on Earth that offer such a unique cross-section of history. You will be able to see buildings and monuments that range in date from the earliest days of the Roman Republic to early modern styles.

 

Florence and Venice, the other two top cities in Italy, are a bit more focused on the Renaissance, the age when Italian culture truly flourished. Venice is well known as the city of canals, where you can ride one of the famous gondola boats for a truly romantic experience. Many Italians take their family holidays in the second half of August. This means that while more rural, country and seaside resorts will be high-priced and booked-solid, more urban areas will be virtually ghost towns. Many hotels in Florence and Rome also offer large discounts on rooms, so depending on what you are looking for in a trip, this could either be the perfect time to visit or a strain on your bank account. On this 2-14 Europe Explorer Flexible Tour offers you the chance to see the most remarkable of Italian cities as well as numerous other Euro destinations.

France

Biking along Champ the Mars
Biking along Champ the Mars

Ah, oui, Paris! The city of lights, of cuisine, of romance! Poets and singers have immortalized the crown jewel of European cities for hundreds of years, and with good reason. There is a certain magic in the air here, from nighttime views of the Eiffel Tower to exploring the long hallways of the Louvre. But Paris only offers a slice of the French experience; no trip to this country is complete without a trip to the southern Mediterranean coast, nicknamed the French Riviera, where you will be amazed by cities like Nice and Monaco. If you like to test your luck in casinos, then Monaco, Europe’s gambling capital, is the place for you. The Monte Carlo Casino attracts rich and fabulous visitors from all over the world, including the royalty of many nations. Go there, and who knows? You may just be whisked away by your own Prince Charming.

Be sure to stop by Nice, too, to sample some of the local cuisine and lounge on what are considered some of the best beaches in the world. It’s said that the weather in the south of France remains beautiful all year round, so there’s never a bad time to visit. But, keep in mind, like Italy, just about the entire country slows down during the last two weeks of August when pretty much everyone is on holiday. This could either be a great time to visit if you want to avoid crowds, or a bad time if you want to get any service! For a truly customizable excursion to France and behind, you might consider this 2-7 Day Flexible Tour to Paris, Monaco, Nice, and more!

Germany

Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt, Germany

Now that the long and cold winter has come to an end, Germany is gearing up for one of its typical springs, filled with warm, sunny weather that makes it great to explore the charming little forest villages of Bavaria. Munich, the regional capital of Bavaria, is the birthplace of automobile giants BMW and the beloved German tradition of Oktoberfest. Of course, if you want to wait until October, then you’ll visit in time to join the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world. Be warned, though: there is no busier time to visit Munich, but that seems like a small price to pay for an unforgettable German experience.

Frankfurt is another city that ranks among Germany’s best. Each year in this city, the arrival of spring is celebrated by the Spring Dippemess festival, a carnival style event full of exciting rides and fun games for the entire family. But be sure to book as soon as possible, because as the temperatures rise, so do the airfare rates. March through May is considered the best time to visit, nicknamed the “shoulder season” because they feature the thinnest crowds and lowest prices. Frankfurt and Munich can both easily be covered in one trip, as well as many other of central Europe’s most beautiful cities, with a trip like this 7-Day Tour to Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich, Prague, and more!

Pro tip for booking airfare: extensive research has revealed that the best time to book tickets for international flights is 171 days before a trip, so start marking your calendars as soon as possible! When you’re ready to book your next big vacation, head over to TakeTours.com to choose from the most popular European excursions. Vive le vacation!

The Best Time to Travel to Europe

Everyone dreams of the perfect vacation to Europe, but it can be hard to find the time to turn dreams into reality. So what’s the secret? When is the perfect time to visit countries like the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, or any of the other proud European nations? The answer is “NOW!” And it’s not just because we at TakeTours are super-positive and want to help you realize your ideal getaways (although both of those are true!); it’s also because airfare to Europe is currently cheap, and, on top of that, the value of the Euro has gone down significantly in the past few years, meaning that you’ll get more bang for your buck! Spring is a great time to travel to Europe: you’ll avoid the cold winter, instead getting treated to warmer, sunnier days (although, there may be some rain here and there) while also not having to deal with the large crowds that can flood to Europe’s most popular cities during the summer. The point is that strategizing the perfect vacation can be hard work. Luckily, you’re dealing with the experts, and we’ve got in-the-know details about the best times to visit Europe!

Italy

Hey, mambo Italiano! Upon entering the country, travelers to Italy are immediately struck with a feeling as if they just stepped out of a time machine into the high Renaissance. Though the Italian summer is of unmatched beauty, it is the season with the highest airfare. March and April are good months to visit, combining the reduced cost of flights with good weather and smaller crowds, a quality you will realize is important if you try to visit the Sistine Chapel, located in the Vatican Museum, a must-see for any visit to Rome. This city is also extremely popular among history buffs because there are few other places on Earth that offer such a unique cross-section of history. You will be able to see buildings and monuments that range in date from the earliest days of the Roman Republic to early modern styles. Florence and Venice, the other two top cities in Italy, are a bit more focused on the Renaissance, the age when Italian culture truly flourished. Venice is well known as the city of canals, where you can ride one of the famous gondola boats for a truly romantic experience. Many Italians take their family holidays in the second half of August. This means that while more rural, country and seaside resorts will be high-priced and booked-solid, more urban areas will be virtually ghost towns. Many hotels in Florence and Rome also offer large discounts on rooms, so depending on what you are looking for in a trip, this could either be the perfect time to visit or a strain on your bank account. On this 2-14 Europe Explorer Flexible Tour offers you the chance to see the most remarkable of Italian cities as well as numerous other Euro destinations.

France

Ah, oui, Paris! The city of lights, of cuisine, of romance! Poets and singers have immortalized the crown jewel of European cities for hundreds of years, and with good reason. There is a certain magic in the air here, from nighttime views of the Eiffel Tower to exploring the long hallways of the Louvre. But Paris only offers a slice of the French experience; no trip to this country is complete without a trip to the southern Mediterranean coast, nicknamed the French Riviera, where you will be amazed by cities like Nice and Monaco. If you like to test your luck in casinos, then Monaco, Europe’s gambling capital, is the place for you. The Monte Carlo Casino attracts rich and fabulous visitors from all over the world, including the royalty of many nations. Go there, and who knows? You may just be whisked away by your own Prince Charming. Be sure to stop by Nice, too, to sample some of the local cuisine and lounge on what are considered some of the best beaches in the world. It’s said that the weather in the south of France remains beautiful all year round, so there’s never a bad time to visit. But, keep in mind, like Italy, just about the entire country slows down during the last two weeks of August, when pretty much everyone is on holiday. This could either be a great time to visit if you want to avoid crowds, or a bad time if you want to get any service! For a truly customizable excursion to France and behind, you might consider this 2-7 Day Flexible Tour to Paris, Monaco, Nice, and more!

Germany

Now that the long and cold winter has come to an end, Germany is gearing up for one of its typical springs, filled with warm, sunny weather that make it great to explore the charming little forest villages of Bavaria. Munich, the regional capital of Bavaria, is the birthplace of automobile giants BMW and the beloved German tradition of Oktoberfest. Of course, if you want to wait until October, then you’ll visit in time to join the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world. Be warned, though: there is no busier time to visit Munich, but that seems like a small price to pay for an unforgettable German experience. Frankfurt is another city that ranks among Germany’s best. Each year in this city, the arrival of spring is celebrated by the Spring Dippemess festival, a carnival style event full of exciting rides and fun games for the entire family. But be sure to book as soon as possible, because as the temperatures rise, so do the airfare rates. March through May are considered the best time to visit, nicknamed the “shoulder season,” because they feature the thinnest crowds and lowest prices. Frankfurt and Munich can both easily be covered in one trip, as well as many other of central Europe’s most beautiful cities, with a trip like this 7-Day Tour to Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich, Prague, and more!

Pro tip for booking airfare: extensive research has revealed that the best time to book tickets for international flights is 171 days before a trip, so start marking your calendars as soon as possible! When you’re finally ready to book your next big vacation, head over to TakeTours.com to choose from the most popular European excursions. Vive le vacation!