I keep promising I’ll write more, especially about travel, create series’ and what not and keep you all coming back. But the truth of it is, I over-analyze my (in) ability to give this blog of mine a general theme.
The truth of it is I’m writing about this today because it’s been in the teens for weeks and we all need a little Greece in our lives. I’m writing about this today because Greece is on most of our must visit lists and far too many think it’s unattainable because of the story of that friend who spent 500 euro a night on a tiny room overlooking the caldera on their honeymoon.
The truth of it is, if you’re anything like me you’re looking for an off the beaten trail, local experience. In 2014 that is hard, but not impossible to find, especially in the major tourist destinations like Athens and Oia, Santorini. I found it in the following places and for nothing close to 500 euro.
I want to show you what it looks like to “do Greece” on a budget.
Athens City Circus
This hostel/b&b combo is the definition of gritty city cool. With minimalist rooms, a killer breakfast buffet and Banksy books scattered on the communal table, it has a art co-op feel that is very urban and very new Athens.
Location: Psyrri- the still up and coming neighborhood booming with bars, cafes and restaurants mixed with abandoned buildings and incredible graffiti. If you’re a country mouse, this may not be for you.
Highlights: walkability, huge breakfast, modern facilities
Price: 60 euro/night for the budget (basement) double (which, may I add, looked eerily similar to our own bedroom at home) including breakfast.
Note: Our most expensive lodging of the trip but centrally located and comfortable with modern conveniences. Bakery across the street is excellent for coffee or food to go.
Oia, Santorini Ecoxenia
The most stunning location you ever did see and one of my true “happy places”. This property is about a 20 minute walk from the town of Oia and let me tell you, that’s for the best. It’s in the midst of farms and self-contained with it’s own garden, lounge chairs and private balconies overlooking the sea. It’s an off the beaten trail paradise that I wished I never had to leave.
Location: Oia, Santorini on the east side of the island, walking distance (if you’re ready to walk) to Baxedes beach or further as well as Oia town.
Highlights: Peace, large efficiency apartment, balcony, serene grounds, incredible host
Price: 45 euro/night
Note: This spot is tucked away but it’s so worth it. If we were staying longer I would rent a scooter in town to explore the rest of the island. Get supplies at the small supermarket on top of the hill on your right. The bakery (on your left) has perfect treats for the morning (or anytime) as well as great coffee.
Chora, Naxos Pension Sofi
Oh my gosh, this place. I have a large place in my heart reserved for the hospitality we received here. You’re picked up at the port, whisked away to a perfect little place with marble stairs and bright blue shutters, and fed a steady diet of garden fare and homemade wine. The rooms are huge and clean with a tiny kitchen and a balcony perfect for two.
Location: Chora, right outside Old Town, near the sea (a couple minutes’ walk from the port).
Highlights: the host family (and their suggestions for everything), snacks from their garden each afternoon, location, balcony
Cost: 30 euro/night
Notes: This was the greatest bang for our buck on our trip, incredible family, location, and beautiful efficiency apartment! Down the road a bit (toward the water) you’ll find great places from which to rent scooters and cars. Great supermarket a bit down the road to your right (ask Rena to show you) with local cheeses and eggs.