Greece is without a doubt my favorite country in Europe. The combination of its fascinating ancient history, beautiful ruins, stunning beaches, and the most picturesque islands with its white house blue door combination makes it the ultimate honeymoon destination.
I’ve traveled extensively throughout Greece from the Cyclades islands, Ionian Islands, Athens, the north of Greece and more. I’ve planned many honeymoons already through Bali and South Africa but I think Greece is without a doubt my location of choice when it comes to Europe.
Greece is a small country but it offers so much. It’s impossible to see everything in a week or two so you’ll have to focus your time on a certain area. For the purpose of this honeymoon itinerary, I’ll focus it mostly on Athens and the Cyclades. These are the most popular destinations in Greece and in my opinion the most unique/beautiful.
I’ll go into detail on other variations that I would consider as well so this will fit everyone’s desires!
How many days do I need for a Greece honeymoon?
Greece is a country packed with an incredible amount of unique things to see. You can spend months traveling through Greece (as I have done) and still won’t see anything. Similarly, you could be a digital nomad in Greece and easy spend months living in the country enjoying the delicious fresh food and wine.
For a honeymoon in Greece, I think 1 to 2 weeks is perfect. Of course, if you have more time, that means you can see more things because there are easily enough things to last a month in Greece. For the purpose of this itinerary, I will plan it out as a two week trip. If you have questions on how to structure a trip around your personal schedule, leave a comment below!
Focus on the Cyclades islands of the Aegean Sea
I’ve traveled all around the Cyclades islands, the Ionian islands, and Crete. I think they are all very beautiful in their own way but if I had to pick one of these island chains for a honeymoon, it would have to be the Cyclades islands.
There’s nothing more romantic than walking through these ancient villages with their white houses, blue doors, and endless views of the Mediterranean. Top it off with delicious Greek salads, stunning beaches, cheap wine, and you have the recipe for the best honeymoon.
The Cyclades are home to amazing beaches but they are not the best in the country by any means. The best beaches in Greece are in the Ionian islands on the Eastern coast of Greece. Here you will find the bluest and sandiest beaches in Greece.
The Cyclades archipelago features over a dozen different islands, all of which have their own unique flair and landscapes. Mykonos and Santorini are of course the most internationally well known of the bunch and these two islands are probably the two most islands in the entire world. Here are a list of the islands of the Cyclades
- Paros (and Antiparos)
In addition, make sure to read my Cyclades island travel guide to understand how to get around the islands and what to expect when you’re there. I also rank the Cyclades islands based on where I would go again.
How to choose which islands to visit on a Greece Honeymoon?
This is the ultimate question. There are so many islands as you can see from the above it’s overwhelming for someone who hasn’t visited Greece to choose.
By default, it’s likely that most people reading this will default to the islands of Mykonos and Santorini. This is no surprise as these are by far the most well known islands in Greece and among the world. I’m here to say very firmly that these are not the only options for you.
Greece is SO MUCH more than just Mykonos and Santorini. In fact, these are my least favorite places in the country.
Why Mykonos and Santorini are overrated
I’ll keep it short. Mykonos and Santorini are completely overrated.
- For starters, Greece is not an expensive country to visit but Mykonos and Santorini are among the most expensive places in the world. These islands charge 2-3x the prices of the rest of the country purely based on their namesake.
- These islands are completely overrun with tourists during the high season that you can barely move around. It’s just a complete disaster trying to walk around the Chora in these times.
- The crowds that Mykonos attracts are not my people (Fauxfluencers, flashy spenders, beach club partiers). This would be my worst nightmare on a honeymoon.
- They are not even that beautiful. There are much more beautiful and picturesque islands in the Cyclades that have much less people and are way cheaper.
I know some people have immoveable FOMO and must visit these islands so of course you have to satisfy your FOMO. I’m just here to say that there is another way.
Why Santorini is still a good honeymoon location
For as much shade as I’m throwing Santorini’s way, unfortunately I still think it is a worthy honeymoon destination in Greece. While it’s not a place I would go back to any time soon, I think for a first time visitor that’s on their honeymoons, Santorini ticks all the boxes.
Santorini is the most developed and most luxurious island in the Aegean. There are an insane amount of beautiful luxury resorts with infinity pools, cave pools, plunge pools and everything in between. Those iconic photos of someone sitting in their pools overlooking the Aegean are all from Santorini and it makes for a great place to unwind and relax.
Of course, this means you’ll need to spend the big bucks on a nice Santorini accommodation which could be anywhere from 500 Euros to 1000 Euros a night. These are prices you’ll want to pay because it will afford you the privacy and relaxation away from the huge crowds.
The best time to visit the Cyclades Islands
Located in the south Mediterranean sea, the Cyclades enjoys good weather year round. However, there are certain times of year that you’ll want to avoid, and other times of year where nothing is open.
The islands are pretty much built off of tourism so it is very seasonal. I’ve been to the islands at all times of the year and there are definitely better times than others. You’ll want to avoid peak season as swarms of tourists from all over the world descend on the islands. If you must visit during this time, try and avoid the most touristic islands.
Make sure to read my best time to visit Greece post to better understand when to visit!
Peak Season in the Cyclades
The peak months are from the end of June to the end of August. These are the months where the islands can be extremely packed with tourists from all over the world coming in along with cruise ships.
The prices are also the most expensive during these months as much of the revenue generated in this period subsidize the lack of earnings in the other months. If you’re looking for a party and to be with lots of different people, then this is your period to visit. Restaurants will be packed, beaches will be busy, and there will be plenty of life here for you to enjoy.
If you are more into the idea of having fantastic beaches to yourself or exploring without the crowds, absolutely avoid coming in the summer months. Especially avoid coming during the middle of August around the holiday of the Virgin Mary. The entire mainland of Greece clears out and goes to the islands and these places become absolutely packed. This is the most expensive time to visit as well.
The best time to visit the Cyclades
I traveled around the Cyclades during the time of Coronavirus and in the peak summer months. For the most part, it was never overwhelming because international tourism outside of the EU is largely non-existent. It was still busy especially in August, but was never over the top for me. However, in future years, I think I would avoid coming to the islands in the summer months, especially ultra touristy places like Mykonos and Santorini.
It is simply way too much of a disaster during the months of July and August to even think about visiting. Not only do you pay 50% more, but you’re essentially going to a music festival for that extra money.
The best months for visiting the Cyclades
The best times to visit the islands in my opinion are mid September to early November, and the months of April and May. The weather is still very pleasant in the fall and spring but not overly hot. Swimming might be too cold for some in these times but that’s a small price for me to pay. The most fantastic beaches in Greece are in Lefkada and the Ionian islands anyhow so you’re not missing much. In summary, avoid visiting the Cyclades in the summer months like the plague.
Planning the Greece Honeymoon
Greece is an easy country to plan for. Tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the GDP of Greece so you can expect to have loads of beautiful accommodation options. There are a number of discount airlines that fly between Athens and the islands, as well as their comprehensive ferry system.
Where to go in Greece for a honeymoon
As I’ve already mentioned in previous sections, I recommend visiting the Cyclades islands for a honeymoon. If you want more idyllic beaches and less crowds (but no white houses), consider visiting another island chain like the Ionian islands with islands like Lefkada, Kefalonia, and Paxos being very good options. Otherwise, we will stick to the Cyclades on this post.
Athens should be a part of any Greece itinerary as well. The capital city of Greece is full of beautiful historical sights and home to amazing restaurants and bars. Above all, it’s likely where you’ll fly into with an international flight so why not spend a few days unwinding in the city. I would recommend 2-3 nights in Athens.
For the purpose of this itinerary, these are the places I would visit if you want a beautiful taste of the Aegean and visit Santorini in the end.
If you want the most typical and popular itinerary where Mykonos and Santorini are a must, simply do this itinerary I’ve outlined in my Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini itinerary.
Otherwise some other options are the following:
Taking the ferry in Greece
As part of your Greek island honeymoon, taking the ferry will be part of the adventure. The Greek ferry system is comprehensive and reliable. It’s the main form of travel between the hundreds of different islands in Greece.
There is a very comprehensive ferry system in the Greek islands, especially in the Cyclades as there are so many of them. I took no less than ten different ferries while island hopping because that is really the only way to get around. There is no way to fly between island to island but rather only regular flights from Athens to islands with airports like Milos, Naxos, Mykonos, Santorini, and Paros.
Don’t worry, the ferries are more than capable and some of them are actually quite luxurious. Each island has its port town (or towns if you’re in Amorgos) and there are regular ferries that connect the island to other islands.
I’ve written a very comprehensive guide about Greek ferries so make sure to read that if you are keen on an island hopping adventure!
The Final Itinerary
For the final itinerary, Johnny planned it and organized it all in an amazing Google Sheets that we could access and collaborate before and during. To see our final itinerary, please visit his great travel itinerary spreadsheet. In addition, throughout this post, there will be links to other posts about Greece that Johnny has written but go into detail on the places we visited!
|Name of Accommodation||Where?|
|Day 1-4||Electra Palace Athens||Athens|
|Day 5-8||Nissaki Beach Hotel||Naxos|
|Day 8-11||Aegialis Hotel and Spa||Amorgos|
|Day 11-15||Astra Suites||Santorini|
Finally, if you would like for me to plan your trip, please contact me and I would be happy to help you with your dream honeymoon or just a regular vacation to the island of the Gods! I’ve planned many trips for people to South Africa, Greece, Italy, and more already so I have plenty of experience in this category.
Athens: Day 1-4
The ancient capital of Greece is the first stop on the honeymoon. It’s likely you’ll fly into Athens and it would be a total shame to skip the city if you’re already here. I would recommend 2-3 nights in Athens to get the proper experience. Visiting in th esummer months
For a list of everything to do in Athens, make sure to read my What to do in Athens guide. Here is a summary of a few of the top highlights you must do while you’re in Athens!
- Acropolis Museum
- Ancient Roman Agora
- Hadrian’s Arch
- Temple of Zeus
- National History Museum
- Lycabettus Hill
- Walk around Monastiraki
- Temple of Poseiden day trip
Without a doubt, the main sight of interest in Athens will be the Acropolis. This is one of the original seven wonders of the world and is one of the most well preserved ancient Greek monuments in the world.
The name Acropolis is Greek for the highest point in the city (Akro means high, and polis means city). Essentially, every town in Greece has an Acropolis because it is just the highest point in the town but of course Athens is a bit more famous than that.
The Acropolis consists of the Parthenon which is the iconic ancient Greek temple that is pretty much the only picture necessary to describe Greece, various other temples, and theaters. It’s very impressive and will check off all the boxes for your Ancient Greek fix. However, in the end, I’d still say the Pyramids of Giza were much more impressive.
You can spend a lot of time here depending on how into the history you are but generally I think 1-2 hours is enough. During the summers, you can expect a large crowd at all times of the day. The best way to avoid the crowds is to come here in the very early morning or stay until it closes.
It’s hard to take a bad photo here so shoot away!
Admission Cost: €20 in the summer months, €10 between Nov and Apr
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday From 8am to 8pm
*You can purchase the Athens Pass for €30 which will allow you to visit numerous sights in Athens including the Acropolis. Definitely worth it if you plan to do most things.
The Agora, while not in the Acropolis, is a must visit sight as well. It’s the most well preserved Ancient Greek temple in all of Greece. After seeing the Acropolis which is almost half gone, the Agora offered a glimpse of what these buildings looked like fully standing.
The Agora, translating to “a place of gathering”, was once dotted with statues, shops, markets, schools and it was the place Socrates used to lecture his young disciples.
The whole complex only takes about 20 minutes to see but is well worth the visit especially if you’ve purchased the Athens Pass.
Visit the Plaka and Anafiotika
The most unique part of Athens has to be the Anafiotika neighborhood. This neighborhood is located right at the base of the Acropolis with perfect views over the city. It features houses built in the traditional Cycladic style that you’ll find on beautiful islands like Mykonos and Santorini.
I love the Cyclades and everything about the islands so what a surprise it was when I could find the iconic white stone houses in the middle of Athens! In the early 19th century, King Othon hired the best builders from Greece to refurbish his palace. These builders came from the Cyclades and from the island of Anafi (hence the name). The king let the builders stay at gifted them land nearby to the Acropolis where they build homes for their families in the traditional style.
You can find the neighborhood high up in the Plaka district of Athens and it’s the perfect place for some nice photo opportunities. You’ll have to walk through Plaka to get to the Anafiotika neighborhood. Along the way, stop for a quick coffee on the idyllic steps of the Plaka at Klepsýdra or Dióskouroi and soak in the Athens air.
Enjoy rooftop drinks with views of the Acropolis
For golden hour, head to one of the many rooftops in Athens with beautiful views of the Acropolis. This is one of my favorite things to do in Athens as I think the view is absolutely beautiful.
The best bars to do this are A For Athens and Couleur Locale. Both bars serve great drinks with a laid back vibe looking out at the Acropolis.
Dinner in the city
Finally, to end a great day, enjoy a delicious dinner of Greek food out in the city. There are countless Greek restaurants in Athens ranging from local but vibrant restaurants to upscale and fancy. Monastiraki and Psyri have endless restaurant options for you to choose from.
Head over to a place like Lithos Taverna, Bandiera, or Maiandros and feast away. Greek food is known for its fresh ingredients, generous portions, and delicious flavors. It’s very easy to overdo it because you want to try everything.
If you still have energy after dinner, go enjoy a cocktail at one of the world ranked cocktail bars at places like Baba Au Rum or the Clumsies!
Odeon Theatre Show
If you are visiting in the summer, make sure to book a show at the Odeon Amphitheatre which was one of my favorite things in Athens.
Free Walking Tour
I’m a big fan of free walking tours in cities and Athens is no different. The free walking tour I did here was incredibly informative and I learned things that I definitely would not have learned if I hadn’t gone.
We walked by all the main sights and got lots of stories from the guide about Greek culture, history, and food. We even visited a neighborhood adjacent to the Acropolis that is a little mini Cyclades within the city. I had no idea this existed but really it felt like I was walking through a village in Milos. This is because builders from the Cyclades were known to be the best and were brought in to construct a lot of the official buildings back in the day. They settled near to the Acropolis and were allowed to build in whatever fashion they wanted.
I had totally forgotten Athens was the home for the 2004 Olympics (and of course the original Olympics). They built this giant stadium modeled in the traditional sense for the opening and closing ceremonies in 2004.
It has since been largely unused and just a relic from that those games. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t use such a beautiful structure but I guess it’s the same reason they don’t want to reconstruct any of the Ancient buildings?
Nevertheless, it’s largely just a giant stadium in the middle of the city nowadays that tourists can visit. It is €5 for the entrance fee and you can walk around the stadium to your desire. There weren’t many visitors at all during the times I visited so you can bet on taking some fantastic photos.
Don’t miss a visit to Mount Lycabettus which is the ultimate sunset spot in my opinion. It’s near to the city center and can easily be reached by foot or taxi. You can either take a cable car from the entrance for €5 or walk yourself to the peak. From the entrance of the cable car, it is only about 200m to the top and is not a difficult hike.
The views here are simply stunning as you can really grasp just how massive of a city Athens is. You can even see the Mediterranean from the viewpoint.
There is a cafe and restaurant here where you can buy cocktails to enjoy the view. The restaurant is very expensive but could be worth it if you’re keen for some nice views!
Naxos: Day 4-8
For the first stop in the Greek islands, head over to the beautiful island of Naxos. Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands and the former capital of the Cyclades hundreds of years ago. Naxos has the typical Cyclades towns with the white stone houses but also offers a beautiful natural landscape if you venture inland.
Simply rent a scooter or a quad bike and travel through the different villages and viewpoints!
Visit the Naxos Chora
The Chora, or city center of Naxos is rustic and charming and will tick the boxes on any of your Greek Cyclades style streets. While not quite as picture perfect as the Chora in Mykonos, Naxos has its own style of charm. For starters, it’s much less busy than Mykonos so you can walk around the streets uninterrupted. It’s clear to me that Mykonos is for the tourists but it’s mostly Greek people that visit Naxos.
There are a ton of restaurants, bars, and shops to keep you busy in the Chora and it’s a great jumping off point to the nearby attractions and beaches. It’s a perfect place to take some beautiful photos on your honeymoon.
My favorite part of the Naxos Chora is actually viewing it from outside of the town. The views from the decks of the ferries that come into the town, or from the Temple of Apollo are my favorite. It’s a town built near the ocean and converges to its hilltop peak. Make sure to get some good photos of this!
Visit the Castle of Naxos
The Castle, or Kastro area of Naxos Chora is not to be missed. The castle district in these Cycladic islands are usually some of the oldest areas. The Naxos Kastro neighborhood dates back to the 13th century.
You can find the Archaeological Museum of Naxos at the top of the Castle. It is located in the former Palazzo Sanudo, which was built in 1627 and includes two of the palace towers. The five-storey structure presents archaeological finds from the Neolithic era. The collection of ancient marble figures, Mycenaean vessels and Roman glass is particularly impressive.
Visit the Apollo temple
If you’re staying in Naxos Chora (or anywhere else for that matter), a visit to the Apollo Temple right outside of town is a must. It’s the island’s emblem and certainly the main landmark. It’s like a stone window frame that looks directly into the Naxos Chora, but really it was built to face the island of Delos, the birthplace of Apollo. It was constructed in the 6th century BC in accordance to the specifications of the temples of Olympic Zeus in Athens.
It’s located just a hundred meters outside of the Chora and is connected by a beautiful footpath where you can sometimes see the waves crashing in. The Temple of Apollo is an incredibly popular place for the sunset. The sun sets directly in front of the Temple and lights up the structure as well as the town in the background during golden hour. It gets really packed here so don’t expect to take many good photos at this time. Instead, come back during sunrise where it is empty!
You can also get a beautiful view of the city of Naxos from here. The Chora is built around the Naxos Castle on the hilltop and has a perfect pyramid-like shape that looks oh so perfect.
Explore the many different villages in Naxos
While Naxos Chora is beautiful and a great place to start your trip to Naxos, the best part of the island are the little villages outside of Naxos. Naxos is one of the oldest and most storied islands in the Cyclades so these villages are not only storied but home to traditional buildings unchanged by time.
I thought some of these towns were the most beautiful towns I saw in the Cyclades. Not so much for their perfect white and blue paint-jobs but for how authentic and naturally beautiful they looked. Definitely a scooter or car and make your way to explore the towns.
In addition, Naxos island has the highest elevation of any island in the Cyclades. As you drive inland from the Chora, you can see the beautiful rolling mountain landscape that really reminds me of the dramatic Cretian coastline. It’s hard to get a bad view when driving through Naxos as you pass through farms, wineries, and of course churches.
As you leave the Naxos Chora, you will have one main road that goes through all the famous towns so I will list them out in order that you will visit them.
Located about 20 minutes from the Chora, Chalki is the first historic town that you must visit. Chalki (pronounced Halki) was once the main administrative center of Naxos. Nowadays, the old town is bustling with beautiful old Venetian style buildings, Byzantine churches, and many charming restaurants.
Halki is one of the first places in the Cyclades where I did not see a town of all white. In fact, walking through the town would remind you of something you’d see in southern Italy like Sicily rather than the Cyclades. This of course makes sense as the Cyclades was once all under Venetian rule but it is surprising because the rest of the islands underwent a transition to all white facades but these older villages decided against it. One of these is amongst Naxos’ oldest churches, the Church of Panagia (the Virgin), dating from the 9th century with some beautiful Byzantine and post-Byzantine frescoes.
I particularly loved the stone and reclaimed wood facade right outside Caffe Galanis. It was just such a beautiful backdrop and perfect for some rustic photos!
Filoti (My favorite)
Filoti is one of the oldest villages in Naxos. It’s located just a few km from Halki and is an absolute must visit. I think this was my favorite village of all because it just screamed everything you wanted about the Cyclades.
Filoti has outstanding old churches and they are all worth exploring for their frescoes. Other worthwhile village sights include the well organized Greek Numismatic Collection Museum of Nikolas Moustakis, housed in an older well maintained building.
There are so many little streets that meander into an even more picturesque street filled with whitewashed houses, cobblestone steps, and rustic doors. It’s a much larger village than Halki and there are tons of restaurants here to choose from. There are also hardly any other tourists that come here so I had the village to myself it felt like. The hardest part was finding people to take my picture!
Next up is the famous and picturesque town of Apeiranthos. It’s considered the crown jewel of the towns in Naxos and everyone raves about it. I was told by pretty much everyone in the Chora that this is the town to check out.
It’s an old town where its inhabitants have a distinct accent compared to the rest of the island and Greece. Quite impressive how that’s been preserved for so long.
But its most impressive feature is its architecture. Stone built towers, old houses and churches, marble paved alleys, traditional small souvenir and local craftsmanship shops. There are very iconic steps at the entrance of the town that are a photographer’s paradise. Simply walk through the streets and admire all the intricate things that make Apeiranthos what it is today.
I will be honest. Even though this was the most hyped up town to visit, I actually didn’t find it as picturesque or amazing as the other towns. In fact, I’d have to say that Filoti is much more impressive. The view coming up to the village of Apeiranthos is very beautiful itself.
Last but not least, the town of Koronos is a must visit. It’s located north of Apeiranthos in the middle of the island. It’s one of the oldest towns in Naxos and has a very stunning dramatic mountainside view to it. Driving up to it and seeing the whitewashed houses dotted along the facade of the mountain is stunning.
The village itself is also very beautiful with its narrow streets and stairs that have views of the mountainside. You can take some fantastic photos here as you can see from the below!
I also went to a very delicious restaurant here where it was just an older lady that spoke no English and cooked whatever was available on the menu. Very delicious.
Amorgos: Days 8-11
Next stop on the Greece honeymoon is the island of Amorgos. This is probably my favorite island in all of the Cyclades. It’s in my opinion the most dramatic and visually stunning of the Cyclades islands. It doesn’t have the fancy infrastructure as the other islands but that is all part of the charm. What it lacks in beautiful resorts and fancy restaurants, it more than makes up for in incredible landscapes and views.
This is the adventure part of your honeymoon and this is definitely an island I would return to.
Visit the Chora of Amorgos
The Chora of Amorgos was the medieval capital of the island. In olden times, the inhabitants preferred to move their capitals from the seaside to high up in the mountains to avoid pirate attacks that were all the rage. You can find the same trends happening in islands like Sifnos, Milos, Folegandros and more.
The Amorgos Chora is without a doubt one of the, if not the most beautiful old towns in all of the Cyclades. It is the most rustic and authentic looking of any island I saw as you could see so many buildings that still had its original stones in tact.
The beauty of the Chora is absolutely enchanting and walking through the old town was like walking through some sort of Cycladic fairy tale. There is one main street where all the restaurants, cocktail bars, and cafes are so simply walk down this street in the mid morning for an empty tour of the town.
I particularly liked the area by Apospero cafe which had the most perfect tables set out on the most perfect white cobblestone streets with the most vibrant Bougainvillea trees. If you want the cutest towns in the Aegean, look no further than Amorgos.
During the day times, it’s very quiet and devoid of people for most of the day. In the summer nights, the town fills up with people enjoying some of the top notch restaurants operating in the Chora. I visited during Coronavirus times and while the typical nightlife was a big no no, it was still very lively with mainly Greek tourists.
There are few side streets as well that you’ll want to explore with more cafes, rustic whitewashed houses, doors painted in a variety of colors like blue, green, and red, and so much more. I thought I saw the most beautiful villages in the Cyclades, but was blown away by the Chora in Amorgos.
Make sure to also walk up to the Venetian castle sitting on its rocky peak. You’ll find absolutely beautiful views of the Chora, sea, and the surrounding mountain scenery.
And of course, make sure to take many many photos of yourself doing your finest Instagram vanity pose. I mean, I’m a guy without long blonde hair and a flowing white dress and even I could get myself into the swing of it!
Enjoy the stunning landscape of the island
I’ve visited countless islands in the Cyclades and have enjoyed all of them immensely. Each island has something to offer and something that stands out above others.
Amorgos is a very special island in that the scenery is absolutely just breathtaking. While most of the other islands are mountainous to a degree, Amorgos is much more mountainous than others. The whole island being long and thin, you can see the mountains from every part of the island especially as it dramatically descends steeply into the ocean.
It has some of the tallest peaks in the Cyclades behind Naxos and Paros. The difference is Naxos peak was in the interior of the island whereas Amorgos’ peaks can be seen from the ocean. The contrast is absolutely stunning and reminds me of driving through the Western cape on my way to Cape Point.
There are so many heart-stopping viewpoints on this island that it’s best just to pull over on the ATV/scooter/car at times and just soak in the views.
Panagia Hozoviotissa Monastery
This is by and far the most amazing thing to see on Amorgos. The Monastery of Amorgos should be much more famous than it is. In fact, I barely even heard people really talking about it while I was in Amorgos.
Nevertheless, this 1000 year old Monastery is built into the mountain wall hundreds of meters above the sea, facing the sea. The all white facade is visible from the sea. This architectural marvel immediately brought me back to my time visiting Petra in Jordan with its mind boggling buildings carved into the face of the mountains.
The monastery is close to the Chora and is an absolute must visit. Don’t skip this one!
History of the monastery
The monastery was built over a thousand years ago when monks escaped from persecution in Palestine and found refuge with the people of Amorgos island. They were allowed to construct this Christian monument which started sometime in the9th century.
The monastery began to be built near the ocean where the icon had been found. Yet each day the builders came to work, whatever they had done the day prior was mysteriously knocked down by mother nature. This happened for a few days. Finally, the master builder lost his tool bag. It was found hanging off a nail on the cliff above. They all believed this was a miracle and a sign from Panagia to build the monastery up higher.
Funding ran dry for the construction numerous times and was left untouched numerous times. It wasn’t until 1088 AD when Emperor Alexios Komninos of the Byzantine Empire was informed that there was a monastery unfinished in Amorgos that he sent the necessary funds and finally completed it.
All in all, it took 250 years to finish building this structure! Really crazy to think that it took the entire history of the United States to finish the construction of this church.
Walking up to the Monastery
From the entrance of the Monastery, it’s possible to walk up to the church and visit. There are a few hundred cobblestone steps to climb all while enjoying breathtaking views of the sea. It’s not a difficult hike and takes roughly 15 minutes to reach the top.
The picture opportunities here are endless so make sure to snap some photos of this magnificent white structure. Once at the entrance, it’s possible to enter the monastery for a quick tour of the inside. Men have to wear pants and a shirt but they had random offerings available. Women also can’t wear pants or shorts but they have shawls available.
Once inside, I climbed to the top for a short tour given by one of the workers which was very interesting before going into a room to sample the local Raki made by the monks that still live there.
Visit the Beaches of Amorgos
Amorgos is packed with numerous beaches for the sun starved out there. It doesn’t have the best beaches in the Cyclades I’m not going to lie, but it’s definitely serviceable compared to other islands.
Agia Anna Beach
After a visit to the monastery, make your way down the road to the famous Agia Anna Beach which is home to the famous church that was in the movie “The Big Blue”. Everyone talks about this movie when talking about Amorgos but I have to admit that I had never even heard of it before visiting Amorgos.
Nevertheless, this is one of the famous beaches in Amorgos with very stunning views. The water is also a bright shade of turquoise and the sea is calm. There is no sand at this beach so it’s back to the rocky Greek beaches I’ve also become accustomed to.
Mouros beach is one of the best beaches in Amorgos. It’s home to multiple caves, and fantastic snorkeling. It’s located near the southeast of the island and easily accessible by car.
It’s one of the most popular beaches on the island and was very packed when I visited in August.
There is also a nice taverna here with views of the sea which serves delicious Greek food.
This beach, located near to the town of Aegiali is probably the best beach on the island. I feel like it’s less known and thereby draws less tourists which is surprising considering it’s one giant sandy beach with crystal clear water.
After the famous Hozoviotossa monastery in Amorgos, the Olympia shipwreck is probably the only other thing I had ever seen that was from Amorgos.
It’s located near the southwest tip of the island and is a giant freighter capsized off the coast of the bay. It reminds me of the shipwreck at Navaggio beach in Zakynthos although not quiet as perfect and turquoise.
The boat sank in 1980 when the crew ran into heavy winds. They tried steering it away but failed as it took them into the Bay of Liverrio. Thankfully, all the crew was rescued.
It’s a short hike from the parking lot but it is well worth it for the pictures and views!
Santorini: Days 11-15
Finally, the last part of the honeymoon ends in the beautiful island of Santorini. If you are debating between Mykonos and Santorini, make sure to read my post comparing these two most popular islands.
Santorini is the most famous and most visited island in all of Greece, and maybe even the world. This is the ultimate in stunning views and photo opportunities. For the ladies, make sure to pack your favorite dresses and a sufficiently large hat which is key.
Even if you’ve never heard of Santorini, there’s a high chance you’ve seen a photo of its iconic blue domes floating around somewhere. Mykonos has become the defacto upscale party island of Greece whereas Santorini has become the mecca for romantic couples trips, honeymoons, and influencer photo sprees.
Santorini is unlike the other islands in that it was formed by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. The entire island nowadays is built on the remnants of lava hardening in the sea. The island is very beautiful in that all the houses were built on the clifftops that descend straight into the sea allowing for dramatic effects.
The main towns of Santorini are Fira and Oia with the latter being the famous town that everyone takes photographs from. I would recommend one of the beautiful resorts in Oia or if you want exclusive privacy away from all the madness, stay somewhere in between Fira and Oia.
No visit to Santorini is complete without visiting the world famous Santo Winery. Santorini is widely regarded as the best wine growing island in all of Greece thanks to its rich volcanic soil (remember, Santorini is the remnants of a large volcano explosion thousands of years ago). Santo Winery is the largest producer on the island dating back to the 1940s.
Santo Wines has a large compound nearby to Fira town and it has perhaps the most stunning scenery that any winery in the world could hope to have. It’s literally in the middle of the Santorini crescent and offers completely unobstructed views of the sea.
The estate is set up with a modern interior perfect for wine tasting as well as numerous large outdoor patios for you to enjoy the breathtaking view. Santo Wines is actually popular for weddings and who could blame them?
We did a wine tasting here which included 12 of their wines (6 red and 6 white) for roughly €40. I actually thought this was crazy expensive considering I had been getting wine at restaurants for €4 for a half liter. Nevertheless, the wine here is of top notch quality but in reality you’re mostly paying for the view. The view is absolutely out of this world and is a must visit for this reason alone.
The sun sets directly in front of the estate so it’s a hugely popular place for sundowners. A reservation is an absolute must if you want to come here for the sunset. Even during coronavirus times, this winery was packed full. If you come in the summer months in normal times, I’d make a reservation at least a week beforehand. Otherwise, you can still come here during the daytime without much issue. The sun is super hot so most people wait until sunset to come here in big numbers.
Do the Fira to Oia hike
If you want to mix up the Instagramming and upscale dining with some physical exercise (light of course), look no further than the hike from Fira to Oia.
I’m not sure I would really call this a proper hike as more of a long walk. It’s not very challenging as the terrain is novice and almost all of it is done on paved road. Nevertheless, if you want to get a good feel of what Santorini has to offer in terms of views and landscape, the hike from Fira to Oia is it. Fira is located in the center of the island while Oia is located at the northwest tip. Doing this hike essentially means you’ve walked half of the island. Not only will you be able to see the breathtaking views Santorini is famous for, but you’ll also walk through some of the lesser known towns in Santorini (which are also very worthwhile).
The hike can be done at any time of the day as there is no entrance fee you need to pay. You simply start in Fira, Santorini’s capital, and walk along the edge of the town until you find the start of the footpath that goes towards Oia. You can see Oia from Fira so really if you’re just walking along the sea towards Oia, you’re going in the right direction. If all else fails, just ask someone!
I recommend starting from Fira because the hike towards Oia is slightly less of an incline than the other way around. Of course, you can hike from Oia to Fira as well but just be prepared for more uphill. The next two towns are Firostefani and Imerovigli which are almost like suburbs of Fira and are on this footpath (you can’t miss it). Both are much lower key than Fira and because they are not as easily accessible for the swarms of cruise ship tourists.
To return to your starting point, simply take the frequent bus that goes between the two towns. This bus leaves every half hour so you will never have to wait that long. Alternatively, if you’re staying in Oia, take the bus to Fira first, and then walk back home. I’d recommend doing this hike in the morning hours as the sun can be very unforgiving after 11am.
The walk is approximately 10kms (6 miles) long and will take you through a variety of landscapes along the way. Make sure you set aside a decent amount of time to complete so you are not in a rush. Generally, it should take between 3-5 hours depending on fitness level, stops and the temperature.
The path changes terrain from everything such as loose scoria, concrete, sand and rocks. Good walking shoes with plenty of support is a must.
Day by Day Greece Honeymoon Itinerary
Here is a breakdown of the day by day Greece honeymoon itinerary
Day 1: Land in Athens and explore the city
Day 2: Full day Athens exploration
Day 3: Athens and temple of Poseidon day trip
Day 4: Flight or ferry to Naxos
Day 5: Naxos full day exploration
Day 6: Naxos village tour
Day 7: Naxos full day
Day 8: Naxos to Amorgos
Day 9: Full day Amorgos exploration
Day 10: Amorgos full day
Day 11: Amorgos to Santorini ferry
Day 12: Full day Santorini
Day 13: Full day Santorini
Day 14: Full day Santorini
Day 15: Flight home
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