From Greenville to Greece: Our Mediterranean Adventure

I'm finally getting back into the swing of things after lots of summer travel and adventuring. We went to Greece at the end of June and it was everything you'd imagine it to be - beautiful white architecture, cliffside hotels overlooking the Aegean Sea, amazing Greek food, and the friendliest of people! We started in the small island of Paros then ventured on to Santorini to see what all the hype is about (which we now understand!).

Harbor view on the Greek island of Paros

Paros is a small, quiet island with dozens of coves to swim in and the nicest people. It's less touristy, which we loved. We rented mopeds and explored the island for a few days, hitting up amazing family owned restaurants and swimming in the clearest blue water I've ever seen.

I can't compliment our hotel on Paros enough! We stayed in Naoussa at Almira Suites and the kind hostess, Marissa, did everything for us, from renting mopeds to suggesting the best local food, to supplying us with first aid kits when we had a little run in with some big waves. This sweet little hotel is family owned and run which made it feel warm and welcoming right off the bat. Breakfast is included with the rooms so we had a daily homemade breakfast by Dimitri, a talented chef in the summer and a photographer and teacher in the winter. He made us cappuccinos and had a huge breakfast spread every morning - eggs, yogurt, local cheese, pastries, homemade granola, breads, and fresh fruit. I was in heaven here!

reception area at Almira Suites in Paros, Greece
Exterior view of boutique hotel, Almira Suites, on the Greek island of Paros
Complimentary breakfast at Paros hotel, gourmet breakfast
Homemade granola with greek yogurt at Almira Suites in Paros
Guest eating breakfast at Almira Suites hotel in Greece
Small street with pink trees on the island of Paros

We ate at Palia Agora, a tapas restaurant, the first night and it was a great introduction to Greek food and hospitality.

Al fresco dining at Palia Agora restaurant in Naoussa
fishing boat in the Naoussa harbor on the Greek island of Paros
Man walks on rocks during sunset in Naoussa, Paros
Fisherman cleans his catch in front of his fishing boat in Naoussa

They refer to this beach as a free spa because of the clay found in the rocks along the beach. You're supposed to lather it on, let it dry, then rinse it off for super soft skin.

Man rubs clay on skin at beach in Paros
view of the Agean Sea from a lighthouse on the Greek island of Paros
hiker sits on a rock clip overlooking the Agean Sea
traveler jumps off of a cliff into the Agean Sea on the island of Paros

The local, family-owned restaurants in Paros were one of my favorite things about this island. Lots of al fresco dining and delicious farm to table-esque food.

tzaziki at local restaurant on Paros
green beans and local white wine at farm to table restaurant in Greece
tzaziki on grilled bread, Greek food, food photography
Al fresco dining in an alley on the island of Paros
sunset dining outside on a Greek island

After a few days on Paros, we made our way to Santorini via ferry, which felt more like a cruise ship. We arrived with hundreds of other tourists and braved the crowds and the countless steps to get to our cliffside hotel in Fira, Scirocco Hotel. The view from our terrace was breathtaking...photos don't do it justice but I'll share them anyway! Santorini comes alive at night and I'm not talking about 8 or 9 pm; they're just getting started at 11:00, which was something we never quite got used to while we were there. We'd eat early and be alone in the restaurants which was pretty nice for us but the Greeks probably thought we were insane!

Reception at Hotel Scirocco in Fira, Greece
Hotel Scirocco overlooking the caldera on the Greek island of Santorini
guest stands on terrace overlooking the ocean on the island of Santorini
View of the Caldera in Fira, Santorini
view from terrace of seagulls flying over the Agean Sea
Greek man rides donkey up a street in Santorini

Santorini GastronomyViator We stayed in Fira while we were in Santorini, which is much less crowded than Oia and still just as beautiful! Santorini has lots to do - we did a cooking class through Santorini Gastronomy), visited Valssaltis Winery, sailed the Agean Sea at sunset (booked through Viator), took in the beautiful sunsets in Oia, and ate lots of gyros.

oil and vinegar for seasoning Greek food
friends ready for a cooking class in Santorini
Muscles prepared during a cooking class in Santorini, Greece
Preparing ingredients for traditional Greek food during cooking class
Woman holding muscles she prepared during Greek cooking class
View of a cross dome overlooking the Caldera and Agean Sea in Greece
Exterior of Vassaltis Winery
crackers and wine during a tasting at Vassaltis Winery in Oia, Greece
Wine wall at younger winery in Santorini
Sailing Cruise through Viator
sailing the Agean Sea at sunset with views of the Caldera
feet over the blue water of the Agean Sea
sunset views from a sailboat in Santorini, Greece
parsons outside of a gyro shop in Oia, Santorini
Gyros in Oia, Santorini, food photography