By no means is this meant to be a definitive list of the good, the bad and the ugly in Greece. I spent fewer than two weeks there so it’s just based on short-term observations and limited personal experience. Having said that…
On the whole, everywhere we ate was delicious or, at least, not awful. Only about three meals out of…what…30 were subpar. Everything else was tasty, good quality, enjoyable. Paired with some good wine or some cocktails and to-die-for views and eating out was a pleasure. Athens is also generally really well priced for food. Mykonos more expensive and Santorini somewhere in the middle depending on where you eat. Easier to find good find in Athens too as you can generally eat where the locals eat without much hassle.
Athens was cheap. In some cases, really cheap. The downside to a struggling economy, I suppose. Food was exceptionally well priced (unless you’re going for the super fancy, which we didn’t, but I can’t imagine it’s outrageous. Definitely nowhere near Australian prices). Taxis were also ridiculously cheap in the city – just make sure they put the meter on. The reasonable and cheap prices in Athens make up for the higher prices in Mykonos…but what do you expect?
I drove for two days in and around Athens. I was anxious that they’d be like the Italians – aggressive and excessively using their horns. Not so. The Greeks drive super fast, drift across lanes without indicating and there’s a lot of cars on the road BUT they’re pretty laid back. I found myself copying their style, sometimes intentionally as I was about to go down the wrong road, but I didn’t feel harangued. Mykonos and Santorini you’re dealing with smaller roads but drivers still going the same speed.
We only went to Elia Beach in Mykonos but that was well set up and the water was beautiful. It was incredibly chilled and I could have stayed there for days. The beaches on the mainland looked really good too and the water is clear as. Perfect way to spend the summer days.
More ruins than you can poke a stick at. Lots of history, lots of picturesque ruined temples. Being also the main sightseeing drawcard, it was wonderful to see that sites like the Parthenon and the oracle at Delphi weren’t excruciatingly busy. It’s probably awful in August but in June it wasn’t too packed at all. Also, unlike India, you’re not harassed by people trying to see things. Only downside is you can get a bit ‘over’ seeing ruins all the time.
Transport on Mykonos and Santorini
It can get a bit expensive using taxis on Mykonos and Santorini. Next time I’ll hire a car for the islands as you can see me. We ended up taking the bus quite a bit on Mykonos which was really cheap (€1.60 and €3.20) but the buses aren’t all that frequent so you run the risk of not catching them.
Trying to Get the Bill
Staff in restaurants are in absolutely no hurry to bring you the bill, or, once you’ve got the bill, the card machine (or take your money and bring back change). This can get a bit frustrating when you’re eager to get going (or running late for a bus). We pushed it along by getting up to pay at a counter which usually involved us being asked to go back to our seat and being reassured we’d be dealt with shortly.
You can’t flush toilet paper down the toilet. At all. The pipes in Greece are too thin that toilet paper will just block them and cause a whole lot of trouble. One or two pieces is fine but on the whole it’s a no-no. Instead you throw it in the bin. As a result, just about every toilet in Greece has a small plastic bag-lined bin next to it which you throw the paper in. It takes getting used to, and to get over the ick factor but you deal. The amount of plastic waste that then gets thrown away isn’t worth thinking about.