Greece Highlights

This was my first trip to Athens in 13 years!  We have bypassed it during our last few trips to Greece so I was excited to get reacquainted with the city.

Athens, Greece

We did not really have enough time in Athens, but we made the most of it. Despite all packing carry-ons, they were taken from us on our last leg of the trip and we were forced to wait a long time for our bags.  By the time we made it to our room of our hotel, it was almost 5 pm and we had 7:30 pm dinner reservations so we quickly made our way to the Acropolis.  It was hot (even though we were there before the massive heat wave that recently hit Europe), the climb was steep, and we had little sleep on the plane but …

We rewarded ourselves on the way down with a fabulous experience at a restaurant along the steps of the Acropolis where we ordered all of our favorite Greek foods and listened to live music while soaking in the charm of sitting under grape vines.  I was so tired and hot, but so very happy!

Travel has a way of exhausting you and invigorate you at the same time!


Every time I ask a Greek person in the travel industry what their favorite island is, they usually say Paros.  I decided I needed to experience it for myself.  Spoiler alert – it is not my favorite island, but that does not mean you should not visit it.  I have never met a Greek island that I did not like. 

Paros is especially a great option for those who need a luxury property but do not need the glitz and glamour of an island like Mykonos.  From what I hear, it is similar to what Mykonos was 20-30 years ago.  I am a big fan of Cosme which is part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection and part of their preferred agency program which means booking through Explore More means you get perks!  I loved that each room has so much outdoor space, some even have private pools – although I am partial to the shared infinity pool that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. Cosme is walkable to town as well which is so nice because it is a cute place to explore and dine.


… a Greek island that is so small that it does not require a car. The entire island is walkable and we had walked about 15 minutes from town to a fish taverna for lunch. Even though our card had worked everywhere else, this was a new POS system that did not like any of our American cards. There aren’t many Americans here, we are truly off the beaten path. There was not an ATM nearby so our waiter said it was fine and just to come back when we had the money. We offered to give the cash we did have at the time, and he waived it off and said he trusted us. We made it back the next day with enough cash for our lunch the day prior and another round of Greek food and house wine!
If that is not enough to convince you to visit, let me show you some beach photos …

There are not many place in Greece during the summer where you do not have to make reservations for dinner ahead of time or save seats at the pool, but Koufonisia is that place.  You can actually find places to swim with nobody else around.  It truly is magical.  


If you’ve been following Explore More for a while, I think you know that my favorite Greek Island is Naxos.  There are some close seconds that I need to compare in the same trip sometime to get a true ranking.  While I think Naxos is still our favorite (you never forget your first love) for off season travel, Koufonisia may have Naxos beat in the thick of summer.  Naxos was more crowded than I had ever seen it before, but I still love it.
We always rent a car to do some exploring while in Naxos.  Not everybody is comfortable with that, so I can arrange tours for my clients who do not want to rent a car.  One of my favorite activities in Naxos for clients is a cooking class, but we were short on time and was not able to do one this trip.  We rented a car to go to our favorite restaurant called Matina’s in the mountains of Naxos about an hour from Naxos Town.  We had seen smoke coming from the mountains during our stay, but our hotel assured us that it was contained and we were safe to proceed to Matina’s.  It turned out to be a bad idea …

We did not make it to Matina’s which was a bummer because it is our first time in Naxos not going there, and Rob was really looking forward to visiting on his birthday.  However, we were able to visit some other favorites while we were there so I could do that cheesy thing I do recreating past photos!

We did not do as many activities as in the past because we needed to relax and reconnect on this trip.  That is the best part about Greece.  You can do all the things, but you don’t have to.  There is so much to appreciate in the simple things like exploring beaches and eating fresh Mediterranean cuisine.  We also knew that our time on the river cruise would be full of tours and such, so we wanted a slower pace in Greece.  I am excited to share about our family river cruise experience next week.

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