It’s been a year since we got married. A year since I promised my hunk my forever. Which also means it’s now been a year since our honeymoon. Since our epic escapades in Greece and Italy. This trip was nothing short of magic. Magic so good and so sweet, and magic we somehow have just kept to ourselves. But I’m sharing the magic with you now.
A huge reason why I wanted to honeymoon in Greece is because I actually was hoping to move to Greece for 2 years after I graduated college. But instead, this smokin hot guy I had had a crush on for 3 years – this absolute goofball of a man who just couldn’t ever admit he liked me actually started pursuing me. So I stayed. And I married him. And I wouldn’t change that decision. Ever. But it just felt fitting to start our life together in the place that should have kept us a part. So when we were planning our wedding in the midst of buying and renovating a house, forking up some funds to jet set to the other side of the world to chase down a bucket-list item seemed a little out of the question. But we realized there’s no better time to start living than now. No use in delaying dreams.
I’m a bit of a master at planning financially-conservative travel (if I may say so myself) so I made sure we did this trip on a budget. But never once did we feel like we were missing out. We experienced authentic culture and beauty in both countries and we enjoyed every second of it. Scroll through the photos to just take in the beauty or read all my notes on where we stayed, where we ate, and what we did if you want to plan your future trip.
Day 1 – 3 | Athens
The morning after our big day, we shared a brunch with our closest people then we headed straight for the airport and boarded a flight. DFW to MAD to ATH. Athens is one of the main airports in Greece so it was the cheapest place for us to fly into. We booked our flight over to Santorini (our real Greek destination) for a day and a half after we landed and used it as a good opportunity to see the city; we had 36 hours to see as much as we possibly could in this history-rich spot. Here’s how we did it:
Airbnb | We stayed in this sweet little Airbnb place. It was small and simple and all we needed for a spot we spent such little time in. Dimitrios was an amazing host; he took us to his favorite local restaurant when we first got in and we shared a few hours of great conversation over lamb and the most incredible rice I’ve ever had. Yummm. We strolled around the central city to take in the night life then we woke up the next morning and hit the city hard.
Meliartos | We woke up early knowing we had a lot to pack in the day. So we strolled out of our apartment in search of fuel. Meliartos was the first spot we stumbled upon and it was perfect. We got an egg breakfast with some greek yogurt and coffee.
Parthenon | I mean, it was built in 447 BC. Need I say more?
Acropolis + Acropolis museum | Plan to do this with the Parthenon. You can definitely spend hours upon hours in the museum itself, but it’s pretty easy to knock the whole Hill out in a couple hours total.
Plaka | The plaka is a village-like neighborhood tucked inside the heart of the city. It’s got charming shops and restaurants along cobblestone streets. It’s a fun place to wander and a sweet little haven amidst a dirty and broken city.
Day 3 – 6 | Santorini
We woke up before dawn on morning #2 (day #3) to catch a cab back to the Athens airport and hopped on a short 45 minute flight over to Santorini. I wrote this place on my bucket 12 years ago when I saw the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie. I know, I can hear your snickers, but you know you did it too!
And gosh y’all, Santorini was a dream. We stayed in Oia, a village on the northwest side of the island. I’m so glad we chose Oia over Fira or Imerovigili. It was quiet and not overly packed with tourists and just full of so much charm.
Airbnb | We stayed in the coolest Airbnb cave house. Yes, a cave house. Casa Sofia was everything we could have wanted. (Well, it didn’t have one of those awesome personal little jacuzis that looked out onto the water, but for the price it was a killer view with the perfect authentic feel.) It also came with an amazing host who greeted us up at the street we were dropped off at, walked us down to the house, and sat with us for a few minutes to talk all about what we might want to spend our time doing. She give us maps and resources and she even booked our boat trip for us.
Floga | We arrived in Oia really earning in the morning so we dropped off our bags at the cave house then wandered upon Floga for breakfast. We ordered an omelet to share and we came back again each morning – to order the same thing and sit at the same table. The waiters were kind and the view was incredible. Such sweet mornings at that place.
Oia shops | A lot of our time in Oia was spent just strolling through the village and popping in to all the cute shops. I swear every single corner of this village is a picture waiting to be taken (it took a lot of restraint in me to not share all 2000 pictures I took in this post). If you’re heading to Santorini, definitely plan time just to stroll through Oia and pop into any store front that calls to you.
Fira to Oia hike | One of those mornings, after our Floga omelet, we caught the bus over to Fira. (If you want to do more of the touristy things, they’re in Fira. Ex: I got paid 10 Euro to stick my feet in a tub and have those tiny little fish eat the dead skin for 10 min. Worth it.) We enjoyed strolling through the village and Casmir ate an amazing street gyro, but then we hiked the 6 miles back to Oia. We absolutely loved this . It was fun to walk through the little villages and take in the rocky cliffs and blue water. We stopped at a precious little smoothie bar about halfway through the hike and it was the perfect fuel we needed to make it back to our sweet little Oia.
Catamaran | Our splurge for Greece was a day on a catamaran. We got to swim in the hot springs, snorkel in the coral and crystal clear water, and enjoy a fresh-as-can be meal of lamb and shrimp grilled by the boat driver while we anchored in the harbor. This was absolutely worth the money – such a cool way to take in the island.
And we got to watch this sunset every night. It was everything I dreamed it would be. And though we definitely could have done more on the island, or hopped to other islands, I feel like we got the full Greek experience packed into the few days we spent in the country. I really wouldn’t change anything about our trip in Greece. If I never go back, I know I got all the best pieces of the Greek experience.
Day 6 – 10 | Positano
Travel deets | From Santorini we took a short flight back to Athens then connected on another flight over to Naples. We could have taken a train or bus down to Positano, but we arrived in Naples pretty late in the evening so we just paid a little extra money and hired a driver to pick us up and drive us straight to our spot. This was absolutely worth it. It was so convenient (Maria at Casa Cosenza actually booked it for us) and we essentially got 90 minutes in the car to chat with the sweet, sweet Antonio and hear all about his life growing up in Positano, which in itself was an experience.
Y’all. I’ve been lucky to travel to lots of amazing places in this world, places I’ve fallen in love with, but I can’t even tell you how much more so Positano has captured my heart. It’s everything every place in this world should be. It’s charming. It’s vibrant yet quiet. Its sweet little families that have lived there for generations take such pride in their perfect little home. People that are kind and eager to show all they love about it. I literally have tiny little tears welling up in my eyes just thinking about the 3 days we spent in this little place; it’s more than amazing. It’s perfect.
Casa Cosenza | This was the only spot we didn’t stay in an Airbnb. We stayed with the amazing Maria at Casa Cosenza. I can’t recommend this place enough. ^ I mean just look at the view from our balcony! You will not find any better location or any sweeter service for this price. It’s definitely nothing fancy, but clean and cute and truly authentic. And in a cliffside village like this one (where you will legitimately climb thousands of stairs a day) location really is everything.
Beach time | You don’t get the sandy beach we’re both used to in California, but there’s something just so cool about the pebbles. We spent a lot of our time in this sweet village just sitting on the beach and eating fresh fruit or aged parmesan from the market.
Path of the Gods | We were so in love with Positano itself that we didn’t want to leave the village, but we did take a bus ride over to Amalfi and hike the Path of the Gods back and that was nothing short of epic. An absolute must. The views are unreal and it’s such a fun way to take the coastline in. But you better be prepared: its a few miles of hiking from Amalfi to Nocelle and then 1,750 steps down into Positano. Yes, 1,750. It gets hard on the knees. And we were so darn hungry. So we basically ran our way down just talking through the details of the amazing pizza that was awaiting us.
The foooooood | You can truly just taste the difference in ingredients. I was devastated when Casa e Botega was closed for renovations, and da Adolfo was closed for the season (we were there Oct 30 – Nov 3 so we were just a week behind a lot of the “summer” season). These were two spots I was really looking forward to enjoying and super sad to miss (but now just another reason to force Casmir to bring me back for an anniversary…) But if you head to Positano, those 2 should for sure be on your list!
Il Fornillo | If you only eat at one place in Positano, it needs to be Il Fornillo. Well, maybe that’s not true. It’s probably not the best food in the village. But for this gluten-free pizza lover, it was my The gluten free pizza was legitimately the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. In my whole life. In fact, we went back a second time and Casmir (who typically eats all the gluten he can) ordered the gluten-free one because it was even better than the gluten-filled one. I will dream of that pizza until I go back one day to eat it all over again.
Da Ferdinando | This is a great spot right on the beach for casual food. You can definitely pay a lot of money at a lot of the restaurants for the view of being right on the water, but if you’re looking for something simple and inexpensive, Da Ferdinando is a great option.
Snacks from the market | It’s tempting to just eat your way through all the amazing restaurants (and trust me, we did) but we also loved stopping by the market to grab some fresh fruit and aged parmesan and nibble on the beach.
Capri | Like I said, Positano was hard to leave, but we took a short board ride over to Capri and spent about half a day on the island. Unfortunately we missed the “season” here as well so we didn’t get to see the Grotto Azzurra, but we did pay a little cash to get a private ride through all the other grottos and they were definitely worth the trip. If I’m being honest though, Capri is a little overrated. I’m glad we went to see it, but I’m also glad we didn’t spend any more than a day there. It was just a little too touristy for my taste. We enjoyed a good meal and the funicular ride up the hill, but we were eager to hop on the ferry back to our sweet quaint little Positano.
Honestly, I will love you forever, Positano. You will have a piece of my heart I will never get back. Until I get back. (I will get back to you.) I will eat another Il Fornillo pizza and look out over your perfectly stacked painted buildings and pretend like I know what your sweet people are saying when they speak that beautiful Italian tongue with fire in their eyes. I’m coming for you Positano. Maybe for our 20th anniversary or something awesome like that, but I’m coming for you.
Day 10 – 12 | Rome
Rome was the one place I had been to before this trip and I actually went back in June when I traveled back for work, so I knew this might be the only time Casmir would get to see it (cuz my bucket list is longggg and I’m not sure I’ll want to head back to many places I’ve already been). So we booked our flight out of Rome and spent 36 hours seeing all that we could (just like we did in Athens).
Airbnb | We stayed at another great Airbnb with another amazing host. Luca was really great to meet us at the apartment and help us get settled. He even offered us a few maps and tips on what to see and do then scheduled a cab to pick us up for the airport. He is exactly why I will forever love Airbnb over hotels!
Vatican Museum + Saint Peter’s Cathedral | I mean, you basically can’t come to Roma and not visit the Vatican. Because we knew our time was limited, we got online and paid for a group tour bright and early in the morning. It was every bit worth it – it got us some great information and most importantly got us in and out quickly so we still had a lot of the day to conquer other things.
Mamertime Prison | This is one of my favorite things to do in Rome. It’s the prison where Paul was held by the Romans. You can actually walk down into the cell where he wrote a lot of the New Testament and see the water hole he used to baptize the guards! It’s so moving to stand in the history of the church.
San Pietro in Vincoli | This is also an awesome spot for any history buffs. (Although let’s be honest, all of Rome is an awesome spot for history buffs.) In this church you can view Peter’s chains and Michaelangelo’s moses statue.
(My Healthy Eats Travel Guide for Rome is on its way, so stay tuned for that!)
If you haven’t ever used Airbnb, I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s such a fun way to travel: authentic flavor with all the tips of a host – as close to being a local as you can get, and almost always for a much cheaper price than a hotel. Book your first trip and use this link to get $40 off! It was such a big factor in us getting to chase this dream of seeing Greece and Italy for no more than the cost of a traditional Mexican beachside all-inclusive resort so many of our friends have taken. If that’s your jam, then by all means, you should go for it, but I’m SO so SO glad we made the choice to make this trip happen. It was the perfect mix of the relaxation we needed after the stress of planning a wedding and renovating a house, but it was also packed with the activity and adventure we both need to constantly chase after our wanderlust. It was more than a dream come true and gets me so excited for all the trips our future holds. I’ve been so so fortunate to travel a lot already in my life, but nothing compared to sharing experiences like this and seeing sights like these with my new husband. The sweetest, fullest blessing.
This trip will forever have my heart and all the memories I share with my sweet man from it. We checked out from social media during this trip so I never really shared any of these photos or experiences- it’s been our little secret. Until now. Such a joy to relive these memories and such a pleasure to share the details with you so hopefully you can enjoy it as much as we did if you head that way!
xoxo, Mollie Mason