In early August, we traveled on our second Adventures by Disney trip. This time, we chose to book the Adventures by Disney Greece trip, called Greek Odyssey. I never did a trip report for our Bella Italia trip, but for this adventure, I made sure that I took some notes along the way so that I was better prepared.
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Adventures by Disney Greece Trip Report
We started our journey on a beautiful, sunny day in Boston. A 5pm overnight flight wasn’t ideal, but it was our best option. I prefer to leave later, so that we can try to sleep right away. As our Uber pulled up to Logan Airport, the skies opened and the rains poured down. As we were to later discover, this rain derailed many of our fellow travelers’ flights. Luckily for us, we were only delayed a short amount of time.
Our flight to Zurich was rather uneventful, although sleep evaded me. I just couldn’t get comfortable, and didn’t feel sleepy. My attempts at sleep ended at about 4am, when the plane’s lights were lit and we were served breakfast. As we stumbled into the Zurich Airport from the plane, we quickly went through customs and set out in search of the first coffee shop we could find.
After coffee and a brief nap, we boarded our next flight to Athens. We planned to arrive the day before our Adventures by Disney trip started, so that we could rest and get acclimated to the 7-hour time difference before our adventure started. The flight to Athens was only 3 hours and seemed so short after the earlier overnight flight. We arrived at Athens, grabbed our luggage, and found our driver. Since we’d already gone through EU customs, we didn’t have to worry about that.
Our drive to the Intercontinental Athenaeum was pretty quick. Admittedly, it was a little jarring to see street and business signs written in the Greek alphabet. Of course I expected that, but seeing the letters really drove home the fact that we were in a very foreign land.
The Athenaeum is lovely, and I have a whole review of it here. We were really impressed with our large room, and unpacked while deciding what to do next. It was afternoon at this point, so we took a brief nap and then talked to the concierge about restaurant recommendations. While it was very tempting to stay in, we chose to take a cab down to the Plaka, where we dined at the Old Tavern of Psaras. It claims to be the Plaka’s oldest restaurant, and was the perfect spot for our first meal in Greece.
Day 1: Athens
It’s no surprise that we slept in the next morning, although all of us were up at various points during the night. We were all so hungry, and welcomed the Intercontinental’s large breakfast buffet (there’s a charge for some guests but free with our room package). After breakfast, we met up with our AbD guides Armando and Niki. I wanted to tour around Athens during the day, but absolutely knew that I wanted to purchase a pair of custom sandals at Melissinos Art -The Poet Sandal Maker. Niki provided me with a map to our destination. We took the hotel’s shuttle to the downtown area, and then walked to the sandal shop, to the flea market area, and to the Plaka for lunch. Then, tired, we headed back to the hotel for a rest before our AbD reception and dinner.
The kids wanted to go to the hotel’s pool to cool off, so my husband took them while I avoided the sun indoors. My daughter made a friend in the pool who was part of our tour group, so she was thrilled. We got ready for dinner, and met everyone in the lobby.
This group was an almost full tour (37 or 38 people, I think), filled with lots of kids. It was the perfect mix of ages for my kids, and they all had so much fun together. Our dinner was in the same spot where we had breakfast, and the kids all sat at their own table. It was a nice night, but everyone was exhausted and went to bed early.
Day 2: Athens
We met in the lobby early to head to the Acropolis. Our guides provided us with “whispers” which are listening devices so that we can hear the guided tour when we are in crowds. Niki did all of the guiding on these trips, and is so incredibly knowledgable. I’m not sure there’s anything about Greece that she doesn’t know. Armando, on the other hand, was the perfect host, with a dazzling personality. He brought cards with him and played games with the kids while we were waiting at various spots. They made a great team.
The Acropolis is about as stunning as you’d imagine. I was surprised about how rocky the walk up is – it’s definitely slippery. Luckily, I tucked a pair of KEEN sandals in my suitcase right before we left. The views from the top are so beautiful. It was hot (a running theme in our trip), and so we did try to find shade where we could. But it was so amazing to see, and I’m glad we did it on the first day.
We then got back on the bus and headed to the Panathenaic Stadium. Again, it was very hot, so we just did a small version of our mini Olympics and then took some pictures on the podium. The stadium has a small museum with some of the old torches, which was fun to see. We all took turns leaning up again the air conditioning units!
Then we headed to the Plaka for a delicious lunch. It was served family style, as many of our meals were served. We all enjoyed the appetizers, and didn’t even realize that the main entrees had yet to be served. During our meal, we were entertained by traditional dancers.
After lunch we had a choice to return to the bus and go back to the hotel, to explore the Plaka, or to go to the Acropolis Museum on our own. We were tempted to go back and rest, but I’m glad that we made the decision to visit the museum. It’s really amazing, and there are so many fantastic artifacts that you can see. We didn’t spent too much time there, but you easily could.
After more pool time, I did some research on local restaurants. There were a few that were recommended to us, but I found a local mom and pop shop (Dio Dekares i Oka) on TripAdvisor that looked great. It was a very traditional restaurant, but the portions were huge and the service was wonderful. There were no frills, but it definitely felt like an authentic Athens experience. We went to bed early again, because we had another long day ahead of us.
Day 3: Delphi
I had heard great things about Delphi and looked forward to our day there. I was surprised, however, to hear that it would be a three-hour trip each way. Our guides did a great job of breaking up the trip, however, by playing movies, giving us some educational commentary, and making stops along the way. On the journey there, we stopped at a rest area serving coffee and delicious spinach pie. By this point, I knew exactly what type of coffee I preferred – a Cappuccino Freddo (iced cappuccino) with just a touch of sugar.
Delphi wasn’t too crowded, and again we used our “whispers” to hear Niki’s narration. This Unesco site is rich with history, and our tour was the perfect blend of education and entertainment so that the kids wouldn’t be bored. At the end of the tour, we were given the chance to walk even further up to see a stadium. Trying to avoid the sun, I opted out of the additional walk, and found some shade. When the rest of our group, including my family, returned, we went into the small museum. It would be easy to skip, but that would be a mistake because there are lots of great artifacts in there.
After our visit, we drove just a few short minutes into town for lunch. The family-run restaurant that we went to was a beautiful setting for another traditional Greek lunch. Here, the kids tried to teach our guide Armando how to use Snapchat. After lunch, we boarded the bus back to Athens for our last night. The drive back seemed pretty quick, although it was the same three hours. We made another stop, and watched a movie, so the time went by quickly.
Dinner this evening was on our own again. We had wanted to dine at the hotel’s restaurant Premiere, which apparently had beautiful views of the Acropolis. But long pants were required, and my son had only packed shorts. Instead, we decided to head back to the Plaka one last time. This time, we decided to select a restaurant once we got there.
Restaurateurs in the Plaka can be a bit pushy, so we tried not to be too eager as we reviewed the various menus. Ultimately, we decided to dine at a restaurant where they didn’t encourage us. The food was great, as it was in almost every restaurant we went to. We enjoyed one last day exploring the shops of the Plaka, and then took a cab back to our resort so that we could pack for our next destination.
Day 4: Santorini
We were given tickets to the second flight to Santorini, which meant that we had a later wake up time. The extra time was welcomed, as we were so tired. We had a final breakfast in Athens and then boarded the bus headed to the Athens Airport. Our flight to Santorini was extremely short, and within less than an hour, we had landed in the tiny Santorini airport. Upon our arrival, we immediately headed to our first stop – a winery/museum. We were treated to a delicious lunch, and then the kids headed outside with our guides for some games, while the adults got to taste some of the wonderful wines from this volcanic region. After the tasting, the kids and some adults had the opportunity to stomp some grapes outside. Then, we had free time to check out the museum with audio headsets. It was not only fun and educational – it was also nice and cool in the museum.
It was a wonderful experience, but we had to get on the bus and go to the town of Fira to get some great pictures. I had dreamed of the beauty of Santorini, so to see it firsthand was surreal. The town was crowded with tourists and tourist buses, but not so crowded that we couldn’t enjoy it. I was able to get lots of good pictures.
We were only in Fira for a short time, when it was time to check in to our hotel. Located in Fira, the Majestic Hotel is about a ten minute walk from the shops and restaurants. This small(ish) hotel has beautiful Santorini views, as well as a large pool. The kids were so thrilled to see the pool, and so we quickly unpacked and headed out to cool off.
This was one of the two days where all of our meals were included, so we didn’t have too much time in the pool. After showering, we boarded the bus and drove to a small village where we ate at a charming taverna. Right around sundown, we took a quick walk up to the top of the village, where we were able to view the sunset. After returning to the restaurant and finishing our meal, we walked to the bus, stopping to view the lunar eclipse. It was such a magnificent night – with so many beautiful sites.
Day 5: Santorini
Our guides had raved about the day 5 agenda, so I was eagerly anticipating it. Our day started with the breakfast buffet at our hotel. Although it was smaller than the one in Athens, I really loved it. We were able to dine outside, and the cool morning air was inviting.
After a quick ride on the bus, we arrived at the waterfront, where we boarded a private boat. This boat took us to the volcano in Santorini, where we were able to walk to the top. Again, avoiding the sun, I opted out of the hike, and stayed on the ship. The rest of my family enjoyed the hike though. Once we were all on the boat, we rode off to the hot springs. Most of us disembarked the ship either by jumping or using the ladder. Swim noodles were available for the weaker swimmers of the group (including me!). The water initially was a little chilly, but as we swam toward the springs it got more shallow and warmer. You can actually grab the mud from the sea floor and put it on your body. It did stain a bit though, and I wish I had brought a darker bathing suit. I ended up throwing out the top I’d brought.
We had the opportunity to change on the boat before heading to the small island of Thirasia for a nice lunch. This was one of my favorite meals because of the beautiful location right on the water. The food was good too, but the setting was really unique and picturesque.
A day on the water can be exhausting, and we were definitely tired as we sailed back to the port. That didn’t stop the kids from wanting to spend more time in the pool, so we all headed there. Dinner that night was on our own, and we decided to walk to Fira for dinner. It was just about sunset, and we were able to find a restaurant with a beautiful view. The food was good, although pricey, but the view was amazing.
On the walk back, my daughter and I saw a fish spa and just had to stop. It was a fun, unique experience – the fish are so ticklish, so it takes a while to get used to it. I’m not sure how much softer it got my feet, but it was fun to do.
Day 6: Santorini/Ferry to Crete
Although we were leaving Santorini on day 6, our ferry to Crete wasn’t until later in early evening. After checking out of our hotel, we took a bus to Akrotiri – the Pompeii of Greece. It’s indoors, away from the sun, but still quite hot. Again, we used our “whispers” while Niki narrated. This time, we found that several others followed us around, hoping to catch pieces of Niki’s informative narration. It’s hard to believe that this is really where people lived at one point. Their civilization was quite advanced. This is one of the things that I was so glad my kids had the opportunity to experience. It truly brings history to life.
Our next stop was Komari Beach, a town located on a black pebble beach. I hadn’t heard of Komari before, but I really enjoyed our visit to the town. We had a wonderful lunch at a restaurant on the beach, and then the kids headed down to the water to enjoy some beach time. Our guides had provided us with towels to use when we were ready to get back on the bus.
We had some extra time at our hotel where we could enjoy the pool (but weren’t able to get back into our rooms). They did open the showers in the spa area, so everyone who was in a wet bathing suit was able to shower and change. Then, we said bye to Santorini, and went on our ferry to Crete – the final destination in our Greek Odyssey.
We had tickets to the Platinum Lounge, which definitely made things easier. But I was so surprised at how crazy the ferry terminal was. There were so many people pushing to get on the ship – it was a little nerve racking until we were comfortably seated. We had been given box dinners for the journey, and it was a pretty quick trip over to Crete.
Once we arrived in Heraklion, we had another journey to the resort. It took about an hour and fifteen minutes, and we arrived at our hotel right around bedtime. It was dark, but hotel employees brought us all to our rooms and showed us the room features. Our resort in Crete was my favorite. We had two rooms, which also meant we had two bathrooms. That made the process of getting ready in the morning so much easier.
Day 7: Crete
I’ll admit, once I got to day 7, my notetaking slipped considerably. I went from taking full pages of notes per day to just a few words.
Since we arrived in the dark the night before, it was fun to wake up in an entirely new place. Our resort in Elounda, Crete was absolutely stunning. With a private beach, several pools, and gorgeous views, it was the type of place you could visit for a week. Luckily for us, we had booked an extra day, so we had a total of five nights there.
Breakfast was a full spread, in a gorgeous restaurant with a pool running through it. We met in the lobby and took a bus to the waterfront in Elounda, where we boarded a boat to Spinalonga. I’ll embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Spinalonga. I’ve since read the book, the Island, which I’d definitely recommend. It’s historical fiction and beautifully describes what life was like on this former leper colony. Again, Niki provided narration rich in details.
Despite its sad history, Spinalonga is stunning. The water there is so clear and beautiful, and we enjoyed some free time to walk around the island (although my son did get stung by a bee). We boarded the boat again and headed to another spot where we were able to kayak in groups of two. It was just a quick activity, but it’s always nice to get in the water.
We then took a boat to the small town of Plaka. Again, the views were gorgeous. I really enjoyed shopping in Plaka – there were so many beautiful shops filled with unique souvenirs. The shopkeepers were all so friendly too, and shared their enthusiasm for their beautiful island with us. We were on our own for lunch, although most of us chose the same restaurant.
This was our “dine around” night at the resort. Earlier on our trip, we were able to choose from a few of our resort restaurants to dine at. While the adults dined at one of these fine dining establishments, the adventure guides and the kids had a pizza dinner and movie night. We selected Koh, a Pan-Asian restaurant located at the adjacent sister resort. Our table outside by the water had a beautiful view, and the food was excellent. The kids really enjoyed their night too.
Day 8: Crete
After enjoying that delicious breakfast buffet again, we boarded the bus for a trip to the Palace of Knossos in Heraklion. The palace gets very crowded, although we arrived nice and early. This was our final time using the “whispers”, which felt a little bittersweet. Again, Niki’s narration really brought the area to life, although quite honestly, we were all tired by this point. I probably didn’t focus enough on this beautiful spot. We got a tour of the whole location, and then were given some free time to enjoy the area on our own.
Next, we boarded the bus and traveled to Arolithos, a traditional Crete village and hotel. Here, the kids had the opportunity to learn how to make tzatziki. We had a lovely lunch in a beautiful setting, and then enjoyed some free time to explore a few small shops in the village.
The kids were really looking forward to visiting the private beach and pool area again, so we only spent a few minutes in our rooms before heading down. I think the beach in Crete was probably my kids favorite part of our whole Greek vacation! We were to have dinner on our own again this night, and it was tempting to stay at the beach. But, on our guide’s recommendation, we decided to go into Elounda to dine at Ferryman. This waterfront restaurant was our favorite restaurant of the trip. The location is absolutely perfect, and the portions are enormous. We did a little bit of shopping after dinner, and then took a cab back to our resort.
Day 9: Crete
Day 9 was a bit sad, because it was our last day together as a group. We elected to stay one additional day in Crete, but everyone else, including the guides, were leaving the following morning on the first flight out to Athens. We again boarded the bus after breakfast, and drove to a tiny little Cretan town. Filled with flowers and other trees and plants, this town was absolutely lovely.
During our morning, we also had a cheese-making demonstration (the kids were invited to make the cheese along with the shepherd), a delicious snack (which could easily have served as my lunch), and a Greek-coffee making lesson. The kids especially enjoyed learning how to make the coffee, and poured tons of sugar into their little samples to make them more palatable.
Lunch was at a tiny little quaint restaurant, where the proprietor and her son had spent the morning cooking. Again, our meal was family-style, and we enjoyed tasting a variety of different oven baked meats (I found that the pork was usually my favorite at these meals). While the adults finished eating, the kids got to learn how to make a traditional Greek dessert.
Everyone had requested a little extra pool/beach time, so we arrived back at our resort with plenty of time. Everyone except us had to also pack up. It was nice not to worry about that. Then we met in the lobby for our final dinner.
I won’t give much away about the final dinner, but I know that while my kids enjoyed it, they were also really sad. They enjoyed hanging out with all of the kids on the trip. We had to say bye to everyone that night, because the rest of the group was leaving bright and early the next morning. While we were happy to sleep in and have the extra day, we also knew that we were going to miss our group.
Day 10: Our final day
We didn’t set an alarm on our last day, and we didn’t have any set plans. The kids were very sad. While we were staying at a gorgeous resort in a beautiful, picturesque country, they were sad that their friends were gone. We had breakfast late and then spent much of the day at the pool and beach. It was definitely nice to relax before the long flight home, it was a little bit of a letdown after nine packed days of touring. We had lunch by the pool, and when we had enough of the sun, we went in to shower and pack.
We felt some pressure to chose the perfect final Greek dinner location, and decided to return to Ferryman. It was so good the first time, and we were afraid that another place just wouldn’t compare. Armed with a few extra Euros that we wanted to spend, we headed to Elounda early. It was nice to leisurely visit the shops, and we took the opportunity to make a few final souvenir purchases. Dinner at Ferryman was delicious, as expected.
Our flight home seemed to take forever, but it felt great to be back in Boston. The cooler temperatures were a welcome change from the high 90s we experienced during our Adventures by Disney Greece Trip. Of course, we were only back for a day when I was already looking up dates and prices for our next adventure. Where should we explore next?
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