Santorini, Greece

Momsies and I visited Santorini on our mother daughter Euro trip in May 2019. We had each picked a couple of places we’d always wanted to go for our Europe trip. On this trip, we visited Rome, Positano, Athens, and finished the trip in Santorini. We stayed in Oia, Santorini, which is at the Northern tip of Santorini. This is the best place to watch the sunset and is one of the most chill, beautiful, and photogenic places in Santorini.

Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

We flew into Santorini airport, and I’d arranged a driver to come pick us up from the airport via our airbnb. The airport is just about 30 mins from Oia. The driver was great in that he not only took us to Oia, but helped carry Momsies bag up and down all of the stairs – and my god, there are A LOT of stairs in Oia. It was warm outside, the sun was strong, and the stairs would just not quit. It took us probably another 30 mins to get to our Airbnb via numerous stairs.

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Once we arrived at the Airbnb, we were greeted with the most adorable, private, light blue CAVE ROOM. Yes, we stayed in a cave! A lot of the accomodation in Santorini is in caves, as it helps keep the room cool. We fell in love with our little cave house right away, and the hot tub outside didn’t hurt either. The sun roof and the outside patio also sweetened the deal.

The cave is away from the hustle and bustle of Oia, but still central enough to easily get to any of the restaurants or main part of the town. This cave is absolutely stunning – I’d highly recommend.  It is an Airbnb, which I use all of the time – I’ve found some real gems on there (ex where we stayed in Dominical, Costa Rica). If you want to try Airbnb for yourself, get $40 off your booking.

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

We spent our four days in Santorini eating, drinking rosé with lunch, exploring the tiny town of Oia, and watching the sunset from our hot tub or sun deck.

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Where We Ate in Santorini

My favorite restaurant in Oia – which we went back to nearly every day – was called Kyprida. It’s a small, family owned restaurant, and the food is just simple, fresh, and amazing. They have vegetarian options and can make lots of vegan options as well!

Kyprida, Santorini, Greece

Kyprida, Santorini, Greece

I recommend getting a bit of their organic rosé with lunch or dinner. They have amazing espresso as well, but they are only open for lunch and dinner.

Kyprida, Santorini, Greece

Another restaurant that we really loved was Pelekonos, which has amazing views of the ocean and a super chill, relaxing ambiance. The food was incredible as well!

Oia, Santorini, Greece

We had a little afternoon rosé at a restaurant called Sunsets, which is a popular place for watching the sunset as it is on the northernmost part of the island and faces the sea. It is really cute and a great place for a little break after a day of walking in the Santorini heat.

Oia, Santorini, Greece

On our last day, we also stopped at a tiny little local restaurant called Lotza for lunch – definitely recommend! They have an amazing vegan soup if you’re looking for something a bit lighter after endless gelato and wine. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more filling, they had a full menu of greek dishes as well.

Places You Must Visit in Oia, Santorini

I also loved the local bookstore, called Atlantis Books. It’s a great place to pick up something to read for those long days in under the umbrella.

This bookstore is an adorable place, but if you are going to go and take tons of photos, make sure you support this small local business by buying a book or at least a postcard. I bought both. 🙂

Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece

Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece

How Long To Stay in Santorini

Four days in Santorini is long enough to see one little town (like Oia), but there are a few tiny towns in Santorini. I wish we could have stayed on the island for a week or so, and we could have visited some of the other places on the island. Nonetheless, I loved Oia and am so happy we stayed there.

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Where to Stay in Santorini 

We stayed in Oia, but I was also considering Thira, as it also has a lot going on and is a bit less pricey than Oia. It was a hard decision as it’s easier to get things like two beds, bigger rooms, and more space in Thira. However, Oia was my dream destination, so we just splurged for a beautiful cave room in the best place in Santorini. It was completely worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

What is In Oia

Oia is small, but it has multiple grocery stores, lots of restaurants, wine shops, and a few places to get gelato. For gelato, our favorite was Lolitas – they had a MANDARIN GELATO. Do not miss this if you’re visiting Oia!

Lolitas, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Let me know in the comments – is Santorini on your bucket list?

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Athens, Greece

After a whirlwind of Italian food and aperol spritz, Momsies and I flew from Rome to Athens, Greece. We had just two and a half days here, but we were determined to make the most of it.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

We stayed at the Plaka Hotel, which is in a fabulous little old quarter called Plaka. The Plaka Hotel has a rooftop bar, from which you can admire the Acropolis by night as you watch the sun go down and the ruins light up. This is a great wind down after a full day of walking around.

The Acropolis

This is the perfect place to stay, as Plaka is a super old village filled with the cutest cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and is walking distance from the Acropolis. I’d highly recommend staying here if you are visiting Athens.

Athens, Greece

We weren’t quite ready to brave the Acropolis on day one, so we spent the day at a restaurant recommendation – Little Kook. This is a themed cafe & dessert bar, and they go all out. The theme changes every few months, and when we visited, there was a Mary Poppins theme.

Little Kook Athens

Little Kook Athens

Little Kook Athens

Athens, Greece

The outside and inside of the restaurant was completely decked out.

We got a red velvet cake to share and a couple of aperol spritz. My mom was like a little kid at Disneyland – she was in her happy place.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

After Little Kook, we stopped at Quick Falafel for a falafel plate to share. We had traditional Greek pita, falafel, and hummus – yum!

Next, we walked through Plaka quarter and took all the photos.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Athens

Athens, Greece

For dinner, we went to a restaurant just across the street from our hotel, called Collage. Momsies got a local cocktail called Made in Lesvos, which we both quickly became obsessed with.

We ordered a bread trilogy to start, and quinoa salads for mains.

Collage Athens

Collage Athens

Collage Athens

The food was absolutely amazing, so good that we actually came here for dinner all three nights of our stay! We tried something different every night.

The Acropolis

The next day we were ready to brave the Acropolis. We woke up early, got ready, ate brekky at our hotel, and left by 7:30 AM. The Acropolis opens at 8 AM, and if you want to go crowd-free, I recommend getting there right when it opens. No one is in line to get tickets right at 8, so you can go in right away.

Acropolis

Hot tips for the Acropolis: wear sunscreen, bring lots of water, and bring snacks. You’ll be here for at least a couple of hours, and there is not much shade, no water, and no food sold inside.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

View from the Acropolis

The Acropolis

Acropolis

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

The Acropolis is a beautiful place, just make sure you come prepared with the essentials and be prepared for the crowds. It took a lot of waiting to get photos without other people in them, and a lot of the time when I was getting my photo taken, an entire tour group was watching. The things we do for the gram!

After three hours at the Acropolis, I had enough. Walking out, we grabbed two cold waters, and sat down at the nearest restaurant to eat our little hearts out.

Lunch In Athens

We spent the rest of the day with our feet up in our hotel room, chatting and having a rest. We finished our trip with dinner at Collage, and then got ready for our last adventure of this trip – Santorini!

Have you been to Athens? If not, is it on your list?

 

 

 

 

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Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Finally, after YEARS of drooling over photos of Positano, I made it there myself! This was my third visit to Italy, but my first time in the Amalfi Coast. On this trip, I was travelling with Momsies, and she picked the destination (she has great taste!).

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

How to Get to Positano

After two and a half days getting over jetlag in Rome, we hopped on the FrecciaRossa train and sped through Italy down to Salerno. From Salerno, you’ll just have to walk two streets over (a 3 min walk) and you’ll be at the ferry wharf. The ferry to Positano runs three times a day – 10 AM, 2 PM, and 4 PM from Salerno. Travel time is just over an hour by ferry. Plus, the ferry sells drinks (prosecco, water, soda) and snacks on board. It’s a beautiful ride, I’d highly suggest the ferry!

Positano, Italy

Another option to get into Positano is to take the bus from Salerno. This will take a bit longer than the ferry, and to be honest will be much less enjoyable. The streets in Amalfi Coast are so small and windy, I’d recommend either a ferry or private transfer (we went with private transfer on the way back). I booked our transfer through a private company.

Once you get to Positano, find the main road and take the easy way up, instead of lugging your suitcases up the stairs (like we may have…).

Positano, Italy

Momsies and I spent three glorious days strolling through Positano, admiring the views, drinking limoncello and aperol spritz, and eating all the pasta and pizza we could fit in. We took all the photos, drank wine as we watched the sun go down, and tried loads of new restaurants, all with incredible views.

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Where to Stay

This time around, we found a cute little family run B&B called Florida Residences. It’s at the top of the hill, meaning you’ll have a bit of a hike from the city centre to get back to the hotel. Saying that, it is a great price and is run by the cutest little Italian family!

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Florida Residence is the cutest little pink building, and our room had an amazing balcony overlooking the city of Positano. I’d definitely recommend.

Where to Eat

One of the best things about Positano is the FOOD. Everything is locally made, Italian, fresh, and made with love. I ate some of the best food of my life here!

My favorite restaurants that we visited were:

Ristorante Caffe Positano, which was not too far from our hotel and had some of the best views. I had a pasta here and it was amazing. I’d highly recommend at least one meal here, preferable as the sun is setting or during the day – the views are just stunning.

Ristorante Da Gabrisa, which was just up the street from our hotel. This was the best meal I ate during our stay in Positano. I had the spaghetti and a vegan raspberry cheesecake for dessert – they have a separate page on the menu full of vegan goodies! They also have amazing views from the outside terrace.

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Il Capitano Pizzeria was one of our lunch stops – we had a great pizza and aperol spritz after an early morning. It’s a great place if you’re staying on that side of town.

Next time I visit Positano, I will definitely be going to Chez Black – it’s on the beach and makes your pizza into the shape of a heart, if you ask nice enough!

There is a little healthy restaurant called Casa E Bottega on the main road that I have also added to my list.

Positano, Italy

Collina Positano Bakery is where we got our morning americano and cappuccino. They have a mouth watering selection of baked goods, but we were still full from our hotel brekky most mornings.

What To Do

When you’re not eating, make sure to pop in to the boutique shops. There are lots of beautiful, handmade clothes, purses, and hats. If you’re more into relaxing, take a stroll down to the beach and lay underneath the colourful umbrellas on a sunny day.

Positano, Italy

Important Notes on Positano

Please note that though I used to do lots of budget travel, Positano is NOT a budget destination. Hotels start from minimum $400 USD per night, and a meal out (with drinks) will cost about $40 – $50 USD per person. Though it isn’t cheap, it is an absolutely stunning destination, and I would highly recommend a visit.

I went in May, and the weather was very temperamental. The week before we visited, it was warm and people were swimming. While we were there, it was windy, rainy, and sunny. If you are looking for a beachy holiday, I’d recommend visiting later in the summer, like June or July.

Have you been to Positano? Is it on your bucket list?

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Rome, Italy

This is the second time I’ve been to Rome, Italy, and I brought a new travel companion this time – my mom! I’ve travelled with my mom once before (check out our Costa Rica trip), but she has never been to Europe. I was so excited to show her around Italy, especially since it’s been at the top of her bucket list for years.

Rome Italy

Rome, Italy

On this trip, we started in Rome. After a long flight from San Francisco (with one quick stop in Montreal, Canada), we arrived in Rome in the morning for our first day in Italy. I had arranged a private transfer, and our driver picked us up at the airport to take us to our hotel. I’d booked in at Hotel Trevi, which came highly recommended through my work (I’m a travel agent!). I wanted to stay next to the Trevi Fountain as it’s my favorite place in Rome.

The hotel was in a great location, just about a block from the Trevi Fountain. We were so jet lagged, that the first day, we just unloaded our luggage and went for a short outing. I took Momsies to the Pantheon and we had lunch at a cafe just in front of it. I convinced Mom to have her first aperol spritz with her first Italian pizza. That’s amore!

Rome Italy Aperol Spritz Pantheon

Pantheon in Rome Italy

After a carby lunch, we were feeling so jet lagged and tired that we went back to the hotel to rest up a bit. We couldn’t keep our eyes open, and we decided to take a little nap. We ended up sleeping from 4 pm until 1 am.

Best Time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

We were wide awake at 1 am from jet lag, and wondering what we should do. My cousin suggested a late night trip to the Trevi Fountain (via Instagram). We got ready and walked over.

There were a few people when we arrived around 2 am, but we stayed for a while. Around 3 am, the crowds dispersed and the cleaning crew came by. They were there for about 30 mins, and then the place was clean, empty, and all ours. It’s safe to visit at night, as there are police monitoring the fountain 24/7. Momsies and I had a ball playing around and taking photos.

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

What to Do In Rome

Over the next few days, we took it easy. We ate lots of italian food, drank our fair share of aperol spritz, and walked around Rome to make sure Momsies got to see all of the sights.

Our favorite cafe was Don Nino’s, which is right in between the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. The cafe is so cute, the people working there are so happy, and the ambiance is so fun. I’d visited this cafe when I was in Rome before, and I knew Momsies would love it. She was hooked as soon as we went in, and we came here for coffee every morning of our time in Rome. She loved the chocolate croissants, and I am a fan of the americanos.

Coffee in Rome Italy

We walked to the Spanish steps and the Colosseum. If you plan to visit Rome, keep in mind that if you want to get photos without crowds, you’ll need to go early in the morning. Also keep in mind that you’ll have to walk quite far to get from one tourist hot-spot to the next – we easily hit our 10k steps a day!

Spanish Steps Rome Italy

Colosseum Rome Italy

The Best Pizza in Rome

We ate authentic Italian pizza at Pizzeria Da Michele. It’s one of the oldest pizzerias in Italy, one of the most visited in Naples – they have a second location in Rome. I was shocked that no one else was in the restaurant when we visited, as it’s a world famous pizzeria. They even have a photo of Julia Roberts eating pizza in their Naples location. The pizza was the best we had on our whole trip! I would highly recommend a visit here if you are in Rome. (But I don’t recommend the wine they try to promote – it’s a sparkling red – I wasn’t a fan. They do have very good local, still reds though).

Pizzeria Da Michele Rome Italy

Highlights of Rome

We spent two and a half days in Rome all together. It was a good amount of time for us, as I’d been before. I really wanted to show my mom a bit of Rome, like the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum. We love the Hotel Trevi as it is great value, great location, and has everything we wanted.

My favorite part of this trip was visiting the Trevi Fountain in the middle of the night – I love spontaneous adventures. We had a great time and got over our jet lag before leaving Rome for the Amalfi Coast.

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Milan & Lake Como, Italy

As part of our Rail Plus 10 day trip through Italy, Jess and I spent two days in Milan, Italy. This is what we did with 48 hours in Milan & Lake Como, Italy.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

We arrived in Milan by train using our Eurail passes, and oh my gosh is Milan Central Station beautiful! Not only is the station insanely gorgeous, it also is home to a Rosso Pomodoro restaurant, which is my favorite pizza in Italy!

Once we arrived in Milan, we headed to our hotel, which was conveniently located just outside of the station. We didn’t have to carry our luggage too far!

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

By the time we got into Milan, it was dark, so we went for dinner at a local restaurant and had an early night to prepare for a busy next day.

Lake Como

The next morning, we woke up early, got ready super quick, ate at the buffet breakfast in the hotel, and walked back across the street to the train station to catch the local train to Como. The train from Milan to Como is just under an hour. This makes Como an easy day trip from Milan. We grabbed a seat on the train and watched the Italian countryside pass us by as we buzzed toward Como.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

When we arrived at Como station, it was just about 10 mins walking to the city centre. We wandered for a bit before grabbing a local bus to the tiny town of Bellagio, one of the most picturesque towns on Lake Como. The bus ride took about 50 mins, and it was an exhilarating experience – imagine a bus driving the normal speed limit on a tiny, winding road, with oncoming traffic. Like I said, exhilarating.

Upon arriving in Bellagio, we hopped out of the bus and stared in awe at this tiny little lake town. The architecture, the colours; it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

We even spotted snow on the mountains far away!

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

We took a little wander and stopped for lunch in an adorable little cafe called B Style Cafe. The lady who runs the store is also the owner, and she made some great suggestions for us. We both had different styles of fresh, local pasta for lunch. We finished lunch off with a dessert recommendation from the owner.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

The dessert was a chocolate salami – not actually meat, it was a dense, thick, chocolate brownie type of dessert, rolled in powdered sugar. It was one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten in my life – I highly recommend a stop here if you visit Bellagio!

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

We wandered around the little cobblestone streets and other shops for the afternoon. It was mostly a ghost town due to being off season.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

We decided to take the ferry back for a change of scenery.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

When we arrived back in Como, we strolled through the Christmas markets. We sipped mulled wine while the sun set over the lake.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

After the sunset, we took the train back to Milan and had an early night.

Milan

The next morning, we woke up and had brekky before heading back to the train station. We got on a local train and went just four stops to the Milan Cathedral (aka the Duomo). This is one of the things I was most looking forward to seeing in Italy. I was not let down!

The cathedral is so big and grand, it’s truly mind blowing how stunning it is.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

We walked around the galleria next to the Duomo. Next, we stopped in a cafe for a mid morning coffee and croissant. Then we tried to take in as much scenery as we could before we had to head back. We were on a schedule to check out of our hotel and catch the next train to Bologna.

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

Milan & Lake Como, Italy

We made sure to grab a pizza and prosecco on our way to the train at Rosso Pomodoro – a must do at Milan Central Station. Stay tuned for what we did in Bologna, and make sure to check out what we did with 24 hours in Venice!

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