Photo Credit: DeAnna Taylor
Athens, Santorini, & Mykonos: Traveling Greece Solo As A Black Woman
After coming across an insanely cheap flight deal on American Airlines, I decided to book the flight and figure the planning out later. As someone who loves and lives for flight deals, I know that time was of the essence in securing the deal, or I would miss out.
My roundtrip flight from Charlotte, NC to Athens, Greece was $299.00. I had a super short— 40 minute— layover window in JFK to change to the bigger plane.
I know what you’re thinking, how and why did you decide to go to Greece solo as a Black woman?
About 70% of my travels, domestic and international, have been solo. So, I’ve gotten very comfortable planning trips and navigating them alone. Also, as mentioned above, time was of the essence in locking in the flight deal, so I didn’t want to risk waiting on friends to decide if they could or wanted to come. Sometimes, you just have to make an executive decision.
I spent 7 days in the country, and I planned everything on my own. I wanted to share my experience in hopes that it will help you plan your trip to Greece one day.
I decided to spend two nights in Athens, two nights in Santorini, and two nights in Mykonos before heading back to Athens to fly out. I chose this route based on flight and ferry times between the cities, as well as pricing.
Athens, or Athina as the locals say, is a foodie city coupled with tons of ancient history. Once you get into the city center, you are likely to see the massive Acropolis sitting high above the city, and it’s such a beautiful sight.
Where to stay: While you can find major brands like Marriott in the city, as a solo traveler who doesn’t have points saved up, the boutique hotel options are your best bet.
I stayed at Niche Hotel Athens, and it was a fairly new property within a short walk to all of the main happenings of Athens. Breakfast was included in the stay— the case for many of the boutique hotels— and there was a range of room sizes to choose from.
What to eat: Again, Athens is a foodie paradise. This is where you can truly get tastes of authentic Greek cuisine and spirits at the dozens of Tavernas. Standout dishes include: Moussaka, spinach pie, gyros, tomato fritters, and of course a Greek salad.
Things to do: Within the Plaka neighborhood, you will find tons of shops, eateries, and bars. You can also tour the Acropolis museum and see Zeus’ temple (currently under renovation).
Getting around: As a solo traveler, this is where your money will go! From the airport to city center, cabs average 40 euros each way. If you happen to snag a hotel in the middle of the city center, luckily you can pretty much get to everything on foot. There is a metro and bus system that runs as well. Most streets in the Plaka neighborhood and shopping street are pedestrian only, so you won’t have to worry much about vehicles other than motorbikes.
Safety: Overall I give it a 7/10. I didn’t encounter anything specifically, but sometimes it can feel a bit uncomfortable when people are constantly asking if and why you traveled alone.
I took Greece-based airline Olympic air to Santorini, and the flight time was about 30 minutes.
This was high on my bucket list, but if I’m being honest, I was a little underwhelmed. Mostly because the area where the blue domes are is just souvenir shops, and somewhat overpriced restaurants and cafés. The highlight is the views.
Once I arrived by plane, I arranged a transfer with my hotel, which was 20 euros. I stayed in Fira, which has most of the action of the island of Santorini. As mentioned in our previous 15 things piece on the Greek Islands, a common misconception is that the blue domes are all over the island of Santorini, but they are actually in the town of Oia (ee-ah).
You must take a bus between towns on the island (about 1.6 euros) and it is impossible to walk between towns.
Where to stay: There are dozens of hotels, Airbnbs, guesthouses, and villas across the island. I chose Hotel Villa Renos which was a cute family-owned property in Fira. My room had amazing views of the caldera and the cliffside.
Things to do: Of course, you’ll want to make the trip over to Oia to see the blue domes. Also, on the Southern end of the island, there’s a red beach and black sand beach. I didn’t get to make it, but the photos look beautiful. You can walk the different paths and alleys of Fira and Oia and get lost just taking it all in. And of course, you’ll want to eat. Here, I suggest getting seafood dishes since you are on the water.
If you want to splurge a little, winery tours and photoshoots (especially flying dress photos) are recommended too!
Safety: Overall I give it a 9/10. Since Santorini is heavily trafficked by tourists, there are people out walking at all times of night. Also, most of the towns are pedestrian only, so that helps too.
From Santorini, I took the Seajet speed ferry to Mykonos. I booked the ticket with Ferry Hopper and the ride was about 2 hours. The ferry is set up almost like a plane, except for a small café on board.
Honestly, this was my favorite island/city, mostly because of my hotel. Luckily, they offered free transfers with your booking, so I didn’t have to pay for that. But, the price for private taxis in Mykonos is 20 Euros each way.
Where to stay: I booked with Myconian Ambassador, a luxury resort on the south end of Mykonos and sitting on the beach Platis Gialos.
I booked this property based on the review of another Black woman on TripAdvisor (read reviews always!).
There are tons of luxury all the way down to semi-budget accommodations across the island. I will say in general, food in Mykonos was more expensive.
What to do: I mostly stayed on property, since my hotel had everything there. But, I did take the local bus (2 euros) into Mykonos town. I wanted to see the popular little Venice area and I also wanted to find a pharmacy for my return COVID-19 test (10 euros compared to the 70 euros my hotel wanted).
The walkways in Mykonos are definitely photo worthy, and you can spend a few hours just wandering down the many twists and turns.
What to eat: Again, you’re by the water so seafood is in abundance. Also, oddly, there were a lot of pasta dishes in Mykonos too.
Safety: Overall I felt safest here, but again I think that was mostly because of my resort.
From Mykonos, I flew back to Athens on Express Jet so that I could catch my return flight to the U.S. the next day.