When planning our honeymoon to Greece we knew we wanted to use Airbnb. Hotels just wouldn’t cut it for us this time around. We wanted privacy, access to cooking facilities, and the unique, local experience that comes with staying in an Airbnb. I don’t need to tout the benefits of Airbnb to you because, like most people, you’ve probably used it before! We’ve used Airbnb in a host of countries, and mainly been very satisfied with our experiences.
However, Greece took this satisfaction to a whole new level. I’m basically a bona-fide Airbnb finding pro. I can spend hours scouring Airbnb to find the perfect place, and for our trip to Greece this was no exception. A few tips?
- Get clear on what you’re looking for in a property. Do you want privacy? Try searching for “entire place” under the home type category. Filters are your friend.
- Set your budget and stick to it. It can be easy to get lost looking at amazing listings that are $600 per night—if that’s in your budget, great—but it’s never been in mine!
- Zero in on an area you’d like to stay in. I’m a big proponent of doing some research about your destination before you start searching for a place to stay. Look for listings in areas that are of interest to you or are in close proximity to things you want to do/see.
- Read reviews, but know that on Airbnb they may not always be 100% honest due to the way that rating works on their platform.
- Go with the flow and enjoy a new experience. Each of my Airbnb stays around the world have been different in their own ways. I try to enjoy each one for what it is. Know that you can always reach out to Airbnb if you experience any issues.
Okay, I’m starting to sound like I’m a spokesperson for Airbnb here. We stayed in three Airbnb’s while in Greece—one on Santorini, one on Naxos, and one in Athens.
It’s actually surprisingly hard to find something within a reasonable budget on Santorini. I’m pretty picky. I wanted something to kick off our honeymoon that was clean, stylish, had a hot tub, a nice view, a kitchen, and was in a decent location. Oh, and I wanted it to be under $200 CAD per night. I soured listings for days looking for the perfect one and finally found a cave home in Emporio, a small village about 12km from Fira, which is a larger, more touristy area of the island. I was actually really pleased with our choice to stay in Emporio, because it was quiet, quaint, and we got to see a complete other side of Santorini—a more local side. Our accomodation still had a roof-top hot tub, a great view, and it was in a cave!
My point is, you don’t need to spend $600 and stay in Oia to have a wonderful time on Santorini. You can stay in local villages and have a very similar experience!
I knew I wanted to stay somewhere unique on Naxos. For those who don’t know, Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades, and has a population of approximately 18,000. It is also the most fertile island in the Cyclades, and is well-known for many of it’s agricultural goods. Naxos is about a two hour ferry ride from Santorini, and as such, it’s a logical next destination for island hoppers who may not be interested in visiting another touristy island such as Mykonos.
We chose to stay a bit out of the hustle and bustle again, and opted for Georgilas Cave House in Galini, another small village (this is their site but I booked through Airbnb!). This place is idyllic; surrounded by lemon and orange groves, it feels like you’ve been transported to another world. The pink towers of this 19th century property will leave you transfixed. This property also has a pool, which we unfortunately did not get to use because it was quite chilly there in October! We enjoyed all of the small touches in our guest-house, and the hosts were some of the kindest people! If I went back to Naxos I would probably opt to stay in a different area, and go at a different time of year. All in all, I did love our stay in the Cave House, and we had a lot of fun exploring the small mountain villages of Naxos by car, and taking a cooking class at the wonderful local tavern in Galiini called Platia.
Oh, Athens! I don’t know if you know this about me, but I love a good metropolis. After time spent in the small villages of the Cyclades, I was more than happy to land in the urban city of Athens (population: 664,046). I had heard from many that Athens is smelly, hot, and dirty. Surprisingly, this actually doesn’t bother me, and I didn’t find Athens particularly repugnant at all.
Athens is a really cool, artsy city and I knew ahead of time I wanted to stay in a location that was close to a metro station, and within walking distance of groceries and delicious vegan food. We stayed at a cute little apartment near the Keramikos metro station. Athens also has a pretty happening vegan scene, which of course, is a one-way-ticket to my heart. My advice for staying in an Airbnb in Athens is to find somewhere that is close to the metro, or the Acropolis. I knew I wanted pools at all of our accommodations, but unfortunately, it was too cold to even use the pools at both our accommodation on Naxos, and our rooftop pool in Athens. C’est la vie. At least there was vegan food nearby. Oh, and a pretty nice view of the Acropolis in the distance.
What’s the best Airbnb you’ve ever stayed in? Let me know in a comment below! First time using Airbnb? Click this link for $45 CAD off of your first booking.