Greece is among the world’s most beautiful places, making it a favored honeymoon destination. In addition to visiting the capital Athens, where ancient and modern life exist side-by-side, you and your new spouse will want to explore the country’s irregular coastline, discover its islands, swim and sun on remote beaches, pause to drink and dine at picturesque harbors and tavernas, and visit marketplaces, museums, and historic sites that reveal four millennia of civilization.
Greece consists of 6,000 islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas though only 227 are inhabited. Thanks to the congenial climate, crystalline blue waters, and short distances between ports, island-hopping is extremely popular. Cruises and ferries are the most convenient way to travel, and each island has its own distinct identity. Among the most popular are Crete, the largest; romantic Santorini; and clubby Mykonos.
From May through October, the weather in Greece is warm and sunny. Peak tourism season stretches from mid-July to the end of August and that’s when hotels, restaurants, and ferries are busiest and prices steepest. In September and October, the weather is still warm, but the crowds have left, making it perfect for a honeymoon. If you’re unable to travel during those months, May and June are just as pleasant.
Food and Drink in Greece
The cuisine of Greece has been influenced by several other cultures, mainly those of Italy, the former Ottoman Empire, and the Middle East. While you can enjoy a variety of cuisine in Greece, plan to feast on the Mediterranean diet on your honeymoon. Expect to see dishes like the following on your trip:
Feta and Halloumi cheeses
Stuffed grape leaves
Souvlaki and spanakopita
Currency and Tipping in Greece
As a member of the European Union, prices are based on the Euro. Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted, although smaller restaurants and shops require payment in cash.
While locals don’t leave tips, they are expected of tourists. In restaurants, if the service is satisfactory, it’s common to leave a cash tip of 15 to 20 percent. When you ask for bill, and you will have to ask for the bill, there may also be a cover charge of around 1 euro per person. It covers the bread and water provided during the meal and it’s considered gauche to dispute the charge, even if you didn’t eat or drink the provided items.
For centuries the Athens skyline has been dominated by the craggy Acropolis plateau crowned by the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, Athena. From there, on a clear day, climbers can see the city, ships sailing in and out of the port of Piraeus, and the islands and mountains beyond. The Parthenon is easily reachable from wide, pedestrian-only avenues lined with restaurants and cafes.
Just about every visitor makes his or her way to Syntagma Square. A changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier takes place daily.
Determined to bring home evidence of your trip beyond photographs? Shop for gold and silver jewelry, embroidered clothing, pottery, woolen blankets, and pottery at the old Monastiraki Turkish bazaar. Be prepared to haggle for the best price.
Like many Mediterranean cities, Athens dines late. That leaves plenty of time to enjoy the nightlife. From energetic folk dance performances to trendy bars and nightclubs to places where bouzouki and rembetika music — the local version of the blues — are performed live, there’s a choice of evening diversions.
Where to Stay: Four Seasons Astir Palace opened in spring 2019 on the Aegean coastline. Choose a sea-view bungalow with pool—it’s pricey, but you deserve to splurge on your honeymoon. The hotel boasts three private beaches as well as a Benaki Museum outpost.
Then Take a Ferry to Santorini
Only a short flight or boat ride from Athens, Santorini is the most dramatic-looking island in the Mediterranean, with its sheer 1,000-foot cliffs rising out of its water-filled caldera. Greece’s most stunning island (and also its most popular for honeymoon visits) is also known for its cliff-top whitewashed villages, beaches, sunsets, and fresh-from-the-water seafood.
While a modern cable car zips up to the town of Fira, try the traditional transportation method by riding a donkey up the ancient path.
Where to Stay: Iconic Santorini, where guests must be 14 or older, is in Imerovigli, the highest town on the caldera. Some suites have private terraces with jetted pools overlooking the Aegean Sea, and breakfast can be served in-room any time of day. Or, explore more options with our picks of the best Santorini hotels.
Studded with dramatic peaks, the 160-mile-long island of Crete is so large that when seen from the water it’s hard to believe one is approaching an island. Once you pass the Venetian fortress of Rocca al Mare guarding the inner harbor, it’s a perfect place for a honeymoon couple to invade.
In recent years the port city of Heraklion cleared much traffic from the center to make for a historic architectural walk among Venetian and Ottoman structures.
In the Heraklion market, sample and stock up on traditional Cretan products including olive oil, honey, and herbs, as well as local wine and potent raki.
Where to Stay: Five-star hotels are affordable on Crete, and you can find many that cost under $100 a night. Yet if you’re committed to splurging, consider the adults-only Stella Island Luxury Resort & Spa, where a lagoon-style pool surrounds overwater bungalows made for two.
Stay Up Late in Mykonos
Unlike Santorini, where honeymoon couples flock for the views, Mykonos has sandy beaches and ample places to seek solitude. Yet it has a deserved reputation as the party destination in Greece. So if you picture yourselves on a Dionysus-worthy honeymoon filled with song and revelry, plan to spend time here.
Despite being known for its many clubs, pubs, and discos, this gorgeous island has a quieter side. Find it in the daylight hours as you wander the labyrinth of whitewashed houses, shops, cafes, restaurants and photograph its picturesque thatch-topped windmills.
And if you hear something purring near your ankles, invite it to jump into your lap to be petted. Mykonos is also known as Cat Island, where thousands of the furry felines roam free.
Where to Stay: Make the most of a honeymoon on this island by staying close to the action at the boutique Semeli Hotel in Mykonos Town, a ten-minute walk to the port and Little Venice. If an upgraded guest room is available, honeymoon couples typically have first pick. As they should.