The land of world’s best sunset – that is Santorini for you!
I hope you all are maintaining your sanity during the COVID19 lockdown. I have been dreaming about travelling. I get frustrated sometimes – I miss the planes and the random, impromptu trips. However, I know it’s for our own good. So, I am not going to complain and finish off this last post in the Greece travel series. In this post I will talk about everything from Santorini hotels to Santorini beaches to everything which might help you plan your trip, whenever you can.
Though Greece is opening up for tourists now, please be mindful if you decide to travel now.
The reason bae planned our honeymoon to Greece, instead of any other country in the world is because of Santorini. It’s cliched, yes. It’s overrated, not at all! We were super excited for our last stop in Santorini.
Now, before I move forward, here are some travel tips:
- Santorini tends to get very crowded in the peak season, so remember to wear a mask, sanitize hands as frequently as you can and maintain social distancing
- Carry your own water bottle, the water here might not be the cleanest
- Since this is a tourist intensive place, be very careful while booking local sightseeing. Honestly, you get really great deals online but it is good to check out locally too.
- Cabs are really easily available and are a better way to move around than public transport
Santorini has been a dream destination for many. Its beautiful, accessible and if you choose a good time to visit, not too crowded despite a great weather. And the locals here are friendly – unlike my experience with other islands like Mykonos.
As I have mentioned in other posts about Greece, I travelled during the first week of April. It’s still not summers and thus not every place is open. So, we got some amazing deals at the best resorts in Oia. Keep in mind, that many resorts don’t open till the end of April. If you are looking for some budget hotels and a very typical nightlife, Fira is the place to be. But if you are looking for a mellowed down version of Fira, with more expensive hotels, cafes and shopping options, then Oia is your best bet. Both are around 4 miles (7 km) apart.
We reached Thera(the island where Santorini is one of the many villages) from Naxos early morning by Sea Jet Ferries. From the port to the Oia, the drive is dreamy with very unconventional sites around. I couldn’t go, but if you are a wine fanatic, then please plan a trip to the Vinsanto vineyard. Vinsanto is the Greek dessert wine, which is heavily sweet and gets you tipsy pretty soon!
We had rented a self-driven car for easy movement along the length of this li’l island in the Cyclades. Make sure to get your IDP(International Driving Permit) before planning your trip. We rented a small car, for the narrow roads, with a sunroof. Breathing the Santorini air was really a dream come true! In April, Santorini is pretty windy. I might have messed up a lot of pictures because of the cold winds but I have no complaints!
Our Hotel in Santorini
We stayed in Oia for 3 nights in this amazing resort, Kirini Santorini. Honeymoon shenanigans, guys! So, this cost us around $1100 per night but I think every penny was worth. They have beautiful Aegan Sea facing rooms, infinity pool, private indoor pools and you name it, they have it! I got my post-wedding photoshoot done, so, this resort gave some nice backdrop for the same. I think I will do a My Luxury Escapada post on this resort too!
Honestly, I enjoyed my stay so much here that I was not really sure if I should go and explore Santorini or not. The view from my room gave the whole essence of white andd blue Santorini.
Also, having breakfast like a queen, everyday, gave a lazy start to the day.
Catching the Santorini sunset was the highlight of my first day on this beautiful island. By the way, this island’s settlement is built on the volcanic caldera. And to think of it – that this is one of the more recent islands formed from a volcanic eruption – it’s pretty interesting. And this particular fact inspired my next day’s activity. But before that, here are some sunset pictures! The sea and the sun both change their color every minute and I can not stop gushing over it. I think I have consistently talked about this in all my posts!
The following pictures are taken from somewhere around the sunset point in Oia, which was a few minutes away from our hotel. The sunset point is overly crowded, so try to explore the area around on foot and find a spot to catch the sunset at its prettiest. There are many, I am not kidding.
Santorini is more than just White and Blue Buildings
After spending the first day in Santorini in the hotel and exploring the various cafes and night market of Oia, the second day was about getting to know Santorini better. We proceeded to a half day tour to the Volcanic Island of Santorini.
Getting a ferry is easy but I still suggest pre-booking. The Ferry takes off from the Old Santorini Port. We planned our trip in Santorini with the help of Pick Your Trail. It was hasslefree for us. The ferry was old-fashioned wooden ship with a typical sailor – who reminded me of an old Popeye and Captain Haddock!
My first ever Volcano
It is due to this Volcano because of which Santorini gets its current shape. After we reached the Volcanic island, we realized that there is a 30 minutes walk to the top of the island. The view is definitely spectacular. But what is more important is the history and geology at every step of the hike!
The existence of volcano is visible all over the island – the majority is covered in black sand and pebbles, which is nothing but the solidified lava.
So, what gave me the adrenaline rush here?
- One can explore the various volcanic spots – look at the steam rise from beneath your feet.
- Also, look at the majestic craters
These sensation of walking on the lava rocks, touching them and being around so much of sulphur in the air is incomparable!
From there, we went to another volcanic island, Thirassia, which is really small – 9 square kilometer in area. And there are just 150 people inhabiting this place.
It is a treat to one’s senses – virgin beaches, pristine houses with gardens. A walk around this village is definitely worth every second of your life! And that is how our tour ended. This village and the volcanic beached inspired me for the final day of my stay in Santorini. We ventured out to explore some local cafes and food. Before I conclude the post with my final day’s excursion, here is me again, admiring the sunset.
The unconventional beaches of Santorini
On the final day, we decided to explore Fira. There is a 10km hiking from Oia to Fira, which is the best way to explore the by-lanes of this island. Also in our list was an exploration of the black, red and white beach. We ended up scaling Santorini from north to south, and it’s the best feeling ever!
We took the cable car to reach Fira Yes, we are lazy like that plus the hike takes around five hours and we did not plan this hike. The cable car is just scary and fast. I have not travelled in a cable car vertically. I did it here.
The port of Fira is a small area with little ferries and a small market around it. Also, the Star cruise is one of the best things to look at in the calm Aegean Sea!
We then walked around Fira, exploring the local markets. There are beautiful art galleries and museums which are spectacular to look and educative too.
The Three Bells of Fira are iconic churches in Santorini characterized by Blue dome, three bells and picturesque views.
We then proceeded to explore the Black and Red beach. They are around 12km apart. We were not very keen on exploring the Black beach because of the previous day’s adventure at the almost black island.
The Red beach had my attention. It is a beautiful half dome, eroded over the years. It is called the Half-moon Red beach because of its shape and also, the red volcanic rocks in Red beach, which reminds a lunar landscape, form a rare sight.
The half dome area is closed. It’s prone to landslides and is now closed for general public. We try to sneak in. But I don’t encourage that at all. It’s slippery and touching any rock can cause serious movements. The people around the place were serious!
Santorini is so much more than the pretty whitewashed buildings. Thee various landscapes and morphology due the geological activities make this island one of its kind. Moving around the island, exploring local cafes and talking to local artisans are the few activities I definitely recommend. I hope to go back here again!
And with this, my series on Greece has concluded! Let me know how did you find it!