An imaginer’s paradise. A poet’s inspiration. A world parallel to the dreams. Santorini, in Greece, boasts of a picture-perfect colour blending, of sparkling white houses with blue domed rooftops, decorated with blooming vines of pink bogainvillea, against the turquoise of the Mediterranean. Perched high on volcanic clifftops, this sight is something unimaginable to reel in. One look at these fairytale-like landscape, and you’re already under a spell.
We had planned a 5-day trip to Athens and Santorini in the month of May. From Stockholm, we flew to Athens and spent about a day and a half in the city. A ferry by ‘Bluestar Ferries‘ or ‘Hellenic Seaways‘ is a popular choice among travellers to travel from the city of Athens to the island of Santorini. But S and I usually end up choosing flights over ferries. Not to say ferries are any less fun, but we are generally quite limited on time while travelling. We just quickly want to touch down, and get the action going! A short 45-min flight by Aegean Airlines brought us from Athens to the Thira airport in Santorini, and then a 40-min car drive to this pristine white-washed paradise of Oia, sitting beautifully right at the edge of the north-western coastal cliff.
What made it even more mesmerising was the fact that this surreal scenic place was rebuilt after a massive volcanic eruption, in the center of the island, brought down the entire civilisation 3,500 years ago. And today, it stands proud as one of the world’s most photographed destinations.
We wanted to explore all of this small splendid Greek Aegean island, so we had hired a car to drive around. Parking is not a problem in Santorini, unless at a time when the eager and enthusiast tourists only look for that perfect spot, where they can treat their eyes with the most beautiful sunset that Oia is known for. Melting soft golden sun rays falling over a stretch of white-washed houses and staircases before disappearing in the vast blue Aegean Sea! You sure want to be in that moment for as long as the magic lasts.
To make our evening more special, S had booked a Sunset Oia Cruise, organized by Sailing Santorini. What better than watching the sunset from the middle of the open sea, not having to vie for the right spot on the caldera edge?!
Tip for sunset cruise : Most cruises organized by Sunset Oia last for about 5 hours (including transfers to and from hotels), because they start from the Ammoudi Bay in the north and sail all the way to Akrotiri in the South where the other Red and Black beaches (named after the colour of the volcanic rocks) are. So you might to skip it if you only have a couple of days in Santorini. You may also want to check with the organizers if they stop over at these beaches, because some tours don’t. Since it was an open boat, it was quite cold and windy on the cruise even in the month of May. If you happen to visit during that time, you might definitely want to keep something warm. The Greek menu and barbecue offered onboard is excellent!
Tip for stay : If you stay in Oia (which is absolutely recommended!), it is really preferable to stay on the side of the Caldera, where you get a view of the dramatic cliffs, the blue and white houses, the entertaining and action-buzzing tourist alleys with shops, cafés and restaurants, and most importantly, the stunning sunset views! For obvious reasons, this side of the scenic village can be more expensive and accommodations fill up fast, therefore, booking early is really a must!
Tip for shopping : While Oia and Fira surely have some touristic margins on their sales, I found Perissa Beach in the south-east a great alternative for shopping. There is a row of shops and boutiques all along the beach promenade, with fashionable clothes and accessories available at reasonably good prices.
Tip for great seafood : If you are hopping around in the south of Santorini close to the Black Beach, and find yourself pricked by some hunger pangs, Akro is a great restaurant to drop into https://www.akrosantorini.com/ Gorgeous sea views, relaxing balcony chairs and tables, great food and delicious cocktails. You can also rent chaise lounge beach chairs, under thatched reed umbrellas, and spend an afternoon relaxing by the beach.
While in Santorini, I got hooked on to a sweet crunchy snack called ‘SantoNuts’, made of peanuts and sesame. Absolutely delicious. Do try it when you’re there!
Have you been to Santorini? How was your experience? 🙂
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