Santorini: The perfect island

Santorini has been at the top of my list of places to visit for well over a year, and I was lucky enough to visit the island for four days last month for our mini-honeymoon. I would reccommend it to anyone and I feel overwhelmed thinking back on it as it turned out to be so much more amazing than I thought it would be. Santorini was the place that conjured images of little white buildings with blue domed roofs, sea and sunshine in my head. Whilst all of that turned out to be true it also offers incredible food and wine, the most friendly locals I have ever met on a holiday and incredible incredible views that pictures honestly don’t do justice. I have never been to somewhere so beautiful and I would love to return again in the future.

santofisheye

While I was researching what to do and where to go before our honeymoon I looked through loads of blogs to formulate our intenerary so I thought I’d share what we did, where we went, and tips for other people visiting this summer.

We stayed in the village of Imerovigli which you could say is about 3/4 of the way up the island, with Oia being on the far edge and Akrotiri the other. I found it was a lovely place to stay with a great view of the caldera and the volcano. Also it was only about 5 minutes drive away from the capital Fira, where the bars, restaurants, shops and attractions are. On the first day we hired a quad bike for 50euros for the three days and it got us around the entire island only having to refil once. I would reccommend exploring the island on a quad as the weather is so nice that the wind can rush through your hair and its much less hassle than navigating the small streets in a hot car!

imro

The first day we arrived in the afternoon and went over to Kamari to see the beach and find somewhere to have dinner. Our first meal in Santorini did not dissapoint, we went to a restaurant on the beach (I didn’t get the name agh) and had a platter of chicken, seafood and stuffed vegetables. Because of the vocano erruption in the past, the soil in Santorini produces the most mouth watering vegatables. That’s why Greek salads are such a must, as well as the famous red wines. Without exaggeration, every meal we had in Santorini was delicious, I can’t criticise anything! We headed back and got some sleep to make the most of our first full day in the morning.

greekplatter

Day 2 was jam packed, we drove down into Fira and got breakfast before driving across the island to see the Red Beach, the ancient site of Akrotiri, driving through Emporio and the traditional settlement houses and then ending up watching the sun set and having dinner on Perissa beach. Red Beach was stunning, bright red rocks, turquoise water and white sand. Akrotiri was really interesting, seeing the prehistoric city where the Greeks lived and rebuilt again and again when the volcano erupted and ruined the city. Perissa beach was so beautiful, with loungers laid out across the whole beach and service from the restaurant while you enjoy the beach.  This was where I discovered Mythos beer and we had dinner of traditional Gyros. That night we decided to explore the night life on the island and we met loads of tourists, newleyweds like ourselves, couples and friends all just looking for a good time. It was so great we ended up spending 7 hours in the same bar, oops. I wish I could remember the name but I can’t! My last memory of the night was having the best kebab I’ve ever tasted in Fira centre, next to the crepe place in the left hand corner. I had definitely had too many tequilas but it was a beef kebab that fell off so easily and was filled with cheese.. so good!

port

On out last full day we decided to go on the volcano trip in the afternoon. You have to make your way to the bottom of the island where the harbour is and then board a boat over to the volcano. A tip for anyone going on this excursion – wear solid shoes as on the volcano you have to hike for about an hour to see the top of the volcano properly and flip flops were not a suitable footwear choice by me. The volcano gives great view of Santorini and all the houses dotted along the entire cliff-face on the Caldera side. There wasn’t a gaping entrance to the volcano where you could see boiling lava inside, rather you could see smoke coming out of some points on the vocano and the ground was really hot. After the volcano we sailed further to the site of natural hot springs where you could jump off the boat and swim 100m to them. They were a little disappointing as it was luke warm at best, but still a good afternoon activity after hiking and nothing beats jumping off a boat into the ocean!

oia sunset

For our last evening we drove over to Oia to watch the sunset from Oia castle. Oia is a beautiful town and if I go back to Santorini I would definitely consider staying there instead. The castle isn’t really a castle, it is the remains of a castle where people gather and climb the walls to get a clear view of the sun dipping beneath the sea and casting red shadows over the white houses dotted into the side of the island.

sarashouse

Another subject of this post aside from Santorini itself is the holiday accommodation website Airbnb.co.uk. After looking up hotel prices on the island for a four day stay and being quoted in excess of £700, we decided to take a look at Airbnb because I’d heard a lot about it. I would fully recommend the website for anybody looking for a genuine stay in another city and in the future Airbnb will be the first place I look when booking holiday accommodation, it’s so good and saves you so much money on hotel prices! We ended up paying around £300 for our studio which was half the price of hotels and in my eyes it was such a more authentic experience. We stayed amongst locals in Imerovigli in a little studio called Hara’s House, Studio 2, which is buried in the side of a cliff, as most of the houses on the Caldera (Volcano) side of the island are. We shared a pool with the other people in our split level building and had separate balconies with this view of the Caldera to wake up to every morning… Quite a sight for sore eyes.

view

If you’re dying to see more photo’s of the island, below is a little gallery I put together of the best pictures I took whilst there. Enjoy!

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