August 05, 2014 4 min read
Our favorite stop on our European honeymoon was the island of Santorini, Greece. We spent four blissful days sipping wine, eating gyros, cruising around the island on an ATV, lounging around on the peaceful beaches and gazing at the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen. It was a dream come true to go to Greece and we became enamored with the island life. Santorini was so memorable and wonderful; it is definitely a place I know we will visit again, hopefully sooner rather than later. Here are some of our most memorable experiences about our time on Santorini and our must list of perfect Greek holiday destinations!
We flew into Santorini out of Athens and were shuttled straight to our hotel in Fira. We stayed at a beautiful white-washed hotel, a little slice of heaven called Asteras Villas. The hotel is very small and all the suites overlook the crystal blue Aegean Sea and the Caldera (volcano). We knew we were in for a good view, but our minds were still blown once we actually got to see our view from our balcony. Speaking of our balcony, we had a lovely hot tub on it that we used nightly to unwind and to enjoy the view. We also enjoyed a lavish breakfast on our balcony every morning, which was an array of all kinds of scrumptious foods. We would definitely stay here again! The staff was just so warm and welcoming and always available to answer our questions or give us suggestions on what to do or where to eat.
Our favorite activity on the island was when we rented a two person ATV for a few days and drove it everywhere. We were a little nervous at first, but the nerves quickly flew away as we cruised around the island with such freedom. We weren’t confined to any bus schedule and were able to just get up and go wherever we wanted. It was such a blast exploring the entire island and getting to see things that not every tourist gets to see.
Santorini has some really unique beaches. Red Beach is one the most famous due to its impressive red rock formations, which form a spectacular volcanic landscape. Once you are there you will see how appropriate the name is for the beach. Red Beach is a short walk from the main road, but slightly dangerous because in order to reach it, you have to climb down a rocky cliff. Definitely wear your clothes toed shoes. The beach is small and very rocky, so I wouldn’t say it was the best beach for lounging around. Worth a visit though as it is one of the more interesting beaches you will probably ever see. Our favorite beach was Kamari, a very cute and fun seaside village on the southeast side of the island. We spent an entire afternoon here relaxing on lounge chairs, people watching, swimming, sipping cocktails, and listening to the sounds of the waves. The black sand is so hot that you can barely walk a few feet without needing your flip flops. You may also want to check out the black sand beaches of Perissa and Perivolos, which are connected together. These beaches are quite lovely and offer plenty of restaurants, bars and watersport rental locations.
The town of Oia is said to have some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world, and I would not disagree. We took our ATV to Oia from Fira one afternoon to see what all the fuss was about. We got there early, which was a good call because the area gets extremely packed with tourists at sunset and it could be hard to find a good viewing spot if you show up too late. The sunset was as gorgeous as the say; however I think the sunset from our balcony in Fira was just as amazing. In fact, I doubt there is a bad spot on the island to watch the sunset.
We really enjoyed staying in Fira and don’t think we would have had as much fun staying elsewhere. Fira is the largest town on the island and can be quite crowded at times, especially when the cruise ships roll into town in the afternoons. But Fira also has the most shops and restaurants and the best nightlife. Speaking of shops, Fira is home to the famous “Gold Street”, which is the home of Santorini’s world famous jewelry stores. We did a lot of window shopping here, but not too much actual shopping, unfortunately. Oia is the other most popular choice and is considered the most romantic town on the island; due to its sunsets and how peaceful and quite it is at night. There is no nightlife in Oia, and we felt the area was too isolated for our preference. Imerovigli is the quietest town on the island. We stopped here and walked around one afternoon and hardly saw any other people, which would definitely appeal to folks looking to escape the crowds. For a more relaxed and budget friendly option, a beach town, such as Kamari is a good option.
Food and drinks can be quite pricey at sit down restaurants on Santorini, but there are affordable options. We had gyros (a type of Greek sandwich) every day for just a few euros a piece at one of many stands across the island, and they were so mouthwateringly delicious. I have yet to find a place here in the States that compares. We also enjoyed the baklava, which is a rich, gooey dessert dripping with honey. The water on Santorini is not potable, so always purchase bottled water and never drink out of the tap. Whether you vacation on Santorini for a long relaxing week, or are there for just a quick stop on a cruise ship, Santorini is a destination you do not want to miss. You will fall in love with the slow paced island life and unique characteristics of this sleepy island. After your trip, don’t forget to pin Greece on your map of the world on your very own Push Pin Travel Map.
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