Welcome to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life…the Greek Island of Santorini.
Although I was only able to spend 1 short day here, it’s an image that will last forever in my memory…
I can’t but keep on thinking about how fabulous my little escape in Santorini was. When we were in Crete, I wanted to visit Santorini as I heard and seen so many pictures with the island infinite blue and white landscapes. Now, I get it why everybody is raving about this island. The view, the food, the ambiance, the sunsets….everything is just incomparable.
In May 2013 I’ve seen, some of the most gorgeous landscapes of my life.
When we arrived in Santorini we decided to rent a car instead of hopping on and off buses. What followed was one day of exploring the island as we drove through beautiful old villages and pulled over on the side of the road every 15 minutes to take photos of the spectacular caldera views. Small roads wind around the coastline, hugging cliffs and diving straight through the middle of larger than life mountains.
Santorini, you are everything people say you are!
From your black sand beaches at Perissa to Fira’s glowing caldera and all the way to Oia! Thousands of people line up along the walls every evening to watch those surreal sunsets. Just a few other places in the world can match this view!
So Santorini, I hope to see your dreamy landscapes and beaches again, someday.
Until then I want to share with you a photo diary and a few tips and favorite places.
So why did I love this trip so much?
1. Santorini is so BEAUTIFUL.
The postcards don’t lie! I can say they don’t really say the true. Santorini is all about adorable white houses with bright blue dome-shaped roofs, overlooking dramatic cliffs of volcanic rock.
The contrast of the deep blue of the sea and the sky with the red, brown and black colors of the land create a wild, imposing natural beauty not found elsewhere in this world. At first sight they almost blinds you, but once you take it in, it leaves you speechless.
The moon-shaped island is the largest of the Cyclades islands. It was created as a result of a gigantic volcanic eruption some 4000 years ago, which left an enormous lagoon called the Caldera. It has been said that the eruption was so violent that led to the legend of the submerged city of Atlantis. It is an island built from the thick lava of the volcano, which rose from the molten core of the Earth. It’s reddish-black bulk, with the unscalable cliffs, the huge masses of rock, and the hard, impressive colors, are all products of the volcano’s action. The volcano is still active, but completely safe, and can be visited as part of a number of amazing boat tours.
Santorini’s landscape, together with the colors of land and the sea, the rich light, and the depth and clarity of the horizon, create an unforgettable totality, assures it of winning the first place in the contest of Greek island beauty.
2. THE VIEW
If you want to impress your hubby with a breathtaking view, look no further. Santorini is uber-famous for its beautiful sunsets. Whether you’re a die-hard romantic or not, you’re going to enjoy the most hypnotizing sunsets on the island.
“The sunset in Oia is the most photographed image in all of Greece,”
I overheard a tour guide stating confidently.
Oia is stunning, and it’s the most famous and expensive village to stay in Santorini. But you must fight the crowd to shot a perfect picture and that perfect moment. Still, it’s easy to see why the place is so packed with people.
The small houses, carved into the rock, the white mansions with their stairways and their neoclassical architecture, the walls decorated with small tones, the roads paved with flagstones and the flowers, form a harmonious total of the impressive picture of the village. The village square is a balcony looking at the caldera. The view of the volcano and the infinity of the sea take a different dimension when seen from here. This is the essence of all the images travelers conjure when they close their eyes and think Greece.
Wherever you decide to stay, a room with a Caldera view can be pricey, but it’s a MUST when in Santorini. In Oia, beside the luxury 5* hotels, there are a number of resorts offering independent villas for great prices. I’ve concluded Oia is best visited during the day, when you’ll have a bit of breathing room to appreciate it.
While Santorini‘s two top draws, Oia and Fira get most of the attention and most of the tourists, there is another dreamy village I fell in love with, nestled between the two: Imerovigli. Is located near the edge of the cliff and it was a daily observatory during the years of the pirates’ attacks. Most old buildings are ruined, but it’s famous for majestic Skaros. The castle built on top of a steep, dark and dreadful drag, was one of the five medieval castles of the island. From Imerovigli is possible to walk all the way to either Oia and Fira, never losing sight of the caldera along the way.
Santorini is the place to be for any budding photographer. The entire island is pretty much a living and breathing postcard. Only think about those amazing Facebook profile pictures you can take here…
Santorini is a place that will seduce you with its stunning landscape and magnificent sunsets. This is a place of wonder, perfect for a honeymoon. She has become known as the “Honeymoon Island”. It is romantic, probably the most romantic Greek Island for sailing holidays!
3. Beach with a twist
The beaches of Santorini, have their own beauty, that makes them special. The black sand, the black gravel and the pumice-stone give them an unique color.
Despite the endless sea that surrounds it, if you are looking for a “boring” golden sandy beach kind of place, Santorini is probably not for you. The romantic island is known for its unique beaches, some of which have colorful volcanic sands that match the dramatic natural features. Near Akrotiri, there are the Red and White Beaches, which have reddish and white sand and pebbles.
The grey and black beaches in Kamari, Monolithos, Perissa and Perivolos are very popular beaches, with greyish and black sand. I loved the crowded and full of joy beach in Kamari! Get your free sunbed in front of a taverna and only got up at lunch time to devour a Greek salad and some house wine…
Perissa beach, on the south of the island, is one of Santorini best beaches. Perissa long dark smooth sand endless beach lies right next to Profitis Ilias mountain, totally protected from the North. So, that makes Perissa unique because is the best protected beach from the summer Aegean wind, called “Meltemia” in Greek.
The Red beach is also a must see, especially at sunset, when the orange of the sky blends perfectly well with the red sand. We had an amazing time exploring both beaches, since you basically have to hike over a cliff just to get there. But trust me, it’s worth it! The only regret I have is I couldn’t take a bath in the crystal clear waters. We couldn’t miss our ferry back to Crete!
Armeni and Ammoudi are another two Santorini beaches situated beneath the town of Oia, very charming and ideal for swimming. Along the northern coast you will come across also with the beautiful beaches of Baxedes, Paradissos, Koloumbos and Vourvoulos.
Visit as many as possible and then mark your favorites beaches on your Santorini map.
4. The FOOD
Dining and wining in Santorini are simply mind-blowing. Santorini is a maze of color and smells, with a delicious taverna at every corner, offering typical products like the Santorini cherry tomatoes and the famous dish of feta cheese, wrapped in filo pastry, fried and covered in honey!!!! Santorini has a steady supply of fresh fish and seafood, being an island. It’s volcanic soil offers up much deliciousness, from sweet grapes to the local fava beans.
I love Greek food, truly! I never tasted some as tasty as this.
I really think we spent half of that holiday stuffing our faces. Santorini has also a whole region dedicated to wine production. Thanks to the microclimate present on the island, the wine has a very special and unique taste. A pleasant drive can take you to the Santorini wine museum, a very fun place to visit.
Santorini is home to some of the finest restaurants, backed by one of the most famous sunsets in the world. Eating here made me feel like I was losing my actual mind.
5. The Surroundings
There are also a number of boat tours leaving from the island’s main port of Athinias, including day trips to the Volcano and the sulphur natural pools around it. If you are in the mood for some partying you can do island hopping in the close-by islands of Ios and Mykonos. The infamous party haven of Mykonos is just 150km away, but Why not try Ios, Milos or Naxos for something a little different? If you decide to stay ashore, you can shop in Oia and Fira. There are expensive shops selling ornamental jewellery and plenty of lava-stone statues.
If this was not enough to convince you to book your holiday, Santorini is also (almost) completely child-free! Be it the wild landscape, the romantic atmosphere or the absence of child-friendly activities, families with children shy away from this paradise.
And the last thing you need to know is that the people of Santorini are as friendly and sincere as they come. And pretty much everyone on the island speaks English really well. Maybe due to the fact that tourism is pretty much their only source of income.
SO, you’ve got yourself the perfect travel destination!
Since we both know you are fantasising about your next summer holiday…
Do yourself a favour and Go to Santorini!