Santorini, Greek Islands
I wonder how many sunset photos we took over the week — this place is just stunning. The postcards don’t lie!
Santorini was a nice break from the partying in Mykonos and we had 3 different sets of visitors for the week in Santorini; Emily’s brother & wife, Jacob’s dad and partner, and one of Emily’s oldest childhood friends.
Santorini definitely stood out amongst the other Greek islands we visited. The towns are perched at the very top of a steep volcanic hill, and the hotels & shops tier down the side of the mountain making for very picturesque scenery. 95% of the buildings are white, with the occasional pop of color-mainly blue. Every corner you turned, you found it necessary to take another picture.
Accommodation in Santorini
Accommodation in Santorini is quite expensive all year round, especially on the west side where you can view the amazing sunsets every night. As for us, we rented an apartment with Emily’s brother & wife, at the Rhapsody Apartments complex through Airbnb. The apartment faced the east side and had a beautiful view of the ocean below.
There are 3 main towns in Santorini (Fira, Oia, Imerovigli) on the west side and on the east side of the island are more beaches. Where you choose to stay depends on what you’re after. The beaches aren’t the best in comparision to the rest of the Greek islands so we chose to stay on the west side in a town called Imerovigli. This town lies between Fira (main town) and Oía (sunset point, honeymooners haven).
Accommodation for a hostel is 30–60 euro. An average hotel is 150–200 euro. An average apartment is $150-$250 euro.
What to do in Santorini:
Rent an ATV or scooter
The best way to see the island is to rent an ATV or a Scooter. You must however have a motorbike license or an international driver’s license for the scooter/moped. Renting an ATV with a normal license is OK. They are very basic to drive. There are many places to rent these between Oia-Fira & they will often give you a discounted price if you rent them for more than one day.
With Jacob’s dad and Emily’s brother in town we took the opportunity to cruise around the island together on ATVs. We were able to cover a lot of the island; we saw numerous beaches (beach details below), popped into at a winery, stopped for many pictures, had lunch on the water and ended the day watching the sunset in Oia, followed by dinner in the town… and then an unfortunate ATV adventure. (Story further below)
Watch the sunset in Oia
This is a must do when in Santorini. Just a tip though, don’t try to leave Oia immediately after, as the crowds & traffic is ridiculous. Do yourself a favour and head to dinner at one of the many restaurants in town and wait until the crowd thins out.
Alternatively, you could get a kayak (or a sail boat) and watch the sunset from the water. We were lucky enough to have some friends with kayaks through their Airbnb rental so we ventured out into the ocean to join the hundreds of boats out there to watch the sunset. A really surreal experience!
Taste wine at a winery
Other than taking ridiculous amounts of photos of the scenery, you could also visit one of the many wineries on the island. They are spread all over the countryside and very easy to find. Most of the wineries in Santorini are found in the central and the southern part of the island, in the villages of Mesa, Exo Gonia, Megalochori and Messaria. The most famous Santorini wineries are Santo Wines and Volcan Wines. We visited a winery called Boutari and you were able to sample from a large list, for 1 euro per taste. We left with 5 or 6 bottles between our group!
Hit the Beach
As mentioned, many of the beaches are on the other side of the island and if you have an ATV/Scooter then they are very easily accessible. If not, the public bus also runs to many of them and you can take the bus from the main bus stop in Fira.
Our favorite was Perivolos Beach. Perivolos beach is essentially one long beach that turns into Perissa Beach. Both of them have many places to rent beach chairs, join in water sports and a large amount of restaurants/bars.
If you are up for a swim in a pool over the hot sanded beach then Jo Jo’s beach bar has a pool for use for no charge.
Red Beach — Such a variety of colours here most notably red, hence the name. The beach is surrounded by red rock formations and red and black stones. If you want to visit White Beach or Black Beach then there’s a boat that will take you from Red Beach and vice versa.
Swim & eat at Amoudi Bay This bay isn’t a beach as such but it has the clearest water of all of the beaches and there are many rocks to jump off etc. Walk 250 stairs down from Oia and then around the rocks until you reach the bay. Amoudi Bay is also known for its seafood restaurants and beautiful dining.
Take a Cable Car (or Donkey) from the bottom to the top!
The Cable Car (although they call it a tram) travels up the path from the bottom of the rock and in three minutes you’ll be at the top of Fira. A one way ticket will cost you 5 Euro. Otherwise there is always a donkey? Yes you can ride a donkey the whole way up.
A Slight ATV (Mis)Adventure
After watching the sunset with everyone in Oia, everything was going to plan, until we attempted to drive back home. The traffic came to a complete halt so in turn, we parked our ATVs on the side of the road and headed back into Oia for dinner.
After the traffic had passed and our dinner had been consumed we jumped back on our ATVs and drove home, until chugga chugga chuggaa… we break down. We check our gas guage and it says we’re 100% full. What?! We then open the tank and see that it is 100% empty! It’s pitch black, midnight and we’re stuck on the side of a hilly, very windy road about 10km from home with no gas in our tanks.
We pushed our bike in the bushes and considered our options. A few people slow down, including a policeman who stopped and said that we should call a taxi and then drove off. Pity, our phones didn’t have cell service. Eventually a nice Greek english speaking woman completely stopped and got out of her car to see what was up. She advised us that no gas station is open at this hour, to ditch our ATVs, jump in the car with her and go back to our hotels. We had no choice really, but thankfully it worked out. The rental company went and collected their bike the next morning, no questions asked or any fees.
You are spoiled for choice for restaurants in Santorini. The below two were our favorites. We also utilized our balcony a few nights and created our own mixed plates of food for dinners at home. Gotta love Greek food!
Argo — Our favourite from the week, shown above. You must make a reservation here and we recommend making it for the roof against the glass wall if possible but anywhere on the roof would be just as amazing. The food, the service, the prices and the view were all top notch.
Onar Cafe — Another beautiful sunset view with decently priced meals, friendly waiters and a beauty of a view!
Anogi — A very highly rated restaurant in the small town of Imerovigli. The place gets busy so its best to make a reservation or get there before 8pm.
Santorini was awesome, it was just like the pictures and a real beautiful place to visit but unless you are on a honeymoon then there isn’t any need to stay here longer than 4/5 days. Maybe we are biased because we love the accessibility to the beach so much?
Oh and don’t do your laundry at Penguin laundry in Santorini… 3 loads cost us 45 euro! :O
Married days survived: 124