What’s not to love about Santorini Greece, one of the most well-known islands in Greece. It’s got everything you’d want in a Greek holiday: sun, sand, shopping, sunsets and iconic white buildings.
Santorini, also known as Thira, is part of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. The island is actually a crescent shape, with a dormant volcano in its centre. On one side of the crescent are the cliffs where most of the population live.
We saved money by staying just outside of the main hub of Fira. With buses costing two euro and the hotel at $10 CAD a night, we were set!
Fira: Santorini’s capital
Fira is Santorini’s most populous city, sitting right in the heart of the island.
It’s easy to get turned around in Fira’s streets, most go up and down, turn, end. But don’t fret, eventually, you’ll find a familiar site and get where you need to go.
The first sunset we caught was in Fira. We wandered up to the crest of the city and grabbed a balcony table at one of the many cafes there. From there, we ordered our expensive as hell Frappes – I think they were over four euro each. But relaxed and watched the sunset over the island.
Related: Paros, Greece – the Island of my Dreams
Visiting Old Port
Taking in Fira’s old port is a good way to spend the afternoon. I suggest taking the cable car rather than a donkey up and down the cliffside.
Here you can see many of the townspeople’s boats, go shopping, or hop on a tour.
On one day, I climbed a volcano, jumped off a sailboat, swan in hot springs, walked the streets of a movie, and watched a really awesome sunset. How, you ask, did we do all these things? One word: Tour.
We left early in the morning on a traditional boat that looked like a pirate ship and set out to the Nea Kameni Volcanic Park. Yes, an active volcano. Climbing up the sides took half an hour, and it was a HARD climb. It was cool to learn about though. The last eruption was in the 50s or 60s and the eruptions have been known to demolish the civilizations living there at the time. We also found out that Santorini is the only caldera that is populated.
The next stop was the Hot Springs, where we jumped off the ship and swam into the Hot Springs. I was debating doing it at first, but I am glad I did. Jumping off the boat was my favourite part.
We then headed over to Therasia, stopping for lunch at Captain John’s, where we had fresh seafood. As we stopped there for two hours, so Bridget, Elizabeth and I headed over to a pier and stuck our feet in the water. We couldn’t get over how clear the water was and how many little fishies there were.
Related: Exploring the Greek Island of Rhodes
Seeing Sunsets in Oia
Last stop was in Oia. It was such a beautiful city. It is the picture-perfect scene you think of when you think of Santorini. There are 292 steps up to the city centre from the Port, and after a day of climbing and excursions, we decided on donkeys. I got scraped up because my donkey thought it was awesome to ride right beside the mountain and right on the edge. Thinking back, it wasn’t the most ethical thing to do, and I’d probably not do it again.
Wandering the streets felt like being in a movie. Everything was so pretty and white. The thing Oia is known for is its sunsets. We walked around and found a wonderful spot to hang out about two hours before sunset. The place started getting crowded, but we got prime seats and chatted with a few people near us. The sunset was as magical as you can imagine.
Out of the ordinary
One night we decided to go to the Open Air Cinemas in Kamari. My God. I recommend going if you go to Santorini. It is a cinema that is outdoors, but you sit in it like a movie theatre, not a drive-in. We dressed really warmly, but we were still cold. They have blankets, warm and cold drinks, and food. We watched Life of Pi under the stars.
Red beach, black beach
There’s nothing like a beach to relax on a holiday and Santorini has plenty of them. There’s Kokkini Paralia (Red Beach), Aspri Paralia (White Beach), Perivolos, Perissa and Kamari (Black Beaches). We frequented the Red Beach and Kamari beach.
Getting to the Red beach was a mission and a half. We took the bus to the furthest point we could then walked the rest of the way. It wasn’t easy. There wasn’t a lot of facilities around, so it wasn’t my favourite beach we toured. Kamari was much nicer.
I am so glad we spent so long in Santorini, there was so much to see, but it was nice to relax and not be rushed through the island.
Santorini’s history at Akrotiri
Along the way to visit he Read Beach, we stopped at the Prehistoric City of Akrotiri. This settlement dates back to 5,000 BC and has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. Right now, the whole site is protected under this massive bioclimatic shelter. We spent a couple of hours weaving through the structure and actually walking through the “streets” of the settlement.
Santorini was the perfect spot to spend a week relaxing.
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