Y'all!!! This week's T R A V E L post is from my sweet friend, Katie, who has been living in Germany (and traveling Europe) for the past 4ish months (for work). After reading about and dreaming over these pictures, Santorini, Greece is DEFINITELY on my list of future vacation spots! (Can we say 10 year anni, please!?!?)
Do I need to make any further arguments to convince you to visit this paradise? I didn’t think so (:
My sweet travel-buddy, Jamie, & I decided to hop on over to Greece to see Santorini for ourselves while we are living & working in Germany. It turned out to be a little “treat yo-self” trip for our birthdays, which both land in August. Quite the celebration for years 25 & 26!
‘Where exactly is this little slice of heaven?‘ you ask? Well, Santorini (‘Thera’) is located just a bit north of Crete, between Greece and Turkey. The little cluster of islands was formed from the breakup of one large island after a huge volcano eruption, which left the volcanic caldera in the middle of the pack of islands. Now we know the main island of Santorini as 35 square miles of breathtaking, blue-and-white beauty!
(I mean, seriously!)
So…now that you are already planning your next vacation, here are just a few tips you need to know before you go:
WHERE TO STAY.
We chose to stay in one of the smaller towns on the island, Firostefani. This was a great location for two reasons: 1. it is located along the caldera (unbelievable views) & 2. it is close to the capital, Fira. Being close to the capital is important because means being close to lots of shops, restaurants, & the bus station. (Staying in Fira would also be a great option if you are interested in restaurants & night life.) For us, Firostefani was close enough to all the commotion (you can easily walk to Fira), but had the peace & quiet of a small, secluded town. We stayed in the Mill Houses, & would highly recommend considering it as an option if you plan a visit!
If you choose not to stay in Fira or Firostefani, Oia would be another wonderful place to stay. It is located on the northernmost part of the island & also offers a great view of the caldera. Oia has cute little shops & more delicious restaurants. These three cities all offer luxury hotels with private balconies overlooking the caldera so you can wake up to this every morning:
**Wherever you stay, make sure to stay along the caldera side to get this view! It is worth a little extra money…& if you’re going all the way to Greece, just go big, right?**
FUN & FOOD
- Snorkeling or diving – We snorkeled with Santorini Dive Center at Nea Kameni (a small island in the caldera) – lots of fun to get your feet wet in that salty, salty blue water!
- Colored beaches – Santorini is home to white, red, & black beaches formed from lava. We spent an afternoon at Perissa, a black-sanded beach. I would highly recommend visiting Perissa since it is so different from the beaches in the US, but make sure to bring good beach shoes & pay the extra money to rent a beach chair – that sand gets H-O-T!
- Hike – We didn’t get the chance to do this, but there is a 6ish mile trail from Fira to Oia. The view is supposed to be incredible…this one is for sure on the bucket list for next time!
- Dinner – Pyrgos is located at the highest point on the island & has yummy apps (most of them are cheese-filled something). We watched the sunset in Oia at Pelekanos- unbelievable food with an even better view! We didn’t get to try Selene, but heard good things & I would try my best to get there next time. (There WILL be a next time!)
- Greek Night – Dimitri’s Tavern. Really fun night filled with authentic food & Greek dancing. (And, you get to meet & dance with all of the other tourists on the island!)
- Wine Tasting – There are several wineries located on the island, but we chose Sigalas to go have apps & taste wines.
- Gelato – Whatever you do, GO EAT AT LOLITA’S GELATO in Oia. Order the large. Worth. Every. Calorie.
- Shopping – Fira & Oia have streets & streets lined with shops. Tons of jewelry (watch out for fake stuff – make sure to ask for a certificate of quality) & art & other souvenirs. Personally, I preferred Oia shopping because it felt a little more authentic & less touristy.
There’s a lot more to do & see on the island, but these cover the “must-sees”. Of course, whatever you are doing, it’s time well-spent when you are looking at this:
Until next time, Santorini!