I’m all about the breathtaking views, mouth-watering eats and unforgettable experiences. When I visit a place that combines all three, I’ve hit the getaway jackpot.
Santorini is definitely one of those places. I can remember clear as day the first time I arrived at the little island paradise.
I jumped on a ferry at Piraeus port on the mainland of Greece in Athens. It was gloomy and the sky was super grey. I thought to myself what a shame to be heading to such a beautiful place on such a dull morning.
But I definitely spoke too soon. After jumping off the boat I caught my ride from the port to my humble abode in Fira town. This is where the magic began. As soon as I reached my villa balcony I was immediately blown away. A hike up the cliffside with 30-kilogram luggage will leave you short of breath, though nothing will leave you as breathless as the view. The sun started to shine. It was like they had their own secret supply of happiness bursting from the sky on demand lighting up the island in all its exquisiteness and this was just the start of my five-night stay. Which btw, was definitely not long enough. I could have stayed for a year.
Let’s talk about the three standout moments.
Views for days
Those who have visited the cliff sides of Fira town will know what I mean when I say that it is as if everywhere you turn is straight from the pages of a glossy travel mag or the eye-catching feed of the @thegreeklifeinc (check them out on the gram). I kid you not; there is perfection in every direction. From the white washed homes, restaurants and shopfronts with accents of bright blue, the cobblestone walkways lined with pink and purple bougainvillea flowers to the views of the Caldera from the cliff sides out towards the Aegean Sea, Santorini never gets old and it almost doesn’t matter where you are standing, if you are on that cliff side you’ll be able to snap an insta worthy upload in just one click of a button. But if you really want a view to make your jaw drop and your eye’s water the world famous Oia sunset is where it’s at. The experience of seeing the sunset over the most northerly tip of the island was one of the most stunning and memorable of my life so far. When the sun is no longer in sight the crowds will start to die down, though it wasn’t until my second visit to Oia when a local let me in on the little secret that that it’s the aftermath of the sunset’s rainbow skies which make Oia a famous lookout.
Chuck on your cutest swimmers, pull up some denim short shorts and don’t forget to slip slop slap before hiring a quadbike aka an ATV. In Aus that isn’t that usual quad bike attire, yet in Santorini you dress for the bikes like you’d dress for the beach. Riding around on a four-wheeler is the most fun and easy way to see everything that the island has to offer. Although the highlight of the island is definitely the cliff sides there is so much more to see and do. Black Beach and Red Beach are hot spots to cruise to for tourists wanting to soak up that Greek sun and splash around in the Aegean Sea. Other bucket list activities include exploring the Volcano of Santorini, riding the Fira cable car, browsing the boutiques of Oia and visiting Venetian style castles.
Eat your heart out
The main square in Fira was my fav lunch spot. I think I stopped in a least once, if not twice a day. There is a little souvlaki shop that sells the most ridiculously delicious Gyros – which fyi, contrary to popular Aussie belief is pronounced YOU-ROSS not GUY-ROSE. A visit to Greek Souvlaki Karvounaki during the middle of the day is a necessity, a gyro sets you back less than the cost of a cup of coffee in Australia. Pick the meanest, most sweaty looking papou to make your gyro, don’t ask for inclusions just let him do his thing and you won’t be disappointed.
While you’re waiting be sure to people watch Fira square, I mean who doesn’t love a good little European square with the cobblestones, quaint little shop fronts filled with the buzzing excitement of tourists from all over the world.
Sounds like an awesome trip, right? but wait there is more…
After spending my stay exploring the island and eating all the gyros I could possibly stomach I ended with la piece de resistance which was a visit to Idol, a restaurant and bar perched up high on the cliff side of Fira with views of the Caldera, for a sunset dinner.
It was the perfect spot to relax and really take in my last Santorini sunset while sipping on champagne and sampling the delicious, as the waiter explained “Santorinian creative cuisine” on offer. The dish that stole the show for me (of course a dessert) was a chocolate sphere with a biscuit semifreddo which seemed pretty standard dessert spec until the waiter approached with a bowl of steaming hot house made butterscotch sauce. Que whole table taking out their phones to snapchat the sphere slowly dissolve to reveal its layers of sweetness. Possibly the only theatrics more beautiful than the sinking sun.