We have all seen hundreds of breath taking professional pictures in books and magazines of Greece, mostly Santorini, but I am here to tell you they are 99% true. Santorini has the most gorgeous views, bright blue waters and amazing infinity pools out there. We took a short week trip (from our home City Milan) and had a wonderful time. We split our week up and decided to stay in 2 different areas of the Island (which is much larger than I expected). The first night we stayed in Oia at the Kallisto Hotel. We had a junior suite which was very nice, the staff was very accommodating, and everyone there speaks perfect English. Here are a few pictures I took when we first arrived on site around 6:15 am.
Typically flights arrive to Greece at strange times, either really early, or really late. We got there around 6:30am (when the photos above were taken) and couldn’t even talk to someone about checking in until 8:30am, then our room was ready around 11:00am, so plan accordingly. The first thing you do there is find a place to rent an ATV or Quad (as they call them) and go exploring. They are street legal and you can drive them pretty much anywhere you want. It will cost you about 40-50 Euros per 24 hours but its worth every penny. You can basically drive from one side of the Island to the other in about 25 minutes, depending on traffic. get familiar with the roadways, because there are a lot of one way streets that you have to maneuver around to find your way back.
Next you will need some lunch! Hotel food is just okay, but the place to get the best Greek Salad is V Lounge. They have reasonable food prices, friendly staff and expensive drinks (just like everywhere else) but definitely a place worth checking out. Also, if you are looking for some authentic good food, try the street venders, Jack Murphys has a good Gyro (and you will totally recognize it because they ripped off the Jack Daniels logo!
Day 3 we checked into the Cosmopolitan Hotel (which is extremely difficult to find) and some of the hotels in Fira do not have street access. Which means call ahead and have someone meet you so you don’t have to lug your luggage up the windy and endless little pathways of beauty. This is what the hotel looks like…. Very nice place, and the staff will do what ever they can to meet your needs. Also, it is small and quaint so its quiet and very relaxing all the time.
However just outside the doors of the hotels are tons of restaurants, bars and shops! Be sure to bring your sunscreen with you because a small $3.00 bottle will cost you 22 Euro in the mainstream area of the island and around 10 Euro if you venture out to a grocery store. If you are going on a budget, then I recommend that you go to the grocery stores there and buy things to have for lunch and breakfast (because breakfast food is never cheap in Europe because its American). Here are some of the pictures I took around the island shops, there is a lot of beautiful art and paintings that can be found for a great present and memory!
Now lets talk about sunset, its a BIG deal in Santorini! Everyone makes dinner reservations to sit in the best seat over looking the sea and pay way to much for food, but its part of the experience. We ate at a restaurant called Spinx. They have authentic Greek food and also some other familiar items like tarragon chicken (which claimed to be homemade pasta, but it wasn’t) the food was a bit over priced and not all that great, but the views were spectacular!
We also decided to take a 5 hour sail boat tour. There are many to choose from, so just look for the best deal. The one we took was a sunset cruise that served dinner, took you to the volcano, then the hot springs to swim and lastly out to sea to watch the sunset with a champagne toast. It lasted around 5 hours and was a great way to meet other people on vacation and make some new friends.
The only problem with taking one of these boat tours is that you have to get to sea level which is a ridiculous hike from the top of Santorini! However, with that being said you have 3 options to get there (and back) one is take the cable car, not a bad thing but when there are cruise ships in port the line is a mile long! Option number two, is walk. This is what we did, and it was an experience to say the least! Its you and any other fool that has never done it, slipping and falling while donkeys are charging at you while frolicking in their own poop. Option three is to ride one of these tortured animals down this steep and never ending trail in hopes that he doesn’t just start a journey of his own. Needless to say, just wait for the cable car, its the best 4 Euros you will spend.
The last little journey we took was to a local brewery on the island which we found out is owned by an American. The Santorini Brewing Company makes and sells Yellow, Crazy and Red Donkey beer. So we decided to stop by. The place is literally three rooms and they do everything from there. They only distribute to the island and you will see several signs on the doors of the bars and restaurants that sell it.
Greece is beautiful and we have every intention to go back. Its the perfect tropical paradise get-away if you live anywhere. Hope to see you there, enjoy`1
Ciao – Kelly