Sunday, 1 May 2016

SANTORINI, GREECE- April 21-24 2016

Oh if I could describe Santorini in one word it would be: magical. From the vibrant culture to the amazing scenery to the great food, our 4 days in Greece were nothing short of perfect. I've had so many questions from friends and family about where to go, what to do, etc that I thought it would be easiest to put it in a blog post! Here are just a few suggestions if you're thinking about taking a trip to this wonderful place soon:

1) Where To Stay- We stayed in a cute little hotel right in the town of Fira. It had a great roof-top area overlooking the sea and was clean, comfortable, and affordable. It's walking distance to the main streets of Fira and a great place to be based for your Greek adventures! Our room had a little balcony area perfect for reading or having breakfast. The hotel pool is quite small and more jacuzzi sized than pool sized. It would definitely be a little awkward if there was more than 5 people in it at one time so if you're looking for a poolside vacation, it might be worth checking more of the resort style hotels on the island! Here's the link for the place we stayed at:

http://www.summertime-santorini.com/index.html



2) Boat Cruise- Volcano and Hot Springs: Santorini has so much to see and do, our 4 days were definitely not enough! Walking around Fira and exploring the little shops and streets was my favorite part. I prefer wandering around when I'm on vacation and finding things that are off the beaten track. However, we did mix it up with some guided tours as well. We used this site and decided on the " Volcano and Hot Springs" tour which was the perfect combination of guided tour for part of the Volcano and then self exploration for the rest of the time.

http://www.in-santorini.com/santorini-volcano-tour.php

It's really convenient too as they have a nice pirate-style ship pick up everyone at the harbour! The volcano was really neat, but the hot springs were more like "lukewarm water that was slightly warmer than the rest of the ocean." Looking back, I probably wouldn't have done it had I known it would be freezing though this obviously would depend on what time of year you go.

The harbour where you get picked up! 




3) Winery Tour- Since we had rented a car ( highly recommended!!), we spent a day just driving around the island with no destination in mind. Just randomly, we saw a sign for a winery saying " Free wine tastings" and we quickly swerved around to go back like the alcoholics we are. The winery, Faros Market, was warm and inviting- it's been a family business for the past 70 years and guests are welcomed like family. Our guide Maria, who now helps to run the business, explained their processes and the different wines they produce. The best part was guests could even bottle and cork their own wine, right in the cellar! There is also a shop upstairs which homemade jams, olive oil, and other delicious items which we all bought:

http://www.farosmarket.gr/contact




3) The Town of Oia- We ended up driving over to Oia to explore the town before we had a dinner reservation and it was breath-taking. The town is very romantic and quaint and so incredibly beautiful that it almost doesn't seem real. I definitely had to pinch myself a few times! I would recommend starting at the bottom and seeing the harbour area before driving or walking back up to the actual town. The sunset view is gorgeous and there are lots of good restaurants!






*Just a few more places and tips worth mentioning:
- Red Beach
- White Beach ( Only accessible by boat)
- Ancient Thera
- Car hire is definitely recommended!
- Bring cash as most places don't take card
- When walking around, you'll see lots of people trying to get you to take a donkey ride up and down the hills. While this may seem really cute and everything, it's extremely cruel to the animals as they are made to take tourists up and down 7-8 times a day in the scorching heat. The locals definitely discourage taking donkeys as transport. Read more here:

http://mygreecetravelblog.com/2013/04/12/dont-ride-the-donkeys-why-tourists-should-avoid-taking-the-mule-taxis-on-santorini/

I hope this has been helpful! As always, feel free to message me with any questions!

Xoxo,
Karen

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