One of my most favourite views is seeing the sun rising (or falling down) from high above the clouds. This is indeed how my day started on our way to Santorini. Yes, it was a pain in the butt to leave the hotel in Athens at 4 a.m. but this view made me completely forget about it.
When approaching Santorini's airport I didn't see any of its high-cliffs-coast and picture-perfect white houses, so I felt a bit of a disappointment. For a moment I really thought that the image of Santorini I had in my mind was a lie 😂
The fact is that the airport is located on the East coast of the island which is low, and Fira and Oia are located on the West coast - the high one.
We rented a car on arrival, directly at the airport and headed to Oia, where was the hotel I've booked . There's a bit of a problem with parking spots in the area, but very close to our hotel there was a paid parking lot.
I really, really wanted to have an authentic Santorini experience - to stay in a hotel on a hill, surrounded by countless number of tiny, white houses. I also wanted it to have a pool, as Santorini's beaches are not the best ones. So, the one I've chosen had everything I wanted, plus it wasn't ridiculously expensive and had an amazing, homemade breakfast, served on our own, private balcony ❤️ And the best part was that we were able to check-in at 7:30 a.m. and got to recover some hours of sleep in a very comfy bed.
We've spent our first day in Santorini by the pool, enjoying the breathtaking views it had to offer us.
In the afternoon we went for a ride in the area nearby. We went to the Amoudi Bay (NW) and Baxedes beach (also known as Paradisos, NE) but it started to rain, so we headed back to Oia. After the rain stopped we went for a stroll on Oia's main walk path - N. Nomikou str. It reveals really stunning views over the Caldera and over the coast of Oia as well. In order to see more I wanted to take a leap in every tiny, cross street that appeared by my side. And all I was saying was "Wow, this is so gorgeous!"
Walking straight on Nomikou str. Oia's main square, Ekklisia Panagia Platsani with its big white church in typical Cycladic architecture, dedicated to Virgin Mary, appeared on our right side. However, I was determined to find the most iconic image of Santorini - the Anastaseos church (means the "resurrection of Christ"), also known as the three-domed church. I got to see it in between the buildings, but I wanted to get as close as possible. There are no signs to it and Oia's tiny streets are very similar to a labyrinth, but it's not impossible to find it. We simply continued West on Nomikou str. after passing the main square and when we got to a red building on our right side (with outside stairs and violet flowers) we turned left. It was either the first or second street on the left. And there it was 😍 #happy
We had an amazing dinner in the Black Rock restaurant - their Orzo Pasta is a must-try. And tasted the local wine which was also great. Not to mention the views, of course. Again - breathtaking.
The forecast for our stay in Santorini was not very promising, although we were pretty lucky. Our second day on the island was supposed to be the best one, so we decided to spend it sailing. We've booked a half day sunset tour, that started with pick up at 2 p.m. and ended at around 8:30 p.m. First, we stopped at the hot springs for a swim. It was really interesting to experience the difference in the sea water temperature - next to the catamaran it was quite chilly but inside the hot springs bay it was much hotter and felt really nice. Take some dark bathing suits though, as the water in the hot springs is pretty red and might stain your bikini. Next we passed by the lighthouse at Cape Mavro Vuono and stopped at the Red beach for a swim.
Later, we had an early dinner by the White beach and after that headed back to Amoudi Bay to watch the sunset. By that time the wind had brought some clouds and we were about to not see any sunset. It was cold and cloudy, but even though it was very beautiful. People say that World's most beautiful sunset is happening exactly there, in Santorini. And we got to experience it. While we were approaching Oia the clouds made some space for the sun to come up and say Goodbye in a proper way. It was freezing cold but it was totally worth it.
Our time in lovely Santorini was already coming to an end. After we checked-out in the following morning, we took our convertible smart-car on a road trip around the island. Our first stop was Monolithos beach, but as it was nothing special we didn't stick there. Went around the airport and got to Kamari. This area is pretty nice as it's full of restaurants and bars just by the beach. The last one however was not my favourite thing there - it's quite rocky and not very comfortable, but the imposing views to Mesa Vuono rock are stunning.
After having lunch we went up to Mesa Vuono rock and Ancient Thira - the ancient city, named after the mythical ruler of the island Theras. It was inhabited from the 9th century BC until 726 AC. We didn't have much time left so decided to not visit the ruins and just enjoyed the views to both Kamari and Perissa instead.
Perissa is the the small town on the other side of Mesa Vuono rock. Its beach is much better (in my opinion) than the one in Kamari and the black sand is actually very pretty. It's calmer however, with less bars and to me it didn't have that vacation feeling I got in Kamari.
Next we stopped at a small village in the inside of the island, called Emporio. It has a strong medieval feeling and unique character thanks to its 15th century fortress with extremely tiny streets, some of which were probably around half a meter large.
From up the fortress there is a pretty view to Perissa beach and mount Prophet Elias.
The sun was already falling down, so we headed to Cape Mavro Vuono and its lighthouse to admire the sunset once again before we leave.
Already at night we went to Fira for a quick dinner before catching our flight back to Athens. Even though I didn't get to see much of it, I found the city of Fira beautiful and very similar to Oia, but much more crowded. I liked the way it feels but didn't like the place we ended up dining - it was an authentic tourist-trap. The menu they presented us at first had no prices but as we were in a bit of a rush already didn't notice. It had a terrace with a view, but we were actually getting all the smoke from the restaurant's next door grill. And last, but not least - the food was the worst we had while in Greece and it was unreasonably overpriced.
We arrived to the airport an hour and a half prior our flight and it was way too much time to kill. Santorini's airport is small and after passing the security check there's only one bar, too few seats and space, and no wifi. So, I would really love to just erase our last around three hours on the island. But I can't. As people say "there's no such thing as complete happiness". Well, after spending three days surrounded by the beauty of Caldera, picture-perfect houses in Oia, breathtaking sunsets and the diverse scenery on the East coast of Santorini, who cares about the last three hours, right? The overall experience was completely worth them.
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