Santorini Lives Up to the Hype

Church as the sun goes down in Oia

Church as the sun goes down in Oia

I really enjoyed a lot of the cities I visited on my tour through Europe (catch up on Paris, Versailles, Bruges, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Istanbul, and Athens), but Santorini was by far the most beautiful place that I visited in Europe.  I felt like I constantly needed to take pictures because everywhere I turned I just fell in love with what I saw!

Day 1: Arriving with the Sun and a Wine Tasting

I arrived on a super early flight so I got there just as the sun was rising.  I took the bus into town from the airport for less than 3 Euro! Check out this website for bus timetables as the bus is the cheapest way to move around the island.

Sunrise in Fira

Sunrise in Fira

After slowly walking as I enjoyed the view of the sunrise from the bus terminal to my “Pansion” (sorta like renting a room from a family home), they greeted me with strong coffee and let me into the room early for a little rest.

I met up with my friend W for lunch and visited her hostel (which has basic dorm rooms and a pool for less than 20 Euro a night).  I could have gone swimming because nobody checked to make sure I was a guest, but instead I got ready for my wine tour!

I did the Santorini Wine Tour which stopped at three different wineries and we had 15 different types of wine.  This wine included bread, crackers, and cheese, but since it went so late and included so much alcohol I wish they had also included an option to buy dinner too.  I loved going all over the island and seeing different types of vines up close.

Santorini vines

Santorini vines arranged in “nests”

Day 2: A Boat Tour

I met W for breakfast and then we hiked down the stairs to the harbor to catch our boat tour.  We made it just before they were about to leave. Definitely give yourself a full 30 minutes to get down (and take pictures while avoiding all the donkeys)!  We booked the boat tour through the lady at my “pansion” for 23 euros each. It included a volcano tour  (remember to bring 2 euro for the entrance fee to hike to the top), “hot springs” (which was a visit to a volcanic red mud bath of slightly warm water), a stop at Thirasia for lunch, and then delivery to Oia to catch dinner and sunset.

I did all of this with a bikini under a maxi dress and flip flops. lol.  And a hat.  I really like hiking and have pretty good balance though.  I recommend bringing tennis shoes because a lot of people were sliding around on the lava rock.  If you don’t want to spend most of your time hiking with one hand holding your hat in place I recommend leaving it and slathering on the sunscreen.

Oia harbor- take the donkey up!

Oia harbor- take a donkey up!

Oia is lovely, but I was constantly lost, and the only thing I could find on my list was Atlantis Books. It is a multi-language bookstore build into the cliffs with a sunset view. They also publish books and host literary festivals.  I’m a book nerd so I couldn’t pass up this gorgeous and quirky book store!

Atlantis Books

Atlantis Books

We had dinner, caught the sunset, and then somehow ended up right at the bus terminal to take us back to Fira! On my wine tour I met people who said a taxi asked them to pay 50 euro for the same trip I took on a comfortable bus for about 3 euro!

Sunset in Oia from a random restaurant

Sunset in Oia from a random restaurant

Day 3: Ancient Ruins & More Wine!

Skip Akrotiri if you have been to Pompeii, unless you really love piles of rocks

Skip Akrotiri if you have been to Pompeii, unless you really love piles of rocks

My friend really wanted to see the Akrotiri Archaeological Site so we caught the bus there for less than 4 euros.  I have previously been to Pompeii so it was sorta like that without the art or artifacts to look at. I was a little bored so I was very happy when the bus picked us up and the driver agreed to drop us off at Santo Winery!

18 Santo Wines with a fantastic caldera view

18 Santo Wines with a fantastic caldera view

Santo Wines Winery is the biggest winery on the island with outstanding caldera views.  My friend and I ordered the 18 wine tasting thinking that it would have a few sips of each. Little did we know that they would have half glass pours! Thankfully it came with cheese, crackers, olives, bean paste, and tomato paste. All of it was less than 30 euro total! We were quite tipsy and we left without finishing everything.

The bus picked us up right where it dropped us off. I recommend taking a picture of the bus schedule like we did because I don’t know how we did this with so much wine in our systems!. lol

I had my bathing suit with me so we laid in the sun at my friend’s hostel, swam a bit, and napped off the alcohol before I had to catch my evening flight back to Athens.

I had an amazing time in Santorini and I can only dream about having a little house there where I can enjoy this breathtaking place again one day!

Please comment below! Have you been to Santorini? Did you love it? Any tips you have for future travelers that you want to share? 

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4 responses to “Santorini Lives Up to the Hype

  1. Pingback: Travelling During the Greek Financial Crisis | Teaching Wanderlust·

  2. Pingback: 2015: In Review | Teaching Wanderlust·

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