You have probably seen the pictures of Santorini- the stark white walls and electric blue doors. From Athens, Santorini is only 30 minutes by flight and 7 hours by ferry and as soon as you land it's magical! I was so excited to explore this island and I found hidden treasures along the way.
The Villages of Santorini
The first village I explored was Fira, and it was simply beautiful. There were so many restaurants, shops and spas. The village was buzzing with activity. We traveled on foot, but I wish we would have rented a scooter or a car. with all the hills and steps to climb, we were exhausted!
We stopped at a donut shop for breakfast, and the donuts were as big as my face! We explored the cute shops and decided against the fish pedicures. In Fira there are cable cars that will take you to the bottom of the mountain. For only 6 Euros you can have a steep ride to the shore. I tried to take the cable car but they were closed for lunch. I came back an hour later and they told me to come back in another hour! I moved on but if you are able to do it, go for it!
We stopped at the village of Megalachori and were able to see what life is like for the locals. Each village is different from the other one and they have their own schools and churches. Megalachori was very quiet and peaceful, and we got the chance to see a few local children playing in a school yard. Everyone else pretty much stayed in their home.
The last village we visited was Oia, and my favorite village out of the three. Oia has one of the most beautiful sunrise/sunsets in the world and the sunset did not disappoint. Keep reading for more details about Oia!
I took the 9 hour bus tour of Santorini that I found on Trip Advisor and it was the most amazing experience! We stopped at Perissa Beach for lunch and I was amazed at the beauty of this place. Our tour guide told us that the color of the sand came from a volcano that erupted many years ago. I was able to find a volcano rock and stick it in my bag! I have never seen black sand before or water that is so blue. I could have stayed on this beach forever.
The restaurant was right on the beach and you can eat while gazing at the incredible view. There is also plenty of shopping in the area and well as cute little villages to visit. We came to Santorini in March so it was a little cold for swimming, but walking on the beach was still a wonderful experience.
Another stop on the bus tour was Akrotiri, a town destroyed and covered in ash by a volcano in 1627 BC. This site represented only 3% of the prehistoric town and excavation began in 1967. Since then, only 3 houses have been completely excavated but the amount of treasures found inside were massive. Paintings, sculptures, and furniture were recovered. Our tour guide explained that this town was well advanced for its time. They built structures that were three stories high and their homes had windows and flat roofing. They even had plumbing systems and we saw the remains of a toilet on the third floor of a house! There is a video we watched while at the site and it's important to note that historians believed the town's occupants to be melanated. You probably won't find that in history books!
The Highest Point of the Island
There is a Greek monastery located at the highest point of the island of Santorini. This is one of the stops on the bus tour and you can go as far as the church yard. The monks value their privacy so the church is closed to visitors. I took pictures on the side of the cliff and conquered my fear of heights! From this view you can see how small the island really is.
Among the Caves In the Village of Oia
I booked every hotel on hotels.com and for the hotel in Oia I didn't do too much research. The price was great and I felt like I was getting a great deal. Well, Residence Suites in Oia gave me life!
We checked in at a small office located in the town square at the top of the mountain. This is as far as the taxi could take us. Once checked in, the employee asked us if we wanted to take all of our bags, and motioned to a pile of luggage against the wall. I decided that I didn't want to leave my luggage with a bunch of strangers so I told them I wanted to take my bags with me. Two young guys appeared and said they would take us to our room and carried the bags for us. Little did I know that the journey made me regret not leaving my bags in the office. We followed the guys up and down steep steps through winding, twisting paths of the village. After about 30 minutes I could tell me had climbed down the side of the mountain and finally we were told we had arrived at our room. We were standing in a small terrace with two lounge chairs and a table with a huge umbrella. We turned around and realized our room was in a cave!
The cave room of course was remodeled with a beautiful bathroom and comfy bed, but the walls and arch ways were the original shape covered with plaster. It was such a unique experience! Out on the terrace we had an incredible view of the ocean and a volcano. I never wanted to leave! ( and I didn't that night, I was too exhausted to climb back up to the top of the mountain for food and I was mentally prepared to starve for one night.)
This was my first time leaving the country and I never thought I would see the things I saw here in Santorini. The entire island is breathtakingly gorgeous and I can definitely understand why Santorini is one of the most romantic places in the world.
The Perfect End To My Island Escape
As I stated before, Santorini has the most beautiful sunrise/sunset in the world. The colors of the sky were like a painting and the energy stops you in your tracks and forces you to take a moment to admire the beauty.
Oia was packed with tourists when it was time for the sunset. We all found our perfect spot for pictures and basked in the glory of this experience. When the sun finally set we all applauded! I will never forget this incredible island.
What was your life changing travel experience? Let me know in the comments!