Known more for its volcanic islands, this is a circular shaped archipelago in the Aegean Sea. Although, Santorini can be considered to be the result of volcanic eruptions, it still remains a major tourist destination in Greece. What one can expect to see out here is the beautiful lagoon located between three cliffs. The town of Santorini is located high up on the cliffs that offers a panoramic view of the coastline. The towns of Kamari and Perissa are notable for their black sandy beaches. Those who love quiet, serene places can visit Akrotiri. Basically, you can look forward to a wonderful time at Santorini.
Heres what we did:
-Walk Firostefani to Oia - one of the most stunning walks in the world. It took 2.5 hours and was damn hot and in places abit loose gravel underfoot so be prepared with water and not flip flops like we had. The walk takes in villages and past hotels/restaurants and waste land but views the cauldera from different angles and ends in Oia a lovely village (ensure to get the bus back!)
-Sunset-goes without saying and youre spoilt for choice for restaurants to over charge you!but the sunset is amazing, and if youre staying at the suite at Reverie apartments, enjoy it from teh terrace with champers and wine, great fun!
-Hire a moped and cruise - 30 euros a day (through Reverie) - if you head east and take the back road to Oia, its very quiet, less traffic and great biking roads and great scenery as it hugs the coast. The beach behind the airport is quiet and nice to just cruise along there, althogh not a great beach, nice to just watch the bigger waves come in.
-Beaches-not that great on Santorini but most are busy. Red beach was mentally busy and didnt look that great, quite dramatic but not jaw dropping as the brochures and books make you believe. Kameli is black sand and the main tourist beach. The one behind the airport isnt very nice but has big waves and no one on it, nice to just chill out and stare at the ocean. The best once we tried was Vlyhaha, just 10min from Red beach, it was quieter and long so you can escape the busier end near the cafe. The sea isnt as clear as other islands as the waves are bigger and its a bit stony as you get into the water, but pleasant enough.
-Pyrgos-old village high up with great views and a relaxed feel, get there bfore the tourist buses do. Its got windy streets to get lost in and some great churches.
-Beyond Pyrgos is the highest point of the island up round the windy bends for stunning 360 views
-Fira-the bustling centre in tourist season, very busy, some great restaurants (and prices - 15 euros for a salad starter) and bars and tourist shops.
Gillians (my niece) marriage to Michael , took me on my trip to Santorini, I now understand that Santorini is fast becoming THE no 1 place for people to get married.
That may be because of it's beautiful picturess settings, as well as Santorinis magnificent sunset and wonderful views across the Caldera, which is a sight not to be missed.
I know the wedding I attended was a wonderful, happy event, my niece had been planning it for quite some time, along with her Santorini wedding planner.
It was a perfect day, and so well put together, it was a beautiful hot day. The venue was the "Selene" hotel and restaurant in Fira. Two Greek musicians played their version of ,"Here comes the Bride" as she walked in through the Archway of the Restaurant and down the steps.
After the ceremony, we had a "cocktail hour", which I thought was very civilized ! While the bride and groom went off to have their photos taken at various parts of the Island. We then sat down to a very nice very Greek meal, of salad, giros, Cake, fruit and cheese, Greek dancers entertained us, and a disco was to follow................... The couple looked blissfully happy and relaxed.
It was a day to treasure for a very, long, long time.
Many tour operators "do" the sunset cruise, wrapped up in many different packages.
The one I went on, was, a special charter cruise for a wedding party.
The ship was a beautiful sail boat called "Bella Aurora" which is a replica of the schooners used in the 8th and 9th century. It looked like it was straight out off the set of "Pirates of the Caribbean".
First we sailed out to the Hot Springs for a swim in the warm water and mud, these springs are heated from the heat of the Volcano, some people dived off the boat, but I chose to climb down the steps into the cold salty sea.
Then, we swam out towards the shore, to find the hot springs.
Not being a very strong swimmer, I did struggle a little, so make sure you can manage to get to the Springs and then back again to the boat.
We then sailed to the small bay of Nea Kameni, there we weighed anchor and had a small buffet including, Santorini wine and Greek hors d'oeuvres, such as, stuff vine leaves, tomatoes balls, bread and cheese.
The sails then went up on the boat, what a beautiful sight it was seeing the sails go up, and sail into the wonderful sunset.........................what a wonderful sight that was.
Kamari, was first destroyed by an earthquake in 1956, then it was then rebuilt as a tourist resort, to try and get the local people to return to the village once again, after the devastation of the quake, to rebuild their lives and gain an income.
It is very close to the airport . It's official name is " Episkopi Goma ".
It has a 2k long beach, which has black sand and shale.
There you will find sunbeds, umbrellas, various types water sports (jet skis, surfing ),showers, and children's play areas.
The road along the front of the beach, has an abundance of restaurants, shops, bars, cafes and hotels, but, strangely enough nowhere to sit unless it's a cafe, bar or restaurant !!!!!
I found it very busy and spend most of my time dodging the bikes and cars that came down the narrow road. The pavements had high curbs and at times the pavement disappeared.
While Kamari is flat, it is still difficult for anyone with a mobility problem, or, in a wheelchair to negotiate their way across the pavements, without difficulty.
There is a long and winding road that takes you up to Ancient Thira, this is not for the faint hearted.
This nice, but, small museum. can be found in an old restored mansion house.
It charts the history of the sea, and, the seafarers of the Aegean sea, with photos, model ships and sea charts.
There are a few old ship related relics inside the museum.
You will also find it written in English, as well as Greek.
This is a place to visit only if you have an interest in this part of their history.
There is a small entry charge.
Oia is the town at the other end of Santorini, the western tip where the sun goes down into the blue Aegean Sea.
There are buses which ply between Fira, the town and capital of Santorini , to Oia and takes about 25 minutes to go to the other end of the Island. The fare as of Aug 2010 was 1.20 Euros.
A small walk from the Bus Terminus , through narrow lanes dotted with hundreds of shops selling every possible Greek Souvenier and with small eateries and pubs in between, all colourful and decked up..lands you to the area with the vast expanse in front of you.
And here thousands of tourists from all corners of the world await a sunset par excellence.
Well, all your iconic Santorini sights are here. You must go to the top of the caldera, where the white houses are terraced high above the blue Aegean, and the small islands in the background give the unique photo opportunities.
Not that Fira itself is worth lingering in for too long - busy, pricey (see Tourist trap tip), but beautiful - see pictures on this tip.
We liked Imeroviglia the best. It's quiet and stunningly beautiful. Careful in the bars and restaurants - at least 50% more expensive than in other villages.
I was surprised by how many (no doubt expensive) ideal looking apartments - own pool and terrace - were grossly overlooked by all and sundry because of the steep terracing of the village. Or you walk within touching distance of an "exclusive" pool.
2 days is plenty. If I was younger I'd have had a quad bike, which would be a lot cheaper. Although - a car is a good way to get out of the sun, which, ungrateful though I sound, is needed in the middle of the day in July.
30 mins tops from Akrotiri to Oia.
The roads are good enough, although too narrow when you meet a bus. Take your time and be safe - you're on holiday after all!
I am pleased to report that precipices are rare, and those that exist are well guarded by arm-co. Not stressful to drive around this lovely little island.
It indeed is a challenge to see all of Santorini in just 3 days. But here is an Itinerary that tries to cover as much as possible. When you have so little time in hand choosing the right location to stay, is the most crucial of all decisions. Here is a bit of an explanation on areas of Santorini to help you pick a location that works for you the best.
Santorini is a surreal, gorgeous and charming island which has 3 Major parts:
1: FIRA- very touristy as most visitors prefer staying here. Fira is the largest and by far the busiest part on the island. It is made up of alleys and streets filled with hundreds of tightly packed shops; selling jewellery, clothes, artwork, ceramics, souvenirs, ice-creams and what not. It is the party place of Santorini and people who want lot of action and a busy night-life should look to Fira.
2: IMEROVIGLI- 2kms to the north of Fira and just 10 minutes from Fira. Imerovigli is a beautiful and quiet village. The area has many hotels and typical houses. There are also some nice taverns. It faces the volcano and offers an incredible view of the sunset. Imerovigli has many cobbled streets and blue or white- washed stairs. The village is full of gorgeous houses in blue, white, a dash of cream, yellow and ochre. Its lovely just walking around and letting all the sights sink.
3: OIA- is about 11kms from FIRA. To me Oia is the most beautiful of all the villages that I have seen not only in santorini but all of Greece. Oia is situated on top of an impressive cliff and offers a spectacular view over the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia. Oia is a traditional village with charming houses in narrow streets, blue domed churches, and sun-bathed verandas, red flowers, 2 gorgeous windmills and plenty of tourist shops, taverns, cafés etc. Oia also has a small port, Ammoudi, reached by a set of 300 steps leading down. There, small boats can take you opposite, to the island of Thirassia.
ITINERARY for Exploring SANTORINI IN 3 DAYS:
Things to Do- DAY1: Assuming you reach early morning. Check into Hotel & rest a bit, have your breakfast and leave to explore Santorini. Start with IMEROVIGLI. The best way to explore Imerovigli is parking the car at the car park and walking up the cliff. Imerovigli is a typical Santorini village. The area has many hotels and typical houses looking at the volcano and the blue ocean. The village offers an incredible view of the sunset.. There are also some nice taverns There are many cobbled streets and blue or white- washed stairs. The village is full of gorgeous houses in blue, white with just a dash of cream, yellow and ochre. Its lovely just walking around and letting all the sights sink. One can easily spend atleast 2 hours exploring and capturing the sights on lens. Following this choose from one of the many nice cafe/ taverns and have lunch. A must have after lunch is VINSANTO! Its a famous Santorini sweet wine/ liquor and a speciality of Santorini.
THE AFTERNOONS are really hot and everything shuts down, so It is recommended that one reaches back to the hotel and rests or naps for a couple of hours. Plus its Day1 and its better to take it slowly, as the famous Greek saying goes “SIGA, SIGA!”
START YOUR EVENING EARLY by 5:00 p.m. Whether staying at Oia or not- The sunset here is the most gorgeous in the world. So reach Oia by 5:00 p.m. and block the right space for a great view. People really come early and crowd the streets. You can park your car/ bike at The Liyoyerma Car Park- read the sign Kyklos. Now if you reach at 5:00 you can either walk to Ammoundi Bay and watch the sunset from a tavenra or explore Oia by foot and observe one of most beautiful sunsets ever. The sun generally sets by 7:00. You can sit at one of the many walls/ cafes or restaurants at Oia for a gorgeous sunset. Golden sunset villa has a cafe from where you can watch a great sunset. Marizan Caves and Villas too strongly recommended for the most wonderful sunset view. Oia has many restaurants and a dinner here on DAY1 is highly recommended.
Things to Do- DAY2: Start by 10:00 am. Start with PYRGOS VILLAGE. Its very different from the other Santorini Villages. Must see the Kastro when in Pyrgos. 45 minutes is good enough to get a good feel of Pyrgos. From Pyrgos proceed to the MONASTERY OF PROFITIS ILLIAS. From the Monastery go to Meglochori Village and Explore one of the many wineries and take a winery tour.
Next, Head out to the gorgeous Perissa beach. The beach has loads of cobbled stones and almost greyish black sand. There are many taverns and you can spend a couple of hours working on a great tan, swimming or eating and sipping drinks! If Perissa is not of that much appeal to one then one can further go to VLYCHADA VILLAGE- full of some of the best and cheapest tavernas. One can explore the village and have lunch here. Post lunch afternoon nap is a must- at the beach or the hotel. One can spend the rest of the afternoon at Akrotiri- THE RED BEACH.
LEAVE FOR SUNSET AND AN ACTION PACKED NIGHT AT FIRA. More about Clubs:
General Closing Hours for clubs and bars:
Cafes: Between 1.00 & 2.00 a.m
Bars: Between 2.30 & 3.00 a.m.
Clubs: Friday & Saturday - all year round until till the early hours of the morning. Low Season: weekdays 3.00 a.m. High Season - Weekdays 5.30 a.m.
Beach Cafes: Between 1.00 & 2.00 a.m
Beach Bars: Beach Bars fall into 2 categories - 'day club scene' beach bars such as Wet Stories or Chilli Beach Bar close around 9.00 p.m. but this is not engraved in stone.
Evening Beach Bars: (Ethnic, Hook Bar, Mango) stay open until the early hours of the morning.
SOME OF FIRA CLUBS:
• Casablanca Soul- FIRA-24008- Club / Alternative
• Koo Club-FIRA,22025-Pumping Main Stream
• Mamounia Club- FIRA,(+30) 694 541 7871-Greek / Main Stream
• Tithora Club-FIRA, 23519-Rock
• Town Club-FIRA,23675-Greek / Main Stream
• Enigma Club-FIRA,22466-Pumping Main Stream
• Club 33-FIRA,23065-Greek
Things to Do- DAY3: TAKE A DAY CRUISE TO THE NEA KAMENI AND PALEA KAMENI AND THIRRASIA VILLAGE.
There are many boat cruises available. Read TA reviews and ask from destination experts for guidance and book for a day cruise. The cruise takes you to the VOLCANIC ISLANDS of Palea and Nea Kameni and you have to trek a bit to reach the summit. Its totally worth the experience. Do not expect a volcano, all you will get is some sulphuric fumes and really hot steam but the views from the top are totally amazing. Post the volcanic islands the boat generally stops at the warm sulphuric areas and you can dive into the gorgeous Aegean sea and swim for a bit. Post this you will be taken by the boat to THE VILLAGE OF THIRRASIA, explore the village and have lunch there. By late afternoon you will be brought back to Santorini.
YOU CAN REST THE AFTERNOON IN YOUR HOTEL OR JUST ENJOY AND RELAX AT THE KAMARI BEACH.
FOR THE LAST EVENING go back to that part of Santorini that you have loved most and spend the sunset followed by dinner at a place that will make you remember Santorini forever!!
Perched on the cliffs, overlooking the sea, the town of Fira shares with the Partenon the fame of the best known images of Greece.
The city is a spectacle, with a climax at the sunset. Its narrow streets have some commerce tourist oriented.
Santorini was home to an ancient and sophisticated civilisation, probably associated with the Minoans of Crete, which was destroyed by an earthquake and volcanic eruptions in ancient times. This permanent exhibition in the Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre on the edge of Fira houses a display of reproductions of wall paintings which were discovered in the ancient city of Akrotiri.
The House of the Ladies - wall paintings of elegant woman who are richly attired – we don’t know much about them – whether they are courtiers or courtesans – but it is fun to imagine. The walls were adorned with lavish decorations which look like flowering cacti to me, but are called Sea Daffodils.
Don’t miss out on the beautiful Lillies wall painting which contains the details of the swallows – again we don't know - are they love birds or rival males ?
The West House in Akrotiri contained one of the most famous wall paintings - that of a beautiful nubile young man holding a large catch of fish in each hand. The original of this was found almost complete and it is thought that it may have fallen from a wall in a tremor just prior to the main earthquake, and then become covered over by debris and thus protected. The River Freize, which was also found here, is one of the most fascinating, and shows the Theran fleet heading for home surrounded by what looks like huge dolphins. It looks like "anyone who was anyone" was there !
It is most unfortunate that the site of the ancient city of Akrotiri remains closed, due I believe, to a partial collapse of the roof a few years ago. Santorini has benefited greatly from tourism, it would be hoped that it is possible for funds to be found to re-open Akrotiri which is an important and unique site. Do have a look at the website which is most informative and the freizes are beautifully illustrated.
There are plenty of comprenhensive day tours available which would cater for most tastes.
The one I did took in monastries, wine growing, old villages, the beach and more.
Well worth it to get a great overview of the island.
These were shown to me by Dprios, owner of the Boat House Hotel, on the waterfront at the northern part of Kamari. They are not to hard to find, close to his hotel, and if you stop by I'm sure he'll tell you why they are located. As I said, they are close but I'm not exactly sure the road they are on. there is also a ruin at the south end of Kamari, right down from the bus stop, right before the beach.
Riding a jet ski is not better than sex. It is very very good though! I only found one beach on the island that actually does jet skis so I am sure their price is suitably expensive. If you have never been on one, it’s like wrecking a motorcycle without any pain. These babies go FAST! My favourite manoeuvre is to run over my own wake and kick it sideways when I’m airborne to do an aerial 360 degree turn. Wow! Never seen it done? You need to let me take you out and show you! You pay for the rental, I will teach you. Unfortunately the owners of the Jet Ski usually ban me afterwards.
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