Whether you do so when you arrive or depart, make sure you take the ferry service to or from Santorini. Why? Because the view from the caldera up to the cliffs is very dramatic. We flew directly to Santorini from Athens, which I do not regret at all because it's a long ferry ride from Piraeus, but I took this photo during the ferry trip from Santorini to Naxos.
One of the best memories I have of Santorini, was just simply wandering the little winding streets of Ia and Fira. The architecture of the island is unique, so why not enjoy it as much as possible? Many of the dead end streets bring you to breathtaking views over the Caldera or locals backyards. Either way, you will be pleased.
Santorini's beaches are a colorful mix, ranging from white, to black, to even red! Yes, this is a red sand beach, the only I have ever heard of, and its name is Kokkini, but everyone calls it the red sand beach. It is also called Akrotiri beach because of its proximity to the archeaological site. It is well worth the trip and additional walking involved, because it truly is spectacular.
The west side of the island is THE place to stay, because of the most spectacular sunsets on the planet. I saw sunsets in Tuscany, Cafe del Mar in Ibiza, other Greek islands, Paris, etc. NONE come close to the magic of Santorini. Maybe its because of the build up from hearing other peoples stories, maybe it because there isn't all that much else to do on the island, or, what I think is true, it just plainly is the most dramatic setting for the sun's rays to be captured anywhere on the planet. The two main spots, although anywhere on the west side will do, are Fira and Ia. Fira is great because this is where I stayed, and taking in a sunset from your own balcony is pretty cool to me. But, Ia has its perks too...
I will join many of the Vtr's that have expresed the beauty of arriving by boat during daylight.
It is just amazing. After many hours in the ocean, everything blue, you start to see a few desert, inhabited islands... then all of a sudden, impetuous Thira appears.....
This is the thing that draws people to the town of Thira every evening.
My friend and I stayed in Thira town and only watched the sun set twice during our 8 days on the island as we were usually still getting ready to go out.
It is beautiful to watch and feels great to do it on Santorini.
Try to watch it from one of the many cliff perched restaurants rather than sitting on a wall.
You can walk northwards toward Oia, along the Rim of the caldera. Oia is quite a walk, be forewarned. Oia was made famous by the mostly forgettable movie 'Summer Lovers'. Not entirely forgettable because of the superb scenery of Santorini and the forward thinking of the Daryl Hannah character who allows her fellow American boyfriend to introduce her to a beautiflu French woman and the joys of meange a trois.
The traditional port for arrival to Santorini is at Skala Fira. You reach here by luxury liner or the more modest service provided by the MS Nicholas. The main ferry port is, however, several kms south at Athinios. The way up is 270m/900 ft and you have three options: cablecar, donkey or foot - through the donkey poop. The island capital, Fira, awaits you atop.
You can reach Santorini by plane...It is easy and quick...BUT
the boat, and only the boat, gives you the opportunity to admire the caldera and the white houses on it looking like snow up the red rock.
The most famous sunset is from Oia. However, sunset from Fira is also beautiful and it is not crowded at all even in high season.
You can find great peacefull places in the cliff from Fira to Imerovigli.
There are a lot of beautiful beaches in Santorini.
All of them are in the opposite side of the island to Fira, Oia, etc.
Perissa beach is a nice black sand beach, good waves, nice water, although in some areas it can be a bit crowded in high season.
Not far away from here, the red beach is not that crowded and (as expected) it has red volcanic sand.
There are many other beaches... ask locals or explore the little beaches by yourself if you have a car/bike.
& overlooking the caldera ...
Beautiful, isn't it?
For something so beautiful, you do need to climb quite a bit. It can be extremely hot during summer (& I wasn't even visiting in summer!), so remember to bring a hat & sunscreen lotion! Other than that, lots of films or memory cards. Santorini has to be one of the most beautiful place on earth to take photos!
This reminded me of a friend's visit to Santorini a week ago.
He missed the boat! & had to fly back. The boats were full for the entire weekend!
In any case, should you miss the boat, it's a blessing in disguise, don't you think? This is such a wonderful place to get stuck in :-)
White houses & chapels, cafes & restaurants dominate.
Ok, I was hungry & the view from this restaurant looks great. So, I got myself a table & this chap just made me laugh! He tried greeting me in Japanese & then Chinese. Then he realised he didn't speak my language when I told him where I was from. Oh well, he tried. It was around 3 pm then & after taking the order, well, he said it'd be ready in 2 hours. So, I replied... well, just perfect timing for the sunset. I can wait, lol... & you should see his expression! He gave up! It was fun & it's really nice to meet guys who enjoy their jobs! Bravo, Kimos!
Ok, I met Cristo while walking around town & we talked. The Greeks are friendly people & love to ask you where you come from. It happened that Cristo was a tour guide & he was taking groups to Brazil once. Since I just returned from Iguacu Falls, luck would have it that he had actually been taking groups there regularly a few years ago. Speaking of coincidences!
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