I’ve just returned from my 10-day trek around Greece, so its time to recap! We started our trip with 3 nights in Santorini, where we stayed in Firostefani at a hotel named the Santorini Palace.
We landed in Santorini around 8:30 pm local time. The airport was just a large patch of concrete for planes to land on. We exited the plane via stairs before taking a quick shuttle to the airport. The airport itself is the smallest I’ve ever been to and had pretty much only one room and one belt for luggage. The line for customs was extraordinary long, so I recommend flying in from somewhere in Greece to avoid that. We grabbed our luggage and jumped in a taxi. The taxi ride was wild. The driver drove very fast in very tight spaces, often switching to the opposing lane to pass people. The roads are messily paved, barely marked, and have little organization. But, we made it to our hotel, ordered some takeout, and called it a night. Our hotel room was rather small but had a little seating area and balcony. The front desk was also so very helpful when it came to calling taxis, getting advice, and fixing our beds to fit four people rather than two. Also: the lobby of the hotel was absolutely adorable.
First full day:
Our first morning we woke up and headed down to the hotel breakfast. The breakfast was pretty standard except it included some questionable additions to the normal. For instance, broccoli, rice with veggies, and pasta with feta cheese. Our hotel had an adorable little outside area to enjoy our breakfast. The first thing that I noticed outside was the stray cats roaming around. After breakfast, we walked through town to catch a bus. The town was full of cute little shops and restaurants. We got a bus in the main area of Fira to go to the Akrotiri Ruins. The bus cost 2€ each way. Every sign says to buy tickets inside, so we went and got on the bus assuming that you would pay as you enter. No one was collecting money so we took our seats and the bus started off. I was quite concerned that we missed something and were stealing this ride until a Greek man stood up and walked through the bus collecting money and distributing tickets. Personally, I love bus rides in new places because you actually get to see the real Greece, rather than just where the tourists flock. All through the drive, we saw hills and hills of crops growing, grapes, tomatoes, you name it. When we got off the bus, we visited the Akrotiri ruins. I was very surprised that it was all indoors and not outside. The ruins were pretty neat and dated back to 5000 BC and are rumored to be the inspiration for Plato’s story of Atlantis. I will say that having visited ruins in Rome and other places in Europe, these were not well signed. I recommend going with a guide so that you actually learn about the ruins instead of starring at rocks without understanding what they actually were. Side note: if you have a student ID, it’s half off!!
After the ruins, we walked over to the red beach which is just a short walk away. The red beach is just a small little beach that involves rock climbing to get to (if you aren’t dropped off by a water taxi). There were great views and an awesome little fruit stand with the largest grapes I’ve ever seen. After our climbing, we grabbed lunch along the sea at one of the many restaurants along the shore. Then we bussed back to the hotel for a few pool hours. At the pool, I tried Ouzo which is Greece’s favorite liquor. I can drink a lot of different alcohol, but this one hurt. They also mixed it with water which I was quite confused about. After our afternoon by the pool, we headed via taxi to Oia for dinner. Oia is the part of the island known for its incredible sunsets. We had reservations at Kastros for dinner at 6:30 pm (the last slot) and ate an absolutely incredible meal while watching the sunset. People flocked to the area to grab a seat for the view. Luckily, we had seats at one of the only unrestricted view restaurants on the island. After dinner, we decided to talk a walk through the town of Oia. The main drag consisted of shop after shop and many many art galleries. The town was all lit up as people wandered after dinner.
We started our second day on the island with breakfast at our hotel. Then we started to hike the trail that runs across the island. We started in our area of Firostefani and walked towards Oia. The hike was so uphill and steep and exhausting that we turned around rather early and opted for shopping. Usually, I’m someone who would hike the whole thing, but we had a 5-hour cruise scheduled and just didn’t have time. We spent a lot of time shopping throughout Fira. I found a cute little sweater and my friend purchased leather sandals from a shop where a man was hand making the shoes right in front. On our way back from shopping, we grabbed frede cappuccino, which we thought were going to be frappes. They were not. Instead, they blended espresso shots with nice to make it cold. Then the barista whipped milk and sugar into a frothy consistency and put it on top of the espresso. These were not good, but I drank it anyway. However, the people working the crepe stand were so fun and brightened the whole day (they were blasting club EDM music at 10 am). For lunch, we went to Taverna Simos, which had just opened for the season two days prior. We had walked past this place many times on our journeys to and from town and finally decided to walk in. I had a Greek salad, which was unfortunately very oniony. Side note: the feta cheese here is absolutely incredible. Then it was time for our sunset cruise!!!! This was the thing that I was most excited for the entire trip. Our cruise was through Caldera Yachting and cost a hefty penny at 170€. We messed up big time by not booking in advance and being stuck with paying a lot for a similar cruise that was cheaper. I have a lot of things to say about the cruise so here’s the rundown. 1) I completely recommend doing a cruise, just one a little cheaper 2) our boat held 16 people and that was the perfect amount 3) the food was bomb and it was an open bar (wine and beer) 4) the hot springs aren’t actually hot, just warm, and our boat made us swim a long distance to them so unless your an Olympic swimmer, it wasn’t happening 5) we didn’t actually get to go swim at the beaches, but I think that’s because it was sunset and a little colder 6) the shuttles to and from are really nice 7) If I were to go again with this knowledge, I’d do a day cruise and dinner in Oia at night- no need for two sunset activities 8) I’d say low 100s euro-wise is a good and fair price 9) Don’t do the pirate ship one
On our third day in Santorini, we had a lazy morning before heading to catch a ferry to Mykonos! Our ferry was the Seajet Champion Jet 1 and was set to depart at 12:25 pm. I don’t think our boat even arrived until 1 pm, but have no fear there are tons of little cafes along the port. When it finally arrived, the people arriving and the people getting on the people swarmed the little docking area. It was quite fairly chaotic and if you have small children, you’re going to want to hold onto them. Check out my Mykonos post to see the next part of my Greecian vacation!