SANTORINI

Santorini, GREECE – ever since I saw the movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Santorini has been on my list. When Dmitriy and I were choosing a honeymoon destination, our decision was unanimous and it included this popular Greek island.

Our stay: 4 days / 3 nights

dome
Just steps away from our Airbnb
hike am
Santorini by morning

STAY

Oia or Fira? When deciding where to stay in Santorini, we recommend the town of Oia (pronounced [ˈi.a]).  Here you will find the picturesque caldera views, romantic ambiance, and sleepy nightlife. It’s also more expensive, but worth the short walk to fine dining and boutiques. The town shuts down around midnight which was perfect for us to rest up for the remaining part of our adventure. We only went to Fira once, but it seemed to be a younger crowd with more bars and vendors.

Watch Out: During high season, cruise ship passengers flood the town to watch the sunset = congestion, small streets and pedestrian traffic jams. To avoid the crowds, chose an Airbnb facing Amoudi Bay so you can have a private viewing of the sunset.

Weather PSA: It gets HOT in Santorini. Mr. Weather Man will tell you the temperature will be in the 70s or 80s, but it feels like 100. It’s sun dresses and shorts all day long here. Don’t forget to bring a hat, travel with water + Gatorade, and reapply sun screen. The sun is no joke and we thought we were used to the heat in Texas…

Best time to visit and avoid tourists = May or September

santorini3
Caldera Views

 Hector Cave House – By far the best Airbnb we ever stayed in! This house is carved into the caldera cliff and allows you to cool off in the private pool while you soak up those gorgeous views. Our only wish was that it faced toward Amoudi Bay so that we could watch the sun set from our terrace. Added bonus included daily housekeeping (which is typically not included on Airbnb), shuttle transfer coordination, and help with luggage through the stairs of Oia (trust me, you’ll need help). At 350 per night, we felt it was well worth the price.

Fun fact: it was originally used as a wine cellar for more than 250 years.

plunge

Honeymoon Hats-custom made hats, perfect for Santorini

 

pool
Our private pool

pool1

DO

Rent an ATV – the highlight of our adventure in Santorini! Leave the tourist behind and explore the island on four wheels. We made our reservations in advance, but you can pick up an ATV at any Motor Rental for about 30/day.

4wheels

dima

 

Hike from Oia to Fira – HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Start early at 8am before the sun peaks, and hike 10 km to the town of Fira. Here you will experience the caldera views like nowhere else. We felt like we were the only two people on the island. Duration: 4 hours

hike1
8AM & 100°
hike4
Hiking from Oia to Fira

Tips:

Bring tennis shoes and work out gear for this hike and be prepared for steep inclines half of the way.

Travel with two liters of water + Gatorade. Don’t worry, if you run out half way like we did, there are a few local shops where you can rehydrate.

We opted to hike into Fira, pick up our ATV, then ride to the black sand beach.

half way
Half way there!
hike dima
Hour 1 of 4

Red Sand Beach – follow signs to the ancient village of Akrotiri and you’ll stumble upon this red sand beach. Tucked away from civilization, it’s a smaller beach that remains untouched by travel corporations. We arrived around 3pm and there were about 100 people on the beach, making the experience much more exotic. About 45 minutes away by ATV.

red beach
Red Sand Beach

We parked our ATV in a lot nearby – the beach is a short walk away. Wear comfortable shoes since you have to climb up and down rocks to get there. Not to mention, the red volcanic soil gets hot on your feet.

red beach1
Accessible by foot by hiking down these rocks

Fun fact: you can take the local Santorini “Bus Stop” boat and it will transport you from the black sand beach, to the white, and back to red for 10.

bus stop
Santorini “Bus Stop”

Perissa Black Sand Beach – after our 4 hour hike, we headed to the beach! We were hungry and tired so this was the perfect place to relax.

black sand
Perissa Black Sand Beach

black sand1

We ate at The Magic Burger Bus – my sister’s recommendation from her trip two months prior. The owners speak perfect English and are super friendly.  As a special honeymoon gift, they set up us on the first row of lounge chairs closest to the beach. Best thing is that they offer food and drink service to the cabanas so you never have to leave!

bus
The Magic Burger Bus

Domaine Sigalas WineryMUST VISIT! We shared a flight of twelve wines. We would have ordered two flights, but the staff was great to suggest that one was enough. They provide healthy pours, or how Dmitriy and I say..”Chelsea pours”, so it was perfect for our pre-lunch visit.  Try them all and, decide you favorite, order a glass, and soak up the beautiful vineyard views outside!

Note: Sadly they no longer ship to the U.S. as of June 2017.

vine
Domaine Sigalas Vineyard

Wine Flight at a Glance – predominately white due to the volcanic soil environment

7 White, 1 Rose, 2 Red, 2 Sweet/Dessert Reds

Typically, white wine leaves me with a sugary headache, but not these! They are unlike anything else you’ve tasted and perfect for a hot Santorini day.

sig
Before
wine
After

Top Picks = Santorini (White), Santorini Barrel (White), AA (White), and Mm (Red)

sigalas

Added Bonus: Cats!

cat2
The local mascot

EAT

Fino – this restaurant was excellent! There are no caldera views, but the food was so good we went back twice!

Sea Bass and Lobster Risotto = menu favorites! Plus, you can grab a glass (or bottle) of the Domaine Sigalas Wine, straight from the vineyard!

fino1
Sea Bass with Fava Bean Puree
fino
Lobster Risotto

Katina’s – hands down best meal in Greece! Take the stairs down to Amoudi Bay and find a table near the water. The servers help you make your fish selections by inviting you to see what was recently caught. The first day we chose Sea Bream and Sea Bass the following day – delicious! We ordered 0.8 kilos to share which will run anywhere from 55 to 75.

Note: the calamari rivaled the “chocos” in Spain..and that’s a bold statement.

schwarz
Path from Oia to Amoudi Bay

Floga – fine dining with romantic views and good food.

floga views
View from Floga Restaurant
floga
Reserve a table during sunset

 

Melitini – Grecian tapas – check it out for lunch or sunset dinner so you can enjoy the view! We ordered the pork stew with oregano and potatoes, grilled octopus,  and the pork sausage. Washed it all down with a liter of wine!

Tip: In the busy season, the sun sets around 8:30pm so make sure to call a few days in advance to reserve a table outside in advance.

sunset1

Next stop, Mykonos!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s