Working as I do for a travel Company that specialises in long haul travel it is often easy to overlook Europe and focus on where the best staff deal will take me. Despite these enticing offers myself and Vanessa decided to take a holiday to Greece and the island of Santorini.
A place of serene beauty, clifftop vistas and blue domed Greek Orthodox churches it is easy to see why 1000s of people visit here every year. Santorini Island consists of semicircular archipelago of volcanic islands located on the southern Aegean Sea. Circular in shape, this caldera is entirely filled with water. In fact, it is the only sunken caldera in the world. This caldera is surrounded by gigantic cliffs on top of which beautiful villages have been constructed. According to geologists, the first known eruption took place in the year 1,645 BC.
We based ourselves in Oia, at the northern tip of the island. This is a very popular place to stay and where a lot of cruise shore excursions will visit, on top of this Oia is where seemingly the whole island comes to to get the classic sunset photo of the Caldera. As a result it is the most expensive place to stay so accommodation and restaurant prices can be exorbitant. We stayed in the Anenominos Hotel, a short walk from the main pedestrian street. A lovely hotel with a rooftop terrace and quiet pool area. However irrespective of this my advice would be to stay in Fira, about a 10 kilometre bus ride away (€1.80 one way). Fira itself has some spectacular views of its own but is not quite in the same price bracket as Oia. It also has more choice of bars and restaurants.
In terms of things to do the walk from Fira to Oia (or vice versa) along the cliff tops is spectacular. Take a Sunset Cruise around the island. The beaches are in the south and east but if you want beaches there are better islands in Greece to visit. The archaeaological site of Akrotiri is worth a visit although the fact it is a covered site with modern scaffold, roof and pillars does take away a little of the romance of the place! Akrotiri could be combined with a visit to the Museum of prehistoric Thera (in Fira) where a lot of the findings from the site have been housed. There is a combination ticket that can be purchased if you do intend to visit both. Amoudi Bay where the sunset cruises depart is a spectacular place where you can find rocks to jump off into the azure sea.
We stayed 4 days and felt this was enough if you are someone who wants to explore around. If you want to go to relax with lots of pool time then a week minimum is what I would recommend.
- Visit Oia for spectacular sunset views. Stay in Fira to save money and get the cheap local buses around the island.
- Take a sunset cruise around the island, we used Sunset Oia and found them professional, welcoming and the food on board was excellent.
- Save money by eating Gryos (delicious meat kebabs) served all over at a cost of €5
- Buy a combination ticket for visiting Akrotiri and museum.