The mere mention of the Greek Islands will no doubt have you conjuring up magical images of white washed abodes lining the cliff tops, with a beautiful blue backdrop of the Mediterranean sea. Of course your imagination will be absolutely correct on this occasion, as Santorini is every bit one of the most picturesque places in the world. The caldera is something to behold and the perfect sunsets that occur every night is something that will be etched in your memory for ever.
I was lucky to visit a couple of the Greek Islands and Santorini is the one that left a lasting impression on me.
I flew into Santorini from Athens, a quick flight of less than an hour. My hotel offered a transfer service which was great, so I didn’t have to worry about navigating my way through the many lane way paths that Santorini is famous for. I chose to stay in the more quieter area of Imergolivi, which is a lovely 20-30 minute cliff walk along these paths to the main part of town, Fira. Fira is where all the hustle and bustle occurs and returning each day to Imergolivi was a lovely retreat. Imergolivi is a popular area for honeymooners and couples, so it tends to be quite serene.
Properties on this side of Santorini fetch a premium price as you are paying for the view of the Caldera. When I first caught sight of this Caldera, I was completely blown away. I don’t think I was quite prepared for how incredible the view would be and there are no photos that could ever capture this moment. Only one word comes to mind and that word is stunning.
Santorini is not only about the view (well it mostly is!) but it is also about the food, wine and the good times. Lining the cliff edge are wall to wall restaurants and wine bars, that offer you the chance to watch the incredible sunset Santorini puts on every night. If you are looking for a beach to swim then across the other side of the island you will find Kamari Beach. This pebbled beach is where you will be able to swim, have lunch at one of the many restaurants along the beach and then plonk yourself down on the sun lounges with full cocktail service. This area is popular with families and the younger crowd.
Santorini is all about relaxation, indulging in some great food and good wine. Speaking of which Santorini has it’s own local winery called Santo wines, which can be toured. The Assytiko wine comes highly recommended and worth paying the little bit extra for when dining out. If you find you have over indulged in all this good food and wine, then another great thing to do in Santorini is to hike the picturesque trail from Fira to Oia. You will require some reasonable amount of fitness and as a rough guide will take you around 2-3 hours to complete.
The island is easily navigated either on foot or various transport options. The bus service is very well run, you can buy your tickets on the bus and most villages are reached within 15 minutes. Day tours to surrounding islands are easily organised through any of the booking companies or transfers to other islands via the Ferry can be organised on a walk in basis.
The most popular time to visit Santorini is between June and September, when the tourist season is in full swing. The average stay on the island is around 3-5 days and this will be plenty of time to enjoy what the island offers.
Getting to Santorini is either by flights with Aegean or Olympic Air and the extensive Ferry service.