Last year R and I spent a blissful week in Santorini, and somehow I never got around to writing about it. The weather was perfectly warm, and since we were visiting during the shoulder months, the streets were marginally less crowded.
One week. Unlike most people who make their base as Oia, we spent the first few days in Fira and Imerovigli before finally making our way to Oia. By doing this, we felt like we explored the island properly.
Where we stayed:
R went all out and booked the best places to stay as we were celebrating our first anniversary. In Fira, we stayed at Villa Soula, a cosy B&B located near the main street. In Imerovigli, we stayed at Abyssanto Suites & Spa – a luxury hotel with a private jacuzzi and an infinity pool. The best thing about this place was that our room was on the upper level, and we could watch the sunrise from our bed. Saving the best for the last, R truly outdid himself when he booked an entire villa for ourselves in Oia. It was a beautifully furnished cave house called Canava View with a huge jacuzzi on the balcony. We spent every evening watching the sunset from our jacuzzi. Absolute bliss!
What we ate:
Gyros, souvlaki, Greek salad. Yum! While we mostly ate at small tavernas, we found some great restaurants. On our first night, we chanced upon a charming garden café in Fira called ‘Kipos‘, and we liked the food and ambience so much that we ate there two nights in a row. There’s nothing more perfect than dining amidst a garden with towering palm trees and twinkling fairy lights. They also offer a wine tasting session where you get to try local wines paired with Cycladic cheeses. Imerovigli Tavern, which overlooks the Caldera is a beautiful spot for a leisurely lunch. Ochre Wine Bistro in Oia offers an expertly curated wine list, and the food is exceptionally good too. Tranquilo in Perissa is a colourful, Carribean-themed beachside café, that’s perfect for a round of drinks and Mediterranean fare.
The best way to get around the island is by renting a bike. We hired a quad-bike for the first few days and a scooter for the rest.
Top things to do:
Akrotiri: Located at the southern tip of the island, Akrotiri is a Minoan Bronze Age settlement which was buried in a volcanic eruption. You can easily spend a day in here marvelling at the painstaking work that has gone into excavating this place.
Beaches: Of the Island beaches, we visited Red, Perissa and Kamari Beach. We spent an entire afternoon in Kamari lounging under the sun and sipping on cocktails.
Caldera-edge walk: If there’s one thing that we recommend doing, it’s walking along the caldera-edge pathway. It’s a long nine-kilometre walk, so don’t forget to carry a sun hat. The path is peppered with little cafés, antique shops and boutique hotels, so there’s plenty to explore. At sunset, make sure to climb up the Byzantine Castle Ruins, for magnificent views of the setting sun.
Volcano cruise: The boat cruise is a must-do as you get to trek the volcano-islet of Palia Kameni, which was last active in 1950. After that, you get to jump off the boat and swim to the hot springs.
Insta-worthy spots: The whole place! The whitewashed houses with blue domes; sunlounger-filled beaches, cobbled promenades, windmills. I particularly liked walking through the maze-like alleyways of Oia and stopping to snap pictures of all the houses shaded by the fuschia-hued bougainvillaea creepers.