Travel To Santorini-A Magical Island

I was out in the world, living my life, fulfilling a dream. Nothing can top that feeling.

 

Santorini – One of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world

It has taken me a long time (two weeks) to write about Santorini since I visited it, well I was that restless to put it up.

Every time I tried to start before, nothing would come to mind. Words didn’t seem to be enough to capture the beauty of this small Cycladic island.Perhaps there are other places as beautiful, but Santorini (also known as Thira), remains the most beautiful island in Europe for me, so far.

Cupolas, domes, excavated houses and rooftops all come together in a colorful kaleidoscope, a game of sight and mind. You’ll be there in it, somewhere, getting lost in the beautiful chaos, falling in love with all and promising yourself that one day you will return.

Oia- The Perfect Getaway

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DSC03880.jpgI flew from Athens to Santorini and arrived very early around 0800am with a very bumpy landing – seriously I thought we were going to crash into the sea! I had booked the apartment at Oia! Why Oia? Oia a scenic village on the northwest edge that’s situated on the slope of the caldera. It’s the part of the island you picture when you think of Santorini: charming houses, blue domed churches, and sunny verandas. While you meander through Oia on a sunny day, you don’t realize how truly close you are to the edge of a cliff looking over the caldera. The churches, villas and restaurants crowd together with thin cobblestone pathways connecting every building to the next. The uniqueness of the architecture and the colors of the walls transport you to another universe. Standing there, looking out onto the ocean, taking in the magnificent view before me, I couldn’t help but feel sentimental. I was out in the world, living my life, fulfilling a dream. Nothing can top that feeling.

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Sunset in Santorini

Santorini is pretty amazing when toured on land but by sea it is simply spectacular- sheer volcanic cliffs plunging into the depths of the caldera, and the odd bubbling spring and sulfur vapors reminding you beneath the tranquil surface of the sea lies a sleeping giant. And then there is the sunset: nature showing off not just its power but also its penchant for drama, casting the setting sun against a dazzling backdrop of orange, pink, red and yellow hues.

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It’s a place to please your eyes. No matter where I go and what I do, sipping wine in the restaurant balcony, drinking coffee in a small cafe, walking on the street, or dinning in the local restaurant, my eyes were always hungry for beautiful views and vivid colours

 Walking Around Santorini

The multitudes of sunset seekers in Oia, the hunt for a table with a view, the signs that read “do not enter- private property”, the inevitable dissonance resulting from the arrival of 2 million visitors on an island that is disproportionately small relative to its global fame. Try to escape it, only for a bit, from the magnetic pull of the caldera. Put on your most comfortable walking shoes and chart your own course. It’s a simple truth that to really get to know Santorini you have to walk it. The view from the Fira-Oia path (3 hours at a normal pace) is out of the world; the old path from Mengalochori to Loutra Plakas soon brings you to a spot favored by the geologist for studying the morphology of the caldera.; the walk from Akrotiri to Faros lighthouse will reward you for your efforts as the sun goes down and also reveal the “Indian” rock, so called because of its likeness to face of a native american. Don’t be afraid to discover places off the beaten tourist path. And don’t forget to chat with the locals. My host who has been living on this Island for long shared memories from the time before and after the earthquake, when the island was poor and neglected, she had to send her children to seek the fortune elsewhere. She also helped me understand the turn to tourism and how, in the first few decades, it was out of control, as vineyards and vegetables gardens were turned into rooms-to-letand other facilities catering tourists.

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View from the Restaurant

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View of Caldera from the hill
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Oia to Fira Walking Trail
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Oia to Fira Trek
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A conversation with the nature-A view to die for

The serene presence of volcano, the bright nights and light shadows of day. White houses suspended above the blue sea, bathed in the complex light of simplicity.

Some of the beaches at a Glance

 

Red Beach

The volcanic star of Santorini, backed by steep, deep red cliffs. Can get quite crowded in high season. boats leaving from Perissa and Kamari bring visitors here in 30 minutes but you can also reach the beach on foot from Akrotiri. Take care, there have been reports of rockfalls.

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Red Beach

 

Baxedes

A quiet beach with black volcanic sand and small pebbles. One of Oia’s most popular spots, particularly with families, thanks to its shallow waters. It is also preferred by surfers when the winds are northernly. Access by car or motorbike

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Baxedes (Black sand) Beach

Koloumbo

A remote sandy beach lapped by warm waters thanks to the nearby underwater volcanic crater at a depth of 512 m, which last erupted in 1650. accessible only by vehicle.

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Practical Tips

  1. If you are staying in Oia, rent a car which will let you move around the Island and explore off the beaten places. The car can be rented from €30-50 per day (depending on the season and size of the car) The best way to explore.
  2. If you prefer to follow the locals to their favorite place for a swim, then head northern direction of Oia, to Koloumbo with its warm waters, Pori for peace and quiet or Baxedes for black sand, shallow waters and surfing.
  3. Sunset and Sunrise are great anywhere from the island so look for hidden spots which are less crowded and you can have the entire ocean jut to yourself. I watched at Baxedes and relished the solitude with nature
  4. Eat once at a traditional bakery- you can find them at every corner of the island. They have a lot of options to choose from. fresh breads and morning rolls just out of the oven; prefect with a hot Greek coffee.
  5. Go for the trek from Oia to Fira or vice versa. It takes roughly 2-3 hours depending on how fast you can walk. Don’t chase the time, views are breathtaking. Pause and have a conversation with nature. I started at 0530 am from Oia to Fira and I guess that was the best part. It was me and clouds. Don’t worry about safety, the island is very safe.
  6. 4 days is more than enough. We were so eager to see everything and afraid that we will not make it in 7 days. Within 4 days we had visited each area more than 2 times and we spend the last 2 lying on the beach.
  7. A bit overpriced. Compared to Europe, the prices in Santorini are pretty much the same. But comparing them to Greece, they are a bit much. However, you get what you pay for. The food quality is outstanding and so is the view no matter where you go.
  8. Eat fish. They have the freshest and tasty fish in Greece. Do check the prices before ordering as seafood is expensive here. Do not miss the traditional foods, such as fava, santorinia salad, Gyro, kapari and tomatoes
  9. South part of the island is a bit warmer than the northern part so if you plan a trip to Akrotiri or Mengalochori then go in the morning or late noon.
  10. While dining you pay for the view hence choose a restaurant according to your budget, the same food will be a little cheaper, if not overlooking the caldera.
  11. Go for Wine tasting tour, Greek wines are amazing.
  12. If you are not short of time then sail one way, in or out of Santorini than flying. Its cheaper and a great way to explore the Aegean sea. Ferry from Santorini to Athens takes 3.5 hours and the ferries are very comfortable. The ferry can take you to two ports, Choose Rafina Port in Athens as it is closer to Athens International airport. If you are headed towards the city then go for Piraeus port

Which is your favorite Island?

48 thoughts on “Travel To Santorini-A Magical Island”

  1. I understand your anxiety about how to put into words the beauty that you see. In today’s world, we have become so jaded by Instagram pics of the same places over and over that we think, “It’s great but I’ve seen it all before.” However, it is when we set foot on the land that we experience it subjectively and come away with a truly unique travel experience.

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  2. Wow, what gorgeous pictures! I love Santorini and will be returning on my next trip to Greece. I will be sure to try a Greek wine tasting as you recommended.

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  3. I am considering Santorini, I would definitely stay in Oia. The 2-3 hour trek from Oia to Fira sounds perfect for me, as a photographer wonderful views are appreciated. Your photos of the Santorini sunset are incredible.

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  4. I love this! We visited 2 years ago in late August with our almost-2-year-old on a cruise stop. We barely scratched the surface of this gorgeous place! I’m still drooling over your sunset photo. That’s exactly how I remember experiencing sunset there! I’m glad you had more time to explore.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I know the travelers who touch n go the place on a cruise always leave with a heavy heart. Its a place to be traveled slow. Returning to this island is a great idea and I am sure you will be able to make up what you missed. Visit from April to June for gorgeous sunsets

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  5. I can’t wait to marvel at the beauty that is Santorini.. oh and the food and the sights and everything all wrapped into one.. Magic! Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Beautiful photos. I am well aware of the charms of Greek islands and although I haven’t yet been to Santorini, it’s beauty is unparalleled. My only concern now is that both Santorini and Mykanos have become so popular that some of the quaintness might have gone. Did you find it to be crowded and too touristy? I have been to Naxos and Amorgos and found both to be really “old fashioned” and simple.

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    1. Well you are right Mykonos and Santorini are getting equal attention and I feel its good that the crowd gets divided. Yes it was crowded and I realized it only during sunsets as for rest of the day there are plenty of beach options and sea activities that you don’t find many people in one place. Sunset at Oia can get very crowded hence look for other places as Sun looks the same from anywhere

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  7. Santorini is one of the most magical destination ever. Pictures in your post are amazing. The great combination of white and blue is just the best. I can’t wait to visit Santorini. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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  8. I totally agree about this being a dream place! Before visiting I had heard it is considered to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I was not disappointed! A friend of mine stayed in a small hotel with one of those “private property” signs and she said the crowd level feels totally different, staying in such a secluded place without everyone walking by.

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    1. Thats so true. I stayed at Baxedes further down Oia and that was so peaceful. If you are a nature person, like beach and open land without many people around then stay away from the cliff

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  9. Your pictures are so lovely! 🙂 I’m in Rhodes right now, the Greek island where the practice to paint houses in white began in the first place. There is a small, ancient town of Lindos, all white and charming. The island is so rich in history! If you get the chance, try to visit sometime, it’s worth it! 🙂 And I’d love to go to Santorini this summer, your photos made me impatient! 😀

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    1. Thanks for sharing that. I am sure most of the islands are beautiful in Aegean Sea however Santorini is the most popular. I am glad that traffic is now diverted to other islands to make each one little secluded. I will explore Rhodes next.

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  10. I have been planning to visit Greece for long and specifically Santorini is on my wish list. This post simply fired up the wanderlust all the more. You truly have a lovely style of writing and the pictures are simply awesome.

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  11. When you say Santorini, the first thing that comes to my mind is white and blue, and you photos have captured this perfectly. I am glad to hear about you walking around the town. My wife and I have found this is our favorite way to get around and have found so much more than if we had simply driven or taken a but. I love the suggestion of eating at a local bakery. Food is also a great way to truly get to know culture.

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  12. Santorini has been on my travel list for a long time, never found a way to do it on a budget. Greek wines never made a great impression on me, but I would love to go on that wine tasting tour to be proven wrong. The views are as stunning as expected but I did not know there are so many beautiful beaches as well. Awesome!

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    1. There are ways to do it on budget. Some tips I can give are, go by ferry-Its much cheaper than plane and is very comfortable. Stay away from Fira and Oia. Baxedes north of Oia has some great Airbnb options and these places are so secluded, almost private beach, lovely sunsets, lot of nature. I saw many shooting starts almost every day. It is much quite but you need a car if you don’t want to walk 1.5 km one sided everyday to Oia. Hope you are able to go and discover this gem

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  13. Just beautiful. Santorini is so picturesque. I love the tips that you provided, so helpful! Will definitely keep as a reference for future travels!

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  14. Wow your pictures of Santorini are tremendous. I visited Santorini a few years ago, and I was amazed. As we stayed in the south of the island, unfortunately we didn’t make it to Oia. I guess I have to go back then 😉 But I think Santorini is a place where you always can travel back. 🙂

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  15. I have always wanted to go here. I love that you suggest to walk around. I always take a walking tour of anywhere I go to get a good feel for the area. One of my favorite things to do

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  16. Your pictures are so beautiful it makes me want to head to Santorini straight away for a bit of paradise. I visited this island as part of a cruise but only had a few hours there so I think I need to return to experience more of the island and try some of the food.

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  17. Thanks for such a detailed and full of visual treats post. Santorini has really become the go to place in all of Greece and pretty much overshadowed most of the other islands. Although I haven’t been there, visiting Naxos and Amorgos has given me a good insight into the beauty of the region and of the people. The topography of Santorini is really amazing and I hope to make it there someday.

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  18. A place so high on my bucketlist! That’s a big call saying it’s the most beautiful island in Europe for you so far. Your photos certainly seem to back that up. Just breathtaking! Makes me even more excited about visiting!

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  19. Santorini has been high on my bucket list ever since I can remember! I never get tired of seeing pictures from this city, the pop of white against the blue background is just stunning. Great guide, I haven’t heard of some of the beaches you mentioned, thanks so much!

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  20. Oh those sunsets! So amazing. Almost as amazing at that little donkey in the photo. I can see how you feel in love with Santorini so easily. Looks like a magical place!

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  21. Everything looks so magical about Santorini. I have to go for the sunset and much more. Now, I know why I must stay at Oia whenever I plan to go there. This is a very helpful post. No doubt, you wrote after two weeks, this captures the essence and your feelings really well.

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