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
I 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Go for Wine tasting tour, Greek wines are amazing.
- 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?