*Check out Anne’s post on Santorini here!
Sometimes, you arrive at a destination that truly takes your breath away; a destination where you just can’t tear your eyes away from the sweeping, jaw-dropping views and scenery; a destination where you just want to throw your phone aside because even Instagram can’t do it justice; a destination that is just truly too good to be real.
Santorini is that place.
It’s been known that I tend to choose destinations based on books– (cough, Harry Potter Studios, cough); Santorini is no exception, and I’m sure every teen of the early 2000’s who read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series can concur.
The door from the film version of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Really, this island is a picture-perfect postcard. It looks just like the pictures, like the films, like the travel brochures, only better. Its beauty truly took my breath away; I am still in awe when I swipe back through my photos.
Our four days in Oia were not enough, but they were satisfying. They left me with the urge to stay and discover more– and to really come back and get to know the Greek isles. According to everyone, we came during the best possible time of year. We had nothing but high temperatures, complete sunshine, correct prices, and an underwhelming number of tourists.
Santorini is actually the name which refers to a group of four islands– the island on which most visitors find themselves is called Thira, and the names of the two most popular towns on either side of Thira are called Fira and Oia (and thanks to our friend’s fabulous recommendation, we had perfect budget accommodation in Oia.) The islands still contain an active volcano, so the majority of its beaches are black or red.
Oia is the town in which we stayed. It is perfect, charming, and looks better than the photos. Anne and I spent hours wandering the winding streets, browsing in the shops, and enjoying the picturesque views on rooftops over a glass of wine. Oia is also the best place on the island to watch the sunset.
Swimming and Cliff Jumping
One of my favorite activities was venturing down to Oia’s port for swimming, sun basking, and cliff jumping. This hike is not for the faint hearted– there are a lot of stairs and you need to climb over several rocks. Though, if you want, you can ride the donkeys back up for 5 euros!
Volcanic / Hot Springs Excursion
Thira’s islands were created via volcanic eruptions, and one of the smallest islands still has an active volcano. For 18 euros, you can take a boat, hike around the craters, and enjoy spectacular views! Next, the boat takes you for a quick dip in the “hot” springs (which were lukewarm at best). Bring your walking shoes, swimsuit, and towel, and be prepared to dive off the boat and swim 50 M. to the hot springs!
Hiking from Fira to Oia
There is a walking trail between the two main towns, Fira and Oia. The trail is about 6 km long and it took me about 3 hours to hike the trail. It is a great way to kill a morning, afternoon, or evening, and to soak in sweeping views of the caldera.
Relaxing in Fira
Fira is the more lively of the two cities- there is a lot of shopping, bars, and activity. Anne and I had a drink with a couple of our new friends and spent the afternoon in the sun.
Long story short, Santorini is a postcard, and was an absolute much-needed perfect vacation destination.