What’s my favorite place to travel to?
Santorini, Greece is everything that you see in photos – from the whitewashed buildings to the sparkling blue waters. My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary there. That was five years ago. Still, there are days when I let my mind drift back to our week on the island – where life moved at a comfortable yet thrilling pace.
1. Stay in Fira
The town of Fira is midway between the northernmost town of Oia (which has some amazing views) and the southern most beach town of Akrotiri. If you stay in Fira, you’ll be central to pretty much everything on the island plus Fira has amazing views as well. Also, accommodations in Fira tend to be slightly more affordable than Oia and Akrotiri.
2. Get Lost
You can’t go wrong with any path you take on Santorini. Every corner of the island is beautiful. Just be careful, some of those stairways are steep but if you’re willing to be adventurous and a little brave you’ll discover Santorini’s most stunning scenery and secret places. One day, my husband and I wandered into a cave by a beach, only to find out it was an artist’s studio or museum of some sort. The artist was nowhere to be found so we dared to look around and then took our leave.
3. Walk from Fira to Oia
It takes about 2.5 hours to walk from Fira north to Oia. The path along the cliff is breathtaking but not scary and there are places along the way to rest and eat. Don’t worry if you can’t make the whole trek. You can hop on public transportation at any town along the way. Which leads me to my next point…
4. Take Public Transportation
If you really want to mingle with the locals and get a glimpse of Santorini’s neighborhoods take the Island’s buses. It’s cheaper than renting a car or motorcycle and easy to navigate. Just make sure to know when the last bus runs so you’re not left stranded.
5. Visit Meteor Café
This former antique shop turned café, located in Oia, has a European/Moroccan feel and serves up the best pear drinks we’ve ever tasted. The café also serves wine, cocktails, and dessert. Sit on the cliffside terrace with sky above and sea below or enjoy your refreshing drink inside under vaulted ceilings.
6. Atlantis Book
Paris has Shakespeare and Company. Santorini has Atlantis Books. Enough said. Located in Oia.
7. Red Beach
The hike down to Red Beach is not for the faint of heart but the brave will be rewarded with a secluded stretch of coastline garnished with a unique landscape of red and black volcanic rocks.
If you want to get a feel of everyday life on Santorini, head on over to the protected settlement of Pyrgos. Here, at the highest point of the island, admire Santorini’s landscapes. Explore the ruins of a castle and wander through winding paths while you admire traditional architecture, galleries, churches, and even old mansions that whisper of a life long ago.
9. Old Port
To get to the Old Port you can take the donkey-littered and slightly-perilously-angled 600 stone steps to the bottom of the cliffs of Fira. The less adventurous can take a cable car. At the bottom, watch cruise ships dock while you enjoy iced coffee at a café and maybe a fresh Mediterranean salad with dolmas. From here you can also take a boat to explore Santorini’s volcano.
10. Dine at Kastro
Do not leave Santorini without enjoying one sunset dinner at Kastro. Located in northern Oia near a castle, Kastro is the place to watch the sun sink into the Aegean Sea. Watch the crowds gather around the castle area to cheer the spectacular skyscape as you enjoy a menu of fresh bruschetta, feta cheese, olives and a variety of pasta dishes from your table on the terrace.