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I Heart Santorini

sunny 21 °F

White washed buildings, steep cliffs, and turquoise blue water blend together to create the ideal Greek getaway in Santorini. When images of Greece come to mind, this is the island I have always pictured.

With four nights in Santorini we made home in the small town of Imerovigli situated on the highest cliffs of the Santorini caldera, directly between the islands top destinations of Fira and Oia. Our hotel, the Astra, delivered on all areas of customer service and comfort. Bustling through our last two destinations, we never really had the chance to enjoy the resorts. Here, we spent afternoons lounging by the cliff side pool, taking in the views of the caldera, and enjoying the beautiful sunsets.


On our first day in Santorini we went on a five hour private sailing tour. With an excellent crew, we received top notch service and a true sailing experience. Our guides gave us a thorough background on the formation of the caldera. Around 1650 BC researchers believe the largest volcanic eruption in the Earth’s history occurred here, causing a massive tsunami which destroyed dozens of other civilizations and resulted in the current shape of the island. Researchers have also found evidence that Santorini is the site of the lost city of Atlantis. Our sailing trip took us through the caldera and included an enormous traditional Mediterranean feast, which rivals my top spot for best meal ever. As we sailed back to port we enjoyed a magnificent sunset and great conversation.





One of the drawbacks to Santorini is the massive number of cruise ship tourists. I can’t even imagine what it must be like at the height of the tourist season in July and August. Hoards of people swarm the cities and getting a taxi during peak times (early morning and mid afternoon) can be nearly impossible.

Fira and Oia (pronounced ee-ah) definitely draw the most visitors. We spent several of our afternoons navigating both towns, and although both felt touristy, Oia definitely has a charm that Fira lacks. To begin my Oia experience I had my taxi driver drop me off in Ammoudi Bay where a tiny harbor village hosts a handful of waterfront restaurants. Our hotel promised this was a sight not to be missed, but I felt this fishing port was lacking and quite dull. I then proceeded to climb the 250 or so crumbling stairs to Oia, this grueling climb was interspersed with beautiful sights and excellent photo opportunities. As I neared the top hundreds of people filled the passageways seeking out a prime sunset viewing spot. I felt overwhelmed by the massive tour groups, but I found that if you simply stepped off the single path where souvenir shops lined the walkway, a more peaceful and tranquil Oia existed. Although Oia is bustling during the day, after sunset things quiet down as people move to the livelier Fira.



Fira is the lively town directly above the port of call for cruise ships small and large. Tourists make their way up the steep cliffs from the port via donkey, cable car, or a 500+ stair climb. We read in my Lonely Planet guide book that donkeys can physically only carry about 115 pounds, the tourists we saw slowly making their way up the cliff side definitely did not fit into this category and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for these poor, overworked animals.

Fira as a town is quite picturesque, but is definitely overrun with tourists and souvenir shop. The walk from our hotel to Fira was definitely a highlight as we took in the incredible sweeping views on this 20 minute jaunt. To conclude our stay in Santorini we enjoyed an amazing dinner at Archipelagoes where we enjoyed a late lingering meal in true Greece style.


Although I didn’t quite cover all the major sights in Santorini, I leave feeling as though this journey is complete. While Rhodes and Crete were lots of fun, I probably wouldn’t return to these islands, but with Santorini I could return here dozens of times and never tire of the endless maze of passageways and beautiful white buildings. Next we spend two nights in Athens, a city whose pollution, congestion, and poverty contrasts the beauty and tranquility of our journey through Greece so far. More to come soon!

Posted by Jennylynn 11:57 Archived in Greece Tagged tourist_sites

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Your photos are lovely and I SO want to go to every single place you mentioned. Thank you for a tempting article.

by teethetrav

Lovely! Great pics.

by Peter

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