Santorini

A trip to Thera´s  island better known as Santorini does not disappoint anyone and in this post I will give some advice that I hope will serve to future travelers who pretend to spend some days in this heavenly place.

SInce I was a child, I always dreamed about knowing this place, I first saw it on a calendar’s picture that my father had on his desk and since then I always thought that someday I would step on those lands. Now I can gladly say that I succeeded.

Many people may think that for going on vacation to this island you should have a lot of money, but the reality is that if you plan well and look in the right places you can save a lot of money while having a great time.

The airline which I used to travel from Athens to Santorini is Ryanair. A lot of you must know Ryanair is a low cost airline, so do not expect to have a glamorous flight, you know little space between seats, free water? do not even think about it!.  I mention this because they also charge 15 euros for each checked piece of luggage and I made a mistake by paying it because you can travel with a small suitcase as a carry-on luggage instead without cost and you also save the waiting time to pick it up when you arrive at the destination.

I started the tour from the southern part of the island. My stops were as follows:

-The ruins of Akrotiri (Ticket price is 12 euros)

It is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Mediterranean. They are the remains of an ancient city that was buried after the eruption of the Santorini volcano. It is also known as the “Minoan Pompeii Minoica”. The tour is very interesting. The ruins are in a covered hall, which is quite comfortable given the high temperatures.  Among the things they found in very good condition during the excavations that began in 1967 are the frescoes found in one of the rooms of a house. Those frescoes were preserved thanks to the solidified volcanic ash that covered them. They are are known by the following names: “boxers”, “antelopes” and “spring”.  All of them are exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

-The red beach.

This beach is very close to the Akrotiri’s ruins. Walking there takes you approximately 15 minutes and by car about 3 minutes. There is a parking area from where you have to walk down a rocky path and then you see the beautiful red beach. If you do not like to get into the sea, it is worth to walk around just to enjoy the beautiful view.

– Watch the sunset in Oia

One of the most famous activities to do in Santorini is to witness the sunset in Oia and I have to tell you that it is indeed beautiful! In order to know the exact time you need to arrive at Oia before the sunset and search the perfect spot to see it, it is a good idea to check on any website or meteorological app the sunset forecast so you can be there on time.

I recommend the next place to eat:

* Pito Gyros

If you want to eat a good gyro then this place is not going to disappoint you. It’s good, delicious and cheap.

– Fira

It is the capital of Santorini and is described as a small village with cobbled streets, white houses, restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops just like in Oia. It is from here that the cable car leaves for the small port, you can also go down or renting a donkey. 🙂

Some commented that Fira is ugly compared to Oia, but honestly I think they are just different. Fira also has it’s charm. It was from here that I saw a beautiful sunset, comfortably sitting on a cozy terrace with no people pushing and taking delicious dinner. The place is called Iriana Café, place that offers a beautiful view to the caldera and free wifi.

 

– Santorini Brewing Company (Donkey Beers)

This is the factory of the famous beer that is seen all over the island with the emblematic symbol of the donkey. For beer lovers this is a place they have to visit. It is a small new company you can locate it very close to the airport. They have three beers: Yellow donkey, crazy donkey and red donkeyIn this place they will give you a brief explanation of how they produce it and a free tasting of each one. If you like the tasting you can buy some to take away.

If some of you are like me who do not like the taste so bitter probably you will not love it but it is always good to know and try new things and more if there are typhical. Talking about beers, in the supermarket I buy some beers called Volkan which are cheaper than donkey and those I liked but it would be better if you would try both and make your own judgment.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

1)      The first recommendation is about the transport once you arrive in Santorini. The options are bus, taxi or car rental. After investigating the options the conclusion was that the most economic and comfortable thing was to rent a car and even more if your flight arrived at night then your only alternative will be taxi and the rate is quite high. I leave the link for the car rental that I used and it worked out very well, also cheaper than the main car rental companies:
www.santorini-car-rental.com

I met some Peruvians who told me that they rented the car directly at the hotel where they stayed but I do not like to leave that kind of thing at the last moment and much less if you go in high season because you risk running out of car or want to abuse with prices.

 

2)      On this trip I stayed in two hotels which were quite good for which I recommend them extensively.

A)     Capeland Houses

This small hotel is ideally located between the red beach and the ruins of Akrotiri, both tourist attractions are within walking distance. They have all the amenities including wifi. The bedrooms are small but very comfortable and clean. They have a small room, a nice bathroom, stove and everything necessary to be able to cook if it is desired, in addition it have a sea view. It is a very cozy place to stay for some days. (INSERT PHOTO)

B)      Iliovasilema Hotel

If you want to have a great time without spending a fortune this is the right place. This hotel is located in Imerovigli, a small village between Oia and Fira. I found this hotel because I was searching for a place that had a pool and panoramic view towards the caldera but without having to spend a lot of money. My travel plan was to spend a few days of rest, being in the pool, eating, sleeping, reading and eating again and honestly staying in a hotel without the view towards the beautiful caldera does not encourage much. However if your plan is not to spend a few days in total rest plan, then I would tell you to look for another hotel in the center of the village that does not have view to the caldera and the price per night will decrease a lot. Staff is very helpful and kind. The pool is heated, I mention this because if you go in the fall or winter season is something that will be appreciated. Although it is not a destination with freezing temperatures, it could get low enough to wish that the water not be cold. This topic has always seemed important to me and it is not so easy to find information about it and that is why I point out because it may be useful for some next traveler.

The food at the hotel is good, the relation price-quality is acceptable. What I advise is not to take the bottled water from the mini bar because the bottle costs 4 euros so it is better if you hired a car to go to Carrefour which is very close to the hotel and buy a box of 6 bottles for less than 3 euros. That will save you some money. And if you go without a car a few steps from the hotel you will find a shop where water is at a more reasonable price. All this because, unlike other places, the water
directly from the tap can´t be drunk.

 

3)      Avocado Restaurant in Imerovigli

As I mentioned before, one of my pleasures in life is to eat and the next place I recommend it extensively. It is located in Imerovigli a few steps from the hotel that I mentioned before. The place is quite nice, the attention is the best and the food is quite good. I ordered a meatballs on grill, risotto and the traditional Moussaka and all very good.

 

Finally, I have to mention that another of the main attractions on the island is the visit to Nea Kameni volcano. The boats that take to this destination leave the port of Fira that I mentioned at the beginning. I did not go to this tour because I fell in love with the hotel Ilovasilema and decided to stay to enjoy the facilities, besides that seeing photos did not strike me much attention but if you have time to visit it surely must be a very beautiful place.

 

Definitely this island was as I had always imagined. If you have the possibility of visiting it do not
hesitate because I assure you that it will not disappoint you.

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