Santorini - GreeceItís the most romantic island on earth and the place that honeymoons are made of, but itís also the rumored location of the lost city of Atlantis. Either way, Santorini is magical!
Quick history lesson. Around 1500 B.C. there was a huge volcanic eruption on the island of Strongili (which means circle). The islandís shape was forever changed, as was it is named; now we know this island like Santorini.
Because of its history, the island has some unique features such as red and black sand beaches, wine with a unique mineral flavor one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. The views from the cliffs are unparalleled and unique, as each snowflake is different.
The main towns of Oia and Fira are perched high on the caldera side of the island. These mostly white washed villages were built into the side of the cliffs. The beach towns Kamari, Perissa, and Vlyhada offer unique experiences, from calm isolation to partying until the wee hours of the morning. Also, you must put on your list the villages like Imerovigli, Firostefani, and Pyrgos for their rich history and still-simple village lifestyle.
The port town of Fira is the entry point for most of the cruise ships that visit the island. For this reason, itís very touristy and a little dirty. However, itís also the home to all the nightlife, with popular night clubs like Enigma and Koo Club. The Fira Town Square is a popular meeting point and is definitely a great place to stop for a pastry when leaving the nightclubs.
Oia is the most picturesque place on the island and definitely boasts the most spectacular sunset views from places such as Sun Spirit and Kastro.
Oia is a town that, during the day, fills with tourists willing to make the journey from Fira for the views and the sunsets. Then once the cruise ships leave, the town because the most romantic place on earth, leaving just those who are lucky enough to be staying in a cliffside hotel, such as the islandís best hotel Katikies. It also boasts, what we determined, are the best restaurants that the island has to offer such as Ambrosia, Papagalos and Feredini.
Tips of Santorini
1. ITíS ALL ABOUT THE SUNSET
Sunset is a magical experience. If you observe a crowd watching one, youíll see that all is normal until the orange-yellow hues explode into the sky just as the sun is about to disappear. People change for that one minute. They get quiet and just watch. It almost seems spiritual; maybe itís the connection with nature.
The Santorini sunset is easily the most magical in the world. It can easily bring a tear to your eye. The most beautiful place to watch the sunset in Oia. From here you have a direct view of the sunís final dip. Itís probably also the most crowded place. So, the best thing you can do is have your hotel make a reservation for you at one of the following places. This way, you can have a front-row seat to one of the most spectacular shows on earth. Plan an early dinner or just sip cocktails. You may even get to witness a marriage proposal or two.
Here are our favorite places to watch the sunset in Oia.
Sun Spirit: www.sunspirit.gr
This is a cocktail only bar located near the windmill. Ask for the table in the front left corner of the restaurant to be reserved for you. Leave early to get through the crowd.
Tucked away near the castle is the perfect place to have an early dinner or possibly share a pizza while watching the sunset. The food is fantastic, the restaurant is small and very casual.
2. RENT A CAR FROM THE PORT
If you are taking the ferry to Santorini then you should skip arranging a hotel pickup and just get a car from one of the port side rental companies. Make sure you negotiate the price down. We used: Spiridakos Car www.spiridakos.gr
3. STAY IN OIA
The island is magical, but the best place to stay hands down is Oia. This is where you will find more of the high-end hotels, restaurants, the best views and of course the magical sunset.
4. BE CAREFUL FOR TOURIST TRAPS
This island is very touristy. That means many tourist traps. For instance, the volcanic "hot springs" can only be felt by divers.
5. EAT EARLY
Yes, this may be Europe and even the Greek Islands, however, blame the tourists because this island eats early! If you eat after 10:00 p.m. youíll be sitting alone in the restaurant.
Best time of the year to visit Santorini in Greece
The best time of the year to go to Santorini is May Ė September.
Santorini is virtually closed from mid-November to the beginning of April. Summer in Santorini is beautiful however it can be extremely hot and humid. May and September are calm, warm and beautiful if youíre more looking to just get away than party Greek style. Also, summer brings many cruise ships and honeymooners.
May and September are less crowded, have more mild weather and are just as beautiful.
How to get there?
Airlines that fly to Santorini from Athens: 30 minutes
Ferries that come from Athens: 3-6 hours
If you book your air early youíll get a great price.
FYI: If there is bad weather or high wind your ferry may not depart.
Area: The Island can be navigated by car. Scooters can be rented but are not suggested because the terrain is very steep in some areas and can be rather dangerous.
Weather: the summer is hot and humid. However, sometimes it can get windy so bring a pashmina.
Language: Greek, however English is widely spoken.