You might have seen this picture a thousand times on travel brochures and magazines, but they don’t quite do justice to the real thing. Yes, it’s a blue as it looks, yes the sunsets are amazing, yes the food is great, yes the views from Caldera is breath-taking, but it beats the photos by a long way, a really long way (Calderas are large volcanic craters that form by two different methods: 1) an explosive volcanic eruption; or, 2) collapse of surface rock into an empty magma chamber. Read more here).
It’s not for nothing that Santorini is one of the premier beach romantic destinations in the world. The best part is it’s one of the many gems of islands in this beautiful country. You will realize it on your very first day. And the feeling just lingers on and on.
We stayed at a BnB right next to the most clicked blue church dome. Ya, that’s me in the yellow shirt (For contrast I suppose). Everyone who comes here tries to stay in a hotel or BnB on the Caldera. In high season it gets really crowded and it’s difficult to get a booking with a view. Oia village is the hot spot for all tourists visiting Santorini island. It’s especially famous fo its sunsets. The narrow cobblestoned path with adjoining whitewashed houses and shops (including the famous Atlantis books) make for a memorable walk through the village. There are restaurants & souvenir shops abound.
Everyone who comes here tries to stay in a hotel or BnB on the Caldera. In high season it gets really crowded and it’s difficult to get a booking with a view. Oia village is the hot spot for all tourists visiting Santorini island. It’s especially famous fo its sunsets. The narrow cobblestoned path with adjoining whitewashed houses and shops (including the famous Atlantis books) make for a memorable walk through the village. There are restaurants & souvenir shops abound.
You can easily spend a whole day strolling through Oia. The tourist office next to the bus stop will provide you with the bus schedules and will even arrange the day trips for you. they are really helpful.
We were there during the early winter when the crowds were lesser and it felt that we had most of the Caldera for ourselves. Our routine there included cooking Indian food (We were a family of 9) and lounging on the terrace just soaking in the views.None of us really felt the need to do much else.
We did plan a few day trips but ended up going only on a solitary volcano trip, as everyone was reluctant to leave the blue domes. To get to the pier you take a ropeway down the caldera at Athinios and board your cruise. They take you to the volcano and then you can walk up the rugged crater. You even see sulfur fumes coming out. The views from the top are amazing. You can see a fair bit of Santorini on the panorama.
All the day trips here are a detour from the main attraction, Oia. But there are other good places like the black beach, Akortiri, Thira, Imervogili etc. You can easily spend a week on this paradise island.
Must See in Santorini:
1. Oia: The beating heart of the paradise and one of the best sunset spots in the world. period.
2. Imervogili: The only real contender to Oia’s spot.
3. Akrotiri: Whats pre-historic ruins doing on a beach paradise? It’s worth a visit to the well preserved and well-preserved ruins. It a neat deviation from all the blue and white as well. Just for half a day.
Practical Tips for Santorini:
- Taking a ferry to the islands from Athens is cheaper than flying but also time-consuming. A return ticket by ferry can be cheaper than a one-way flight. Tickets start from 30-40 euros one way. Check Blue Star Ferries
- Hotels are expensive. Check the BnB and major websites for any ongoing deals. Try to find one facing the sea on Caldera. There are plenty.
- English is fairly widely spoken and language should not be a problem.
- Greeks love cash transactions. Even if you have a card, keep some cash handy.
- Definitely, avoid the June- August peak season. Prices and crowds get crazier.
- Ver few beaches in Santorini have lifeguards. So you are pretty much on your own there.
- The famous Santorini treks can be quite arduous. So stock up on water and sunscreen before you leave.
- Island hopping is a great idea. But try and stick to a few. You will feel the fatigue sooner than you think.
- The shops have a fairly standard Siesta time. Usually 2-6pm. They do love their naps.
- Tap water on the islands is not fit for drinking unlike most places in Europe.
- Try to use the public transport- Buses. Driving on your own is not as relaxing as in Athens. It’s due to roads and the locals drive pretty Indian-style crazy.
- Try the Donkey rides. they are fun for everyone and also helpful climbing steep Calderas.
- For more hidden gems in the Cyclades, click here!
- And of course, your island thirst isn’t satiated, hop on a ferry to the Mykonos or Paros for more!
- Visa for Indians: As a part of the Schengen countries; you will need a pre-approved visa to get in. I used VFS global. Takes about a week.
What I Read: The Adventures of an English novelist on the island of Crete. The movie is great as well. Buy here..
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