Blue skies, endless oceans, blissful sunshine and bright white buildings. Santorini is the most magical of places. We arrived just as the sun was rising over Fira, giving us the perfect chance to discover the city without any tourists around.
After about twenty minutes wandering around excitedly taking photos, we realised that nothing was open until 10am. It was 7am.
With three hours to kill until breakfast, and six hours left until we could check into our villa, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to walk to Oia, which is at other end of the island. I had heard that it was a really pretty walk and thought I had read that it was only 45 minutes away. We set off eagerly, admiring the views of the caldera and the glittering ocean beneath us. What we didn’t realise is that Oia is actually 11 kilometres away, and it is less of a walk, more of a hike. It started off with a nice stone path luring you along the oceanfront, and all of a sudden it changed to gravelly sand, ash paths and volcanic rocks. It was then that we realised it wasn’t as easy or as close as it first seemed. Nevertheless, we persevered up and down the numerous hills and along the spine of the mountain, driven on by sheer determination (and the fact we didn’t really know where we were or how we would get back, even if we wanted to turn around).
Two and half hours later we made it to Oia. (Apparently in quite a good time – travel guides recommend at least three hours!)
We spent the rest of the day reading, relaxing by the pool, and enjoying the sunshine and view, before heading off for a delightful dinner in Fira.
On Sunday afternoon, we took a catamaran around the island to see the sights and watch the sunset. We swum in the hot springs by the caldera, had a delicious Greek bbq dinner cooked by the chef onboard and were spoiled with one of the most magnificent sunsets I have seen. We topped the night off with a delicious chocolate and strawberry crepe and a late night stroll through the main town. Pure bliss!
We woke up on Monday to clear skies and sunshine (after it being a bit cloudy and windy on Sunday). To make the most of the beautiful weather, we rented a quad bike to drive around the island. I would definitely recommend doing this because it is pretty cheap and is a much more efficient way to get around instead of relying on walking, buses or taxis. We followed the winding paths to Oia to explore a little more. Oia is a bit more touristy than Fira but the views are just incredible. For lunch, we made our way down the exceptionally steep path to Ammoudi Bay for a waterfront seafood feast. We started off with some octopus and stuffed mini aubergines before trying our best to finish the fish platter we had ordered – a 1kg selection of whatever fish they had caught that morning. The fish had been lightly barbecued and flavoured only with lemon and a teeny bit of oil. Boy, oh boy was this fresh! With our bellies’ full, we made the trek back up to Oia to do a little more shopping. After stopping off home to relax in the sun and digest our lunch, we drove back to Oia and managed to find a great spot (that served crepes, yum!) to watch the famous sunset before having a romantic dinner on the rooftop of Ambrosia.
We spent most of our final morning just sitting at our favourite lookout (below), taking in the view. So serene! We had been looking forward to our trip to Santorini for so long and it didn’t disappoint. It’s such a beautiful, relaxed place – one that I definitely want to return to as soon as I can.
© 2014 Fiona Tregeagle.