If you have a desire to relax in Greece, and you still have not decided where exactly you would like to visit and what to see, then let me give you advice. Be sure to visit the island of Santorini (or Thira) - a relatively small island with a coastline of 70 km. The island is extraordinary beautiful, and many legends and fairy tales are connected with it. A guide will gladly tell you some of them. Santorini island is often called "Lost Atlantis" or "Pompeii of the Aegean Sea".
Santorini is the best place when traveling on a honeymoon trip or just for a romantic trip with a loved one, because an extraordinary atmosphere reigns here and as people say, love is in the air.
As soon as you are taken to the island, without having yet gone ashore, you will immediately notice the unusual mountain landscapes, among which there are small houses of snow-white color. The sea around the island has a very unusual dark blue hue, perhaps it looks like this in contrast, because the island itself looks like a kind of white spot between the blue sky and sea. There are truly unique beaches with different sands. Very unusual. There is red, white and black sand.
The Santorini archipelago itself consists of five islands:
1) The main island called Thira;
2) Aspronisi, there is no population;
3) Thirasia, very few inhabitants - about 200;
4) Palea Kameni;
5) Nea Kameni. This island is famous for its smoldering volcanoes, and excursions are regularly organized here.
Probably 95% of all people on a catamaran land on Santorini! You can imagine how many people are in the port at the same time! By the way, the port is small!
The hotels located on the island are quite unusual. They are small, family-run, very cozy. Take a note - living on the island is not a cheap pleasure.
It all began before our era. Then, due to geological shifts, the Aegean continent collapsed. And the volcano that remained there was constantly erupting and because of the solidified multilayer lava, the island took a rounded shape and was named Strongyli (round).
Somewhere in 1627 BC, the volcano woke up again, then it spewed lava in a wave height of 100 meters, which destroyed the northern coast of Crete and destroyed the settlements of the Minoan civilization. Strongila Island was destroyed, only a crescent was left of it, which has the same shape today in our time.
The volcano woke up constantly, until 1956, when there was a strong earthquake that killed 50 people. After that, many of the inhabitants of this island left and about 400 permanent residents remained on the island of Santorini. Now the volcano is in a dormant state and is one of the most visited excursion places. True, to walk on the volcano, you will have to pay a lot of money.
But it is not correct to speak of a separate volcano in the middle of the caldera. After all, the island itself is a prehistoric volcano (or rather, what is left of it). The catastrophic eruption of the volcano, followed by the explosion of its crater and underground regions, created a handful of islands. The largest of them - Fira and Thirassia - can be settled. And the exploded crater was swallowed up by the sea.
In the very center, a black spreading blot proudly sticks out: two islands - Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni. This is nothing more than the remnants of more modern eruptions that took place relatively recently (the last one was almost in the last century). On Palea Kameni, we went on an excursion to wander among the frozen outbursts of lava, slag, and ash and admire the craters of very recent eruptions.
Excursions don't carry to Nea Kameni, because the volcano is still active there. But they allow to swim in the place where hot underwater springs come out.
The capital of this pretty island is Fira. It is the largest city in Santorini. This town is located above Oia, the panoramic views from there are even better, the same beautiful city. Everything is blue and white, an incredible sight.
It is located high, and we climbed to it on the funicular, although I am pretty well afraid of heights. This city is right on the edge of an abyss, at an altitude of more than 250 m above sea level. At the foot of Fira there is an old port, from where boats and yachts depart for various excursions.
In architecture, it is very similar to Oia, but somewhat bigger, and here we met not only hotels and restaurants, but also boutiques, and jewelry stores, and many souvenir shops. On the main street overlooking the caldera, we saw a snow-white church and in front of it there was a stunning view of an island with a volcano from which steam or smoke emanates.
Ancient Fira is always full of people who want to explore this old beautiful city. People interested in the archeology especially like this city. Here you can see the oldest tombs, the oldest surviving relics, and buildings.
I didn’t like Fira; it’s too noisy. If you want to meet the sunset there, then meet it in the restaurant!
There is another city on the island; it is called Oia - a very unusual name for the city. The whole city is dominated by blue and white colors, so bright that sometimes it is impossible to look at the white in the sun. There are hotels everywhere, a lot with swimming pools and a private area, to which the entry is prohibited.
The atmosphere here is also incredibly romantic, the hotels are miniature, they are called "boutique hotels".
Flowers grow there everywhere, and fit perfectly into the architecture of the houses. You walk past such small gardens and just enjoy the surrounding atmosphere.
It's like artificial, painted ... this white city of Oia. it's insanely beautiful! Watch the sunsets in Oia, they are much more beautiful than in Fira (the center of the island).
The city itself is very beautiful. In fact, it is located on the side of a mountain, because of this location, the views are just crazy.
Oh, the sun in Santorini, it burns, have time to inspect Oia before noon. I forgot to add sunscreen on my face, and although I was wearing a cap almost all the time, except when possed for the camera, the face was burnt. Even the dogs are hiding from the sweltering heat!
There are a lot of people day and evening. The streets are small. Constant traffic jams because of this. Many souvenir shops and jewelers. There are mini markets. It is very hot during the day. Stock up on water. A headdress is highly desirable.
In Oia, there is practically no place to swim in the sea. The banks are all rocky and steep. If you still need a beach holiday, you will have to choose a hotel elsewhere.
On the island is a large number of churches, both Orthodox and Catholic. Most of them are also bright white, and a bright blue or blue dome rises high, smoothly passing into the sky.
At the highest point of the island of Santorini is the Monastery of Elijah the Prophet, known to local connoisseurs, located at an altitude of 560 m above sea level. As surprising as it may sound, some even manage to see the island of Crete from here, which is located quite far from Santorini. The locals are very sensitive to this attraction and cherish it like the apple of their eye, but today there are very few monks living there and the guides do not make a separate emphasis on this.
There is a place on the island where, as it seems, repairs never stop - this is the Ancient City of Akrotiri. A unique archaeological site located in the southern part of the island. Once upon a time, the remains of an ancient city were discovered here, since then the inhabitants have not stopped making more and more discoveries on this part of the island.
But still, for beach lovers, there are also all the possibilities here. The sea is simply magical and various water activities are presented on the shore. Paradise for everyone in Santorini!
If you want o look at the volcano, you can sail on an old yacht to the island of Nea Kameni, and the landscapes of the volcano are similar to the landscapes of another planet. The most courageous can approach the vent itself, but it is imperative to wear shoes with very thick soles, since the soil is very hot, because in the depths the volcano is still sleeping.
Now another equally important and most importantly beautiful attraction is the blue blue clear sea with beaches of DIFFERENT COLORS !!! Yes, yes, there is a black beach and a red one. Black Beach is beaches made of lava sand and volcanic pumice, or as they say, volcanic sand. And walking on such a beach barefoot is no less useful than pleasant. The sensations are amazing, and even the volcanic pumice is doing its job - that is, a peeling for your legs. And the water is not only blue, it is very clean, even transparent. Not a beach, but a fairy tale.
Black sand beaches on the Santorini island are located outside of the island, and inside is only a rocky cliff. Everywhere near the beach, people are offered to rent various equipment for water sports, as well as just for entertainment.
Another is wine making. Wines are very, very much produced on the island of Santorini, and not only industrially, but also by the locals themselves. therefore, you can buy wine both in simple and elite shops and from ordinary inhabitants of the island who produce wine at home.
Now about the vegetation. Trees of stunning beauty and they are located almost everywhere, very bright and beautiful trees that attract attention.
Observation platforms. There are many of them, from them you can look at the city from a high, for example, the city of Fira, the capital of the island of Santorini. They serve also for the look at the sea, but the sunset on the island of Santorini is generally a separate topic.
Indescribable beauty. But the islanders benefit too. They sell places to watch the sunset!!! Therefore, it is worth seeing and it is worth taking a place early in the front rows, since there are a lot of people who want to and behind a large number of people you will not see all the beauty, but only a large number of backs.
Sunset on the island of Santorini is met by a lot of people and, as the tradition has already developed, they are greeted with applause, as the spectacle is mesmerizing. And then the lights are still lit in the houses and ... it is such a beauty.
There are many souvenir shops and shops on the island! Most of the products are handmade, and their price is appropriate. We paid 5 euros for a handmade magnet, but it is amazingly made, and I hope made with love.
Many companies in the port will try to hand over the car to you! Don't rent a car from the first person you meet! The farther the office of the company is from the place where the ships dock, the cheaper the prices!
In the very first office, we were offered a 'killed' car for 60 euros per day! And good cars fly away like hotcakes. After walking, wandering ... we found a little Citroen with an open top, like convertible! Of course, it is not very powerful, but for Santorini was enough good.
You can also rent motorbikes, ATVs, and baggy (a powerful beast), but Santorini is like a hot frying pan ... not a cloud in the sky, and only the wind blows mercilessly from all sides! Therefore, I am for convenience, safety and air conditioning.
There can be problems with transport. You can stuck in traffic jams on the road that runs through the entire island (especially after the nightly "seeing sunsets" in Oia). And the saddest thing is that the sea can be stormy, and speedboats on air wings to Crete can completely be canceled.
Accommodation in Santorini is of different price categories, so I had to compromise with my wallet. It is most expensive to settle in the capital of the island of Fira and at the extreme western point, in the city of Oia. The fact is that the most beautiful views, which have become the hallmark of this island, open from a high cliff above the caldera. Snow-white towns are attached to the steep slope above the sea, which are difficult to confuse with anything.
If you stay in Firostefani or Imerovigli (this is the highest point of the island), the price of hotels will be lower. If the hotel does not have a pool, the price is even lower (land in these parts is an expensive pleasure). You can also save money if you stay in a room without a view of the caldera, but slightly in the backyard.
And on the opposite side of the island, where the terrain is flatter, housing is completely affordable. The famous colorful beaches will also be on the same side. So who has what priorities.
There are no problems with food on the island: traditional taverns are found in all tourist towns. Tomatoes, capers, and grapes are grown here, the rest is imported, including fish. Santorini has many colorful doors, often they lead to some cozy restaurant.
And after the trip, I realized one thing, if you come to Santorini once - you want to live in a luxury hotel! Therefore, order everything in advance!
in Santorini we moored on a high-speed catamaran. Our high-speed catamaran went from Heraklion (a little over 2 hours on the way).
On the first day in Santorini we visited Perissa black sand beach ... a beach with black volcanic sand! Here is my opinion, I was not happy at all! A bunch of sun loungers, everything is set back to back ... they charge you 5 euros for a sun lounger! You can go further and lie down for FREE on the glorified volcanic sand!
After the beach we went to the Gavalas George winery! Grapes grow very interesting in Santorini, they are undersized and literally weaves on the ground!
We bought dry white wine! This is an indescribable taste and aroma! Funny, but I got drunk from it. It's perfect for a gift! The blue bottle gives the Santorini ambiance! Evening, wine, sunset at the hotel ... very romantic.
The next morning we went to look around the town of Oia. We left hotel at 8 am in order to avoid the tourist crush! Otherwise, you will stand in line for 10 minutes to take a picture everywhere. The first ferries arrive at Santorini around 10 am.
Returning from our wanderings in Oia, we stopped at another winery, Santo wines winery. Wines are more expensive there; you will pay at least 20 euros for a bottle! There is a museum at the winery, where you can see how it all began. The winery offers a stunning view of the road from the port!
We were even lucky to see two weddings! Honestly, I can't even imagine how much it costs to have a wedding here!
Breakfasts at the hotel: they are cool, Greek yogurt, Nutella, fruits, fresh juice and many other yummy things. We only took breakfast, because during the day we did not spend time at the hotel!
You to take an excursion on a yacht. It is desirable for those with a maximum of twelve people. You can swim and take beautiful photos of the island. The excursion turned out to be international, but very sincere.
Santorini in Greece - the most romantic and beautiful island that you need to visit at least once in your life. Walking around the town of Oia, you forget about the time ... you find yourself being in a beautiful fairy tale. People congestion forms in the most beautiful places.
Santorini is a stunning and quirky island, not cheap of course! But if it were cheap, then the people would come by masses here ... and the small island would not stand it.
In general, the island of Santorini lives only on tourism, so everything here costs decent money. Even to look at the stunningly beautiful sea while eating in a restaurant will have to pay much more than in a restaurant (even with the best cuisine), but which does not have a view of the sea.
In general, the sea can be viewed from almost anywhere on the island, since it has the shape of a crescent. And yet the most beautiful thing is the architecture. The stunning houses that are everywhere and the white churches with blue roofs are something.
But there is almost never peace on this island !!! There are always huge crowds of tourists here, therefore, in order to even take a picture at a certain place you like, you need to stand in line. Yes, and for the residents, too, it is restless. After all, there are no specific roads for tourists, here everyone passes through the terraces of houses. Also, here you cannot turn left or right, you can only go up or down.
The island of Santorini is a real fairy tale, everything is so beautiful that, probably, going through all the epithets, you will never express all the beauty of this island!
In general, having visited the island of Santorini, you will get emotions for a lifetime and pleasant memories, of course! And, of course, you will constantly want to return there.
So my advice is that everything on the island of Santorini is simply FANTASTICALLY beautiful !!!