Santorini, the world famous jewel of the Greek Islands, a top hitter on everyone's bucket list was one of my most highly anticipated European holidays. Typically any highly anticipated place easily disappoints in some way, shape of form, but there was definitely no disappointment at any point of time during our time in Santorini - the white washed cliffs were exactly as I imagined, the scenery beautiful in every way and everything was as if what I had imagined had just come to life, but even better than what I could have imagined! (Super cliche, I know but keep scrolling and you too will think the same!)
Morning sunrise walks around Oia are probably the best type of walks where you get to experience the magic of Oia before everyone really wakes up and the town is still on its last sleepy legs. I must admit I chose to sleep in the first day we got there, but when I saw Matt's photos from the first morning, I mustered up the will to go for a sunrise walk the next morning and those morning pastel hues were even more amazing in person than in photos (even post editing!)
The soft colours of the morning sun kind of made me feel like I never wanted the sun to fully rise to appreciate the gorgeous town of Oia without all the crowds, harsh sunlight and potentially over bearing heat you get in the middle of the day when the whole town is bustling.
During our time in Santorini we stayed at Santorini Secret (Gary Pepper Girl stayed here recently too!) where breakfast was served on our balcony at our choice of time and the food options seemed like they were endless and ranged from as indulgent (spot the chocolate croissants!) to as healthy as we felt. I thoroughly loved soaking up all the views of the Aegean while tucking into the delicious breakfasts every morning - if only every morning could start like this all the time!
There was a lot of down time during our trip to Santorini and rightly so with a hotel like Santorini Secret! It was a while after peak season (definitely recommend to go post August) so we never had to compete with anyone for pool time (albeit if the pool was a little cold upon entry).
After much lazing around the pool we decided to go on another stroll through Oia and spied on a few more blue domes in the town before heading back to the hotel to be picked up for our sunset cruise later that day.
One way to watch the world-famous sunset in Santorini is to book yourself a sunset cruise on a catamaran where you are in for unrivalled, unobstructed view of the sea, sunset & perhaps the odd other catamaran on the water! The route also passes the famous red beach of Santorini (more photos to come in Part II), and sails through beautiful calm water that is just all round stunning!
The cruise also stops on a swimming spot in the warm volcanic waters (note: wear swimmers that you don't mind getting slightly stained as the waters are known to stain!) Snorkels are provided on the catamarans if you so wish to do a bit of a snorkel while out in the water!
Dinner was also provided on the cruise (provided you don't get too seasick on the water!) and how better to enjoy a night than with a world famous sunset while enjoying some local Greek cuisine?
Think our breakfast the next day was a little less indulgent & a little less greedy - but well more than sufficient I say!
Infinity pools, the ocean, and white washed walls - it was seriously impossible for anyone to take a bad photograph when everywhere you look has vistas only found in postcards!
After we started off our day right with a healthy & hearty breakfast and a quick dip in the pool we set out on the Oia to Fira walk (or Fira to Oia, whichever way you prefer). It's roughly 9km, so depending on how many times you stop (we stopped what seemed like a million times to take so many photos along the way) will take you roughly 3 hours.
Along the walk you'll see that there are plenty of blue domes, churches and gorgeous door ways that are captivating on so many levels and I was passing through my imagination was constantly wondering who lived behind the cute little door ways and the stories each place had to tell!
One thing to note - if you do plan to do this walk, I'd recommend good walking shoes as it isn't a completely paved pathway and there were plenty of loose rocks around to be careful of.
The walk brings you on the rim of the caldera and passes through one of the other famous towns of Santorini - Imerovigili, and when you do pass this town you'll know you're nearly at Fira.
At the end of the walk from Oia to Fira the best way to reward yourself is to grab one of these gyros from Lucky's Soulvaki - easily the best gyros in town in our opinion! We both had the pork gyros and the man in the restaurant told us only the best quality meats are used, which explains the amazingly delicious taste of these gyros!
After we were done licking our lips & fingers of any remnants of our gyros we caught a bus back from Fira to Oia to catch the sunset from Oia. The buses may be slightly confusing with the crowds of people standing around so make sure you ask which bus goes to Oia and queue appropriately.
Sunset at Oia Castle is absolutely stunning and we definitely recommend it as a must do / must see while you're in Santorini. Nothing really beats watching the light change over the caldera & that postcard picture Santorini view. One for the bucket list! I personally enjoyed this sunset view better than the catamaran sunset cruise (only slightly though) since it provides both endless sunset views into the sea while also projecting that golden glow over the white washed cliffs of Oia.
The crowds pictured were only 1/10 of the amount of people around watching sunset, so if you don't want hoards of people in your photo at all angles, get there early to camp out - we brought some snacks to keep us company, but other than that, the views were enough to keep us entertained while we waited!
Dinner that night was at Roka for some cosy, traditional Greek fare. The streets in Oia are not always super obvious and Roka is situated in one of the back streets - so best to ask your hotel or pre-pin this place before you start heading over! Also, the sign looks more like "Poka" rather than "Roka", in case you walk right past it not realising it's what you're looking for (we may or may not have done this as well).
PS! There's more to Santorini than just gorgeous infinity pools, sunsets & the caldera pictured in the photos above. Stay tuned for Part II to see how to spend more than 48 Hours on this amazingly romantic Greek Island!
We Stayed: Santorini Secret; We Flew: Aegean Airlines & EasyJet