As a kid, I was always curious about the mythological creatures and somewhat wanted to believe that, I, the Sagittarius have a centaur as a spirit animal. I used to believe the sacrifice of a virgin to a minotaur lounging in a labyrinth was real and up to now, I still, cherish those memories of me planning out what would be the best escape strategy if I ever get stuck in a labyrinth. Definitely one of the most beautiful countries in Europe and can even be a substitute for tropical destinations.
On this trip, I only had the chance to visit Santorini however, from speaking to the locals, the 76.19 km² island on the Aegean sea very much embodies the Greek culture.
Getting to Greece
I remember I was not really into Santorini until I saw a few Instagram photos showing the beauty of the island (and Rick Ross' clip praising the Greek gem). I was more interested to see Athens and was more acquainted with Mykonos than Santorini but I guess life works in mysterious ways. Norwegian happened to be advertising Santorini flights for less than £300 and before I knew it, I was on my way. Another cool thing with the flight was that we were only 3 on the whole flight - I almost felt I had my own jet. Anyway... It's only 4 hours away from London and just enough time to watch a movie and read a bit - Easy peasy!
Where to stay?
There is a plethora of options with amazing hotels all over the shop, certainly choosing one would be the toughest part of the trip, the AirBnB options are also quite impressive. I think the motto is "go as you please" but I will share a few pointers to ease your search.
For the privacy seekers, Erosantorini almost offers a whole property and staff at your disposal. Imagine a hotel carved into a rock, sitting on top of a hill overlooking the sea... That's Iconic Santorini. As traveling comes with hiccups, mine was that the initial hotel I booked had shut its doors just before I landed and I only realised when the taxi dropped me off in front of the gate of an unlit hotel. I almost spent the night on the streets but booking.com were kind enough to provide me with an alternative - That, right there, was not how I imagined my trip to start.
As I only remained in Santorini, Thira and Oia were my playing field on this trip. I also happen to accidentally time my trip perfectly as I went in October, which meant most hotels had loads of empty rooms, there is less demand for most activities and you know what it means... Everything becomes a lot cheaper than usual and you end up with a lot more choices than when at peak (June to mid-September). Things were so cheap I ended up renting both a buggy and a quad bike for a week.
There is still some confusion about whether Thira is in Santorini or it is Santorini itself also Thira but for the purpose of this article, we will side with those who believe Thira is in Santorini and it is the midlands of the island. - It is only 18 km long so almost everywhere is in the same place.
There are many hilly places that offer great views, let the explorer from within guide you.
There is also a street shop in the city centre where you can buy food, souvenir among other stuff. I even found a studio where I could rent a battery charger for €5.
Buggy/quad bike rental
I used the services of Santorini rentals to procure myself the toys I "needed" for the trip. The demand for machines was so low, I have changed the set I rented twice.
They also offer pick-up and drop-off, which can be handy if you need more than one vehicle or simply cannot be bothered for one reason or another.
Fee: I do not remember sadly but know the price guided my choice to rent 2 vehicles
This was my first time diving and it took only seconds to become one of my favourite activities. I used the services of Aegean Divers Santorini and was really well introduced to the world of diving. I went for the 2-dive option and we experienced 2 types of sealife sightseeing - I also had a major scare when my goggles were filled with water and I could not see nor properly breathe - It really was me overreacting and the instructor was so calm when he intervened and led me to get my acts together. Something that was used again in my subsequent dives - It's a training,with a lifetime benefit, you will not regret it.
I was alone in a foreign land and had nobody to be my "guardian" so I think I was safe...
Fee: € 65 for a dive and € 90 for 2 dives
If I was to describe Oia in one word, I would choose sunsets. I still believe photos do not do justice to how captivating the sunsets are from that village.
A passage into the Oia hill and also the best spot for seafood on the island, you just cannot miss seeing this place.
One of my luckiest shots still does not display what the eyes can see in there...
Santorini has been a very wowing trip and I just can't wait to go back to Greece and explore other islands (there a 6,000 of them!) and Athens to quench my curiosity thirst.
The photo below is my favourite from the trip and I think depicts the general mood on the island. I think the mayor should not worry about resuming tourism there...
Until next time...