For those of you that follow me on Instagram you’ll know, (from my relentless holiday posting) that I have just returned from the beautiful Santorini. While it is universally acknowledged as one of the most Instagrammable places potentially ever, I can, from personal experience, definitely vouch for this and hand on heart say that it was one of the most amazing vacay’s I have been on. With this in mind, I thought it was only right that in addition to all of the content I shared with you, I gave you some further insight into the island – all of the do’s and dont’s, places to go and things to see.
WHERE TO GO
In Santorini there are three main places to go; Oia, Fira and Perissa – I have listed these in order of expense as I know, that before booking any trip, girls’ gotta’ know how much space she needs on her credit card before hitting the ‘book now’ button – I have no shame in admitting this.
Okay, so first up is Fira – I’m trying to avoid sounding too much like a travel company but apologies if I’m unsuccessful and sound like a Thomson rep’. Fira is on the west coast and is the capital of Santorini and as you can imagine, is overwhelmed by tourists, bloggers and anybody that is anyone – I guess as the capital, what do you expect? If like me, you can’t resist the buzz of the city and want to do some shopping, then this is somewhere you need to visit. When it comes to eating out, it is probably just a little bit more expensive than the UK and slightly above for drinks (cocktails in particular). We didn’t actually have time to go here properly for the evening, but we passed through on our way to Oia and to say it was a chaotic experience is an understatement but nonetheless it looked very intriguing and was so picturesque. If you want to travel around Santorini, this is the middleman for everywhere you go. There are apparently only 33 taxis within the whole of Santorini (for real) and they are super expensive so the main way to get around is bus – you can get anywhere from Fira.
Oia – this is the location to be when you visit Santorini. Click on your explore page on Instagram and you’ll always find an endless amount of photographs from this insanely beautiful place. Its’ small white houses tier the hillside and it helps that it sits just above the sea. Before we went to Santorini, visiting Oia was at the top of my to-do list – how could it not be? Because the buses are so chaotic and busy, we decided to book the trip instead of finding our own way there – this was 20 euros and was definitely worth every penny as it meant you had a reserved spot on the coach and weren’t going to end up stranded because of the buses being too full. For any influencer, Oia makes the perfect backdrop for content – its’ winding footpaths, minimalistic colour palette, exquisite restaurants, hidden chapels and magical sunsets – I was like a kid in a candy shop. Around every little corner there was something new to discover and I pretty much permanently had my phone in my hand capturing every moment because it was seriously that Instagram worthy. However, as you can imagine with one of the most sought after locations in the world comes an expected expense and I can definitely confirm this to be true. There are so many beautiful restaurants here that you really are spoilt for choice and after walking around for an hour, we ended up in Karma – an idyllic space tucked away from the main walkway. The decor is super quirky and the menu had a mix of everything – because I’m greedy we ended up ordering three main courses to share and all of them were amazing.
Perissa – this is where we stayed and it’s the seaside village in Santorini. If you are wanting more of a relaxed atmosphere and like to be near the ocean, then this is where you want to be staying. The great thing about Perissa is that it is much more affordable when it comes to hotels and everywhere (all of the must-have tourist spots) are easily reachable. Perissa beach is not only intriguing in it’s own right but it is surrounded by beautiful tavernas, restaurants and bars. I would say that from one side to the other it takes about half an hour to walk and unlike some other places, it’s such a lovely walk – even for those of us that are used to Ubering absolutely everywhere. In terms of our hotel, we stayed at the Meltemi Village Hotel and I can’t praise this enough – from the location, interior, cleanliness, pool, surroundings, staff – everything was immaculate. It has the biggest pool in Perissa which is already a bonus and when we arrived at the hotel (it was way past my bed time) we had actually been upgraded to the honeymoon suite which was an amazing surprise and just made the holiday that little bit more special. If you are looking for more of a cosy hotel that has lots of character and beautiful backdrops then I would certainly suggest staying here – it will 100% be somewhere I will return as often as I can.
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK IN PERISSA
I’m not usually the type of person that checks Trip Advisor for restaurants before actually visiting, but, because I was with my Mama (my new travel partner and photographer) this was inevitable and we had a very long list of all of the must-have places to eat and drink. As much as I gave her a hard time about this before we went, I will hand it to the woman, she took us to some amazing spots. To make it easy, I have put together a list of all of the ones you need to go to.
1). Apollon – Amazing for Greek mezé
2). Waves – Beautiful interior and salads (I had the halloumi one)
3). Noma – If you want gluten free pasta this is the place
4). Dorians Bar – Super cosy bar with €5 cocktails – cheapest on the island (strongly advise trying the Pina Colada)
5). Tranquilo – edgy bar where you can drink your cocktails in a hammock
6). The Magic Bus – Beautiful food and amazing service
7). Acropolis – One of the best Greek restuarants and lively atmospheres
8). Volcano – Live Greek music in the evenings
9). Yazz – Definitely the busiest bar by far – really relaxed vibe here
10). The Beach Bar – Simplistic, minimal vibes
One insight I really wanted to share were the sun loungers on Perissa beach – these are actually ten-fifteen euros for two with an umbrella – craziness. When you rock up you think they are for free but soon learn when the guys come practically running over to you that they are in fact, not – let’s be honest, nothing in life is free. However, don’t be fooled as the majority of the beds are actually owned by the bars and restaurants. Each restaurant own a specific space on the beach which then means that there are about a million different types and colours of sunbeds and beanbags – some are nicer than others. If you eat within a restaurant you can then ask that you use their sun loungers and umbrellas afterwards which ultimately is much more sensible as you would be spending the same amount just to hire the sun loungers as you would to buy yourself lunch – I know which I would choose. The only restaurant that we came across in which this didn’t apply was The Magic Bus – they wanted an additional 15 euros which I’m sure you can imagine we said no thanks to.
THINGS TO DO IN SANTORINI
1). Sunset in Oia -Definitely pre-book the bus for 20 euros (this is approx 45 mins from Perissa)
2). Fira – Just over 2 euros each way from Perissa
3). Caldera & The Hot Springs – Swim in the volcanic hot springs
4). Kamari Open Air Cinema – Short ride from Perissa and all films are new (they change the films every 3/4 days )
5). Santo Winery – 18 of the most beautiful wines, breathtaking sunset and of course, cheese
6). The Red Beach – A must-have location for those beach lovers
7). Perissa Beach – perfect for a chilled out day, swimming in the ocean and eating as much food as you possibly can
Out of all of the places I have been, Santorini definitely has my heart and I can’t believe this is the first time I have visited. Usually when I’m away, after a week I’m ready to go home, this wasn’t the case this time – I wanted at least another week. Despite it being a location for a relaxing vacay, there is also so much to do, see and explore. In terms of budget, by staying in Perissa, you can have a little bit more money to play around with and this is the best place to stay as everywhere is very easy to get to. A visit to Fira and Oia is a must-have and dependant on how much you want to spend, you can also add in some of the other tourist attractions. If you have contemplated going to Santorini, I would strongly advise you give it a go as you won’t regret it – trust me.