Santorini, a magical island in the Aegean Sea

When I say Santorini, I think of the white and blue colors. White, the color of small houses and hotels situated on the cliff above beautiful Aegean Sea and the blue, the color of the sea and clear Greek sky. Santorini is one of the islands you dream about all your life but never truly believe you’ll visit. It is an island associated with luxury, newly weds on their honeymoon, taking photos in front of white churches with blue rooftops or tanning next to turquoise swimming pools in their luxurious villas on cliff with wonderful view of the volcano and beautiful blue sea full of cruisers and boats.

Photo: Jovana Kostić

With that image in mind, I decided to spend my honeymoon in Santorini and make sure everything is just as people say it is. I live in Barcelona so it was easy to find a direct flight to Santorini because Vueling flies there from April to October. The only problem is that flights are at pretty inconvenient time so you arrive to Santorini around 3:30h in the morning. It can complicate your search for a hotel a bit as not all the hotels are 24 hours open so I decided to look for a hotel first and then buy the tickets. As I lately traveled a lot, I usually looked for apartments and hotels on Booking or Airbnb so this was a logical choice this time as well.
I realized soon it was really difficult to find a hotel which suits our budget and has everything we were looking for: to be clean, to look nice and to be available on our dates. Also, a very important thing when you are looking for a place to stay is to first decide if you want to stay in a hotel on the cliff or in a town on the beach.
The main town in Santorini is Fira, a town on the cliff, full of bars, restaurants, shops and tourists. If you are looking for a vibrant town, with night life and lots of people, Fira is a place for you. Other towns on the cliff is Firostefani which is next to Fira but accommodation is a bit cheaper, Imerovigli, which is much more calm and is ideal for couples on their honeymoon. There are not so many tourists and, in my opinion, it’s the best place to enjoy Santorini and the view of the cliff. Another very popular town on the cliff is Oia, which I personally don’t recommend because it is very crowded with tourists because of its famous sunset. Of course, you have to visit Oia because it is beautiful and also has an amazing view of the cliff and other towns. All these towns are situated on the cliff so they don’t have beaches, and the best option is to choose a hotel with a swimming pool as it is so hot in Santorini during the summer that you will need a place to cool down. If you want to stay in a place on the beach, choose Kamari or Perissa which have the best beaches on the island and are much cheaper than towns on the cliff.

Photo: Jovana Kostić

We wanted to stay in a place on the beach so we chose Kamari. It was an excellent choice. When you arrive to Kamari, you’ll know you have chosen the right place. The best of all was our hotel Argiris studios and its owner Tasos who was always ready to help us with everything we needed. We directly contacted him to book a room in his hotel which saved us 120€ compared to the price Booking offered for our dates so it was perfect for us.
The flight from Barcelona to Santorini lasts three hours and you arrive to the airport which looks more like a bus station than an airport and there are no benches to sit down and wait for the first bus at 5:55h which takes you to Fira. The price of the ticket is 1,80€. We didn’t know that buses take you only to Fira from each town so, if you want to go from the airport or one town to another, you have to go to Fira first and then change the bus.
There are 5 bus lines in Santorini: to Kamari, Perissa, Akrotiri, Oia and the port.
Kamari is, as I already said, a town with a black sand beach very relaxed and nice. The beach is full of bars and restaurants which offer sunbeds and parasols for free if you order something to drink. Prices are a bit higher than in Barcelona, for example Greek coffee costs 2,5€ and smoothies, milk shakes and juices can go up to 6€ or 7€.
Close to Kamari you can visit archeological site Thira from the 9th century BC.
As we are not really crazy about organized excursions, we decided to visit the island on our own and look for all the information we needed on the internet. That is a great option if you like to explore new places and you want to save some money as those excursions can cost from 20 to 50€ per person. The island is well connected by busses so you can get from one place to another in no time.
You can arrive to Fira from Kamari in about 20 minutes by bus. We decided to visit Fira, Imerovigli and Oia in a day by walking by the cliff from Fira to Imerovigli and then taking the bus from Imerovigli to Oia. As I already said, Fira is the first town on the cliff that will amaze you. I am sure there is some kind of special energy here, something that makes you forget about all the bad things and make you be positive and happy. Fira will enchant you with its beautiful view, life and noise. When you visit narrow streets of Fira, continue to walk by the cliff towards Imerovigli. When you arrive there, you’ll realize you are in a place out of this world. I don’t normally use the word magic but I used it so many times in Santorini. Peace, white and blue are words that best describe Imerovigli. There are not so many tourists here and town is full of white luxurious hotels with swimming pools which have views of the cliff, volcano and you will have impression that time has stopped while enjoying the view from the cliff.

Photo: Jovana Kostić

Sunset in Oia is very popular among tourists. Oia is a small town, very similar to Imerovigli, but very crowded with tourists which spoils a bit the feeling of tranquility and peace from Imerovigli. Oia is the town you can mostly find on postcards from Santorini, full of white churches with blue roofs. More you get closer to the sunset, people arrive, fill the streets, and start looking for the best spot to watch the sunset. If you want to be really romantic, there are boat excursions that take you to the sea to watch the sunset with a bottle of champagne. In case you didn’t know, Santorini used to be one island which was divided, after an eruption of the volcano in 1600 into three islands, the main island, the volcano and the island Thira. Santorini was the place where highly developed Minoan civilization evolved. As in Pompeii, after the eruption, the entire city was preserved under the lava and an interesting fact is that no human remains nor thing of value have been found on site which should mean people new about the eruption and left the island in time, and they probably moved to Crete. Nowadays, this ancient town is an archeological site Akrotiri and you can get there by bus from Fira. The entrance ticket costs 12€.

Photo: Jovana Kostić

Close to Akrotiri there are three very interesting beaches: red, white and black beach.
An important fact to know is that red beach is dangerous and it is forbidden to be on it although it doesn’t stop lots of tourists to sunbath and spend the entire day there. My recommendation is, if you want to see all three beaches, to take a small boat close to the bus stop which cost 5€ per person and which will take you to each beach. You can stay at any of the beach and then go back to the bus stop. Next to the black beach there is a cave you can swim through which I find very appealing. There is also a possibility to ride kayak. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to try that.
So, in sum first mary, if you plan to spend your honeymoon in Santorini, I think it is a perfect place. Beautiful view, sea, beaches and sun will make every moment special and romantic. In case you want to visit the island with your friends, it is ideal for that as well. Diving, kayak, hiking, shopping, night life, Santorini offers all that and, if you get the chance, visit it, you won’t regret it.

Photo: Jovana Kostić

 

 

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