We visited Santorini back in 2013. It was the most incredible place to visit. It is still one of my favourites and I can’t wait to go back in 2017 with the kids! You can read about Why you should still visit Santorini, even during the Greek Crisis here.
I found Blu Rooms in Akrotiri. This was the best accommodation I’ve discovered so far. It cost us €280 for four nights including breakfast. Breakfast was brilliant, the view’s were perfect.
We had a balcony from our bedroom, and did I mention the view. We woke up to views of the caldera, and the gorgeous blue ocean.
The thing that set this place apart from everywhere I’ve ever stayed was the family. Nastassa and her family welcomed us and we spent a lot of time chatting. This is one place we felt like home. I told Nastassa I wanted to return and bring my children, and it’s in the plans. Our family plans to return to Santorini and the Blu Rooms in 2017.
The only con of this place might be the location. If you are the kind of person who wants to be amongst it, or if you need to be out partying, this probably doesn’t suit you so much. Our solution was hiring a car, you can also hire a quad bike. We liked this side of the island, it’s close to the beaches, the food was much cheaper than Fira and Oia. It was a perfect family location.
We didn’t make time for sailing around the caldera, and we were pushing our budget at that point in our trip. We’ll definitely do that next time though.
We did however get up nice and early one morning for the walk / hike from Fira to Oia. It takes about 4 or 5 hours, and it is absolutely worth the effort.
If you walk this in the heat of summer, I’d recommend you follow our tip and start early (6 or 7am). We were finishing up in Oia about 10.30am and we were hot, the sun was rising and getting hotter by the minute. We were ready for a drink. Some crazy people were just starting out, heading straight into the sun. I think they were nuts and I hope they weren’t planning to walk all the way to Fira.
My other tip if you do this walk, is leave out Skaros Rock. If you really need to do it, put aside an hour or so and so it another day.
It was a mission… Down a thousand steps, only to go up a thousand more (ok, probably not actually a thousand, but to me it felt like a thousand). At the end of the rock we found a church hiding that you can’t (easily) get to.
We took some photos. Then we were back down and back up those steps again. I would skip this part if I did it again!
I’m a beach lover. If I am on an island, or near water, I will go to the ocean!
We tried out Perissa beach and I enjoyed ice-cream sundaes while Rimaha drank his beer and played the guitar.
We also found Red Beach. It looks like a challenge to get to, but the water is beautiful.
The people we met in 2013 were amazing. From Nastassa and her family to the guy who rented us a car, and the taxi drivers. We found everyone friendly, with a sense of humour we loved. The people were genuine, and told us how much they appreciated us visiting and spending our money there, they told us to recommend their country, they told us they need us travellers.
The people make this place special. You can drive around this place and find little homes that double as a restaurant. We tried one place, we were in the middle of nowhere. It was really random, and the lady gave us free dessert made of carrot. These are the experiences that make your trip special.
I’m throwing this in as a useful tip. Our ride (organised by our car rental guy) to the ferry in Santorini did a “no show”, he was supposed to be catching the same ferry as us. He was going to pick us up. We were admiring the view from the dining room at the Blu Rooms, and noticed our ferry coming into the harbour. It was quite a panic, but our hosts sorted everything for us.
Another ride arrived soon enough, but it an on edge, by the skin of our teeth adventure. We were at the top of the cliff watching our ferry pull into the harbour. My hopeful thought train started, “well, it’s only just arrived. They still need to tie up and let the people off.” Then when the arriving passengers were off the ferry in less than two minutes it became, “oh, bugger, that was way faster than I expected, but they still have to get all those people on.” At this point we were about mid way, zig zagging down the cliff side.
At the three quarter mark, everyone was on board. I was freaking out. We pulled up, Rimaha said “RUN”, so I did, with only the guitar and carry on stuff. He ran, just as quick, with both our backpacks. As we approached the wharf, the ropes were thrown off the ferry and it began to pull away.
Behind us another group ran… I sank to my knees, thinking “oh crap. It’s gone. It’s not coming back.” Fortunately, the crowd of Aussies following us also needed the same boat. Their story was even worse than ours. They’d been at the ferry terminal an hour, watching and waiting for “their ferry” to go. Turns out, they were watching the wrong one!
Anyway, it all turned out ok. We begged the guy on the wharf to radio the captain, which he did. And the boat reversed back for us. It was a bit shame being “those late people” when we were finally on board. But hey, we got our boat. So if you are going on a ferry, get there early. Don’t rely on someone else who plans on catching the same boat. Just be early. And make sure the boat you are looking at is actually your boat!
Enjoy your Greek holidays – I wish I was there. Instead I’m here in Aussie freezing my butt off!
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