Santorini Escapades – Guide to Santorini

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HELLOOOOO!

I’m back from Greece and let me tell you it was DA BEST TRIP EVERRR! Gab and I travelled with 3 other friends to Athens and Santorini, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The food was fantastic, the sights were breathtaking and the company was of course amazing.

I decided to write a mini guide to Santorini so if you’re interested, definitely read on!

Travelling there

There are two options – ferry or plane, and I managed to take both.

We took the 725 ferry and landed in Santorini only at 3 in the afternoon. Yes that’s right, it’s a 7 hour ferry ride! We booked tickets for Blue Star Ferries. The boat is quite big and the ferry ride was pretty smooth-sailing with minimal bumpiness. The ferry stops at many other island, Santorini was the fifth stop or so which is probably why the ferry ride took so long.

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The view of the harbour from the ferry in the morning

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Took a picture at one of the port stops – every island looks so beautiful!

Our tickets cost 37.5 euros per person. We decided against the 45 minutes flight from Athens to Santorini because it was at least twice the price. However, we managed to find a Ryanair flight back from Santorini to Athens for the same price as the ferry so we took the plane back to Athens!

Obviously the plane option gives you more time to explore the island/Athens, but the ferry is an experience in itself plus you get to see what the other islands look like. If you’re on the ferry, bring loads of snacks and probably download a movie or two into your phone to while the time away.

Transport in Santorini

If you’re planning to go to Santorini, I would recommend renting a car as the island is pretty small and you can easily reach your destination within 30 minutes. As far as I can see from my experience, the bus stops are few and you definitely still need to walk some time before you reach your actual destination. We rented our car online for about 93 euros including the damage waiver fees. Someone will be waiting for you at your arrival destination with the car. As a tip, remember to get a SIM card for 3G if not it’ll be hard to find your way without an accurate GPS!

Additional tips

The Greek people we met on Santorini were all very very friendly and polite people. I would like to say they’re very ri qing (heartwarming/compassionate) but don’t ever interrupt them! Let them finish speaking before you bombard them with questions. Us being typical Singaporeans, we like to cut to the chase but we found that they get pretty upset when they’re interrupted mid-sentence. Otherwise, their English is pretty good and they’re always willing to go the extra mile and help you out! It was pretty safe travelling in Santorini as well.

Things to do in Santorini

Without further ado, there are my top ten must-dos in Santorini!

(in no particular order)

1. Stay at a cave house

One of the many reasons why Santorini is so unique is their traditional cave houses that are carved inside of volcanic earth. They are also bio-climatic and are able to keep indoor temperatures stable. So staying at one of these is definitely a must-do in Santorini!

I stayed at Alexandra’s Cave House for the duration of my trip. I saw it on Airbnb and I couldn’t resist booking it, it looked so beautiful! It’s their family’s summer house, so that’s why it’s so gorgeous and clean and cozy. We also received complimentary wine, water, pasta and bread! It’s located in the centre of the island at Vonthonas, which is perfect for travelling around the island and very near the airport/port. Absolutely no complaints whatsoever. I’ve already linked it here, you can thank me later (;

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 Beautiful outdoor garden

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Living area

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Our cozy room for the trip

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Kitchen

We paid about $30 SGD per person per night. It’s a little costlier than I would have preferred but I think we all agreed that it was well worth the price!

2. Sunbathe at Kamari beach

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Kamari beach is one of the “black beaches” of Santorini because of its black sand and pebbles.  It is perfect for an afternoon of sunbathing and frolicking on the beach. There are several restaurants and shops in the area, and a bus terminal about twenty to fifteen minutes walk from the beach. It’s only ten minutes away from our accommodation and there is a parking space right next to the beach, which is pretty convenient!

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Also a great place to do some partner yoga :p 

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Sunbathing in my 5 euro bikini. Primark is awesome.

Didn’t have space for beach towels in my luggage so we used the ones provided by our accommodation. The beach was so clean that our white towels weren’t dirtied at all when we packed up!

3. See the ruins of Akrotiri

Ancient Akrotiri is an ancient Greek town that got buried under volcanic ash and then after excavation has been preserved in a special bio-climatic shelter.

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Ancient Akrotiri

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Do re mi fa, soh is the photographer

It was pretty cool because you got to walk among the ruins and be really up close and personal to the site. All of us got *FREE* entry because we showed our EURAMUS card along with our Lund University ID. Attractions in Santorini and Athens are usually reduced or free for students, so be sure to bring along your student IDs! If you’re not a student, the entry fee is 4 euros.

As a tip, park right at the edge of the road at Red Beach instead of in the parking lot, because the parking fee is 3 euros when you can park for free like one minute drive down the road…

4. Eat seafood at Red Beach

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Red Beach Santorini

We ate at Melina’s Tavern (the one with the special dish of the day sign), one of the seaside restaurants along the red beach stretch. This is perfect after a morning of viewing ruins at the Ancient Akrotiri, as the red beach is only a mere five minutes walk away from the entrance of the attraction.

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Grilled seafood for 2

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Special of the day

Our delicious seafood lunches! I was told by our host that you can find fresh and delicious seafood anywhere in Santorini, it doesn’t really matter where you eat!

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The gorgeous view from our table

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 Dining with the ocean so close to us

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You can walk along the beach and spam photos after lunch. Everywhere in Santorini is photo-worthy! If you’re interested, there’s also a canoeing area right down the beach, we saw people canoeing while having lunch.

Red beach is named after the red cliffs along the coastline (there’s also a white beach as well). It is probably one of the most underrated beaches in Santorini! I didn’t even include it in our initial itinerary because it didn’t come up during my search online! The red beach is very quiet and pretty secluded. A definite must-go to enjoy the beach view in peace.

5. Catch the sunset

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The most famous place to catch the sunset is at Oia (prounounced E-ea) so be sure to check that out. We went there on the first day and there were a lot of people standing there waiting for the sun to set too. You can definitely eat at the rooftop cafes and restaurants but they are pretty costly. If you’re here, be prepared for everyone to rush back with you the moment the sun is down (there’s nothing much to do here at night because it’s a pretty traditional area).

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Beautiful sunset at Oia

If you’re not planning to head to Oia, you can also catch the sunset at the main town Fira. There will definitely be less people blocking your shots and it’ll be a much more peaceful and serene experience!

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A perfect spot to view the sunset here would be right behind the Bell Tower of the Orthodox Church (you can go up for a great view but it was closed when we visited).

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You get to see the view of Fira too!

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All the sunset photos are not edited in any way, so you can see just how breathtaking it is!!

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 Be sure to google for the sunset times so that you can be there early!

6. Visit a winery

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We visited the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum that was just five minutes’ drive away from our accommodation. The visit was a hefty 8 euros/pax but it is inclusive of a free audio guide and four wines for the wine tasting. I picked it out of all the wineries in Santorini as the museum boasted an underground tunnel that was over 30 metres long.

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The entrance to the museum

The underground tunnel was pretty chilly, which was refreshing because the weather was pretty warm outside! Don’t know how the rest can stand it, they all dressed as if we were still in Lund… The museum visit was pretty average, I looked forward to the wine tasting more (and wasn’t disappointed). We tasted four wines – one white, one red and two sweet wines. All of us preferred the sweet wines as it didn’t have the bitter after taste whites and reds usually have. First time drinking sweet wine and I loved it! Maybe I will learn to appreciate wines more when I age LOL.

7. Buy some Santorini wine

If there’s something you ought to bring back from Santorini beside memories, why not try some wine?

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Kamaritis is a sweet wine brewed and sold exclusively by Koutsoyannopoulos at the winery itself, and you can’t find it anywhere else so I was glad I chose this place. All of us tried it and loved it! A downside is that the smallest bottle is 200 ML so you can’t bring it as a carry-on. If you’re checking in your luggage though, definitely purchase this as it’s more unique compared to the latter one below.

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All of us ended up getting a 100 ML of Visanto wine for 11 euros, the sweet wine that Santorini is famed for. Obviously it tastes really good as well, but it’s not exclusive like Kamaritis. This wine can be purchased at tourist stores in Fira, and I’m sure the airport sells them too.

8. Eat some Greek yoghurt

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What’s going to Greece without eating some Greek yoghurt? Tried this along the streets of Fira and it was surprisingly sweet! We picked the plain and strawberry flavoured yoghurt along with strawberries, biscuit crumbs, greek cherries and greek grapes and toppings. This cost only €3 euros. We sat on the cushions provided by the nice boss and it was just as good as eating ice cream on a chilly day.

9. Eat at Souvlakipita Gyro

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 Souvlakipita Gyro was recommended by our host Andreas and when we went there it was super crowded! If you don’t already know by now, gyros are is a traditional Greek dish – basically grilled meat with vegetables and fries wrapped in pita. Can you say delicious?!

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 I ordered a chicken gyro that turned out to be very satisfying. The vegetables were really fresh and the meat was grilled to perfection! *yums*

 Gyros here cost about €2.50 on average, and cost more or less depending on the location of the shop and the variety of the gyro. Needless to say, the more touristy the area, the more expensive it is. Souvlakipita is located at Fira, where you can also do some exploring and shopping in the area for some souvenirs. Fira is pretty lively at night, and shops are open till late on Sunday as well.

 10. Interact with the Santorini animals

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Cute dog we saw when we parked our car at Oia

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 Donkeys!!!

We saw a donkey outside our house and the kind uncle stopped and let us take pictures of it. My friend took loads of selfies with the various animals we met during our trip. When we were at Kamari beach, a dog and his pup even came up to us and sat beside us!! The animals here are way too cute!! I was quite scared so I didn’t dare to take any selfies or go near the animals. 😡 But definitely make sighting the donkeys / riding them a must-do! Warning first, they’re quite smelly LOL.

That’s my list, and if you’re travelling to Santorini, I know you’ll have a fabulous time.

XOXO,
HuiMin

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4 comments

  1. dayinmydreams · May 21, 2015

    what a gorgeous place! and beautiful photography… makes me want vacation
    http://dayinmydreams.com/

    Like

  2. avibrantday · June 26, 2015

    Black sand and cave houses? Sign me up! Your photos are beautiful!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 10 Travel Tips for Exchange |

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