White-washed houses atop rocky cliffs. Breathtaking sunsets. Endless blue seas that stretch forever. Santorini is indeed the perfect honeymoon destination. This was hands-down the highlight of our trip and it remains the most amazing travel experience to date we’ve had.
If you ever decide to go to Santorini, please do yourself a favour and spend at least four nights there. And splurge on your hotel.
Edwin and I are not the kind of travellers to spend on accommodation. When we travel Europe, we prefer to stay at Airbnbs as they are not only cheaper than hotels but we also get a local experience. In Santorini however, we paid more than 800 euros for four nights at Gizis Hotel, for a room overlooking the caldera, with a private outdoor hot tub. No regrets. (Tip: Book your hotel early as they tend to get full quickly in peak season!)
Gizis Hotel was a 15 minute walk to the nearest town, Imerovigli. We enjoyed the peace and privacy, though food options nearby were limited. If you happen to be in Imerovigli, check out Anogi or Avocado, where we had two of the best meals on the island.
To get around the island, we rented an ATV which cost us 23 euros a day, excluding petrol. We highly recommend the ATV if you are traveling as a couple – it’s easier to find parking, and way more fun than renting a car! To be honest, I was a little scared because diverting off the road would mean a fall of 300 metres down the cliff. But once past the stage of fear, I was literally screaming with excitement while poor Edwin had a hard time trying to calm me down. Of course, thanks to Edwin’s stellar driving skills (and my not-too-shabby navigation skills) we were alright 🙂
The smell of sea water greeted us as soon as we strolled down the path leading towards Ammoudi Bay. Crystal clear waters. Fisherman boats. Quaint seafood restaurants. Sun-dried octopuses hung on display. Donkeys lined up in a row waiting to transport tired tourists up to Oia (about 300 steps give or take). We explored the bay a little before settling on one of the four restaurants along the water. Unsurprisingly, the prices were steep. 4 grilled prawns for 19 euros! Definitely a tourist trap, though with the views, I guess you can’t complain.
Our next stop was Oia, the most beautiful and picturesque village in Santorini famous for it’s blue-domed churches, windmills, and spectacular sunsets. Oia is also the most expensive if you choose to book a hotel there. Its streets have plenty of tourist shops, taverns, cafes, and restaurants, though it is quieter than Fira, the main town.
I cannot begin to describe how beautiful Oia is. Every street and corner we turned overlooked gorgeous views. I guess photos speak louder than words.
Later that night, we took our ATV down to Fira for dinner and to watch the sunset. Fira is the heart of Santorini, bustling and vibrant with restaurants, bars and hotels. Amazing views, but we agreed that it was better to watch the sunset from our hotel without having to squeeze with the summer crowd.
We spent our third day on board the Thalassa – a semi-private sunset cruise which sailed about 55 people. We were picked up at our hotel at 1:30pm and dropped off at the old port of Fira where we boarded the cruise and departed to Nea Kameni, an active volcano which is one of the calderas that you can see from our hotel. The guide led us up to explore the rim of the volcanic crater (we did not hike all the way up to the top because my back was in pain, so we took pictures instead).
The ship then took us to a nearby hot spring, but wait, there’s a catch! To get there, you have to walk the plank (I mean, jump off the side of the ship) and swim about 50 metres in cold 21 degrees seawater. The swim was actually more enjoyable than the hot spring itself. Nothing special. Apart from a family of chickens running around.
In the meantime, we were given time to swim in the Aegean Sea while the crew onboard prepared a traditional greek barbecue buffet, which we gobbled down with a glass of complimentary wine.
As soon as the sun started to set, we departed to Oia, this time seeing it from a different angle, where we relished in the magic that unfolded in front of our eyes, serenaded with live saxophone music – truly an experience we will never forget.
Most of our last day in Santorini was spent in our hotel, enjoying the view and each other’s company. (Singaporean mentality is because we paid so much for it, might as well make good use of it, right?). When the golden hour arrived, we lay at our balcony watching the sun slowly engulf the sea, bringing an end to yet another perfect day in paradise.
“I am looking across the sea to the caldera, and the whitewashed houses over the cliffs of Oia so that I can remember this view long after I leave, and the sun burning my skin, and the wind across my face, and most of all this feeling, of being in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and having him next to me. I want to keep this feeling forever. In a few days all I have will be pictures. And a part of me will be left behind in them.”
Follow the rest of our Europe 2017 adventure:
|Day 1 – 2 / June 24 – 25||Athens: Greek Gods & Temple Rocks|
|Day 3 – 6 / June 26 – 30||Chasing Sunsets in Santorini|
|Day 7 – 8 / June 31 – July 1||Venice: A Modern Day Fairytale|
|Day 9 – 13 / July 2 – 6||Romancing Florence|
|Day 12 / July 5||Cinque Terre in One Day|
|Day 14 – 17 / July 8 – 11||Rome: The Eternal City|