Travel

3 Days in Santorini: A mini guide

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EJN goes to Santorini, Greece_0039

Don’t miss our video at the bottom!

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As you might know we went over to Greece to shoot a wedding last month!

It was a complete honour and surprise that someone found our work online and wanted to bring us to the other side of the world to take their pictures! It was a no brainer to accept (they had me at ‘remote Greek island!’) and we promptly planned a few extra adventures around it.

Starting with the iconic Greek island: Santorini.

When we first arrived we were surprised at how rural Santorini felt. There are quite a few crumbling buildings, stray animals and rubbish in the streets leading up to the prettier towns. There is definitely a sense of the crisis but it completely melts away when you hit the Caldera side of the island.

The streets look like they’ve just been scrubbed and the white walls are freshly painted for the busy summer season… and the views (oh the views!) are so wild and dramatic you will audibly gasp

One thing you’ll notice quickly are all the chinese tourists everywhere, a lot of them dressed up in wedding outfits (especially in Oia (pronounced”eea”)!

A trip to Santorini can be so many different things, and it is what you make of it. You can treat it as an island holiday in a fancy hotel, with a pool and a caldera view and do nothing but sip cocktails and catch a tan, or you can hire a quad bike, take the island by storm and see everything there is to see (which is what we did)!

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EJN goes to Santorini, Greece_0009

Day 1: Start your day around 9:30/10 (early on Greek time) and explore the south side of the island by bike from Fira to the lighthouse!

This is Pyrgos, the neighboring town of Fira. It’s a sweet, authentic village to explore and not as crazy as Oia.

Hike the cobbled steps to the top of the hill, peek into real Greek homes and have a well earned drink at the top. There are so many cute things to marvel at and photograph on the way up.

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Have an ice cream at the bottom and get back on your bike, onwards to Perissa beach.

There are a lot of places to stop on the way, we went up to the monastery which wasn’t that interesting but the view is awesome!

Dip your toes in the sea, and have a Gyro at one of the beach bars while everyone bakes in the sun.

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After Perissa beach, go onwards to Akrotiri, Red Beach and the light house. The views are beautiful!

By now you’re probably windswept and maybe a bit sun burnt so back to your hotel and have a much needed siesta before sunset and dinner.

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Watch the sunset in Imerovigli. It’s a little bit more charming and not as crowded as Oia (the famous sunset spot).

Find a nice hotel with a cocktail bar and savour each sip (because the cocktails work out to about R250 each! Yikes!), followed by dinner if you’re feeling fancy.

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We were wined and dined at the Grace hotel which had the most beautiful volcano view.

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If you’re confused about what the caldera view is… this is it!

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It doesn’t get more romantic than this!

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Day 2: Start early today and explore Oia before the cruise ships pull in! Count how many brides you see! (I’m sure I saw about 10!)

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After walking around have breakfast with a view!

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Spend an afternoon on a beach.

Santorini might not have the typical white beaches, but if you feel like tanning and cooling off in the med there are a few options.

There’s Perissa beach, which has black sand (you’ll see it in the video below!). I almost burnt my feet trying to walk on the sand. It’s quite commercial, but there are loads of beach bars and deck chairs with umbrellas if you’re keen for comfort.

We opted for a session on Red Beach which was really epic. We got there quite late in the afternoon and it was still boiling hot and not too busy.

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EJN goes to Santorini, Greece_0032

End your day watching another sunset.

If you’re driving around the south side of the island, you’ll see signs for “Unique Caldera View”, “Sunset spot”.

I really wouldn’t recommend going to this place! You’re paying for the sunset (which isn’t the best view), and you get a mojito that tastes like sugar water.

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Other activities you can do:

– Take a boat trip to hike the Volcano and swim in the hot springs

– Sunset boat trips

– Visit a wine farm

– Shop (I found the shops quite touristy but there were some interesting book shops and clothes shops in Oia).

We were in Santorini for 3 nights and 2.5 days, which I think is probably the minimum time you need to see this place. There was so much we didn’t get around to doing but I think we got a really good overview of the island.

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We made a video of our trip too which fills in a lot of the gaps of what we did and ate! Please let me know what you think.

EAT

We bought fresh fruit (cherries!), bread, nuts and other snacks for breakfast, and most of the time had a gyro for lunch (probably the cheapest, most delicious thing you’ll eat in Greece). For dinner find an authentic little taverna (they’re all over!). Mama’s house in Fira was great if you’re looking for traditional Greek food.

SLEEP

We stayed in Fira which is quite central to the island but if you want something a little more special and peaceful try Imerovigli.

MOVE

There are a lot of local buses that go to all the main towns and the ports which are really cheap, but we hired a quad bike so we had the freedom to go as we please which I highly recommend (you don’t need a bike license for this). You can also hire a car.. but you will need some sort of transport if you want to see the whole island.

Tip: Hire a quad bike from MotoManos in Fira. Ask for a powerful bike with a boot you can lock things away in. They’ll give you a map and directions and you’re good to go! (Normal prices were about 30 Euros per day for the big quads but you can negotiate this down if you’re taking it for a few days).

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    CityGirl
    July 31, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Absolutely gorgeous Emma!! Xx

    • Reply
      Angela Cloete
      September 1, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Hey! So beautiful. Using your guide in Santorini right now, great recommendations thank you! I’m a friend of Dan’s but love your blog.

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