After a short flight from Athens we arrived in Santorini. Our journey from the airport Fira left us quite uninspired, but perhaps when I think about it no where around an airport is inspiring. As we were too early to check into our hotel we stopped to have a look around Fira (Thira) and have some breakfast. It was immediately noticeable how expensive things were, also how many tourists were still around, and this was supposedly getting to the end of the tourist season. After breakfast it was time to explore the myriad of small cobbled streets of Fira. Lots of shops and restaurants and pristine white painted houses and hotels, with magnificent views of the Caldera (bay) great for photography.
One thing to take note of is that Sanorini is probably the jewel in the Greek islands crown attracting so many tourists, with many flights arriving daily (we counted four flights when we were at the airport between 5am and 8am) along with the three to four cruise ships ariving daily depositing up to 10,000 visitors per day, so you can imagine it’s gets extremely busy. Add this to the constant stream of large coaches ferrying all these people around, it was not as idyllic as we imagined. All that said it is a stunning island with its pristine white painted towns and blue topped churches, cobbled streets and stunning views, but all this comes at a price. A simple gyros (chicken kebab) with a small side salad and a bottle of water for two was €25 and with no view. If you want the view expect to pay more, example coffee €3 to €5 euro’s beer €4.5 to 7 euro’s, and a bottle of not particularly great wine between €18 to €35. In fact the whole island is in my opinion, at times extortionate. Our first full day we visited the main town called Oia (prounouced ee-ah) which is the one you will see in all the images you find on Google of Santorini. We thought things were expensive in Fira but they were even higher here, but it is beautiful and this is why it is such a draw. Another thing that Oia is famed for is its world famous sunset, it attracts, as we found out the majority of the islands tourists in the evening. With lines of coaches, cars and ATV’s (Rental Quad bikes) arriving in there droves it gets very manic. We battled our way through the crowds to find a spot with a view and luckily found a bar which was relatively empty, it was probably to do with the price of a bottle of beer €7, and watched the sun go down which after all that quite frankly was not as magnificent as I expected. I have been fortunate enough to see some stunning sunsets around the world, but I’m sorry to say this was not one of them, but at least I can strike this one off my to do list.
Places to visit & Top Tips
Oia, is the main attraction and town on the island, but get there early before the coaches arrive from the cruise ships. Rent a car, suggest arranging one online before you go to get the best deal. We booked with Santorini Easy, we had a nice car, were met at airport. Dropped off the car at the port where we were getting the ferry to Naxos. Four days cost €115 all in, some of the companies around town were qouting €35 per day.
Perissa and Kamari which are both coastal resorts are worth a visit, Kamari being the much nicer in my opinion. Also visit the small villages of Megalochori and Pyrgos which are really picturesque.