Santorini ~ Paradise on Earth!

Dramatic views, towering cliffs, stunning sunsets, inky waters and whitewashed villages – a trip to Santorini is something everyone must experience at least once in their lifetime! 🙂

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know how much I wanted to visit Santorini. I had randomly written a blog post about my Bucket List in 2013 and little did I know, just a few years from then, my dream of seeing Santorini would actually materialize! 😀

To be quite honest, the places I had mentioned on my bucket list seemed quite far fetched to me (at least back then). But then, that’s the whole point of a bucket list, is it not? 😀 It should be a list of places that seem out of reach but still somehow achievable (if that makes sense! 😛 ).

2017 was an incredible year and I was lucky enough to strike off 5 major places from my virtual bucket list (and a few more from my mental bucket list 😉 ). I knew I would see places like Paris and may be even Italy in my lifetime, but Greece and particularly Santorini was purely a dream destination and I was happy to dream about it from the comfort of my couch! 😀 But god truly works in mysterious ways and the thrill & happiness you feel while experiencing your dream destinations in reality is absolutely indescribable! 🙂

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After boarding a fairly tiny flight from Mykonos and having a slightly inconvenient layover in Athens, we finally landed in the stunning island of SANTORINI! 😀

Santorini is a group of islands that came into existence as a result of intensive volcanic activity. The whole complex of Santorini islands is still an active volcano (same as Méthana, Mílos and Nísiros) and probably the only volcano in the world whose crater is in the sea. Twelve huge eruptions occurred, one every 20,000 years approximately, and each violent eruption caused the collapse of the volcano’s central part creating a large crater (caldera). The volcano, however, managed to recreate itself over and over again. In around 1620 BC, a huge eruption caused the centre of the southernmost Cyclades islands to collapse, post which the Aegean Sea came pouring into the resulting caldera, leaving the crescent-shaped volcanic rock we now know as Santorini.

Thanks to its natural beauty, Santorini endures another problem – an overload of visitors, especially during the hotter months – when roads are blocked, restaurants are full and prices soar. Most people who visit Santorini either choose to stay in Fira or Oia.

Fira is the modern capital of the island and most cruise ships dock here. It is a picturesque town with beautiful cobblestone alleys and hundreds of restaurants and shops to keep you entertained. But we chose to stay in Oia – a small village nestled on the caldera. It has Santorini’s famous blue domed buildings and breathtaking panoramas everywhere you turn! 🙂

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The famous blue domed churches of Oia!

Oia is a good one hour drive from the airport and hence we chose to book a car service back and forth to our apartment at the airport itself. The cab situation in Santorini is not great, so it’s smarter to book a car/shuttle service upon arrival. They say the bus service in Santorini is pretty good. We however didn’t want to experiment since it was quite late in the night and we had a ton of luggage. A car was our best bet!

We had rented an apartment at Casa Francesca Musses Studio. The apartment was pretty decent, probably not as nice as shown on the website but still good enough. We didn’t care too much since we only needed a place to sleep and had no plans to stay in the room besides that. Hotels on the caldera are ridiculously overpriced. Our view of the Aegean sea was what you would see on the opposite side of the caldera. The famous santorini view was right across a tiny road (less than 2 mins walk). Just that much difference in view saved us hundreds of $$$. So do your research and be smart while choosing!

After getting in late the previous night, we woke up to a stunning view of the Aegean Sea from our apartment the next morning. We skipped across the road for some delicious breakfast with a side of the famous caldera view! 😉

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We didn’t have elaborate plans for either of the greek islands since we had spent a hectic week traveling through Italy and Athens. We just wanted to eat good food, relax and soak in as much of the jaw-dropping panoramas as we possibly could! 😀

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We walked around the whole town of Oia multiple times, bought a few expensive souvenirs 😛 and explored as many cafes and viewpoints as we possibly could.

Since our accomodation was right near the caldera, we didn’t have to rent a car to move around. But based on your needs and where you choose to stay, you can rent cars and other vehicles near the airport. There are multiple rental agencies to choose from and it’s always better to book online than in person since the offers and prices are better online. Just be aware of the narrow, winding roads all around Santorini and make sure you do a little research on the island before starting.

Once your transportation needs are sorted, head over to the red and black beaches. They are absolutely stunning! 🙂

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Black Beach
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Red Beach

 

You can also explore the excavations at Akrotíri. Apparently, the last big eruption in Santorini occurred around 3,600 years ago (during the Minoan Age), when igneous material (mainly ash, pumice and lava stones) covered the three islands (Thíra, Thirassiá and Asproníssi). The eruption destroyed the thriving local prehistoric civilization, evidence of which was found during the excavations of a settlement at Akrotíri. Exploring Akrotíri will take the whole day so plan accordingly and visit this place if you ever manage to pull yourself away from the stunning views of Oia! 😉

We on the other hand, couldn’t pull ourselves away from Oia and stuffed our faces with delicious greek food every chance we got! 😛 Don’t forget to try some crumbly baklavas to finish things off! 😉

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After you’re done stuffing your face, don’t forget to catch the famous Santorini sunset! 😛 They are out of this world. Every evening hundreds of people gather along the famous steps to see the sun go down (and the stars come out 😛 – if you know which song I’m referring to, give me an aye! 😉 ).

You can hike up to the sunset point or go on a sailing / boat tour as well. We however caught the sunset at the sunset point in Oia with hundreds of people around us for company! 😛 The sunset was in fact so spectacular that the whole crowd cheered and clapped as soon as the sun went down. It was amazing! 🙂

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Sunset Point

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After sunset the whole town of Oia comes alive and is bustling with activity. The nightlife is awesome and we absolutely loved the vibe! 🙂 We relished dinner with a side of the best sea breeze and view for company. 🙂 It was truly magical. 🙂

We honestly loved every bit of Oia! 🙂 The views are to die for and there’s nothing quite like it! 🙂 We ate the best food, took a million photos, explored every nook and cranny of the island and ended our days with the best sunsets I have ever witnessed! 🙂

Santorini absolutely lives up to the hype and I can’t wait to come back here another time! 🙂