I don’t need to tell you how many beats my heart skipped as we got off the ferry and stepped into the most mesmerizing views in the world! Surrounded by white washed structures and blue domes, marble walkways and breathtaking sunsets, my heart beating so fast, my camera was capturing every single view I absorbed, so I could create memories for the rest of my life!
Quoting Lonely Planet:”Santorini is the supermodel of the Greek islands, a head-turner whose face is instantly recognisable around the world: multi-coloured cliffs soar out of a sea-drowned caldera, topped by drifts of whitewashed buildings. With its reputation for dazzling panoramas, romantic sunsets and volcanic-sand beaches, it’s hardly surprising the island features on so many travelers’ bucket lists.”
Part of the Cyclades island group, Santorini (officially known as Thira, a name that encompasses the volcanic islets within Santorini’s orbit) sits in the Aegean Sea, roughly halfway between Athens and Crete. We rented a car to get from the different little towns in Santorini and I’d recommend it if you’re looking to explore around the little island! We spent our days in Santorini between Fira & Oia.
Fira, Firostefani, ImerovigliFira, the island’s busy capital, sprawls north into villages called Firostefani (about a 15-minute walk from Fira) and Imerovigli (the highest point of the caldera edge, about a half-hour walk from Fira). A path running through these villages is lined with upmarket hotels, restaurant terraces and endless photo opportunities. Explore the back alleys and the narrow pathways through the lines of shops and restaurants absorbing the vibrant blues and whites that surround you! We stayed in Fira and walked around Everywhere we could, from sunrise to sunset, stopping to get gelatos and gyros! 🙂 Sweeping Caldera Views: The biggest attraction of all the restaurants and hotels in Santorini is their views of the Caldera. You can simply walk through the narrow streets past numerous alleys and capture stunning views as the sun sets and the twinkling lights come on! Grab breakfast or dinner by one of the spots with the view and watch the orange rays glaze over the multi-step-like ranges of Fira.
Donkey Walk: There are 500+ steps that take you down the the water below and you can ride donkeys if you wish to to walk down and back up. We don’t encourage it at all, as the donkeys looked exhausted and seemed like a terribly cruel practice even in this age. Take your time to pet them and walk down yourself 🙂
Cathedral: The Orthodox Metropolitan Church of Santorini, Cyclades: This cathedral sits prominently towards the bottom of the town and and can be seen from a great distance and from many parts of Santorini. The church was built in 1827 and offers an impressive view to the caldera and the volcano of Santorini. It is a beautiful cathedral with a nice mosaic on the outside and an impressive bell tower. Rolling arches create a peaceful courtyard. Inside the church is adorned with beautiful frescoes made by the local artist Christoforos Asimis Source: www.greeka.com I Source: www.greeka.com
Church bells & Sunsets from Firostefani:Firostefani lies to the north of Fira and there is little difference that separates it from its considerable larger neighbour. Without a doubt, the views from this part of Santorini are spectacular, offering another perspective of Santorini volcano. One can enjoy the magnificent sight of Fira itself and the breathtaking sunset in the evening. The village has plenty of restaurants and cafes located on the most fabulous locations. Between the village of Firostefani and Imerovigli lies the Agios Nikolas Monastery. Hotels are plenty in Firostefania. They are quite picturesque with vividly colored houses. There are also few shops, most of them are concentrated at the main shopping street, at the centre of Firostefani. Source: www.greeka.com
Ah Oia! Everything about Santorini is embodied in the tiny little town of Oia. She’s like the glamour doll with the windmills, the marble walkways, byzantine ruins and the prettiest doors and alleys, and of course, the most iconic sunset there ever was!
Oia, pronounced Ee-yaa, is the most famous of all villages of Santorini. It is known throughout the world for its quiet life and fantastic sunset, and is certainly the most beautiful and picturesque village of Santorini. The village is also situated on top of an impressive cliff and offers a spectacular view over the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia. Oia is situated on the north of the island, 11 km away from Fira. Source: www.greeka.com
It is a traditional village with charming houses in narrow streets, blue domed churches, and sun-bathed verandas. Its streets have plenty of tourist shops, taverns, cafes, and other shops. Oia is much more quiet that Fira and the busiest area is the main pedestrian that runs along its length. At the entrance of the village is a car park where visitors can leave their vehicle and enjoy long walks in the picturesque paths. The volcano from here is much less imposing but you can still get some gorgeous views. Source: www.greeka.com Blue Domes:I was skipping and hopping and losing my breath as I danced over THOSE BLUE DOMES! Catching the glorious sunrise over the majestic Blue Domes of Oia was such a surreal experience. Also totally worth the hopping and skipping over rooftops
How to get here : there’s 2 ways to get here. One way is to look for the Bulgari Alexandros showroom and follow all the way down the steps till you get a zoomed out view of all 3 domes. I’ll be posting that soon.
The second way (this one) is to go down the Minerali Jewelry store alley to capture this breathtaking closeup view of the dome and church bells!
Wake up early to beat the crowds!
Church Bells: What dreams are made of – Sunrise over the Oia cross bells !
Sunset from the Byzantine Ruins: This iconic sunset view is known to be the most beautiful and possibly on every postcard from Greece. But to witness it in person is a completely unreal experience!
We hiked up to the top of the Byzantine ruins and found a spot by the edge and waited patiently for over an hour as we watched the colors of the sky turn to deep shades of pink as the sun slowly disappeared into the sea. ✨
The most beautiful part of the experience was the people we shared it with … people kissing deep as the sun went down, there were proposals followed by cheers on the engagement, people hugging closer as it started to get a lil cooler.. there’s a reason why the sunsets of Oia are one of a kind. You have to be there to know it! ♥️
Orange & Blue Walkways:Is this a dream!? ???? Following the steps down to Ammoudi bay, these pretty orange walls and the windmill against the horizon … Santorini you were unreal! ♥️
Amoudi Bay: For beautiful views of the caldera, descend the 300 steps from the northern city of Oia to the charming port of Amoudi Bay. Surrounded by striking red cliffs and dotted with white-washed buildings typical to Santorini, this little village features several quaint tavernas serving up the catch of the day.
Lolita’s Gelato:After a hot day in Santorini dancing on rooftops I found this ADORABLE gelato place @lolitasgelato and OMG their dark chocolate gelato is to die for!!
Red Beach & Caldera Views:Last but not the least, we had to spend an afternoon at the luxurious romantic retreat Astarte Suites, whether you are at their award winning infinity pool or even taking the steps down to the hotel you are greeted with sweeping views of the mythical Caldera of Santorini!
If this doesn’t convince you to visit Santorini, I don’t know what will! Adding a few more random shots from this most mesmerizing location to lure you 🙂