I will be the first to admit that my geographical knowledge is certainly not the best but prior to my visit to Santorini, I had no idea that Santorini was not just one island but a cluster of land formations that overlook the Aegean sea. In 16th Century BC, Santorini was destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption and according to some it was one of the biggest volcanic eruption in the world (Think Greek version of Pompeii). This eruption has lead to the landscape we see today, a volcano that is submerged under the ocean and a caldera. You will also hear Santorini referred to as Thira. This is the name given to the large island. Despite my best attempts to come across as Greek goddess like and ‘oh so cultured and knowledgeable’, this small piece of information totally stumped me. You’re welcome. So that leads me to my Top Ten in Santorini:
1. Visit Oia. I recommend staying in Oia so you get to see it during the day and again at sunset. I was only there for one evening and trust me, the views are phenomenal. When you think Greece, you think Oia. Have your camera charge on full to capture the colourful whitewashed houses and blue dome churches cascading over the cliffs edge.
2. Climb the active volcano. You can get here by taking a boat tour from Old Port in Fira. Wear sensible footwear as it is a little bit of a climb, but well worth the views. The volcano is active and you can still see the steam coming from the rocks as you climb.
3. Swim in the sulphur springs. This can be included as part of your tour to the volcano. You can jump from the boat and swim to the shallow warm springs. Apparently covering yourself with the sulphuric mud is great for your skin and full of minerals etc. but be forewarned… it will destroy your white bikini. Do not wear your nice swimwear on this day as the mud stains everything!
4. Enjoy a wine tasting at Santo Wines Winery. Need I say more. The views from the winery are stunning, even if you’re not a big drinker, it is worth a visit.
5. Visit the black sand beaches of Kamari. It is worth staying out in Kamari for a few nights to fully explore the area. There is plenty of places to eat and you can walk along the boardwalk and take in some fantastic views. The black sand is pretty interesting with the dramatic background of the huge cliff and rock formation near the water.
6. Eat a gyros or ten. At €2.50, they make for a delicious and cheap meal.
7. Have dinner overlooking the sunset in Fira. Sometimes overshadowed by Oia, Fira is a beautiful town with cascading cliff top views. There are some great restaurants well worth a visit to watch the sun go down.
8. Ride a donkey. When in Greece? Donkeys were a traditional form of transport but now you have the option of taking a cable car or of course walking the steps. You can take a donkey for €5 up the 587 steps from Old Port in Fira. Some people loved it, others didn’t. I personally didn’t feel right doing it so I opted to walk. But the option is completely yours.
9. Climb the steps. After all those Gyros… I needed this. Put your headphones in and mush, mush, mush. Just watch out for the Donkey’s.
10. Visit Pyrgos Village and take in the panoramic views at the highest point of the island. This little village is worth a walk around as there are lots of old buildings and churches to discover.
So there you have it! I would love to hear any of your suggestions. Enjoy x