I was fascinated by Greece from the history and geography lessons during my student years as well as the dose of romance from the Mills and Boons romantic novels. The hangover of the romance lasted well beyond teens and twenties and I often traveled to Greece in my mind. Some time ago, I finally convinced my backpacking travel partners for a trip to Greece and off we went for 10 days soaking in the best possible. While every location was overwhelmingly beautiful, the sights, smell and tastes from Santorini Island is etched in memory. When you see white buildings hanging from cliffs glistening under sun rays its reflection in the shimmering sea, you know you are approaching Santorini.
Athens (Piraeus Post) to Santorini(Thira) is a 5-8 hour journey depending on the type of Ferry. You can book through Blue Star Ferries or Hellenic Sea Ways. We booked online and collected the tickets in Athens which was pretty convenient. Alternatively, take a flight from Athens to Santorini if you have sea sickness or limited time.
Arriving in Santorini: The ship docks at sea level in Thira. You can take a bus up to town, a elevator, or walk up the stone path and lastly take a donkey ride on the famed Santorini donkey. We were staying in Oia so we rode a bus with several others that the hotel had kindly arranged for us.
Fira and Kamari Beach: Fira, the capital of Santorini is a beautiful town and the views of the islands at a distance, the busy market street with colourful stuff and the whiff of aromatic cuisine makes it all the more appealing. The 3 wheeler bikes are quite a sight and I tried for a while to muster enough courage to ride one of them but could not. There were grapes hanging from a tree which would perhaps rot out there for there seemed to be no takers. It is worthwhile to hire a car or a 2 wheeler to whizz around town and make a trip to Kamari Beach or Oia since the local bus service is not very reliable. Kamari Beach is a quiet little secluded haven which ensures lot of me time and watch the world go by.
Oia – Jewel of Santorini : At first sight, I gasped at the beauty of the spotless white buildings topped by blue domes. For a while I did not know which blue to look at, the deep blue Aegean, the azure blue sky or the bright blue domes but the cute little pups on a wall stole my heart. Most of the houses have the doors and windows painted in the same shade. The church and the windmill lend an old world charm to this small village turned tourist hot spot. The views of the calderas were breathtaking and we lazily walking along the pathway on a nippy September evening admiring the night sky. Watch the sunset, enjoy best of greek cuisine, take a trip to the nearby volcanic island or simply lounge in a pool, Oia grows on every tourist. You might want to live in a hotel and wake up to the view of the calderas and the sea.