September 25 – 28, 2013
Santorini is one of the top places in the world to watch the sun disappear over the horizon. The island is known to be a lover’s paradise – a top honeymoon destination with not only breathtaking views of the caldera from Oia and Fira but also fantastic beaches with black, red, and white sand. While most people dream about going on a romantic honeymoon vacation to Santorini, it is definitely an island for solo travelers and self-reflection as well.
After Crete, my siblings only had one day in Santorini, my parents had two, and I luckily had three. We stayed at Kastelli Resort in Kamari, another 5 star luxury boutique resort. Like all of the other resorts I had stayed at in Greece, this one was just as beautiful and perfect for my family. I loved the location because it was away from the touristy streets of Fira and Oia and right near the beach! I guess it pays off to travel in groups – everyone’s rooms were upgraded again! Mine wasn’t the first night but they let me take over my brother’s Junior suite upon his departure – it had a private roof deck and view of Ancient Thira.
The first day we toured Fira and Oia. We met my older cousins in Oia in the late afternoon and stopped at Melenio for an afternoon cafe and dessert. I love Greek Baklava, this one was my favorite! Kataifi.
Later that evening, we walked down the cliffside to Amoudi Bay for dinner and watched the famous sunset while enjoying another amazing Greek dinner – fresh grilled fish, octopus, calamari, fries, salad, hummus – everything was so delicious! The walk down was taxing on all of our knees and we definitely didn’t want to climb back up so we took the easy route and rented a cab. However, you can also ride the donkeys back up!
The next morning, after most of my family had departed, I rented an AV and decided to explore the island my own. It was nice to finally have some alone & reflection time. I felt a sense of freedom come over me again as I drove up to Ancient Thira. I felt a little bad because there were a lot of older people hiking up the road while I was on an ATV. I would have hiked if I had more time but I believe it takes about an hour. There are actually a few good hikes in Santorini – check this site out.
After my history lesson, I drove to Perissa and Perivolos Beach. On my way, I stopped at a wine museum/winery for a quick tasting. When I arrived that the beach, I was welcomed by Pleasure Beach Bar. The beach wasn’t crowded because the season was ending and the waiters were really friendly. I laid out for a few hours and then swung by Vlichada Beach for a afternoon coffee. I met the owner of a tavern there, Dimitris. He was very nice like most of the older Greeks I had met. Afterwards, I drove back to Fira to meet my younger cousin and his friends who were on the island as well. We drove along the winding roads to/from Oia. It was a little scary but also really liberating to drive along the cliffside.
Fira and Oia reminded me of Venice, Italy – beautiful but packed and full of tourists. I didn’t find much local character there as most of the people aren’t even from there. On my last day in Santorini, I took a catamaran cruise around Santorini. We swam in the hot springs, stopped at both the Red Beach, then White Beach, and sailed inside the Caldera. The trip started off with rough waters but calmed down by the afternoon and it was just nice to lay out on a boat. We kept it low-key our last night and had dinner and drinks in Kamari. The town was actually quite lively at night. There are plenty of restaurants and bars, live music, and shops. I really liked Kamari – definitely perfect for me since there were people wakeboarding along the beach!