After a long day in Athens we finally arrived at the airport. It was 11pm. We were totally exhausted. I had arranged for our hotel to have a shuttle van pick us up since we were arriving so late. We checked in to Hotel Galini around 11:30pm. It’s a small boutique hotel in Firostefani on the caldera with a friendly and helpful staff.
Day 1: Beach Day !
Morning time and I was excited to see the island! But first, i just wanted to see what kind of view I had from our balcony. I just wanted to pinch myself!
We enjoyed a complimentary breakfast of Greek delights at the top of our hotel. Spinach pies, Greek yogurt, locally sourced honey and fruits were delicious and enjoyed with a great view over the caldera.
After, we got into our rental car and headed towards our first beach. We decided to visit the red sand beach near Akrotiri.
I just love the contrast of the blue water next to the red beach!
Next stop was Vlychada beach. We decided to chill at Theros Wave Bar and use their beach service. You don’t have to order food if you don’t want to, but there is a small charge if you want to use their beach umbrellas and loungers. There are restrooms at the bar and a changing room on the beach. What made this area so unique was the lunar landscape along the beach and the “black sand”.
Afterwards we drove by the black sand beaches at Perissa and Perivolos, but decided not to stop.
By now it was the afternoon and we passed by Santo Winery on the way back to Firostefani. The location has spectacular views of the caldera, but if you want good seats for sunset, call ahead and make reservations. We aren’t drinkers, but having heard that Santorini has great wines, we decided to check the place out.
We tried the 6 wine flight with olives, fava bean dip, tomato paste and Greek cheese with barley rusks. I have a horrible sweet tooth so obviously my favorite was the vinsanto, a dessert wine.
After our visit, we went straight to our hotel to change and make our way to Oia to catch the sunset. Oia is the town you see in all the pictures representing Santorini. When you’re there for sunset, it feels like the whole island is there too. The pathways are small and with everyone rushing to get to the castle at the end of the island, you can easily feel claustrophobic. SO… we missed our first sunset. Oh well. There were other days to try to catch it.
Dinner time and we decided to drive to Exo Gonia and eat at Aroma Avlis. A cute eatery with outdoor seating. By this time, it was already late and didn’t want to stuff myself with too much food. I tried the saganaki (fried cheese) and a greek salad. Nothing spectacular, but still tasty. They gave us a complimentary orange tart for dessert. I recommend going here during the day because the grounds are beautiful and we couldn’t enjoy them because it was dark.
Day 2: Day trip to Ios
We wanted to visit another Greek island but with our limited time, the only one we could go to was Ios. It’s only a 40 minute ferry ride from Santorini. It’s also known as a party island, popular with the younger crowd. If you are a beach lover and were disappointed with the beaches in Santorini because the “sand” was actually small little rocks that hurt your bare feet, then make a quick trip to Ios.
We rented a small automatic car from the port at Ios and decided to go to the other end of the island and visit Manganari Beach.
Afterwards we visited the Chora to get a bite to eat and take some pictures. The town buildings are paired white with blue doors and windows, typical to Cycladic design. There are also beautiful churches on the hill overlooking the island with spectacular views.
Back on Santorini we took a nap in our hotel before making a second trip to go out to Oia and see the sunset. zzz…..
We learned our lesson from the previous day not to be in town. We decided instead to go below the town to Ammoudi Bay. We walked around, checked out the restaurant menus, and then played with the drone before the sun decided to come down.
Beautiful, Right?! We had a great spot to see the sunset.
We finished our day back in Fira. We ate at Sphinx Restaurant and had an outdoor table so we can get night time views of the caldera.
Last day on the island. We woke up early, again, to go to Oia and take pictures. Jorge wanted to take pictures of the town in the morning glow of the sun rising without all the crowds of people. It really is a beautiful town. The pathways are marble. The small shops are painted in soft colors. The morning caldera views are amazing. *Sigh*
It was a chance to just wander around and just explore every corner and pathway. I cant say it enough, it was such a cute town!….when it’s not swarming with a gazillion people.
After eating brunch and taking a nap. We were off to explore Fira. Its only a 10 minute walk from Firostefani along the caldera pathway. We did some shopping for ourselves and picked up some souvenirs for friends and family back home.
We made reservations at Idol Restaurant so we could get good seats for the sunset. This was one of the best meals on our trip! The service, the view, the food was all top notch! If you find yourself in Fira, make a visit here! To start they gave us complimentary pumpkin soup with our bread basket. Jorge had beef and I had tuna for the main entree. And for dessert (the best ever) we had the Chocolate Sphere! they pour a butterscotch syrup over a chocolate sphere until it melts to unveil an ice cream with cookie crumbles and berries. Delicious! And to end our meal the chef gave us complimentary glasses of vinsanto as we watched the sun set. It was perfect!
The day was ending, so we just walked around the town just a little more and then went to the hotel to pack our things and go to sleep early for an early flight back to Athens to explore mainland Greece. Watch our travel blog from Jorge’s Youtube channel below.