Santorini, also known as Thira or Thera, is considered Greece’s “postcard” island. The Island was named by the crusaders; it comes from the words Saint Irene (Santa Irene). Before it was called Santorini, the island was known as Kallístē, meaning “the most beautiful one”. Seems like a very well-deserved nickname if you ask me! Because the island is a little over 76 square km it means you can visit it in a day. Yet, we decided to spend a little more time enjoying this picture-perfect island and stayed 4 nights. Santorini: What To See And Do is your guide to help you discover this beautiful island.
Arrival In Santorini
We arrived in Santorini and our driver was waiting for us just outside the baggage claim. Once again, my Travel Fairy Godmother, Carmen, founder of Exotik Traveler, organized a seamless transfer to our hotel. I can really get used to shutting my inner control freak off and letting someone else take charge. Ok, maybe just her… Carmen thinks of every little detail, which means you can sit back and enjoy your vacation. After all, isn’t that the whole point of a vacation?
We arrived at our hotel, which I will not name, and decided to move elsewhere after being very disappointed. I’ll tell you if you ask! Seems like the one hotel I chose and insisted on, ended up being the worst! But that’s OK! I waved my travel fairy wand (wrote an email) and Exotik Traveler had a list of three hotels with availability within minutes! We picked our favorite, went to visit and okayed Carmen to proceed with the booking. That easy! In addition, she organized the luggage pick up and transfer to the hotel. And off we went to Andronis Luxury Suites.
Stay At Andronis Luxury Suites
Because of a little snafu with our luggage pick up, the brilliant Hotel Manager at Andronis Luxury Suites offered us a complimentary 60-minute couple’s massage. A+ for customer service! For more on this hotel - Hotel Review: White House Villa Andronis Luxury Suites. Here’s a little sneak peak of our White House Villa!
Private Island Tour
We like to discover a place which involves more than just eating in restaurants and enjoying a hotel. As a result, we planned a private tour of Thira, through Exotik Traveler in collaboration with Luxury Greece DMC & Travel. Barbara, our tour guide, met us at our suite and we made our way to meet Paul, our driver for the day. They were awesome! We did a complete tour of the island. This included a visit to the Red Beach, the village of Pyrgos, a wine tasting at Gavalos Winery in Megalochori and the excavations of Akrotiri.
Excavations of Akrotiri
Home to one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean where habitation dates to the late Neolithic times. It gradually developed into one of the main urban centers and ports of the Aegean in the middle and late Bronze age. The settlement showed great development and prosperity due to its size, the elaborate drainage system, multi-storey buildings with beautiful wall paintings and furniture. Remains of imported objects indicate external relations with Cyprus, Syria and Egypt. Inhabitants were forced to leave following several severe earthquakes towards the end of the 17th century B.C. In addition to the earthquakes, a volcanic eruption covered the entire island. As a result of the volcanic ashes, the buildings and its contents were protected . Because of this, Akrotiri is also known as the Pompeii of Greece.
For three centuries, the Gavalas family has been producing wines from grapes grown in their privately-owned vineyards in Megalochori. The winery focuses on the main variety of Assyrtiko as well as other grapes found on the island like Katsano and Gaidouria. Santorini gets limited rain fall and can be hit with very strong winds. Therefore, to protect the grapes from the strong winds, the vines are pruned in a cylindrical form. This is a characteristic way of pruning in Santorini and it is done so that the fruit can mature in the centre. If you like dry white wines like myself, you will enjoy the Gavalas Santorini. Delicate fruity aromas of pear, pineapple and citrus make up this wine’s tasting notes. Since this was my favorite from the tasting I brought a bottle home!
This beautiful pebbly sand beach is surrounded by distinct red cliffs that drop right down to the shore. Some might argue that it isn’t the safest beach to visit, due to the risk of landslides. But don’t worry, it can still be admired from a different vantage point. You’ll notice certain areas of the shore closed off but this doesn’t seem to deter beach goers from settling down by the cliffs.
Shop In Fira
Fira is the capital of Santorini, it has the island’s largest shopping center, many restaurants and entertainment options. If you are looking for nightlife this is where you’ll find bars and cafes as well as larger clubs. You can see the volcano from every point and watch the mesmerizing sunset from just about anywhere.
Pedicure At Kissingfish Santorini
Another fun activity not to miss while in Santorini is Kissingfish, fish spa. Sit back while small fish without teeth remove the dead skin cells from your feet. While this might sound really gross it was quite relaxing and those little fish got quite the feast! Watch the video listen to my husband make fun of the fact that my feet attract more fish.
Pyrgos is the highest point of Santorini where you can get panoramic views of the whole island. In addition, you’ll find traditional architecture, narrow winding paths leading to the top, remains of neo-classical mansions, white houses and churches. It is a quaint little village showcasing the essence of Santorini. We stopped for lunch at Taverna Kallisti before heading to the winery. For more on where to eat check out Santorini Restaurant Guide By A Foodie.
Watch The Sunset In Oia
Oia, pronounced Ia is know for it’s sunset views. This part of the island is probably the most photogenic. Head over to the end of the village (sea on your left) where you’ll find Santorini Sunset View. This offers one of the best unobstructed views of the sunset. The main road in Oia is lined with tourist shops, art galleries and numerous restaurants. For more on where to eat check out Santorini Restaurant Guide By A Foodie.
And there you have it, your insider look at what to see and do in Santorini! Have you been to Santorini? If not, is this on your vacation bucket list? If you’ve been what were some of your favorite spots? I’d love to hear from you!
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