Scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest seeing landscapes scattered with tiny white houses with blue roofs, seafood and mezze platters with cold glasses of rosé and stunning sunsets set against islands poking out of the bright blue ocean – these places only exist in our dreams, right?
Santorini is known for being pretty magical and I can now testify to that, having seen it with my very own eyes. Just. Wow.
May bank holiday was a perfect opportunity to escape for a few days, before ‘peak’ holiday season, meaning that the weather was ideal (not tooooo hot) and places weren’t quite as populated as the summer months. Santorini was chosen nearly a year in advance and it was a welcome break after a somewhat hectic month at work.
We touched down after a turbulent landing and were welcomed by a cool breeze and sunshine – I was on holiday. With the island being relatively small, taxi journeys are never more than a 30-minute drive and our apartment was in fact only 10 minutes from the airport which meant in no time we were in our swimming costumes and sunbathing by the pool.
Our place was stunning, all ‘underground’ in a typical Greek abode with white-wash everything, rounded architecture and minimalist. Although it looked pretty spectacular online when we booked, it was even better in person. The apartment boasted a cave hot tub, which was more like a mini pool, huge walk-in rainfall showers, and a shared pool area (for the 4 apartments) which nobody else seemed to use…so a private pool area for our stay! I was quite content.
5 days seemed just right for our hols, allowing us enough time to read, sunbath and lounge by the pool, in addition to venturing out to explore the capital and Oia, enjoy a boat trip and Santo Wines…
So, where to start?
Oia is the most stunning place on the island – it’s where all the instas are taken, its where all the white and blue houses are situated and its where all the proposals happen. Its stunning and very very romantic. With that though, comes more tourists and so I am actually glad we stayed in Thera and visited here for an afternoon/dinner. But there’s no denying it, there are gorgeous cobbled streets littered with boutique shops and restaurants to suit all tastes. It is a must when visiting this beautiful island and is only a short bus or taxi drive away from most towns and hotels.
We also hired a boat one of the days to explore all the little islands surrounding Santorini’s mainland, including the hot springs at the centre of the volcano. We had a half day and it was so much fun – listening to music, jumping off rocks and sunbathing on the front of our little boat. If you want to go on a boat trip, you won’t be short of finding somewhere to hire one privately, or to join a group outing on a larger catamaran. Make sure you scout around before agreeing to ensure you get what you hoped for!
Holidays are about having fun and we were not hestitant when it came to stopping for an afternoon drink, or two! We spent a bit of time wandering down the little streets and actually came across the most lush hotel and bar of the whole of Thera – Villa Bordeaux Santorini. We didn’t know whether you had to be a guest of the hotel to have a drink but risked it and there was nothing to worry about! An infinity pool bigger than all in the capital overlooking the cliffs set the scene nicely for a cool bottle of rosé to enjoy. We felt a little underdressed for the vibe but enjoyed it regardless. Well worth a drink if you fancy something a little more upmarket and a quieter spot away from the tourists/cruise ship groups!
We went to so many amazing restaurants when we visited that all offered gorgeous dishes including tzatziki and pitas, chicken souvlaki, gyros and baklava. However, I wanted to specifically call out Argo Restaurant because it was simply incredible and I would go back in a heartbeat. We were lucky to get a cancellation at the last minute on the top roof terrace with a perfect view of the sunset. The food was worth the slighter higher prices – cold mezze starters, seafood platters, their famous shrimp pasta and mushroom risotto, it was possibly one of my top highlights of the entire trip. If you want a good spot here, book well (well) in advance – find their website here.
I really am saving the best until last when I talk about Santo Wines. I was recommended this by a couple of friends prior to going and I am SO glad I took on their advice (I’ll admit when I saw that we had to get a taxi there I had reservations). We arrived late afternoon and ended up staying until close and time flew – watching the sunset whilst enjoying the tasting platter of wines (€35 for 10 wines over 50ml each and snacks!!) with live music playing in the background. It was stunning and the wines were absolutely delicious. I could not have pictured or imagined a more perfect setting and would recommend this to ALL and EVERYONE visiting Greece. Perfect, perfect, perfect!
When it comes to travelling, there are some places I visit that I absolutely love, but would not want to return any time soon because it’s done and there are more places in the world to see. Not Santorini, I am already thinking about how I can squeeze in a trip next year because I loved absolutely everything about it. Greek food is my all-time favourite cuisine, the sunsets were stunning, the landscapes were unlike anything I’ve ever seen and it’s just such a magical, magical place. It really does look like the photographs and is now my very own place of dreams.
If you’ve been to Santorini and could recommend places to stay, things to do or restaurants to try please let me know as I will definitely be returning very soon!