Imagine a sight where doors open straight to views like paradise! What is the first visual that comes to your mind? Whitewashed doors, postcard picture settings with doors opening to nothing but infinity? Yes that’s exactly what I experienced and lived in Santorini. And I guess I made it so far only because of one oversight that had people blaring in incredulity.
“You’ve never been to Greece?” my acquaintances would bawl. “How is that even possible?”
I shrugged; giving them the answer I give everyone around. “The world’s a big place, I’m only one tiny woman globetrotting this world step by step, and it hasn’t happened yet. I’ll get there soon.”
Even so deep inside, I knew I couldn’t hold off much longer. So when I planned a summer of gallivanting around Europe, there was no question that I would be visiting Santorini, the Greek islands next.
An island formed from the rim of an ancient drowned volcano, Santorini is arguably one of the most scenic destinations in the world. And I was just to discover, WHY?
Known to be the most expensive yet beautiful island in the Cyclades, it’s tough to resist its quiet winding streets, small alleys lined with whitewashed houses overlooking a beautiful harbor, beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants, and mesmerizing sunset scenes.
On my very first day on arriving at the island I began my thrust by exploring the main town of Fira. Though the island is divided into many small towns like Fira, Imerovigli, Ferostifani and Oia; Fira is the center most to all. It is the island’s largest town and has the most restaurants, shops, and scenic hotels and is the center of Santorini’s nightlife.
Exploring the town of Fira I was presented with the fabulous views of the iconic landmarks and attractions that have made Santorini a ménage name over the past few decades: beaches, bougainvillea, brilliant whitewashed buildings, charming churches and chapels, blue domes, surreal sunsets, this island devours it all.
With the first day of surreal beauty of the island still sinking in, I decided to take the hike form Fira to Imerovigli town on the next day. And walking by the Cyclades I already felt so inspired by all of the surroundings, the all white Greek architecture contrasted with the deep blue tones of the ocean are as picturesque as picturesque comes.
I never imagined the sight of doors welcoming the beautiful views and sunsets like I saw here. I wouldn’t fail to accept that Santorini was a place I had been dreaming of visiting since Instagram was invented.
The narrow alleys of Imerovigli town by the caldera are so perfectly photogenic with those sugar cube houses and azure coloured waters. The contrast of white and blue combined with golden and pink sunsets make each photo perfect. I’m sure every traveler account on Instagram would be incomplete without one picture from a Greek island on their feeds.
Loosing my heart to these beautiful little towns of Fira and Imerovigli I took a short bus ride the next day to the most famous town of Oia (pronounced EE-ah) at the northern tip of the island. This white village that dots postcards is perched on the cliffs, 1,000 feet above the caldera.
It’s hard to pinpoint my favorite spot on this Cyclades as Santorini is a maze of curvy streets and staircases and basically, everywhere you go in Oia looks like a calendar shot.
One thing is for sure, no matter where I went, I was guaranteed a table with a view! A view you wouldn’t want to say goodbye to.
While exploring Oia, I looked at every viewpoint and pondered would this be a good spot to photograph the sunset? As sunsets in the island of Santorini is something that has been spoken over for years. It’s a big claim, but being lucky enough to experience it, I can vouch: Seeing the sun drop into the Aegean sea, leaving only the silhouettes of the tiny strides by the pink-domed cupolas of the churches in its wake, is truly unforgettable.
And it’s not over once the sun dips beneath the horizon! The true beauty of the island is revealed into the blue hour when the island changes color again. This is one of the best views this isle offers. Waiting to capture this moment all I can say is my stakeout paid off. Here’s my favorite shot from that night.
Definitely worth the wait.
Having seen the sun set by the town of Oia over the caldera, today it was all about exploring the island through the other side. Taking a catamaran ride of the island and sighting the sunset fall over the Cyclades of Oia was like adding another sunset memory to my travel diaries.
The ride takes you around the volcanic island and the hot springs to give you a glimpse of the things this island offered. Sailing the calm sea, enjoying a perfect dinner on the catamaran and watching the sunset was the perfect end to another day on this isle.
Another 300 steps down from Oia and there lies the surreal Amoudi Bay. Surrounded by steep cliffs and crystal blue waters, this little fishing area features several quaint tavernas. This is factually as close to “dining on the water” that you can get. Happy enough to find another happy spot to unwind by the sea.
To explore the unusual beaches on the island hiring a car is truly the best way to experience the island and the prospect of driving in Santorini or any foreign land is totally rousing for me. Its like you have the long unknown roads by yourself waiting to be discovered at each stop you make.
And taking my first stop at Kamari beach, I knew I was here to discover something amazing. The beach with golden sand and crystal-clear blue water with the never- ending stretches of sun beds and umbrellas just looked so damned inviting.
This black-sand-and-pebble beach overlooked by a string of taverns & cafes was the perfect way to unravel under the afternoon sun.
Separated from Kamari by a rocky headland, Perissa another black sand beach is where I made my next sojourn. Backed by tamarisk trees, its soft black sands host sun beds and merge into neighboring Perivolos to form a four-mile, southeast-facing beach.
Then there is the Vlychada beach also known as the Moon Beach of the island due to the yellow- white rock formations, which gives it the dramatic look. It is another long beach, with dark sand and pebbles with a small marine around the corner.
Just when I thought I couldn’t get enough of beaches this day, driving along to the islands other end tip was located the red beach. Known as one of the most scenic and interesting beaches on the island, only upon reaching here I realized why. The reason for its popularity is its colour!
However to get to the beach I had to walk a couple of minutes on a downhill path, which almost felt like a mini trek. Where else in the world had you to make a detour like this to make it to the blue water. I was already excited to be at this beach. Crossing the paths towards the beach, the steep red hills created captivating, wild scenery. Standing right the edge of the cliff I set my eyes on enormous volcanic rocks situated in the sea, small pebbles and sand of various colors, mainly red, all along the beach and appealing dark blue waters. This wonderful palette of contrasting colors mesmerized me by its dominant red color. Another natural marvel the volcano created on this isle.
Located some steps away from the beach was the ancient site of Akrotiri. I came here to discover the Minoan settlement, which was buried below lava some 3,600 years ago before excavation in the 20th century. While being lost in the ancient history, the modern cliff-top village presented splendid views across the caldera.
Like the Greeks say you can never get enough of this island! 4 days on the island, was also not enough! Thought I explored island top to bottom, saw the harder-to-get-to beaches and the lesser-known towns but the entire island was pretty much a living and breathing postcard. Famous for its towering cliffs, a skyline of white-washed buildings with their brilliantly blue domes, an endless labyrinth of quaint streets, and the most spectacular view I had ever seen in every single direction.
There simply is no other place even remotely like it in the entire universe.
The sunset in Oia
The walk from Fira to Oia by the caldera
Exploring the Red, Black and White Beach
Take a catamaran ride by the sea to catch another sunset over the caldera
Enjoy each sunset, each trail you come across on this island and you will not regret being here
Dreaming and living the wanderlust life at my early 20's, I have always thrived on my long bucket list. Yes a list that counts up to more than 75 odd countries, I have been lucky enough to witness the magic of 20 awe-inspiring countries already and it still keeps me yearning for more.
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