Do you have a bucket list of places you definitely want to visit? We definitely have one and Santorini was always on there.
Not that we knew much about it or have been to any other Greek islands before. What inspired us were probably the often-shared images of white houses and curved rooftops on top of a cliffside with blue doors and the endless blue skies and waters. Did I mention that blue is my favourite colour?
So, it is not hard to explain that when searching for a destination for our “mini-moon” after our wedding two weeks ago, our choice quickly came to Santorini.
We did have the added complexity that we needed to fly from Dresden, because that’s where the wedding took place a few days prior and where we wanted to leave our little girl with the German grandparents. We were so determined on Santorini and actually booked the hotels way before booking the flight. When finally trying to book the flights it turned out that our only option was to connect via Munich on the way there and even three connections via Athens and Frankfurt on the way back. It didn’t sound so bad at the time of booking…
The outbound journey from Dresden via Munich basically cost us our first “minimoon” day, because the flights were of course delayed and we missed our first Santorini Sunset by a mere 30 minutes.
For the first 2 nights, we stayed at Fanari Villas in one of their gorgeous cave suites on the edge of Oia, the most popular village on the island. Once the taxi driver dropped us off it was actually quite tricky to find it, plus lots of steps involved. We were greeted so warmly by the receptionist and were immediately impressed by our cave house. That night we didn’t manage much more than a dinner directly in our hotel, which did not disappoint.
The next day we wanted to explore this famous Oia and were hoping for wonderful photographs in front of these white houses and blue doors. Santorini and Oia specifically is basically the Greek flag. White and blue, blue and white. I wonder which came first?
We were to discover we were not the only ones with a love of photography and beautiful places. At times walking through the small alleyways felt like leaving after a rock concert. You were literally squeezed between masses of tourists. This didn’t really reflect the picture of romantic blue tranquillity that we had in mind…
However, the masses disappeared as quickly as they arrived, because it turns out our timing wasn’t great and we joined in with the cruise ship passengers on their shore visit. A bit of the honeymoon feeling came back when we escaped to one of the restaurants on the cliff side and watched the long lines of Mules walking down the steep steps to pick up tourists from the beach and bring them back up top.
Later that day after enjoying the swimming pool in our hotel we were recommended some restaurants in a small side alleyway that are quieter and where the locals eat. So, we tried that and ate at Karma. This was the true Greek dinner experience we were hoping for and really creative dishes, too.
Our plan was to go back to our hotel for 8.00 PM to watch the sunset from our own terrace, as it was truly the best spot. What we didn’t keep in mind was that we had to somehow get past the masses of tourists that all lined up near the Byzantine Castle Ruins to watch the same mentioned sunset. It was nearly impossible to squeeze through, especially being pregnant and for the second day in a row, we missed the sunset by a few minutes.
The next day we moved hotel to see a different part of the Island. Next stop was the Carpe Diem Exclusive Resort just outside Pyrgos.
And this is where we truly found the zen that we were looking for. There we enjoyed three very quiet days, took a 5-hour catamaran sunset cruise around the island one afternoon (a fantastic wedding gift!) and explored the village Pyrgos the other. Matt even had a massage while I did Yoga by the pool! Oh and the breakfast was an Instagrammer’s dream.
The catamaran cruise was a great way of seeing more of the island in a short period of time and also to enjoy the sea. We had multiple swimming and snorkelling stops and were treated with a lovely BBQ on board. It was one of those very touristy things we noticed though because not only did we have 16 American tourists on our boat with us, but at every stop there were at least 10 to 15 other boats doing exactly the same as we did. The highlight was finally getting the picture-perfect sunset at the end – we felt that was what everyone kept talking about (and applauded during).
We spent our last evening exploring the picturesque alleyways of Pyrgos, almost completely on our own. What a difference it was to the tourist masses of Oia. This felt like the real deal, relatively untouched and still very blue and very white.
That night we ate at Botargo Restaurant. A recommendation from our host in Oia and the best meal we had in a very long time. Try the tomato cheesecake! Also, the Volcanic white Santorini wine they recommended us was just stunning. I was so sad I could only have a little taster. If I wouldn’t have been pregnant, I probably would have finished a bottle myself. Plus, did I mention that we arrived in time for sunset!
In the few days we spent on this island we really only touched the surface and I could imagine visiting Santorini again one day and some of the other Greek islands in the Aegean – preferably on a catamaran.