Sun and sailing in Santorini

Ally Case on 10 May 2022
On 10th May, we travelled to Santorini, Greece for 8 nights. It was incredible and definitely one of our new favourite destinations. We flew from Stansted Airport with Jet2 and they were absolutely amazing. When booking our holiday, we looked at lots of options all around the island. The most famous areas being Thira and Oia which are well known for the white and blue buildings and the incredible sunset. However, because these areas are so popular, they came with the price and we realised that staying outside of here would mean that we could get more for our money. We ended up staying in a wonderful area of the island called Perissa, famous for their black sandy beaches. It is on the opposite side of the island which means we saw the sunrise instead of the sunsets, it also meant there were not crowds and that the restaurants there were half the price as they are in Oia and Thira. The whole island is only 35km, so it is really easy to get around, whether that is from hiring a car or quad bike or taxis. You can therefore, go into Thira and Oia to experience it without having to splash the cash by staying there.

The hotel we stayed in was Kouros Village Hotel. This hotel is adults only and like many hotels in Greece, only offered a bed and breakfast service. We would recommend this hotel to all couples, older families or friends looking for a relaxing holiday, it was really amazing. For a couple of days of our holiday, we just sat and relaxed by the pool and had lunch from their pool bar which was excellent value and very tasty. Around the area of the hotel, it was a 300m walk to the beach where you could go swimming in the sea. The beaches in Santorini are black sand because it is a volcanic island that erupted hundreds of years ago, leaving high cliff fronts on one side and volcanic beaches on the other. The sea is completely clear and beautiful. Along the sea front it lines with restaurants, beach clubs and other hotels. There are so many places to choose from with most meals ranging from €10-€15. If we walked in the opposite direction from the beach, roughly 500m, there was a street filled with shops where you can buy water and snacks for your trip and more restaurants which tend to be a lot cheaper than the beach front.

Oia and Thira are absolutely beautiful but their beauty comes with the high price of crowds during peak season and expensive restaurants. One taxi man told us that in the peak of the summer, a taxi drive just between Oia and Thira could take 2 hours because of the traffic. The hotels are also smaller as they are on the cliff face and are perfect for a honeymoon or anniversary holiday.

Things to Do Hire a Quad Bike – Hiring a quad bike is definitely the best thing to do if you are wanting to explore the island. We paid €40 for 24hour hire on a 310cc quad bike, you could hire them for three days for a cheaper deal. We used around €10 of petrol for the entire day and it was a wonderful experience. We decided we just wanted to stay on the south of the island, we got recommendations of where to go from the lady that worked in our hotel and off, we went. We would recommend these places on the South: • Caldera Café: This café was a random spot that we found on our way to Akitiri. It was high up and overlooked the caldera. It would be the perfect spot for a sunset viewing. • Akitiri and the lighthouse: Akitiri is a small town and you can drive toward the lighthouse which is based right on the end of the island. It has incredible views and would also be another great spot for the sunset. • Kambia Beach: This was another random place we spotted. You had to travel about 1km down a gravel track which was fun on a quad bike, and you ended up at this beautiful, secluded beach which was surrounded by the large rocks of the island. • Other beaches along the coast (Red beach and White beach): There are several other beaches along the coast. We briefly stopped at the red beach and white beach on our catamaran cruise (read on for more information). • Pyrogos and the airbase: Pyrogos is probably one of my favourite towns in Santorini, it is small with cobbled roads and it is very Greek and pretty. From Pyrogos you can travel to the highest point of the island up to the airbase. When you get up there it is an incredible view, you can see the whole island from top to bottom.

Catamaran Sunset Cruise – This was my favourite activity that we did in Santorini. We used a company called Spiridakos Sailing Cruises who were amazing. They were so kind and accommodating. The cruise was €120pp for the standard cruise, €150pp for the premium cruise and €180pp on the luxury cruise. We went on the standard cruise which included 3 stops, unlimited wine and a buffet for dinner. We stopped for a jump into the sea where the white beach was (the only part of the island that was untouched from the volcanic eruption), we then stopped at the hot springs on the volcano island. They were stinky and not extremely hot but still a wonderful experience. Our final spot was the other side of the volcano island where we jumped in and did snorkelling with the fish. After this we stayed and looked at the incredible view whilst digging into our delicious Greek buffet. The return back to port was the view of the sunset behind us. All round a wonderful experience. The premium cruise included unlimited beer as well as wine and the luxury cruise had a BBQ dinner, cocktails, beer and wine and they made an extra stop in Oia for the sunset.

Hike from Thira to Oia – If you fancy a bit of exercise on one day of your holiday then this hike will be perfect for you, it is 100% worth the exhaustion. Overall, it is around 10km and can take anywhere between 3-5 hours. I would recommend going early in the morning if it is a hot day or go on a cloudy day because it can get a bit sweaty. Catch the bus into Thira (depending on where you are staying), it is €2 per person. Once you get into Thira, have a walk around and enjoy the beautiful views and cobbled streets. You then will start you are hike to Oia, the whole way you are spoilt with incredible views and the site of Oia in front of you seems so far away. It is an easy route to follow, however, we used this guide to help us:

Overall, Santorini was incredible, and it can be achieved both on a budget or in luxury. The whole island was beautiful and there was so much to see and perfect weather.