Welcome to Santorini, Greece!
I use to dream about visiting Santorini...then last last year my dream became a reality. When researching our trip we knew this was one stop we had to make. We docked (tendered - Santorini is shallow since the ship anchors in the middle of the sunken volcano) early in the morning and Edward and I immediately took off for our self guided and planned day. When it comes to travel we like to go off the beaten path - thus planning our own day and not conforming to "cruise tours". We took the tender over to Thira - Thira is the official name of Santorini. Once getting on the island we had the opportunity to take a cable car up to the town or a donkey...so what did we do.... we took the DONKEY! When in Santorini....this is just what you have to do. How many chances do we have to do this....so my advise - take the donkey!
Remember - the memories are in your experiences!
**Do make sure you take or wear pants - ladies you do not want to do this in a dress!**
After our heehaw ride to the top... we rented a 4 wheeler to take and use for our day on the island. This is the way to go... it's easy and you will have it for the day so you can travel all over the island.
After renting our 4 wheeler we headed out to Oia (pronounced 'Ia') - an awesome village in Santorini... it is located at the north end of the island. If you have seen pics of Santorini, it is probably from this area....
Whitewash buildings and painted blue roofs make this a unique and stunning place to begin your day. There are shops, restaurants, art galleries, hotels and residences tucked away in every crevasse of the mountain. Pictures don't do it justice. It is calm and peaceful in the morning before all the tourist are out and about. This is a high traffic area in the afternoon and the high seasons of June, July and August. We were lucky traveling in late May to be the only cruise ship in port.
If you are looking for a picture perfect place to grab a cappuccino or a half carafe of wine...look no further. Lotza had "lotza" great reasons to stop in.... Talk about an amazing view.... Not a bad table in the place and it has something big going for it...Location, Location, Location. The pic below was taken from the ladies room...and yes I opted for the carafe of wine :)
After our morning stroll through Oia we hopped back on our wheeler and headed to one of the many amazing beaches.... First top BLACK BEACH. Santorini is a sunken volcano - lava rock makes up black beach - giving it such an original name.
We opted to spend our time at Mera Beach Bar having a few drinks and enjoying the hot sand. The we headed our to another unique experience at RED BEACH.
Red Beach is a bit more secluded and more challenging to get to. Tucked away in a lagoon, Red Beach offered a rocky and red feel between your toes. You will have to hike about a 1/4 mile in to reach this popular hidden treasure. It's well worth the hike and the euros you will pay for a chair. Everyone has white beaches but it is a true treat to go to a red and black beach on the same island.
We left our rainbow beaches and headed for some authentic Greek grub. We found this little gem as we drove through this mini town just past red beach.
The food is no lie - fabulous!!!!!!! A plate full of Greek Heaven should be a dishes name. There was some fried cheese contraption that was sooooooo good! The wine is also very good in Greece. The really don't serve "glasses of wine" - they serve "carafes of wine" - its like a whole bottle. You can order a 1/2 carafe though...you know for when you don't want to indulge too much. haha!
Santorini is amazing and any chance you get to go - take it! Remember to make your own experiences based on what you like to do. Its an island and you can get a map... so go get lost and eat some great authentic food, drink lots of wine and stop to be silly!