17 July 2019

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Santorini

I know I know, I am sooooo late in writing this post considering I visited Santorini in September last year (oops). But better late than never eh? Santorini has been on my bucketlist for as long as I can remember. Like a lot of others, the stunning white houses, and that perfect blue sea that you'll find on every postcard, sucked me in. Well on a holiday to Crete last September, and a definite YOLO moment, I took the plunge and hopped onboard a very large boat, and headed for Santorini.

After approximately 2 hours of holding my head in my hands and trying not to throw up (seriously, I will never complain about flying ever again), we finally made it to Santorini! Now I'm going to be honest with you, Santorini is not at all what I expected, but I may cover that in a different post. If however, you do have your heart set on visiting the Greek Island, then hopefully this mini guide will give you a good idea of where the best spots are, and what you can get up to there!

White RoofTop View of Santorini, Greece

Explore the Capital 

Now the first thing I always want to do when heading to a new destination, is head into the centre or capital where all the hustle and bustle is. Fira is the most cosmopolitan area of Santorini, and is located in the western edge of the island. In Fira you can find a more lively atmosphere than other areas of the island, as you'll find plenty of bars, restaurants and shops. But don't worry, there's still a lot of historic sights to see in Fira. There are lots of beautiful little churches, museums and art galleries to visit! As with the majority of Santorini, you can find some stunning views! In fact, from Fira, there is a fantastic view of the volcano! After enjoying the views, you can take a stroll down to the Old Port and enjoy some peace and quiet whilst grabbing some lunch. And if you don't fancy hiking back up from the Old Port, you can always take a cable car back up to Fira!

Wander the Streets of Oia

Without a doubt, the highlight of my Santorini trip was Oia. When you picture Santorini, Oia is probably what comes to mind with its white washed buildings, blue doors, and amazing sun terraces. The atmosphere is absolutely incredible and would make for a perfect romantic getaway, it's seriously like something from a movie! There are plenty of alley ways and streets to explore so be prepared to be on your feet all day! Oia is filled with more local craft and souvenir shops, as well as cafes and it's infamous churches. It can get very busy, and with such narrow streets it is a bit of a pain to navigate around, but it adds to it's charm in my opinion. If you want that perfect 'Santorini' photo to show off when you return home, this is the spot to take it!

Hike a Volcano

One of the biggest things that makes Santorini what we all know today is the Volcano. Various eruptions over several years have changed the whole shape of Santorini, which used to be more round in shape, to somewhere now made up of five separate islands. No matter where you are across these islands, you will see some existence of the volcano, whether it be rocks, or solidified lava. However, there are also various excursions and trips that will allow you to travel over to the island of Nea Kameni to see the still active Volcano up close!

Swim in the Hot Springs

Once you've taken a closer look at the Volcano, you can head over to the second volcanic island of Palea Kameni to visit the hot springs. The continuous volcanic activity underground maintains the temperature of the springs which usually averages at around 33 degrees celsius. Not only can you have a relaxing swim and enjoy yourself, but it's said that the sulfuric orange tinted waters in the shallow cove are actually beneficial to the skin and joints!

Relax at Kamari Beach

Not that far from Fira, you'll find Kamari Beach which is infamous for being the 'black sand' beach. It's a very popular destination for tourists as it's a very family friendly beach with various restaurants and bars surrounding the beach, and sunbeds and umbrellas at the ready! There are even some activities you can participate in if you wish such as Diving, and Watersports. 

Visit the famous Red Beach

Another great choice if you want to head to the beach for the day is the Red Beach, which gets it's name for the spectacular rugged red cliffs that surround the beach. Here you'll find the sand is a mix of black and red, and the waters are warm and crystal clear, making it perfect for snorkelling. It's a rather small beach, and has a footpath that can be rather tricky to navigate, however it is a must see for the incredible views.

Hire a Quad Bike

Something that is very popular to do in Santorini is exploring the island via a quad bike. Hiring a quad bike allows you the freedom to travel across the island without having to stick to bus and tour schedules. You can make your way through all the local villages, visit the infamous beaches, and still stop off along the way to enjoy a bite to eat whilst watching the sunset. Bikes are usually relatively inexpensive to rent, and are without a doubt the easiest way to get around the island if your aim is to see as much as possible on your trip. 

How would you spend a long weekend in Santorini?

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