by Taylor Deer
A Dream Come True Weekend
I am happy to hear you all enjoyed my last blog post on historical Athens. You have no idea how appreciative I am for all of your support! This week, I am excited to bring you all to the next dreamy place on my ultimate Greek trip.
After spending two great days in Greece’s exciting capital, I was stoked to head to the world-famous blue dome and crescent shaped island of Santorini. The flight from Athens to Santorini is just short of 30 minutes, which is great because you can get there in time to still enjoy the day. When we arrived, I had to pinch myself a few times because I could have sworn I was dreaming!
When our flight landed in the small Santorini airport, I couldn’t wait to become a Greek Goddess for the next two days. After we checked into our hotel, I was excited to live a dream I thought I would only experience through Google Images and Instagram.
My first adventure in Santorini was to the beautiful black sand beach called Perivolos Beach. This beautiful beach lies on the southern end of the island and features gorgeous blue waters and a tranquil atmosphere. Perivolos Beach was my first black sand beach experience and there was no better way to enjoy it than in Santorini where most of the beaches are composed of volcanic sand. As awesome as it is to be at a black sand beach, it is important to remember to bring sandals, stay on the boarded pathways or near the water when walking anywhere along the shoreline. If you think the sand at your local beach gets hot on a mid-summer afternoon, then you have never stepped on a black sand beach in July.
The best part of Perivolos Beach is swimming in the beautiful and clear Aegean Sea. The cliffs that surround the beach and the dark sand that you don’t get to see everyday are surreal when swimming in the refreshing water. I couldn’t believe where I was!
Perivolos Beach offers lounge chairs and bamboo umbrellas, so you can relax comfortably in the shade. Another great aspect about this beach is that you don’t even need to leave your lounge chair to get food or a drink. The beach has servers that come over to your chair and take your order. It’s amazing! (I’m not used to that.)
Later that evening, we headed back to our hotel and got ready for the night. Whenever I go somewhere nice on vacation, I love to do some shopping beforehand in hopes to find something that complements the styles that are popular in the area that I am traveling to. I picked up a tied-up lace romper that had blue and white designs on the bottom. It was the perfect outfit to wear in Greece, specifically Santorini. Since we were heading into Firá and attending a Greek wedding show, I could not wait to wear that exact outfit. I felt like a Greek Goddess!
Firá is the capital of Santorini. It is located on the western side of the crescent shaped island and features gorgeous caldera cliffs, opposite of a volcano, that overlook the Aegean Sea and the breathtaking white Cycladic houses situated on the cliffs. When we arrived, I was awestruck because all of those National Geographic photos came to life in front of me.
The sunsets in the Greek Islands are the best I have ever seen. One of my favorite sayings is “Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” Whenever I am having an off day, I always love to go back to my sunset pictures from Greece and pretend I am still there! The sunset we saw in Firá was breathtaking.
After enjoying a peaceful sunset at the caldera, we then had a blast attending a Greek wedding show. The show took place in a cute theater located right in Firá. Set in the post World War II years, we took part as being “invited” guests of a strong-willed Greek family. The show begins in the interior of the home where you get to meet each member of the family. We then headed out to the courtyard where we sat at dining tables and enjoyed delicious wine along with a selection of Greek tapas. After we ate, we had an amazing time listening to the best Greek wedding music, dancing with all of the family members and wishing good luck to the newlyweds by participating in their tradition of breaking plates against the floor.
We all were in such a joyous mood that we couldn’t wait to take the party back to downtown Firá. Modern day Firá is both a cultural and commercial center on the island. It features museums, galleries and events as well as a big restaurant and nightlife scene tucked into quaint cobbled-stone streets. We started the night at a bar overlooking the caldera and then headed deeper into the downtown area to the nightclubs. Unfortunately, I didn’t take note of each of the different clubs and bars we hopped around in Firá, but you definitely won’t have a tough time finding a place with great music and drinks.
When we were ready to go home, we were all starving for something filling. Luckily, there are so many kebab street stands outside of Firá, so we stopped and got chicken on a stick. The street stands also sell delicious gyros with chicken, beef, pork and lamb.
The next morning we went to Kamari Beach situated southeast on the island. This beach was covered with small black rocks, so it was hard to walk barefoot on the shoreline, but it was still cool to experience. Just like Perivolos Beach, Kamari Beach also has lounge chairs and bamboo umbrellas where you can take a nap in the shade and feel the breeze coming off of the sea. They also have servers that come around and serve food and drinks. Since we went to Kamari Beach in the morning, there were servers coming around with homemade donuts. There were even masseuses walking around and giving people massage services.
On the right side of the beach (looking out to the sea) is an enormous rock that ascends from the crystal blue sea and leads up to the highest point in Santorini. Even though we didn’t get to go to Kamari Beach at night, locals informed us that the rocks shine at night as the sea peacefully flows over them.
After spending a relaxing morning at the beach, we could not wait to see what else Santorini had to offer. We drove up to the highest peak of Santorini, which is a monastery of the Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elias). The drive up the mountain was kind of scary as we were driving along the edge of a cliff. However, the views were phenomenal! You can catch gorgeous aerial sights of both Perivolos and Kamari Beach as well as the beautiful countryside of Santorini.
Once we got back in the car, we were all starving. We headed to the village of Pyrgos for a savory Greek lunch. Since I had been eating gyros and souvlaki throughout most of my trip at that point, I was craving a seafood dish. I got a great shrimp meal with Greek lemon potatoes on the side. The village of Pyrgos is built around an old fortress and is the perfect Cycladic village. You can even catch people riding donkeys as a form of transportation in Pyrgos. I felt like I was the character Lena in my favorite tween book, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Later on in the afternoon, we headed to the most beautiful winery I had ever been to. If you know me well, I love spending a nice Saturday or Sunday afternoon sipping wine at a beautiful vineyard! Venetsanos Winery is located right above the port of Athinos, overlooking the breathtaking caldera in Santorini. It is the perfect place to enjoy refreshing wine, take memorable pictures and it makes for the perfect wedding or proposal spot. As you walk around sipping your wine, you can catch gorgeous views of the Aegean Sea as well as small islands surrounding the caldera. There are even walking trails that take you down the cliff to the port.
In addition to enjoying the views at Venetsanos Winery, you can even take an informative tour of the winery and learn historical and modern wine making techniques. After the tour, we did a tasting of four different wines – red, white, rosé and a dessert wine.
Our next and last big adventure in Santorini was to the world-famous, but also quaint and charming village of Oia. The reason why Oia is universally famous is because the town is known for it’s three iconic and beautiful blue dome buildings and the best sunsets on the island. The city even offers wonderful restaurants, shops and bars.
It is a little tricky, but when you are in Oia, it is a MUST to find the iconic postcard shot of the blue dome buildings overlooking the caldera. In that same area, you can even find the three bells of Firá that overlook the water. This area in Oia is the best place to take your travel photos.
After you get your photography in, head over to the famous Oia Windmill to catch the best sunset you will ever see! As we watched the sunset, we enjoyed sharing stories and laughter while sipping on fresh cocktails. It was the best way to end our two-days in Santorini.
When you visit Greece, or are traveling through the Mediterranean region, I definitely recommend making your way over to Santorini. Even though a lot of areas in Santorini attract many tourists, it is still a spectacular place to travel to. I was only there for two-full days, but could have easily stayed longer. If you get the chance to stay a few extra days, I was told to visit Akrotiri – also known as Red Beach!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my amazing journey through Santorini. If you have any questions about my trip, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yamas! (Cheers in Greek)
In the meantime, get ready to set sail to my favorite Greek Island – peaceful Paros.
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