Firstly, I must acknowledge how intense my holiday blues are since returning from Santorini. So before you book anything – bear this in mind. You won’t believe your eyes when you see how stunning it is, and you will stare longingly at your photos for hours on end when you return.
So anyway. This post is going to give you a run down on everything that I can think of that will be relevant to you if you are considering Santorini as a holiday destination. We visited in June and would go back in a heartbeat if that was possible.
We travelled by ferry from Mykonos to Santorini. We didn’t look into flying as the ferry definitely seemed like the most popular option. The ferry took around 2-2.5 hours and you get it from the port in Mykonos. I’d highly recommend booking your ticket in advance, as the port is so hectic. We booked ours the day before in a small travel agents right beside our hotel, but you can book online either. I would recommend asking your hotel for assistance here to see what is the easiest for you. If you’re travelling from another island and haven’t booked online, you need to print your tickets as far as I know. Our ferry was about 20 minutes late, and apparently they’re notorious for being very hit and miss time-wise, so don’t panic about this.
Where we stayed
So, I’m going to be brutally honest on this piece. Our first hotel was called Nefeli Homes and was in Imerovigli. The reviews and photos online looked absolutely amazing, so we were so excited to be staying here. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we got the ultimate dud room. It was located under the pool (the hotels are built into the side of the cliff if that helps to make it clearer on how that works!), and it was absolutely tiny. We couldn’t actually open our suitcase flat on the ground. Our shower, air conditioning, and safe didn’t work, and the decor was painfully old fashioned. However, the staff were very friendly and helpful, and the views were absolutely stunning. In pure Irish fashion, we said nothing – which I really regret now. But at the time, we knew we were just there for two nights. It was also clear that the hotel was full, and we had already paid the full price – so nothing was going to change there.
Our next hotel was Ilioperato, and OH MY GOD it was just stunning. Everything about this place warms my heart when I think about it. The staff, the food, the room and most of all, the view! It was incredible. I can’t say enough good things about this place. Just go. Please. It was located just a few minutes down the road from our previous hotel, so we just moved our bags over that morning and that was that. So handy.
Good to know – location
When I was trying to figure out where to stay, I decided on Imerovigli because it was in between the other two popular locations (Oia & Fira) and it seemed to make a lot more sense in terms of getting around the island. It was incredibly quiet though, very honeymoon-y! While we were certainly not on a honeymoon, we did really like it. We were coming to Santorini off the back of 5 nights in Mykonos which was very lively, and the chilled out scene was what we wanted. Fira definitely seems to be way more upbeat, and good accomodation in Oia seems to be incredibly expensive. I could be way off, but that’s just the impression I got.
We knew we wanted to spend 4 nights in Santorini, but we had left it so late when booking that everything was either insanely expensive, or just looked crap. When I was looking on Booking.com, I decided to break up the amount of nights we were staying into two and two as opposed to four. This is how we found affordable prices and gorgeous hotels (hotel!) in the location that we wanted. We were unlucky with our first hotel, but that’s just a tip to get what you want when you leave it a little late.
Where to eat
Anogi – this place was recommended to us on our first night by our hotel and we loved it so much we went back for a second dinner. Trust me on this one, just go, but book ahead!
Meze Meze – we ate here on our second night and got the best seat in the house. It’s really great food, off the beaten track, and is very affordable.
For lunch each day we just went our local Gyro place and spent a whopping 2.70Euro on them – a great way to balance the spending we did at dinner!
A few other places that were recommended to us were….Lotza (in Oia), Floga, Sun Spirit cocktail bar (book in advance), Argo, Apiron (book in advance), Avocado (book in advance), Convivium, Vanilla, Metaxi Mas (book in advance, ask for a table outside), Luckys (lunch). Have a search on Trip Advisor for any of these and see what is near you.
What to do
There is so much to do in Santorini, if you’re looking to take a break from all of the chilling out. I would highly recommend renting a quad bike for at least one day, and exploring the island from top to bottom. Check out all of the beaches and cute little villages, you’ll see the side of the island that isn’t on Instagram and we found it very cool! Barron, but cool.
Make sure you visit the main towns – Fira, Imervogili & Oia. You’ll find the beautiful blue domes in Oia, but if you want a snazzy Instagram shot then make sure you go before 4pm – the crowds are insane otherwise.
An absolute must is the sunset cruise. We booked ours through Trip Advisor, and there are lots of different options there which you can decide between. Pretty much all of them offer a full tour around the coast of the island, and unlimited food and drinks. It’s so brilliant and I would highly recommend it.
Watch the sunset. People say to watch from Oia, but it doesn’t matter where you watch it from in my opinion as long as you do. They’re so spectacular, they’ll blow your mind!
The Fira to Oia cliff walk. This is a stunning way to take it all of the beautiful scenery. Definitely do a part of it at least, it’s gorgeous.
Overall, for the 4 nights that we were there, our accommodation landed in or around the 650Euro mark. Flights are obviously going to fluctuate depending on the time of year and when you book, and the ferry we took from Mykonos cost around 55Euro each. The boat trip that we took cost around 110Euro each, but was definitely well worth it. Per day, quads cost about 45-50Euro. Meals obviously depend on the restaurant, and I would highly recommend checking prices before you sit down.
So there you have it…literally everything that I can think of at this point that is relevant. I genuinely could not recommend this place highly enough as a holiday destination. I know it is on a lot of people’s bucket lists, it was on mine for years. I would say to just bite the bullet and make it happen, one way or another.
Any questions, just shout! Lots of love,
***One thing that I will ask of you if you visit Santorini…please please please do not engage with the cruel men/companies who force poor unfortunate donkeys and horses to climb countless steep steps day after day for hours on end. Some tourists will use them as a way to get back up the cliff because it’s traditional. It is traditional, but it’s incredibly cruel and these animals are not cared for the way that they should be.***