Santorini has been at the top of my bucket list ever since I first saw a photograph of this picturesque island with its white buildings built into the sides of cliffs, its beautiful blue domed churches and the gorgeous blue water of the caldera that meets the endlessly blue skies. Santorini is romantic, charming, beautiful… it is everything I had hoped and more. We spent our days strolling Oia, relaxing in our gorgeous cave hotel, cruising around the island on Quad bikes and finishing our days with unforgettable sunsets and bottles of fantastic local wine. Our time on Santorini was so perfect that it almost feels like a dream.
Every town on Santorini has its charms but Oia is the village which I have always been drawn to. It is perched on the northern tip of the island and is without a doubt one of the most charming and stunning villages of the Cyclades islands. Oia is built on the steep slope of the caldera with most of its buildings nestled into the volcanic rock creating many of the sought after cave hotels.
We were staying in one of these beautiful hotels and I am so glad that we decided to book our stay in Oia rather than one of the other villages. Oia’s beauty and charm means it draws crowds from all over the island as well as from the many cruise ships who dock in the bay each day during summer. The day we arrived we arrived just after sunrise and spent the morning strolling the empty streets of Oia, falling more and more in love with it each step we took. When we returned that afternoon after Quad biking we found it jam packed with people and it literally took us ten minutes to walk a few hundred metres! It was a similar experience to that we had on the Cinque Terre where we were lucky enough to be staying in this magical location that we could retreat to our hotel or another part of the island during the day whilst the crowds swarmed but then early mornings and evenings we were left with this paradise to ourselves. If you want to experience Oia as we did (and as you’ll see in the photos below) then get up and start EARLY, you won’t regret it!
The Santorini sunset is certainly something on everyone’s Santorini Bucket List. Whether you watch the sunset from Oia, Fira, Imerovigli or even from your own boat it is guaranteed to be magical. Our first night we caught the sunset from our hotel in Oia and the second night we went to the “typical” sunset spot which is Oia Castle. We were prepared and knew that we would be watching this sunset with thousands of others, but I could tell there were some people who were disappointed by the experience. It was a beautiful sunset in a magical spot and yes there were thousands of other people sharing it with us but like anything, it is what you make it (and we took a few ciders along which helped) and Dan still managed to squeeze through the crowds and get a few great shots!
Oh yeah… this is how many people you’ll be sharing it with, but don’t let it ruin it for you! If this isn’t your scene there are loads of restaurants and hotels with the perfect view just be prepared to book in advance and pay well for the location!
QUAD BIKING AROUND SANTORINI
We arrived in Oia at 5am on a ferry from Kos and as it was peak season we couldn’t check into our room until the afternoon. We were exhausted but we thought that the best way to keep ourselves awake would be to explore! We hired a Quad Bike (or ATV as they call them) which cost approximately €35 and we only had to put about €8 worth of fuel in it for the entire day! Parking at all the beaches and most of the towns was also free, just make sure you park in actual parking bays as we were warned you’d be fined if you just parked by the side of the road in towns.
We literally drove around the entire island which is actually really big, much bigger than you’d expect! The highlights from our adventures were the black sand beaches of Kamari, Perissa, Pervolos, the site of Ancient Thira where WE had incredible views from the top of the mountain, the towns of Imerovigli and Pyrgos and of course the Red & White beaches which were spectacular!
We hired our quad in Oia and spent the entire day exploring. All of the roads were in a decent condition and there wasn’t too much traffic so we felt fairly safe the whole time. The only time the roads got busy where when a ferry arrived and all the trucks disembarked so we just pulled over and got a ice cream whilst we waited for the roads to clear a bit. We made sure we got helmets with out Quad and as always were surprised with just how many tourists weren’t wearing helmets! We highly recommend to get helmets, it very well may save your life!
Quad biking around Santorini was a highlight of our time on the Greek Islands. Santorini is such an incredible, diverse island and it is certainly best explored by Quad or car! It was only June when we were in Santorini but it was so hot and as you can see in the photos my legs were very burnt by the end of the day so again we recommend suncream and lots of water to fully enjoy your day exploring this amazing island!
Our stay on Santorini was made perfect by our incredible stay at Nostos Apartments in Oia which was one of the most beautiful, magical places we’ve stayed in all our travels and truly made our time on Santorini unforgettable.
Santorini is one of the most picturesque places on Earth and I truly don’t think it would be possible to have a better view than the view from Nostos Apartments. No matter where you are in Nostos whether your room, terrace, in the pool, lounging by the pool or in the breakfast room you will literally have to pinch yourself at times to believe you are lucky enough to be staying in this paradise! Nostos Apartments have a beautiful pool which overlooks the caldera, the volcano and the beautiful white cliffside buildings of Oia. Wonderfully comfortable sun beds and fresh pool towels are provided so you can spend your days lazing by the pool admiring the breathtaking views. The pool is also a saviour during hot summer days when Santorini is absolutely roasting!
We were staying in a beautiful studio which absolutely blew us away the moment we stepped inside. Our room was built into the cliffside and was a real life cave, we felt like we were the Flintstones but in a lot more luxury! We loved the white and blue decor with polished concrete floors that created a wonderful, beachy Greek Island ambiance. Our stay at Nostos Apartments was one of the reasons why we loved Santorini so much and it truly made our time on the island so incredibly perfect.
You can read all about our stay at Nostos Apartments here: An Unforgettable Stay on Santorini at Romantic Nostos Apartments
It is not often that you visit a place you’ve always wanted to and it is even better than you could have possibly imagined. I am so happy that Santorini exceeded all my (very high) expectations, I truly fell in love with this picture perfect, romantic, beautiful island. We’re in the process of planning our wedding which is going to be at the end of next year and I honestly think it is going to be tough to choose a honeymoon destination that will beat Santorini!
Have you ever been to Santorini or is it also on your bucket list?