For many years now, my friends were telling me to go to Santorini and that I would fall in love with this island so this year I did. It was absolutely gorgeous. It is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever seen. Fira, Imerovigli and Oia are for the romantic couples but Kamari and Perissa are beach villages and they are great for families. I have stayed in Kamari, in Hotel Matina (got the idea from the review here). It is a great little hotel with very friendly owners and the prices are very reasonable.
This Santorini hotel is amazing. It is only two minutes from the black sand Kamari beach in Santorini and in a very nice flower garden.
There is no nightlife in Thirassia. Once the 4.30pm ferry to Santorini has gone, that's it. The island settles down to snooze. There are no bars, no souvenir shops, only two or three restaurants. No beaches. One place to stay (rooms just above the main village, Manolas, on the single track to the south of the island).
But if you want the smell of wild thyme, a stiff breeze blowing off the water, mountain scrambles, deserted hermitages, and the sound of distant mule bells; if you're prepared to bring your own lunch, and get up early for the eight o'clock ferry, Thirassia will give you an unforgettable day's walking under the blue sky of the Cyclades. Time enough in a day to walk the entire length of the island, bag its peak, and still have time to sit and admire the view of Santorini from the other side.
An excellent restaurant that serves huge portions of traditional food. We had the set price lamb vlachiho at EUR for two - including salad, wine, and vegetables - and could just manage to finish it, this after a pretty strenuous day of hiking from the other side of the island. Friendly service, great little place under awnings. Don't go unless you are hungry!
Perissa, Santorini - just off the main road through the town
Google map: tinyurl.com/3ae9shb
Santorini is a beautiful and impressive island known all over the world for its active volcano. Its last eruption took place in 1950 but more than 100 eruptions have taken place during the last 40 centuries. The most disastrous one occurred 3.5 thousand years ago and lead to the burial of a flourished civilization under tonnes of lava. The eruptions followed by lava spreading have lead to the creation of two small islands in the centre of the caldera area of Santorini, named as Palea Kameni (Old Burnt island) and Nea Kameni (New Burnt island). The first one is 2,000 years old consisting of a thin fertile soil level where locals cultivated animal feed, in the past. Nowadays, one can see wild animals like rabbits or goats that try to survive there. The second island, Nea Kameni, is much bigger that Palea Kameni and is composed of lava rocks with a few plants and rabbits as well as a lot of lizards living there.
The two small volcanic islands are surrounded by the Santorini complex which consists of Thira (the half moon shaped island), Thirasia (on the north west side of Thira) and Aspronisi (south Thirasia) which are the earth parts that stayed above sea level after the volcano eruption, 3,500 ago, that created the caldera of Santorini.
The eruptions were always preceded by warnings such as water warming, water subsiding, earthquakes.
The Santorini volcano has been sleeping for the last 60 years while hot springs on the coasts of Palea and Nea Kameni and gas emissions remind people of its being alive. However, scientists have installed an equipment network in order to get notified of any pre-eruption phenomenon so as to keep save both locals’ and visitors’ lives.
Guided tours are organized to the volcano area so everybody can visit it, swim in the medicinal baths of the hot springs and see the rocks or the soil that have been created by the lava.
This amazing free art space in Santorini is housed in two wine cellars, a rake distillery and the large caved space of the old winery, carved into the pumice rock.
For sightseeing on a budget, you couldn't do better - check out some contemporary art and sculpture from Greek and foreign artists.
Then when you've worked up a thirst, head over to the modern winery for a tasting. Specialities include the delicious Vino Santo, a sweet dessert wine, and Tsikoudia, a drink made from grape pomace, the solid remains of the grape after pressing.
It's far cheaper than touring vineyards in Tuscany, and you get a dose of edgy art on the side!
Exo Gonia, 84700 Santorini, Greece
Santorini is a notoriously expensive island, and a Mecca for tour groups. Instead of staying at the overpopulated Oia or Fira, take a 20 minutes drive/bus to Kamari Beach. No mobs of tourists, a noticeable drop in hotel prices, the beach is on your doorstep - and the street facing the beach is filled with delicious tavernas. As one of our waiters put it, in Kamari "the people are friendlier, and the food is better!"
Walk from Oia to Fira late in the day when it's cooling down. Get the bus to Oia, spend some time in this beautiful jewel of a place, then walk the six miles or so back along the cliffs to Fira as the sun is setting - magical! Not forgetting the comfy shoes!
Oia is on the end of the island - a 20 minute bus ride from Fira.
A gem of a boutique hotel in Perissa is on the opposite side of the island to Fira (the capital) and Oia (stunning!) which must be visited by bus - frequent, cheap and very scenic.
The owner Captain Spiros (yes really!) listens to his guests and makes improvements to his hotel accordingly. At around €42 per room per night it is terrific value. Breakfast is light, but more than sufficient with fresh Greek produce. There are lovely views at the back from an attractive garden with pool.
Tavernas in Perissa are many, good and cheap. Fira and Dorian's Pub over the road has a welcoming leafy garden and cheap cocktails and beer.
Flights are with Easyjet from Gatwick.
On the main street into town and 5 mins from the beach.
If you open any Santorini travel guide, you will read that Santorini is an amazing island, of sublime beauty, with unique natural scenery. This is absolutely true. They also mention the wonderful sunset and the romantic atmosphere. This is absolutely true as well. Santorini, however, offers many more options and this makes it ideal not only for couples but also for solo travelers. Being a solo traveler myself, I always want to find activities that will give me the opportunity to explore and discover new things. As I was staying at Kamari, I decided to do a hiking from there to Ancient Thera.
I started rather early in the morning in order to avoid the sun and the heat. I took the paved, winding road that goes uphill. It was not very easy, but I had the chance to see parts of the ancient cemetery and a panoramic view of Kamari. The pine trees at the side of the road provided me with a few shady places where I could catch my breath. Plus, I was not the only one following this route and this gave me more courage! As I was not in a hurry, I did a detour and went to the chapel of Zoodochos Pigi, too, where I relaxed for a while on its cemented benches, as the shade of the huge tree keeps the place cool. Right next to the chapel, there is a small cave, but you will need extra light if you want to see it. After that, I returned to the main path and headed towards the archaeological site of ancient Thera, the main settlement of the island from the 12th century BC until the first centuries AD. It did not take me a long time to see it all, but it was one of the most interesting places on Santorini.
Totally, it took me about 2.5 hours and I admit it was tiring at some points, however I think it was one of the most interesting and original things I did while being on Santorini. I enjoyed the open, panoramic view of Kamari and the Aegean Sea -a totally different sight from the caldera but equally beautiful- and though I did not walk on volcanic ground, the thought that I was walking on the oldest part of the island charmed me. I recommend this route to everyone and I hope you will find it as interesting as I did.
I found all the info I needed at this site:
The small island of Santorini is stunningly beautiful, with its old world traditional Greek charm and breathtaking views. However, it is one of the most expensive of the Greek islands, so our advice is to stay on the much cheaper east side of the island in a resort such as Kamari or Perissa. In the evening you can take a short bus ride (cheap fares and frequent service) to the more exclusive west side villages of Thira and Oia where you can dine in the cliff top restaurants whilst watching the spectacular sunsets. The other advantage of staying on the lower east side of the island is that this is where the beaches are located. Whatever you might read in the guidebooks, Oia does not have a beach! Many tourists make the trek down the long, steep winding path to the sea, in the sweltering heat, only to find a disappointing pile of rocks and pebbles awaiting them!
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