Santorini is one of the gorgeous Greek islands located in the Aegean Sea. This Greek island with its whitewashed buildings crowned with blue domes and the backdrop of a perpetual blue sea is a tourist paradise. Some of the super hit Bollywood songs of Salman Khan in ‘Wanted’ and Hrithik Roshan in ‘Bang Bang’ shot in these locations made sure that Santorini makes to the top of the bucket list of every Bollywood fan.
Fira and Oia are the two major tourists towns of Santorini. Fira, the capital of Santorini is the cultural and commercial center and is a bit touristy and Oia with a laid back experience in the north of Santorini is best known for its breathtaking sunset views and the picturesque villages with a quiet and calm atmosphere.
To visit Santorini, the best options are flight or a ferry from Athens. We chose to travel by ferry which was a different experience altogether. Sailing amidst the never ending blue expanse, the sound of waves crashing and the fresh chilled air to respire gives you an immense feeling of rejuvenation.
We embarked the ferry early morning around 7 am from Piraeus port in Athens. We had booked the tickets for the ferry online and collected the tickets early morning from their office at the port. To reach Piraeus port, you can either book a taxi or choose to travel through the metro. Metro line 1 (green line) serves you to the Piraeus port and as soon as you come out of the station you will see the port. (Gates E5 and E6).
Our ferry was a high-speed ship, which reached us at Athinios port around 12 in the noon. We had booked a room in Oia and it took us around an hour to reach our hotel from the port.
We freshened up, had our lunch and planned to do some Oia town sightseeing. Our host guided us through a tourist map of the Oia town center, which was just a km away from our hotel. Luckily his wife was driving to Oia and she offered to drop us.
We wandered through the cobbled stone alleys lined with whitewashed buildings, souvenir shops, taverns and cafes. The town of Oia with its houses, churches and the restaurants painted white and blue is perched on a cliff with awe-inspiring views over the caldera.
Oia also has a small port, Amoudi, which can be reached by a set of 300 steps leading down and has some of the best swimming spots.
To behold the best sunset view possible you may need to reserve a table in one of the restaurants as the best vantage points will always be crowded with the tourists waiting there well before the sunset. We returned to our room after the sunset. Had our dinner and retired to our bed.
There are many places of interest around Oia and Fira. You can do it either by renting a car or by hiking. We had only one day at hand and had to take a ferry back to Athens next day evening hence the best option for us was to do a catamaran tour. We booked a morning tour with lunch included. There is also another option for a sunset tour, the most popular one with a complementary dinner.
Our tour was a semi-private tour where we had 3 more couples joining us. Sailing on the crystal clear waters of Aegean Sea and enjoying the vistas of the spectacular Caldera cliffs and beaches was a euphoric experience.
Our first stop was supposed to be the red beach which we could not make due to the high tide but our captain promised to make for it by stopping at one of the swimming spots near Amoudi bay.
We headed to the Hot Springs, which is the major proof of the strong volcanic activity present even to this day. While few of us chose to remain on deck and take pictures others chose to swim through and soak in the volcano’s hot springs.
Our cook on board was now ready with a delicious lunch and freshly prepared barbecued chicken.
While we all devoured the yummy lunch our captain sailed us back to the port with a short stop near the Amoudi bay. The whitewashed houses of Santorini on the edge of the cliff looked like a fresh snow shower on the slopes of the mountain.
It was a well organized and a fun-filled tour, and a memorable experience to cherish for the lifetime.
We returned to our hotel, freshened up and hired a taxi to the port to take a ferry back to Athens.
Like all good things come to an end so did our Santorini trip.
Have you visited an island? Do share with us your experience of staying on an island in comments.
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