Santorini

Fira

Santorini is an island which witnessed a volcanic eruption 3600 years ago, the towns Fira and Oia have whitewashed houses (typically with blue doors) sitting on edges of caldera which is now submerged under sea. We flew to Santorini from Athens. Santorini can be reached by boat too. We stayed in towncenter Fira in Antonia Hotel/Appartments. The Hotel was within walkable distance to Fira town center and bus stop. Our mode of sightseeing around Santorini was by bus. The private buses all start from Fira. There are buses to Kamari (Black beach), Akrotiri (Red beach) and Oia (very crowded especially in the evening). The Bus stop has details of the routes and timings.

Walking along the coast line from Fira to Oia is a famous 5 mile hike here. But owing to strong sun and hot weather we decided to walk only 1.5 miles and took bus to Oia many times. The walk was surreal. This place is romantic and has an undescribable charm to it.

Sunset in Oia is very famous. We went there for one sunset and was surely mesmerizing. But we found sunset in Fira even more beautiful. Oia can get way too crowded at times. Fira is more relaxed. We watched two sunsets here at ease and also had a dinner overlooking the sunset. One of the memorable evenings for sure!

Being Vegetarians we did not have any difficulty in finding food here in Santorini. The Pelican Kipos Restaurant had excellent garden style ambiance with flowers and grapes hanging down from vine. The food and beverages were good and fresh. We has multiple lunches at Jaipur Indian Palace.

After sunset Fira transforms into colorful night-time paradise.

Oia

Oia is 30 minutes bus ride from Fira. The hill walk beside the whitewashes buildings and sea on other side is like being in another world.

Our favorite food spot in Oia was Skiza Cafe. Tasty pizza pasta deserts and milkshakes. Our personal favorites were Orange pie and pista milkshake, a must try if visiting Oia!. Views from cafe are amazing too!

The Byzantine Castle Ruins is the point people will be running towards in the evening as crowd accumulates as early as 4 hours before sunset. The views of sunset from here is said to be beautiful. But we managed to get a decent spot way below the castle ruins and still witness a beautiful and peaceful sunset.

The downside to Oia sunset is there will be more than 500 people in the narrow lanes trying to squeeze each other out in a race to be first to catch the bus back to Fira! Though there will be plenty of buses ready to fill people in as fast as possible.

Kamari - Black beach

Other than whitewashed buildings along the coast line, there are beaches lined with black, red and white colored pebbles which give them the name black beach, red beach and white beach respectively. The colors are caused by volcanic soil with varying mineral contents. The Black Beach can be reached by bus to Kamari from Fira. It iss a 20 min beautiful ride.

The water is soothing and relaxing in the hot sun, but pebbles can be a little hard on skin. Kids will definetely love this beach, as they will love collecting colorful pebbles of many shapes.

On the way back from Kamari to Fira, there is an Indian restaurant in Karterados (one stop before Fira), named Jaipur Palace Indian Restaurant. This is the only authentic Indian restaurant, and food here is delicious. The owner is friendly and can customize the food if the need be.

Red Beach

Bus to Akrotiri from Fira goes to Red Beach (last stop). Red beach is a 20 min walk from the stop, a little tricky but not hard walk. The red pebbles and cliffs facing the blue water is a rare and beautiful sight not to be missed.

Our place of stay

We stayed in Antonia Hotel Santorini. The rates are very reasonable. Though there is no direct ocean view/access, it only takes 5 mins to get there. The Hotel is in Fira town centre, very close to bus stop and Fira coastline. The sunrise here is beautiful. They do pick up from and drop to airport. Owner is friendly and the ambience is homely. Breakfast is not provided. Our stay here was very pleasant and memorable one.

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