Arriving in Santorini is nothing short of a dream. With hopes high yet no expectations, I waited in anticipation on my ferry ride over from Mykonos. As our ferry boat approached the port of Santorini, my head quickly turned upwards. The drastic cliffs, lined with white-washed dwellings seemed to soar above us. Some say Santorini, Greece is one of the most romantic places because of the views from the cliffs, I think it's from below.
Getting off the ferry, we hopped into the car from our hotel and made the journey up the side of the island. Driving the windy roads that tore through the island of Santorini, we gazed out into the vineyards to see the locals hanging out. Choosing to stay in Imerovigli, which is 30 minutes from Fira, we arrived at the top of the foot path and set out for the hotel. There is no road access to any of the hotels, so be prepared to walk the steps of Santorini. I was quite alright with it as each step brought a new view, a new color, and a new tight muscle. Making the way down was easy and we quickly settled into our suite. Arriving just in time for the sunset, it was one of those picture perfect moments: sitting on the chaise on the deck, naturally a local white wine in hand, and "oohing and ahhing" at the views. As the sun started to fade away, the little lights started to line the island's horizon.
Many know when you spend a Santorini holiday, you are choosing a fate of relaxation. Infinity pool edges, Aegean Sea views, spa treatments and more really make up the bulk of a stay. One day was spent doing the quintessential walk from Imerovigli to Fira, which lines along the island's edge through the towns. Fira of course is a booming "town" that is filled with shops and shops and more shops. If one is daring enough, take the funicular down to the port, and ride a donkey on the way back up- this was a true highlight for myself, both terrifying and exciting.
One morning, feeling a bit adventurous and in need of creating a memory I would never forget, I set out on foot to watch the sunrise. The Santorini sunrise could of easily been taken in with comfort from my suite's patio, a warm nespresso and in my robe, but nonetheless I adventured on. Skaros rock loomed out from over the Aegean Sea, and I decided to take the hike out and climb to the top. This hiking adventure took about 40 minutes to get out and scale the side of the mountain, so I left early enough to capture the full show. Sitting on top of Skaros rock, watching the sunrise from behind Santorini is something I will never forget. Each ray of sunshine hit the Greek island's edge like a bucket of paint splashing on a wall.
My Santorini holiday was nothing short of amazing and I can see why one would choose to go to this amazing place. All of the warm smiles, the great food, and breathtaking views made it a memorable time. After spending a few days in Fira and Imerovigli, I thought I would share with you my Fira travel guide.
Getting to Fira, Santorini:
Santorini has a few options for arrivals. There are seasonal direct flights that land right on the island from Athens (about 4 a day) and some of the other major European cities. My personal favorite was coming by the high speed ferry to capture the views of the cliffs and enjoy seeing all of the islands. Hellenic Seaways is the best way to get here for a smoother sailing, see their website for the times and schedules. (here)
Staying in Fira, Santorini:
I found that it is better to stay in Imerovigli rather than in the heart of Fira for a few reasons. First off, Fira gets packed as it is the docking area for the cruise ships that come through, so the foot traffic is quite hefty. Imerovigli is only 15 minutes from Firostefani and then only 30 minutes from Fira, so you can still explore by foot. The views look back on Oia which is where the sun sets at night behind the town. Plus the two best hotels are here, Astra Suites and the Grace Hotel Santorini. Astra Suites is a beautiful hotel with large rooms, great service, and very romantic. The Grace Hotel is a special place that features refined luxury with a modern twist of Greek architecture.
I have in-depth reviews of the hotels here: Grace Hotel and Astra Suites
What to do in Fira, Santorini:
Explore Fira, Firostefani, and Imerovigli by foot, enjoying the shops and cafes along the way. One day hike to Skaros rock to enjoy a beautiful view looking back on Santorini. On this side of the island you are close to the beaches which is a great day excursion as well. My personal choice would be to rent a catamaran and go sailing!
Lemon sorbet, chocolate gelato, Santorini wines, fried calamari, fresh fish, and pair it all with a good view.
Bon travels Xx!