Getting here was the only bad part of Greece. Oh… and almost dying on an ATV I guess. Thira is a tricky island to get to. You either ferry or fly from Athens, Greece. We choose the ferry which happened to go on strike for the first time in 10 years. Needless to say, we choose the wrong transportation on that day. After some tears and a very expensive flight we were on our way to…
(1) If you don’t mind the extra travel time, taking the ferry is a cost effective way to get to the island while seeing some of the other islands along they way. However, because of our terrible misfortune with the ferry strike, I would recommend the flight if you just want to get there fast. Just remember plans can change in an instant – don’t stress too much when things are beyond your control.
(2) Rent an atv or car. If it’s going to get cold at night you may want to consider a car, but we just bundled up on the atvs. The island is quick and easy to navigate and get around.
(3) Checking out the multitude of beaches on this island is a must. Spend your days beach hopping: there are red, white and black pebbled beaches. Explore and walk around in each of the different beach towns as well.
(4) On our way to the black beach, Kesari, we passed an open air movie theater. If you have a free night and need some relaxation, this is the spot.
(5) If you are looking for the opposite of relaxation, Fira is the town for you. The night life here is insane and you can find a party in any of the clubs which all happened to be near each other. Don’t plan to get any sleep though – some of the parties last until 6, sometimes 7 a.m! However, in the day time Fira chills out a little bit. It is still crowded with tourists, but at this time everyone is looking for a place to shop or eat.
(6) Oia (pronounced “eea”) is where the typical Santorini pictures are found; this is where the classic white hillside houses are. However, it seemed like they were all hotels or some type of residency for tourists now. There is plenty to see and do here, as well as SO many good picture spots. Perfect place to spend a half or full day.
(7) In Oia you want to check out a bookstore called Atlantis Books. If you’ve been to Shakespeare and Co. in Paris you will love this place. Atlantis is Shakespeare’s little brother bookshop, they stamp your book and all.
(8) If you’re not staying in Oia but want to go for a swim, head to Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar. Their pool and deck are open to all. Or if you are looking for a little more luxury, go to the Infinity Pool Bar Restaurant at Canaves Oia Hotel.
(9) Located near Oia is an amazing little cove for the cliff jumping lovers. Walk down the steps in Oia (it’s a long walk down and even harder up, but well worth it) when you get to the bottom, head left… you’ll pass some restaurants and walk a little rugged path to a spot where a small group of people will be swimming out to the cliff, you can’t miss it. After your jump, have some lunch at one of the restaurants you pass along the way, the seafood is so so fresh.
(10) Oia is also the place to be for sunset, so do not expect to roll up late and get a decent viewing spot. Many of the restaurants in Oia have a good view but you need to show up around 3 to 4 hours before sunset. We saw it from the pool bar, Lioyerma, which had a good view but limited seating.
(11) A MUST do is Santo Wines. Even if you’re not a huge fan of wine, you will like it here. Make a reservation beforehand and the pricing is shockingly cheap for what you would expect. We each got our own 8 glass flight for tasting and then ordered 3 more tastings. Make sure you go when the kitchen is open because they have amazing salads and pastas which go great between drinks. I think my bill was around 40 euro for 11 glasses of wine, an appetizer, and a meal. The view is great, the wine is magnificent, and the company was perfect… one of the best experiences from Santorini I will always keep with me.
(12) We stayed in the town Messeria, which is mainly a town of locals and very few tourists. Walk around here and you’ll find some authentic food places. The gyros were unreal.
(13) Lastly, check out the ancient ruins at Akrotiri and along the way you’ll pass a horse ranch that offers an amazing sunset ride to the beach. After your ride head to Nykos’ Cave for dinner… the ranch can point you in the right direction. I couldn’t tell if the owner hated our table of 6 American girls or loved us, but we gave them so laughs and in return got some free wine so no complaints here.
This dreamy place is one that I definitely need to go back to… hopefully will see you soon Greece!
by Ashton Anderson, Guest Contributor