Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guide to Santorini

We had the absolute best time in Santorini. Both Preston and I had seen the pictures of the gorgeous white buildings sitting against the blue ocean with the caldera in the background for years, and to get to experience it together was really incredible. Here are our favorite things we did and ate in Santorini...

1. Santo Winery. This winery was a little tricky to get to with no GPS/ Google Maps but was so worth it. It had the most incredible views, you could see the ocean, calderas and Fira, Oia and Imerovigli. We had a couple of hours there but truly could have spent half the day tasting wine and enjoying the views here. This is an absolute must if you are visiting Santorini.

2. Hike from Fira to Oia. We stayed in Oia (which we loved) but wanted to see Fira and thought the hike would be a great option to do so. We ended up hopping on the bus to start in Fira, where we explored for a bit (very, very touristy) before heading on the hike. Now, about 50% of this 'hike' is really a walk through Fira, Firostefani and Imerovigli where you will spend most of your time taking pictures in front of cute doors and pretty flower boxes. It was glorious. The remainder of the hike/ walk was filled with the most amazing views of the ocean. Most of the dogs in Santorini roam free, no leashes or owners watching them closely, so we picked up a few sweet, furry friends on our way back to Oia. We lucked out and had one cloudy afternoon we were able to do the hike, I would suggest checking the weather and planning to do the walk/ hike on the cloudiest day. If that is not an option, wear a hat and pack plenty of water and sunscreen as there isn't much shade on the trail.

3. Swim in Amoudi Bay. Amoudi Bay is one of the few places in Santorini that you can swim in the ocean. We tried out a couple of other beaches and were not very impressed, however Amoudi Bay did not disappoint. You have to go down tons of steps (beware: there will be lots of donkey poop) but it is so worth it! The views were beautiful, the water was refreshing and it is one of those 'pinch me, I'm swimming in Santorini moments.' Bonus! The restaurants next to Amoudi Bay are supposed to have some of the freshest seafood, sadly we didn't try it but plan to when we return again!

4. Pitogyro. These gyros are SO good. SOOOO good. SOOOO INSANELY GOOD. The only downside to eating here is that all of the rest of the food you eat on your trip will be disappointing compared to here. It is a small gyro stand set a bit back from the hustle and bustle of Oia. They have a few seats but chances are you'll eat your food standing up. The gyro's are $4 which feels like highway robbery for how good/ filling they are.

Our first day eating here, we met the sweetest local lady who had lived in Santorini for 15 years. When we asked where she recommended we go for a good view of the sunset, she proceeded to give us a walking tour of Oia - including introducing us to every shop owner, giving us background on all of the island dogs and telling us what to order at each restaurant. It was amazing and her recommendations did not disappoint. Have I mentioned how much I love the Greek?!

5. Sunset (and dinner) at Sunsets Cafe. This was one of the recommendations from our sweet friend. It was specifically recommended for the ambiance and is easily the best place to watch the sunset on the island. You will absolutely pay for it thought. Reservations are required, and upon booking they are sure to let you know that each person must order an appetizer, entree and dessert - you won't be getting out of here for less than ~ $150 but if you are in Santorini it is worth the splurge!

6. Lolita's Gelato. Every day. This isn't an option, if you are staying in Oia it is required that you eat this deliciousness daily. We went to Venice later in our trip (recap coming later) and honestly none of the gelato there compared to Lolita's.

7. Octopus from Roka. If you are a fan of Mediterranean delicousness and could eat seafood daily, the octopus from Roka is a must. This restaurant was recommended by several locals and is the complete opposite of Sunsets cafe. Don't expect great service or sunset views - but they do serve up great food. If you'd like to try authentic Santorini cuisine, I highly recommend Roka!

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