The classic blue domes of Santorini had been a long and distant dream for more than 15 years. A photo of Santorini had sparked my interest in travel so long ago; who knew such beautiful places like this could exist?
After traveling more budget friendly places, like Asia and Mexico, I figured it was time to finally make it to Europe. Greece was the final winner when it came down to choosing my first destination in Europe. At first it was a tough choice between Greece and Italy, but ultimately, Greece had been my first love and that’s where I knew I needed to go.
It’s not a shocking statement to say that Santorini is very touristy (making it a bit on the expensive side), but I couldn’t pass up seeing its beauty in person. For first timers to Greece, I would still highly recommend you visit Santorini though!! There are a few things you can do to keep your costs low, so I’ll be making a separate post about that later. One tip I can tell you now is to try to visit during Spring. This is also known as “shoulder season”, and this is typically from the months of March to May. I went during the first two weeks of May, and the weather was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded, prices for my Airbnb and flights were cheaper, and all shops on the island were open.
Now deciding which area to stay can also be a debate. There are a few areas to stay in Santorini, but Oia was the perfect fit for the kind of laid back and relaxed vacation I was looking for. If you need more nightlife though, then you’ll definitely need to stay in Fira. To me, Oia is that idyllic white washed town gleaming under the Mediterranean sun. And trust me when I say that sunglasses are a must when you walk around there; the reflection of that sun is fierce! Oia is the considered the expensive area of Santorini, with a lot of 5 star resorts and restaurants. But for those of us looking for reasonable accommodations that won’t cost upwards of $400-$500 a night, there are definitely plenty of Airbnb’s around.
Besides being budget friendly, I also chose to stay in an Airbnb because I wanted to experience a traditional cave house with a view that I could enjoy each and every day. I arrived to Santorini really late so I couldn’t do much but eat a quick dinner, stop for a moment to enjoy the view at night, and sleep off my jetlag.
The next day when I woke up and opened the doors to my balcony, I couldn’t actually believe what I was seeing in person. My breath was literally taken away, and I was at a loss for words at the view in front of me. I felt like I was in a dream, and I was trying to grasp the fact that I would be able to enjoy this every single day!!! To top off the experience, the famous Santorini blue domes were right next the privacy of my own balcony. I could just look up each morning and they were; gleaming in that Mediterranean sun.
Since I had decided that Santorini was going be the relaxing part of my vacation, day one was pretty easy going. My first day only consisted of walking around, eating amazing food, exploring hidden streets, enjoying the view off my private balcony, and also taking advantage of my own veranda and lounge chairs (eating Greek snacks as sail boats passed by). Life just couldn’t get any better at this point.
So I’d say that day one in Santorini was a great success. Soaking in all the beauty this Greek island has to offer was a big check mark off my long bucket list!
Tip: Staying at an Airbnb is not only affordable, but it allows you access to residential areas that are off limits to tourists. There were so many tourists trying to take photos near the blue domes, but they couldn’t go past a certain section that was roped off. I had the luxury of being able to get past that rope, and each morning capture that famous view with no one around.
Tip: You MUST try the Greek yogurt. Its nothing like Greek yogurt in the US (I don’t even eat the Greek yogurt back home). Real greek yogurt is smooth, creamy, and so damn delicious. Try the yogurt at Skizza Pizza; a small cafe on the main walking strip in Oia. Amazing desserts and the best Greek yogurt I had in my entire 2 weeks in Greece.
See you guys in the next post!