Greece is full of interesting places to visit because it has lots of ancient ruins. The country has a lot of islands, many of them are special, but my all-time favourite is Santorini.
Yes, yes, I know, it’s not the coolest, hippest place to go, you might think. When I found out I was going there I thought “snooze day!”. But oh my dog, I was so wrong.
It seems as if all you ever need to see about Santorini is that one picture of Fira, the village on the cliff, with its blue domed roofs and white walls, and the blue Aegean sea below. And yeee-eees it is that, mostly.
It seems like the main business here is tourism, so people are very willing to help you get from one place to another. Most tourists come from the armada of cruise ships that sail into the harbour on a daily basis, but you can get there by air. Sea is by far the more exciting option, though, and it really helps you to get a jaw-dropping view of what this place is all about.
Most people get off the boats and go straight up to the top of Fira. But getting up the mountain doesn’t have to be a mission. If you just want to chill you can take a bus, but you have to get a local boat to take you to the right place first.
You can also walk up, take a funicular (a sort of lift/train) or even take a donkey. Donkeys are cool, but for some reason they don’t let you ride them on the way down, so it’s the funicular or Shanks’s pony (that what my old gran used to call my own legs).
It’s best to plan what you want to do before you get there, or else you could miss out on the best bits.
What’s so great about it
Apart from being picture perfect, and therefore selfie perfect, I really liked the idea that we were in the middle of a volcano. That azure blue water is actually a caldera lake, so it added to the excitement that the whole thing could go Pompeii on us at any moment. Not really, our tour guide assured us, but a pup can dream, right?
It’s all about tourism and so things are expensive.
Other cool things
- Santorini is not all about the view, though. I’m more of a verb, I mean a “doing dog”. So I chose to go on a hike to the top of an active volcano, Nea Kameni and take a swim in the caldera in a hot water sea. I have to say the volcano was not as exciting as I had hoped.
- If you like hiking you’ll love this place. The best hike is the one that starts in Fira and follows the rim of the caldera to Oia. It can take between two and five hours and it’s an IG dreamscape .
- Get lost! There are so many alley ways and amazing things to discover around every corner that you just need to take your phone and walk around, up and down the cliffs.
- You’ve heard of white sand beaches and gold sand beaches, but Santorini has a black sand beach that’s great for swimming. It It’s called Perissa and it’s a surprisingly long drive from Fira. There is also a red beach, if you’re in to coloured beaches.
- Santorini is a tourist place, but if you get sick of the crowds and want some quiet time, head to Emborio. It’s quite easy to get lost in its tiny, tiny streets.
- Check out the Atlantis Books store. It’s in the basement of one of the white houses and it’s a must-see for bookworms of the world. You’ll know you’ve found it when you see the paintings of books on the wall.
- Greek food is tail-waggingly good. I couldn’t get enough gyros from Lucky’s in Fira, and baklava is very sweet but a few mouthfuls is good. The best is at Lotza in Oia.
- History buffs will love the excavation at Akrotiri, Ancient Fira and the Archaeological Museum.
- The sunsets really are epic.
- One of the best swimming pools in the world is the infinity pool at the Grace Hotel. But at HK$6,500 a night, it wasn’t on my “must see” list.