I don’t know about you but when it comes to travel I could definitely do it as my profession. I feel alive and purposeful discovering new places and as I tell people about my adventures I feel their lives are about to change too. Anyone who knows me also knows I love taking photos. Every time I travel I end up with thousands of photographs that I carefully flick through once downloaded onto my computer. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing this weekend and thought I have to share some of the magic of Santorini I’ve experienced during my recent trip.
ARRIVING IN SANTORINI
From the time you land it feels like you discovered paradise. I remember it vividly flying over the black sanded beaches of the volcanic island thinking to myself how unusual this place looked.
As our shuttle picks us up and we start on our trip to Imerovigli we embark on a journey of winding roads and high cliffs. I wanted to break with convention and stay away from the busy village of Oia which is where most tourists stay when visiting Santorini. But not me, no way I would want to do what everybody else does…lol. I am notoriously famous for going against the grain as my friends call it. And how grateful I was listening to my intuition this time around again.
Our bus drops us off at this small cobble stoned square right next to the main road where our lovely luggage helper was waiting for us. As we start following him on our way to the traditional caldera style villa we approach the rim of the volcano which opens up to the most magnificent view you have ever seen. Almost 350 meters high we are at the highest point of the entire island and the next thing I see is my Mum suddenly stopping and having a mini meltdown. She asks me: ‘are we going down those stairs by any chance?’ And then it daunts on me – she is terrified of heights and I forgot! You see, when you only visit your family once every couple of years these sort of things sometimes escape you. And to clear the record, the seldom number of visits is due to our geographical separation – me living in Australia, them living in Europe.
So here I am trying to take my parents on a holiday to one of the most amazing places in the world and I somehow forget my Mum is afraid of heights. Well, I looked at it as a challenge and said to her: ‘Mum, there couldn’t be a more amazing place for you to tackle this debilitating fear of yours than here’. Let’s just say it took her over 20 minutes to walk down a very steep set of stairs for the first time (almost crying) and by the end of our stay she was literally running these in a record time of 2 minutes.
HOLIDAYING WITH MY PARENTS
We had the most amazing time in Santorini. Our villa was this lovely white traditional Greek house with a massive balcony where we had breakfast every morning. We watched the cruise ships come and go thinking to ourselves how lucky we are to be staying for an extended period of time rather than just a few nights like everybody around us.
I rented a car and drove around the entire island – we’ve seen pretty much what’s there to see. From the ancient site of Akrotiri to the black sanded beaches of Kamari and Perissa. If you rent a car for a full week most car companies will give you a discount. I found it extremely useful to have the flexibility to take the car anywhere anytime rather than waiting around for overcrowded public transport. However only do this if you are an experienced and confident driver as the roads are quite dangerous and people drive a bit recklessly to say the least.
WHERE TO STAY
Staying outside of Oia village was an absolute blessing. Let me tell you why: we’ve visited Oia a couple of times and we found it way too overpriced and crowded. And we went outside of the peak July/August months…Every tourist brochure will tell you to see the sunset from Oia which also means: be prepared to be stared down for a spot and wrestled for the perfect picture. The sunset in my opinion is just as nice from Imerovigli or Firo Stefani but again it’s a matter of personal preference. We found that Imerovigli had a nice choice of lovely restaurants with magnificent sunset views and all the little shops including a bakery and grocery store nearby. I would walk to the bakery every morning for fresh pastries and bread and prepare breakfast for my parents. It was such an amazing feeling to be able to give back and at the same time share this amazing experience with people who matter to me the most.
We found the locals very welcoming and friendly – I made friends with the lady who owned the grocery store that I frequented for fresh produce. She was born in the US to Greek parents who were originally from Santorini. She decided to retire on the island and absolutely loving it. I can see why…
We booked accommodation directly through an owner however I approached my accommodation search on tripadvisor. I found most people responded to my emails but unfortunately nothing was available on such a short notice (2 months prior to our travel). My advice is to book early, and by that I mean at least 6 months in advance to secure your accommodation especially if you are planning to travel between May and October.
Enjoy the photographs and do yourself a favour: put this place onto your bucket list if you haven’t been yet. It’s worth it…
Love and light,
SIDE HUSTLE TO FREEDOM
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