After a few hours on the ferry, we arrived in Oia, the ultimate destination of our Greece trip. Once we board the bus we were impressed by our skillful driver who had no problem maneuvering his giant vehicle along the precarious cliffs of Santorini.
Our guesthouse was~10 min walking distance from the center of Oia. The patio has magnificent caldera view.We grabbed dinner at a nearby restaurant at the edge of Oia, and then ventured town for some window shopping and night views. Oia town was filled with guesthouses with infinity pool overlooking caldera, and candy-color souvenir shops. We also passed by a few blue dome churches. We didn’t venture too far as the stores started to close after 9pm.
The next day, unsure of how to spend our time, we booked a guided tour through our guesthouse, which included a visit to historical site, black sand beach, and two traditional Santorini villages. It was nice not to have to worry about arranging transportations on our own. Here are the highlights we saw during the tour:
First stop was Akrotiri excavation site, which, according to our guide, was an entire Bronze Age settlement buried under volcanic ashes. It was good that we went with a tour guide since we wouldn’t be able to make sense of the excavations otherwise.
Next up was Perivolos black sand beach. Normally the tour also includes a visit to the red sand beach but it was closed due to recent landslide. For lunch, our tour guide point us to the restaurant nearest to the beach entrance but we were free to roam around. We settled at a restaurant further down the beach. A good choice indeed, as we were served faster while our fellow tourists were all cramped into a single restaurant. After lunch, we enjoyed a stroll and some quiet beach time. Our feet had a mini-spa, since the black sand was warm from all the geothermal activities underground.
After lunch, it was time for a walking Tour at Megalochori. It feels like a more authentic and impoverished side of Santorini. Our guide showed us around the village and pointed out how the Greece Economic downturns has affected Greeks. There were also bell towers and blue dome churches in the village.
Afterwards, our tour bus again navigated through winding roads to the highest peak of the Island, top of Profitis Ilias. We were supposed to get a striking view of Santorini, but the view end up quite disappointing due to gloomy weather.
Our tour ends at Santo Winery, with view of caldera. We were given three wines to try. I especially liked the dessert wine made with dry grapes.
Overall, we didn’t feel rushed during the tour. However, there wasn’t any “wow” moments either, party due to the fact that we weren’t too keen on archaeology. Also, I had seen pictures of red beach and Pyrgos before and they look amazing. It was a shame that we didn’t get to visit the two sites.
Next morning, we enjoyed bright sunshine over our terrace at the guesthouse, and ventured into Oia again for some good-weather pictures.
For me, Oia was beautiful but it also felt too built up. If I were to choose again, I would stay in Fira which would be a convenient base to day trip to other villages.
In two days, I don’t think we had seen enough of Santorini. We didn’t even get a chance to see Fira, despite passing by the town a few times. There are other Greek Islands I would like to visit, and when I do, I will be sure to drop by Santorini again.
- Idyllic Mykonos: Worlds Away
- Two short days in Santorini
- The All-Mightly Acropolis and Other Ruins in Athens
- Paris to Athens: Our Whirlwind Europe Itinerary