Since I was a little girl, I always said Santorini was my DREAM destination. I always said that with the mindset that it will never happen… that it was never achievable. That it probably cost thousands and thousands of dollars… AND MAN WAS I WRONG!
If you do not know me, I am terrified of flying. Yes I have an airplane tattoo and that’s just a reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to. But Ryan and I knew if we were going to Europe for our Honeymoon, we were going to make it a trip that would last a lifetime. I am also a super big “fly cheap” kind of person so I will find out if it is cheaper to fly from another City, Country, or etc. Hence why we flew to London to fly back to Miami, USA because rather than a $1,000+ flight from Athens, Greece to Miami. We paid $26 from Athens to London and then $200 to Miami.
So I found a $50 flight from Milan to Santorini, Greece. We flew Aegean Airline to Athens and then a small plane from Athens to Santorini. There is only one Airplane strip on the Island and a tiny airport with one luggage carrier pickup. We also noticed we did not go through any customs from Italy to Santorini. I also forgot to mention that in my Italy Blog… I never got a stamp from Italy because we never went through customs!
As soon as we got to Santorini the sun was beginning to set. We did not book a transfer to our hotel as we did not know how transportation was going to be as many people we know have never flown to the island. So as soon as you leave the airport you will see a few pop up tourism buildings. The best way I can describe Santorini is like being on a cruise. Everyone on the island is hired to work for 9 months straight and then have 3 months off for off season. But… we went to the transfer booth and asked about the transfer to our hotel which was in the city of Oia, the city of the best sunsets. This was about a 30 min drive to the other side of the island. We paid $45 for a private transfer round trip to the hotel and back to the airport. Our driver was the same person there and back and was extremely helpful and kind. We were dropped off at the tourism center where we had to check into our hotel.
When we checked in we were then greeted by a extremely nice gentleman and his dog Roxy, who wasn’t his dog but you will see the island is filled with dogs and cats EVERYWHERE! They seemed to all be extremely taken care of and are allowed in most stores. They helped us carry our bags to our hotel as it was a 10 min walk up and down flights and flights of stairs. The whole island is stairs as it is mostly cave like buildings. We got to our hotel and BOOM! No power! They were experiencing their second power outage on the island. We traveled there mid November which is just about when offseason is going to begin which I did not even know was a thing as well before our trip. When we got there a lot was closed but there were a lot that was opened. The island was pretty empty compared to what you see and read on the island. We did not have to wait to enter any restaurant, bar, or store. We got the best seat in the house, with the best views on the decks. It did not rain but twice late at night the whole trip. We ate at beautiful restaurants and I literally can not say one thing negative about anything I had ate or drank. Even the apple juice was the best!!! They say they grow everything on the island which is how they get the sweetest and greatest flavors.
Our Hotel had the best view and hot tub and was my favorite part of the whole trip! We stayed in the honeymoon suite and was greeted with a note and a bottle of wine! One thing to also remember when traveling to Santorini is since it is an island plumbing is different and difficult. You can not flush ANYTHING! Not even toilet paper… which is really hard to remember when you are half asleep to not throw it in the toilet when you’ve been raised your whole life to do so… So yes it is disgusting but they provide you a trashcan that is inclosed for you to throw away anything. Our hotel provided a coffee bar every morning. We had our own table and hot tub but the hotel also had a beautiful deck with huge chairs and two in ground infinity life pools with an amazing view for all guests to enjoy as well! Our hotel was literally in the center of Instagram photoshoot EVERYONE came a few steps from hotel to take their IG pics with the beautiful water and white and blue churches. Which we also learned on our tour that the churches are blue on top to represent the heavens.
We decided in order to see the rest of the island, as Oia is on the other side of the island and Fria was more in the middle, and that the only way to see the Red and Black beach on the other side was to take a bus tour! We booked it at the same place we checked into our hotel which was at the tourism center. Which I forgot to mention the tourism center is also filled with convenience stores, restaurants and bars. We booked it and a Big Private A/C Short VW Tour bus came and picked us up! We were the only ones at the Oia Bus Stop and was the first of passenger pick ups. We picked up the rest of the passengers which was a lot of fun as the tour guide had everyone introduce ourselves and see where everyone was from we had people from Jamaica, UK, Ireland, America, Canada it was really awesome to get to know everyone and their cultures and come together as a tour group to make our experience the best! Our first stop was at the highest point of the island. We went up a huge mountain and was able to get out of the bus and see the whole island from this point, which was extremely awesome to do!
Our next stop was to the oldest city in Santorini, Greece that was preserved into a museum that you are able to even walk through! This was fun as Ryan is 6’3 and the Greeks are known to be short, our tour guide said the tallest greek person is usually 5’2 which is what I am. So all the doors Ryan had to duck under haha! This was a lot of fun and was an extra $6 but worth it to see original history of the city!
Our next stop after was to the Black Sand Beach, the black sand is made from lava which makes the sand warm! We were able to eat at a nice beach restaurant where Ryan was able to try Greek Octopus! We played in the sand and water after and then headed to one of the world famous Wine Museums! We were able to try Greek Dessert Wine which is what they are mostly know for as their grapes are grown to be sweet and they build unique nest like vines. After our tasting we were able to go into an underground Wine museum where you can visually see how they produce their wine and also purchase wine to bring home. When ever you are drinking wine in Greece they always say “Yamas” which basically means “Cheers!” before every drink or meal!
I really enjoyed this trip and the last stop was Oia which is where we stay anyways but for those not staying in Oia they were able to experience the world’s best sunset! I would highly recommend this tour. It was very well paced and we were able to explore at times at our pace rather than feel like we were being dragged along, very personable and worth it. It was $22 but worth every minute! The tourism center offers different tours all the time as well, for example, they also had a volcano tour as well! Just do your research and make a list of must haves and see what season they are offered at in Santorini. Our main goal was to relax which I think we were able to achieve.
On one of our last days we decided to go down the 300 steps which this is where you can go to see the beautiful sunset if you do not have a villa facing the water. We went down and we decided to walk it ourselves, you can get a donkey but we did not want to do so as they are kinda abused. We walked down and all it was is restaurants and a pier. We just sat down and enjoyed the view and then struggled on the way back up haha We got ice cream to make it worth it as well.. which to me Greece had better Ice cream and Pizza than Italy.
We made friends with lots of locals who worked at stores and restaurants and felt like we were at a home away from home. I can not wait to one day go back to Santorini and even though we went on an offseason with everything not completely open I completely loved it as it was quiet, romantic and wasn’t interrupted by thousands of tourists.
Remember we are two recent college grads and we paid for our honeymoon ourselves. We researched cheap flights and flew to Italy to go to Greece, you do not have to pay $3K to get to this island just be smart and you can travel on a budget!
Hope you enjoyed and if you have any questions I may of not had answered in this Blog I would love to try my best to answer it!
Hope you one day can experience this beautiful Island!!!