Friday, June 10, 2016

Traveling Santorini

I love reading travel blogs & especially travel guides, so I thought doing one on Santorini would be helpful for others that have this on their bucket list! I will be as detailed as possible, but if any questions, please email me or comment below.

Where we stayed:

We stayed at Charisma Suites, I would not have changed one thing about this hotel. It was more than I expected, from the location to the views, it was unbelievable. What I loved most about the hotel was where it was located. It is in Oia, but it is on the outskirts, so you don't get the crowds of tourists at the top of your hotel and it's less noisy. The walk to the main area of Oia is only about 10 minutes. I will warn you, there is a lot of steps, but that is all of Oia, so if you're not one for walking then Oia, Santorini may not be the best choice. I didn't get that many photos of our room, but it was amazing. You have your own balcony with chairs and a table, where we had breakfast every morning. And breakfast is complimentary, WIN! You get to pick what you want for breakfast the day before, which was nice so you aren't eating the same thing everyday. The breakfast was fantastic & it was nice that it was complimentary, so you save some money there. You can see the sunset right from the hotel, no sense of fighting the crowds each night. We watched it from the hotel 2 out of the 5 nights, the other nights we watched from restaurants or from our sunset cruise, which I will get to! If you want relaxation, perfect scenery and a beautiful hotel, then definitely book here!
 Can it get any better?!
 View of the sunset from steps at hotel!
Where & what we ate:

We only rented a car for one day, so the other days we ate within walking distance. Our favorite was, Melitini, it is a tapas restaurant. It does have a sunset view. We ate on the rooftop deck, it does get super chilly at night. The food was amazing, I highly recommend the sausage, potatoes & meatballs. We didn't get dessert. If you want something a little different & not as heavy of a meal then this is your place.
Gyros or Souvlaki must be on your list to eat! We ate at Pitogyros twice, once for dinner & another as a late night snack. You may not find a place to sit, but you can eat them to go as you're walking. I got the chicken gyro & chicken souvlaki, both were great. My husband loved the pork. The main difference between the two, is the souvlaki meat is grilled and the gyro meat is cooked on a rotisserie. Personally, I liked the souvlaki meat better! Definitely get the cheese salad too!

If you're in for a sweet treat, definitely head to Lolita's Gelato (we went twice!) They offer so many flavors, it's made in house & the employees are super friendly. The cheesecake, pomegranate, lemon & caramel were favorites of ours.

On our first full day, we went to Ammoudi Bay & had lunch at Sunset Ammoudi Taverna. We enjoyed the food, but the views were better.
On our way down to Ammoudi Bay, wishing we did take a donkey!
SKIZA Cafe was a spur of the moment restaurant. We're definitely foodies, so we research restaurants, ask locals and really take our restaurants seriously. We were headed back to our hotel and wanted some coffee, so we stopped here and when I saw waffles & ice cream (I may have screamed!) They are made right there and the ice cream is too. Oh and if you're an espresso/coffee fan, I highly recommend getting a freddo cappuccino whenever you can. It is basically chilled espresso with frothed/whipped milk.

One restuarant I didn't take photos at was Fino Cocktail Bar & Restaurant. Absolutely incredible! Amazing mojitos & the ginger cocktail is so yummy. I got the burger (I clearly was missing some home food) & my husband got the lobster risotto, which he didn't stop talking about. So definitely head there for lunch or dinner.
What we did:

You will do lots of walking, but that's the fun in exploring this beautiful city. There is so much to see on foot. We walked the main strip for hours, popping into boutiques, restaurants & book stores. The cobblestone walkways & pretty colored doors lead the way to the unbelievable views.
 We did a sunset sailing cruise with Sunset Oia Sailing Cruises. We decided to go with them based off of reviews & we liked how they picked you up in a shuttle and dropped off. We booked the 'Allure' Lagoon 500. I didn't want to go on a boat with a lot of people because I feel like it takes away from the experience, this one does a maximum of 18 people. They provided an endless amount of water, soda, wine & beer. They also cooked dinner right on the boat, which was so good! I didn't have high expectations for the food, so I was definitely surprised. We had pork & chicken kabobs with fresh greek salad & other fresh salads. It was a 3 hour tour around the island and we stopped at the Red Beach, White Beach, Hot Springs & ended right in front of Ammoudi Bay, where we watched the sunset from the boat. Of course a more private boat would be amazing, but this wasn't overwhelming, you had your own space & the staff was great!
Venetsanos Winery is a half day event, if you're coming from Oia. You will need to rent a car for the day. We went before tourists from a cruise ship came, so it was only us and two other couples, but when they do get the cruise ship people in, it's about 50 of them! You get a quick tour of the winery and then walk out to probably the best view of our trip & you get to taste 5 wines. I believe it was 12 Euro, but definitely less than 20. It was well worth the price for the view, tasting and tour. We went in the afternoon, but the staff there says the sunset from the deck is the best, so definitely go during that time!
The most memorable part of our trip were the sunsets & Oia illuminated at night. We watched the sunset each night & it was always different. The best view is from the water, but no matter where you are, it is always breathtaking!

I hope that this was super helpful & again, please email me or comment below with any questions!!


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