Santorini, Greece

We started our trip with a week on the Greek island of Santorini. It is estimated that Greece has over 6,000 islands, of which over 200 are inhabited. We chose to visit Santorini because it offered a diversity of things to experience and explore while being easily accessible. And, I was captivated by images I’d seen of the island.

Here are a few of the favorite images that I captured during our time in Santorini…

Blue-domed church in Oia
The Three Bells of Fira
Church of St. Mark the Evangelist in Firostefani
View of Perissa Beach from Ancient Thira

We spent our first few days in Santorini on Kamari Beach. It was a great place to unwind.

A walk on the black volcano sand of Kamari Beach

Our hotel in Kamari was located on the beachfront, and lucky for us, we got a room overlooking the water. We really enjoyed falling asleep to the waves crashing on the shore.

Room with a view 😍

Every morning, there was a generous buffet breakfast served poolside with unlimited espresso drinks. It felt really fancy compared to the kind of places we typically stay as budget travelers. It was $100/night, which is on the lower price end for accommodations in Santorini, but more than we typically spend.

Kamari Beach Hotel

We spent our days hiking, relaxing on the beach, and eating lots of delicious Greek food.

At the start of our hike up to Profítis Ilías, Santorini’s highest point (~1,900 feet)… beautiful views of Kamari Beach below
Making our way up to highest point on Santorini, Kamari Beach below

Our second day in the island, we walked up the road to Ancient Thira to visit the ancient ruins

The road to Ancient Thira, which has 22 hairpin turns 😮
Exploring Ancient Thira
On the trail to Perissa Beach
Viewpoint as we make our way back to Kamari Beach

It’s a good thing we got plenty of exercise while in Greece as we did plenty of eating! We were overwhelmed by the number of restaurants to chose from on this island. No reservations needed, plenty of tables everywhere, and no need to rush through eating to free up your table for the next guests. The check won’t be brought to the table until you ask for it. Just linger, enjoy, and don’t feel rushed… it’s an adjustment coming from the states! And when you do ask for the check, it’s typically accompanied by complimentary fruit, dessert, or a shot of liquor.

One of many greek salads we enjoyed while in Greece
Tzatziki was also a staple of our Greek diet
And, can’t forget the gyros!
It was a treat to go out for a nice dinner every night

After 3 nights at Kamari Beach (on the east coast of the island), we spent the next 3 nights in Fira (on the west coast of the island). Fira is where the cruise ships dock on Santorini, and when we arrived, there were 3 cruise ships in port. I couldn’t believe how crowded it was in town, especially being shoulder season. I can’t imagine what it must be like in peak season (June-August). According to the Lonely Planet, Santorini has struggled with the scourge of overtourism and at one point, between 10,000 and 18,000 people a day were disembarking from cruise ships to visit the island. In 2019, Santorini capped daily cruise ship passenger arrivals at 8,000 a day. Still a lot of people for a small island. Thankfully, it wasn’t as crowded after that first day. And, I’m so glad we didn’t visit in peak season.

Our first day in Fira, we took the stairs to the old port and walked to Skaros Rock, the first of five fortresses built in the 15th century to protect the island from pirate attacks.

the steps down to the old port where the cruises disembark (also a cable car if you want to avoid the 587 steps)
skaros rock
skaros rock

The next day, we walked from Fira to Oia, the quintessential Santorini hike. The path follows the caldera cliff and passes through the villages of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. It was a day filled with spectacular vistas.

on the hike from Fira to Oia
on the hike from Fira to Oia
Picturesque Oia
The official route is one way and about 6.5 miles… we did it both ways and added Amoudi Bay at the end.
This cute dog followed us from Oia down to Amoudi Bay

After all the hiking, we decided the next day would be some R&R at the beach. Santorini has a nice system of public buses, and it was easy to catch a bus back to the other side of the island for some beach time. We decided on Agios Georgios Beach.

Agios Georgios Beach

While in that area, we visited a former tomato processing factory that is now a museum. We learned some interesting things about what used to be this island’s main industry before tourism took over.

Tomato Industrial Museum

When I travel, I usually learn at least a few phrases in the local language. I found the Greek language very difficult. I now fully appreciate the phrase “It’s all Greek to me”.

This is “thank you” in Greek. I asked a waiter for help pronouncing, and he wrote it on the table. Can’t say I was successful in correctly pronouncing, but can’t I didn’t try!

One of many things I will never forget about our time in Greece is watching the sunset over the caldera. It was a beautiful, peaceful ending to each day.

Santorini sunset
“The skies proclaim the work of his hands” Psalm 19
Santorini sunset afterglow

That wraps up our wonderful week in Greece. Next up, trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal. And no, we’re not hiking up Everest. 😊 We’ll be hiking what many consider two of the most beautiful treks in Nepal, the Manaslu Circuit Trek and the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

One response to “Santorini, Greece

  1. Such a beautiful place to experience! Thank you for “taking us along” on the journey.
    And now you’re in Nepal on your birthday!!! Woohoo!! Praying for your treks & looking forward to hearing all about it! Love you sis!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s