BACK STORY: The local movie ‘For the First Time’ (feat. Richard Gutierrez, KC Concepcion) opened my eyes to Santorini. I was in college back then when I fantasized and day dreamed of having my very own ‘for the first time’ moment. I and MJ’s fam went to Corfu, a peaceful Greek island, few years back. We loved our stay in Corfu and the beach was prime! But still, my thoughts of the blue and white island haunted me.
After 9 years, I finally had the opportunity to live my dream! I waited long enough probably because I didn’t want to compromise my experience. I made sure that we will be staying at a great location and nice hotel. I also got to the point that I booked a photographer thu gokyma.com and that made MJ pressured of kneeling down. Well, he thought that I wanted him to propose in the island since I got ourselves a photographer. I saw him sneaking on his phone, trying to find a ring! Ka-stress!! So, to keep him stress free (and me too!), we bought a tripod and saved much money.
Apparently, to fly to Santorini is pricy. Yet, were lucky enough to find a good deal, for just 5800NOK, its a great buy!
Oslo–> Rome–> Santorini
We finally landed at Thira International Airport, the smallest airport I’ve been to. Definitely smaller than the local airports in the PH but organized and efficient. We arrived at 3am and since I already had an idea of how scary (steep, dark roads) driving late at Greece could be, I pre-booked a hotel closer. Taxis are waiting right outside the airport but because Santorini is an island and has limited number of taxis, you might share the ride with other people and may have few stopovers. Luckily, we had the closest hotel among the passengers.
HOTEL NIKOLAS, KARTERADOS– http://nikolashotel.gr/
OK. I admit I also book this hotel because of the cute aura and I wanted to see the different shades of Santorini. It was worth it. It was light, refreshing, a very soft toned ambiance. I’m glad that we stayed the night though the breakfast was not commendable. Despite of that the rate was cheaper and the staff were helpful.
ZENITH BLUE HOTEL, IMEROVIGLI– http://zenithblue.gr/
My priority in our hotel was the blue and white view. I don’t care about the caldera just the white houses were enough for me. I never realized that the caldera view would be equally glorious and I was so happy that I had both of them in my balcony. I don’t know how could I give justice to the location, and the feeling that this hotel gave me. MJ and I agreed on staying at Zenith Blue for the reason that we went to Santorini to relax and for calmness. Fira and Oia is also an excellent choice for people who wants to party or to be in the middle of everything. Eleni and the rest of the helpers assisted us a alot and treated us like VIPs. We got what we paid for! My top favorites about Zenith would be the view, our private jacuzzi and the people.
From restaurants to souvenir shops, grocery stores, and everything in between, you can find it in Fira. Fira is the city centre of Santorini where everything happens. They have number of restaurants and shopping stores which I thought had not reached Santorini. I don’t know why but I felt like Oslo was more like of an island than Santorini. More people, more city vibe and more options.
Naoussa Restaurant– You know that my forever mantra in traveling is ‘#viewislife’. I insisted to go inside though they were not serving yet because the restaurant was listed to have one of the best views in Fira. True enough, it was awesome and the food was divine!
Gyros– A friend told me that if there’s one thing I can’t miss in Santorini, that would be Gyros. Gyros is a traditional Greek dish, close to shawarma or kebab. If you want to save during your trip, just eat this. I swear, you’ll never get used to it. It was simple yet heaven!
BLACK AND RED BEACH
We rented a car for a day to see the whole island and to be in the beach. The road to the black beach was nerve-racking. I was not impressed that we stayed only for an hour, it was not worth the time and the risky route.
On the other side, the red beach was quite impressive. The road to the location was jaw dropping. The view of the Aegean sea and the effect of the volcanic eruption that brought Santorini to life is magificent, as they say it was a beautiful disaster. The red beach is something new and uncommon. Though, we were not prepared of the little hike to see the overview of the beach but thank God for the fresh watermelon!
Oia is the most popular village in Santorini. People are visiting and driving all the way up to see the most beautiful sunset in Europe. Many would say that Oia is the renaissance of Santorini after the devastating earthquake that happened many years ago. For me, I like to describe it as a colorful maze of shops, restaurants, cafes and thousands of tourists. A picturesque village that brought me to the other side of the world, amazing!
The only downfall would be the thousands of people waiting for the sunset. We were lucky enough to find a seat at one of the sunset bars.
My favorite village in the island is obviously Imerovigli. I found the tranquility and peacefulness in this excluded village. The place were only white and blue! It was a dream come true, walking down the stairs of Imerovigli and taking pictures with bougainvillea and most specially standing next to my favorite man at the top of one of the world’s most favorite island.
Under the Stars– I did my researched and found out the perfect spot for the sunset. I did enjoy Oia’s sunset spectacular but we wanted to see it the finest way possible. Just 5 minutes walk from our hotel, Under the Stars restaurant is in the tip of the village. We made a reservation which was actually not necessary thus we were only 3 pairs dining, which made the whole evening romantic. For the first time, I was captivated by the beauty of sunset.
Someone said, on earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it and I am convinced that big pieces of it are in Santorini.