When you hear Santorini, you automatically think of white buildings with blue domes, sunsets, beaches, gorgeous blue sky, and the typical touristy shots of the area.
What people leave out, somehow, is the OTHER things that don't appear too often in pictures. There IS MORE to do in Santorini than watching the gorgeous sunsets and hanging out at the beach. These include wine tasting, water sports, and the most intriguing thing? Climbing a volcano!
Before I went to Santorini, no one ever told me about a possible visit to a Volcano. I usually look to blogs for information, and none of the online website or the other blogs that i've read talked about a volcano visit. Somehow people just photograph (OOTD Galore!) in the typical areas of Fira/Oia. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right areas - oops!
So here's telling people searching out there: there is a volcano located off the main area of Santorini, and a day boat/cruise tour would bring you there and to see other islands as well!
Upon arriving at the volcano, we saw tons of boats docked side by side on the small docking platform of the island. My friends and I had to walk through several boats just to hop off the one right beside the platform. At the platform, we paid a small fee, and then we were free to head up the volcano.
The climb up the volcano was suppose to be an hour long, and so we all headed up with the hoards of people. Thankfully, I was in sneakers that day. The volcano surface was so pebbly and rocky, my scuffed up converse had severe issues with getting a decent grip on the ground. I had no idea how some manage to climb all the way up in slippers!
Top: Forever 21 | Shorts: SheIn | Shoes: Converse | Sunglasses: Accesorize | Watch: Nakedglory.com | Necklace: PrimarkI was so intrigued to see the heat and steam rise up from the ground and smell the scent of sulphur. Sulphur Oxides are toxic, so breathing in too much of that isn't great, but for that couple of minutes, it was kind of interesting.
Walking along the volcano, we also got to see different devices that were anchored into the ground probably to track seismic activity. Although there were these things that look somewhat like solar panels, so perhaps they were generating some kind of electricity - then again, looking at the size of it, probably not.
The nice thing about climbing this volcano in the volcano island, was the view. For the struggle to get up (no they lied, it took way more than an hour, and it was definitely more than a 2km climb!) but the view of the water around the volcano was lovely.
The volcano itself though, was pretty much just rocks upon rocks (I know, obviously, that's how volcanos are made.) Still, it was interesting to observe the red and maroon stripes on the rocks of neighbouring islands, to see all the interesting instruments on the volcano, and feel the hot air that was steaming out from various cracks and holes on the ground.
Indeed there is more to Santorini than the standard photo shot from Oia. The trip to the volcano island was pretty affordable, for a full day tour, it was only 33 Euros, it's something I'm really glad I got to experience!
The day cruise ended off back in the mainland of Oia, and just in time for tourists to witness the sunset over santorini! Here are some other interesting images from the town of Oia.
THE MOST INTERESTING BOOKSTORE EVER!
Even though the city and views from the main island of Santorini is beautiful, do take trips out to visit the smaller islands, and to climb the volcano, especially if you have never seen a volcano in real life. There is more to Santorini than beaches and sunsets ;)
23 November 2015 Santorini, Greece
Santorini is surrounded by tons of beautiful beaches, and one of the most gorgeous coastal views.
During my entire year abroad, I was always on the go, traveling to different places, making the most out of my days and having a jam packed itinerary no matter where I went. Going to Santorini/Greece was probably one of my most relaxing travel experiences.
The cool thing about having beaches as one of the main tourist attractions is that you just laze from one beach to another, sipping on a cocktail, occasionally going for some water activities, talking, and then watching the sunset (or the sky grow dark if you're on the other side of the island).
I think I probably visited one too many beaches in my 10 days in Greece. So much so, I might have gotten a little tired of basking in the sun with sand between my toes.
What I Wore
What made me want to go to beach after beach in Santorini was how different each of them were.
Santorini is home to a white, red and black beach. Judging from the beaches online, their definition of a white beach is your typical yellow sand beach (but since it was right next to the red beach, it stood out as white!) My friends and I gave the white beach (partly because every other beach is white - apart from the other 2 coloured ones) a miss but decided to hit up both the red and black beaches.
The black Perissa beach in Santorini is this long stretch of coastline with black sparkling sand. There were so many restaurants and food places along the beach. With tons of deck chairs laid out all in even rows. I loved that the umbrellas aren't the usual plastic/canvas umbrellas we usually see on beaches, but ones made out of straw! How cool is that!
Just a tip for people who are planning to visit the beaches in Santorini, typically you have to pay about 10 Euros for a chair, or order drink of at least 20 euros (for 2 chairs). My friends and I were initially hesitant to pay for the deck chairs because we weren't sure how long we'd be at the beach, but eventually, we just went head and ordered 20 euros worth of drinks and had them on the beach at the deck chairs.
At around evening time, when the beach started to get less crowded, one of my friends, Ji Inn, and I decided to go for a short 15minute ride on a jet-ski. I wished I had a GoPro or something to film the experience or to capture some images. We both had so much fun speeding and then stopping because we felt like we were going to capsize, and then switching over and attempting to keep the boat stable whilst we were doing it. Although we only had 15 minutes of play time, it was definitely memorable - especially for an adrenaline junkie like me!
Unlike the Black Beach, the Red beach in Akrotiri wasn't actually red. It was more reddish brown rocks instead of actual red sand.
But in the sunlight, everything does look red. I reckon the reason why the rocks around the coast are red is because they are volcanic rocks. Akrotiri's Red Beach isn't as long and vibrant as the Perissa beach. To get to the beach itself, we had to climb through a rocky path in slippers. Over the course of climbing various natural structures, I realised I have the fear of falling on my but when I'm climbing up a cliff, or down a rocky pathway. I somehow freak myself out by thinking i'd fall and just... slide right down injuring/cutting my legs or body. I don't have the fear of heights, so this new found fear is a little odd - but y'know when on holiday... I just climb whatever I have to climb anyway.
As Akrotiri was located slightly further from where we stayed, so my friends and I took the ATV there. Akrotiri was probably a 20 minutes ride from Perissa, and we stopped over at some huge archaeological site to look at some Grecian Ruins, before heading on to the Red Beach.
The ride over to the beach was one of the most scenic experiences over. Of course, we took sometime navigating with a paper map and figuring out the whole left-hand drive situation. But, when we finally figured everything out and were able to just drive without a map, passing beside the coast treated us to the most MAGNIFICENT view. Once again, I could only wish I had a GoPro mounted on my head so I could capture the whole ride on film.
If you do have a GoPro/ video camera - remember to do it! And then send me a copy of your video so that I can relive my experience!
I think riding an ATV in Santorini is definitely an experience not to miss - especially if it's something you've never tried.
After this Santorini trip, I can finally tick "visiting coloured beaches" off my bucket list. I know there are a ton of more interesting beaches out there, and YES I do want to visit them, but at least I now have the experience of stepping on non-yellow beach sand in my pocket!
17 August 2015 Perissa, Greece
Santorini Sunsets. Y'know, casual.
Ok, EVERYONE knows about them famous sunsets in Oia, Santorini. Going to Greece, I expected Oia to be that one distinctly special spot where tourists always go to and gush about the amazing sunset view. Why else would everyone want to go over there and squeeze around with the rest of the crowd?
But the thing about Greece is, in both Santorini & Mykonos, basically everyday I was in Greece, I witness a glorious sunset no matter where I was. It could be from the window of my hotel room or in one of them famous sunset places.
Of all the beautiful daily sunsets, these were the sunset spots that stood out (for various reasons)!
#3 | Oia, Santorini
I think most of us have seen the insane shots of Oia with HOARDS of tourists clamming together watching the sunset.
It really is what it is.
In order to get a decent view of the sunset you have to be there 2-3 hours before the sun starts to set and just, wait there, camera in hand.
My friends and I found a small pocket of space behind a really high wall (up to my nose!) beside a few plants and just stood there, huddled together, waiting for the sun to go down.
Although we managed to see the pretty colours in the sky, the view wasn't as spectacular as we envisioned it to be. PLUS the skies were cloudy that day, which made it worst.
Typically Santorini has very few clouds, so it was just our luck that the clouds came in that evening :(
Also, I'm mildly claustrophobic, so having to squeeze with everyone especially whilst getting out of the area after the sun went down was just not the best experience.
But if you want to get that classic-sunset-over-windy-streets-and-white-walls-grecian-landscape shot, you've got to deal with the tourist.
#2 | Santo Wines, Santorini
Tasting wine with a view, and then watching the sun go down past the horizon with the strong breeze in your hair. Nothing gets better than that, right?
The awesome thing about watching the sunset at Santo Wines is the large glass windows where you can hide from the heat and the glare of the setting sun, but still enjoy the glorious view.
But that was not the option I chose. My friends and I preferred hanging out on the patio/deck area instead of sitting inside.
With Santo Wines, It was great to not have to stand on our tip toes just to get a decent view.
Watching the sun go down at Santo Wines is one amazing relaxed experience. With that glass of wine in your hand, you get this sort of high, like "hey, I'm living the life!"
The cost of tasting wine was pretty affordable - about 22 euros for 12 different wines if I remembered right.
#1 | Mykonos Town, Mykonos
Sorry Santorini, but the little venice area in Mykonos Town BAGS the best sunset award.
As much as Oia boasts having the best sunset views, the area around Little Venice and the Windmills of Mykonos town is all the more impressive. You have the full view of the sun moving down through the clouds and pass the horizons, a nice clear view (depending on the weather). There is no fighting for space and squeezing with hoards of tourists. You can even have a seat by the waters, have dinner in one of the restaurants nearby, pose with the sunset, and even take multiple shots with no tourists heads bobbing in and out.
Basically I could just enjoy the whole experience in peace, and in comfort! It was by far the best sunset i've ever witnessed. Probably, because we were lucky and the sky was rather clear that day.
Was this one too many sunset pictures? I hope not!
Looking at these pictures and crafting this post really makes me wish I was back basking in the sun in Greece instead of starting a next university semester.
- cries internally-
Well, at least I get to relive and share my experiences on this platform with you!