Santorini, one of my dream destinations of 2017 – and I was lucky enough to travel to the beautiful Santorini for my honeymoon at the end of last year. Yes, I got married *cue the wedding bells*. When we were deciding where to go for a couple of days, there was simply no contesting. Actually, we were toying between the Amalfi Coast (Positano amongst others) and Santorini. In the end, we chose to travel to Santorini for 4 night, 5 days and it really was the BEST decision I’ve ever made.
First and foremost, we booked The Dream in Oia (Deluxe Villa with Jetted Outdoor Tub). We decided to stay in Oia as it is the picture perfect postcard destination for carved out houses in the cliffs with the typical cave houses of the villagers. For those who want to wake up to the pure white buildings with colourful roofs that are typical of Greek architecture, Oia is the place to stay!
The Dream was located in the heart of Oia and boasted the most fabulous breathtaking view of the cliffs from our private entrance. There are only two accommodation options at The Dream, with separate entry, making it private and great for halal-holiday travelling couples such as ourselves. There was also an outdoor heated tub which was hidden just in front of our villa entrance. Again, a great options for muslim newly-weds that want somewhere private to dip their toes into some water whilst still being outside.
The Dream is very central on the caldera hillside right below one of the very frequented view spots overlooking the burrows of Oia and the sea. Essentially, the suite really is a cave, the entrance is some meters in from the light, and that gives it a special feeling. The interior is plastered in sepia and with the lighting it creates a cosy feeling. Breakfast was delivered to us every morning (at a time of our choosing) by a lady who brought a hamper complete with fresh fruits, bread, fresh orange juice and an omelette.
Oia can get extremely busy during the day when all the tourists travel into the town to view the marvel that it is, however staying in Oia itself meant that we were able to have sunset strolls and late night wanderings in the empty streets, devoid of tourists. I would highly recommend The Dream for anyone (especially Muslim couples) seeking privacy in an otherwise busy island.
If you’re a lover of books, you will absolutely adore this bookshop, Atlantis Books. Once you set foot inside this haven, there is no mystery why it is consistently voted one of the best bookshops in the world. The location is glorious (plus the rooftop terrace view is insane), and the staff are knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate. They have a huge selection of Greek literature available in translation as well so no one misses out on discovering the country’s great writers. The passion in designing this bookshop is evident in every nook and cranny of this wonderful little book cave. A must see when visiting Santorini!
This place was one of the highlights of Santorini, the charming port of Amoudi Bay! But, you have to work for it by descend down hundreds of steep stairs in Oia, which isn’t the hard part – remember that you have to climb back up again (or ride on a donkey’s back for a few Euros). Make sure you wear comfortable shoes on the day you plan to go to Amoudi Bay. There are a few resturants at the bottom serving fresh fish and seafood with the beautiful view of the port. We chose to eat at a restaurant called Amoudi Bay, and it really was delicious and worth the walk down. We ordered the fish soup of the day, a Greek salad and a shrimp pasta dish. At the time, the sea was quite rough so we got splashed a few times mid-meal, but it was all part of the experience.
Apparently there is also an area to swim/ cliff jump but we didn’t walk far enough from the port to see it. It felt nice to leave the hustle and bustle of Oia’s popular tourist spots and familiarise ourselves with some tranquility and sounds of the ocean.
Thira/Fira is the capital of Santorini, and it can be found on the west coast of the island, on the caldera cliffs opposite the volcano. There is a wealth of restaurants and cafes where you can relax and enjoy the tremendous view. It also owns the greatest dining out and entertainment selection of the island and the largest shopping center. Moreover, there are many clothes shops, gift shops, souvenir shops, supermarkets and other facilities for every need.
From Oia, there is a bus that comes every half an hour that takes you to Thira in about 30 mins (for around 3 Euros). On the way, the bus passes Imerovigli, another beautiful area of the Island of Santorini (although we did not stop here). We took a cable car down to the Old Port and a donkey ride back up (to save us walking the kindly labelled 600 steps up again). We had lunch at a restaurant in the city centre and then made our way back to Oia. I believe we only stayed in Thira a few hours, kind of got bored of shops after a while.
The food highlight of Santorini had to be our last meal at Lotza in Oia. The restaurant is located with a nice ocean view (and great sunset view), serving traditional Greek food. Everything we got was delicious; I mean if you still talk about a restaurant a few months later, it has got to be amazing right. The staff and service was immaculate and it ended the holiday on such a great note. The majority of the food here in Santorini is seafood, making most resturants in Santorini halal-dining friendly.
We also made a few trips to Lolita’s Gelato for their blueberry gelato! After the first taste, we were mesmerised, and returned the next day for the same thing haha! Truly the best gelato in Santorini.
Sunset and Sunrise
Santorini is known for its beautiful sunsets and there are a number of locations from where to view the sunset. It can get extremely busy full of people crammed into the narrow streets, all waiting for the sunset, desperately taking photos. For the sunrise, The Dream was the perfect location for the sunrise, watching the sun bounce off the white buildings along the cliff, warming up the island and beaming through the clouds.
I truly had an amazing time in Santorini and would recommend it to anyone wishing for a relaxing holiday on a picturesque island.
– A Y –