One day in Santorini was not enough. So naturally a year later I made the decision to spend Labor Day Weekend in this magical island. I enlisted my mom, to join me on this trip and she did not hesitate to spoil me and herself a little! The planning all came together in a few weeks, which is shocking since we like to plan our vacations with months of anticipation, but sometimes great things happen in the instant of a moment.
After traveling for about 2 days, we finally arrived at Santorini - at around 4:30am, and reception at our hotel was not yet open. So we relaxed in the courtyard and saw the sunrise for our first day of adventures! We stayed in a village called Firostefani at Vallas Apartments, and it was the best decision! Breakfast is included every day, which made our stay so much better. And the amenities are to die for - the pool is located on a second level with the perfect view of the caldera.
In the afternoon, we made our way to Thira, which was a short walk from our hotel (literally, our hotel was perfectly located!) and explored the incredible craftsmanship of all the souvenirs, took pictures next to almost all the churches we found, and enjoyed some iconic Greek food. It was really hard not to blow all my money on every piece of jewelry I found, but if you are up for it, I highly recommend saving up a couple of Euros to buy a single piece that you will cherish forever.
We went back to our hotel and enjoying a classic Baklava and some iced coffee, while watching a truly unforgettable sunset. It has been said that Santorini has one of the world's most beautiful sunsets, and I have to agree. It was so beautiful and sharing it with my mom made the moment much more special. For dinner, we went to a restaurant called Volkan on the Rocks, where they had an open-air cinema that showed either Mamma Mia! or My Big Fat Greek Wedding. If you have kept up with my Instagram captions, you know which movie I wanted to watch ;).
The next day we went on a full-day tour to some of the main touristic attractions of Santorini. Our main source of transportation was a boat that took us to our first stop, the Santorini volcano! Although it does not look like a volcano, this island is in fact an active volcano with multiple craters and with a history of constantly destroying the island. In fact, the volcano is responsible for the caldera being flooded. It is expected to make another eruption in about 15-20 years, so I recommend getting your fix of Santorini before then!
The following stop on our boat tour was a little swimming in the hot springs of the volcano! Once we arrived, you had to jump off the boat and swim towards the hot springs... quiet the adventure for both my mom and I. Once there, you can reach the edge and cover yourself with some of the mud or just enjoy the warmth of the sulfuric waters before swimming back to the boat. I recommend wearing water shoes if you do not like the sensation of slippery rocks and maybe some swimming gear if you are not the best swimmer. After the hot springs, the boat took us to another village called Therasia where we had lunch and relaxed for a bit.
Our final stop was the iconic village of Oia, where we would spend a few hours enjoying the area and watching the sunset. Here is where things got really interesting... the boat dropped us off at the bottom of the village and we had to either walk the steps up or ride a mule there. We did not even attempt to walk up the steps, and the mule ride was terrifying but definitely worth it! There was absolutely no way my mom and I would reach the top without passing out. The mules stop almost at the top, and even the last few steps were brutal, we reached Oia DRENCHED in sweat. Once there, we needed a moment to catch our breath and cool down before carrying on as if nothing had happened. Oia is absolutely stunning and if you did not know, it is the village that is featured in almost all the postcards you see of Santorini. Here, both my mom and I walked away with some very prized purchases - you will see one of mine later on in this post! To watch the sunset, I recommend walking to the very end of the village with enough time to secure a good area. Trust me, it gets VERY crowded and almost impossible to walk once the sun sets, but definitely worth it!
After an exhausting but incredible day, we decided that the following day would be of relaxing and enjoying the hotel. We went back to Thira, and took our sweet time browsing every store that caught our eye and got some really cool souvenirs. At night, my mom and I decided to dress up for the sunset and our dinner afterwards. The pants I'm wearing are one of the two I bought from Oia ther other day! I am absolutely OBSESSED with them, and I have been wanting a pair for months now. I got them from a boutique store called Speira Santorini and the designer is Dante. Be sure the check both out, they have some truly unique pieces!
Once our energies were replenished, we decided to go on another island tour! This time, we would be traveling all of Santorini, from bottom to top. We began by visiting the Akrotiri ruins, which really put into perspective the catastrophic effect the volcano has had in the history of the island. Afterwards, we went for a quick lunch and a refreshing swim at Perissa Beach. I recommend the restaurant Aquarius, it has decently priced food and you can order from inside the restaurant or one of the beach beds!
The next stop was the lovely village of Megalochori. Really, Santorini is FILLED with these cute little villages and they all have their unique atmosphere yet still fit into the entire island vibe. I really liked this village because of what our tour guide said, "young people come here every summer, and they keep coming back until they never leave. Especially since it is really easy to get work here without any problem and the cost of living is reasonable." So, who wants to move here with me!? After Megalochori, we went to Santorini's most famous winery, Santo Wines. Here we tasted three different types of wines, learned about them, and enjoyed a the view of the caldera while doing so.
The final stop of our trip was, once again, Oia to watch the sunset. This time around, my mom and I decided to spend our time at a cute cafe called Meteor Cafe, where we ate some delicious Greek desert paired with iced coffee. Literally every single place to eat in this island has an incredible view, so it really is your preference where you would like to enjoy the caldera from.
And just like that, another great adventure came to an end. Thank you to my outstanding mother for helping me put this trip together in such a short time! I love you so much and there is no one else I would rather explore Greek islands with (yes, because we will be making it a tradition of going to a different Greek island every year). Santorini, thank you for the memories.