Santorini, Greece. The perfect romantic honeymoon destination if you’re looking for a little slice of paradise! Swim in the ocean. Learn about the history of Santorini dating back to the Neolithic period. Eat delicious, fresh Mediterranean food and drink some sensational Santorini wine. Top off your visit by experiencing the most beautiful romantic sunset on this stunning little island in the middle of the Aegean Sea.
In October 2018, hubby and I honeymooned in Santorini, Greece. We’d seen all the gorgeous photos of the crisp blue sea, white buildings with blue dome tops and of course the breathtaking sunsets but I don’t think any of that really prepared us for how stunning Santorini actually is.
Santorini, one of the Cyclades islands, has been shaped by volcanic eruptions. The most devastating eruption took place in 16th Century BC which created the caldera, the rugged cliff edges and the red and black beaches.
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Arriving in Santorini
We arrived on this beautiful island on 2nd October 2018. The transition from 15° or below in the UK to 25° in Santorini was a pleasant surprise. Although very quickly we both struggled as we did not dress appropriately!
Our first stop upon leaving the airport was checking into Veggera Hotel located on Perissa beach front.
Settling in the hotel room, we opened the doors leading out to the balcony and found a little furry friend asleep on one of the seats.
Needless to say hubby made a new best friend. So much so that this little buddy came back numerous times during our stay!
The hotel was beautiful, clean and had a very relaxing vibe. There were two pools and a jacuzzi along with a pool bar and adjoining restaurant.
We got changed into more appropriate clothing and ventured out to explore the local surroundings.
Perissa is a lively town full of quirky bars, shops and great restaurants. And, of course, the beautiful black volcanic sand beach which was a matter of feet from the hotel.
Sumptuous Mediterranean Cuisine
I must admit, the food in Santorini was delicious. Our mission was to try as many local dishes as we could, because why not? We were on honeymoon and you know, when in Greece and all that!
Our hotel booking included breakfast each morning which consisted of fresh bread, sausages, bacon and eggs to suit the Brits. There was also fresh fruit, greek yoghurt and meat selections. Then naturally tea, coffee and fresh juices too.
We didn’t really eat lunch, mainly because breakfast was filling and also due to the heat. We don’t normally eat breakfast, but we wanted to have enough energy to keep us going while we were out exploring.
Each night we tried a different restaurant, mainly in Perissa but towards the latter end of our honeymoon, we also visited Oia for some fine eats!
The food wasn’t too expensive. Aside from us splashing out a few nights, most meals came in around forty euro including drinks.
Favourite Restaurants in Santorini
Some of our favourite restaurants in Perissa included Apollon, Ntomatini, Chocolat, Tranquilo and Pergola.
Throughout the week we tried Calamari, Sea Bass, Cuttle Fish, Souvlaki, Basa Fillet, Gyros, Tuna Steak, and Lobster.
This is down to personal taste but the only meal that we wouldn’t eat again would be the cuttlefish. It was tougher than we expected and not really to
Armeni Fish Tavern
When we visited Oia, we travelled to Armeni Bay and dined in the Armeni Fish Tavern. I have to rate these guys so highly because they went above and beyond for us.
The meal was delicious, dining on the seafront was just beautiful whilst watching the sunset, and they gave us a free dessert each.
They also arranged a free water taxi around to Amoudi Bay AND a taxi to take us from the water taxi to the bus depot.
To get to Armeni Bay, you’ll have to walk down A LOT of steps on the cliff edge, so not having to walk back up those steps in the dark was music to my ears!
Our second meal out in Oia was at the magnificent Asea Lounge. I’ll touch on this a bit later as it was a rather special occasion. However, once again the staff here pulled out all the stops to make this evening a night to remember for years to come!
Getting around Santorini
Although public transport is available on the island, it’s quite limited and taxies are EXPENSIVE! I’m talking seriously expensive. Like fifteen euro for a five-minute drive.
The busses aren’t too expensive but to get from Perissa to Oia you’ll have to change over in Fira.
Luckily I had found this out before we visited the island thanks to an amazing facebook group.
Travelling by ATV
Therefore, in order to get around the island, we hired an ATV (quad bike). A great way for two pasty Irish people to make the most of the unforgiving Santorini Sun while visiting the sites.
It was our first time riding an ATV on actual roads. Any time we’d done it before was in a field in Ireland and that’s a whole other ball game right there.
One thing to mention is there are no traffic lights on the island. It seemed to be every driver for themselves.
The only time I felt truly petrified on the ATV was travelling down a mountain with lots of twists and turns with a row of cars behind me.
I won’t be in a rush to do that again!
A piece of advice
A piece of advice from the Santorini Facebook Group that served us well:
Take the bus to Oia because it is a treacherous road.
Thank heavens we listened to that advice as the road from Fira to Oia is on a cliffside with a vertical drop!
Let’s Go Santorini Sight-Seeing!
Now that I’ve covered the basics of staying on the island; i.e the hotel, the delicious food on offer and how best to get around, let me tell you about the best places to explore!
To make the most of the honeymoon, the plan was to mix relaxing on the beach and seeing the island and exploring the sights.
We balanced our visit with one activity per day and quickly fell into a good routine of chill time in the morning and exploring in the afternoon.
So what are my top recommendations for activities in Santorini? Well in no particular order:
- Explore Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri
- Take a sunset cruise
- Visit the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum
- Wander around the Museum of Musical Instruments
- Experience an infamous Santorini Sunset
Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri
Explore the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri and step back in time to the Bronze Age. Walk through the well-preserved streets built over 4,000 years ago and learn about the history of this amazing location.
Akrotiri was nearly destroyed when Thera, the volcano, erupted in the second century BC.
The Minoan inhabitants managed to evacuate the island in time. However, Santorini was coated in volcanic ash. This preserved the prehistoric town.
Akrotiri is often compared to Pompeii. However, unlike Pompeii, no human remains or valuable belongings have been found at Akrotiri (yet).
The Minoan’s were considered advanced and cultured people. Evidence for this includes the multistory architecture, decor and sewage system.
It’s believed that the sophistication of Akrotiri gave Plato the inspiration for Atlantis. Adding further fuel to this myth is that ¼ of the island sank after the eruption which created the caldera.
Below is an interesting video explaining Santorini’s volatile natural history:
Some excavation work has been carried out on the site, however, a lot more work needs to be done. But it’s clear to identify buildings and items that have survived the eruption.
To get the most out of the visit to the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri it’s best to book a private guided tour. Click here to pre-book tickets with an English speaking tour guide.
Romantic Sunset Cruise
Santorini is famous for its beautiful sunsets over the caldera. Most people visit Oia to get a view of the sun disappearing into the ocean. Which often means that come the evening time it’s nearly impossible to move in Oia due to people filling the streets and trying to get the perfect snapshot.
We planned to visit Oia later in our stay to take in the sunset, but before that, we wanted to do something special to make our honeymoon very memorable.
A few weeks before we visited Santorini, we booked this romantic sunset cruise.
I’m a bit of an organisational freak. B
We were picked up outside our hotel and whisked off to the dock. The team were very friendly and helpful from the beginning. They were on hand to offer us drinks, they kept us safe and well fed, and entertained for the full five hours.
Our first stop was the White Beach for a swim in the sea behind the catamaran (it is optional, but so much fun!).
Then we headed to the Red Beach to snorkel which was an incredible experience. There was a lot of fish swimming around us and I only wish I had a go-pro to capture it.
After snorkelling, we stopped for a fantastic Greek BBQ on the catamaran which included BBQ Chicken in Greek herbs and spices along with delicious sides like stuffed vine leaves, couscous, olives and tzatziki.
Our next stop was the hot springs by the volcano. It’s technically more accurate to call it sulphur springs but either way, the water is noticeably warmer around that area.
We were told to be careful in the water and not to put our feet down. This is because the water is quite shallow and there is hardened lava and volcanic rock directly beneath (it is a volcano after all!)
We did take this on board, but we didn’t appreciate how shallow the water would be. When swimming I did freak myself out by ‘feeling something’ brush against my leg. It turned out to be a rock with a healthy growth of sea moss on top.
However, the hubby, being his usual self, decided he wanted a unique souvenir and brought home a small volcanic rock.
Sensational Santorini Sunset
On the way back to port we had the most stunning view of the sunset whilst sailing around the caldera.
The photos just don’t capture the true beauty of this experience. The sunset cruise was very relaxing and possibly my favourite activity from our whole honeymoon.
Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum
Santorini is equally famous for its wine as it is for its sunsets. There are a number of different wineries on the island which makes it difficult to choose where to visit.
We wanted to learn as much about the history of winemaking on the island as well as being able to taste the wines.
Therefore, after some searching and seeking recommendations, we decided to visit the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum.
Occupying a cave eight meters below ground, the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum is a natural labyrinth measuring three hundred meters long.
Twenty-one years of hard work went into creating this fabulous museum by the Koutsoyannopoulos family, who are fourth generation winemakers.
The museum is fascinating and houses numerous exhibitions and items which tell the story of winemaking. Starting with how winemaking on the island began in the 1600s, to how technological advances have changed how wine is produced.
After reaching the end of the museum tour, you can prop up the bar and taste at least four of the best wines produced in Santorini. We travelled to the museum by ATV so we didn’t want to end up too tiddly so we just tried four of the wines.
I’ll be honest, I’m more of a Whiskey girl, although I do love a little bit of Asti every now and again.
Basically, if I’m drinking wine I’d prefer the sweeter, fruitier wines than dry wines. And I’m really not great with drinking red wine at all. So I was a little bit hesitant.
The Assyrtiko and Abalones were drier than I would normally choose but they were still delicious.
Karmaritis and Vinsanto are dessert wines and were certainly more to my taste. In fact, I could have quite happily had a few Vinsanto’s it was that good!
I definitely recommend, whether you’re in a restaurant or you visit the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum to try Vinsanto. You can thank me later!
When we visited it wasn’t too busy which was lucky for us as we didn’t book tickets in advance. However, if travelling in the summer months it’s probably a good idea to book through their website in case there are large crowds.
Museum of Musical Instruments
When we arrived in Santorini, we picked up one of the local guides and of course, found out about the Museum of Musical Instruments in Oia.
We both dabble in playing music, if you read my blog on our wedding you’ll know we played our first song instead of having the first dance. And I’m never one to turn down an opportunity to learn about musical history.
We were keen to visit the museum, however, we did have some trouble trying to find it as there isn’t much information online about where it is other than in Oia.
We started to give up on the idea and decided to just have a walk around Oia instead, and of course, there it was staring us in the face.
Some things are just meant to be!
The Museum of musical instruments features the personal collection of instruments belonging to Christodoulos Halaris. Christodoulos is a leading musician who has studied the evolution of Greek music through the ages.
The collection on display features recreated ancient Greek instruments which date back to 2,800 BC. The instruments are displayed over 2D and 3D designs which depict players holding or strumming the instruments.
It is free to visit the museum but it’s always nice to leave a donation to keep this fantastic little gem alive.
Infamous Santorini Sunset
While there is so much to do on the island (and admittedly we barely scraped the surface!) you cannot visit Santorini and not experience the magnificent sunset in Oia.
I had touched on the fact that the streets of Oia become packed with people in the evening time all trying to snap the perfect shot and it’s no surprise as to why.
On our last evening in Santorini, we were lucky enough to experience the sunset, one that we will never forget.
We found a quieter spot just outside Passagio coffee house, got a takeaway Greek coffee and got comfortable. Naturally, we snapped a few pictures, while beautiful, they really don’t compare to being there and witnessing it for yourself!
A very special celebration
So if you recall, I mentioned that we dined at Asea Lounge in Oia. Our last evening in Santorini also happened to be the anniversary of when we got together.
Our fourteen year anniversary in fact.
I can’t say that any other anniversary celebration could ever compare to spending this evening in Santorini surrounded by such beautiful views and dining on such delicious food.
Asea Lounge hasn’t been open for that long but we were blown away with how good the food and service were.
We had freshly prepared sushi for starters, then fresh seafood for mains and although we didn’t have room for dessert, we were offered complimentary Vinsanto to celebrate our anniversary.
The views over the cliff and across the caldera were outstanding.
If you visit Santorini, be sure to book a meal here! The staff were tremendous and bent over backwards to make our evening so very special.
Time to go home
Santorini is such a beautiful island. It truly is like a little slice of paradise. However, as always, all good things must come to an end and it came our time to return home.
We had an absolutely magical time in Santorini and we do plan to return to the island again to explore all the places we didn’t get to see this time around.
Is Santorini on your bucket list? Have you visited this wonderful island before and been to different locations?
Do you have any recommendations on where we should go next?
Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Until next time…