That is Santorini, the island that I fell in love with at first sight.
It is sunbathed in golden light, which reflects over the small white houses of the volcanic amphitheater, it has narrow streets, paved with volcanic rock through a labyrinth of white houses with blue windows.
It is a unique island. It’s beauty and charm are known worldwide and it is considered to have the most beautiful sunset in the world.
Perhaps this is the reason why hundreds of couples around the world get married here each year.
But not many people know that this island was once a great Minoan civilization, more advanced than the one in Crete.
Unfortunately, a volcanic explosion caused the mountain to collapse and had left behind a huge caldera and of course a civilization in ruins.
Long after this eruption, the island was repopulated and villages have been constructed on the edge of this caldera with Cycladic architecture and breathtaking view to the sea, next to the smoldering volcano that is still silent in the middle.
I saw the island many times before but not in winter.
In winter time there are few tourists, so the narrow streets are just for you.
Also, in this season, the prices are extremely attractive so for us, it sounded like a very good deal: three days in Santorini, in January, cost 110 Euro/person.
(Plane ticket Bucharest- Athens -Santorini and return plus accommodation)
Saturday night we were already in Santorini. so we threw our backpacks in the hotel room and went straight to Fira, but not before a stop at the local tavern for some traditional goodies.
In Fira, we walked towards the streets that border the caldera, on the edge of the city where you could see how city lights were covering the mountaintop.
The next day after we enjoyed a long coffee on the terrace of our room, which gently got us into the Cycladic atmosphere, we decided to go ahead on the hiking trail between Fira and Oia, which is 10 km long. The road goes along the edge of the caldera starting in Fira, going through Imerogvili and in the end reaching you reach Oia.The road is not exactly a walk in the park, so you have to be prepared, at least by wearing comfortable shoes. It can take between 3-4 hours. We made it in 3.5 h because we stopped for pictures and to admire the view.
This isn’t a sports competition so stop and enjoy these unique places.
In Fira, Imerogvili and in Oia you don’t have specific touristic attractions. You just lose yourself in the streets, roam and enjoy the view of the caldera.
In the evening you shouldn’t miss the sunset in Oia, one of them most beautiful sunsets in the world.
We enjoyed it quietly, with a cup of hot chocolate on one of the few opened terraces. This is one of the advantages of traveling in winter in Santorini. Just sit back, relax and enjoy!
One drawback is the short program of the buses. It was around 18:00 and we wanted to go home after a long day, but when we reached the station, someone informed us that the last bus had left at 17.30. It was Saturday so the driver decided to left earlier. Well, what could we say?!
The next day we rented a car since we did not want to depend on the buses and wanted to be able to roam freely all over the island.
The first thing we did that morning was to go back to Oia and it seems that in the morning light, Oia is a whole new village.
During mornings till after lunch, the village with it’s white houses and blue roofs is very bright and cool, but at sunset, the warm light totally changes the perception, turning it into a warm cozy place.
Next stop was the Red Beach, somewhere on the opposite side of the island, where a mountain made of red rock collapsed into the sea.
You can go by car to a certain point from where you will have to do a little hike to the beach. Once you get there, everyyhing is red.
Going forward we reached Megalochori city, famous for its wine.
Actually, the whole Santorini island is famous for its sweet wine.
It is very interesting how grapes grow on the island.
Being an arid island, the vineyard lies on the ground on the volcanic rock that gives it the necessary moisture. Due to the lack of water, grapes are very small and very sweet, so the wine will be the same.
After visiting Megalochori, we went to the Black Beach which was deserted. In summer it is filled with tourists who come here to relax. It is also a place where you will find the cheapest accommodation on the island. It is true that it is not the one on the edge of the caldera, but it is only 5 km away.
Although the weather in January is not the best one, we were able to enjoy all that the island can offer.
Santorini is a fairy tale in the Greek sunshine and the blue of the Aegean Sea and you should visit it.