We are in a villa facing the sea and small islands. We are in a volcano caldera. We are above water. The volcano is below. We are in one of the most beautiful places on earth. All of the above are true. We are in Santorini. Our villa is Lilium Santorini.
If you drove from top to bottom of Santorini without stopping, you could cover the island in one hour. But it is the stops at beaches, the crumbling castles, the wine, the food and ooohhh the sunsets that make the island a multi-day affair. Affair is the operative word because this island is filled with seductions.
If you can drive stick and arent fazed by narrow, winding roads, definitely rent a car!
On our first full day, we started by driving south. We soon stopped to traverse the winding paths to a Venetian palace in Emporeio. Fifteen minutes from there, we arrived at the black beach of Perivelos where we went for a long walk and got a free foot massage from the black pumice beach. Then we drove thru the more touristy Perissa beach and crossed the bottom of the Island to the red rock beaches of Akrotiri.
Then back up the highway to stop at our villa south of the main town of Fira (great gelato and our first night’s fabulous meal at Salt & Pepper) After a gelato stop again, we then drove late day to the northern tip town of Oia about 30 minutes away. The sea is almost always in view on this small island.
Oia is the northernmost town with the legendary scene (in countless postcards and paintings) of three blue domed churches facing the sea. It is also legendary for its views of the caldera (volcanic sea cauldron) at sunset. Our mission: to find the iconic blue churches before sunset.
It wasn’t easy! We saw postcards of the scene in every shop as we traversed the winding paths and stairs facing the caldera in Oia. We asked people who gave contradictory advice. We rushed hither and yon stopping only to take yet another scenic shot. We were getting hot and testy as the sun dropped ever lower and our scene was ever elusive.
And then we saw a group of Japanese tourists and a wedding couple excitedly pouring down yet another staircase. We decided to follow them. As we wound down the steps, we saw it. Our shining blue domed churches, our setting sun, our ecstatic lighting. We pushed into the throng and started shooting (photos) and didn’t stop till the sun did!
We drove back in the dark totally elated. And hungry!
Dinner that night was at Aroma Avlis in Exo Gonia– winery by day, restaurant by night. Salad with grilled haloumi cheese on top, white eggplant in red sauce, shrimp & pasta for me and lamb stew for him. Chocolate mousse for both. And spectacular white wine.
Then back to our villa for a night of deep sleep. Rain expected for the next day.
Things you must consume on Santorini:
Salads with grilled cheese
White wines from local vineyards