The Santorini Life [Santorini, Greece]

Santorini, Greece is one of the most picturesque travel destinations in the world. This beautiful Greek island surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and populated with beautiful architecture and people… and did I mention the sunrises and sunsets? It is truly spectacular.

Access from Athens, Greece: By Ferry: 50-80 Euros | By plane: 90-150 Euros + Luggage fees

We came to Santorini by a SuperJet ferry from Piraeus port in Athens, Greece. It was about 5.5 hours of relatively smooth sailing over the Mediterranean. We arrived at 9:30pm, checked in to our hotel, and headed to the recommended restaurant for a late dinner.

Jumbo Shrimp
It makes me laugh but we thought the shrimp was going to come already processed and de-shelled. These were some of the biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen in my whole life.

The next morning we woke up and had the best breakfast of the trip.

Awesome breakfast! We stayed at Pension Livadaros and this is the breakfast served. We definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a budget-friendly option with great hospitality.
Our fun ATV for transporting around the island.

We rented an ATV for transport around the island. Santorini is just big enough to warrant a faster form of travelling but has a sweet spot where it is not necessary to rent a car.

Our regular USA driver licences allowed us to rent this 125cc ATV (top speed ~45mph) but we could not get mopeds/scooters/motorcycles without a motorcycle license.

I would strongly recommend an ATV for around the island as it was really easy to drive and a fun way to experience the island breeze and views. From what I read on other online guides and blogs, the public buses are OK for getting around but aren’t always on time. Since we only had 36 hours in Santorini we had to make the most of every minute!

Lunch in Fira

We stayed in Karterados so it only took 7-8 minutes on the ATV to reach the famous city of Fira. It is well known for its nightlife on the island and beauty on the western coast of Santorini.

Looking up the street towards the Fira Metropolitan Cathedral.
Fira, Looking South
From the north side of Fira, looking south. Just keep following the sidewalk up the incline and you will eventually make it to the top!

Oia: The Pearl of Santorini

Oia Sidewalk
Oia certainly lives up to its reputation for beauty.

Both pictures below are from the Oia sunset castle view. If you keep walking west towards the coast you cannot miss it! It offered a spectacular view of Oia from one side and Fira from the other.

West side of Oia
The west side of Oia: the most expensive and luxurious section of Santorini. The island is famous for its use of white walls and blue roofs/accent pieces throughout. If you look closely in the photo you can see blue window shutters and doors.
Western Bay
The western bay of Santorini (Oia) had a beautiful, small port where ships were always coming and going.

Sunset View PackedThe sunset brought out everyone (including us) to view from the Castle View. We were eating nearby at a restaurant to get this picture.

Ammoudi Bay
A little further north on the island coast is another lookout called “Ammoudi Bay.” It had a less developed view which made it feel much more natural and part of the island.
Windmill View
Another staple of Oia, Santorini, is the windmills. There are several traditional windmills decorating the coast.
Sun Spirit Restaurant
We splurged on an amazing meal at the Sun Spirit Restaurant. Here is a view of the interior looking out onto the bay.
best view in oia
Best view in Oia? It certainly felt like it 🙂
Santorini brewing company
Santorini brewing company makes awesome beers and it is a must-drink if you find yourself on the island. Santorini also has several wineries on the island worth visiting.

So there are several iconic symbols of Santorini I’ve mentioned so far: The windmills in Oia, the white walls and blue roofs of architecture, the sunsets, and the sunrises.

My favorite symbol is the donkey.

The donkey represents the hard-working donkeys that make their living taking people up and down the steep walkways and cliffs of Santorini down to the beautiful beaches. I find their quiet work ethic incredibly motivating… and I really like donkeys too!

sunset in oia
My favorite picture of the Santorini trip. More than ten ships carried people out to get a better view of the famous sunset.
Sun disappearing
The sun slowly disappeared past the horizon. You can see the subtly sun rays reaching across the sky.
Nightfall in Oia
Unfortunately I do not have a great camera for capturing night pictures, but you can see how beautiful the city is lit up at night.

Sunrise on Exo Gialis Beach

The next morning we woke up early and took the ATV two kilometers down to Exo Gialis beach.

Here comes the sun! Peeking back over the horizon.
From a cliff
Another angle of the sunrise from a cliff. You can see the black sand beach (Exo Gialis) where we took the other photos.
Beautiful colors
Beautiful colors of the sunrise. I like sunrises better than sunsets, but maybe that’s because I’m a morning person.

If you have several minutes, here is a video I recorded of the beautiful sunrise.

awesomeA few of my favorite things.

sandy shoes
One of the problems of mesh shoes…. beach sand.

Review and Recommendations

Like our Athens trip, this was unfortunately too short to provide an ultimate guide to Santorini. We missed the entire Southern coast, which hosts world famous beaches and island history.

However, we did get a little bit of time in Fira and Oia, the two most popular cities on Santorini.

For Fira: it is a fun city and has a great hub for nightlife. Also, it is less expensive than Oia which is awesome! There is a great mix of natural beauty (beach), architecture from traditional buildings and churches, as well as endless shopping.

For Oia: it is a “can’t miss” in my opinion but you will pay tourist-premiums by visiting. This section of the island was more in line with typical USA prices and about twice as expensive as the rest of Greece (at least Athens and parts of Santorini). Your vacation dollar simply does not go as far but it is worth it to see the sunset.

We had an absolute blast on the island and wished we had planned an extra day. If there is one thing I’ve learned from travelling near and far, its that compromises are made on every trip. Especially with a day job!

I think 2 days on Santorini would be enough for people who want to run from dawn to dusk everywhere. If you are looking for a relaxing get-away, I would look for four days on the island. You’ll probably be ready to leave after that if you are like me and always need to be doing something.

It's okay to be scared.
It’s okay to be scared.

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