Santorini is dreamy – A trip report

Jun 12th, 2009, 06:58 AM
  #1  
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Santorini is dreamy – A trip report

Our first Greek trip began in Mykonos. We stayed at pension Arhontiko which was near the town but not a walking distance. The pension was affordable and provided excellent service and facilities, free shuttles before 10pm or 5 euros for a taxi if necessary. Our time was mostly spent at beaches: Elia, Paradise, Super Paradise, and Panormos. Our favorite beach was Elia which had an excellent café and quieter atmosphere compared to the Paradise beaches. An umbrella and a set of beach chairs cost 12 Euros in most of Mykonos beaches. Panormos is quite and does not offer beach chairs.

The best meal was had is Kounelas Fish Tavern in town. Reasonable price for fresh fish compared to other establishments. We found Mykonos very touristy and did not offer much local Greek taste. Most of the shops sold similar stuff, prices were mostly very expensive. Mykonos town gets old real quick and not much else to enjoy if you are not a party person. We had to include Mykonos in our first Greek trip because it is Mykonos. Although it was an enjoyable island, we won’t include it in our next. Next up: Santorini
yoonny is offline  
Jun 12th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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A connecting ferry to Paros then to Santorini was a breeze. Santorini was super windy when we arrived in the afternoon. We took bus to Fira and to Oia. The buses in Santorini are newish and very nice and pretty much runs on schedule. Our place was one of Maria’s properties overlooking the caldera in Oia. The location was good, the view was stunning but the room and the bathroom was so so and a little damp. However, for the price we paid (120E) we didn’t expect too much. Our first sunset was hampered by strong winds and the dust that blew with it at the castle. It was still a sight to cherish with all the people and photographers and of course the memorable sunset. We had a decent meal at Lotza and shopped some groceries for breakfast.

Oia at night and early morning is absolutely breathtaking and tranquil. The view, the glowing lights, the brightest moon, the glowing stars, the dogs barking (once in a while) all add to the experience that is uniquely Santorini. Words cannot describe it. Just go and experience it. Wake up and open the doors and see that unbelievable view and be wowed and you will be wowed over and over and over again. Unreal.

The wind was gone and we took a taxi (24E) to Perivolos black sand beach which is located south of Perissa. This was our favorite beach and we returned again the next day via bus. Sand was hot, sun was strong, water was refreshing and the bar/restaurants served great food and drinks and played great music. Chairs were filled with good looking people and volleyball courts were available for use. Who said Santorini does not have a good beach? This beach was better than all of Mykonos’ beaches.

Our best dinner of the trip was had in Fira at Argo Restaurant located on the way to the cable car. http://www.argorestaurant.com/index_uk.htm
Stunning view, great service, cool owner, and the best salad, steak, pasta, seafood, wine we had in our entire trip. Don’t miss it!

We were surprised to find that prices were cheaper in Santorini compared to Mykonos. We wish we had more days in Santorini but we had to take an overnight ferry to Athens. We shall come back to this breathtaking island one day. Next up: Athens
yoonny is offline  
Jun 12th, 2009, 03:22 PM
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Thanks for posting. We leave for Greece in two weeks! What dates were you there?

You said Oia was tranquil at night and early morning. Was it terribly crowded mid day? And what time did it get crowded (I'm assuming it did). We are staying in Fira and plan to take the bus to Oia and was wondering how early we need to get there to get an hour or two of crowd free time.

Have you posted any photos?
isabel is offline  
Jun 12th, 2009, 11:24 PM
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gwm
 
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Just spent three days on Santorini and almost got RSI from taking so many photos. We had beautiful weather, but I had heard that it's often windy. We did notice that many of the cars seemed to be dusty.

I might get around to posting some photos, but in the meantime my website is at www.grahammeale.info
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Jun 13th, 2009, 04:41 AM
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gwm - your website looks wonderful. Is the only way to view your photos to have you send them? In other words, they aren't available on the web? I read your info and had to laugh when you said you do your "books" so that you'll be entertained when you're too old to travel. That is exactly the "excuse" I give for taking the amount of photos I do. I print "books" of my own with info and photos of the places I've been. I also have some of mine (no text though) posted to pbase. They are at: www.pbase.com/annforcier if you are interested.

yoonny - another question - how long did the bus ride between Oia and Fira take?
isabel is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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We were in Greece 5/31 - 6/9. Some practical info:

All the ferries were right on schedule. No need to show up at the port early. Tickets purchased a day or two before at travel agencies in town. I found this website the most user friendly for ferry schedules: http://www.openseas.gr/OPENSEAS/index_en.vm

Bus between Oia and Fira takes approx. 20 minutes. Between Fira and Port/Perissa/Perivolos takes approx. 20 minutes. Fares range 1.4E, 1.7E, or 2E paid on the bus.

Bus loads of cruise ship passengers arrive Oia around 9:15 - 9:30AM. Then most of them are gone by 11AM. Most taxis are reserved during this time so if you need a taxi, make sure to reserve one. The next wave of crowd arrives in Oia after 5:30pm for the sunset which took place around 8:15pm - 8:30pm. Get to the castle early for a good spot. So Oia is quite before 9AM or manageable in the afternoon. My favorite time is after dark.

Taxi between Fira and Oia 15E. Oia and Port/Perissa 25E.

Nice pics/website gwm/isabel. my pics coming soon.
yoonny is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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We took an overnight ferry on Blue Star which left at 12:40AM and arrived at Piraeus around 6AM. We grabbed a taxi and headed to Westin Astir Palace located south in Vouliagmeni. After a late night and an overnight ferry, a really relaxing day at the pool was in order. The Westin let us check in early and we took a long nap at the pool and the rest of the day afternoon was spent sunbathing at the pool. I highly recommend the Westin for a relaxing day after a long ferry ride before heading to Athens. It provides nice room, view, facilities, and pool food is good. Next morning, we took a free shuttle at 9AM to Athens which dropped us off at Syntagma Square. Then we entered Hotel Grande Bretagne.
yoonny is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 07:35 PM
  #8  
gwm
 
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Thanks Isabel. I've had a brief look at your site and will spend some more time there soon. You clearly don't let the grass grow under your feet, either!

One day I'll get organised and put some more photos up. The books are pretty large in PDF format (unless I greatly decrease the resolution, which I don't want to do), so I generally stick to sending them on CD or DVD. I only have a relatively small amount of webspace.

Tell you what, just for you (and Yoonny), I'll pick four good shots from Santorini and put them up now, temporarily. Try www.grahammeale.info/Santorini1.jpg and similarly 2, 3 & 4.
gwm is offline  
Jun 15th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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thx for the pics gwm. A few of my pics here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8576550...7619775232004/

Athens:
Grande Bretagne was truly fantastic. This was the best hotel experience I ever had and I have stayed in several of world's top 10 hotels rated by Conde Nast. If you can, stay here!

We didn't feel like going to the museums or do much sightseeing so we spent hot afternoons in the hotel's outdoor/indoor pools great steam/sauna rooms. The hotel was very close to a pedetrian only shopping district so we did some shopping.

One afternoon, we headed to Acropolis around 5pm. It was an easy 20 - 30 minute walk from the hotel and we passed through Plaka area and Agora ruins. The sun was still strong and it was hot when we entered the main gates of Acropolis with not many tourists in sight. It was a holiday and we paid no entrance fee. It was cool to actually walk the grounds and see the ruins including the Parthenon. We spent couple of hours (mostly resting in shaded areas) and the security people started closing the park around 7:45pm. Make sure to buy a big water bottle on the way to Acropolis.

We passed through the Plaka area again and bought souvenirs but was turned off by all the restauraneurs trying to lure tourists into their establishments. We spent a great night at our hotel's rooftop bar with the view of the Parthenon lighted in its glory.
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