Part 5: Discovering Santorini in just one day
Picturesque, white and blue, the beauty of Santorini won’t pass you by that’s for sure. Find out how I spent less than 10 hours on the island:
Waking up in Santorini
Overnight we sailed south from Athens to Santorini. I knew from the offset that this was going to be my busiest and longest day of the holiday as Santorini has been on my bucket list of destinations for a long time.
Needless to say, I am glad I had an early night as I took so many photos (over 400) and walked over 13 thousand steps that day (according to my iPhone)! All that, when I was only on the island for 9 1/2 hours!
Due to the nature of the island and the ship’s size, we had to dock away from the shore so passengers are required to get a smaller boat called a tender to the shore itself.
I was up early, had breakfast on my own and then headed to the 4th Deck to get aboard the tender, which took me over to the Old Port of Fira (Thira).
Tips for arriving in the Old Port of Fira
Fira (Thira) town is at the top of the cliff but the boats arrive right down at the bottom. There are a few methods of getting up there:
1) walking up hundreds of steps – only for the very fit and those with appropriate shoes for dodging the donkey poo
2) getting a donkey ride for 8€ (poor donkeys) but the path is very steep and zig-zags a lot!
3) easy but not for the feint hearted for 5€ each way you can get the very quick cable car
(Note: you have to buy a ticket each time you can’t buy a return – and it can be busy if a whole boat load of people are queuing as it is only 6 carriages so be prepared to wait, and also factor this in if you have to get a boat at a specific time).
The capital of Santorini, Fira is a blissful old town of white washed walls and pretty streets. There’s plenty to do here including shopping and of course eating and drinking! ‘Gold street’ as it is known is famous for jewellery.
Getting to Oia
From the cable car station I walked around 10-15 mins through the town to the bus station, luckily as it was only around 8:30am on a Sunday morning the streets were so quiet.
Catch the ‘Local Bus’ to Oia, there’s a timetable on the wall. All tickets are bought on the coach once you’re seated. It’s a 25-30 minute journey and it’s €1:80 each way. It gets busy, as there are a few stops for hotels etc, on the way back ensure you get on at the first stop as lots of people had to stand if they were picked up at the stop before.
You’ll be dropped off in a small square, there’s no particular bus stand or stop everyone was just waiting around until a coach pulled up. Once there, follow the signs for the ‘Sunset’ and you’ll wind your way naturally to the picturesque views you’ve been waiting for.
Oia was wonderful to explore – I was so glad I’d gone there first thing in the morning as the crowds hadn’t quite descended yet and guests were still asleep. I had streets to myself for a few hours and a chance to sit in a beautiful spot admiring the view, completely alone.
The views of the Caldera were incredible, this part of the island really took my breath away.
As you can imagine I took a million photos, popped in a few shops for local trinkets, saw the windmills and petted lots of little cats. Overall I was only here in Oia around 4 hours, but I am a wanderer and covered a lot of streets in this time.
Wine tasting with a view
Readers of this blog will already know I love wine tasting now after my amazing experience in Cape Town. Check out my post on that here. So when multiple friends recommended it as one of the best things they had done in Santorini I was sold. After a bit of persuading of my parents (as they weren’t sure it would be their thing) and a short taxi ride from Fira we arrived at Santo.
As this was such a wonderful way to spend the afternoon I’ve dedicated a whole post to it. (Coming soon)
Tips: Get a taxi from the rank/carpark next to the bus station in Fira. It cost 10€ each way for around 15mins journey time.
Wishing I had more time
I could have spent a month here, just taking it all in and appreciating the views. Due to the timings of the last tenders and our sailing, I didn’t get the chance to see that famous sunset from Oia. However, that has just inspired me more than before to come back here on a whole holiday in Santorini or a greek island hopping trip.
Although this is a great stop on a cruise and I am so glad I have been to tick it off my bucket list. You 100% need longer than just a day here to soak up the atmosphere and be able to relax. My advice would be to sell up and move there now!
Have you read my other posts so far about the trip?