This post is from guest blogger Cari Miller, Alison’s daughter.
As my mom mentioned in her post on Santorini, my husband and I were lucky enough to spend an entire week in Santorini for our honeymoon in 2007. She’s asked us to put together a few of our thoughts and recommendations, as well as go over a few highlights from our trip.
What a perfect trip that was! We started our two week long honeymoon in England, as that is where my husband Adam and I first met. We spent a few days in the lovely town of Bath, where I studied abroad for a semester while attending Purdue, and then had a few days touring London. Neither Adam or I had been back to England since we’d met there four years earlier, so it was a great way for us to reminisce and revisit the places where we first met. Then, off to Santorini!
As my mom often recommends to honeymooners, we picked Santorini in part because neither of us had ever been. It’s great to explore a place together as newlyweds. I often find if you go somewhere where one person has been and the other hasn’t, you don’t get the same experience out of it. One person tends to take on the ‘tour guide’ role, and if you’re both learning about the place together, it can become a special place for both of you. We definitely found this to be true in Santorini.
First of all, let’s talk about travel specifics in Greece. Since we started in England, we ended up taking a discount airline, EasyJet, from London to Athens. When you’re in Europe, there are a few airlines that offer very inexpensive flights – sometimes as little as £1 plus taxes (usually that ends up £30 or so)! We kept our eyes on deals and got a great price to Athens as a result. Once in Athens, we had to find our way to Santorini – one of the islands in Greece. We had a few options. We could take a ferry, which is often the cheapest option, but can take an entire day (or night) to get you to Santorini. We opted instead to fly – using Aegean Airlines. It cost us a bit more, but the flight was only an hour – so I think it was worth it! I’d highly recommend Aegean Airlines to anyone considering flying within Greece. While it was only a very short flight, the service was wonderful!
Unfortunately they only have two flights a day (or at least that was the case at the time) and we missed the morning flight, so we had about 6 hours to kill in Athens. Luckily the Athens airport is connected to the train, meaning we could very easily check our luggage at the airport and take the train into Athens for a few hours. If you do this, I’d recommend you research Athens a bit as the train stops can be a bit confusing since it’s all in Greek!
Santorini is an island, and the main airport is in the town Fira, or Thira. We were staying in Oia, or Ia (most Greek towns have two spellings of their names). The villa where we stayed, Chelidonia, was kind enough to arrange a taxi pick up for us at Fira. The woman we arranged with advised us that taxis are hard to come by in Santorini – and it’s best to have it prearranged to avoid long wait times. The drive was less than a half hour total, and we were lucky enough to get a view of the island just as the sun was starting to set. What a beautiful view! We were greeted by the Chelidonia staff, a young man likely in his late teens, who hoisted our two suitcases up onto his shoulders and made his way down the path to our villa with ease. Even with two suitcases he made better time than we did, carefully maneuvering the cobblestone steps. The villa we had chosen was a bit of a trek from the main part of town, a perfect secluded spot for honeymooners, but if you’re not up for a 5-10 minute walk to get up to the main street, you may want to ask for a villa with easier access.
Our villa was absolutely amazing. A little apartment, really – an old residence that had been carved into the side of the island. The cave-like setting helped keep the villa cool during hot days, and was really quite cozy. It had a nice little kitchenette with fridge and hot plate as well, which was great for cooking a few simple meals in. The best part, by far? We stepped out to this every morning:
Because our villa was a bit off of the beaten path, it meant we found ourselves right on the edge of everything. It was almost as if we had a corner suite – with TWO verandas! One looked out onto Oia, the other out into the beautiful blue of the Aegean sea. Our daily routine included yogurt and honey in the morning (greek yogurt = heaven!), a few hours reading on our veranda until we got too hot from the mid-August sun, a nap, and a visit into town. There is lots to do on Santorini, very little of which we actually did. Usually our vacations are fairly jam packed with touring and exploring, but on this trip we did very little but relax and take in the beauty of Oia. We did take one day trip to Fira, which was quite easy by local bus. Mostly we just hung around Oia and sighed a lot as we took in the beauty of it all.
Definitely one of the most relaxing and most beautiful vacations I’ve ever been on. I hope I can make it back someday!