Santorini in the Summer

We hadn't really heard about Santorini before booking a week long stay, but a family wedding brought us to this beautiful Greek island (and we're very glad it did!). I guess we would have probably ended up putting it on the list of places to go, especially as it felt like the second we booked everything (in April, flying in September) I saw countless posts of travel bloggers and friends holidaying there, it's safe to say the excitement building up to the trip made me think "Why had we never thought of going here before?"

Season - Summer. Song of choice - 

The island of Santorini is a mere 90km in total, but choosing where to stay will still give you a different atmosphere to the next. We stayed in the south of the island near Kamari beach, which is a combination of relaxed beach life of sunbathing and swimming to the rocks, with dining out and bars of all varieties. The black sand can be tough on your feet so make sure you bring beach shoes - you can buy some for as cheap as 8 euros from the nearby shops. The other good thing about wearing beach shoes is that they're good for grip if you feel like climbing the slippery rocks on the shore (like we did!).

If you're going during the late summer be aware that the wind speeds tend to pick up and make the sea quite unpredictable - we had days where it was unsafe in the water particularly with the sharp rocks that get swept in the waves. But on the more steady days the sea is warm and the beach has plenty of sun beds, with most being inclusive with payment of a drink at the seafront bars and restaurants.

The beach has an incredible backdrop of cliffs and a relaxed vibe with plenty to do. I would recommend self catering during a stay to Santorini - there are so many restaurants with a variety of cuisines and the Island's size means you are never too far from somewhere to eat. The cliffs are an amazing backdrop to the landscape especially whilst you're sat on a sun bed or having your evening meal along the coast.

We had several places that we liked to eat along Kamari with most averaging at 15-20 euros per head for an evening meal with wine, but one of our favourites was actually the cheapest - 'Jimmy's Souvlaki' which sells a Kebab wrap stuffed with chicken, fries and salad all for €3.50 - always good for a cheap (yet filling) lunch!

Oia was in our experience the most peaceful part of the Island. We were glad that we stayed in Kamari as we enjoy the beach and wanted to be close by, but the day we spent in Oia was incredible and is definitely our choice of stay next time. The breath taking views and cliff side dining were incredible experiences, of course complete with the infamous blue topped buildings and churches. 

As we stayed in Kamari we took a bus to Thira and then another to Oia (coming to €14 return each). Thira is very busy and although it had amazing views, the crowds and shopping district were a little overwhelming (especially in the heat!). Oia during the day is quite the opposite - it's very peaceful, not too crowded and you can intake the amazing views without the hustle of a busy high street.

We ate a greek salad (our frequent choice for lunch!) with fries for lunch at one of the many cliff side restaurants, enjoying the views and soaking in the sun whilst stumbling on many spots for a photo or two. 

Oia has a completely unique vibe to not only anywhere in Santorini but anywhere I've experienced on holiday - it's very clean and luxurious without a huge price tag, it is high on the cliff top but the streets are well designed and flow with local businesses. The resorts are more expensive in this part of the island but most likely are highly worth the price.

A lot of people go and see the sunset in Oia for the incredible view, however be aware that this is when it can get the most crowded.

Atlantis Books is a must see - a small independent book shop ran by people from all over the world who fell in love with Santorini and gradually established their business there. It's home to a variety of books in multiple languages, my favourite section being the Greek Mythology section. 

Also a slightly strange experience - I was complaining that my feet were sore (a little tip, bring normal body lotion if you can incase your feet get sore from the black sand) and Jake spotted a spa with the fish that eat the skin on your feet... not everyone's cup of tea (and avoid if you're ticklish!) but we were intrigued and I gave it a go. It helped a little and you were given disposable slippers and bathed your feet beforehand, it felt like tiny vibrations all over my foot and made them very smooth - it was also pretty cheap at 15 euros.

As mentioned previously we found Thira to be a little too crowded - if you're looking for high street shopping it's ideal, but there are plenty of restaurants and shops around the island that it isn't essential to venture to the capital.

We did however attend a private venue for a family wedding, where we had an incredible view of the infamous Santorini sunset. The wedding was situated on the cliff top and the views both during the day of the sea and the night with the distant lights were an amazing backdrop.

During our stay we booked a boat trip at one of the many tourist centres in Kamari - as mentioned previously the late summer can have high winds and our trip was postponed on not just one but two days - luckily the sea was steady enough the day before our final day! 

It was a highly worthwhile experience, we were given a tour and lunch during the trip and even got to swim in the sea at intervals, with the staff members being very friendly and knowledgeable of the island.

However if you get sea sick, be warned! I don't normally get sea sick but I was pretty ill on this boat trip...

During the time when I wasn't being sea sick, it was incredible to sit with your feet dangling off the edge - especially when we sped up and we were being sprayed with the waves coming through the mesh on the boat!

I recommend picking up the free Island magazine (pictured above) which has lots of well written, interesting articles about the past and present of Santorini, featuring art galleries, places to eat and go along with greek mythology research and topics. (Also pictured - my favourite 'chips' to snack on in Kamari).

This is so mean but I find this photo so funny - I was taking a photo of our lunch just as Jake looked down and realised he had been given the wrong thing (hehe) he looks so puzzled - he was given his lunch soon afterwards!

We'll be posting a little separate 'What we bought from Santorini' post as we picked up some amazing souvenirs that we would like to share - we'll update this post with the link soon!

Are you planning to go to Santorini in the summer? We definitely want to visit again, maybe staying in Oia next time and trying new things - despite the Island's size it has so much to offer. Have you been before and had the same/different experiences to us? Or went to a nearby Island like Mykonos? We would love to hear from you - leave us a comment or comment on our Instagram posts ^

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