Santorini has a reputation for being one of the most romantic destinations in the world. It’s truly a beautiful island, not quite so romantic with a 9 year old in tow, but still an iconic destination and well worth a visit.
We had 2.5 days in Santorini and stayed in Oia in a cave room which was beautiful whether you are on romantic getaway or a family trip.
What we did:
We slowed down a bit when we got to Santorini and it was a great place to relax and have a bit of downtime.
Oia is Santorini’s most iconic village in the north-west of the island. It’s white washed buildings, carved in to the side of the cliff, overlook the caldera. The tiny pedestrian only streets of Oia have no addresses so exploring is a lot of fun, you never know what you are going to come across next and which cat you are going to meet around the next corner.
Oia is mainly shops and restaurants so it is definitely a more relaxed spot to grab a drink and take in the scenery or find some of the famous insta photo spots. We had a room with a hot tub which was great for something to do when we weren’t exploring, some of the rooms also have their own tiny pools and a couple of hotels have larger pools overlooking the caldera. If you don’t have accommodation overlooking the caldera then be sure to make your way to the castle to get a spot to watch the sunset.
Take the bus to Fira
There is a public bus service between Oia and Fira, it runs from the bus station in Oia to the bus station in Fira and costs a few Euros each. This is much cheaper than a taxi.
Fira is the capital of Santorini, has much more going on and more of a tourist vibe with shops, restaurants and bars. Here too you can also stay in cave accommodation carved in to the cliff side.
There is a cable car that you can take down to the harbour, where there are several cafes to get a coffee and sit and watch the boats coming and going. There are also boat trips running from here round the caldera.
The walk back up is approximately 600 steps (they are numbered!) and has amazing views as you walk up. If you don’t fancy that much exercise then you can get the cable car back up or there is the option of a donkey ride. We got the cable car down and walked back up, in hindsight doing it the other way round may have been a more sensible choice.
Things we didn’t get chance to do:
A boat trip, there are various boat trip option including ones with swimming stops and sunset cruises. We decided against doing it in April due to the weather not being quite warm enough and it definitely not being swimming weather.
The hike from Oia to Fira, this is a 10km (6 mile) route which is meant to be spectacular and have amazing views out across the caldera. Unfortunately we couldn’t quite persuade Pip that it was a good idea and then we ran out of time.
Beaches, there are some spectacular beaches on Santorini but they’ll have to wait for another time.
Thoughts on Santorini
We were glad we had chosen to visit in April when there were less tourists as it meant that we were able to walk in to restaurants without a reservation and the tiny streets weren’t too crowded.
Fira is definitely more child friendly than Oia. There is no reason not to take children to Oia but a lot of the restaurants are aimed at couples having a romantic meal and we found it harder to find something to eat that we all fancied.
Getting to Santorini
We took a Blue Star car ferry to Santorini from Athens and a Seatjets ferry back to Athens. Details on the ferries can be found here. There is also an airport on Santorini.