7 September 2012

Living your dream in Santorini...on a budget

[ In Oia for dinner & drinks to watch the sunset ]

Sometimes experiences and places are so out of this world and magnificent there are in fact no words for them. These types of experiences and places are so far & few in between, but when you do experience it or find such a special place you can't quite sum it up in to words. Santorini is exactly that. There are no words for its beauty, I don't feel words like extraordinary, beautiful, breathtaking...no, none of them can quite do it justice.  We had an inkling that we were going to fall in love with the place, hard, which is probably why we had booked 6 nights - disclaimer; I had booked 6 nights as this was my pre empted destination that would be my omg moment, and it was, and although 6 nights was enough, naturally, you could and we could have stayed on much longer. 

We swam, ate, read, and soaked up as many sunsets as possible - it would be nearly impossible for you to miss a sunset on the island as no matter where you happen to be, or what you're doing, as soon as you know that the sun is going down you want to get to the cliff's edge as fast as possible - it's almost like mother nature casting a spell on you, it's that beautiful. Not an evening went by as we clinked our glasses to toast another incredible sunset that we said how it didn't seem real, it was almost too beautiful to feel like you were really in that moment. No photos would do it justice like being there, cliff side, witnessing the sun going down on another warm day in such a stunning town.

There are, in my opinion only really 2 towns to stay in if you are there (of course there's lots of little other ones but if you want the realllll omg moments here is your guide). 

Fira or Oia. 

Fira is the capital of Santorini and is where we stayed. Oia, is the infamous town where you can see the sunset on the ocean (not behind the volcano) and is allegedly more 'Blue & White' than the rest of the Island. Luckily for those that haven't been yet and wouldn't know what to do - here is our take on it.

BOTH towns are incredible. There are more restaurant options than you can poke a stick at in both Fira & Oia (but Fira has more) and the whole island is Blue & White - not just Oia - so you get the real Santorini experience & beauty in both towns. After staying in Fira however & visiting Oia countless times - I ended up preferring Fira. Both towns offer the same spectacular views, the same beautiful Blue & White landscapes, the same great restaurants & sunsets....but Oia is more expensive. I found that there were more restaurant options in Fira with uninterrupted views than in Oia, where there are only a handful of restaurants that offer the views you are staying on the island for. 

Here is the real kicker as well that I think should be considered when booking your own dream holiday to Santorini.

Oia - most restaurants that have sunset views only allow you to dine in their restaurant at sunset if you're going to have dinner, i.e. you can't just go in and have some cocktails (or beer...or whatever!) and watch the sunset. 
Fira - Way crusier. Every single restaurant that has the most incredible sunset views cliff side, (believe us we ate at most) allows you to just have drinks for the sunset if that is all you're after. 

Remember as well, the sun sets in the WEST, so you want a hotel that is on the West side of the island (check this carefully as a lot of hotels on the East side lie and say they're west facing). Naturally with this being the main draw card of the island everything is populated around the West side - shops, restaurants, hotels, ice cream stores, mini markets, - the lot! 

There truly was no part of Santorini I could say was my favourite. Wandering completley aimlessly armed with a camera and ice cream through the hoards of white cobble stoned allys, watching sunsets, drinking cocktails by the pool, walking the hill to see the Donkeys - it all made our experience something we'll remember forever. 

So why the name of the post you might be wondering as you near the end of our Santorini experience. Well, it's not as expensive or unreasonably priced as you may think. So, to spur you on in slapping Santorini on your own bucket list, travel list, whatever list - I wanted to list 3 main suggestions for you if and when you get to the magical island - Accommodation, Restaurant, & inexpensive dining options. 

If you want to live your dream, in luxury, with some of the best views on the island, the best food & do it all within a budget you probably didn't think possible, here is our guide on Santorini.

This is where we stayed ... cliff side, sunset views from your own private balcony (or from the restaurant balcony or pool area .. or anywhere in the hotel. The room was gorgeous and just what we needed and we had a view of the ocean from our bedroom window. Bliss. 

This is where we had dinner with amazing sunset views - we ate at different cliff side restaurnts (in both Oia & Fira) every single night, all with fantastic food, fantastic service and even better views but this place was insanely well priced for restaurant dining with kick ass views. You would look at paying almost double (+) for the same menu items in Oia, and close to double at other restaurants spotted along the cliff with sunset views in Fira. Lithos was our pick of restaurants in Fira for the budget savvy (& it was some of the best food we had!) 

This is what & where we lived on for lunch - and it cost us $2.30 euro believe it or not. Lucky's offers up THE best gyro's (that's kebabs for you Aussies back at home) on the whole island - this advice doesn't just come from us, it comes from everyone, the locals and other tourists. There is a lot more on their menu than just gyro's as well all for around $2 - $4 euro.

So there you have it - Santorini. It really is as beautiful as the pictures make it out to be and we will absolutely be back. And who knows - maybe we'll see you there too.

Light & love xx

[ View from the balcony of our Accommodation ]
[ Oia - spent an afternoon exploring the sea of White & Blue ]

[ Out on the Aegean Sea - we thought we'd do the romantic thing & did a sunset cruise - very fun! ]

[ Our day of exploring Oia ]

[ The view from Lithos Restaurant - I got double the view ;) Morgs AND the sunset..lucky gal ]

13 comments:

  1. Hi Anna, how is the holiday going? It looks phenomenal from here! awww how beautiful are the Greek Islands, nothing can parallel those azure beaches and pristine white buildings. Amazing pics!

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  2. You look adorable I love that play suit! Always good to know the cheap eats and hidden gems :)

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  3. Stunning, stunning, stunning pictures! And you guys look great!
    Anna

    www.annasavanna.blogspot.com

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  4. Amazing photos! I want to go there one day.

    LUXESSED

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  5. Santorini is breathtaking. I couldn't say the same for the residents though. Perhaps I was unlucky but I've found the attitude there has deteriorated rapidly since the onslaught of the recession. We were lucky to have met a few nice people here and there on our previous 2 trips back to Greece but overall, I've had to deal with really nasty individuals.

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  6. Ah!! I have been looking at all of your photos on instagram, and i am so envious but so happy for you! It looks like you are having SO much fun. And, I’m happy you posted this post because I have been thinking “i will never have enough money to travel like that!” Seriously, your photos are breathtaking ... and it sounds like you are having the best time ever. I can’t wait to keep tracking your next adventures (and live vicariously through you!)

    xo Julia, everything-pretty.com

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  7. Hi Anna, same like you I can´t find words to describe how much I love your photos. You had such an amazing view from your accomodation and I believe you will never ever forget your stay on Santorini. Btw you look so great in your red playsuit ;)
    xx Eve.h

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  8. So many amazing photos, the first one is my ultimate favourite! Was that taken with the DSLR? x

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  9. Looks like you are haring the time of Your life! You look amazingly happy! Xoxo

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  10. These photos are absolutely amazing - what an incredible dream you're living! I have loved following along on instagram, although it is giving me slight European wanderlust... all of a sudden I've been telling lovely husband C. we need to broaden our travel horizons and fly across sometime soon x

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  11. These photos are beautiful Anna. When you get back we'll have to talk about Greece - getting there, places to stay etc :) xoxox

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