For some reason, ever since I left Santorini, I’ve been singing my own made-up song about Santorini to the tune of “Tiny Bubbles.”
It has a certain old-world charm, with its assortment of cave dwellings and white+blue structures built into a caldera-facing cliff, and smattered with steps.
We stayed in Karterados, a quaint little town just South of the main town, Fira.
Karterados basically didn’t have anything. It was a convenient and quiet spot of respite before heading into the happening town, just like I like it. Many locals live here, and I particularly enjoyed ambling about the back-streets and stumbling upon random doors built into the ground.
Greece has fun windmills everywhere! …it’s on a cliff and we were told that it gets particularly windy in the winter.
Fira, North of Karterados
The main city
Fira has a lot of shops and the most people. The city was fine, flooded with tourists, centrally located, but not my favorite.
In case you get tired of walking, there are donkeys to walk you down the mountain.
North of Fira, where the wedding was held
Amel and Sofiane’s wedding is the reason that we made it to Europe in the first place! So without further ado: the Algerian wedding (with close-friend attendees from Algeria, France, and the United States).
The wedding was incredible, set in a hotel in Oia, overlooking the sea. The ceremony was humble, the attendees weren’t numerous, but this *was* their third ceremony! We listened vows delivered in English, provided by an Algerian friend who asked the bride and groom to repeat comically partial sentences:
Speaker: “take you…”
Groom: “take you…”
Speaker: “to be…”
Groom: “to be…”
Needless to say, we were giggling pretty hard.
After the ceremony, we listened and danced to a traditional Greek band and then had the most decadent and abundant dinner I’ve had in a while, including a moussaka the size of my face that was JUST the appetizer.
Amel surprised us with her beautiful traditional Algerian garb!
Northern tip of Santorini, (pronounced EE-yah)
Though swamped with tourists, Oia still manages to convey an old-timey, romantic ‘waltz around arm-in-arm wearing sandals and a floppy hat’ kind of feel.
Maybe it’s the lack of cars seen as you climb up and down countless white-washed stairs. Or all the art galleries. Or maybe it’s the determination in the air of pursuing a sunset, of all things. The stampede of people cramming into every Westward facing nook to catch the sunset is kind of great.
We also managed to stumble into the most charming bookshop I’ve seen in a long time.
Kyle loves books
South of Santorini
The South of Santorini doesn’t boast the same cliffside views that the rest has, but it is perhaps, in my opinion, better. It’s quieter, the best (and only) beaches are there, and there is access to the fantastic ruins.
Akortiri, Minoan Bronze age settlement, is an ancient city that was uncovered from layers of lava and is now contained in a large warehouse. You can circle the entire complex and can even walk through some of the old streets.
Visit the red beach! In September, the water is chilly, but swimmable and so striking with the red and black volcanic rock underneath your feet. You have an option to rent kayaks to kayak to two other beaches: a white and a black one!
The Yacht Trip
In which we travelled around the edge of the island and to the volcanic hot spring!
One of my favorite parts of the trip was a yacht trip in the caldera. We went, 10 of us, to various private swimming spots, were wined and dined very luxuriously, and swam into the reddened water of the volcanic hot spring.
A little spendy, but very worth it.
Alternatively, you can rent a boat to take you just to the volcano, where you can go for a hike and swim in the springs.
The gray lava “columns” formed when the lava dripped down the cliff
Sofiane and Amel picking mini oysters
Docking just outside the hot spring, which we swam into.
Next up: Crete (my favorite…no offense rest of Greece)