Sunday, July 5, 2015

Santorini, Greece: Catamarans and Fried Cheese

Before I arrived, I'd imagined Santorini to be kind of like "Mamma Mia", even though apparently that takes place on a completely different Greek island.  I have to be honest. To me, it kind of feels like it is.

I headed to Santorini on Thursday evening to join up with my bff Maren, her boyfriend Mike, and a group of friends who were headed out to Greece for a 4th of July week-long vacation.  Post a 6-hour airport delay in Croatia, I finally made it!

The town of Fira in Santorini at sunset

What It's All About:
Santorini is actually a bigger island than I'd initially anticipated; with four separate cities you can choose to stay in. The island and the surrounding baby islands were created from volcanic eruptions, so the landscape is kind of cliff-y (new word) and rocky, with red/black colored volcanic rock - it's also what creates the insanely gorgeous cliffs where the little white towns are perched atop (which involves a lot of fun little steep winding walkways in the towns and between towns).  The cities themselves look just like those postcards and photos you always see - the whitewashed walls, the domed churches, etc. - all with breathtaking seaside views.  I can't believe how picturesque it all is; it's so rare that a place looks exactly like its photos.  It's like a person that looks just like their online profile pics.

On that note, waking up every morning and looking outside was like staring straight at the sun - the sun reflecting off the water reflecting off white walls was like being blinded every morning. But only in the best way possible.

But oh man, does Santorini know how to do its sunsets.

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • In total, we were a group of 8 people - we had rented at an AirBnB house in the town of Firostefani, which was SO. CUTE. It was one of those traditional houses right on the cliffside (and consequently, right on the water) - thick adobe white walls, blue doors, amazing mud stairs (I'm definitely creating my own terms here, but you know - those stairs that are clay-like and built right into the house as part of the walls...YOU KNOW), terraces, a huge outdoor space outside with a plunge pool and deck chairs, two kitchens, and those shutter doors that you can dramatically fling open in the mornings.  It was the nicest.  The first day, we all met up and then spent the day on the terrace and around the pool with beers.
The sweetest, Greek-est, AirBnB house

View from the house every morning. It'll do.
  • That evening, we headed to the town of Oia - there's a spot that everyone goes to watch the sunset because it kind of sets behind the city on the water and it so, so pretty.  However, people do not play when it comes to getting spots to watch the sunset and the place was JAM. PACKED.  We did get some nice shots in, though. 
The town of Oia at sunset-watching time, aka people jammed into every crevice possible
Mike taking photos amongst the million people waiting. People made fun of my selfie stick;
then they realized how useful it can be. Desperate times, folks. 

We had dinner at the most amazing seaside seafood restaurant afterwards. You could go into the kitchen and point at the fish you wanted, and it was all so, so fresh and so, so delicious. You can obviously take this from the girl who loves Red Lobster. 
  • The next day, we went on a 5-hour catamaran adventure. The boat had a max of 20-ish people, so it was intimate enough and was seriously the most perfect (I need a sliding scale of what things are actually perfect, and what things are just great), perfect (you know I mean it when I say it 2x) day ever - the sun, being on the water, unlimited drinks, and sailing.  The boat crew was awesome and gave fun historical details of all the places they took us to - which included a red beach, a black beach, and a white beach.  Each stop, they gave us time to swim in the gorgeous warm waters and relax (or snorkel!). PERFECTION.
Our catamaran

Arriving at the red beach
My pink noodle and I are headed to the water

Swimming in the most gorgeous waters
Did I also mention the boat crew cooked us the MOST DELICIOUS Greek lunch ever?!
  • Post-boat, some of us wandered the town of Fira.  We later all reconvened at night for a delicious Greek dinner in Fira (fried cheese...mmmm), and then fancy ocean-side drinks. There were maybe a couple other interesting venues thrown in that night.
Maren and I overlooking Fira

The crew at sunset, night 2. B/F, L/R: Andrew, Caroline, Kyle, Lou, Mike, Maren, me, and Alicia
Sunset from our terrace (sans crowds)
View of Fira at night

Fun Facts of the Day:
  • For those wondering, Greece is obviously not in an incredible state right now (read: economic turmoil), but we were prepped and honestly didn't notice anything out of the ordinary while we were in Santorini - though it might be a different case in other parts of the country.  At least our tourist dollars can't hurt....
  • The volcano Santorini is still active and has an underwater crater. The last eruption was over 3,000 years ago
  • People do ride donkeys up and down the seaside paths! Because I saw it. Proof.
  • Is there a reason every city in Europe offers gelato on every corner?? You are not helping.

Currently at the airport; we are headed off to the Greek island of Chios next!  Santorini was so, so great - and honestly, it's been the best being back with people and getting to relax (because trekking waterfalls and soaking in hot baths has been a lot of work......you know).

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July, and a shoutout congrats to my friend Megs on her wedding back in CO!  xo


  1. Awww, thanks for the shout out! We missed you stateside, but I'm so, so glad you got to experience the gorgeousness that is Greece! The catamaran trip sounds absolutely fantastic. Loving everything you write, and checking up on you daily. :) XO

    1. Ahhh you looked so GORGEOUS btw! I'm sure you had an incredible day, I can't wait to see you when I get back and celebrate married life! Love you! Xo