Santorini needs very little introduction as the Island speaks for itself. It’s one of the most popular islands in Greece known for its whitewashed buildings, stark blue church domes, wineries and the most picturesque views and sunsets Europe has to offer.
Almost two weeks ago my girls and I were soaking up all the vitamin D in Santorini, Greece. Neither of us had ever been on holiday as a group, neither had we ever been to Santorini which I’m sure was on everyone’s travel bucket list – so you could imagine the excitement amongst us.
What was even more exciting is that your girls got FLEWED TF OUT! Yes people – FLEWEDT OUT periodt! My friend’s boyfriend surprised her for her 25th birthday with an all-expenses paid trip to Santorini with 3 of her favourite friends (us of course). Flights, transfers and 5* hotel were all paid for (and no, she is not taking any applications for new friends). Everything was a big surprise, he told her he was taking her to Croatia for her birthday and they would meet up at the airport on the morning of their flight. When she got to the airport we surprised her and later revealed we were going to Santorini and not Croatia. It was such an epic moment for us all!
WHERE WE STAYED
We stayed at Volcano View Hotel located in Fira and just a few minutes away from the airport. Volcano View is a 5* star hotel offering the most amazing views overlooking the deep blue sea. As we were a party of 4, we were booked into the Grand Suite which was so damn beautiful. We had 2 bedrooms (one room with a balcony view), a mini living room, and a lovely bathroom with a Jacuzzi. This hotel is LUXURY – till now I’m still scared to check how much our room cost per night. I wouldn’t categorise this place as ‘Boujie on Budget’ this is straight up ‘Boujie’, so no doubt you will be in for a treat!
If you saw how we were behaving when our concierge took us outside to where all the apartments were – you could tell we weren’t used to 5-star experiences (Lord change our stories IJN). All you heard from our mouths was:
Nah piss off. Ham going to lose itTemi, Oge, Marilyn & Jasmine (2019)
The customer service at Volcano View Hotel was A1! We were never once made to feel as though we were out of place and the hotel staff always checked in on us to see how our day went. Heck we were even invited on a night out with 2 of the bar staff who worked in the hotel (the tip is to make friends with the bar staff always if you’re trying to get lit). We would all recommend this hotel again and again!
WHERE WE ATE
The ladies were practically begging me for The Palateport food experience so of course I was in charge of sorting out where we ate. When in Greece do as the Greeks do right? Right! So, I made sure we always ate Greek dishes and below are the restaurants we thoroughly enjoyed, and would highly recommend when visiting Santorini:
Lucky’s Souvlakis (€) – The tastiest Greek Souvlaki and Gyros in Santorini for less than 3 euros.
Metaxi Mas (€€) – The food is to die for! It is not a tourist trap restaurant and was recommended by many locals. The restaurant is set on a cliff which provides spectacular views of the city, you can also see the airport as it is not far off from here.
Cyclades Taverna (€€ – €€€) – If you’re visiting Perissa Beach avoid the overpriced touristy restaurants on the beach and head to Cyclades Tavern which is less than a 10-minute walk from the beach. The restaurant is stunning, less busy, cheaper and better food!
The Caldera Restaurant @ Volcano View Hotel (€€ – €€€) – As much as I loved our hotel, their lunch/dinner menu wasn’t great. However, their breakfast though? They deserve some accolades. The restaurant offers an intercontinental breakfast buffet which has almost everything you need!
Argo Restaurant (€€ – €€€) – Another restaurant with a lovely sea view located in Thira Town. I would highly recommend their seafood dishes – it is very fresh and cooked well in beautiful sauces!
Lolita’s Gelato (€) – Amazing Gelato and Sorbets and a wide range of flavours to chose from.
Whilst you are in Greece make sure you try the local foods including Gyros (Kebab), Souvlaki (grilled Chicken skewer), Moussaka (eggplant bake with meat), Greek Salad, Kataifi (cheese rolls), various grilled meats, Tzatziki and much more.
THINGS WE DID
We booked a full day sightseeing tour which covered majority of tourist locations on the island in one day. It’s a great option if you are in Santorini for a short amount of time and it is also one of the cheapest options for seeing the whole island in a day (£43 including transport + wine tasting). We covered the following:
- Perissa Beach (Black Sand Beach)
- Museum of Pre-Historic Akrotiri
- Wine tasting at Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum
- Oia Village + Sunset
- Fira Town
- Profitis Ilias (Highest point of Santorini)
Recommendation: Open Air Cinema – we did not do this as it was not open during our stay but has amazing reviews and cinema tickets are only 8 euros!
2 Brothers Bar (Fira) – Free entry, happy hour which never seemed to end (not a complaint at all), 5-euro cocktails, R’n’B and Hip-Hop music – we had all we needed in one bar! We had a blast here and ended up coming back here on our last night.
Other bars/clubs recommended (R’n’B/Hip-Hop):
- Koo Club
- Tango Bar
SANTORINI ON A BUDGET
Transport & Getting around: Taxis are unnecessarily expensive in Santorini – you could be paying 10-15 euros for a 4-minute drive. If you want to save costs it is cheaper to use the local buses or hire an ATV (prices starting from 10 euros + for the whole day)
Accommodation: You can find cheap accommodation options on Booking.com, Hostelworld, & Air B’n’B. Hotels with a caldera view tend to be a bit pricier than those without.
Eating out: Try to eat at local hole-in-the-walls and taverns as opposed to fancy restaurants (as most of them are tourist traps and are overpriced). Also, I beg of you – DO NOT order Souvlaki or Gyros for more than 5 euros (as some restaurants could charge up to 18 euros), it’s a kebab and you know would not pay such a price in London or wherever you are from.
There is also a Lidl in Fira – you can pick up a few snacks and drinks to avoid room service charges and inflated prices.
Activities: Majority of the popular things to do in Santorini are FREE – from the beaches to watching the sunset in the popular village of Oia. You just have to sort out your own transportation to the main sights (provided you are not doing a tour).
Santorini is a beautiful European getaway and is a great destination for a short-trip (3-4 days) whether its for your honeymoon, baecation, girls’ trip or solo trip! As the island is quite small it can easily be done within 3-4 days, as it offers more scenic views than actual activities. Whilst Santorini is generally pricey, there are ways to have a budget getaway here by eating at cheap restaurants and cheap bars where you do not have to break the bank.