Athens to Santorini - We took a cab from our hotel to the Athens port(Piraeus) for our ship to Santorini. Greek islands are well served by ferries; some of which are like big ships offering a cruise experience like the Hellenic Seaways and Blue Star Ferries, these take a little longer than the smaller faster ferries like Superrunner and seajets (I recommend taking the bigger ones for people with sea sickness). We took the Hellencic Seaways for our journey to Santorini and completely enjoyed the experience. It was like a typical cruise ship with well laid-out seating areas for lounging, dining, relaxing and were allowed to go on deck whenever the ship stopped in between to dis-embark passengers at other greek villages on the way. They also have small cafes and restaurants inside to have a seamless travel experience. I recommend everyone to do this ateast once while being in Greece.
Santorini (Thira Port) - After reaching Santorini (Thira port), we took a bus which brought us to our hotel in Firostefani, meandering through the most amazing sights in the world. The whole of Santorini is served by a network of excellent bus service, whether be to and from the Thira port or within the town.
Firostefani (The Postcard Village) - We got down at the Firostefani bus-stop; my vocabulary fails me to even describe the beauty I encountered the moment I stepped down. The sight that my eyes beheld was nothing but extraordinarily heavenly, jaw-dropping and can't be compared to anything in the world.
Since we were famished by the journey, we decided to stop by for a quick lunch at Aktaion, a traditional Greek themed restaurant bang opposite to the bus-station at the entry point of Firostefani overlooking the iconic caldera. Must say it was a delight for all our senses as we savoured the most amazing Greek salad and the authentic hummus-pita, while being in the sea of visual delight of the boundless sea and caldera in front of us.
We then checked into our gorgeous hotel making our way through the beautiful cobbled path leading up to it.
The Breathtaking Caldera - This is right at the top of the bucket lists of most travellers and one of the main reason for people flocking to Santorini all year round. We thought, why not stay right in front of it to bask in the glory throughout. Firostefani boasts of many amazing boutique hotels built on the cliff overlooking the caldera, we chose Smaro Studios for our stay in Santorini keeping all this in mind. This is a beautiful boutique hotel run by a Greek lady, with some really outlandish views. We stayed in Georges Caldera room, which had the most beautiful balcony/patio with the best views of caldera and firostefani all around. It is like a white and blue wonderland. We were greeted with the traditional Santorini Wine on arrival , recommend everyone to taste it while you are in Santorini.
Three Bells of Fira: After freshening up a bit, we set out on our exploration of the magical village. We walked up the way from our hotel up to the Three Bells of Fira and were greeted by a riot of colors at each and every nook throughout. Quaint corners, with colorful doors adorned with beautiful bougainvillea, blue-white houses, the iconic blue domed churches, and breathtaking views of the sea in front; I wished time could just stop for me then and there and envelope me with the dazzling beauty around forever. I am being dramatic here, but can't help it, that's what Greece does to you;)
Sunset in Oia - We then took a bus upto Oia ( please note the bus network in Santorini is seamless and you can travel to most of the places with a flat rate of 1.8 Euros per person). Hiking from Firostefani to Oia is also a great idea but since we were short on time that day, we decided to take the bus this time.
There is a lot of hype around witnessing the sunset in Oia (which is northern side of Santorini on the caldera cliff) and must say we weren't disappointed, but there is more to Oia than just the sunset. The beautiful meandering narrow lanes dotted with cute little boutique cafes and fashionable souvenir shops, please your senses like no other. There are a lot of beautiful cafes where you can sit and witness this miracle over a cup of authentic Greek coffee and baklava.
Also, don't miss the amazing performance by friendly uncle on Accordion, making the cheering crowds dance to his tunes, the vibes are just inexplicable.
The Scrumptious Dinner - Santorini is every foodie's paradise. Firostefani is abundant with many beautiful restaurants right at the caldera cliff, with some real lip-smacking delicacies and traditional greek beverages (santorini wine and ozuo). We decided to dine at the pretty Vanilla hotel and were floored over by the view, food and hospitality. Special mention about their extremely courteous staff who not only recommend the best on the menu but make sure to bring a personalized dining experience like never before.
Accommodation - Smaro Studios in Firostefani
Conveyance - Convenient bus service throughout the town, charging flat rate of 1.8 euros on most routes; though encourage everyone to explore on foot as much as possible.