We rode the Minoain express 2 hour ferry from Herkalion, Crete (70 euro per person for Economy Plus) to Santorini Port. At the port we found our name on a rental but the car had not yet arrived. We figured someone from the company was driving it from the airport (the main rental location on the island) but instead we were waiting for another customer to return the car on his way out. The staff took the keys from him and handed them directly to us- not cleaned or checked.
We crammed all of our bags into thr car and drove up our first winding road of the week to Santo Winery. We tasted a sparkling rose, a non-fermented white, and an organic red. Each tasting of 75ml was 3.40- 7 euro.
We stayed at an incredible hotel in Oia called Nostos Apartments. They were not actually apartments. The hotel is on the lowest level of the town closest to the water which means our views of the 3 million year old caldera were unobstructed. The entire town was carved out of original rock making all the hotels, restaurants, shops, etc caves. Our hotel had an infinity pool and a small breakfast room with breathtaking views. I would 100% stay at Nostos again if we went back. (500 euros per night, amazing breakfast included. Poolside drinks were cheaper than bars in town (4 euro beer, 4 euro fresh juice.)
Our first night we went to dinner at Sunset at Ammoudi Bay- I made the reservation a month in advance and in October it was still slammed. Google maps said the walk was 20 minutes as the bay is located on the other side of the town. What google maps did not tell us is that the restaurant is at the bottom of the 140 meter above sea-level mountain we were currently on top of. We walked down, then 2 hours back up. We took 756 physical steps, 250 actual steps counted, all on a very steep incline. Thank god I was never attempted to wear heels in Greece.
There are a few restaurants down at Ammoudi Bay, Sunset being the most popular. Our table was directly next to the water- no gate/fence in between the table and chair legs and the edge of the pier. There was a ladder which I bet has been used once or twice before.
We started with the scallops with black lentils, and the sun-dried (then grilled) octopus, which is tougher but has more flavor than traditional boil then grilled octopus. For our entree we shared a 1kg sea bass which we picked out, and paired with the grilled vegetables. The food was delicious.
On Wednesday we went on the 8 hour Georgaros Fishing Trips Santorini (89 per person.) The tour included transportation to and from the hotel but we opted to drive to Vlychada Marine ourselves. The owner/captain is Anthi, she’s been fishing with her dad since she was young and started her own tour company.
We stopped near the coasts of White Black Red beach and fished/ snorkled. The crew cooked a fantastic meal of soft shell shrimp and grilled and fried fishes.
After a long day on the water we went back to relax in Oia. We read by our pool and enjoyed the view, fresh juice, and olive oil, oregano and bread we brought from Crete.
Dinner at Lotza. Casual traditional food overlooking the water. We had the Santorini Fava dip, Briama (roasted vegetables with yogurt) and bolognese.
We stopped for an after dinner drink at Meteor Cafe, a vintage eclectic jazz mini bar overlooking the bay. Pricey at 8 euro for a glass of red wine “from the barrel.”
On Thursday we did the must-do walk from Oia and Fira, which took 2 hours 10 minutes. The walk is a mix of cliffside trails and walking through XXX. The views are insane.
Fira was insanely packed with cruise tourists- 4 cruise ships. The locals kept saying this was abnormal for October. The vibe of Fira is cheap touristic, and average compared to the posh town of Oia was had become accustomed to.
We decided to get away from the crowds and cruise cable cars aka away from the water views. We found Absolutely Fabulous, a spot off the beaten path for fresh juices and a Greek Crepe. Then grabbed a House falafel wrap and tomato balls from Falafeland, one of the best falafels I’ve ever had. Then we walked around the corner to LukuMum for loukoumades but we were too full for fried dough balls so we opted for a banana nutella crepe instead.
We took the local bus from Fira back to Oia (1.80 euro each) and relaxed at our pool again.
Our hotel conceriege managed to sneak us into Fino last minute without a reservation and we are so happy he did. The restaurant ambience is laid back sophisticated and the food was incredible. Jazz music played throughout our 2.5 hour meal. We had the sea bass ceviche, grilled prawns, chevre peach salad, sea bass and lamb ribs with (a to die for) carrot puree and whipped hummus, accompanied by a glass of local Syrah and two draft beers. I would not get the sea bass again as it was bland. It is one of the pricier restaurants in town but the portion sizes were large compared to those back home. Dinner came to 116 euro with tip. I would 100% go back here.
After dinner we walked to Hassapiko Bar (also known as Mary Kay’s) for milkshakes and people watching. This is the only trendy/dance friendly bar in Oia and it definitely attracts the fun drinking crowd. It’s a beautiful pastel old fashioned eclectic bar that serves ice cream and lunch-type foods.
We had a final breakfast at our hotel over looking the bay then went to buy the blue sunglasses I’d been eyeing at Kopajak, a Mykonos sunglasses company.
We spent our last day in Santorini at multiple spots within 5km of each other in the middle of the island. First stop was Art Space Winery, a museum/ art gallery/ winery where we got a wine production tour from the owner who Nick claims was speaking in English. We then went to Santorini Brewery (the only local beer,) where we viewed the bottling process in action. We did the free tasting which included Yellow Donkey (a pale ale and our favorite,) Red Donkey and Lazy Donkey.
From here we headed up the road to Metaxi Mas for our 2pm lunch reservaton. The restaurant sits on a hill overlooking the east side of the island. We ordered grilled local mushrooms, chick pea hot pot with smoked trout, seafood pasta in Santorini cherry tomato sauce and lamb shank. The food was delicious but the sun lurked over and eventually the patio turned into musical chairs as all the guests started sweating, myself included.
After lunch we drove down to Kamari Beach, a black pebble beach town. We slowly walked along the water exfoliating our feet, and camped out on lounge chairs at one of the many beach front bars and had fresh juices (honeydew and pineapple.)
The airport was a quick 10 minutes from Kamari.