August 20, 2018
I have gotten a lot of questions about our honeymoon to Santorini and also haven’t posted too many photos so I figured a blog post would be a good idea! Ned’s parents sent us on the trip of a lifetime and I am in awe of how generous they are! We stayed here for 5 nights and then spent the rest of our honeymoon traveling around Italy (if you want a post similar to this about our time in Italy let me know!). I will add photos of some of our favorite memories from each day and then towards the bottom of this post I will share more recommendations and travel tips!
After walking down what seemed to be no less that 1,000 steps, (praise be to Mr. Porter man who carried all of our luggage) we got checked in to our hotel and saw our suite for the first time! Above you can see the beautiful view from our room- I was and still am in awe that this place actually exists. Once we got there, any and all of my expectations were exceeded and I truly felt like we were in a fairy tale! We were exhausted from our flights so Ned grabbed a book and read on the balcony and I laid down on the bed for just a minute or two- then accidentally woke up from a 3 hour nap….ooops!
After our nap we decided to head out for a walk and grab some dinner. The sunsets, the views, and every corner you turn is simply perfect. In the picture on the left, the pool that you see is our hotel pool, I mean it doesn’t get much cuter or perfect than that!!
Our breakfast each morning (complimentary) was SO. GOOD. They served it poolside and we loved waking up and enjoying local greek food every morning with this view! (PS the greek yogurt was delish). Our hotel was located very close to the main trail in Oia (pronounced ee-uh) that leads down to the sea. Not too bad going down, but coming up was brutal haha- this is where you may have seen photos of people taking donkeys up a steep path. At the bottom there are a couple restaurants and the clearest waters! There is a path that goes through one of the restaurants and winds around the water and we almost stopped after walking for a few minutes because it looked like the path had ended. But then we saw people come down a rocky path and urged us to keep going…and we are SO happy we did! We found our way to a beautiful (and freezing) place to swim. There were a few people in the distance jumping off a cliff/island just off the shore a bit. We didn’t have swimsuits with us but Ned insisted we were going to come back and jump (LOL rrrright). Below are the photos from the path leading up to the cliff jump spot- look at that water! Also, I decided I thought these two photos looked a little over edited so went to revert them to originals…and these are the originals. Ya’ll this place is magical!
Day 3 might have been the best day EVER…jk our engagement day was, oh wait our wedding day was…. basically this was ONE of the best days ever :). The night before, when we were walking on the path down by the water we saw a pop up shop for The Santorini Yachting Club. We got talked into putting down a deposit for a sailing trip the next morning and oh are we glad we did. So last minute and so worth the $$. We sailed around the islands, swam in the volcanic hot springs (this messed up my manicure ugh- worth it), and got to snorkel in the most blue waters I have ever seen. It was unlimited coke (yay), beer, and greek food nommm! Once we got back, we rested up on our patio, showered, and got ready for dinner!
Dinner time for Ned and I was such a fun adventure every night! We strolled around didn’t make any reservations (tips on making reservations for food, excursions etc will be below!) and tried to get lost on all the side streets. We ended up finding the BEST gyro shop and went back a few too many times during our trip. The owner was so sweet and gave us the same table each time and even though him and Ned told me to stop feeding the cat under the table…I obviously didn’t listen. Take away from all this…these were the best gyros we have ever had and we crave them allll too often.
We didn’t plan it this way, but for most nights we ended up heading out right around sunset meaning almost everyone was making their way off the main roads and searching for the sunset.
Days 4 and 5 on the island was spent doing more exploring, eating the yummiest food, and cliff jumping! It was so bittersweet to leave and we wanted to soak in as much as we could. I love the photo below of Ned jumping off the cliff! And though surprising to many (if not all) I jumped off toooo! It may have taken me 10 minutes to get up the courage but the crowd clapping and cheering for me once I jumped made it such a fun experience. They were all yelling up “you can do it, woohoo just don’t look down” LOL I am a drama queen but I did it and we were all very excited haha.
I am so completely in love with my husband who keeps this life so adventurous!
My advice when it comes to flying out for your honeymoon: put one full day in between your wedding and first day of travel! Even though our experience wasn’t bad, I think it could have gone a little smoother if we had done that (we left the very next morning).
We flew from ATL –>NY –>Athens –>Santorini. We did some research and you can get to Santorini by plane or boat. The price wasn’t a big enough difference to us, so we opted to fly which saved several hours. The flight from Athens to Santorini was very quick!
If your hotel offers complimentary pickup to and from the airport DO IT! Even if they charge, I would honestly still do it. I felt much more comfortable knowing our driver knew exactly which hotel we were going to and how to get there, it was so efficient and we didn’t have to stress about directions. The hotel also set up a porter service for us which was amazing. They loaded our -very heavy- suitcases on their backs and delivered them to our room! I have absolutely no idea how we would have gotten them down/back up all of the steps if they hadn’t offered that. Once again it was complimentary but we were more than happy to give them a nice tip!
My Aunt and Uncle have traveled around Europe and one of their biggest suggestions to us was to each pack in one carry-on sized suitcase (uhhhh how would I fit all my clothes?!). We unfortunately did not take their advice, BUT I will say this is by far one of my biggest recommendations. Especially with traveling all over Italy afterwards, this would have made things so. much. easier. I really only wore a few different outfits which means I definitely overpacked. My advice is to pack lots of dresses! The heat wasn’t horrible but with how much we walked/hiked (lots of hills and steps!) I loved feeling the breeze :).
I am also so glad that we brought backpacks! It made traveling easier (one less thing to carry since it’s on your back) and when we would head out for the day I could pack everything I needed as well as my camera and even a change of clothes. A purse or two would have been cute for dinners, but I never needed one and I loved being able to have so much with me! I have gotten lots of questions on which one I brought on this trip so I am linking it here. I love the shape and it holds my laptop too!
This is a daunting process haha. There are SO many options on the island! Different cities, prices ranges, vibes, etc. After looking into it, I realized that Oia seemed to be the iconic white walls, blue dome, cliff city that you dreamed of visiting right after watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants all those years ago! I was a little nervous because research suggested that it was going to be overcrowded and busy. We traveled in their spring season and while it definitely got crowded at times, there are so many places to go and things to see that it didn’t interfere with us much! I would recommend figuring out what is most important to you and choosing a hotel based on that.
I will say, I cannot recommend Oia, our hotel, and the location enough! We stayed at Oia Mare Villas and as you can see from the photos below, it was amazing! Not to mention the staff were so friendly and helped us with anything we needed to know! With that being said, Ned and I were talking about more cost effective ways to travel around Europe and one big thing you would be able to do in Santorini would be to not splurge on a hotel. We (I) really wanted a private hot tub on our balcony and I stand by our decision since it was our honeymoon, but if you were to do this trip (not as a honeymoon/ not wanting a hot tub) having a basic room with no hot tub and maybe a little further from the main street would save lots of $$. A huge plus is that almost all of the hotels seem to have a pool and will most likely have a great view even if not right outside your room. Basically what I am trying to say is that you could book a cheap hotel that is facing a brick wall and then walk to all of the beautiful streets, views, etc and still have an absolutely amazing trip!
I won’t go into too much detail here, and I’ll tell you why! There are so many blogs and posts that tell you what to do and where to go, and while that’s great- if I were you I would pick one or two things that are MUST see/do for you. Plan them out and research the best way to do them and then with everything else, wing it! Have your own experiences of exploring, getting lost, and finding a hole in the wall ice cream shop. The little moments will be some of your best memories! I had to remind myself to slow. down. To no surprise I had my camera with me almost everywhere, but there were times when I would choose not to bring it or I would realize I was needing to be more present. Don’t get me wrong: take LOTS of photos and capture those memories but remember to relax and soak everything in!
Some of our favorite activities:
Cliff jumping. This was something neither of us will ever forget. Yes, it was really scary and yes I waited to see other people jump before I let Ned and myself haha. Aaand the water was FREEZING. But it will by far be one of our greatest memories for years to come! If you want to go, you can type in cliff jump in Oia into google and there are several articles that explain how to get there. But it’s so easy: walk down the main path in Oia that leads to Amoudi Bay (when in Oia you will know where this is, and if not your hotel can tell you exactly where!) turn left and walk through the restaurant, keep walking around the path until you get to some sketchy rocks and it seems the path ends. Then voila! You’re there.
Catamaran/ Sailing cruise. This was SO GREAT! There are different types but we chose a small cruise which meant that they only allowed 12 guests on the boat max. This made for a perfect experience. The limit on the number of people ensured that we didn’t feel crowded, we could lay out and tan, eat, swim, and talk with the others in a way that felt very relaxing and private. I mentioned it above but we sailed around the islands, swam in the volcanic hot springs, got to snorkel, and eat a delicious greek meal that they prepared fresh for us on the boat!
Massage. LOVED this. By far the most relaxing thing I have ever done. This was the first one I’ve ever had and all I have to say is WOW.
Eat all the fresh seafood and gyros you possibly can!
The food in Greece is AMAZING! I feel like I use that word a lot when I talk about this trip but oh my gosh everything here is just that! We never made reservations, and I’m glad we didn’t because we never felt rushed to make it to dinner on time. The whole island is very laid back and accommodating. Trust me, you will be able to find somewhere delicious to eat within walking distance without too long of a wait! We did do a little bit of research on food before we went but ended up winging it! The gyro place I mentioned above was called Pito Gyros and the food was insanely good and super affordable. I think we got 5 gyros, an order of their fries, and two cokes on most of our visits there and it was about 15 euros. Yes that is wayy too much food but we would save some for midnight snacks :). We found gelato shops, a creperie, and cute places to get cocktails and desserts just by walking around. A place we went to two or three times for appetizers was called Lotza. So yummy and never a long wait, plus their views are beautiful! I really didn’t take tooo many pictures of our food (shocking I know) but these gyros were– yep you guessed it: AMAZING! There are great restaurant options for casual dining, sunset views for dinner, and really upscale places. We loved having the option to dress up and get fancy or go somewhere laid back!
The sunset is a HUGE deal in Oia and I assume other parts of the island as well. One thing we really got fortunate with is that our hotel was located right in the perfect spot to watch and where everyone wanted to be to watch the sunset. But, unless you are staying at the hotel(s), you can’t come down the little side paths that lead to rooms (praise). So while everyone was waiting for an hour or so saving their spot for the sunset, we could see it from our balcony or go to our hotel’s rooftop space and watch from there with no crowds! It is actually pretty funny to see so many people line up and wait for it. One tip for your Santorini sunset experience: see it at least once and just enjoy! Don’t worry about too many photos because they’ll never do it justice. And something we did that I would suggest, most nights we ended up making our way into town for dinner while almost everyone else stood in line and watched the sunset. This meant less crowds, shorter wait time, a more peaceful walk through the streets, etc.
I reached out to our hotel about a month or two in advance asking if they would help me with dinner reservations, a catamaran cruise, or any other activity they recommended. Their response scared me at first, but they kindly told me to wait until we arrived and then they would take care of things for us. Once again, with the island being so laid back (or at least it gave off that vibe) we never ran into any issues! Ned really wanted us to get a couples massage once we got there and they told us we could pick any day we wanted. They even scheduled it in our room for us so we didn’t even have to go anywhere- huge plus! If you want to make dinner reservations, that’s also no problem. There seemed to be many restaurants where you can reserve the table of your choice in the evenings, which would ensure a front row/picture perfect view of the sunset and this is something I would actually recommend doing for one night! You usually have to put a few euros down to save your spot but it’s nothing crazy. We never did this but usually lucked out with great views anyways!