Greece was so, so good.
It was one of those places that had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and when it was finally becoming a reality, it was so hard to decide where to go and what to do since there is just so much.
Scored a window seat on the way to the island!
Santorini was one of the first places that jumped out at me – I mean, who can resist when beautiful photos of it are plastered all over the internet? I had to see for myself what all the hype was about.
I’ll be honest: it’s a tourist trap and a half. Hardly anything on the island screams authenticity (for example, all the restaurants named “Authentic Greek Restaurant” with all English menus). Still, there is one thing in Santorini that is an absolute must for any wanderluster: hiking the cliff-side passage from Fira (the island’s main hub) to the picturesque village of Oia to watch the sun set. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life to date and I’m pretty sure it will always stay that way.
After grabbing a few provisions at the local Carre Four, we headed up to the Caldera in Fira to begin our epic journey. The well-marked cobblestone path took us through blinding white tunnels and winding stairways, wrapped around many a restaurant and holiday home, as well as several of those lovely churches with the bright blue domes.
To our left, the bright blue waters of the Aegean sparkled in the sunlight.
As we moved farther along the trail, the white washed villages became fewer and farther between and jagged, volcanic cliffs began to take their place.
We were about three quarters of the way there when we decided to stop and enjoy our picnic lunch, chock full of Greek olives, pistachios, crusty bread, and a delicious herbed tomato dip. We even found a tiny, picnic-sized bottle of wine!
We had originally planned on waiting to eat until we reached Oia, but I’m so glad we didn’t because that picnic was hands down one of the best experiences of my life! There was something so amazing, and dare I say spiritual, about being there on the edge of a cliff together with no one else in sight enjoying a fabulous lunch and spectacular views.
It took us roughly four hours (it normally takes three, but we took our time with our lunch stop) to reach the pristine town of Oia, obviously well-kept to meet the tourist demand. It was late afternoon and the sun was at its highest point of the day, so we knew we had a little time before the larger groups of tourists came through. Luckily, it was still the shoulder season, so it wasn’t nearly as packed as it will be in a couple of months.
We stopped at a cliff-side cafe for a little coffee and some water and were pleased to see that it wasn’t as terribly overpriced as we were expecting. As a side note, there was the most adorable family next to us with some very sophisticated children who were raving about the quality of the Greek salad they were eating.
Finally, we were ready to make our way to the famed lookout spot to check out one of the most renowned views in the world. Pictures, of course, will never fully do it justice.
I was feeling on top of the world! We stayed for about two hours, simply gazing at the incredible sight in front of us, listening to some lovely Greek street music, and talking about what a marvelous adventure it all was. A truly magical and unforgettable journey.