Paces West Travels: Guide to Santorini
Although Max and I have been married for almost a full year now, we had not taken our honeymoon until just recently. I’m an avid supporter of a delayed honeymoon, but eight months delayed was pushing it even for me – I mean, TBH I felt a little embarrassed to even call it our “honeymoon” at this point, but the label, or lack thereof, had no effect on our Grecian experience!
When planning our trip we knew we wanted to go somewhere we could completely unplug and relax. This may sound like a no-brainer to most of you, but Max and I are the type of people that really never take a break (hello 8-month delayed honeymoon!) and our typical vacations are usually packed with activities and itineraries and yes, usually some time to work. When I told Max that I wanted this vacation to be different and I wanted to go somewhere we could lounge around and drink champagne all day and – deep breaths – not bring our laptops, you would have thought I’d told him a needed a kidney. Oh yes, we are THOSE people.
Eventually, he agreed to give up his laptop for a week and I promised we would pick a place that was so relaxing and gorgeous that he wouldn’t even give work a second thought – enter Santorini! Neither of us had ever been to Greece before, and Santorini seemed like the obvious place to start. For a brief moment I thought the iconic blue and white city couldn’t possibly live up to the Pinterest hype and let me tell you – I. was. wrong. Santorini is one of the single most beautiful places I have ever been and not to mention the people are so friendly and the food is beyond amazing!
This was only the first half of our trip and we genuinely wanted to cancel the second half and just stay in Santorini (though thankfully we didn’t because the second half of our trip was in Mykonos which was INCREDIBLE! My guide to Mykonos can be found HERE!).
Below are some of my favorite photos from Santorini! Scroll down for the full guide with all of my trip details and recommendations!
Santorini is an island with several different areas, each with their own unique appeal and charm. There are gorgeous hotels to choose from in each area, so I would first suggest choosing which village you want to stay in and then choosing your hotel based on that. We chose to stay in the village of Oia, which is the picturesque town at the topmost part of the island. Oia is known for its breathtaking sunsets and of course the iconic blue and white architecture. If you are looking for quintessential Santorini, this is where you want to stay!
Oia has no shortage of unbelievable hotels, and ours was no exception. We stayed at the Perivolas Lifestyle Houses in the Perivolas Luxury Suite and I am not exaggerating when I say my jaw dropped to the floor when they gave us a tour. The hotel is built into a cliff and features large, cave-like rooms that offer the utmost privacy and tranquility. Our suite had a massive private pool and outdoor area as well as an indoor hot tub and steam shower. It was so private (and safe!) that we slept with our doors open each night and woke up to the beautiful sunrise over the caldera.
We started each day by having breakfast delivered to our room, and by breakfast, I mean breakFEAST! The options were seemingly endless and everything was so fresh and delicious – it was a “we’ll have one of everything” situation! There is just something about sipping coffee in a bathrobe on your own private slice of a cliff in Greece that makes you feel like THE Queen.
After breakfast we spent the days drinking champagne and lazing around on our private sundeck, watching the boats far below and staring out at the view that never gets old. For two people who don’t know how to relax, we learned very quickly and dare I say, excelled at it! At some point the lunch feast would arrive and we would again eat enough for a small army before returning to our previous task of doing absolutely nothing. I could go on and on about the magical nature of this hotel, but I think the pictures speak for themselves! I definitely shed a tear or two when it was time to leave, and I am already planning our next trip back!
We ate most meals at the hotel because, again, we just didn’t want to trade in our swimsuits and private oasis for real clothes and other people! However, on the few occasions we did venture out it was 100% worth it because the food in Santorini is nothing short of spectacular!
On our first night in Santorini we had dinner at The Athenian House in Imerovigli. The restaurant was a short cab ride from our hotel (followed by a short, treacherous walk down a cliff – Santorini is not the place for high heels let me tell you) and self describes as a “relaxed fine dining restaurant”. After a long night and day of traveling, this sounded perfect to us! We sampled some local Greek wine as we enjoyed our unobstructed view over the water from our terrace table. We went on a Tuesday night and although the restaurant was quite crowded, we never felt rushed by our waitress. Overall, we felt that the restaurant lived up to their mantra – we had excellent food and wine in a friendly, laid-back atmosphere!
Our favorite dinner in Santorini was at Lycabettus restaurant in Oia. We were able to walk here from our hotel (again, down what felt like 5,000 stairs) and the dining area is situated on a cliff that juts out away from the rest of the restaurant, providing 360-degree views of the water and village around you. There are only a few tables on the cliff so each one has a perfect view! We decided to partake in the discovery tasting menu which includes 6 AHHHMAZING courses and we opted for the wine pairings with each course as well. Every single course was thoughtfully prepared and each was more unique than the last! Max also has several food allergies and they were beyond accommodating and adjusted his courses accordingly without letting his experience suffer. They even customized his wine pairings to match his new dishes so that they still paired perfectly! We were so full at the end that we were grateful for the long trek back up the cliff! It was truly an amazing experience which I can’t recommend enough!
photos from our dinner at Lycabettus
We also ate lunch in Oia one day while we were exploring the village at a little tapas restaurant called Melitini. There was a line out the door before they opened and although we did not have a reservation, they were super nice and squeezed us in on the rooftop. We ordered wayyy too much food (though is there really such a thing as too much tzatziki and hummus?) and enjoyed a glass of local white wine before heading back to our hotel to cool off in the pool.
Other restaurants we wish we had time to sample were Kapari Wine Restaurant and Lauda. Lauda is the sister restaurant to Lycabettus and also located in Oia and Kapari Wine Restaurant is located in Imerovigli!
Although most of our vacations involve a fair amount of go-go-go, we put a large emphasis on doing absolutely nothing during this trip and Santorini definitely lends itself to that. Lazing by the pool seems to be the preferred activity for most, and we were A-OK with that!
However, one activity I do recommend is exploring Oia. The main street in Oia is pedestrian-only and has adorable shops clustered from end-to-end. We did not opt for a guided tour of the town but instead we took a half-day to wander the streets on our own. The town is so beautiful and there are an endless number of spots for photo opportunities. The one caveat to this is that it becomes insanely crowded and almost impossible to move around during the height of the day. I highly suggest going out early in the morning when the shops first open in order to avoid the worst of the crowds. Max and I explored for a few hours one morning and returned to our hotel once it became too crowded with tour groups.
One of my favorite memories was waking early one morning before Max (and the rest of the city apparently) and going on a long walk by myself before breakfast. The city was so tranquil and quiet and I had the views all to myself! I felt like this was the best way to enjoy the city and I wish I did it every morning!
If you’re heading to Santorini anytime soon, I hope this information is helpful to you and helps make your trip as amazing as ours was! If you have any lingering questions, just let me know in the comments! CLICK HERE for my guide to the next part of our Grecian adventure – MYKONOS!