The disappointing Santorini

So we finally arrived to Santorini after a 5 hours ferry journey. We got to the port at about 1.30am and I probably would suggest this to everyone since this late ferry seems to be a bit less crowded than the afternoon ones (as we experienced later). You can just relax on deck or sleep on the chair, floor or soft benches during the 5 hours trip. As soon as we got off, we found the guy who picked us up from our hostel Holiday Beach Resort in Perissa, the Western side of the island. The hostel was ok, nothing spectacular in the rooms but it had beds, shower, toilet and a fridge. What else would you need? 🙂 The place advertises itself as every room is either pool view or sea view. Ours was a sea view room but since we got the bottom level, you could barely see the sea from our little terrace. The pool looks very nice and inviting in the evening when it’s lit up.

As we arrived very late, we went straight to bed. Next day we decided to go to the Ancient Thira which is “an antique city on a ridge of the steep, 360m high Messaovuno mountain”. We made the decision to walk all the way up there and then go and see Oia which is the town where all those typical ‘Santorini pictures’ have been taken on the internet. 

As we started walking from our hostel, we went through some part of Perissa. Imagine a very plain town with some houses, a massive bare mountain in front of you with dried grass on, nothing appealing apart from it’s size. We stopped at a bakery to buy some breakfast. These bakeries are well popular here and you can find them everywhere. Cheap and very good. We had 2 pastries, one filled with cheese and tomato, the other with salami and cheese and we payed €4.20. We had to walk about 20-25mins till we got to the bottom of the mountain we had to hike. As we started hiking we thought, that’s not bad. But it gets worse… elevation is about 15%, altitude is 400m above sea level. We started at sea level. The path is with little stones that later turns into small gravels. It is a little challenge to walk up but some people did it in flip flops so I’m sure everyone can do it. As you walk higher and higher, you can slowly see the sea underneath and the whole of Perissa. When you get to the little chapel on top….well, that isn’t the top. Not even close. We thought we are there, my head was burning (we left about 10am,so was up there by 11am), and I thought, I’m gonna set on fire. It took us about 40mins to walk up to the chapel, then an other 10-15 to walk to the top,in o Thira. You have to pay €4 to enter. As we visited Ephesus not long ago, we had a pretty good comparison and I have to tell you, I definitely enjoyed Ephesus more. Thira is a very bare place with not much left,mainly rocks. The way up there was great, feeling we did it was better but if you aren’t a fan of ruins, don’t go there. It says it takes about 1-1.5 hours to walk around, we did it in 40mins and we read every sign. After walking through the ruins, we started to descend on the other side to Kamari where we wanted to take the bus from to go to Fira and then catch a bus from there to Oia. Buses are generally €1.80 per person per trip and you pay after the bus left to a guy who walks around and sells tickets. 

Before getting the bus, we walked to beach in Kamari,just put our feet in the lovely water. The beach has black volcanic sand, it’s very nice. 

We walked a bit, had some nice fried tomato balls with tzaziki and cream cheese and then we got to the bus station and just got the bus. The bus takes about 20mins to Fira and from the same station you can hop on the next bus to Oia.

It took about 25mins there. Oia is famous for the pictures you see everywhere on the internet with the iconic white houses and the blue domes. It is also very famous for its gorgeous sunset. So our idea was to get around, take the so popular and ‘must do’ pictures and then find a spot for the sunset. We are pretty much out of season but still, hundreds of people entering the little town trying to take the famous blue dome pictures. We did the same, took some lovely pictures and walked through the very cute little town where you can only walk, no cars, bikes or any other transportation since the streets and little alleys constantly going up or down. After all the wondering about and taking pictures, we decided to have a drink and maybe lunch. We didn’t. Prices are absolutely rocket high. While you can get a main meal anywhere for about €10-15, here Main started at €25-35. Drinks are usually €6.50-7 everywhere, it was €15-17 in Oia. We just got to the point where we bought some cider and Bacardi breezer in the shop for €2.50/drink and got a spot on the ledge 1.5 hour prior the sunset. I highly recommend you to do that as there are hundreds of people want to do the same you do, so if the sunset is 7.29pm, you should site somewhere you can see it from about 6pm. Otherwise, no chance to have a good shot if that’s what you’re after. It’s worth the wait, it’s absolutely breathtaking. You have the whole sea in front of you, the white houses around and just the view… it’s amazing! 

Since we haven’t eaten for the whole day, we decided no matter how much it is, we will have something to eat. As we walked towards the bus station with an other 75 people, we stopped at a cute restaurant and sat on the balcony right above one of the blue domes. We had some real moussaka (it’s like lasagna but it has potato and egg plant as the base and minced meat on top with bechamel and cheese on the top.The town looks spectacular in dark lit up, way better in my opinion than during the day. I personally was disappointed in the town as I thought it is all about the white houses and blue domes. But it only has that 3 iconic domes that you can see on every picture. Nothing more.. the rest are just white houses or not that white and it didn’t have that feeling (for me) I thought I will have when I look at those internet pictures. I thought, it will be only these cute houses but no… Yes, the domes are cute and pretty but only 3???I n the evening on the other hand…it’s very pretty with all the lights. However, the domes weren’t lit up,I’m not sure if they are supposed to.

After dinner we caught the next bus (buses usually run every 20mins until 11pm) to Fira and from there straight back to Parissa. We got home at about 10pm then had a quick drink at our lovely pool for €7/drink and went to sleepy sleepy.

Next day we decided to get to the beach of Parissa, spent about 2 hours there, had a little swim, walked around, accidentally got into a very nice and cute little traditional folk music ‘festival’?? Probably not a festival but it was really nice. A band played traditional string music and some people were dancing the traditional dance. It was very nice. There were some sort of soup available along with bread and the famous tomato balls. We listened for a little while then headed back to the hostel.

Originally we planned to catch the bus to the port as the hostel’s shuttle was €10/person but as we walked back from the beach, the lady came to us and said, there is a shuttle bus with some guests already on that goes to the port and she only asked for €2/person if we want to maybe take that instead. It’s more comfy since we didn’t have to change in Fira, so we obviously took the opportunity and 25 mins later, we were at the port. That’s where we saw how many people arrives and leaves during the day and it’s very loud and hectic. As we had a good hour and a half to spend, we had some real Greek gyros and some lovely kataifi which is basically like ‘baklava’ (honey and nuts in filo pastry) but instead of the filo pastry it’s made of sweet angel hair. It’s very tasty. We had Greek coffee with it which is unfiltered black coffee. You are to wait 5 mins till all the coffee grains settle and you can drink it then. It’s very nice. With the grain flying’s very bitter. So just wait.

Our ferry to Paros left the port just after 3.30pm. We bought the ticket in Parissa at the ticket office and it cost €22/person one way.

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