I have been to Santorini before and it is the reason I had to go back to Greece! It is beyond beautiful, unique, and is one version of Heaven! However, the last time I was there, I was on vacation. This time, I was a traveler! There is a big difference between the two. A vacationer is more interested in relaxation, luxury accommodation, shopping, and some sightseeing. A traveler is on a budget and wants to see as much as possible in the time available.
I had a couch but, as it was literally right beside the airport, it was quite a distance from everything. I decided to rent a 4-wheeler so that I had more freedom, reliability (the buses can’t be trusted), and so that I could see the entire island (unlike my last visit)! However, on my first day, I simply hiked through the gorgeous alleyways of Fira all of the way to Imerovigli.
I hadn’t been to Imerovigli before so had no idea that there was a huge rock that could be hiked! This rock is Skaros Rock which was apparently the first fortress in Santorini! I only had my flip flops on but I couldn’t help but descend to the peninsula and hike to the top! The views of Santorini were amazing, the climb back up was not.
After renting the 4-wheeler, I immediately drove to Oia. I ambled the gorgeous streets and colorful shops. I then ate a nice dinner where I met a couple of fun, American girls sadly at the end of their backpacking journey. Before I could make it back to my hosts home, the rain commenced! I’ll just say, it was an interesting ride!
The next morning, I drove to the village of Kamari where I had some lunch and visited Santorini’s black beach. From there, I drove up the steep, narrow, and winding road to Ancient Thira. The ruins, the history, and the views had me sitting down to imagine it all!
Back aboard the 4-wheeler, I drove all of the way to the other side of Santorini island to it’s red beach. A gorgeous beach but extremely windy! Off I then went for a wine tasting at Boutari Winery where I learned something very interesting! Because of the terrain and wind in Santorini, the grapes aren’t grown on your typical vine. The vines are placed low to the ground, pruned in the shape of a basket, and the grapes grow inside of that basket! You certainly don’t see that anywhere but in Santorini!
For my last evening in Santorini, I wanted to find a good place to watch it’s fabulous sunset. So once I was done driving around, trying to make sure I had missed nothing, I turned in my 4-wheeler and wandered back to Imerovigli. After a bit of scouting, I found the perfect restaurant so settled in to wait with pizza and wine.
Early on during the sunset, there was a weird, spooky effect when clouds rolled in below me. At times, it completely blocked any view of Skaros Rock and the Caldera but held its own beauty! I really had found the perfect spot to watch from!
The following morning, I waited at the airport bus stop for the bus to Fira where I would take another bus to the port. From there, I was taking a ferry to the island of Ios. The unreliable bus finally showed up and unloaded passengers at the departures section of the airport. I stood at the stop with all of my packs and it drove right past me!! I couldn’t believe it! Not having a clue how long it would be until the next bus, I loaded up and started hitchhiking. Soaked in sweat (it was a very sunny day) and about 2 miles down the road, an Australian woman picked me up! God love her! She dropped me just outside of Fira and I made it to the bus and, not long after, to my ferry. Don’t rely on buses when visiting Santorini but DO go!!