Where to Stay
We stayed at Agnadema Apartments in Firostefani, as previously mentioned. We stayed in the ‘Budget Double Room’, which was perfect for us & really spacious. The two windows overlooked the caldera, giving us a spectacular view each morning. The apartment was within walking distance (a few minutes walk) from eateries, little cafes and winding roads – the perfect place to explore. The receptionist recommended ‘Galini Café which was a two minute walk from where we stayed. Let’s put it this way, for our three nights in Santorini, we had breakfast there each day for our entire stay. It was incredible… (I’ll divulge onto this in the food section.) The hotel works alongside car/quad rental companies, which is perfect for you if you’d rather not rely on the bus system that the island has to offer. Upon arrival, we were greeted by one of the employees who took our suitcase for us and carried it to the hotel in the sweltering heat – a really kind gesture. We were then greeted with freshly squeezed orange whilst we waited for our room to be prepared. The orange juice in Greece is literally one of a kind, something you definitely can’t leave without trying. On another note, I’d seriously recommend organising transport to your accommodation from the airport as it is relatively far away from most places. In terms of prices for your stay in Santorini, your best bet is jumping on booking.com and keeping your eyes peeled for the best deals as they certainly aren’t going to jump out at you. No matter where you stay on the island, you will be greeted with nothing but generosity & kindness from the Greeks – they truly made our stay a dream. As I wrote previously, choose your accommodation based on what atmosphere you prefer on a holiday. If you are after more of a lively/bustling and exciting area to stay, Fira will be right up your alley. On the other hand, Oia is also an option – but gets absolutely packed late in the evening, just before the Sunset. So if you’d prefer to steer clear of large crowds like that, then Firostefani will be your best bet – which it certainly was for us.
If staying in Firostefani, these are my food recommendations…
Galini Café !!!
This place is heaven in a café, and the staff just made us want to keep coming back. The café has breathtaking views of the caldera, coupled with a menu that is just as great. On the first day, I had the ‘Eggs with Avocado’, whilst Sam had the ‘Eggs Santorini’ – both were incredible. The next day, I tried the Greek yoghurt with honey and fruit. Another thing you can’t leave without trying, the honey & the yoghurt – they really are one of a kind, and so different to what you get from the supermarket back home. Sam had the pancakes that day, which were so fluffy. After enjoying the delights of the café so much, on our last day we decided to go all out. I had the ‘Healthy’ which consisted of coffee, fresh orange juice, freshly cut fruit salad, Greek yoghurt/honey with granola & toast with marmalade (all of this for only 17 euros…. Sam had the ‘Sweet Breakfast’, which included coffee, orange juice, Greek yoghurt with homemade marmalade/walnuts and a ‘juicy orange cake’. It’s safe to say we rolled out of there after this – I’ve never been so bloated in my life – so worth it though. The two women who served us each day were absolute gems, they made us feel so at home in their café and we had such great chats with them. The service and the food, coupled with the view made this place one of my favourite breakfast destinations in Europe, so thank you Galini Café – you were a delight. Definitely click on the link above for their menu to get a rough idea for prices.
For lunch, I’d definitely recommend having a wander to find a gyro (I can guarantee you won’t have any trouble finding them). It is essentially meat that has been cooked via a rotisserie (usually pork/chicken), with tomato, onion & of course, tzatziki sauce, wrapped in pita/flatbread. These typically only cost a few euros, perfect for on the go/ if you’re travelling on a budget.
However, if in Firostefani & wanting more of a ‘sit down’ kind of lunch & traditional Greek food, then one of my recommendations would have to be Aktaion. The fish was incredible and so fresh. The food was cooked to order, and had a really authentic vibe to it – which we loved. The food was reasonably priced but worth every penny. My dish doesn’t look the most appealing, but was so flavoursome. It was the fried cod fillet with tomato sauce & greens. Sam had the chicken fillet in a herb crust with Mediterranean couscous, vegetables and lemon sauce. We finished off our meals by sharing their iced chocolate mousse with coffee sauce – SO good. It was great until I got too excited & managed to flick a spoonful of the mousse all over my white dress – oops. The waiter was so attentive, and immediately rushed over with stain remover & the works, which really does just show the level of hospitality in Greece, something we loved.
This was where we had our first dinner in Santorini, largely due to the fact that it was so close to our hotel, and looked stunning. We certainly didn’t regret booking a reservation at all. We booked our dinner for approximately 6:40pm, so that we could watch the sunset over the caldera as we ate our meal – a really beautiful moment. The location was picturesque, and the service was really attentive, making it an enjoyable evening. I had the traditional Greek salad & Sam had the moussaka. We were told the wait would be 20 minutes for Sam’s dish, as it was baked/prepared to order, something we are so glad we waited for. Prior to our dishes coming out, we were given complimentary dips with breadsticks & we accompanied this with two glasses of sangria. Don’t leave this restaurant without trying their sangria, seriously… For a caldera view with incredible food & drinks, it all came to around $50 (AUD), super affordable for anyone on a budget & really shows how you don’t need to spend hundreds to experience quality dishes with a view.
Things to Do
- Hike to Skaros Rock
This costs absolutely nothing, besides a 50c bottle of water (all 600mL bottles of water in Greece are this price, so you don’t have to worry about paying ridiculous prices for this.) I’d definitely recommend tackling this hike early in the morning & having a big breakfast before hand, as you do burn a lot of energy & you start to feel the heat just after 10am. From Firostefani, it took us about an hour – however, we did stop on the way to get some fruit, and got explored winding roads in between. So typically, it would take 30-45 minutes. If you don’t like little midgets/bugs flying all up and around your face, this hike certainly isn’t for you – at times it felt like we were inhaling them… not cute. Through the sweltering heat, and climbing on the uneven terrain, nothing beats the view at the end of this hike and the accomplished feeling that comes with it. & it’s free, so why not. On your way back, you should find a juice shop along one of the pathways – the best way to finish a sweaty hike (as by this point, your bottle of water will either be warm, or non existent).
2. Watch the Sunset in Oia
As I’ve previously written, they aren’t lying when they say the sunset is better in Oia. But, if I have one recommendation, it is to find your spot to watch it, nice and early. Oia gets absolutely packed full of people, and you don’t want to be that person who has to stand in the heat to watch it. We arrived in Oia approximately an hour & a half before the sunset, which gave us time to wander around, get some gelato at Lolitas Gelato & explore, until finding a spot to watch the sky put on a show. We took the bus from Firostefani to Oia which costs approximately 2 Euros there and back – super cheap. Although the bus ride there when you are driving along the cliff face, can make even the most experienced traveller feel a little queasy. You also have the option of hiring a car, which we did on our last day – or you have the option of a quad rental too. The car rental cost us approximately $75 (AUD) for the entire day, but just be warned, the Greek driving is absolutely insane on the island. All in all, I’d definitely recommend heading down to Oia for the whole day, or evening, whatever suits you – definitely don’t leave without catching the sunset though. The supermarkets are incredibly cheap, so you could even take a bag filled with snacks/fresh fruit to take with you if you are on a budget. Or, you always have the option of having dinner in Oia.
Long drives, spontaneous adventures where you come across incredible little places (the black beaches are great for a drive) – are the going to be the BEST parts of your holiday in Santorini. Definitely walk into Fira and check out the markets, and the nightlife there if you’re after more of an ‘exciting’ time rather than a relaxing one. I can’t recommend enough just seeing where cobblestone roads take you, even if it is just a little fresh fruit stall on the side of the road, or a sunflower field – Santorini is full of so many awe-inspiring things & sights. I haven’t gone into detail on every single meal, encounter, and thing we did – but I really hope this post gives you all some insight into the wonders of this slice of heaven & how easy is it is to have such a special time here.
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Lots of love xxx