Santorini Island, that majestic crescent shaped paradise in the middle of the Aegean Sea…
Santorini Island, that gem of the Cyclades that has captured the imagination of countless travelers around the globe…
Santorini Island, a place anyone can truly call heaven on earth..
To be honest, Santorini Island in Greece has actually never been in our travel bucket list. Back then, I thought of it as just another trendy, manicured, commercialized, and overly-publicized novelty that’s just not worth the time and money to go to. It’s like everyone I know wants to visit the place and I just don’t get it – I’m like,”Man, you’re in Greece! For sure there’s a lot more you can do than waste your precious days in a far flung village island!”.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO WRONG IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
Santorini Island is everything you see in photos and much much more. If there’s a place on Earth I’ll keep on coming back to, it will be Santorini Island. Santorini Island is simply unforgettable; an experience that I’ll never get tired of rewinding countless times – doesn’t matter if it’s my last penny, I’ll grab the chance to be there again, to be amazed again, to breathe its air again, to be blinded by the divine whites of its houses and churches again, to be hypnotized by its sparkling deep blue waters again, to FEEL what it FEELS like to be there again. A feeling indescribable in words – absolutely and infallibly sublime.
Our journey to Santorini Island began in an early chilly morning back in Athens’ major port, Piraeus.
We booked ahead of our trip to Greece online for around 60 Euros per person with Seajets, a Greek ferry company that provides high speed ferry transfers between the Greek Mainland and the Greek Islands which includes Santorini (appropriately named after Saint Irene, whose name means Peace).
A normal ferry ride would take approximately 8 hours, so if you want to save holiday hours just like us, Seajets would be one of the best options aside from taking a plane as they’ll get you to Santorini in 4 hours.
Booking was simple and you just need to print out the electronic vouchers and present it to Seajets’ Ticket Office in Piraeus Port to claim your tickets and then you’re off to the ferry.
Just make sure you insist and tell whoever’s in the ticketing booth of your seating preference or you might just end up seated 20 rows away from your travel partner/buddies as they generate tickets in random.
Travel by plane is also available but I believe the flight times are restricted to early morning both ways, either from Athens to Santorini or Santorini to Athens. A plane ticket would cost around 120 Euros per person.
Our ferry trip was pleasant but a bit boring as you’re not allowed to stand and roam around while at sea (there are times when the sea gets unpredictably rough so better not risk ruining your vacation by getting injured while inside this high-speed tourist machine).
You are allowed though to go to the small coffee shop (which offers some light snacks and drinks other than coffee with a tad bit higher rate than when you’re ashore – Coffee would be around & Euros per cup) or to the WC/Toilet/Wash Room.
But then, if you get a window seat or if you’re like me, once in while pretend to go to the WC but instead take pictures and enjoy the scenery, the trip will be more entertaining and stunning as you pass by numerous islands and islets along the way.
And if you’re the type who don’t mind some side trips, then you’d be happy to know that Seajets docks in two ports to drop off and then pick up other passengers before Santorini…
The ports of the islands of Naxos…
Seeing these islands that deserve a visit if you have more time undeniably builds up the suspense and climaxes when Santorini Island suddenly pops out from the horizon on a backdrop of blues of the Hellenic Sky and the Aegean.
Everyone gets excited. All curtains are opened. Sleepy travelers beside us start to wake up. Teens remove their earphones. People tuck away their mobiles, books, etc. and most start turning on their cameras. Here we were, awaiting our first glimpse of the island we’ve only seen in pictures and videos, the slow approach wherein inch by inch a paradise on earth was revealed to us…
And there it was, simply breathtaking…
Nothing short of stunning…
More beautiful than the most beautiful photograph taken of it…
Definitely one of the best of God’s masterpieces…
Jill and I were just there, awe-struck while trying our best to take in everything while taking snaps of those jagged cliffs which ironically shouts out perfection – nature and architecture, land and sea, earth and sky. It was love at first sight.
People who are lucky enough to be in a cruise ship are in for a picturesque approach to Santorini Island. Picked up by smaller boats from their ships, they are then brought to the Old Port of Fira, right below the thousand foot cliffs of the looming Santorini Island town of its namesake. From there, a 5Euro cable car ride takes them up to the town/capital of Santorini Island itself.
But if you’re like us and majority of the visitors of Santorini Island who reach it through ferries from Athens or from the other Greek Islands, your port of entry would be the newer, larger port of Athinios.
Getting nearer to the port, you can see how busy it is with flocks of tourists lining up for their ferry rides and those who just arrived. And there were, on the very soil of the infamous Santorini Island.
Upon docking, we were met by our driver who was with a lovely old woman (his friend’s mother who also just arrived in Athinios).
The ride up the cliffs on a narrow two-laned road defined by sharp turns and the fact that you share such a small space with large tourist buses and cargo trucks was exhilarating!
But what was more amazing is that as you go up, meter by meter, the view just gets more stunning and stunning – with the view of the deep blue Aegean and the majestic volcanoes of Palaia Kameni and Nea Kameni (which is still active by the way), coming up at the horizon!
It was simply divine! We can’t help but tell our driver who’s a local of the island how beautiful his home is. Everything seemed lifted from the pages of books about magical lands! If you wonder why they call Greece the Land of the Gods, just go to Santorini Island and you’ll know why!
After some minutes going uphill through a dozens curves and twirls, we reached the plateau of the island where we were welcomed by lush greens and a landscape that seemed to go rhythmically up and down like the waves of the surrounding sea. Vineyards almost everywhere as Santorini Island soil is very fertile due to its volcanic nature. We couldn’t wait to sample their local wines!
Our first minutes in Santorini Island assured us that our stay would be nothing like what we’ve experienced before. It took some time for the thought to sink in that we were indeed in the place that launched a thousand ships literally! Santorini Island was paradise!
Follow us on the 2nd Part of my blog series Santorini Island – Heaven On Earth as we make our way to our home in this exceptional Greek Island! Hope you guys enjoyed! If you’re planning to go to the island and have some questions, just leave your comments below – I might just be able to help! See you next time!
For the rest of my Santorini blog series, just click on the links below:
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