This morning we hopped on a fast ferry from Crete to Santorini. Arriving on the island of Santorini is an experience we won’t soon forget—when exiting from the lower level of the boat, the cliffs loom so high above that you cannot see sky until you are completely outside and on the shore.
As our bus wound up the cliff toward our hotel, our Tour Director Gloria told us all about the island. It was named for Santa Irene, a symbol of peace. The island is a crescent shape that surrounds a deep caldera formed by a volcanic eruption more than a thousand years ago. When we checked in to our hotel, we took a few minutes to soak in the gorgeous outdoor space and pool that we could enjoy later on.
After getting settled in, Gloria walked us to Fira, the island capital just down the street. The views from there were amazing—you could see much of the caldera, the cliffs and many of the iconic white buildings that Santorini is famous for. Built into the cliffs, these white structures are made to disrupt the natural landscape as little as possible. They are painted in light colors to deflect the heat—even in the midday sun, the walls are cool to the touch.
Gloria gave us the lay of the land and suggested some activities for our free afternoon. We had one thing in mind: the beach! At Gloria’s recommendation, we set our sights on Kamari, the black sand beach closest to Fira. A few others in our group had the same idea, so we hopped in a taxi together and made our way across the island.
We had lunch all together at a cafe right on the water. All the Greek specialties were on the menu: Greek salad, tzatziki, souvlaki, gyro and more.
Properly fed, we made our way over to our chairs and umbrellas just a few feet away—the rentals were included in the price of our lunch!
Since Santorini is a volcanic island, most of the beaches are quite rocky, but the scene here was beautiful and the water was clear blue and perfect for swimming. I enjoyed some time to relax and Jenna made a sketch to remember this moment.
We couldn’t think of a better way to get introduced to Santorini this afternoon.
Jessie and Jenna are making their way through Greece, from Athens to the islands of the Aegean. Follow along as they blog on tour!