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As always I took my own holiday late in October, for me the best time to escape to Greece after the crowds have gone and following last October's gorgeous trip to the Peloponnese I asked our suppliers where I could go for less than a week as flights are quite restrictive in October. I was amazed when I discovered we could go to Santorini! For many people the famous volcanic island of Santorini is high on their bucket list and always appears in 'must see places of the world' travel articles.
We arrived having left a dull, grey Suffolk behind to find clear skies and the views across the Caldera from our 'cave' was enough to make me just want to sit there and never leave! We stayed in Villa Ilios & Selene (sun and moon) which is a converted cave dwelling carved into the cliffs of Imerovigli facing the sunset and the famous active volcano.
This is a 2 bedroom villa on split levels with the main area having a large lounge / diner, small kitchen, spacious bedroom and a small bathroom at the back. Upstairs is a hot tub (in pole position for late afternoon and sunsets!) and access to a second en-suite bedroom. Above that is another sun terrace with loungers. The narrow cliff paths which link the Caldera towns of Fira, Imerovigli and further north, Oia, are a serious rabbit warren and we did get lost several times in the evenings!
Santorini is famous for it's wines and we couldn't leave without sampling a few of the 'local offerings'! The local beer was a pleasant surprise too - the first afternoon while exploring the paths near the villa we found a quaint little bar which seemed to be a private house who offered us the local 'Volkan' lager, pleasantly sweetened with honey.
On day two, we took a catamaran cruise around the Caldera, swam in the hot springs and enjoyed a BBQ with lovely prawns on deck. We hired a car for a couple of days and Santorini being a small island didn't take long to get around (mind you, we still took the wrong turn a few times, seemingly a pre-requisite on all our trips to Greece!).
The food and wine was of a very high standard with no end of choice for great restaurants. Even in October, many were still open. But a word of warning, eating out here is very expensive when compared to other Greek islands. It is also (understandably) very touristy and if you are staying in Fira it can be a bit on the 'tacky' side too - also beware that the cruise ships anchor in the caldera and send their guests ashore into Fira town several times daily. So if you would like somewhere a bit quieter to stay, get in touch and we will find a lovely peaceful place for you!
On the last full day when it was forecast to rain, the sun was still with us and we wandered around Oia which is absolutely beautiful. There are some gorgeous arts and crafts shops here as well as some very pricey boutiques and hotels. After admiring the view and taking a rest and a beer in a bouganvellia clad bar, we ventured down nearly 300 steps to the harbour at Amoudi where we found a fabulous fish restaurant to enjoy a few hours watching the boats going about their business.
Travelling back up, we passed donkey taxis and took our time to climb back to the top in the sun!
All too soon, our Santorini holiday came to an end but we returned to Suffolk feeling very glad we went and very rested from the beautiful location and, as always, the friendly welcome from the Greeks. So if you would like to also experience the magic of Santorini either in a luxury boutique hotel or self contained villa, get in touch for your own tailor made holiday or honeymoon to Greece.
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