Santorini Travel Diaries - Exploring Akrotiri's Town and Red Beach
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous
Day 1 - Akrotiri Town and Red Beach
I hope you are all doing great! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Greece and Maldives have been my dream vacations for the longest time. Well, last week I had the opportunity to visit Greece and I’m still reeling over how gorgeous and breath-taking it is.
We flew to Paris from JFK on Friday, May 13th and from there, we took a flight to Athens and then Santorini. It was a long journey to say the least. We arrived in Santorini around 5PM local time (they are 7 hrs behind New York time) and we literary had breakfast (yes breakfast), showered and went to sleep.
Katharos Villa Complex
During our stay in Oia, Santorini, we stayed at Katharos Villas. These are luxury villas that each come with a small private pool. However, the water was so cold in the pool - the experience would have been enhanced had they been heated pools. The complex also provided eggs, bread, juice, etc., on a daily basis for us to make our own breakfast, which I didn't mind. Below are some of the pics from our villa.
It is so cool how these pools light up at night! The part of Oia where the villas are located is quite secluded and is just by Kamari beach. The area is engulfed in total darkness at night so when you are driving down the hill to get to the villa, you can see illuminated blue lights from a distance.
We decided to rent a car during our stay in Santorini. It’s very easy to drive around as they mainly have one major road. Since the island is mainly mountainous, Kevin opted for a manual car to easily cruise up the hills. Be ready to share the road with a lot of mopeds and ATVs.
On our first full day in Santorini (hubby’s birthday), we drove down to Akrotiri, which is one of the villages in Santorini. Santorini, also known as Thira, was formed by an enormous volcanic eruption that initially destroyed the single island. The remnants are a giant, rectangular lagoon surrounded by steep cliffs where the houses sit. Santorini is made up of several villages – Fira (main capital of Santorini), Oia (known for the gorgeous sunsets), Imerovigli, Kamari, Perissa, Akrotiri, Pyrgos and Vlyhada.
This is the main road, it is very narrow so we had to pay very close attention to the huge tour buses that could hardly fit in their lane. The road also has a lot of blind spots so that's something else to pay close attention to especially when making turns.It was so beautiful to drive around the winding narrow roads of Santorini, passing by high cliffs peeking above the cumulus clouds. From a distance, we could spot white picturesque homes/hotels, adorned with the famous blue domes, sitting on top of the cliffs overlooking the caldera. However, we had a few rain showers on our way to Akrotiri.
Akrotiri - Red Beach
Our initial trip to Akrotiri was to see the volcano but we couldn’t find it and accidentaly ended ended up at Red Beach. Little did we know that we needed to get on a ferry to go to Nea Kameni Volcanic Island to see the volcano (a trip for another day). We got out of the car and hiked to the top of deep maroon cliff. From there, we hiked down the steep trail leading down to the rocky shore of red beach. The trail is quiet dangerous and one has to be very careful climbing up or down as they don’t have any guard rails. Kevin made sure to collect three giant rocks that he brought back home with him. They were just weighing down our luggage :-).
We came across Atlantida View restaurant on our way back to our hotel in Oia. The restaurant, which we later found out was part of a boutique hotel is located in Akrotiri. Lucky for us, the sun was just starting to come out after a cloudy day and rekindled our hope of seeing the famous sunsets of Santorini. I tried out the local Greek food of moussaka. It tastes like lasagna mixed with eggplants. It was really good. Kevin had the lamb and potatoes, which I couldn’t stop picking from his plate (it’s a girl thing). After our lunch, we took some pictures by the hotel before leaving for Oia (see below).
This is a popular Greek wine, it was so sweet I couldn't drink it. Below is the lamb and moussaka.It was just a beautiful day well spent so far. I have one more place to highlight from Day 1, which deserves a post of its own. Stay tuned and thank you so much for stopping by!