We stayed in the beach resort of Perissa which is seen to be the "budget" part of the island and the only attraction is the beach and the restaurants/bars that line the main road. There is nothing else to do there but it has the best beaches with unusual black sand. Impossible to walk on without flip flops without burning the soles of your feet which I found out the hard way. Second photo is of mount Messa Vuono which I climbed but more on that later.
We took the bus to the capital Fira (sometimes spelled Thira or Thera) which was mostly lots of tourist shops and restaurants. It was possible to climb up and down the caldera by foot, cable car or donkey but in the 28 degree heat we passed on these options. I will never agree with donkey rides, they looked tired and forlorn but I don't think many other tourists cared.
The next day we took a quick trip to the northern town of Oia (or Ia) where we planned to watch the sun setting but car journey there with the narrow winding roads climbing higher and higher was petrifying and we didn't want to repeat the journey back down in the dark with no freaking street lights!
The only half way decent photo of me Everything else just shows the "sweaty hair plastered to head state" I was constantly in. I had a full bag of makeup with me but the only thing that would stay on was concealer and waterproof mascara.
So back to Fira we went to watch the famous sunset. In high season it would have been rammed but as we went in the last week of summer there weren't many people around so we got to enjoy the view without having to jostle for a good spot.
Another day and another trip, this time to the Ancient Akrotiri excavation site, a town from the Bronze Age which was buried in volcanic ash when the (still active) volcano erupted. From my many other photos it looks nothing more than piles of rocks as the site hasn't been developed properly for tourists yet and they are still excavating. Most of the good stuff had been sent to the museum in Athens but it was pretty cool to be walking around a place where Minoans lived over 4000 years ago!
The Red Beach nearby was a 10 minute hike over uneven and dusty rocks and a big disappointment. It was small, cramped and the large pebbles were painful to walk on.
Remember mount Messa Vuono? Well I climbed it! On the second day we hiked up halfway to visit a small chapel cut away in the cliff face and on the last day we went all the way up to the Ancient Thera excavation site which was sadly closed for the day and then down the other side to the beach town of Kamari. It took just over two hours and on the way up I was passed by several couples in their 60s (the shame!). I never knew how unfit I was, I really struggled with the incline and the narrow pebble paths but I managed to do it.
Views from the top and the volcano mired in fog.
Kamari was pretty but expensive and the beach was mediocre so we took the water taxi back to Perissa for dinner. The food was beautiful and we ate well - Greek salads, fresh fish, stuffed peppers/tomatoes and many delicious aubergine dishes.
And what kind of crazy cat lady would I be if I didn't share photos of my new feline friends? These adorable kittens lived in our hotel garden and we christened them Jack and Jill (v.original I know).
I'm not sure if I would go back to Santorini as I have so many other places I'd like to see but it's a place I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend everyone to visit. So if you are considering visiting the Cyclades islands in the future, go to Santorini you won't regret it!