Santorini has been on our bucket list of travel destinations for a long time, so it was an easy choice for us when it came to choosing it as a stop on our honeymoon.
I had high expectations for Santorini because of all the wonderful things I have heard about the beautiful views and romantic atmosphere and all my expectations were most definitely surpassed. My only regret is that we didn’t plan to stay longer!
We arrived by ferry which took a path across the outside of the Caldera before we docked at port. If you’re not flying in, I would highly recommend going to the upper deck of the ferry so you can view Santorini from a completely different perspective. We organised to be picked up by our hotel driver and were whisked away past the hordes of tourists exiting the ferry. There are also many choices of car hire shops, taxis and buses leaving from the ferry terminal if you do not chose hotel pick up.
We organised to stay at Kapari Natural Resort in the village of Imerovigli which is just adjacent to the capital city of Fira. We chose to stay in Imerovigli as it is renown for having the highest and most beautiful viewing points of the Caldera. Also it offers the best views when it comes to experiencing Santorini’s most beautiful sunsets. We were also attracted by the chance to stay in some traditional housing. The rooms at Kapari were of course modernised traditional 300 year old dwellings, stocked with all the necessities required in the 21st century.
From the moment we arrived we felt something magical in the air. We had our own private balcony with outdoor sitting area and we were welcomed with a bottle of wine from grapes grown in Santorini and a plate of freshly cut fruits!
There is an air of peace and romance enveloping Imerovigli and we spent hours just watching boats seemingly drift in and out of the Caldera, going for a dip in the pool and admiring the postcard worthy views.
The staff at Kapari were extremely hospitable and helpful in making sure we had everything we needed including assisting us in making any restaurant reservations and providing recommendations for activities such as sailing around the Caldera. It truly was a state of the art personal service!
I would highly recommend booking an evening at Kapari Wine Restaurant and make sure you have one of the limited tables overlooking the Caldera. Not only are the views breathtaking at the sunset dinner service but the quality and creativeness of the food and exceptional service will make it a night to remember! You must try the smoky octopus dish which is a creative play on traditional octopus and greek fava beans – it is extremely delicious!
To offer a balanced view, Kapari Natural Resort only has a small pool with a limited number of deck chairs (having said that, there are a smaller number of guests at this boutique hotel). Some of the rooms also open up onto the pool, offering a little less privacy. If you stay at Kapari it’s definitely worth requesting a room that doesn’t open directly onto the pool.
We also considered staying at the Astra Suites and the Grace Hotel which were just a short stroll down one of the quaint paths near Kapari. Both come highly recommended, however we opted for Kapari for the chance to stay in more unique architecture and we can truly say it is a once in a lifetime experience!
Skaros Rock is connected to the village of Imerovigli. There is a well-defined trail that you can take to climb to the peak. An interesting fact that I learnt is that Skaros used to be the capital of Santorini until the 18th century. Later on, Fira became the capital due to its close proximity and ease of access to the sea. Skaros rock of today is completely uninhabited with the exception of a small church, the Chapel of Agios Ioannis Apokefalistheis.
It is definitely worth the hike up to the peak. The hike takes about 30 minutes give or take. Usually most people take a leisurely stroll and there are many photo opportunities along the way. At the end of the hike, you will be rewarded with the most magnificent and unobstructed view of the whole Caldera.
To get to the very peak, there is no paths. The only way up is a vertical climb. I highly recommend those of you who want to attempt this to wear runners (believe me, we met many tourist hiking in sandals). I think my bouldering (climbing without ropes) skills came in handy for the climb. I was definitely a bit terrified at first but the views were well worth it! It was also one of the most rewarding parts of whole experience!
GOOD TO KNOW
Ferry – We took a ferry from Mykonos to Santorini. We specifically booked the ‘fast’ ferry, which was suppose to be faster than flying. This didn’t end up being the case. We were scheduled to arrive at 11am in the morning but ended up arriving at 2pm. The ferries are notorious for being late. Our ferry was delayed by 2 hours. Then we were told there was an engine failure so the ferry ended up being much slower than the time advertised. If we were to do this again, to save time we would definitely fly.
Skaros Rock – If you are thinking of doing the climb, I would highly recommend getting an early start (around 8am-10am). We went in June and it became extremely hot after 11am.