The final stop of our six-week trip was the Greek island of Santorini for a chilled out week of R&R. We stayed at the very beautiful Astra Suites in Imerovigli – well away from the hustle and bustle that other parts of the island, such as Oia and Fira, offer. Unbeknown to us when we booked, the resort is actually along the cliffs and it’s a fair walk up and down many stairs to get around, so be warned! From our balcony we had a beautiful view over the Caldera which provided the perfect spot to have breakfast each morning.
Oia is a famous spot for watching the sun set, however a walk up the cliff face from the hotel in the evening gave us the perfect vantage point to watch it from.
Other than swimming, drinking, eating and reading we didn’t want to make too many plans. We booked in for a private island tour with Kostas Sakavaras, a private tour guide who I found via Viator. Kostas took us on a half-day tour of the island that included many hidden gems. We finished the tour at a winery where I picked up a couple of bottles of Vin Santo, a wine from Santorini that I was starting to become quite fond of. As the island is very windy, the grape vines used to grown the grapes are grown low to the ground in a circular shape and often appeared as decorations and light fittings – I would’ve loved to have brought one home.
Both Kostas and the staff at Astra Suites were happy to make dining recommendations. Knowing that we were going on a volcano and sunset cruise and therefore would be visiting the old Fira port, Kostas recommended Palia Skala (George’s place) where we had the tomato fries (think fritters), Santorini salad and gavros – lightly battered and fried fish. The tomato fries were delicious. If you do intend on visiting the old port, try and time your visit so that you aren’t in the line for the cable car for an hour along with all the tourists returning to their cruise ships. We got caught, but didn’t have much choice as we needed to get down there to catch our boat for a sunset cruise.
At most places we went to, we also ordered a Santorini salad. Typical of what we call a ‘Greek salad’ back home, they featured lovely produce from the island – tomato, cucumber, onion, olives and feta.
Dotted all over the island were places to stop for gyros; a bargain at 2.50 Euro.
Near the resort was Anogi restaurant, where we went one night and feasted. I started with a block of feta cheese wrapped in filo and topped with a honey sauce, while D had a pita topped with meatballs. For main I opted for the tomato rice while D had fish. Whilst the tomato rice was a simple dish of rice cooked in a tomato based sauce and topped with feta, the frehsness of the tomatoes made this dish a winner. For dessert I had baklava while D had the ‘death by chocolate’ chocolate cake. Lighting wasn’t great which means there aren’t any photos to show you, so you’ll just have to take my word for it on this one!
For the final night in Santorini, and the holiday as a whole, we went to Selene, which is considered the best restaurant in Santorini. Kostas had advised us against it, saying he thought it was overrated, but we decided to stick with the booking. We’re glad we did because the food was sensational. Sitting outdoors also meant dinnercame with a beautiful view of the sun setting.
To eat, I had quail to start while D had baby octopus, both of which exceeded our expectations.
For main, I had slow cooked lamb that I never wanted to end. Given it’s been so long so since we visited, we unfortunately can’t remember what D had. Anyone willing to take a guess what’s under the dome?
For dessert, D had a chocolate constellation; dark, milk and white chocolate in all types of textures. Crunch and silky smooth mousse side-by-side … and the sphere – wow.
The inside of the sphere. Hold your horses chocolate lovers!
My dessert was a take on baklava, served with a glass of Vin Santo – a great way to end the meal and the trip.
One final recommendation for Santorini is to do a sunset cruise. We went on board the Thalassa which the hotel booked for us, but I am sure there are others to choose from. The cruise lasted about five hours all up, including a hike up a volcano and a visit to the thermal hot springs (which aren’t very warm). Food was included and the sunset incredible. A perfect way to end our holiday.