There are place sin life you really never think you'll get to and Santorini, Greece is one of them. I'll never forget the feeling when we walked through the front door of our hotel and saw the amazing view of the Aegean Sea. The sprawling white houses with bright blue roofs was basically a picture out of a magazine. I think my entire family and I just stood there staring for a good 10 minutes. I truly wish that our 4 days in Santorini would have turned into a lifetime of living there. We spent so many of our days at the pool because we just couldn't handle not relaxing in such a beautiful place.
Check Out My Video on Santorini
Day 1: Four-Wheeling & Red Beach
The first morning I spent with my Dad walking the trail to one of the main towns, Fira. It was so beautiful outside with endless views. The further we went the better the views got because eventually you were looking at all the surrounding 'mountains' and it seriously blew my mind. I'm used to beautiful mountains with living in Colorado but when you see those beauties jutting out of the ocean when you're in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, it's a whole new level of awe. After getting back and having a nice little breakfast we all decided that renting four wheelers and cruising around the island was the perfect start to this trip 🙂 Our goal was to reach the three main, super cool beaches: White Beach, Red Beach and the Black Beach. After cruising around a bit we stopped in a little countryside town and had amazing pizza at a beautiful restaurant called Amalthia. It was covered in grape vines (with actual grapes on them) and stunning bright flowers.
We accomplished two of the three beaches, the Red & the White, and oh my gosh they were SO cool. (Don't worry, we made it to the black beach on the last day - keep reading!) To get to the Red beach you have to hike up a little trail and then hike down to the water, but it's all worth it. The Island of Santorini, also called Thera, was formed from a massive volcano eruption that took place almost 4,000 years ago (technically eruptions were happening in that area for millions of years) and it just so happened to be the biggest one in volcanic history! Each beach is extremely unique and bares the most beautiful colors and rocks along the shores... How cool is that?!
Another super cool thing, because of how much salt was in the Aegean Sea, I finally was able to accomplish floating!! I've always struggled with that and couldn't believe how easy it was there... And so peaceful! Looking back at the red rock wall that continued into the red beach definitely makes it one of the coolest beaches I may ever get to.
After gearing up and making our way back to the hotel, Kirby and I decided to prep ourselves for a mini date night in Fira. The town of Fira is the second main town next to Oia (they're not actually next to each other... But you get what I'm saying). It had such a fun vibe to it at night. It is 100% different than Oia, in my eyes... Much more of a downtown feel which was super fun to explore. There were so many beautiful little walkways with so many different shops and music bumping from some little clubs. We ended up eating at an adorable restaurant we stumbled upon called Ouzeri and boy were we happy we found it! Kirby had the best homemade pesto pasta eveeeer (okay, that changed a bit when we got to Italy, but it was seriously up there... maybe even equal!) and I got a creamy basil chicken dish. The restaurant was family owned and clearly kicking out amazing food non-stop, highly recommend!
Day 2: Volcano Hike, Hot Springs & Lunch in Oia
On our second full day we had a half day tour set up to hike the active volcano, swim in the hot springs and check out the town of Oia. Well, this was an interesting day. To be fair, the volcano was amazing and just really cool thinking about the fact that you were walking on a volcano that's been there for millions of years, but this family of 9 are NOT tour people. Like realllly don't like them. My parents kind of got talked into it by their travel agent and I'm sure the poor agent was hearing it when they got back, but be prepared for lots of people. Again, yes, it was awesome and something I will remember forever, but getting on a boat with over a hundred sweaty bodies to then get dropped off to "hike" the volcano, was quite a scene. You basically walk in a line all around the volcano. We ended up finding paths that no one was taking and made our own fun, but it was just a ton of people you were trying to get around. The hot springs were very cool, however totally ruined swimwear so be aware of that before jumping in!
After the tour we arrived at a small little town across from the main Island, but didn't stick around. My sweet step brother has a terrible disease that makes him get and/or feel violently sick. He's had it for 10+ years and we continue to learn more and more about it, but the feelings stem from the brain (I believe) and just got a hold of him that afternoon. So we all jumped a boat to Oia to get him back to the hotel. Dad, Kim, Kirby and I decided to head to lunch in Oia to get some time with just the four of us, while my step brother was able to get back to the hotel and rest. With living out of state and having a huge family it's nearly impossible to get any time alone with them, so when we can, we jump on it! We had the most beautiful view sipping rosè and eating a late lunch... Best way to finish off a crazy tour day in my eyes.
Day 3: Family Day in Oia
After having just a little glimpse of Oia, the whole family decided to head that way for the day and take in the views of what I dub to be the most lavish and beautiful part of the Island. It's basically every picture you see when googling Santorini. We ate lunch at the amazing Strogili Restaurant... Which lasted for hours because duh, that's what you do on vacation. When you travel with 9 people you tend to receive lots of free food and booze... We seriously got handed little shots everywhere we went in Santorini. I ordered the chicken stuffed with goat cheese (along with 4 other of my family members haha) and Kirby had the red marlin dish, which I highly recommend. After lots of rosè and too many shots of Mastika (a popular drink in Greece) we wandered around the town popping in and out of shops and taking some of the most amazing pictures. It was hard to have a bad angle anywhere you went... Even with all the people.
Day 4: Father's Day & Black Beach
Our last full day in Santorini fell on Father's Day so we obviously did everything we could to celebrate my Dad. We started with sending him off to a massage at the hotel next to ours and planned a breakfast all together on the patio of my parents room. It was perfect and such a fun memory! We spent the entire day at the Black Beach and ALL of us wished we would have went to it earlier. There are hundreds of chic and unique beach bars lining the walk and a never ending supply of views. Again, the beach was filled with colorful stones that all of us brought home as (free!) souvenirs. We had lunch at another beautiful floral covered restaurant called Ta Sixrva and I'm pretty sure all of us got some form of a gyro with it being our last day in Greece.