The island of Santorini has been on my list of dream places to visit for a very long time. So I was excited when I spotted an amazing vacation package to Greece on Groupon and this beautiful island was included. I snagged the deal before I could think twice!
Those beautiful whitewashed city-scapes with the blue-domed churches…my little photographer heart ached to be able to experience this island of Santorini! All three areas that were included in the Groupon – Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini sounded like an amazing adventure that I just could not pass up for the price we booked! We booked a 10-days, 8-nights trip via Groupon with Affordable World Travel. We spent 3-nights on the island of Santorini and I am going to use this post to focus just this island. You can head to my previous two posts on Greece to read up about Mykonos and Athens. My goal with this post is to give you some feedback on my thoughts on the experience I had with Affordable World, as well as the sites I got to experience in this beautiful city!
When we booked the trip, we were told we’d be staying in accommodations that were 4-star or higher similar to El Greco Hotel. The hotel that we actually ended up with reservations at was the Aegean Plaza Hotel instead.
This hotel was located in Kamari, Santorini. This was close to the airport – only about a 10-minute drive on the eastern side of the island and was right nearby a beautiful Kamari black sand beach and was within walking distance to lots of shops & restaurants right along the water. It was also very convenient to have a 24-hour Supermarket right across the street for snacks & drinks that we wanted to have with us at the hotel. The staff there was extremely courteous and were very helpful when we had questions regarding activities to book while we were on the island. The only downside of this hotel was that is was on the other side of the island from Oía – which is where the majority of the tourist attractions & sites were. It took two very stuffed bus rides (one to Thera, then another to Oía) and about 30-40 minutes to get to our destination. Since I would have loved to get up at sunrise to avoid the crowds in Oía, this was a bit of an inconvenience, but it was also nice to have the quiet oasis away from the crowds. They had a gorgeous pool in the middle of the hotel complex, but it was too chilly to enjoy that when we went in October.
Overall review of my stay at the Aegean Plaza Hotel – 4/5.0
What should you do in Santorini?
What are some of the must-sees? I would highly recommend checking out
This little (or not so little town) is what you think of when you picture the winding paths along the hillside of Santorini with the blue-domed churches. It’s a must-see area and I’d recommend at least 2 days to explore and get your bearings around it and to search out all the hidden photo spots in the town. I found this blog post from Jane Was Here to be super helpful in finding some of the amazing spots that we might have otherwise missed. But be forewarned with Oía, it is a super busy touristy town! All those photos you see on Instagram without tons of people are a lie…or very strategically done. Lol. If you can get there early in the morning before the throngs of thousands of cruise ship guests get there, or in the evening after the sun has set and they have boarded their ship again, that is the best idea.
Atlantis Books (Oía)-
A favorite spot of me and my travel companion in Oía was Atlantis Books. This tiny shop that you walked down a quaint staircase to had floor to ceiling walls full of all kinds of books and fun little quotes all over the place. I could have spent hours in there (if it weren’t for the abundance of people. Lol) They also had a little area out on top of the store with a beautiful overlook and some seats to sit and read and relax.
Highly, highly recommend booking the Spiridakos Sailing Cruises. They came and picked us up from our hotel, giving us some fun facts on the way to the boating docks. Our cruise was lead by Mario, Pablo, Natalia, and Alex, and they were absolutely incredible at making you feel comfortable and having the time of your lives. We went on a sunset cruise and it included a few stops where you could jump off and snorkel. They also had delicious food, and an ever-flowing supply if vino, music, and laughter. The views of the island from the water and the sunset were probably one of the highlights of my entire Greece trip. It was nice too that we didn’t have too many people aboard – I think there were 10 or 12 of us. Do NOT pass up this opportunity!
Overall review – 5/5 Please book a sunset cruise with them if you ever make it to Santorini!
Where to grab a bite or drink?
We ate here for lunch and it was another great spot with breathtaking views of the water over the hillside. You could watch all the cruise ships dock and the donkeys carrying people up the side of the hill up to their hotels.
Overall review – 4/5
This was the perfect spot to capture the sunset without millions of people getting in your way of the view. We grabbed a table a little early before sunset had a lovely meal and drinks and watched the most magnificent sunset over Santorini. I would definitely head back here if I return to Santorini.
Overall review – 4/5
Overall Review of Santorini, Greece via Affordable World travel?
I think they did a good job of giving us a taste of what Santorini had to offer. If I were to go back, I’d definitely stay right within Oía and also explore more of the island. I know there was a very good winery on the island, but we just didn’t get the opportunity to explore it all in the 3 days we were there. Affordable World did give us a wonderful tour around Oía which was lovely. Kamari, where our hotel was located, was quite beautiful with its black sand beach. I would love to come back when we were not at the end of season and spend some time on the beaches and explore the shops there were no longer open for the season.
Would I recommend visiting Santorini, Greece? Heck yes!!! 5/5 would recommend adding it to your bucket list!