Sun and Santorini go hand in hand and make for the ideal honeymoon. Although Mykonos has been receiving a lot of press lately, no island can truly rival Santorini. With countless activities, beautiful weather, and amazing vistas, Santorini is an unmatched honeymoon destination, which is probably why Travel and Leisure Magazine ranked it #1 island in the world in their 2014 summer issue.
How to get there: Take a major international carrier, like British Airways or Lufthansa, to Athens. In Athens take a local Greek airlines, like Olympic or Aegean Air, to Santorini. Take a cab to your hotel. If your hotel offers transportation, take their bus or shuttle because the tiny B&Bs can be hard to find even with an exact address. It is also best to take the local airlines, rather than the ferry between islands because air travel is far more reliable than sea transport. Additionally, the seas can be a rather rough ride.
Where to Stay: The main town on the island is Fira; however it’s best to stay in the far more private and upscale Oia. Fira can tempt you with its nightlife, abundant activity, and bustling passageways full of street vendors, but the truth is Oia is far more suitable for honeymooners. Oia is less crowded and cleaner. Find a small B&B or Inn with a terrace or porch to overlook the ocean. The sea is challenging to access and rather cold, so a hotel with a pool is a definite plus.
Weather: The best time of year to go is in late spring (May/ June) or early fall (September/ October) because the temperature averages hovers between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is least likely to rain in June. Check out more details here.
What to Do:
1. Wine Taste at the Wine Museum: This quaint museum shares the hand-made aspect and artform of wine culture in Santorini. The island didn’t have electricity until the mid-20th century, yet people have been crafting wine for centuries. The cavern-like museum is beyond interesting even for non-museum goers. After the tour, the staff lets your sample wines, including Vin Santo, a unique dessert wine.
2. Watch a movie at the Outdoor Cinema: Despite the pricey cab ride from Oia, the open-air cinema experience is well worth it. The theater opens in June, and generally plays modern popular movies. The small cinema is quite an intimate experience. Cuddle up with a glass of wine or local beer in the cool evening breeze. Bring a jacket, but blankets and and pillows are provided.
3. Walk the streets of Fira: Spotted between the pop-up shops, gelato cafes, and boutiques are beautiful vistas overlooking the water. Fira, the central and biggest town, has many great bars, restaurants, and cafes. Stop in for some Moussaka after a tiring day of shopping. The two main museums are located in Fira and are ideal for someone interested in the history of the island.
4. Take a sail: A lot of vendors will try and sell you a day cruise to the volcano; however, many of these cruises are crowded and busy. Things change, but do your research. It is better to take a longer sailing cruise that avoids some of the most touristy areas. While asking the hotel staff their preferences is a good idea, be sure to check actual online reviews before finalizing your choice because it’s Greece and everyone has a friend or uncle as a boat captain.
5. Step inside history at the ruins of the prehistoric city of Akrotiri: This is a must for any history-buff honeymooners. Thought to be a possible sight for the lost city of Atlantis, Akrotiri is a massive ongoing project for archeologists and historians. The site is enormous, yet researchers have not even uncovered 20 percent of the civilization.
6. Visit the Red Sand Beaches: Just one bus stop after Akrotiri the red sand beaches are a nice visit for a lounge. They are less crowded than many attractions but not great for swimming. While the trip is worth it, be wary of the climb to get there and bring real shoes to avoid the jagged rocks.
7. Hike from Fira to Oia: This might possibly be the greatest free thing to do in Santorini! Even if you are not athletic, you should attempt the trek. The vistas are exquisite and the walk is well worth the pain of the hills. Start in Fira and follow the beginning signs. After a while when the signs begin to disappear, you may need to ask someone if you are on the right track. Bring water, sunscreen, and wear sneakers or hiking boots. Once you arrive in Oia, you are ready for a cool drink and ice cream. And hopefully you’ll be in time for the sunset.
8. Watch the sunset in Oia: If you don’t know where to go, follow the people and they will lead you to the appropriate viewing location overlooking the water on the tip of the island. People begin to find their seats by five, so go early (and bring a towel to sit on).
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Written By: Kathryn MacGovern