If you have read my previous post or even ever googled Santorini, you will have seen the famous dreamy cliff-towns painted in blue and white: Fira and Oia. But outside these towns, Santorini has other colours and much more to explore…
So I have put together a little list of 4 things to do off the beaten path:
1 – VISIT THE RED BEACH OF AKROTIRI
At the extreme opposite side of the island,there is a red South-West corner worth having a look at: the Red Beach of Akrotiri, and oh my! Was it Mars?! The massive rocky-red wall that delimits the beach has random doors carved in it. I found it at intriguing; it was certainly an out-of-this-world kind of beach.
A little note: It appears that the Red Beach of Akrotiri has been forbidden to visitors due to the high risk of falling rocks. When we visited, we made the decision to ignore the warning signs (all together with hundreds of other visitors that day) and we just went for a walk. I personally wouldn’t come to this beach to lie down for a long time. There are too many small rocks that make it uncomfortable to walk in the sand and the red wall is actually scary, so I don’t think I would be able to properly relax. But like I said, still worth going for a walk!
2 – HIKE UP A MOUNTAIN BETWEEN TWO BEACHES
Time to swap the flip-flops for trainers! Messa Vouno mountain is 360 meters high and at the top you can visit the archaeological site of Ancient Thira, the ruins of a city inhabited from the 9th century BC until 726 CE. It is open daily (except Mondays), from 8h30m until 14h30m
The way up and down is steep but the view is rewarding. Walking from Kamari to Perissa beach will make you sweat. Thankfully you know there is a beach at the end to wash away those drops of hard work. Life is hard and wet and salty… but we love it, don’t we?!
3 – SIP ON COCKTAILS AT THE BLACK BEACH OF PERISSA OR KAMARI
If you aren’t into hikes, the Perissa and Kamari beaches are still worth a visit! There are several restaurants with sun-loungers on the beach that will serve you food and drinks while you dig your feet on the sand.
4 – VISIT A HOT SPRING AND HAVE A MUD BATH
Join a boat tour to the volcano island visible from the west coast of Santorini. It might not be the most impressive hot spring and there wasn’t as much mud as I hoped there would be but hey!, it was a fun day out in the sea! And it was very educational as we got to find out more about the history of the subaquatic volcano that gave format to the island the way we know it nowadays.
TIP 1 – A little note: make sure you are a good swimmer before you jump into the sea, as you need to swim about 200 meters into the canal where the hot springs are!
TIP 2 – Also, find a tour that stays longer than 30 minutes at the hot spring. We found the time was too short after swimming that far and once we recovered our breath, it was time to go back!
TIP 3 – Take your oldest bikini, because it will get ruined by the hot spring’s water.
5 – ATTEND A GREEK WEDDING!
Well, you may think you are not lucky enough to have a Greek friend who happens to be getting married while you are on holiday. And no, you won’t have to sneak into a party. So how did we end up at a Greek Wedding without knowing anyone?!
Spontaneity and a ticket from the tourist shop. Ha!
The White Door Theatre runs an evening wedding musical in Fira. Talented actors treated us like their cousins and welcome us to join the festivities of a typical Greek wedding celebration. They fed us Greek tapas and the bride’s godmother made sure to keep filling our glasses with Greek wine. Danced the evening away between toasts and in the end we broke some plates for good luck to the newly weds! We came out feeling like part of the White Door Theatre’s family.
You won’t regret it, certainly a foot-stomping, plate-smashing and laughter-filled evening…
And I am sure there is more to do, what else would you recommend? x