For our final destination on our honeymoon extravaganza, we we headed to beautiful Santorini, Greece where we stayed at the Canaves Oia Hotel.
Santorini is located in the southwest of the Cyclades Islands cluster. We flew from Rome to Athens, and Athens to Santorini; the flight was about 45 minutes. There are two towns that people usually stay in on Santorini: Fira or Oia. We opted for Oia for several reasons- but mostly it was because we wanted to end our trip with 4 days of pure NOTHING. This was our chance to relax, soak in the sun, the views, and the wine. And boy, it could not have been better.
With Katie of Ever After Honeymoon’s amazing guidance (and connections), we stayed at Canaves Oia, a luxury boutique hotel situated at the beginning of the beautiful town of Oia. Not only were the rates totally reasonable and the location superb, but because of Katie’s amazing relationship with the hotel, upon arrival, we were given an upgrade to a Superior Suite.
When you pull up to the hotel from the main road, you wonder where exactly the hotel (and your room) will be. But everything in Santorini is basically carved into the mountains. The bellman took us to our room (how he carried our luggage on his shoulders down these narrow winding stairs, is beyond me), and our mouths dropped. There was a private terrace in front of our room with not only sweeping views of the Caldera, but our very own mini swimming pool, outdoor lounge/bed, and a table with chairs. The room was very spacious with a large walk in bathroom, a walk in closet, a little dining area and couch. No question about it: We were goin’ out with a bang!
Once we got settled in, we headed to the pool/ dining area at the Canaves Oia Suites where we enjoyed watching the colors of the sky and rocks change for hours while taking in some music and 7 course meal (like I said, the eating portion of this trip was no joke) and two bottles of wine (oddly, there was no such thing as a hangover on our honeymoon. It’s marriage magic!) It was the perfect way to kick off our first night in Greece!
The best part of having no agenda is having no agenda. We started the day off with breakfast delivered to our terrace (it was included in our package). The breakfast was phenomenal and it gave me a chance to prove to Peter that plain Greek Yogurt IS far superior than the sugar infused crap he is so used to. It also gave me a chance to confirm that bacon is amazing no matter what country it’s served in.
After breakfast, we headed to the pool- which was literally outside our terrace door. The pool area also overlooked the Caldera and had an amazing little cave that you could swim inside of for shade.
Part of our package at the hotel also included a catamaran cruise that we could take (for about 5-6 hours) during the day or at sunset. So later that afternoon, we hopped into a shuttle that took us down to Ammoudi Bay to catch the boat. (You can also walk down to Ammoudi… which we did the next day! More on that in a minute.)
The boat was run by a dude named Panos… Although it’s possible that Peter and I made up that name because we both decided that he was a Greek God. He literally looked like he could have been from central casting. Bronzed, built, dark. I could go on. But for the sake of time (and my marriage), let’s just leave it at that and say that Panos and his prophets, I mean, crew, were all great.
We were taken to a few different areas such as Red Sand and Black Sand beach, where we could jump off the boat, swim, snorkel., etc. The rock formations (remnants of volcanic activity from thousands of years ago), were incredible.
Towards early evening, the crew fired up the grill and served us an authentic Greek Barbecue. It was really lovely.
As we made our way back towards Ammoudi, the sun was starting to set. It was spectacular to see the capital of Fira perched up on the cliff looking down on the lagoon.
Even more spectacular was sailing into the sunset. We literally. Sailed. Into. A. Sunset. If there is one thing Santorini is known for: It is this. Watching the sun dip into the Aegean on the outskirts of the northern most tip of the island was unreal and insanely romantic.
After starting off with another breakfast on our terrace (really, it never got old), we spent the morning by the pool lounging, reading and (me) kicking Peter’s butt in Scrabble. Around lunch time, we decided to venture through Oia down to Ammoudi Bay. There is a pedestrian path (made up of marble), filled with shops and restaurants that runs through Oia. Along this narrow but incredibly charming path filled with doors and windows that seemingly lead to nowhere, this is where you really get your “Tourist” vibe in.
Once you get to the end/ tip of the island, you have an incredible and unobstructed view of Ammoudi Bay. From there, you can take 300 stairs down, down, down and around until you get to the little port filled with restaurants.
The stairs weren’t too bad… dodging donkeys on the other hand, certainly interesting.
The concierge at the hotel suggested we dine at Ammoudi Tavern . Although I had read a lot about Katina’s, I’m SO glad we listened to their advice! The food was fresh and delicious, the scenery divine, and the service very friendly.
After lunch, we were stuffed. “Take the donkeys up?” we said to each other half joking. Two minutes later, for 5 Euros, an old Greek man was hurdling us up on to the donkeys and shouting violently (at us and/or the donkeys, I have no idea).
Surely, this will be a nice leisurely and scenic trot up the stairs, we thought… Yah. Not so much. With the man (and me) screaming, the donkeys FLEW up the stairs faster than you can imagine. I have no doubt our hysterical laughter mixed with shrieks of genuine fear could be heard across the entire island. Also, FYI, donkeys don’t care about walls (or your knees). So if you’re visiting Oia, think twice about the donkey adventure and just invest in second stomach if you’re too full and a comfortable pair of shoes (that may or may not end up with poop on them). NEVER AGAIN.
I know what you’re thinking: After that meal, Jenny, surely you guys must have needed a break from food, right??? Oh no, my friends. Quite the opposite. We spent the rest of our afternoon on our terrace relaxing and reading (and letting our nerves settle back down from the donkeys)… and come dinner time, well, we were ready for more. We didn’t have reservations anywhere so we ventured back down the path, checking out menus and the views the restaurants offered. We were lucky enough to get a table with a lovely view at Skala. It was by no means the best meal in the world, but it was traditional and tasty and once again, the views couldn’t be beat. Also, two bottles of wine make everything better. ALWAYS.
The final day of our trip. We were missing Jonah terribly but, of course, the idea of not waking up to stunning views, endless amounts of wine, and zero responsibilities was slightly depressing, to say the least. We spent the majority of our day by the pool and on our own terrace, soaking in every last minute.
On our stay, we met a really great couple at Canaves who told us they had discovered an authentic Gyro stand in the middle of Oia, tucked behind the main pedestrian street. Needless to say, we were able to pry ourselves from a laying position by the pool for a few minutes to go find without a doubt, the best kept secret of Oia. If only we had discovered PitoGyros sooner! This was hands down, the best gyro(s) I ever had. And yes, I use plural, because at 3 Euros each, and with the feeling that this was the (second to) last time I’d ever eat again, (like EVER), we had two each. Yes. Two each. One pork and one chicken. We are still dreaming about them to this day. Did I mention they put french fries in their gyro too? I mean, it’s beyond.
We spent the rest of the afternoon feeling incredibly full, but a luxurious nap overlooking the Caldera cured all. And yes, by dinner time, there was no stopping us from one last feast.
We had reservations at 1800 which I had heard a lot of wonderful things about. But we wanted to take the sunset in over the Aegean again and 1800 faces the Caldera and little islands. Plus, we had a perfect meal at Ammoudi, and frankly, I was upset I never got to try their grilled calamari, so we trotted back down the path and down the stairs (no donkeys this time!) for our final meal in paradise.
We started with the traditional Greek Salad and Grilled Halloumi Cheese again. We also decided that we should try the Eggplant Rolls stuffed with Cheese and Tomato Sauce and the Grilled Calamari. I mean, I wasn’t leaving with stones unturned, you know what I mean?
For our main dish, we ordered a grilled Pagyrus (or maybe it was Snapper?) Not sure. But it was lovely.
I will be forever grateful for the chance to spend two weeks with the love of my life in three magical cities. We feasted, we explored, we relaxed and we indulged. It was truly the trip of a lifetime! Many thanks again to Canaves Oia Hotel, Palazzo Avino Hotel, West Rome Excelsior, Walks of Italy and of course, Ever After Honeymoons for making this all possible!!