The first time I visited Santorini was on a family trip and I was about 12 years old. What really stuck with me over the years, were the wonderful cities of Fira and Oia and the fact that it ´s where I learned how to swim. I can´t say I remembered the food. I had no sense of the people. And I had 0 images of the historic parts of the island. In my mind, the beautiful white “cliff-cities” and learning a skill that might save my life one day, were already occupying all the memory my mind had allocated for that trip.
About a thousand years later (18 in adolescent and young adult years), I decided to help my husband
find me a “happy 30th” gift and I organized another trip to Santorini. People say it´s so romantic you might go 2 and come back 3… THAT´s how romantic it is. It gets your baby-making groove on. And in all honesty, it really is a magical place. It´s not advertised by all the traveling ladies for nothing, it really has breathtaking views. I was one of the people taking a million pictures. I won´t deny that but it´s so beautiful, you just want to immortalize every inch of it.
It has its literal ups and downs though, you are constantly going up some tight stairs behind a queue of tourists but the narrow streets is part of the charm. Another “downer” was that there are no literal sandy beaches, it´s all small pebbles both inside and outside the water. That was a bit of a downfall but more for my husband who was very excited to sit in the sun on what he thought were golden sandy beaches like in Costa Brava.
Also, I wouldn´t recommend going necessarily to Oia for the famous sunset, it´s so crowded you won´t enjoy it. I would definitely rather make a reservation at PK Cocktail Bar in Fira, for a front row table and enjoy the sunset from there instead of on your feet between hundreds of people.
Something we loved doing was the catamaran trip where you get a chance to visit the warm baths, small beaches plus just sail the day away. As for dinner, our favorite was Restaurant Argo, also in Fira which has amazing food plus a lovely view of the caldera where you can also enjoy a perfect sunset. And the staff everywhere is just lovely.
If you like hiking, I strongly recommend the hike between Fira and Oia. It lasts 3h but offers the best views of the island. Wake up early for it, if you´re walking in the hot sun, it´s not as fun. So in the end, the best things about Santorini aren´t the beaches and in all fairness, you don´t actually go there for that. You go for the amazing views, the sunsets and also to discover this beautiful island. Don´t forget the amazing food and the lovely Greeks.
All in all, the best 30th birthday celebration I could wish for.