It’s been a few days since I returned from Santorini but I still have it in my memory pretty clearly. It’s been my dream for a couple of months (maybe even years). And since I usually don’t go to the sea, and I’m not very interested in these kinds of destinations, the fact that I wanted to go to Santorini really meant something.
But you know what? I came back disappointed. Maybe I was looking forward to it too much. Maybe it’s because of all those perfect Instagram pictures. I don’t know. But this article is dedicated to those, who are either going there or drooling over the pictures and having an impression of what a paradise this island is. I have to say that what I’m going to write about here is just my opinion, which you don’t necessarily have to share with me.
So, what made me so disappointed?
1 – It’s just one big POSE and FAKE. What you see on Instagram is just a fraction of how this island really looks like. As you leave the city, there is dirt, dust, smell and half-ruined or uncompleted houses. On the other hand, Oia and Imerovigli are stunning and well-kept towns, Fira (the capital), a little less.
2 – TRILLION PEOPLE. EVERYWHERE. AND THERE IS NO ESCAPE. Sorry to mention Instagram again, but from all the pictures you have the impression that there no people and that a couple of ladies in a long dress are just as carelessly walking on the top of the white roofs – pretty casual. But the truth is the exact opposite. There wasn’t as many people on the sold out Rihanna’s concert in Prague as on the main street in Oia during sunset. You also have the feeling that all bloggers, youtubers and models of the world are in Santorini, so when you look around, you see at least a dozen girls as they pose on the stairs, dance on the roofs, sensually eat ice creams in the cute little cafes and turning around in front of churches. And the same number of Instahusbands that just hold their cameras and take thousands of pictures. Also, I have to mention that most of the (restaurant & hotel) staff is not nice at all. However, no wonder when you have to work in 40 degrees and face the attacks of millions of tourists. I understand that it’s my bad to go there in the main season and I’m sure November this looks completely different. If you ever go there, I definitely recommend avoiding summer holidays and walks during the sunset. Check out the city at sunrise, or I don’t know…
3 – TOTALLY OVERPRICED. A month on Seychelles, Bahamas or Maldives is cheaper than a couple of days in Santorini in the main season. I don’t find hotels charging 20-40 thousand CZK per night completely normal. For these prices I would have imagined a glass of Moet in bed for breakfast, Rolls Royce with a driver and a handbag from Chanel as a gift when you stay for 3 or more nights. Again, I understand it’s a high season now, and not everyone needs to sleep right in the center of Oia, but this is seriously exaggerated. Not to mention restaurants and boutiques with clothing. So again I recommend to go out of the high season and for a maximum of two days. People often come here from Crete for a one-day boat trip, which I think is the best option. You can’t stand all those people for more than two days anyways.
4 – ABSOLUTELY NO PRIVACY. All hotels are built in a way, that all those thousands of people who are just walking through the main street can see which swimsuit you’re wearing today and what kind of a cocktail you’re just enjoying. Literally. And some hotels are built even on the same level as the sidewalk, so while you are lying at your pool, there is a crowd walking two meters far from you. And you can only imagine in how many pictures you are. What I don’t understand is the fact that this island is a popular honeymoon destination. Well I wouldn’t go there for honeymoon even for free. So if you ever go here, whether on a honeymoon or on a holiday, make sure your hotel is as far far away from the main street.
To say something nice about Santorini, I must highlight the hiking trail between the towns of Oia and Fira (through Imerovigli) that we did in the afternoon. This route is about 7 km, takes about 3 hours (one way) and runs along the cliffy coast. If you are staying in Fira or Oia, take a cab in the morning, get to the other town and go back by foot, the afternoon sun is really fantastic and there is no people (probably because they are all in the main street in Oia, taking pictures, haha) .
The cities Oia and Imerovigli are really beautiful too and from a photographer point of view this is a paradise.
The food is also excellent here. I myself love seafood to the Moon and back I ate it for both lunch and dinner the whole time. That’s how good it was. I really enjoyed eating in a restaurant called Melitini (in Oia). It doesn’t have a top view because it’s not on the main street, but the food was incredible. It’s like a greek tapas bar where you can order more smaller meals per share. And if you want a recommendation for a romantic dinner place with a great view and fantastic food, Ambrosia is definitely the one. It’s a tiny restaurant, so be sure to make a reservation.
I have to admit, that this whole island is unique because of its volcanic activity and you won’t find this kind of a structure regularly. I didn’t go to the colorful beaches and other volcanic places, so I can’t judge the rest of the island.
Anyways, to sum it up with one sentence – Santorini is a great Instaplace, but I would choose a different destination for vacation:)
Hope this helped you guys!