A Taste of the Greek Islands: a Day in Santorini

Last year Ryan and I were so fortunate to have his brothers come and and join us in Europe for an Eastern Mediterranean expedition by sea. Of course we couldn’t miss out on Santorini, once a victim of one of the most violent volcanic eruptions in human history, the Minoan eruption. Prior to this mega eruption around the 16th century BC, there had been a thriving ancient Minoan civilization living on this island. Back then, the caldera island still retained its ring shape, almost entirely continuous except for one opening to the sea.

Santorini map (from www.ferries.gr)


Then came the mega-powered Minoan eruption from the belly of the earth, ripping the island apart and blasting down some of the caldera walls, leaving it more or less the shape we see today. The pumice from this eruption buried everything on the island, including the entire ancient settlement. However, thankfully, there’s evidence that the people had left the island before this catastrophe happened.

Our ship entered the caldera through the opening to the ocean. The water that was previously wavy becoming gentle and calm inside this secluded caldera. The view of the caldera island from the ship was quite magical, realizing that you’re sitting in an hollowed out cauldron from a volcanic explosion, and that the volcano might erupt again… quite eerie.

After landing, we took a donkey ride up the cliff to reach Fira, the city at the top. The view was fantastic, but unfortunately the donkey tried hard to make you focus on him instead, by alternately tottering along the edge, or scraping your knees along the stone wall.

Fira looked fantastic. Remember those famous romantic Santorini images of cascading white washed houses and blue domed churches, flowing down a cliffside? Yep, it looks exactly like that. Very cute!

We didn’t stay long in the city though; we chose to explore the rest of island with 4-wheelers, fun! We saw many faces of Santorini.

Do you see Ryan’s sparkly teeth in the picture above? Here’s the famous style of white washed blue domed church of Santorini:

The typical interior of Santorini’s churches:

Here’s a beach cafe:

Santorini’s barren land, white washed town, and deep blue ocean:

Gorgeous view to the caldera cliff:

Here is a Santorini wedding idea:

Before we had to jump back to the ship, we got the chance to witness this spectacular sunset. The price? Falling on a pile of donkey poop. Since we waited until the end of sunset, we had to climb down the stone steps to the bottom of the caldera in the dark. The stone steps were now almost entirely covered by donkey poop. It was slippery, and I don’t usually do well on slippery slopes, so I ended up falling on the slimy layer of poop. Talking about the price you have to pay to witness a gorgeous sunset

So, I bet you’ve heard of Santorini before. Have you been there? What’s your favourite thing about it, or what do you expect to see there? Share with us!

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46 Responses to “A Taste of the Greek Islands: a Day in Santorini”

  1. SpunkyGirl
    11 August 2010 at 9:23 am #

    I’ve always loved the white-washed buildings of Greece in contrast with the ocean. It’s gorgeous. Your time there sounds great. I’ve always wondered if it would be too touristy- I tend to stay away from crowds if I can help it. haha

    • Dina
      12 August 2010 at 1:47 am #

      Yeah, those white washed buildings look stunning against the deep blue ocean! The main cities there could be crowded indeed, but if you are renting out a vehicle, it’s not crowded outside. Yea, don’t like big crowd either, especially if I have to wait behind them, haha

  2. carol @ trekdigest
    11 August 2010 at 9:56 am #

    I could sit and watch over the caldera for hours. It is an amazing view. Thanks for the post!
    carol @ trekdigest´s last post…Cairo- Ancient Egypt

    • Dina
      12 August 2010 at 1:49 am #

      Yeah, the view is amazing indeed, pictures can only record a small part of it…

  3. Farnoosh
    11 August 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    We were supposed to go with our friends to Greece this year but my brother decided to get married the same weekend! (We didn’t go to Greece but he will never hear the end of it ;)) – Our friends did and Santorini was most of what they talked about when they returned! Someday soon!!! Gorgeous sunset and sorry about the price you had to pay, yuk :( !
    Farnoosh´s last post…10 Smart Questions to Ask before Choosing your Next Language

    • Dina
      12 August 2010 at 1:52 am #

      Hahaha, that’s a bummer :) Too bad you couldn’t persuade your brother to do the wedding in Santorini, that would’ve been perfect :D
      I hope you will go there someday. (yeah, the poop was yucky, hehe)

  4. Sabina
    11 August 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    Oh, that looks like beautiful city!! I love the sunset photo especially. I hope you guys get to go back, if you want to.

    • Dina
      12 August 2010 at 1:54 am #

      Maybe someday :D We love Greece and there’s a big chance we go back there (Maybe not exactly in Santorini).

  5. Jen
    11 August 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Oh man! I love falling on the poop of an ass! Lol. Hopefully your fall was a little more cushioned because of the poop. Awesome sunset. :)

    • Dina
      12 August 2010 at 1:55 am #

      Haha, positive thinking :D It was a little soft indeed.

  6. Cris Campos
    12 August 2010 at 1:03 am #

    I so want to go to Greece one day! Your photos are gorgeous!
    But I don’t want to fall on a pile of donkey poop. hahahaha I can’t stop laughing.
    I am terrible with slippery slopes as well.. hmm.. slopes in general. :P

    • Dina
      12 August 2010 at 1:57 am #

      Thanks! You have to go to Greece one day, it’s so gorgeous and food is so good. The whole atmosphere… Pictures don’t really justify it.
      And yeah, haha, the poop… it seems like I don’t have a good luck with exotic poop in general… I also fell in South Island NZ, in the Slope Point (Southland), over sheep poop that time!

  7. Mary R
    12 August 2010 at 5:11 am #

    I’m so jealous of this gorgeous trip you took! My husband and I were supposed to go to Santorini on our honeymoon and it never worked out. It’s still in my mind though!

    By the way Dina, I created a new blog devoted more to travel writing. Please check it out. I appreciate your feedback!
    Mary R´s last post…Tips for Climbing Mt Fuji

    • Dina
      12 August 2010 at 6:17 am #

      Hi Mary, too bad you guys didn’t go to Santorini, but I bet it was a blast too regardless where it was :) You can go there as second, third, forth, or so on.. honeymoon :)
      (So where was your honeymoon?)

      You are creating a new blog for traveling? I thought the Mary and Sean’s Adventure is already your guys’ traveling blog! So, where’s the new one?

    • Dina
      12 August 2010 at 6:18 am #

      Oh, I found it! Is it:
      I’ll check it out!

  8. Amanda
    12 August 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Wow, what great pictures! I’m always amazed to see/hear that these places in Greece really do look as quaint and cute as they do in all the postcards. I definitely hope to make it there some day!
    Amanda´s last post…Musing on my concept of home- and how travel has shaped it

    • Dina
      14 August 2010 at 4:09 am #

      Thanks Amanda! Yea, it’s very nice they are actually look as cute as the postcards or calendar. The vibrant color of the nature doesn’t need photobrush! I’m sure you will make it there one day!

  9. Travelogged
    12 August 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    Great photos — Santorini is truly one of the world’s most beautiful places. I was there for a few days two summer ago — absolutely loved it.
    Travelogged´s last post…Meeting Grandpa Capilano in Vancouver

    • Dina
      14 August 2010 at 4:11 am #

      Thank you! So easy to fall in love with Santorini :)

  10. Suhasini
    13 August 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Gorgeous trip Dina. Excellent snaps. I have bookmarked this page. When I go to Santorini your post will definitely act a guide for me.


    A unique travel blog

    • Dina
      14 August 2010 at 4:13 am #

      Thanks, Suhasini :)

  11. Andrew
    13 August 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    How long were you on the island? I have almost exactly 24 hours from the time my flight lands until the boat leaves. I want to see the church at the least and the donkey to the top sounds like a blast.
    Andrew´s last post…Staroceske Trdlo

    • Dina
      14 August 2010 at 4:18 am #

      I was just there one day. From sometime in the morning, until a little bit after the sunset. 24 hours will give you more stuff than what I did. You will actually have time relaxing on the beach. Take the 4-wheeler/scooter though, if you have the time. It gives you the chance to sightseeing the country side :)
      You will see many of the church like that in the island. The one I picture here is a random one, not the one in Fira or Oia, the main cities.
      Seems like you don’t need the donkey ride up, because it will be a going down trip to catch the boat instead. But if you ended up ride the donkey (or slide down the poop like me), let me know how you love it!

  12. Ashley
    13 August 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Sooo pretty! I’ve always loved Minoan art – been wanting to visit Knossos ruins forever (but that’s on Crete).

    • Dina
      14 August 2010 at 4:24 am #

      Ashley, it’s really cool that you are familiar with Minoan art, Knossos, and Crete!! We went there too, and that’s the first time I ever saw Minoan art. Love those frescoes! Knosses is so awesome to visit. It’s combining the real view of the ruin, the speculated history of the Minoan civilization there, the myth, and the reconstruction of the ruin by Arthur Evans (which has aspect of his best guess and imagination). How do you get familiar with the Minoan, Knossos, and Crete?

  13. Earl
    13 August 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    I’m sure the sunset was well worth it! Perhaps next time you should just hitch a ride on Ryan’s back in order to avoid any incidents…
    Earl´s last post…How To Rent An Expensive Apartment For A Budget Price When Traveling

    • Dina
      14 August 2010 at 4:26 am #

      Hhahahaha, I will remind Ryan of your answer the next time we see poopy situation! (totally worth it though! Even if I have to slide down the whole way on poop, still worth it)

  14. Heather on her travels
    14 August 2010 at 8:18 am #

    I love Greece and visit Zankynthos every year as my sister lives there – Santorini’s a lot more picturesque but they both share those rocky cliffs & blue water – I think I’d give the donkeys a miss though
    Heather on her travels´s last post…How to find the perfect campsite for your family

    • Dina
      16 August 2010 at 12:11 pm #

      You are lucky to visit those beautiful places every year :) As for the donkey, I would rather ride on it than fall onto their droppings :D

  15. Suzy
    14 August 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Santorini is one place I am dying to go to but for some reason never make it to. That sunset is gorgeous. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Dina
      16 August 2010 at 12:12 pm #

      I bet you will get there one day!

  16. Erica
    17 August 2010 at 4:20 am #

    I totally think the donkey poop was worth it! Greece is on our Bucket List of places/things to do over the next few years – this place looks fantastic!

    • Dina
      19 August 2010 at 9:57 pm #

      Totally worth it ;) I hope you will get there, so gorgeous!

  17. Akila
    18 August 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Beautiful pictures Dina! We can’t wait to make our way to Greece some day.

    • Dina
      19 August 2010 at 9:59 pm #

      Thank you for the compliment :) Yeah, we love Greece a lot, we are thinking of going back there ourselves one day.

  18. Jennifer Barry
    19 August 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Everyone I know who’s been to Santorini absolutely loved it! I was supposed to go this year but unfortunately plans had to change. Too bad, because it looks gorgeous and I love Greek food.

    Sorry you fell in poop! That’s the kind of thing I would do. Is it better to ride so you don’t step in it? Do they ever clean it up? I would think it would pile up if they never did.
    Jennifer Barry´s last post…Exploring Uruguay

    • Dina
      24 August 2010 at 10:09 am #

      Too bad the Greek plan was canceled, but there’s always next year. Where did you go otherwise?

      Haha, yeah, too bad. For me, the I will do the donkey ride next time. Alternatively, there’s a funicular ride as well. It was just after the sunset, the donkey ride for the day was done already, and we didn’t want to spend the money doing the funicular :D
      I wonder how often they cleaned it. Perhaps they can dried up and get blown by the wind? Hehe..

  19. Jennifer Barry
    24 August 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    I didn’t feel up to an international trip health wise, so I just took a road trip in the US. I love funiculars! I guess you are regretting you didn’t take it, huh? :)
    Jennifer Barry´s last post…Exploring Uruguay

    • Dina
      18 October 2010 at 9:33 am #

      Haha, I love funiculars too. That time, I regretted not taking it. But now, I think fall on donkey’s poop in Santorini is quite an experience, so not regret that anymore :D

  20. Santorini Car Hire
    14 October 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    Hi Dina,

    I was born and raised in Santorini and my favorite past time is watching the sunset from Oia. Sadly, I get to see it once a year because I am based in Athens now.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post especially the donkey poop experience. hahaha!


    • Dina
      18 October 2010 at 9:37 am #

      Too bad I didn’t get the chance to go to Oia, I heard so much good thing about that place.
      Haha, it was quite an experience! After I compared with falling into sheep poop (happened to me in NZ), I think donkey poop is better, haha!

  21. Sola
    15 December 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    I got married there this summer! It was amazing!
    For anyone who plans a wedding in Santorini I recommend the wedding planners from Poema. I am attaching a link for their website http://www.poemaweddings.com
    Santorini is a dream!


    • Dina
      1 February 2011 at 2:53 pm #

      Congratulations, Sola! If when we visited Santorini we hadn’t married yet, we probably going to just get married there on spot!

  22. Sam
    31 January 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Going to visit Santorini next summer and these pictures looks great. Been travelling around Greece islands lately and this is the final big islands that we haven’t visited so its looking great.

    Have to visit the islands before they vanish in to the ocean as they are volcano based.
    Sam´s last post…Santorini

    • Dina
      1 February 2011 at 2:54 pm #

      Good thought! That volcanic explosion already blew up almost the entire thing, so better visit it now! So, you are currently around Greek Island? I bet you have a great time!

  23. Mykonos
    27 March 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Your photos of Santorini are beautiful! I took a few when I was in Mykonos, let me know what you think!
    Mykonos´s last post…How to Eat Cheap in Mykonos

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