Santorini July 2013 Highlights

If you’ve been following my posts about how to keep fit on holiday, then you might also be wondering what else Nick and I did besides hit the gym and make our own meals. 

Here are some of our highlights from our trip to Santorini, the Greek island in the sun.

Open Air Cinema, Kamari

The Open Air Cinema is absolutely freaking awesome.

Out front the Open Air Cinema in Kamari, Santorini
Out front the Open Air Cinema in Kamari, Santorini

We first heard about it when we heard a group of Australian tourists mention that they were going to the cinema that night. Not thinking much of it, it wasn’t until we were planning our trip to Ancient Thera that we stumbled on more information.

Easily spotted on the main road into Kamari, the Open Air Cinema plays new release films in English with Greek subtitles. When you walk in, you will instantly love the music courtesy of SomaFM not to mention the oasis that they have created in the feature garden. Comfortable deck chairs and tables face the large screen with a hip and cool bar at the back serving your cinema favourites, plus the local island beer Yellow Donkey.

On the night we went, Olympus has Fallen was the main feature and Gerard Butler tore up the screen as the All-American Hero that in reality he is not. If you love American propaganda, this one is for you. And if you are like me, then midway through the film you will be craving a bathroom break. Fear not as the handy intermission means you can get some much need relief without missing a second of the action (literally).

Sunset Catamaran Cruise

The sunset over Oia is stunning and unlike anything I have ever seen (which says a lot as I have seen the sunset in many a country). We opted for a Sunset Catamaran Cruise on our last day and we were not disappointed.

Gettin' my bronze on at Red Beach
Gettin’ my bronze on at Red Beach

Leaving from Ammoudi Bay, the 5 hour cruise takes you to the hot springs of the Caldera (old volcano) where you can expect your light coloured bathing suit to become stained from the minerals in the water.

Once you climb back aboard the ship, you are off sailing towards Red Beach for a half hour of swimming in this lovely cove before heading a short distance away to White Beach for another swim and BBQ.

After you are full from a wonderful Greek fête, the sails are up heading towards home. A sweater is a must though as the breeze can be quite chilly. The sun sets as you pull towards the bay and no picture I took could ever explain the beauty, colour and shape of this orb in the sky. Truly a sight to be seen.

Cliff Jumping at Ammoudi Bay

We heard about cliff jumping from an Aussie gent working at The Beach Bar in Perissa who referred to it as “Moody Bay”.

“Ya bro, it’s awesome”

SPF'd and ready for the sun in Ammoudi Bay
SPF’d and ready for the sun in Ammoudi Bay

It wasn’t until I tried to Google “Moody Bay Oia” that the gears started clicking and I realized he was referring to Ammoudi Bay. We opted for the drive down as we were short on time, however the trek down from Oia is lovely albeit steep on the way back up.

The walk around to the cove is beautiful and when you finally find the swimming spot, the waters are dark blue, clear and refreshingly cool.

Nick and I hopped right in and made a beeline for the cliff that had a few other people jumping from it. Maybe it is the camp counselor in me, but I had to ensure that the depth was appropriate and clear of rocks before I would let either of us take the plunge. When we finally did, the jump was excellent and it was nice to cheer on other holiday goers while we cooled off in the waters of the Aegean Sea.

Hike from Perissa to Ancient Thera

Built originally around 3 A.D, the church at the entrance to Ancient Thera was a historical masterpiece
Built originally around 3 A.D, the church at the entrance to Ancient Thera was a historical masterpiece

If you fancy a hike but are short on time, then the hike from Perissa up to Ancient Thera is a great bet. Significantly shorter than the haul from Oia to Thira, this short and moderately steep mountain hike has stunning views at any time of the day.

We started our quad-burning workout around midday meaning the hike was hot hot hot so plenty of water and closed-toed shoes were essential. The climb up took about 40 minutes and when you get to the lower entrance to Ancient Thera, you will be asked for a €2.00 entrance fee which is definitely worth it.

The views from the Ancient City, not to mention the history of the ruins is absolutely breathtaking and more than worth the climb. Pack a lunch and eat it on top of the mountain, you will not be sorry!

Perissa Beach

The black (and very hot) sand beaches of Perissa with the hills of Ancient Thera in the background
The black (and very hot) sand beaches of Perissa with the hills of Ancient Thera in the background

Most people had recommended Kamari Beach to us as it had a more buzzing vibe with a fancier setup and definitely more people. However for Nick and I, we couldn’t help but fall in love with Perissa Beach for its quiet, laid back demeanor, spectacular black sand beaches and incredible mountain views.

Perissa was the perfect place to kick back, relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. We would spend lazy afternoons relaxing on the beach with a frequent dip into the cool, clear waters outside of The Beach Bar where music would be playing and the drinks were always ice cold. You would rarely be bothered here as well by beach merchants and the prices of the restaurants off of the main beach strip were so incredibly reasonable that a meal for two including a drink cost only €15.00. Awesome.

A Sad Goodbye

EVery morning we ate breakfast on top of the hotel and took in the incredible views of the horizon.
Every morning we ate breakfast on top of Agnadi Villas and took in the incredible views of the horizon.

Saying goodbye to our holiday and Agnadi Villas was tough and I don’t usually say that as I often look forward to returning to normality. However Santorini gave us the perfect blend of R&R, touristic action and the parts of our “normal lives” that we genuinely enjoy.

Greece was genuinely one of the best holidays I have had in a long time and if you are considering a summer vacation spot, I cannot recommend this island in the sun more highly.

**Interested in travelling to Santorini? EasyJet flights depart from London Gatwick. Prices start around £400 per person for round-trip airfare and 5 nights accommodation** 

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