My Big, Fat Greek Escape, Pt 2

 Red Lava Beach

Red Lava Beach

 Oia Windmill

Oia Windmill

 Sunset in Oia

Sunset in Oia

 Sunset in Oia

Sunset in Oia

 Rent an ATV!

Rent an ATV!

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 These infinity pools were everything...

These infinity pools were everything...

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 Ambrosia Restaurant 

Ambrosia Restaurant 

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 White on White

White on White

Every year, my best gal pal and I make it a point to travel deeper into this beautiful world, exploring places close to home and far into remote islands and corners of the globe. This year, we decided on Greece for a variety of reasons…the Mediterranean food was definitely a lure, but we were drawn to the history and culture of ancient and present Greece.

A 50-foot sailboat named Bizet on Yacht Week acted as our primary mode of transportation during week one of our 10 day Greek Escape. If you didn’t catch our Greek Islands Yacht Week recap last week, give it a look HERE and see what The Yacht Week has to offer—it’s nothing like the real world. PS, 2019 bookings open this November, so get on the list to book your next summer vacation! You’ll regret it if you don’t.

 After 7 full days of yachting the Greek islands, we were in dire need of a little rest and relaxation on the island of Santorini; known for its volcanic activity, stunning sunsets in the town of Oia and dramatic cliff side views with white and blue churches stretching across the entire island.

We arrived in Santorini after a short 56-minute flight direct from Athens, exhausted, hungry and ready to sleep in air conditioning. Our host at The Caldera Collection hotel welcomed us with fresh water, bellmen to haul our bags and a spot at the pool to kick up our feet. The Caldera Hotels is a collection of award-winning hotel properties that prides itself on hospitality, romantic atmospheres and the best views from their infinity pools. What’s great about staying with the Caldera Collection is you can bounce from one property to experience the pools, restaurants and spa services. AND, you get a 10% discount on all meals and spa services across all the sister hotels! Major score and major points in our book! You can check out the properties the Caldera Collection has to offer HERE.

Steph and I were on-the-go the week prior on our Yacht Week trip, so we really wanted to take a slower speed during our time on Santorini. We spent our first day relaxing with shoulder and neck massages from the spa attendants and dining on fresh Greek salads with homemade dressing and warm pita bread. After the sunset (and 2 bottles of wine later) we slept for 14 hours straight until the church bells woke us the next morning.

On day 2 we had pre-arranged a full-day tour of the full island of Santorini through Trip Advisor. We highly recommend the half-day tour; you get to see all the highlights of Santorini, such as the red lava beach, wine tasting at Santo Winery, white painted towns, high view points and a sunset dinner in Oia (all while being shuttled in a comfortable AC controlled coach with the most adorable and informative tour guides). We got lucky in the crowded streets of Oia and scored a sunset-view table at Kaoipo restaurant. We settled in with a bottle of Santorini red and started with a goat cheese and pomegranate salad with quinoa and arugula. We went for the seafood linguini with mussels, shrimp and mushrooms for dinner. The sunset was breathtaking, and so were the waiters ;) 

Our full-day tour cost about 50 euro (in peek tourist season of July) and we highly recommend doing towards the beginning of your stay to get a lay-of-the-land before you set out on your own Santorini adventure.

 

Day 3

Taxi services on Santorini are SPENDY (think 30-50 euro ONE WAY) to get anywhere, so your best option is to rent your own ATV or motorcycle to scoot around. As economical and thrill seeking adventures that we are—we rented our very own Quad-Bike (ATV) for 45 euro for the entire day. Think wind blowing in your hair, the smell of gyros and feta wafting up your nose, endless blue doors and seaside views that stretch on forever.

We started our day poolside at one of the Caldera Collection Properties, the Petite Palace @petitepalacesuites, which on first arrival, looks like an abandoned doorframe on the side of a highway. After you walk through the door, hike down a white painted pathway to a sweeping infinity pool and massage tables. We set up our pool towels and straw hats and took in the views, pinching ourselves and counting endless blessings that we were actually here. The host made the rounds with fresh veggie snacks and offered neck massages with locally made beauty lotions and elixirs…I mean really, it couldn’t have been better than that!

After snack time, we were led to what appeared to be a “honeymoon” area where we were gifted with complimentary massages on a balcony overlooking the volcano caldera—complete with white shears blowing in the breeze and all the other chliche honeymoon things, like rum filled chocolates, candles and rose petals.

 We’re not sure if it was Steph’s blonde hair & blue eyes or my brown hair & blue bikini, but needless to say, we were certain the staff was doting on us because they thought we were a newlywed couple, showering us in massages, fresh squeezed drinks and complimentary amenities. Feeling slightly embarrassed and struggling to hold in our hysterical giggles after they addressed us as “Mr. Britt and Mrs. Steph,” we found our way back to the infinity pool, laughing hysterically and joking for hours about our “BFF Honeymoon.” We felt grateful for the love the Petite Palace showed for us and recommend this hotel for COUPLES! Haha.

 After our impromptu spa afternoon, we drove our quad-bike to the beautiful town of Oia for shopping, street food and more sunset views.

Here are our favorite spots to sip, shop and lounge on the island of Santorini:

Be sure to check out the shops on Nik. Nomikou road and shop the boutiques withy some of the most beautiful and friendliest gals in Oia! They made us feel right at home and helped us pick out dresses, accessories and jewels. My favorite find was my BMB bamboo bag @bmb_bags_! A little bit of a splurge, but it’s for the trendiest of travelers. Be sure to give our favorite shop girl @lora_deea a follow—she’s from Romania and we connected over family we both have in Costanta J She’s also one of the sweetest people we’ve ever met traveling. We need more people like you in the world!

If there is one thing you should buy, we recommend handmade leather gladiator sandals. There are dozens of shops so you won’t have any issues finding a store. The sandals are strappy, super comfortable and they last for years. One pair will run you about 30-40 euro. A darling old man with a big white beard made mine! #legit!

Grab wine on the rooftop garden at Ambrosia Restaurant (@ambrosia_restaurant2018) the wait staff will gladly pour you a bottle or two of their favorite label and bring you shots of local spirits. You are almost guaranteed to witness a proposal on this rooftop- it’s one of the better sunset spots in town with 360-degree viewpoints.

If you’re in the mood for something cold and sweet, go to the Lolita’s Gelato shop @lolitasgelato where Kostas is looking for a cute girl to marry and accepts phone numbers as tips. Serious offers are only considered.

Find a corner shwarma shop and order a gyro with onions and extra tzatziki sauce. There isn’t a bad one in town! We went to Why Not! Souvlaki

Book your stay at one of the Caldera Collection Hotels @calderacollection. The all-access to the sister properties make this collection unique and enjoyable for any traveler.

Book a full-day tour of Santorini HERE

Have you traveled to Greece? What was your favorite thing you did while you were there!? We’d love to know so we can share with our community!

 Oia at Sunset

Oia at Sunset

Stephanie Zillmer