We had a mini adventure in Santorini while on our Celebrity Med Cruise. I will be covering the highlights, helpful tips and hidden gems! We visited mid October. We missed the amazing sunny weather by a week, but this was their “off” season and it was still crazy busy.
Unfortunately the weather did live up to my “Instagram” dreams of bright white buildings and beautiful blue sky that matched the sea but the island was still gorgeous. When arriving via ship, there are 2 ways to get up to the Fira… tram or donkey. We were both against taking those poor donkeys up, so tram it was. I believe is was 6 euro round trip per person. Its fast, but if you are afraid of heights, you’re screwed.
Oh and if you are a crazy cat lady, like me, get excited! I think I photographed 12 cats! (see photos below)
The first hour did not go so well. We walked almost a mile to a rental place Ryan wanted to rent an actual motorcycle since the scooter in Mykonos was scary. NEWS FLASH you need a universal drivers permit to rent in Greece. So after lots of tantrums and walking back to the main drag, we found a place to rent a four wheeler. As the passenger, the four wheeler had more comfort.
I knew we wouldn’t have time to get all over the island so I scheduled us 2 different wine tastings. Our first stop was Estate Argyros. The property was gorgeous and it had a very modern interior. The grapes are different from what we were used to. Their estate grape is Assyrtiko, a white grape. If you are a red wine drinker, take note, the red is very different here.
For 15 euro you can purchase their Welcome tasting, which includes 4 wines with some snacks. I suggest making a reservation, Estate Argyros . The surprise finale was their 20 yr Vinsanto made from sun dried grapes. It was paired with amazing chocolate from a local chocolatier who had the rights to incorporate the Vinsanto into the middle. It was HEAVEN! We had to bring home a bottle and chocolate bar!
Our tour of the grounds was very informative. Grapes in Santorini aren’t grown the same way we are used to. In Napa you see fields of tall vines, where in Greece they wrap the grape vine at a certain time of the year and put the grapes inside the wreath. This protects the grapes from intense heat and wind from the Med Sea. The grapes also grow in volcanic soil and picked by hand.
Our second winery was Gaia. I loved this boutique winery located right on the Med Sea. We had the perfect view on the patio. We booked out tasting online, Gaia Wines . I chose the tasting that included 4-5 wines, followed by a glass of our favorite wine and a huge cold fish platter. The rose was my favorite.
My favorite memory was laughing at the fish platter. The platter could had fed 8 people and included smoked mackerel and anchovies, tomato fritters, cheese mousse and grilled octopus. Some of the delicacies were very good but I must warn you, seafood is so fresh here, we aren’t used to the intense flavor in MN. I was excited to try what the locals ate. The food was hard for us to finish and I was trying to sneak leftover fish to the local cats. Ryan damn near died when he found out I had the option to get meats and cheese, oops! We still laugh about our authentic experience. And just between us, I packed my leftover fish in a plastic bag to feed all the cats we passed on the way back!
We are able to visit the 3 bells and walk around Fira for a bit. Walking through the cobble streets lined with white building filled with shops was exactly how I pictured it. I found the cutest linen shirts for my nephews! The Pangagia Theoskepasti Church was beautiful. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do everything I had researched plus we had less than desirable beach weather.
Don’t Forget to see:
- Passaggio coffee shop
- Red Sand beach
- Santos Winery
- Sigalas Winery
- Akrotiri archaeological site
- Walk around Oia