Last week I showed a specific part of my stay in Santorini, the Volcano Tour, which I highly recommend by the way. This Monday I am showing off Thira, which is the main island in the cluster that we all call Santorini.
There are several towns on the island. I went to four of them. The largest seems to be Fira, where the volcano tours leave from. Oia (pronouced Ee-ya) is in the north and well known for the sunset views and windmills.Karterados was where my hotel was and there was the port where my boat left from.
The outer edge of the island (away from the volcano) is where the beaches are. The towns are connected with sporadic buses. Each ride costing 1.40Euro with the main hub is in Fira. I was trying to get a bus to port where my sailing tour was leaving and the bus only went twice a day; so don’t assume you can always get where you want to go. The new port where I believe the inter island ferry leave from is also outside of Fira a ways. There are also taxis on the island. I had my hotel call and he had to call twice because the first time there were not any taxis available. Hmm.. Greece is not set up for exactness of timing.
As always there are more pictures in the Gallery at the bottom.
I stayed outside of Fira about a 20 minute walk in a town that I can’t pronounce. The hotel was nice and quiet with a friendly staff. I do think that I would rather stay in Oia if went back. The hotel was fine, but distance from activities was annoying, as the bus did not run very often. However in my walk I did find a very good internet cafe just outside of Fira only 100 yards from the bus depot. The view from the walk through Karterados was indeed impressive.
The buildings are further apart, than in the other two towns. Though there were a number of places to eat and a pair of markets where I stocked up on OJ for the day’s wandering.
This is what they claim the main town is. It is perched up above the caldera with many of the restaurants and hotels dripping down over the edge. This is not a place for handicap accessibility or bad knees.
Far below is the old port, where the various tours leave from. There are two ways down or up. The cable car the infamous donkey ride. I took the cable car both ways and was perfectly ok missing the donkey ride. Read about that part at Vagabond Quest.
I found the food and drink prices of the places down the cliff very high. Yes it is a beautiful view, but still I wasn’t willing to pay a lot for just myself. I did however find Obelix. I had seen a few delivery motorcycles carrying the bags, so I was happy to find the store. This is greek fast food and much better prices. Each piece is a few euros, so you can order as many or as few as you like.
The towns on the islands I found to be an odd mix of highly renovated luxury and virtual ruins. Even the edges of Fira when I just went walking had rubble and falling walls.
My second day on Thira, I had to be at my boat at 5pm; so I took a bus the 30 minutes or so to Oia. This is at the northern tip of things and a town I actually liked better than Fira. It just felt friendlier somehow. Like Fira, the town drips over the side of the cliff along the edges. It also has a couple of small beaches down at the base of the cliffs that you can walk down to(and then all the way back up from).
From the postcards, Oia is known for the windmills, the sunset views and like most of the islands for the blue domed churches. I saw the sunset from Fira the night before, but I can well imagine it would be impressive here as well.
There really are no sights, just white washed hotels and restaurants. It was very warm that day. I walked out to the very tip where there is a ruin of a fort. I almost stepped on this poor dog lying in the shadows that would soon be gone.
I ended up getting so hot around noon that I caved and bought a 4Euro cup of tea to sit in a cafe and cool off in the breeze. Expensive, but still a great view from the window.
This is the small port where I was to meet my sailing boat for the week long Gap Adventure cruise. We went to a pretty decent tavern for dinner and the very small market for breakfast supplies the next morning before heading out.