The town of Oia - Santorini

Famed around the world for its picture postcard white houses, clear blue seas and beating the sun. It's the most Instagrammed location on earth - so what is all the fuss about? 

Arriving in Santorini airport has to be one of the most leisurely I have had. Getting off the plane you move in a pack like formation to a pretty unassuming building, walk past a half asleep border guard while flipping your passport in his eye line and you're in. From landing to standing to wait for the hire car was 14 minutes.

One of the most exciting parts of any holiday is finding out what hire car you are going to be handed. We booked through Holiday Autos but that's simply as it was the best value - check out this site www.kayak.co.uk/cars to compare the best value hires before going as you will end up paying a 25% premium for booking with one of the many rental places on the island

From landing to standing to wait for the the hire car was 14 minutes.
— Santorini airport experience

A bright red Skoda Citigo was waiting (not the colour I would have picked for a ginger if I'm honest) and after getting in the wrong side of the car and then back into the right side of the car, I set off!! The place I had booked was called Artemisia Apartments. With a very healthy 9.6 rating on booking.com, it seemed a great find and it really was superb value for money.  The one issue with the accommodation was the total lack of any exterior signage. I unwittingly drove past it 6 times in trying to find it. This involved following a Chinese family crammed into a Kia Picanto down a dead end (unless on a bike) and then having to execute a 3 point turn in a space smaller than the size of the car. After a rather intense 29 point turn, edging the car out without any damage (thank's very much) I found myself in a car park that I had started at an hour and a half before and about to throw the keys into the sea in a fit of rage........this carpark turned out to be 100 yards from the hotel.  Lesson learned: Never use a sat nav on Santorini


 

Oia itself

The most famous town on Santorini (It's always the one you see on packets of Greek cheese in Tesco)
Parked in the central car park for just 3 euros for 5 hours and hit the streets #Cheap! . If you are a lover of fashion and jewellery then you will find yourself right at home. It's a good split I would say 60% fashion/jewellery and 40% touristy shops. You will probably find yourself visiting every single shop in Oia as apart from the sunset in the evening and jumping into the sea at Amoudi Bay there isn't anything else to do....except eat in one of the many, many restaurants! 

During my time here I somewhat felt like I was getting in the way...of Asian brides. There is either a wedding or a photography session around every corner (and that is really not me over exaggerating things) A beautiful place to get married but it quickly becomes apparent that the island is just not big enough for the demands the like of Instagram have set it.

Explore the town’s secrets, get to know it, discover what so many don’t, without any shops open and without any tourists.
— Waking early to explore in Santorini

Yes, it is beautiful, but to really appreciate this town beauty then I would suggest getting up an hour before sunrise. Explore the town's secrets, get to know it, discover what so many don't, without any shops open and without any tourists. It's easy to miss things in the middle of the day when so much is going on. You will be rewarded with the most incredible sunrise for your early alarm. The biggest reward though is being able to explore one of the worlds most unique destinations, to yourself. Not a bad price to pay! 

Tip: Avoid driving into Oia between the close hours before and after the sunset (which by the way is not the best place to view it on the island contrary to popular belief) 

+ Pretty location, some nice hand made souvenirs
- Expensive food, too many tourists, overrated sunset

 

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