World Tour: Santorini
Our last European stop was Santorini, Greece. When we first started planning our world tour trip, I knew that Santorini was a MUST DO on the list. From all of the photos I had seen of Santorini I knew this spot looked like the perfect spot for us to visit. The most amazing scenic views, architecture, and weather put it at the top of our wish list. We purposely saved this spot for last before heading to South Africa because we knew that we could use this area as a partial vacay after having traveled 5 countries in about 15 days and having several days of back to back shoots. I knew that we’d probably be in need of a mini vacay by then. We stayed here a little longer so that we’d have a few days to chill which ended up being one of our best ideas so far on the trip.
Although the Santorini airport was very small and simple, we had pretty much had enough of airports and flights at this point. To get to Santorini you have to fly in to Athens first, so we had a layover in between. Reg’s face pretty much sums up our thoughts about flying and airports at this point…
When we arrived at the airport we took a taxi to our hotel which was about 30 minutes away. The taxi ride was a bit cray cray with the driver speeding through the winding roads so we were glad to finally make it to the hotel. One of the things that we were nervous about in Santorini was if we’d have to lug our bags up all of the stairs we had seen in Santorini. Santorini is one big island and most of the hotels are on the side of a cliff so most have stairs on the outside to get to them. To our surprise we were greeted by a hotel assistant who grabbed our bags for us on arrival and lugged them down the STEEEP stairways (thank goodness!). The receptionist at the front desk was super kind and got us really excited about being there. She walked us around the hotel property and showed us the amazing views. At this point our mouths were wide open – we were blown away by the views.
A few minutes after we were settled in our room, the receptionist came back to drop off a gift of wine and peanuts on our deck as a welcome. Neither of us drink, but we had to at least take a few sips that day because well – we were in Santorini!!!
That view tho 🙂
And the pools were like no other.
Santorini was one spot where we actually enjoyed the food (for the most part). For the first few days we were in love with all of the Souvlaki and kabobs, but after a while we started to notice there was not much else there. By the end of the trip we had enough Souvlaki to last us a lifetime but it was really good.
There was a cute little restaurant across the street from our hotel which stayed packed daily. The staff were SO welcoming and knew us by name after the first night. Each day we visited they gave us “freebies” at the end of our meal. One downside is that the food in Santorini was not so cheap – at least in the main hotel areas. You could easily spend $20/pp for a meal there.
The hotel we were staying listed free breakfast as an amenity on the website. We assumed it would be the typical continental breakfast. To our surprise, at this hotel you call when you are ready for breakfast and they bring a hot meal straight to your balcony for a breakfast with a view. This was one of the BEST parts about our visit to Santorini. We looked forward to our breakfast on the balcony each day (and got spoiled REALLY quick, lol). We were thinking this can’t be real life at this point, lol..
After chatting with the hotel receptionist we learned that to get around in Santorini you really need a car. After our $30 taxi ride from the airport we knew that we’d be broke if we used taxis each time we wanted to go somewhere. Luckily car rental is super easy in Santorini. There are plenty of local car rental places that rent to international tourists. For our 4 day trip we spent about $125 on a rental car. The cool thing is that most will drop the car off to you anywhere on the island and will also pick it up from you anywhere on the island. They delivered the car straight to our hotel and we were ready to roll.
I will say that I was pretty nervous about driving in Santorini since it was my first ever international driving experience. For the most part things were fairly similar to driving in the US except for a couple of things. Most European cars have the auto start/stop engines which is a little weird to a US driver. The cars seem to shut off when you are idle then automatically start up with a little press of the gas. Takes some getting used to. Also when we stopped for gas, and started to drive off the gas light seemed to not move. We thought we had gotten jipped but the gas attendant assured us that this was normal and that the gas light would start to move after a few minutes of driving.
On our first day of sightseeing we decided to visit the town of Oia since we had this in mind for our shoot location. Oia is probably the most popular town in Santorini and is known for it’s popular scenic views, blue dome cathedrals, and fancy blue doors. When we arrived, we were again blown away by the views. It’s definitely unlike anything we had ever seen.
There were several stores packed in Oia – mostly local artists and vendors. I actually liked a lot of the items for sale in Oia. We picked up a few items for our shoot there while shopping.
Santorini is also known for it’s donkey rides. Often tourists will do donkey rides around the island. Idk.. I felt a little sad for the poor donkeys so we didn’t do the donkey rides but opted for a quick pic instead. Yup that’s sweat on Reg’s forehead. The weather was pretty warm there, but not too hot. It can sometimes get very windy in Santorini though since you are on an island. On our first night it got so windy we thought our windows were going to break. After that the weather seemed to be pretty calm and pleasant for the most part.
As a photographer, the doors in Oia definitely caught my eye. I knew we’d want to use them in our upcoming shoot. There were so many different ones to choose from.
Anyone who knows Reg knows about his looong time wish for a household pet. There were stray dogs/cats pretty much everywhere in Santorini so yeah.. Reg got his whole entire pet life while there, lol!
The next day we met our model Lois for our shoot. This was one country where we were not able to find a local model to use in time so we were so thankful that Lois’ parents offered to fly to Santorini from London for our shoot. Mini vacay for them and we got to fulfill our dream of shooting in Santorini. So thankful to them for trusting us for this project.
Reg’s face in the first pic sums up the feelings we both had on our last day in Santorini. Extreme SADNESS. We spent our last few moments taking in the view from our hotel room window. It was definitely the vacay we didn’t want to end. Santorini is by far the favorite place we’ve ever visited. To put it into one word – paradise. We WILL be back!
Finally, here are some of the amazing photos captured of Lois in Santorini. 🙂
Of course we had to get the beautiful Santorini view in the background for a few…
And I told ya’ll those doors would come in handy. 🙂
These beautiful pink bushes called “bougainvillea” were all over the island… they are a staple in Santorini
We snuck a few pics in at the top level of a bookstore. Pretty cool setup they had..
Clothing: Next Direct