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Showing posts with label Travel Guide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Guide. Show all posts

One of the places I was most excited to take Christian to was Santorini. We almost didn't make it due to some crazy flight issues but the travel gods were with us and we made it, even if it was an hour later than planned. We got to our airbnb just before 1am so it was straight to bed so we could  get started "early in the morning."

I chose our airbnb for the view and the fact that it wasn't in the center of the tourist area. If you guys want the link let me know and I can add it! We stayed in Imerovigli, a 15/20 minute walk from Fira, the main hub of Santorini.  The buses to most locations originate in Fira so we would walk to Fira rather than waiting for a bus at our local station (easier to know where the bus was going!)


We visited 4 areas on our trip - Akrotiri, Kamari, Fira and Oia.

What to Do

Enjoy the Sunsets

Sunsets in Santorini are nothing short of breath-taking. Our first night we watched from a restaurant and on our second night we planned on getting back to our airbnb early so we could enjoy it from our little porch. If you get an airbnb with a view I HIGHLY recommend making sure to enjoy at least one sunset from your place, that's why you paid extra for it, right?

Kamari Beach

The first time I went to Santorini we skipped the beach; this time we made sure to take half a day for the beach.  We walked to Fira on our second day and took the bus to Kamari, the bus lets you off just a couple streets away from the beach so it couldn't be easier! We brought a small towel from our airbnb to dry off and I bought a pocket blanket so we would have something to sit on.

The only mistake we made was forgetting water shoes because the beaches are not sandy, they're rocky. I didn't realize it would be that painful to walk on.  After we ate we walked around the boardwalk to find a place to eat and settled on a place with waffles.


Akrotiri

For you history lovers out there, you'll want to make a trip to the other side of the island to see the Buried City, Akrotiri. The bus ride from Fira will be about 20-25 minutes and tickets are €12. Akrotiri was destroyed by a volcanic eruption and the city was buried. It was uncovered in the late 1800s and the excavation continues today. Just in the 4 years since I had last visited more of the city was uncovered.

Atlantis Books, Oia

Atlantis Books is one of the coolest looking stores in Oia. There are quotes and books all over the exterior and the store is overflowing with books. Some are new, some are very old and rare. They are mostly in English but you'll find some other languages too. Definitely check it out.

Athina Gallery, Fira

This is my favorite store we went to while in Santorini. Both times I visited (2015 and this trip) we stumbled upon it by accident.  In 2015 I ended up buying a beautiful necklace for my Mom for Christmas and this year we bought something for Christian's mom and I got a cute necklace with a branch, olive leaf and pearl.  There are so many beautiful pieces of jewelry and also home goods made from real olive branches, leaves and pomegranates. (Covered in silver, copper, etc.)

Ammos, Oia & Fira

If you want a pair of my favorite sandals, by Ancient Greek Sandals, Ammos is where you'll need to go while in Santorini. They won't have a huge selection but you'll be able to find something! I lucked out while we were there and the store in Fira was having a 30% off sale for the end of the season. They carry clothes too but after I spent all my money on sandals I didn't dare look.

Get a Massage

We didn't do this on our trip because Christian isn't a massage fan, but when I went in 2015 my friend and I did a sunset massage at Caldera Massage Studio. It was very relaxing and after we were given champagne (which we didn't drink, haha) and enjoyed the sunset from a viewpoint they provide. Technically it is a couples massage but we wanted a nice sunset view so we did it anyway. Who says it has to be a romantic couple, right?

Explore

Last, but not least, just walk around and explore! Most of our time in Oia and Fira was spent walking around and popping into a few stores here and there. Enjoy all the beautiful blues and whites Santorini is known for.


Where to Eat

Meat Corner Grill, Fira

We randomly stopped here for lunch on our first day because we decided to have lunch before heading to Akrotiri and I'm so glad we did. The food was DELICIOUS and very affordable. I just had chicken souvlaki and Christian had a chicken gyro. We spent $15 on both our meals and drinks, not too shabby!

Argo, Fira

We picked this restaurant purely because it had a fun name, luckily the food was good as well! We were also lucky to get a table, we had tried to get a sunset reservation by emailing the day before but they were booked through mid-October. But we walked straight up and they magically had an open table, just not one with a perfect sunset view. Christian tried their lamb and I had mixed souvlaki (minus the lamb, ha ha.)

Varkes, Kamari Beach

We ate here after spending a couple hours on Kamari Beach. We weren't sure what we were in the mood for so we walked all along the boardwalk looking for something and then saw the magic word - WAFFLES!  I got the apple pie waffles and Christian had the waffle with banana and oreo.


Lithos, Fira

On our second night Christian and I were hunting for a place to have an early dinner before heading back to our bnb for the sunset. We had walked by Lithos and I didn't want to eat there because I had an awkward experience there during my 2015 trip. To make a long story short, I ordered fried fish and the waiter came out and motioned with his hand to say it was just a little fish. I thought he meant small piece so I said "sure that's fine," they came out with sardines. I just couldn't bring myself to eat it so I awkwardly had to ask them to take it back. On the plus side we did have an amazing baklava there so I knew that in the least Christian and I would enjoy that!

I got a simple pasta dish for fear or ordering fish and having another sardine issue. Christian had what would be his favorite meal in Greece - Moussaka.  He said it was AMAZING and proceeded to try it 2 more times in Athens, but none lived up to Lithos' version. So pro-tip: get the moussaka and have baklava for dessert.

Patisserie Melenio, Oia

Once again I lucked upon a place I loved from my first trip but couldn't remember the name of. This is where I had the most delicious chocolate cake in 2015 and when we happened upon it on this trip I knew we had to have it! We opted to take it to go instead of sit down and eat it because it was half the cost, so this picture is from my first trip, haha.


Caper Santorini, Imerovigli Delivery Service

Our flight to Athens wasn't until 1:30 on the day we left so we planned on having a leisurely last morning before our car arrived at 12. We weren't sure what we were going to do for breakfast but as we looked through the information booklet our host left there was a breakfast delivery service we could use. It was a bit pricey but we figured it was worth it to have breakfast delivered to us so we could eat on the little porch.

We had to order one "package" and could add on other items. We got "The Caper" which came with a bread basket, omelette, yogurt, some jelly & butter and 2 drinks. As an add-on (for me ) we got pancakes (we ordered the blueberry ones but it came with chocolate sauce, oh well!) As we expected, the food was a tiny bit cold when it arrived but it was still good. And worth it for a private breakfast with an amazing view!


Last time I was in Italy we spent about 6 hours in Venice. Christian and I stayed for 3 nights so we had a lot more time to explore. Sadly our 2nd full day (our wedding anniversary) we experienced some rain storms but made the best of it by retreating to our airbnb and spending the afternoon watching movies and then headed out to dinner.  We were going to explore a little bit on our final day since our flight wasn't until 5:30 but the rain was back so we opted to head to the airport early instead of getting soaked. Even with the rain we managed to see everything we wanted to, except one hiccup which I'll explain below.

This was one of our 2 airbnb splurges of the trip and boy was it worth it. If I were to live in Venice this is where I'd want to be.  It was the perfect size with a lofted bedroom and an amazing windowed porch with views of the canal and square. Check out my "honeymoon 2" highlight on Instagram for a video tour, its right at the beginning.  If enough people ask, maybe I'll share the listing with you. *wink wink*



What to Do


St. Mark’s Square

St. Mark's Square was the most touristy place we went. It includes the Basilica di San Marco, Doge's Palace, Torre dell’Orologio clock tower and the Campanile tower. The Basilica is free to enter but most of the other things to visit in this area have some kind of fee. A lot of people go up the Campanile tower but I recommend the bell tower on San Giorgio Maggiore Island (below.)

San Giorgio Maggiore Island

This island is a quick boat ride from St Mark's Square and is well worth it for the lack of tourists. I was hoping to bring Christian up the bell tower for an AMAZING panoramic view of Venice but we ran into a problem. Unfortunately the elevator was broken and that's the only way to get up the tower so we couldn't do it. We made the best of the situation and took outfit photos and enjoyed the view of Venice before heading back to the main island.  They also always have some sort of exhibit going on in and around the church so be sure to explore.

Rialto Bridge/T Fondaco dei Tedeschi Shopping Center

The Rialto Bridge is a must-visit even if you just walk across like we did. It's the oldest of the four bridges and is home to a bunch of shops. While you're there, check out T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a 4 floor shopping center with rooftop terrace. Our hostess told us to visit the terrace for sunset for an amazing view of the city but by the time we arrived it was full (apparently you need to make reservations to go up - pro tip!)

Campo San Barnaba Church aka The Library from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

Our airbnb was just outside the Campo San Barnaba in Venice so we had a direct view of the square and this church. I didn't realize until our first evening that it's the church from one of my favorite movies - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Needless to say I had a bit of a freak out. This is probably not exciting for non-Indy fans but right now there's a da Vinci exhibit within the church if you're into art.


Libreria Acqua Alta

A really cool bookstore that has a fun reading nook encapsulated by books on the walls. It was really crowded when we went so we were shuffling around a bit and couldn't fully enjoy so maybe head here right when they open if you really want to shop for books. They also have kitties roaming around the store, so cute!

Where to Eat


GROM

Our airbnb was literally a 1-minute walk to a GROM gelato shop so we went every night. This meant we ended up not venturing to other places but I was fine with that because their dark chocolate sorbetta is AMAZINGGGGG.

La Calcina

This may have been our favorite meal of the trip and it was a complete accident. We were walking around trying to find food and we were about to leave the area to try somewhere else and I decided to quickly check Google Maps to see if we missed anything and as luck would have it, we did. This hotel with a restaurant was a hidden gem among touristy restaurants on the water.

It was a perfect 1 year anniversary dinner. The bread was the best we had on the trip (yes, we rank bread) and we loved our meal. We shared the Gli spaghetti alla salsa di pomodoroe basilico (basically basil pesto + tomato pasta) and Spiedini di pollo (grilled chicken skewers with vegetables.) For dessert, Christian had tiramisu (with Sicilian citrus) and I had an amazing chocolate torte. There was an older couple eating next to us and when Christian and I swapped plates the husband said "I saw that" and the wife followed up with "we've been doing the same thing for 50 years." Too funny. (they also took a photo for us)


Ristorante Pizzeria Dolfin

Another host recommendation that we went to for lunch. I had a delicious pesto and Christian had creamy ham and cheese tortellini.  I really enjoyed my pesto. It was always great to know that I have a default Italian meal to choose if the rest of the menu had weird items. I'm not the most adventurous eater so sometimes other countries are difficult for me.


Pasticceria Toletta

We stopped by here one morning while we were on a walk across the island to get to the Rialto bridge. I had an apple tart and a chocolate "thing" with biscotti in it and Christian had an almond pastry, so good and very reasonably priced. We spent under 4 Euros for all 3 things.

Pizzeria Ristorante Al Profeta

This was recommended by our airbnb hostess as one of the best pizza places in Venice. We tried the 'Simone' pizza because we were too tempted by the mention of frankfurter on the pizza (it also had sausage and spicy salami.) It was pretty good but we probably should have had a more normal pizza, haha. The restaurant had pictures of old Hollywood actors and was playing American oldies like The Eagles, I really enjoyed it.

La Lista

I had pizza here on my first trip to Venice and it was the best pizza I'd had on my trip so naturally I took Christian here. The crust was still perfection, just as I remembered.

Captain Candy

This is one of the most touristy thing we did, but there are tons of random candy stores throughout Venice and they kept tempting us with tasty treats in the window. So when we passed Captain Candy we had to grab a bag of various sweets!

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