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Serene Santorini

PICTURE PERFECT: Santorini offers a glorious mix of blue waters, quirky beaches and incredible food and drink

IF YOU peruse Instagram’s explore page often, you’re sure to see some girl posing in what looks like paradise. Crystal-clear blue sea illuminates the background, with stunning white and blue buildings surrounding her as she forcefully poses for that perfect picture that is sure to get her the Instagram likes she so hopes for.

That place I’m talking about is Santorini – the super-trendy and Instagram-friendly Greek island that I was fortunate enough to visit.

Santorini definitely fits its reputation – the sea really is that blue and the island so luxurious that you can’t help but snap pictures of everything from cocktails to sunsets on your phone, in a bid to show the world that you was there. It’s lame, really – but you’d have to be there to get it.

For those who have yet to visit the island, below is my rundown on some of the highlights and lit- tle known things about the Greek hotspot...

TRAVEL

The journey to Santorini was pretty pleasant. With just over three and a half hours from London Heathrow to the stunning island, it was the perfect quick journey to a luxury destination. That was particularly made easier by my efficient travel-sized luggage! American Tourister suitcases provide a wide variety for long haul trips to short city breaks, in an array of colour ways and styles, ready to suit any personality. I was fortunate enough to get this colourful number which put me in the holiday mood as soon as I saw it - definitely worth purchasing!


American Tourister

THINGS TO DO

Santorini doesn’t necessarily pride itself as a place for extreme activities – it’s a lot of lounging around, sipping Mai Tais and simply living your best life. However, if you do need a little action, there are a few things you can do to get your pulse going.

One of the great tours offered in Santorini is a visit to its infamous volcano, which takes a short 30-minute boat ride from the capital of Santorini. What wasn’t short, however, was the walk to the top of the volcano.

Pack your water bottle, your boots and a hat – because this hike to the top is no joke. While the struggle was certainly real, so were the spectacular views. It was all worth it. Another fun adventure was the cable car ride that took us from the top of Thira to the bottom where you could find the docks and numerous boats alongside a selection of cafes and gelato shops.


FOODIE: Breakfast at V Lounge Cafe & Cocktail Bar

While the ride isn’t particularly long (less than three minutes), it really is all about the views as you take in the landscape of the beautiful island. But, let’s be real, the main thing to do while in Santorini is to enjoy the numerous beaches situated across the island and to simply relax.

From the sandy black Perissa beach to the stunning, rocky Red and White beaches, Santorini provides great options where you can marvel at the beautiful rocks while chilling in the sea, cocktail in hand.

SIGHTS

I stayed in Thira, the capital of Santorini, which is a lively town buzzing with people from day through to the night. Besides the great restaurants, bars, and phenomenal views, Thira was also central to other parts of the island, particularly Oia. I can’t stress how beautiful Oia is.

The architecture and views are simply breathtaking, and standing at 330ft above sea level, you truly feel a sense of escapism once you’re there – and the sun- set is just amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and watched a sunset in its entirety, but in Oia, people will wait for hours just to get a glimpse of it, and boy was it worth it.

GETTING AROUND

Getting around Santorini is pretty interesting. A lot of the steep stairways and winding roads make this island perfect for leisure drivers and bike riders. However, if you prefer to soak in the sights at a more leisurely pace, plenty of things are within walking distance – but the walk won’t be easy.

Your fitness level will be tested while walking around the island, and this is something they don’t tell you! So as long as you’re prepared, you’ll certainly enjoy it. Other popular means of transport include boats and donkeys – yes, donkeys. Riding a donkey to the top of a cliff isn’t my idea of fun, but each to their own.

FOOD AND DRINK

Santorini certainly didn’t let down in the food and drink department, especially when it came to cocktails – cocktail hour never ends in Santorini. From the authentic Greek food provided at Naoussa Restaurant to the delicious breakfasts at V Lounge Cafe & Cocktail Bar (their waffles are to die for) and the amazing tropical cocktails at PK Cocktail Bar – you are not short for an amazing drinking or dining experience as Santorini provides amazing food, with amazing views to boot.

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