Caution, this post includes LOTS of pictures that will make you want to pack a bag and hop onto the next flight out of rainy London….
We spent our wedding week with family and friends on one of the most picturesque Greek island famous for it’s romantic sunsets, breathtaking views and the iconic blue domed churches, adorned with white crosses and curved bell towers perfect for that classic postcard shot ‘wish you were here’. The island itself sits on the Caldera, a dreamy wedding getaway overlooking the crescent shape of the island. We had an action packed week meeting our wedding guests as they arrived, checking in and out of scenic hotels, final meetings with our wedding planners and sampling the Greek cuisine.
Santorini also known as Thira, has adopted various names throughout history from Stroggili meaning round shape (half moon) to Thera Kallisti (the most beautiful). The island as we know was formed by a Volcanic eruption from around 3600 BC during the Minoan Eruption.
After spending many months planning and preparing for our wedding week, I felt prepared to tackle this romantic city. The reality was that I was only prepared for our wedding day on the island. In fact I was not 100% prepared for the many steps in Oia (pronounced Ee-Aa), boutique hotels stacked upon each other in Imerovigli and the steep slops of Fira. Most of our guests stayed in Kamari with it’s long promenades, many shops and restaurants and the famous black sand beach perfect for all family members.
I will be sharing a few things I learnt whilst staying in Santorini along with a few tips for those of you who plan to visit the island in the near future.
We made our journey to Santorini from London Gatwick, a 4hour direct flight to JTR airport Santorini located North of Kamari. Most guests from the States flew into Santorini from Athens, which is how most people arrive on the Island. Warning this airport is very small and compact. Allow enough time before you leave to avoid crazy queues, bring a hand held fan and plenty of water.
I checked into three different hotels on the island. Aegean Plaza, Tamarix Del Mar Suites & Regina Mare. Both the Agean Plaza and Tamarix Del Mar were situated near the promenades in Kamari with a 15min walk from each other. Most of our guests stayed here and enjoyed the laid back vibes and friendly atmosphere. I stayed at the honeymoon suite in Regina Mare for two nights to experience the breathtaking views of Imerovigli. I highly recommend this location for the scenic views and magical sunsets of the Caldera. Imerovigli’s much more quieter than Oia.
Keep posted for an in-depth review of all three hotels.
When it comes to eating in Santorini, we decided to try out restaurants on the Kamari strip. Each restaurant and bar had their unique characteristics. Walking down the promenade can take you over half an hour if you decide to stop and speak to each waiter luring you into their restaurant. The locals know how to entice you with free drinks and starters.
We also wandered into Oia for an evening to see what the fuss was about here. We stumbled upon the most precious spot with perfect ocean views, and the food was incredible!
Regina Mare had great food. Each morning we had a buffet style breakfast on the terrace. Perfect start to every single day, the view was surreal. So many options as well as plenty to hold you over for most of the morning.
Santorini is a very small island predominately on a cliffside, meaning it has a lot of rough terrain and plenty of steps! In fact a lot of steps especially in Oia, Fira and Imerovigli. Warning leave your heels at home especially if you plan to marry on the Island. I was stubborn enough to ignore this and decided to wear my wedding shoes for our couples photoshoot in the old village of Pyrgos. I also recommend wearing sling back sandals. I discovered some of the roads were a little slippery in just flip flops!
Santorini is scorching hot in mid August, be warned the high terrain means a few winds which picks up during the evenings. Ladies tie your hair up or to the side to avoid wind swept hair, especially if you plan to marry on top of one of the Caldera views. Luckily I had my hair to the side and plenty of hair spray on our wedding day.
If you plan to stay in one of the famous boutique style hotels arrange for the hotel workers to help you with your suitcase. Dragging a heavy suitcase down many stairs past other boutique hotels is not an attractive look especially before your wedding day! Luckily my husband (I’m still getting used to saying husband)! helped drag my very heavy suitcase and wedding dress down past all the boutique hotels to our honeymoon suite.
Lastly we hired a car to visit the scenic areas of Santorini, including the World famous Oia. Be warned during peak season this place gets overcrowded. To avoid long lines during sunset hour, pre book a table at a restaurant and enjoy the sun setting whilst enjoying the Greek cuisine.
On a final note, avoid purchasing souvenirs from the first few shops you stumble across in Oia, trust me walk further along the pathway and you will find the exact same souvenir for a fraction of the price.
P.S Keep posted for more Santorini blog posts and of course our official wedding photographs.