Safety warning – watch out for snakes in Santorini!
This will be just a quick update about an important topic that you guys should be aware of.
In recent years zoologist have released poisoned snakes in Santorini to keep our nature intact. These snakes are enjoying the warm climate here and have spread quite a lot.
This particular snake is called Ochia, and it’s pretty widespread in Greece. Their activity period is around Spring, so you should definitely be more careful when going on some hikes around the island. Their color is very much like the grass and branches so keep your eyes open. They are not aggressive, but they like to hide under some rocks or come out in the heat of the morning sun on hiking paths where there’s less grass.
If you’re unlucky to get bitten by any snake in Santorini, first thing you do is try to remember the details about its appearance (or even take a photo if possible) and then visit the local veterinarian or hospital for an antidote. These snakes are not deadly but they sure can cause some pretty heavy discomfort, so please do that in at least 3 hours to be on the safe side.
Photos by Anna Sulte
Lost luggage in Greece? Here’s a quick fix!
With all the plane travel going on around the globe, sadly you’re bound to run into this problem at least once in your life. You arrive feeling all ready to enjoy what Santorini has to offer, but – oh no – your airplane company has sent your luggage to some completely different destination. First of all, very sorry this has happened to you. But just breathe deeply and hear out my solution.
If you’re coming to Santorini, most likely you have landed in Athens. Now you have two choices – either to accept defeat or do something about the situation. And I can help with that! So what you do is find a couple of places that can provide you with summer clothing for an affordable price, of course. Plus, you might find some real gems in these stores. What you do is head to the single best spot in whole Athens – Sintagma. It’s a shopping area that has some of the biggest clothing stores around, that also includes shops like Zara and H&M.
If for some reason it’s the inland flight to Santorini that has messed up the luggage situation, no worries. You can go to Fira which has a great store called Tali or, if it happens to be closer to you, try out Kamari or Perissa which both have a great store chain called 2Friends. Friendly prices and a quick solution to get on with your holiday and forget the clothing problems ;)
These places should easily cover all you need while the rest of your luggage arrives, or even if it doesn’t. Do not let this ruin your holiday – Santorini is a great gem of an island that has the magic power to let all the worries fade away if you allow it to.
Photo by Anna Sulte, photographer located on the island of Santorini.
Ready for a wine tour? Read this first!
It’s a little known fact, but Santorini actually has some of the most unique wineries in whole Greece. The reason for this lies in the origin story of the island – this small island in the Aegean Sea was actually created through a volcanic eruption and most of its land was born from molten lava mixing with the sea bottom and water minerals. This makes it one of the most interesting places to grow grapes that can be turned into a wine that still carries some special taste in each sip.
Now the wine is great of course, but what you have to know is that not all wine tours have been created equal – the offers you get in Santorini range quite a bit in terms of price and experience they offer. The best way to go about to finding your perfect tour is doing some actual research before – walk around and ask for prices (or use the good old Google), and also drop by some online review sites like Tripadvisor – they have been a great help for me for all kinds of tours and restaurants, and since these tours can get a bit expensive it is a good idea to spend those extra five minutes to double check.
The two of the major places I can recommend looking into are Boutari Santorini and Santo Wines – both are well established and nice places that have good reviews and customer satisfaction. So these are a good starting point if you’re looking for a good time and want a general overview of what Santorini has to offer in terms of wines.
Also while we’re at it, I should mention that there’s actually a Wine Museum in Santorini – if you’re into wine and want to get deeper knowledge about how and why Santorini is a special place to enjoy some fermented grapes, this is definitely the place for you to visit.
Volcano Festival. Santorini.
Every year there’s one day in the late August – early September when thousands of locals and tourists are gathering on the cliff side of Santorini to watch the culmination of the Ifestia Festival – the reenactment of the volcanic eruption that took place around 1600 BC and devastated the Minoan civilization. It is done using the fireworks on the volcanic island of Nea Kameni and it’s a show to remember and not to be missed if you happen to visit Santorini at this time of the year. Best spots to watch the fireworks are all along the Western coast of the main island, Thira, the most notable being the SantoWines winery, the Mexican restaurant Senor Zorba or any other place with caldera view in Fira and Firostefani. If you’re of the adventurous type you can join many of the offered boat trips that will take you so close to the action. The fireworks are usually followed by performances by local and international artists in many of the island’s concert venues.
Volcano Festival (August)
Photos by Santorini photographer Anna Sulte
Some ideas for your next Santorini sailing trip
Santorini is a beautiful small island with some of the best views into the Aegean Sea. But usually after you have been here a while, you start craving a different adventure. Then you know it is time to set sails and head into the sea and look at all this beauty from the water!
This time I’ll share some ideas on sailing trips around here. What goes on on these? What can you possibly do on a boat all day??? No worries, I got the answers, or at least some of them.
The first thing you need to decide is how long do you want the trip to be. Usually there are two options – you can either spend an entire day on the boat, which would mean a tour around the island and then some leisure time with swimming etc. or you can go with half a day and do mostly touring.
After that, you need to settle on the type of sailing trip you’re looking for. Around Santorini there are actually many options, some of the best include:
- sunset sailing
- volcano sailing
- fishing sailing
- sailing trip along with traditional Greek foods
So when you know the answer to these two questions, you can start contacting some of the companies offering trips. Be wise and call a couple before settling for one – sometimes the prices and the types of tours differ greatly. Of course, reading some online reviews from previous sailors does not hurt.
This should set you on your way to having the best time on the waters of the Aegean Sea. Let me know how your trip went and see you back on land!
Professional honeymoon photographer Anna Sulte
The search for the perfect hidden Santorini beach
Greece – the place of perfect azure beaches all over. Not to mention the Greek islands that have some of the best hidden gems in the beach game. And I might even add that Santorini is definitely among the best among them. This little island is the perfect getaway for lovers that want to enjoy lazy beach days and each others company.
And what better place for you both than a hidden beach somewhere off the big crowds? Today I’m going to share some of them ;)
This one’s closer to the South of the island and has its own wine bar as well. A nice small beach with impressive cliffs. This is the place to go for a lazy day – since it is quite small, there won’t be big crowds of people and because of the cliffs you feel like your enclosed in your own small world.
A small beach with dark volcanic sand. If you haven’t been in a black beach before, this will be a unique experience for you. The azure water is a nice contrast to the dark sand and gives a whole new understanding of the various beaches here. Also there’s a great beach restaurant waiting to fulfill all your needs.
This one is nearly a lagoon, so it’s a bit more shallow and really accents the nice color of the water of the Aegean Sea. If you’re after that white sand and azure waters, this is the place for you. No cliffs in sight, so maybe not the best for more windy days. Otherwise, a nice beach for escaping the crowds :)
Of course, there’s plenty more beaches to be discovered in Santorini! Use these as your starting point – they’re nice and more quiet, also very different from each other. Going to a beach in Santorini is a whole adventure, they come in all shapes and sizes. Enjoy the summer and sea you there!
Photo by Anna Sulte santorini honeymoon photographer
Top spots to watch the Santorini sunset
Sunsets in Santorini are a big deal. When the time comes, everyone heads out to their secret spot to watch the sun slide into the Aegean Sea. And it’s totally understandable – the island envelops in the magical golden hour light and it’s truly magical.
Of course, it is beautiful on any corner of the island, but some spots are more beautiful than others in this time. And today is your lucky day, because I have some to share :) Here’s some Santorini sunset spots that I often use for photographing or just chilling with some good wine:
- Amoudi bay
- Santo Wines
- Church of Prophet Ilias in Imerovigli
- Akrotiri light house
If you have the time, why not stop by a new place every evening? Start with these and you won’t be disappointed for sure. Just type this in your favorite navigation device and head on an adventure! As for things to do, some like to do a small picnic, others bring a bottle of wine and that special other (and a camera of course).
The kinds of sunsets here make you appreciate the people you are sharing them with. Because that is what truly matters.
Flying to Santorini direct or through Athens – pros and cons
The Santorini adventure begins even before you step on the island. Getting here is a quest, especially if you come from outside Europe – embrace the adventure and soak in the most of it! You read the title, today we’ll look at some basic pros and cons for choosing whether to fly directly to Santorini or to the capital Athens first. I’m by no means an expert, but here’s some of my own thoughts sprinkled with some things I’ve heard from the couples I’ve photographed over the years.
Direct flight to Santorini
- Many times these end up costing more money, the companies know that Santorini is a hot destination so they adjust their airfare accordingly.
- Flying direct you obviously save some time spent in the airports
- These days airport worker strikes might occur – these people are fighting for better payment terms and that’s fine but you might get caught in the middle. So if you choose to fly direct, you minimise the chance of being stuck in an airport.
- The island weather is a bit unpredictable, so you might have a bit of a rough flight if you come from overseas and the landing can’t be scheduled for a later time. Nothing serious, but if you’re not too comfortable with some turbulence, Athens will probably be more smooth sailing.
Flight through Athens
- Well, you get to see Athens! That is, if you plan it right. I would recommend staying there for a day or two, best at the end of your travel – it’s a vibrant city with rich history and you can only gain more from your travels.
- If you end up doing it, it of course comes with some costs, generally short hotel stays will be more expensive than longer package deals.
- If you go for a simple layover without staying, you might save some money on the airfare expenses.
- As said before, you have a bit more risk to get stuck in the airport due to strikes. In this case you could choose ferry for alternative travel option.
- There’s also a slight possibility that your luggage can be lost. On long overseas flights that happens more often. Nothing is lost at the end, but you might arrive to Santorini and have to wait for your bag to catch up :)
So here’s some things to consider. Of course, do your own research for precise dates before choosing, but these should serve as general pointers on what to look out for.
Santorini located photographer Anna Sulte
Boho chic style adventure in Santorini.
Santorini is a place known for its scenic landscape with traditional Greek buildings on the Caldera and it attracts thousands of tourists every season. With that comes some pretty standard ways of enjoying what the island has to offer. But there are alternatives.
If you’re looking to strand off the beaten path a bit and do things differently and are looking for more of the authentic island life, this is for you. Tourists usually flock to Oia and that’s for a reason – it has most of the scenic architecture and little churches that couples love. It’s a great place to visit, but the crowds of tourists might ruin your vibe a bit in the busy season.
What you can do is to look at smaller, not so popular villages like Emporio and Pyrgos – these are places where you will meet locals more frequently and see people living a simple and sincere life – if you visit a cafe, you can be pretty sure that it is frequented by locals. Or you can set on your own little adventure equipped with fresh Greek produce and wine (of course) and head to a spot on the Caldera and then end the day with a magnificent sunset view from one of the rooftops in Akrotiri just to meet the sun early next day on a peaceful beach walk.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always find ways to enjoy places a bit differently than the crowd and find your own little diamonds on the island and connect with locals and your fellow travellers on a different level. And above all, remember:
”The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)
Photo from photo shoot with Danielle and Keith.
The ultimate Santorini Instagram spot list – the best places to level up your profile
This small island in the Aegean Sea could be the most Instagramable place on earth – there are small alleys, white church domes, cliffs and lots of other picturesque places and small details literally everywhere you go. But some places are true gems, and today you get the insider knowledge on where to head to take your Instagram game to the next level!
The Red Beach of Santorini is the perfect place for your laid back exploring shots while getting your tan on. This is a volcanic island and the red color of the sand is the proof for it – the red sand is literally formed from the elements remaining from the volcanic eruptions that formed the whole island, how cool is that!?
Oia Blue Domes and Oia crosses
The Oia church domes and the cross are among the most essential Santorini views. The traditional cathedral has nice views and the essential Santorini architecture look. The most daring even go up to the cross – be careful, this is more dangerous than it looks. The best time to arrive is early afternoon, when there’s not so many people around.
This place is usually crowded in sunsets, and it’s for a good reason! The views from there are majestic. Here’s a pro Instagram tip – instead of lining up with hordes of tourists, get up nice and early and go for the sunrise, it’s even more beautiful!
Keep an eye out for the unique doors all over the island. It’s a great opportunity to frame portraits and get creative. The best thing is that there are hundreds of them and you can discover new ones every day! Watch these types of details and you’ll be amazed of the little things.
Other honorable mentions
There are many other really good Santorini Instagram spots, here’s a small rundown of the remaining essential ones: Amoudi Bay, Imerovigli steps and of course the wonderful small streets of Eborio or Pyrgos. These are some of the top places, but I encourage you to stay curious and look around everywhere you go in Santorini, there are hidden unknown gems everywhere – I live here and I never run out of things to photograph :)
Photos by Anna Sulte, photographer based in Santorini
JET LAG IN GREECE – A PIECE OF PRACTICAL ADVICE TO MAKE IT MORE BEARABLE IN SANTORINI
Ahh jet lag – if you have ever taken one of those long half-globe flights, you probably feel sick at just the thought of it. That feeling when you live in a different time zone than everyone else around you is certainly not a fun thing. But there are ways to make it better and get it over with sooner. Today I’ll share some of my perspective for people coming to Santorini, Greece.
Don’t worry – this is not an article of some miracle cure that will banish your jet lag altogether. Sadly, it’s not possible – both you and me know that. This is an experience you just have to bear through before starting your big travel adventure in another country.
What you CAN do, though, is planning. It is key not to have anything crazy planned for the first day or two, you’ll just won’t be able to do much anyways. What I advise for people coming to Santorini is actually not to hurry here. When you land in Athens, just stay there for a couple of days. It is a great city and it will welcome you with open hands. Get a nice, quiet hotel room and try your best to plan active cafe trips during the Greek daytime and sleep tight during night. I think the vibrant city life can actually help you out with staying up longer and adjusting faster.
Moreover, you want to take in Santorni in all it’s glory. The island won’t disappear anywhere and it will be way better to be truly here from day one! Otherwise, you risk falling into the endless routine of sleeping on the beach under an umbrella and lying awake in your Santorini hotel room for days.
Santorini is a magical place and I can assure you that it’s worth it. Hope to see you here soon!
Photo by Anna Sulte
BATTLE OF THE BEACHES – KAMARI BEACH VS PERISSA
No other question is on the minds of vacationers than this – which is the ultimate beach to be in Santorini? Everything is subjective, of course, but this time let’s narrow it down and look at two similar black beaches – Kamari and Perissa in Santorini. Which one is better and why?
Let’s start with Kamari. Here’s what I have to say:
- It’s closest to Fira, so if you live around there, it’s definitely an option. If you don’t, each case varies but there’s probably some closer options to you.
- This beach also has its own big rock on the right side – it’s called Mesa Vouno. It might be a nice place to explore or to gaze at while relaxing in the sunshine.
- A lesser known fact is that this beach is actually the most beautiful at night (wink wink, time for a romantic night walk, maybe?). The rock shines in moonlight and creates a very special atmosphere.
- Modern facilities to meet any needs.
On the other hand, Perissa can offer:
- It’s basically right next to Perissa, only a tiny bit further from Fira. If you live there, it won’t make a huge difference, but if you come from outside Fira, this might be enough to change your mind – you can get your tan on quicker probably if you go to Kamari.
- From this beach you can see the other side of Mesa Vouno.
- Lots of modern facilities around – anything from cafes, resorts, hotels etc. etc.
- Next to Perissa beach is Perivolos beach which is wider and has less restaurants than Kamari and Perissa.
The conclusion? Basically the beach look is almost identical – they’re two classic Santorini black beaches. So in my opinion, choose whichever you can get to the fastest and with less transport problems and if it’s full, head on to the other one. More or less, the only difference is choosing on which side you want Mesa Vouno to be :) Just relax and enjoy the sun, wherever you might be.
Anna Sulte Santorini photographer
FROM AUSTRALIA TO SANTORINI – PRACTICAL TRAVEL ADVICE
Many Santorini visitors actually come from from outside EU, from far away lands like the US and Australia. Over the years working on the island as a photographer for many of these couples coming over in long distance flights, I have heard some experiences and gathered a bit of advice on how to make the whole experience better.
How to get to Greece on budget
At this point it’s no surprise for most people that using a travel agent makes everything more expense. But you don’t have to stop there – using an agent also makes your life that little bit easier with package deals and hotel bookings etc. The secret lies in how to get the best deal. What I’ve heard as an approach is doing some flights pricing research on Skyscanner or Momondo before you sten into any travel agents office. With this information, you can say that you’ve done some online research and are looking for some offers from their side. Don’t show them the prices, but have a printed list at hand. As you negotiate, this will make the travel agent not stop at the deal that is the easiest to find for them, but rather the absolute lowest cost option they can provide.
From Athens to Santorini
When you land in Athens, it is best to plan a couple of days there to fight jet lag (the flight time is nearly 20 hours, so it’s no joke). When you’re ready to come over, I would suggest considering the ferry instead of flying. The difference in tickets is so huge, that most times you’ll be able to get a return ferry ticket cheaper than a one way flight ticket from Athens to Santorini.
Triple check your stuff
Even though it’s self explanatory, I can’t stress this enough. Before you leave, make sure to scan all your itineraries, tickets etc. etc. and save them in a safe place on the cloud. Have printed versions for extra safety, divide them in separate suitcases, just in case. Also, make sure you use mobile apps for flight tickets, if the flight company has one. If you have several suitcases for check-in, divide your stuff strategically – suitcases get lost more often than you think. For a couple, I would suggest sharing space in both suitcases, so that if one gets lost, you each have at least some basic clothing in the remaining one while you’re waiting for delivery.
Hope this helps. The main thing is to have an open mind and adapt to whatever happens along the way. That’s the magic of travelling :)
CHECKLIST OF SOME STUFF TO REMEMBER BEFORE YOUR
TRIP TO SANTORINI
It’s all about the journey, not the destination. That’s probably one of the least true quotes ever, at least in the era of plane travel it IS totally about the destination. The journey is just a huge mess of a million things to remember and some pitfalls to avoid to make sure you get to your destination with the least amount of stress and effort possible.
Well, today is your lucky day, because I might help your life become just a tiny bit less stressful with this simple checklist of some things to remember when setting out for travelling to Greece, Santorini. This will be especially useful for all you guys taking those long international flights (i.e. enjoying the journey the most I guess :) ).
All things aside, here’s a simple list of some stuff. Feel free to print and checkmark. Remember your:
- International drivers license
- Credit card with no international fees
- Call and notify credit card company and bank of travel
- Download viber (or any other international communication app)
- Update music on phone or MP3 player (yeah, the no-internet life is still a reality in some places)
- Scan, print and add to iBooks app (great to avoid losing your ID info if the physical documents are lost or forgotten):
- Divers license
- Detailed itinerary
- Hotel information – addresses and phone numbers
- Ferry information – boat names, reservation numbers, times and gate numbers
- Be sure to download all flight company apps and save your tickets there digitally, for a super safe option you can also print them.
This should cover most of the bases for you. Also, if you’re from outside EU, you’ll probably thank yourself for bringing some nice sleeping gear – get one of those neck pillows, they save lives! Also, forget your high fashion, do the flight in sweatpants or even pijamas for super extra comfort.
Some Santorini PRO tips from couples
I have shared some tips about staying in Santorini already, but I keep meeting couples for photoshoots and all of them have experienced something nice on the island as well. So today I thought I could give you a roundup of some tips I’ve actually heard from them.
So here are some Santorini tourist hacks:
- They highly recommend the cable car in Fira. I can only agree, one of the best views of volcano and lava rocks on the island!
- Sailing is fun of course! Look for boat trips that have “snacks” on board included in the price. Depending on how lucky you are, these can actually turn out to be pretty substantial Greek meals.
- Buses usually have lines of people waiting for them. If you do not want to be left waiting for the next one, check the departure schedule and arrive around 10 min earlier
- Places to eat: some places I keep hearing again and again from you guys are 1800, Dimitris and Lolita’s Gelato. Also Kapari Wine restaurant, especially if you manage to book one of the limited tables overlooking the Caldera. What can I say, I can only agree – you have good taste :)
- Best places to stay include Astra Suites, Grace Hotel and Kapari Natural resort, especially if you’re looking for that authentic Santorini Greek style architecture.
Hope this helps with your holiday plans. If you want to find out more, just scroll back to some of the older posts where I cover each of the towns on Santorini in detail!