In my last post, I had covered things we did in Santorini – https://ishasverdict.com/2016/04/04/grecian-adventure-part-2-santorini/. In this post, I am going to cover where to stay and what to eat, in my opinion, while in Santorini.
Where to stay:
There are a variety of hotels on the island and the initial decision that needs to be made is what part of the island you want to be on. There are literally hundreds of websites that can help you decide what may appeal to you in terms of location. I found a website called http://santorinidave.com/, recommended by my brother, which I found very helpful to read. If like us, you are keen on a spectacular view then staying at one of the many hotels perched on the coastal cliff edges is a great idea. In this case, for many it seems to be a tossup between Fira and Oia, although many will go ‘off-piste’ and stay on other parts of the island. There are no big branded hotels in Santorini to the best of my knowledge; it’s all about small boutique hotels with many having no more than 10 rooms. We stayed in Fira, in a lovely hotel called ‘Enigma Suites’ http://www.enigmasantorini.com/. In 2016, it was the ‘Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice’ winner in the small hotels category. The hotel’s location was superb, the service great and the rooms spacious – I can’t praise it enough! With two children, we booked a two double bedroom suite with a full kitchen. It was spectacularly clean and the kids loved the cave like rooms! I hope the photographs speak for themselves but the staff were extremely helpful, the breakfast just perfect with the freshest croissants that I have ever tasted and I would stay there again in a heartbeat! The hotel’s entrance was on the main street in Fira, with all the restaurants and shops on our door step and a breathtaking view of the ocean on the other side. It would be remiss of me not to mention that many of the coastal hotels, given their location, have very steep steps going to and from the hotel. If you cannot climb steps or are traveling with an elderly person, then make sure you either get a room at the top of a coastal hotel or stay in a place where the elevation is not going to be a problem.
What to Eat:
My entire family are adventurous foodies and food plays an important part in our vacations. I had not had enormous exposure to Greek food prior to my visit but I couldn’t get enough of it once I was there. There are plenty of tavernas (traditional Greek restaurants) serving typical Greek food and many of them have large outdoor patios that offer splendid views while dining. There are also plenty of coffee shops, bars and bakeries on the island to keep you watered and fed all day long! The bakeries were my particular favourite because if you have a sweet tooth like me, the different kind of baklavas, pastries and cookies on offer were splendid enough to make you want to weep for joy.
The non vegetarian offerings included many grilled meats with the calamari and lamb deserving a particular mention. Gyros and Slovaki were available on every street corner and the refreshing Greek salad with feta was a must with every meal! I must mention that many of the eateries were very economical and a family could eat very well without assaulting the pocketbook. For vegetarians, there was plenty of delicious food on offer including hummus, falafel, pasta, taziki and a variety of salads available everywhere. Two of the islands specialties that came highly recommended were the Fava Bean Puree Dip and the Tomato Fritters (Keftedes), both vegetarian and and both delicious. The tomato fritters were like a cousin of Indian pakoras and tikkis, but yet had an individual taste that was quite different. We ate at an amazing restaurant called Ouzeri in Fira (www.ouzeri-santorini.com) which had delicious food and super friendly staff who were always happy to see and serve us!
We went to Santorini in March/April and while it was not high season, we were very lucky to have fabulous weather throughout our trip, without the maddening summer crowds. This allowed me the opportunity of wearing some dresses and in particular it allowed me to wear one of my new ‘rescue mission’ outfits. I have mentioned the concept of a rescue mission in an earlier post – https://ishasverdict.com/2016/01/01/happy-new-year-rescue-mission-1/ on the blog. The story goes something like this – I had a pretty pink dupatta covered with embroidered flowers and silver bling and while I had enjoyed wearing it with a plain white salwar kameez, over time I had grown tired of it. Then, I saw a friend wearing a lovely coverup/kaftan in Goa and upon inquiring she told me she got it made from a dupatta. Of course, this got me thinking and eventually I took this pink dupatta to my tailor in Mumbai and I asked him to fold the dupatta in half and then put simple seams down the side leaving space for my arms and cut a hole for my neck and voila – I had a new coverup/kaftan to wear on holidays. While this duppata may not be everyones cup of tea – the principle remains the same – if you have a pretty duppata you don’t use – turn it into a coverup! I also loved wearing my Anita Dongre inter-pret dress again as it is such a comfortable and pretty summer dress.
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