Wednesday, September 7, 2011

European Adventure: Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece was one of the ports of call of the Norwegian Jade that we were most looking forward to visiting! Santorini not only met our expectations, it definitely surpassed them. Words do not properly describe the experience of being in Santorini and we highly recommend you add it to your list of places to visit!

Santorini is one of the many islands that make up the Cyclades in the Aegean sea. The capital of the island is the town of Fira. Santorini is actually now three islands due to one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in the history of earth that occurred over 3,500 year ago. The volcano's caldera stands out in the Aegean sea and can been seen from both Fira and Oia Village.

Oia Village (pronounced E-ah) is amazing. It is famous for its blue domed churches, white washed houses and narrow walkways that are a labyrinth to get around. Every turn you take in Oia Village has amazing "post card" photo opportunities. In Oia Village you can definitely relax and do whatever it is you enjoy the most. There are tons of shops and cafes to explore.

We took a tour called "Charming Oia Village" that we booked with the shore excursion office on board the NCL Jade. We only had about an hour and a half in Oia Village, which we felt wasn't long enough! We would have definitely wanted to spend more time taking in the views and culture.







We highly recommend that you allow ample time to explore Oia Village if you ever visit. Walkways sometime come to dead ends or continue to spiral down the side of the cliff, but you see beautiful patios and courtyards that are as heavenly as the one pictured below.


Next, we visited the town of Fira. Although still beautiful, Fira has the feel of a larger city and is not as pristine as Oia village. We walked around and visited the only Catholic church on the island.




There is a winding path from Fira down to the sea which has numbered steps. This is the same path that many tourists take donkey rides that either go up or down.


After a long day of sightseeing, we headed to Fanari Resturant for what turned out to be one of the best meals of our lives! The food, ambiance, view of the caldera and the perfect Santorini sunset made it the most memorable evening of our three week European getaway.


We started off with an order of homemade tzatziki. It was so thick and creamy that we couldn't stop eating it!


Then we ordered baked feta and a glass of nykteri. Nyteri means "night work" and is a local wine made on the island of Santorini. The grape vines grow on the floor instead of wrapping themselves on a trellis. You should definitely try it!


Because we were already getting full from our two appetizers, we shared an order of moussaka. It has layers and layers of eggplant, ground meat, and simply indulgent b├ęchamel sauce! Think of it as a Greek version of a lasagna. Yum!!


For dessert, we had a huge slice of baklava. Although we usually share dessert, the waiter recommended that we each order our own piece. Baklava is made with layers and layers of filo dough, walnuts and honey. Its crispy, sweet and delicious. We paired it with a dessert wine made in Santorini called vinosanto. Vinsanto is made through a unique process where the grapes are laid out in the sun for eight to 10 days to ferment, dry up like a raisin and then pressed. Vinsanto is pricer than nykteri because is takes a larger amount of grapes to produce the wine.


We finished our wonderful meal with complimentary shots of ouzo! We thought the restaurant was very affordable. Two appetizers, one entree, four glasses of wine, two desserts and two shots of ouzo cost us only $40.



After our meal, we decided to take donkey rides down to the sea to catch our tender back to the ship. Mrs. P was a little nervous to ride the donkeys, but she was glad she did! If you want to experience this, you have to do it in Santorini because this was the only Greek island we visited that had donkey rides. Donkey rides cost $5 per person.





Our picture-perfect day ended with a beautiful sunset! Until we meet again Santorini!

For more photos of Santorini, visit our Facebook page by clicking here.

8 comments:

  1. I would love to visit Greece. Beautiful! Love the photos. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Just gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the photos and making ALL of us envious of the fantastic adventure you had.

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  3. Wow I am so jealous! I want to go to Greece so bad but I am holding out for my honeymoon. $40 for that meal is more than a reasonable price! I am even more excited to go now! :)

    Those donkey's are so cute too... looks like it was a fabulous trip!
    Elyse @The Cultural Dish

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  4. I'm a little behind... but this is the stop I was waiting for!!! I have wanted to visit Santorini as long as I can remember, and your post has absolutely confirmed that it is a place I want to see. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful day. And that last shot? Simply stunning!

    Since your last post my husband booked us on a Med cruise of our own! I'm can't even begin to contain my excitement! We leave late Oct and will do a 7 night starting and ending in Rome. We will add 4 days in Rome onto the beginning of the trip. Your posts have really inspired me! Thanks so much for sharing your trip.

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  5. What absolutely breathtaking pictures! Thank you for sharing, I'm sure you both will re visit all those wonderful, charming villages in and around Santorini.

    Melanie

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    1. Thanks Melanie!! We cant wait to hopefully go back! What a magical island!!

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    2. We spent 4 days and 5 nights in Santorini in June last year. It wasn't enough. I'm not sure a lifetime is enough. It was always near the top of our list of things to do, but having done it, I'm not sure whether or not we should continue to check things off the list or simply chuck the list and go to Santorini whenever there is the chance. In fact, the picture to the left was taken in Santorini.

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