LET THE JOURNEY BEGIN ...

Greece, Santorini Island.

10:51:00 PM 9 Comments A+ a-


I wanted to write it down while the memories were still fresh in my mind, so I decided to start it with the short trip of Greece, because the whole duration of my trip was actually in total of 16 days including Turkey which we have a longer stay. Whenever we talk about Turkey, pretty sure that many people will do the same to visit Greece as well as these 2 countries were just opposite each other across the Aegean Sea. This is gonna be a very long post, I hope you find it interesting :)

I always love to travel during winter time, as you know, my hometown, Malaysia, we have summer through out the year, with only raining season that's all! Kind of excited when it comes to winter LOL and most importantly, everything was half price during winter compare to summer!

We spent about 6 days 5 nights in Greece, and it separate out into 2 nights in Santorini Island, 2 nights in Athens and 1 night in Kalambaka. Now you might question yourself what and where is this Kalambaka, it all sounds so weird right? Trust me, it is a place that you must visit in Greece! A place where everyone was asking whereabout it is when they saw the pictures.

To travel in between Turkey & Greece, initially I thought there are only 2 ways which was by ferry or by flight, and then I look up on the internet and found these useful information. There are actually 4 ways to travel in between,

1st - Drive to Greece. Istanbul is Turkey's largest city near the land border with Greece. It is approximately a four-hour drive to Alexandroupolis, which is the largest city on the Greek side of the land border. The E84 motorway travels through the Turkish side of the border, and the E90 is on the Greek side.

2nd - Take the train. A local train route operates between Istanbul and Alexandroupolis; however, this route can be slow. Once you're on the Greek side of the border, you can change trains to other parts of Greece, such as Athens or Thessaloniki.

3rd - Catch a ferry. Hundreds of ferries operate between the Greek Islands in the Aegean and various ports in Turkey. If you want to travel by boat, the best option is to work your way to the western Turkish coast to a town nearest the island you'd like to travel to. From the islands, you'll be able to catch ferries to mainland Greece. Ferry trips vary wildly in length, depending on where you're traveling to; trips can be a few minutes or a few hours.

4th - Fly to Greece. Some towns and cities in Turkey offer direct flights to numerous points in Greece. Istanbul and Ankara are the two largest travel hubs in Turkey, and offer flights to Athens, the largest hub in Greece. Flights between Istanbul and Athens take about an hour and a half, and from Ankara it takes between four and five hours. Check with the airport in the town you're in for direct flights to Greece.
In case you are quite confuse with places name, this map gives a clearer picture of all locations.


As we, typical Asians normally don't go for a very long trip like those Western people did for at least months, therefore 16 days are like a WHAO for most of the people out here. Hence, we chose the most typically fast way to travel to Greece which is to FLY IN  *winks

Some of you might think that fly in could be a little costy, but in fact, it was surprisingly inexpensive at all. There are a few regional airlines offering quite competitive price, and we choose to fly Aegean Airlines as it is so far the cheapest to be seen of our chosen date.One way from Istanbul to Athens is about $50+ and the returns ticket from Athens to Santorini Island is less than $50. Check out Ryan Air as well though. I always like to compare flight ticket through Kayak and Expedia as you can compare the cheapest fare with all the flight schedule. Remember to check out which airport that you are flying out in Istanbul, don't be confuse by the 2 airports, one name Ataturk Airport (IST) and the other name Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW).

We were quite unfortunate that our flight from Athens to Santorini got cancelled and the next available flight to choose was only 7pm, and we fly out from Istanbul around 8am and reached Athens about 9.30am, we got whole day time in Athens! I couldn't bear to sit and stare in the airport for that long hour, therefore we decided to travel to the city by airport train. There are two types of train, so don't get the wrong one. One is the Metro which we are taking and the other one is the suburban rail. Couldn't remember the price clearly, but they have few categories for the train ticket, we were 6 persons, so we bought 2 tickets at  €80 with 1 for 3 persons each at €40 for returns.

After spending hours in the city...... finally we get to fly to the dream place, a popular honeymoon destination! It was such a waste that we lost half day to the island *cry


Greece consist of many greek island such as Mykonos, Rhodes, and not to mention that Santorini was one of the most popular island, these are the island you could plan to visit, however we couldn't do much with such a short time, so the popular one it is! LOL.




Santorini may be reached by ferry or air plane. During the summer season both the number of ferries and flights to the island double up. From the port of Piraeus, there are at least 3 ferries daily to the island. If you take the regular ferry, it takes approximately 7 ½ hours, the fast ferries take 4 hours. There are also at least 3 flights a day & during high seasons the number increases up to 7 flights a dat between the 2 existing domestic airlines, Aegean Airlines &Olympic Airways.

We arrived in Santorini Thira Airport at about 8.30pm, and got transfer to our suite arranged by Aroma Suites. I nearly fly away when I stepped out of the airplane, super strong wind blowing throughout the night with a little rain! I closed my eyes and wish that the weather could turn to be good the next day.

There are always pro and con in a thing, so we got almost half price on the stay compare to summer time, and we have to bear the risk of raining in winter time too! Fare and square. Aroma Suites is situated in Fira town, I know the famous town is Oia, but most of the shops were closed in Oia in winter time, as the locals mainly stay in Fira town, so shops and restaurants were open here.
Aroma suites has quite an easy access to Fira town, which is just a road behind it connect to the town. The suites itself offer breakfast in the room for €8/person, I didn't take that but my parents did, it was some kind of English Breakfast. My sister and I decided to explore the town, so we went out to look for local breakfast. This town offer some great pies and I am in love with Greek Coffee! It is half cheaper to have breakfast outside, the pie was offered at about €2 and same goes to greek coffee. The cafe did offer some other food such as omelette, big breakfast, cheese bacon sandwich etc. 


Right after we finished our breakfast, we began our day with trekking from Fira to Oia. It is about 10km walk along the way, and took about 2.5 hours to complete. Who says Santorini only has got white blue houses, this trek route definitely worth it all! You will get to see the whole Santorini Island as you will walk through the top of the hill along the way to get to Oia town. After reaching in Oia town, I finally get to see most of the shops were closed :( however, the best part is that, taking pictures has never been so easy!! I heard from our tour guide that the population of this island is only 12,000 but during summer time, it was full of 200,000 tourists!! O-m-g, can you imagine that?!

These are all the pictures from the trail of Fira-Oia, and the following pictures could only be seen if you trek on the trail because it was on top of the hill. I hope these pictures inspired you at least a little to make the effort to do this trail? Because it really worth the walk!

Stray cats & dogs in both Greece & Turkey are way too nice and cute to be stray!! I wish I could take them all home :))


Upon reaching Oia, not to forget the famous castle where people used to take a lot of great photos of sunset over it.











We book a private van from our hotel, 4 hour for €75, which is a lot cheaper compare to those we found online and you get to choose where you want to visit. He took us tour around the island, from Oia to the famous blue domed church, Kamari the black pebble beach, Red beach, wine tasting. We didn't manage to visit the ancient akrotiri because they closed early at 3pm in winter time but we get to see the akrotiri light house though LOL. Luckily I wasn't so much into it as we came all the way from Turkey, and we've seen numbers of bigger ancient cities, skipping it makes no regret though :) 

The only regret is that we couldn't spend much more time to explore the island enough as the next day we fly out early at 10am to Athens :( Only if the early flight in wasn't cancelled! Boo-to-the-flight. Santorini has got some nice wine too, we bought quite a few of them, especially their special sweet red wine Vinsanto. 


The tour guide drop us back to Fira town after the tour, and we went to a restaurant near our hotel to have our dinner. It was recommended by the receptionist saying that they have some fresh seafood. My parents again, didn't follow us as my typical chinese father was dying for chinese food, so they went to find out one chinese restaurant in the town.

The restaurant name Naoussa , and they served a very good moussaka, one of a local food and of course not to forget my Greek Coffee :D



Greek Yogurt is a must try! It is not so sour as those sell in Malaysia.


Next day morning, after waking up, done preparing, we walk to the town to have our breakfast before catching our flight back to Athens. This day morning, I decided to try the other food instead of pies, so I had a waffle and not to left out, Ice Greek Coffee hehehehe.



A random selfie outside of our suite, the view of our suites and the view in front of our suites, Santorini Island, it's hard to say goodbye!













9 comments

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Angelynn Tan
AUTHOR
February 1, 2016 at 3:04 PM delete

Woah, one of the must visits in a lifetime destination. May I know how much you used for your 16-day trip? I'd love to visit someday. BTW, nice photo! :D

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wfc
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February 1, 2016 at 3:08 PM delete

wow..a lovely vacation. it's been always one of my dream to visit Santorini, Greek. traveling all over the world is my dream before. now with family and kid , responsibility to take care and maintain was cover up all my timing . wish one day will conti it soon.

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February 1, 2016 at 11:15 PM delete

trekking sounds really nice there, to enjoy the hill top view :) i wish to go there one day!

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wernling tan
AUTHOR
February 2, 2016 at 12:54 AM delete

Actually main country is Turkey :) in total was about MYR7-8k with flights I would say.

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wernling tan
AUTHOR
February 2, 2016 at 12:55 AM delete

Your day will come :) Just like my parents now!

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February 2, 2016 at 7:06 AM delete

You are so lucky to be able to go there.. I hope I will get my chance one fine day.. huhuhu

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cindyrina
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February 2, 2016 at 8:20 AM delete

nice vacation! so happening and great memories too.I want to visit here someday.

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Emily
AUTHOR
February 2, 2016 at 3:04 PM delete

Thanks for sharing such a comprehensive post. Santorini is high up there on my list of places to go so this comes in so handy!

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Rawlins GLAM
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February 4, 2016 at 7:53 AM delete

This is another place that I have to go to before I die hehehe such a beautiful place - wish that I could stay there forever. Thanks for the travelling tips.

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