Malaysian traveller finds love in the air in Santorini

  • Malaysia
  • Thursday, 02 Jul 2020

The writer enjoyed her stay at Fira in Santorini, Greece. — Photos: SARAH ALIA AHMAD AFFENDY

Sapphire Aegean waters. Candy-coloured houses. Gleaming white buildings. Oh, these are just a few of the things that make up the wonderful Santorini in Greece.

Santorini was one of the places that I’ve always dreamt of visiting, and last year, I finally made the decision to visit the Greek island.

After a lot of careful planning, I went in September. The island was gorgeous, really well-kept, and the locals were incredibly friendly and welcoming.

The weather was great at the time (not too hot during the day) and there were not too many people around. I stayed in two popular towns in Santorini: Fira and Oia.

Fira was as lovely as its name. There were endless little alleys and streets in the city, all lined with souvenir shops, jewellers and clothing outlets, as well as countless restaurants and tavernas. And just when I thought I had seen it all, I spotted another charming little side street just waiting to be explored. I could spend a whole day there strolling up and down the alleys and still not see everything – it’s a gold mine.

Everyone was so friendly too. Greek hospitality and their customer service was incredible. Shop assistants, hoteliers and waiters were all so genuinely invested in our experience that I just wanted to hug them.

I would suggest you head to the top of the hill to find restaurants with outside seating areas, boasting magnificent views of the harbour below. It’s Mediterranean heaven with tonnes of food and desserts to try. We stuffed our faces with feta cheese, spanakopita, saganaki, gyros and more. Try the delicious local yoghurt with some honey – you won’t regret it.

There are 588 steps from the top of Fira town down to the old port of Fira. It’s not too far really but the steps can be ridiculously slippery at times. Definitely not a good idea to wear thongs or sandals, or worse, heels!

Restaurants lined the water’s edge, which gave us the opportunity to spend some quality time at sea level. The water lapping at the harbour beneath our feet and the sunshine twinkling off the crests of the waves were simply perfect.

Thereafter, we headed to Skaros Rock, a location of an old Venetian castle that collapsed in the 19th century. It was a long hike (about 45 minutes) but it was worth the effort. Throughout the trail, we immersed ourselves in the infinite blue view of the Aegean Sea surrounded by white cruise ships and the alluring volcanic scenery. We walked to the vantage point where we had an unobstructed 360° panoramic view of the entire caldera.

After Fira, we went to Oia. The photo-hype is real in Oia (pronounced “ee yah”) as it looked like every idealistic holiday brochure you had ever seen. It was dreamy, immaculate, astonishing and breathtakingly beautiful.

We stayed at a hotel which opened to a semi-private balcony, giving us a view of the Aegean Sea. We were so happy with our choice of accommodation. It was a little pricey, but with those views, it was worth every sen.

At Oia, we saw the famous blue domes, hidden away down little alleyways off the main path. If you go to the end of Ammoudi Bay you’ll get a front-row seat to one of nature’s most spectacular sights: a Santorini sunset.

During the sunsets, life stopped for us to admire the palette of colours. Everyone paused for a while as the sun fell deep into the sea behind Nea Kameni. At that time, love was everywhere – in the air, the colours, in the breath we took. It was pure magic.

The views expressed are the reader’s own.

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