Travel Report Santorini

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How could a 7 day photo trip to Santorini look like?

Our travel report Santorini summarizes our 7 day photo trip to Santorini, the Greek dream island in the Mediterranean Sea. We have chosen the following route and hotel:

1.Day: Munich -> Thira (Santorini) -> Imerovigli

2.-7.Day: San Antonio – Small Luxury Hotels of the world

8.Day: Imerovigli -> Thira (Santorini) -> Munich

Where is Santorini?

What you should definitely think about when travelling to Santorini:

Currency: Euro. Credit card payment is ossible everywhere without problems. Nevertheless, you should always have a little cash with you.

Vaccination: No vaccination is required for Greece coming from Germany. However, the standard vaccinations are recommended.

Clothing: Santorini has the usual temperatures of the Mediterranean. In summer the average is over 25 degrees, in winter around 15 degrees. However, it can get quite stormy on the island, especially in the evening, even in summer. One should be prepared for this.

Good and sturdy shoes (hiking boots always work) are a must if you want to go hiking between Oia and Fira. Otherwise, just wear clothes according to your taste. Also a good sunscreen. The sun on Santorini is strong, even when it is cloudy.

Flying a Drone on Santorini

The general regulations and also an app about flying drones in Greece can be found here (Link), but this will not help you very much, so have a look at this article by Anna Sulte, a photographer on Santorini (Link) We spent hours to find out if you are allowed to fly.

From own experience you need to know the following. If you fly the drone not further than 50m away from you in any direction, it is possible to fly without permission. If you want to go further or higher, you need a permit. The DJI map shows large parts of Santorini – contrary to other reports on the net – as “Fly Zones”, only around the airport with 8km distance is a NoGo. Also the village Oia is OK according to DJI. But there are a lot of prohibition signs and because you fly over private ground, it is rather difficult.

Conclusion: It’s best to find some nice fly spots outside the villages and far away from the airport and make sure that you are alone. Then it is actually no problem. But since there is no really reliable information about Santorini on the net, there is a residual risk, you have to be aware of that.

Detailed Travel Report Santorini

Flight from Munich to Santorini (Thira = JTR)

1st day: Munich to Santorini via direct flight. The airport is small and manageable and the usual rental car providers are sitting in containers directly at the exit.

Rental Car and Hotel on Santorini

We have booked a Skoda Fabia and get an upgrade: A Toyota Auris and the upgrade is “automatic” (!) The car is about half the size of the booked category, but brand new. After folding down the backseat even the two suitcases fit in, so we can start.
Thanks to Apple Car Play we also have navigation on board and 30min later we are at the hotel. The San Antonio is located between Imerovigli and Oia and is almost perfect if you have a car and are looking for peace and quietness.

San Antonio - Hotel with a perfect view

The view from the hotel into the caldera makes you speechless and as it has only 30 rooms it is nice and quiet. We get a free upgrade to a suite, a fruit platter and a bottle of wine, both of which will not live to see the next morning. The sunset is picturesque, any day could end like this.

Sunset in Oia

2nd day: The San Antonio is the first hotel ever (at least for us), where the breakfast is offered from 08:00-12:00 o’clock. Not that we would use it to have breakfast so late, but it relaxes enormously.

We drive to Oia. The city, if you want to call the village that, is super beautiful and for photographers there are countless photo motives. You just have to follow the stressed out instagrammers and YouTubers running through the alleys, overexcited and dressed up from one photo spot to another. There, one has to join the queue for the desired picture. A spectacle in itself, which we could enjoy as spectators.

In the colourful alleyways there are many small and nice shops that alternate with the classic souvenir shops.
Fira

Fira – our next stop – is quite different. Coming from Oia we park at the very end of the city and walk through the alleys. The first part, about up to the cable car, is definitely no match for Oia. The prices in the restaurants are outrageous and the quality is poor. One can really save this. Touri bullshit bingo of the finest, completely different from Oia.

We walk almost to the other end of the city and discover also here many beautiful photo motives. Thanks to a rather strong wind we do not notice that we are just getting a proper sunburn, so always take care of sun protection!

In the late afternoon we are on our way again towards Oia, to the sunset.
We thought in the morning that it would have been full, but compared to the evening, it was rather empty in the morning.
It is hard to keep distance in the alleys. When we arrive at the restaurant Sunsets, one of the hotspots to watch the sunset in Oia, it is already very full. We get the last free table. The food is not cheap but excellent and so it is not only a beautiful sunset but also a very nice evening.

Akritoris Lighthouse and red Beach
3rd Day: We want to explore the lighthouse of Akrotiri. That is about 40min by car. Arrived there it almost storms, so strong is the wind, but we have blue sky and sunshine. I quickly say goodbye to the idea of letting the drone fly. Before me a Frenchman dared an attempt and aborted. The wind is simply too strong. We continue to Red Beach. According to the locals this is one of the top beaches of the island. We leave it like this and note that one should not go to Santorini because of the beaches.
The Cave of Nicholas
What is just around the corner from Red Beach is the “Cave of Nicholas” where we have lunch. This small inconspicuous tavern right at the sea offers extremely tasty food and despite its many awards it is still at a reasonable price level. The fish is fresh and the view to the sea during the meal is simply priceless.
Then we drive back to the hotel via Imerovigli and spend the rest of the day at the pool. In the evening we want to go back to Oia and take some more pictures of the sunset, and this time also night shots.
Sunset Parking in Oia

In Oia it is best to park on the relatively new Sunset parking lot, which is with 7,-€ for 5h still OK and saves you a lot of stress, because the police, which is otherwise rather little to see, checks every evening and hangs the nice notes on the windscreen.

Oia is crowded again and when we arrive at 7:30pm at the spot for the sunset hundreds of people are already here. One would not think that we just have times of Covid-19.

The idea to experience the sunset from a restaurant was quickly buried for today without reservation. After sunset we make a reservation at “Sunsets” for the day after tomorrow. The Sunsets is surely the restaurant on Santorini with the absolute best place for the sunset, if you catch one of the two roof terraces. After paying a deposit of 20,-€ – we also get a reservation for the roof terrace, which has a minimum consumption of 50,-€ per person. Expensive? Yes, but definitely not for Santorini and especially Oia.
Dinner at Kyprida

We move on and have dinner at the Kyprida. This restaurant is located in the second row and even offers partial views of the sunset. It is still a real secret tip. Excellent food, friendly staff and moderate prices. This is a good place to stop if you want to get away from the mainstream hustle and bustle for a few minutes.

After dinner it is time for the night shots. It is now dark night and Oia is beautifully lit.

PHOTOTIP:

For the night shots we have chosen 2 specific spots. One is the old Byzantine Castle, which you can hardly see in front of people at sunset and which is completely empty after sunset. The other spot is reached by turning left into a small alley in front of the jeweller Alexadros. Then a few stairs down and you are at the place where during the day the instagrammer gather and queue up to take a picture with the blue domes.
Imerovigli

4th Day: Today we want to see Imerovigli and hike to the upstream ledge. Imerovigli is similarly beautiful as Oia, only much less crowded and there are only hotels and restaurants, hardly any shops.
Imerovigli is also a white village full of photo motives and nice small cafés, which have partly very expensive prices (coffee 6,-; iced coffee 15,-€ etc.). The ascent and descent to the “rocky outcrop” is over many stairs and in the heat you know what you have done.

Oia harbor
Then we drive to the port of Oia. During the day this is also a very recommendable destination, at least as long as there are no “crusaders” besieging the island from here. The recommended restaurant in the harbour is the Ammoudi, where you can eat well, but unfortunately also very expensive. Fish connoisseurs can enjoy here freshly caught fish, which one can choose by oneself at the refrigerated counter. For all others we simply recommend the menu (which would have been the better choice for us) All in all a nice place for lunch.
Pearl by the sea

Afterwards we will finish the afternoon at the pool, before we go to Imerovigli for the sunset spectacle this time.

We have a reservation at the Pearl by the sea. A very simple looking restaurant, with a more than clear menu (burgers, gyros, pizza, pasta), delicious local beer (Yellow Donkey) and probably one of the most spectacular views over the caldera at sunset. The advantage is – unlike Oia – that Imerovigli is rather quiet and as it has no shopping mile, there are also less tourists.

We enjoy a wonderful sunset, with delicious food and an absolutely friendly restaurant boss who invited us to have coffee and a digestif (desert wine) at the end. One can hardly enjoy the sunset better and the real luxury only becomes apparent when one sees the crowding tourists at the old church, who have completely forgotten Corona and compete for the best photo spot.
The Sunsets, the best place in Oia for the sunset on Santorini

5th day: We drive to the beaches of Perissa, which are about 30 minutes away by car. Here you experience a completely different Santorini, similar to Mallorca in the 70s.

We don’t like it that much and so we decide to drive on to Pyrgos in the interior. This is really worth a visit. Also here there is the typical arquitecture, a lot of white and the blue domes and one can visit the old castle. A nice excursion for 1-2h. If you want you can also find some nice restaurants for lunch.

Around 7 pm we join the queue of cars to Oia and 15min later we reach the “Sunsets” where we reserved a table (highly recommended if you want to enjoy the sunset on the roof terrace).
You will hardly find a better place in Oia to experience the sunset without crowds. The salmon sashimi salad and the fried octopus are delicious. A perfect evening and conclusion.

Sunset and storm at Profitis Illias
6th Day: We want to watch the sunrise and get up early to walk the trail behind the hotel, towards Fira. It is steep and a lot of scree and also – against expectation – already very hot. We walk to the small church (Profitis Illias), about 800m from the hotel and let the drone start for the first time. The wind is extremely strong and so it is a short flight. Unfortunately I overlook in the hectic that I did not start the recording but stopped it again, which I only notice back in the hotel. So back again and the whole thing from the beginning.
Before sunset we drive to the church (Profitis Illias) from this morning. The driveway is inconspicuous directly at the Cavoo Tagoo and the way to the church for our little Toyota a little adventurous, but he makes it. At the top there is extreme wind. Flying drone is immediately ruled out and the GoPro can only be fixed in the car. The first glass of our champagne goes down the slope with a load of sand and many good wishes and from then on we drink directly from the bottle. Fortunately, nothing of the hurricane gusts can be seen on the pictures later.
After sunset we go to Imerovigli to the restaurant Aegean, which serves good plain Greek cuisine and is again one of our recommendations. The food is great and the price is good, and the view of the blue and red evening sky completes the picture.
From Imerovigli to Fira and back
7th Day: The alarm clock kicks us out of bed again at 6 o’clock. Before breakfast we want to walk to Imerovigli and from there to Fira. The rising sun over the sea is – just like the sunset – insanely beautiful and the light, especially for photographers, a dream. In Imerovigli the white houses shine in the first sunrays. Arrived in Fira it is still early and we decide to walk back and to drive to Oia too, because it should be empty there as well in the morning.
Empty streets only early in the morning

We walk through almost empty alleys, but meanwhile it is 08:30am and it is a good 32 degrees. Now it is getting exhausting. Bravely we fight our way through alleys that we had not explored before and that offer over and over again unique photo perspectives.
We can only recommend everyone to walk through to the end of Oia and to explore the part right next to the windmills.

In the evening we are undecided where we want to see the sunset this time. I find a small church on the way to Oia and we want to try to go there by car, Google says it is possible, but reality says after 2 attempts (from different sides) clearly no. It is a hiking trail and no car can go this way.

We give up and drive directly to Oia, where we go to Kyprida one last time. From here we can also see the sunset and then enjoy the best spaghetti bolognese on the island and a musaka, as well as orange cake with vanilla ice cream, which is second to none. This restaurant is really worth a recommendation.

8th Day: Departure day and time for a conclusion.
FAZIT

Santorini rightly deserves its name as a dream island, especially when it comes to motifs for photographers. Nevertheless, we are of a divided opinion. We have been on the island at a time when we were confirmed again and again that there was nothing going on, so there were few tourists on the island (thanks to Covid-19). Honestly, we do not want to know then how it would look like when it is full.

There are many very nice places on the island, like Oia and Imerovigli and also Pyrgos. Fira, on the other hand, was less to our liking, and the beaches were also rather disappointing.

In summary, 4 days are more than enough for the island and then one can come back for a long weekend.

Hotels and Prices

Finally, a note on hotels and prices. These are everywhere too high and in no way justified for the service offered. But there is more than enough demand and so you either have to accept that or not go there. We found our hotel, located exactly between Imerovigli and Oia, absolutely perfect. If this would not be free, we would probably next look around directly in Imerovigli, as it is also less hectic there.

Oia is our absolute favourite place on the island, but living there? Probably not, because there are always some instagrammers hanging in front of the windows and privacy is only to be found in the absolutely most expensive accommodations, which show daily prices for which one can easily spend 1 week’s holiday somewhere else.

Order calendars from our photo trips?

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What photographic equipment for Santorini?

The photo equipment we took with us to Santorini is listed below. You also have the possibility to order the used photo equipment directly from our photo-shop and to ask for further technical details. There you can also find a lot of extras.

 

Cameras:
    • D850 (Nikon)
    • Go Pro 8
    • DJI Mavic Mini
    • Iphone X
Lenses:
    • 24-70mm (Tamron)
    • 20mm (Nikon)
    • 70-200mm (Nikon)
    • Filterset
    • Stativ