Someone I follow recently tweeted;
‘Is Santorini the new Marble background for Bloggers?!’
… I laughed, and had to agree.
As the warmer months approach, once again images of bloggers, photographers, holidaymakers and instagrammers roaming the beautiful white and blue buildings of Santorini are taking over my Instagram feed, and for the last few years I have longed for the opportunity to take my very own snaps against the iconic backdrops. Also, to explore another Greek island. I’ve fallen in love with many in the past, from our annual family holiday to the forgotten side of Corfu, to my recent favourite; Kefalonia, there doesn’t seem to be a Greek island that I don’t find myself falling for.
So when I had the opportunity to discover the island as part of our trip with Variety Cruises, I knew I had to make the most of our day there. Upon docking up at port, we took a cable car up to Fira, and then a taxi twenty minutes to Oia, the white and blue iconic village that springs to mind when you hear the word Santorini.
It’s true, Oia is an instagrammers dream, but it’s not quite as easy as you may think to take those instagram-worthy photos! So here are my tips for the places to visit to get those all important shots. Because hey, if you don’t instagram it, it didn’t happen.. amiright?!
Welcome to Oia
With pastel shades and white wash walls set on a hill above the bluest of seas, the buildings jostle for space in the small village with swimming pools the size of bath tubs squeezed into the most impossible of spaces. Amongst the boutique shops and cute cafes you’ll find spas, Churches and the homes of locals all nested into one quaint but lively village.
It would be impossible to walk for more than 30 seconds in this beautiful village without taking a snap, so have your camera at the ready for those all important #Ihavethisthingwithdoors or iconic white building instal-shots. Whether it’s a bright white church against the blue of the ocean, or those instantly recognisable blue domed buildings, everywhere you turn is a photo-worthy moment. If you can capture it in time that is, before the masses arrive…
Tip 1. Get There Early!
So it turns out that a place as unbelievably beautiful as Oia is a bit of a tourist hot spot – who’d have thought it?! If I truly wanted to ruin the illusion of the peaceful Greek village, I’d have snap-chatted the over-crowded streets that reminded me of trying to get on the Northern line at 8.30am in the morning, or the queues of tourists all trying to get that idyllic snap of the church towers that you see in all the Santorini post card snaps. But hey, no one wants to see that side of Santorini.
If you want to enjoy the vistas without having to hang around for 10 minutes before the groups of tourists on their day trips have taken their shots, then I recommend you arrive in Oia as early as possible. 8am would be ideal. By 10.30, there was a queue of people stood behind Charlie has he took the top image (me wearing the hat, looking at the church), all wanting the exact same shot after we had finished. So while there may be no people in sight in my shot, trust me, they were there!
Tip 2. Pack Light! Or visit out of season..
I have no words for how warm it is in Santorini! I had envisaged insta-shots taken over my shoulder, my hair perfectly curled tumbling over my shoulders. But the reality? It’s so warm that I couldn’t bare to feel my hair against my skin so immediately tied it up and changed into my coolest outfit. Not quite the picture-perfect OOTD I had in mind. If you are hoping for those fashion blogger shots, visit Santorini before or after the peak summer months, unless you’re OK with posing in 35 degree heat, which feels like 300 degrees in the busy streets! Visiting out of season in months such as May and September will mean more bearable temperatures and (hopefully) less crowds.
Fabric wise, you’ll want as little as possible! I felt rather over-dressed in my two-piece; an off the shoulder pale blue bardot top, and white linen flippy shorts from Topshop. A hat was an essential, not just for saving my hair from it’s lack of volume, but also protecting my face and head from the glaring sun. Of course sunglasses with sufficient protection are also a necessity, and I took my rose gold Quay Australia sunglasses for fashion and function. Don’t even think about heels either – the cobbled streets are charming but totally impractical for anything other than flats, and my Boden slip on shoes made for the perfect footwear for exploring Oia.
Tip 3. Wonder off the beaten track
The most beautiful sights in Santorini are away from the main marbled walk way (yes, the walk way is MARBLE), and the iconic shots of the blue domed church buildings can be found down a teeny tiny side street. Upon entering the village, turn right at the main observatory spot, and then left when you spot a fork in the road close to a jewellers shop (it’s easier to spot that I’ve made it seem…). You’ll be treated to the most iconic view of Oia, so camera’s at the ready!
Tip 4. Visit Lolita’s
Because, if this photo isn’t #instagramgoals then I simply don’t know what is! Lolita’s ice cream parlour is easy to find, on the pathway before you find yourself in the main part of Oia village. It acts as a small sanctuary away from the madness, and as well as being totally instagram worthy, the ice creams here are the best I’ve tried in all the Greek islands (and for those of you who follow me on Snapchat, you’ll know that I’ve sampled * a lot * of ice creams during my time in Greece!
Tip 5. There’s more to Santorini that Oia.
By the time we were ready for lunch, the crowds in the small village were just too much, so we travelled to the other side of the island (a 45 minute taxi ride, or 2 30 minute bus journeys) to Perivolos. Here it’s much more quiet, although still busier than any other Greek island I have visited! A black sand beach is lined with lively beach bars, most of which serve local Greek food as well as your classics such as burgers and pasta dishes.
We chose to spend the afternoon at JoJos, a beach bar with cabanas and parasols if you want to relax on the beach, or a poolside relaxation area if you prefer. As well as great food and a fantastic atmosphere, the palm-print furniture and pink stained wooden floorboards here are absolutely instagram worthy – proving it’s not just Oia that deserves a place on your insta-grid!
Finally – Fira.
Fira (or Thera) is the buzziest part of the island. It’s where the bus station is located as well as the arrival point for the cruise ships that visit Santorini, so it’s always busy and bustling. We enjoyed a sunset cocktail at one of the bars perched high on the cliff edge, and used our Samsung 360 camera to get an incredible panoramic shot which you can interact with over on the Fashion Mumblr Facebook page here.
Shop my Santorini OOTD
We had just one day to explore the iconic island of Santorini, and it’s definitely a place that I’d love to spend more time. Having visited for this short amount of time, I am keen to explore more; i’ll definitely plan a visit during a quiet time of year, and tuck myself away in a boutique hotel in Oia (complete with swimming pool with view over the ocean – that’s the one insta shot I am lacking!).
I’d love to know if you have any tips for visiting Santorini? Let me know in the comments below!