Santorini is known as the beautiful Greek island perfect for the romantic getaway. I have to say that I completely agree. My first trip to Santorini was really magical and breath taking, and the sunsets were oh so so romantic. Having fond memories of our time on this divine island, back then recently married and child free, we decided to go back. This time, mind you, it was a full-blown family trip with my 15 month old, hubby, parents as well as my sister and her family. I will not lie; the experience was completely different but still completely worthwhile and relaxing.
This time we stayed in Kamari, which is home to Santorini’s famous black pebble beaches. Kamari was absolutely amazing and the best choice really when you have toddlers or young kids. It is mostly step free and there is a long and enjoyable boardwalk flanked with shops, restaurants and stalls. As a bonus it is just by the beach and is perfect for fresh air and a leisurely walk digesting after food. Around the corner from Kamari, on the same side of the island, you can also find the beautiful black sandy beach of Perivolos.
There are lots of stores selling beautiful beach covers, shoes and accessories. I also found beautiful pop-up stalls selling gorgeous handmade jewellery that was relatively inexpensive. Since the ladies are selling their own creations, you can also ask them to do alterations, making the piece unique. I couldn’t resist stocking up. You will find these stalls in the strip of road nestled in between the car park and beach. There is also a nice bookshop with beautiful Greek books where I found an amazing Greek recipe book as I totally intend to bring this delicious cuisine back home with me. We also found a children’s store with some fun and cute toys but where funnily enough, I bought this amazing hat.
We stayed at Bellonias Villas which was not only a beautiful hotel but also very welcoming and attentive. They have very generous, spacious rooms perfect for families. The rooms also contain a mini kitchen which is handy when travelling with a baby or toddler. The pool area was very picturesque and there is gentle lounge music playing from the bar that serviced the loungers by the pool and at the beach. Whilst the beach was just across the walkway, it was nice to have access to a decent sized pool during the windy days when the beach just wasn’t that appealing. The waiters were so attentive and did their best to make you feel comfortable. The food was authentic and yet modern. We couldn’t resist eating at the hotel a few times as the food was delicious. The cheese balls and black octopus were among my favourites.
We were spoilt for choice for traditional yummy Greek food. Bellonias Villas have all you can eat a la carte breakfast. There was such a wide delicious selection and so many add ons. They made different fresh juices daily and my husband was addicted to their frappes.
For lunch, I highly recommend the gyros at Mythos Grill. They are freshly made pita wraps filled with the meat of your choice, sauce, tomatoes, onions and chips. It is so very cheap and very satisfying. As you can tell, we did visit there a few times for lunch. For those watching their waists can always opt for the wrap free version.
Dinners at Bellonias Villas are also a must try. Mesogaia, a food and wine bar, has this great atmosphere and serves local wine. They also have a nice deli if you want to bring some goodies back home with you. We had dinner a couple of times at Eanos restaurant. The waiters were really welcoming and friendly, the food was delicious and they also make wood fire pizzas, which was a godsend for our fussy 6 year old nephew.
We ended the evening every night with the absolutely heavenly ice cream from Angelato. I usually cannot eat ice cream as it makes me feel queasy, however there were no such issues from this little place and it took me back to my childhood days where I could enjoy an ice cream on a hot summers night. The flavours were delicious and fresh – it is no wonder there usually is a queue.
I would definitely suggest a visit to Thira and Oia. We went to Oia to enjoy the sunset and had dinner at one of their roof terrace restaurants. It was really romantic to see the views and to soak in the last sun rays whilst sipping a chilled glass. Gefsis was lovely but there are many more options. As these restaurants with views get quite busy, I would recommend booking a table before heading out. Thira and Oia also have some beautiful shops all along narrow mazy streets that criss cross these picturesque towns. You could easily spend hours blindly walking down little alleys and paths, one minute entering a store full of 1920s antiques and knick knacks, the next perusing the latest fashion trends from Europe’s luxury super brands.