Travel BlogPhotography, travel, and self-reflection
Solo Travel: A Relaxing Week on the Greek Island of Santorini
The small Greek island of Santorini (Thira, to the Greeks) is known for its bright whitewashed and blue-domed architecture set along a towering caldera in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a dreamy landscape that I’ve always hoped to visit.
Getting to Santorini
In early May, I took my first trip to Greece on a flight from Amsterdam. From midair I could see tiny islands speckled across the water. White puffy clouds clung to each land mass, like some sort of surreal fantasy.
After a quick stop in Mykonos, we descended towards JTR airport. Santorini is so small, you’ll get a sweeping view of the whole island from your window seat.
Arriving in Perissa
At the airport I caught a bus to Perissa, on the southern side of the island. Bordered by steep hills and a long black volcanic beach, Perissa is a more remote destination than the tourist traps of Fira and Oia. It allows for a peek into the authentic life of a true Thira islander.
In Perissa I discovered the laid-back island life. The locals were easygoing and kind. The energy was relaxed and unrushed. Even the internet was refreshingly slow—encouraging me to unplug and enjoy the sun a bit more. There are plenty of beachy open-air restaurants and low-key nightclubs along the shore. I had the best moussaka of my life in Perissa, and a delicious fruity drink overlooking the sea while I wrote for awhile. It was the perfect getaway.
Further inland, Perissa is quiet and peaceful with open spaces, tall grasses, and mountain views. I loved the rural feel and the slow pace. The locals were friendly, necessities were cheap, and just down the main road was a 24 hour bakery. Twenty-four hours! Perhaps this little patch of Earth really is the best place, ever.
Along the main road, you can rent four-wheelers, scooters, and motorcycles for cheap day rates to explore the island unencumbered. I tried, but they required a motorcycle endorsement, which I wouldn’t have for another few months.
I ended up traveling to and from the major villages by bus, which was easy and reliable. I was happy to sit back and enjoy the view from a cushy motorcoach, even if it was crowded sometimes. Rental cars and taxis are also widely available.
On Traveling Solo
Santorini is an ideal destination for a solo traveler. It was easy to navigate (one could argue it’s impossible to get lost on an island) and I felt very safe, even at night.
I love traveling solo because I’m able to focus 100% on my new environment and explore or take pictures at my own pace. Solo travel also makes you more approachable. I chatted with other photographers and travelers, and even befriended another solo female traveler in Perissa. We spent a great night out ending with drinks and dancing at the beach.
Exploring Fira & Oia
Fira and Oia are where you go to take in those gorgeous postcard views. It’s also where you battle the crowds. Even a few weeks before the start of the season, it was often a tight squeeze to catch the right shot, especially in Oia where the most iconic scenery is found.
I was photobombed again and again. If you come to Santorini to take pictures, bring plenty of patience and allow for extra time to make your shot.
Even with the crowds, it was so worth it to visit the island. Never before has a view actually taken my breath away, as cliché as that may be. I gasped when I first saw the view in Fira overlooking the Mediterranean. It’s simply unlike anyplace else.
It requires some maneuvering to get your shot. The villages are accessible by a maze of winding cobblestone pathways and stairs, and there are plenty of paths to wander to discover the best viewpoints. In Fira, it was by chance that I stumbled into the white-domed church seen below and was able to capture it (along with my requisite half-selfie) as the sun set.
I spent a few more days exploring and shooting, enjoying the warm weather and the scenery.
In all, my working holiday to Santorini was fantastic, and I would recommend a visit to anyone. I plan to go back again as soon as possible—and before the tourist season.