Some people say you must go to Santorini when in Greece while others say to avoid Santorini at all costs. Too touristy. Too crowded. While Armando and I love going off the beaten path on many of our adventures, there is still something to be said about going to those touristy places. After all, floods of people do not magnetize to a specific place for no reason. There is a reason why everyone goes to “tourist attractions”. There is wonderment or history or beauty at these places. However, Armando and I wanted to avoid the summer crowds so we initially decided we would join the “avoid Santorini” crowd and go to a lesser known Greek island.
Searching for a Greek Island
As I did research on the many Greek Islands, I came across a handful that peaked my interest. They looked serene and authentically beautiful yet, I could not narrow down which one to go to. Something was missing. That something was that picture in my mind of Greece that I have held with me since my high school Greece trip was cancelled so many years earlier. That picture in my mind that I wanted to experience first hand and that made it’s way on my bucket list before bucket lists actually became a thing. It was the white buildings and cave homes hanging on the side of the high volcanic cliffs with blue domed churches overlooking the clear blue waters below. It’s that vision that I am sure everyone pictures when they think of Greece. That was what I wanted. And that was Santorini.
Is Santorini Worth the Hype?
Having worked and lived on a cruise ship, I was used to crowded, touristy ports. Sure, not ideal but that sense of busyness with wide-eyed tourists snapping pictures and people scuffling through overpriced souvenir shops is a sense of familiarity to me. That was the world I lived in each time we docked into a port. Why would I miss one of the top destinations in the world, according to Forbes, just because of some little crowds? So Santorini it was.
And yes, there were crowds when we were there but there is a reason there are crowds. Santorini is beautiful! It is unique. You are high up on the edge of a volcanic crater, surrounded by water. What it lacks in amazing beaches, it more than makes up with its view. And you go for the view. And the view is never tiring. An eagle eye view of the cauldron is never far away and as beautiful as it is during the day, dusk and dawn in Santorini has a spiritually calming, life-can’t-get-better-than-this feel. You easily get lost in the warm orange hues that light the sky.
We want to go back to Greece. We want to experience the other Greek islands next time around but I am so glad we decided to go to Santorini; I would not have been satisfied with my first trip there if I did not see firsthand that picture of Greece that has been etched in my mind since high school.
Still Not Convinced?
We went at the end of August. Everyone says to avoid August. Yet, you can experience Santorini without the crowds during that time of year. Check out my upcoming post on where to stay to avoid the crowds and another one where I share a memorable 1-day Santorini itinerary that is full of fun and food!