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18 September 2016

KEY TIPS: SANTORINI GETAWAY!

Howdy folks! So, most of these will seem like a no-brainer however, all too often, we can forget the important bits and bobs to consider when booking a vacation.

Some collage images have been created for this post because, there are too many pictures to include. You can see a few more clearly on my instagram page.

1. HOTEL TYPE and LOCATION
Stay away from the hustle and bustle unless you want to be caught up in all things busy and noisy. Book a hotel where luxury and comfort are key factors to the hotel owners! Also, ensure you quadruple check what you are entitled to as per your board package {half board, all inclusive etc} and READ THE REVIEWS.

Blue Sea Hotel: walkway, pool, outside our room, balcony, outdoor seating, hotel room

We stayed at the Blue Sea Hotel in Santorini, Kamari which, although {having done the relevant research} looked really nice, is more like a poor student's University digs! Make sure you triple check what the hotel booking includes {facilities, BREAKFAST menu, room layout, number of beds, compliments, TV satellite, shower etc, etc, etc} before you book!!!

2. SPENDING MONEY
Remember to carry home currency just in case you decide / need to buy something to eat on route to / at the airport and to also take upto 80-100 more than the amount you think you might need for your spends. You will not be able to anticipate how much you may actually want to do while you're out there.

Fira / Thera
Although happy to, we each had to withdraw more money because, there was so much more that appealed to us than we expected. When on holiday, it's nice to give everything a go {within reason} including a donkey ride which was the most thrilling yet tense and worrying experience one could have in such a lush country!! That said, it was worth every cent!! LOL...

3. BRACE YOURSELF FOR HARASSMENT

The Kamari Beach strip is lined with restaurants as well as bars and the owners / staff will try all the lines they can think of to get you to book a seat / table! We had a few get in our face, come up close and deliver the most insanely put together chat up lines in an effort to have us dine at their establishment. We felt that they meant well and so laughed it off each time however, in hindsight, their behaviour was quite intimidating. {I've included the lines below that were the least offensive}

"Hello... Are you looking for me? Later.....?"

"For you, everything free. Everything!"
"Why are you so beautiful?"

I wish I had sound bites for those lines because, to write them gives you no indication of just how sleazy and full on they were delivered...

4. MAKE SURE YOU ARE FRIENDLY TO EVERYONE
{Not over friendly; in a way that would suggest you welcome point 3}
So, this is applicable worldwide however, us being polite, respectful and approachable to everyone {simply because, that's just how we are} brought us A LOT of unexpected freebies! We received complimentary food, drinks and other treats from our first night there up to our last evening, real talk, simply because we were well received!!!


We give special thanks to God for the new friends we made while in Greece and pray we can see them again one day, especially Theo, Papa Smurf, Seb and Adonis {Anthony}.

5. EAT BEFORE YOU VISIT OIA
The stunning, scenic, mesmerising and enchanting array of blue and white buildings you often see in photo's of Santorini are situated in OIA which everyone should defo visit. It's about a 40 minute bus ride from Kamari and is worth every second of that ride however, OIA is the UK's Chelsea and Kensington + West End + Mayfair + wherever else in the world is overly priced - things are SUPER expensive!


A wonderful place, lots of walking and climbing so, comfortable trainers / sturdy shoes are a must. Every step provides a gorgeous backdrop for those  selfies, or group pics. It really is one of the most lush places in the world I have been blessed to visit so far. 

6. IF YOU MUST, EXERCISE BEFORE 7am!
The sun is up very early and the heat is quite full on {it was 32+ degrees during our stay} so, trying to do a workout post 7am, which is when it gets intensely hot, can be very tricky and also dangerous if you're not properly hydrated.

In the UK, I workout every morning for a solid hour and it's such a breeze compared to trying to achieve the same in Santorini where I was able to do about 25-35 minutes due to the beating I would take from the sun... I'd be sweating from 20 seconds in!

7. CARRY YOUR SUNCREAM EVERYWHERE
An obvious one but, again, we can sometimes forget to apply before we leave the hotel and to also re-apply the longer we stay out in the sun. While the joy of tanning is fun and makes you look great, sunburn doesn't have the same effect. Be safe not burnt to a crisp!

It's a good idea to keep your suncream / sunblock in the fridge the night before.

8. WANT A SOPHISTICATED EVENING OUT?
Prince Restaurant on the Kamari Beach strip is so, so lovely with its stylish, inviting, unique wooden design plus the staff are welcoming, attentive and courteous. The food is too good {all of the food we tried in Greece was to live for} and the drinks  are fab too! Us girls were even impressed with the toilets at this particular restaurant!!! Haha... Prince is a high-end establishment without high-end prices.

Prince Restaurant
If you meet the Manager {whose name we have forgotten} and employees Seb and Adonis {Anthony - pictured above with my girl Caroline}, please say "hi, from Rhiannon, Caroline and Charley". 

9. INTERESTED IN COCKTAILS & A BOOGIE TO SOME GREEK RnB?
Albatross is THE spot for a night out! Whether you're a two-step partygoer, or a big time raver, someone who likes to sit as you sip on your drink and rock to the music, or you'd like to catch the sea breeze while you soak up the vibe of other partygoers, this bar / club is for you!

Prince Restaurant interior and food + Albatross drinks
We went to Albatross after my birthday meal at Prince Restaurant to continue celebrating {it's a 2 minute walk away} and had an awesome time! I drank and danced the night away, literally. Loved it!

10. LOOKING TO CHILL ALL DAY?
Described as a stunning black, sandy beach, Kamari Beach is more pebbles and rocks than sand however, we were very kindly given a beach pod and so, we laid / chilled on this as we listened to the sea and watched others on the beach... It was just sublime and I recommend getting yourself a pod instead of a deck chair if you visit this beach. Overall, I do agree that it's rather stunning and you can't go wrong being on any beach under such gorgeous sunny skies.


Thanks ever so much to the gent who gave us the free beach pod - pictured above- whose name we didn't get. We met him the night before as we stumbled back to our hotel from Albatross... I randomly began talking to him thinking he was homeless {he is in fact the owner of one of the restaurants we visited the day after Albatross, crazy!}. Apparently I wanted to 'help' this man and a stray dog... What am I like? The beach pod gent told my girls that he gave us the free pod because of my kindness. Go figure! Too lovely...

11. IS HISTORY YOUR THING?
Akrotiri {pronounced Aqua-teary} is certainly not my thing but, my girls were all about it! This cave like gallery / museum invites you to learn about ancient Greece. I think you have to be a real history geek to actually enjoy it.


Albeit fascinating to hear about, I personally found walking around and looking at rocks etc quite boring.

12. USE THE BUSES TO GET AROUND
I do not recommend hiring a car, or bike and driving yourself around because, in Santorini, they drive quite fast and most of the roads are narrow... Coaches are used as buses and the bus attendants will pack everyone on if they can {which is less than ideal with it being so hot} but, from Kamari in Santorini, everything is fairly close which means your bus rides are fairly short, plus the buses have really good air conditioning. With no automated bus announcements, the attendants {as well as being the ones to issue you with a bus ticket} have the responsibility of shouting out every stop at least 3 times which can easily give you a headache! You pay each time you get onto a bus and the fares vary depending on where you're travelling to - between 1 euro, 80 cents and 3 euro's {September 2016}.


We found the buses to be quite frequent, we were very blessed to always get a seat and also to be sat comfortably each time. 

13. WILL SHOPPING BE ON YOUR 'To Do' LIST?
The majority of shops in Santorini, Kamari close around midnight. Yes, MIDNIGHT!! From newsagents to clothes stores and boutiques, you can leave your shopping until the sun goes down and you'll find the cost of things here very affordable.

It was really useful to us especially if we ran out of bottled water etc. We had a shop which pretty much sold everything and a restaurant which did such yummy food across from our hotel and next door.

Tavern Restaurant - light, filling, tasty, fairly priced, fab staff
14. HELP AND ASSISTANCE REQUIRED?
I recommend checking in with the local tour guide which we did. It was free and the lady assigned to us {who greeted us when we landed} was such a gem. So incredibly helpful and informative. We were able to either speak with her on the phone, via the hotel reception, or in person at her office which was a short walk from our hotel.

Didn't get a photo of / with her but, owing to how lovely she was, I know we'll always remember Ellie. We're so grateful to her for her warmth, patience and generosity.

Kamari Beach
There is SO much to do in Santorini and if I listed all this post would be far too long! It's a wonderful, relaxing, exciting and refreshing experience. I honestly believe, this is a part of the world everybody should visit at least once and for a minimum of 7 nights!!

REMEMBER to research any health facilities, hospitals and that sort of thing well in advance just in case you have an accident and need medical attention. We didn't require these services however, to be on the safe side, I was well informed before we travelled.

Our Santorini holiday was booked via www.onthebeach.co.uk - return flights + luggage etc, hotel + transfer - and cost under £1,500 in total divided by 3! Absolute bargain!!

Thanks for reading!
Images: Charley Jai. Caroline Odogwu and Rhiannon Davies

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