F i r a T o w n C e n t e r
Many restaurants and shops are closed for renovations during the winter months and they usually open in April. We traveled in March hence Fira was probably the best location where most shops were already open. It is the central location - public buses to other villages start from Fira. As we did not rent cars or ATV, this was decidedly the best town to stay in. There are many restaurants here so finding good food is not an issue. You can also book your day tours from the many agencies in Fira.
The view is splendid from the Cathedral. Sunset hour is less crowded too so you have plenty of opportunities to get good pictures.
I woke up early one morning, right after sunrise to get a feel of the town and I was rewarded with a beautiful misty landscape of the sea with nothing but calm and solitude.
M e g a l o c h o r i, t h e q u i e t v i l l a g e
If you find the crowds in Fira and Oia less endearing, try visiting the traditional village of Megalochori. It is a very quiet little village which will offer you peace and quiet. It is the perfect sanctuary for a lazy day. Sip coffee at the local taverna or just look for a place to sit and read for the entire day.
S u n s e t I n O i a
Oia is famed to have one of the best sunsets in the world. I would not know if that is true, but it is indeed one of the best I've ever witnessed. Pray for clear blue skies as that would indicate a very high chance of watching the sun set with a clear reflection against the Aegean Sea.
The crowd gathers as early as an hour before the sun sets. Be there early or dine in one of the restaurants. Get ready to envelope yourself in stillness as you watch the sun go down, despite the chaos and noise around you.
Linger for as long as you can after sunset. The sky takes on a pastel hue, giving the village a feminine pink and blue backdrop - one which you will remember for a long time. Cherish those moments for those are the prettiest and they last only for a few minutes before the sky is painted dark for the lovely moon to shine
The famous triple blue domes found in postcards of Santorini are also in Oia.
Upon reaching the village, walk towards the Church. Turn right once you have come to the Church, walking towards the direction of the end of the village. Take the first left turn. You will most probably find a queue busy with selfie sticks and cameras if you go during sunset hours. Do go there early in the morning if possible. I imagine it would be tranquil.
T h e C a l d e r a
We enjoyed our cruise on the catamaran visiting the caldera. Weather permitting, you will get a grand, unobstructed view of the sunset from the catamaran if you opt for the sunset cruise. We were on the sunset cruise with Caldera Yachting Santorini. The crew was friendly and hospitable, with a very experienced captain. The catamaran was also clean and luxurious, and the lunch was freshly prepared onboard for us. If you want to feel pampered for the day, book yourselves in for it is totally worth it.
The views of the island and the sea from the catamaran are extremely breathtaking - offering you a different perspective of the island. I have never seen water as blue as the Aegean sea, and being onboard offered us that opportunity. It was as blue as the colour of a gemstone. At the hot springs, the water was translucent and bright green, a pity it was too cold for us to jump in.
G e t t i n g a r o u n d
It is easy to travel in the island as it is a touristy island and almost everybody speaks English. It will be best to rent a car or ATV if you intend to visit all the villages at your own pace. A guided tour for a day costs around 40 to 50 euros/pax including pick ups from designated locations.
W e a t h e r i n M a r c h
At the end of March, you get good and bad days. We had two sunny days out of the four days we were there and it was chilly at night but beautiful and breezy during the day. However it is still too cold to jump into the beach or the hot springs in March. But it is a low season hence it is not crowded and comfortably relaxing to walk around the villages (even in Oia and Fira).
W h a t i t c o s t s t o e a t o u t
A decent meal at a restaurant costs about 8 to 13 euros/pax excluding alcoholic drinks so it is relatively economical to eat out.
G e t t i n g t h e r e f r o m A t h e n s
We compared the price for domestic flights versus ferry and it was not much of a difference as we had booked early on Olympic Air. The journey is much shorter (30 to 45 minutes) and you don't run the risk of traveling in choppy waters for 5 to 8 hours depending on whether it is a Superjet or slower ferry. Book early and fly.