By Madison Winner — April 23, 2015 —
Santorini is a perfect place to visit during spring. The small Greek island is strikingly beautiful, the people are very friendly, the weather is perfect, and the food is delicious and cheap. What more do you want out of a Spring Break destination?
Prior to studying abroad in Barcelona, there were two places in Europe (apart from Barcelona) that I had always wanted to visit: Amsterdam and Santorini. When our program started in January, seven of my friends and I decided on Santorini as one of our Spring Break destinations. We talked to many older friends who had previously traveled there in order to get recommendations on things to do and places to see. In addition, Katerina, one of the friends with whom I traveled, has family in Greece, and they gave us the low-down on the island.
One item was missing from all of these suggestions, however. No one had told how us the best way to get around! Car, bicycle, bus, taxi, motorbike — which to choose?
We encountered this dilemma immediately after putting our bags down at the hotel. Then, during our first walk to the town of Fira, we passed an ATV rental place. We talked to the guys at the shop and they informed us that to rent a single, two-person ATV for the day was 20 euros plus an additional 10 euros for insurance. It sounded like a good deal to all of us, so we bit the bullet and decided to spend Spring Break in Santorini on ATVs!
We quickly learned how to ride them, and the drive was short and easy. First stop — somewhere to eat! A place selling gyros looked good, and each of us ordered one for 2 euros. The owner promised free wine if we returned — which we did, and he kept his promise!
Riding the ATV to Oia
After walking around the beautiful town of Fira for a while and marveling at the clusters of white homes perched above the sea, we decided to explore another part of the island: Oia, known for the best sunset views in all of Santorini.
It was during the journey to Oia that I discovered my true love for the island. The drive was only about 30 minutes via ATV, and it was the most exhilarating, picturesque ride that I have ever experienced. The road leads up a mountain, overlooking the sea, and there are magnificent views of the island throughout the trip. I let the breeze hit my face and simply smiled as I soaked up the beautiful surroundings.
When we arrived in Oia, we went gift-shopping for family and friends. Just like in Fira, there are many shops and restaurants here, and it is a very cute area in which to walk around.
Katerina’s family suggested that we eat dinner at a restaurant called Blue Sky, which is owned by some of their friends. The food is traditional Greek. If you visit, I recommend ordering the saganaki, a type of fried cheese (in fact, you should order saganaki as much as possible in Santorini!). The chicken souvlaki (chicken and vegetables on a stick) is great as well. The owners were incredibly nice and they kept bringing us dishes to try for free. After dinner, we sat and watched the incredible sunset, drove our ATVs back to Fira, and then went out to the bars.
We visited three bars in Fira: Two Brother, Highlander and Murphy’s. All of them are located near one another, and each was a blast. The music was great, the bartenders were friendly (free shots!) and a mix of tourists and locals were all having a good time.
The next day we rode our ATVs to Perissa Beach and had a relaxing day in the sun. This is a must-do when in Santorini. We also drove around the island some more and then visited Red Beach, so-named after the red rocks that surround the area. This, too, should be considered an essential stop for island visitors.
In sum, there was never a dull moment for us on Santorini. The views were beyond gorgeous, and, although we were constantly moving, the trip was quite relaxing. The island will forever hold a special place in my heart. As for the ATVs, these were a big part of making the experience so memorable. Highly recommended!