Ron and I bought two plane tickets a few months ago and jetted off to Santorini to get married. Before my list of places and eats leaves my brain – here it is for those headed to that way.
We went in October, right before the end of the season. It was still warm enough in Greece to lay outside, but the prices had dropped a bit. Santorini is like the Hamptons – everything shuts down after the season. April-October are their prime times for tourists. When we went, the cruise ship traffic had died down and you could wander the small streets without bumping into crowds. The locals were also willing to haggle since they were slower with business.
When we booked, there were no flights directly to Santorini – all of the itineraries had an overnight somewhere, mostly in Athens. We chose to fly into Rome and stay for a few days. I was worried about delayed flights and possibly missing our flight to Greece (which happened anyways, curse you blackout curtains).
In Rome we stayed at the Boscolo Exedra, which. was. amazing. They had the most beautiful desserts I have ever encountered. The staff was very friendly, even letting me jump behind the desk to re-work our flight umm..incident. They have a rooftop pool and restaurant that was stunning, even though we went when it was a bit cooler. The night that we left they were having a Vanity Fair event in the lobby, which I was very upset to not have the opportunity to crash.
While in Rome, we ate on the rooftop of the Hassler Roma – at the top of the Spanish Steps. We were shopping prior, and shoutout to the Louis Vuitton saleswoman that decided she was going to take a break to walk us to the best dinner in the city. The views were incredible. There were so many complimentary dishes from the chef, and a champagne cart added to my gourmet A.D.D. By far it was the most outlandish meal we had while in Europe, and it was so worth it. The bar in the lobby was great to get a drink before, or the Intercontinental a few doors down. Gentlemen, you will need a dinner jacket for this one.
Happy hour (which lets be honest, is most hours in Rome), was spent at Salotto 42. It’s a small space, but the front is covered in ivy and is really beautiful. You can sit outside and see the Temple of Hadrian. We also found the cutest street – Via dei Coronari. I shoved down way too many macarons at Casa & Bottega, then went for more dessert at Gelateria del Teatro. There was a huge line of priests at the door of the Gelateria, so I knew it had to be good.
Before we left, we ate lunch at Gusto Emporia Liberia Enoteca Restaurant. We were eating prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella when Ron mentioned that it’s just not fair how good the food is and we can’t get it like that in America. It’s true – best meals I have ever tasted.
We also did the speed tour of the Vatican, aka took a selfie in the Sistine Chapel and hit the road. We had a driver that day, which is the way to go. He told us what was worth it and knew all of the best spots. He was the one that dropped us off at the buffalo mozzarella heaven.
Off to Santorini. We flew from Rome to a short layover in Austria, and then landed in Santorini. We stayed in Oia, which is known for its breathtaking sunsets. Our hotel was incredible, and I don’t know if I could stay anywhere else if we went back. The Andronis Boutique Hotel was so beautiful, and they welcome you with this snack that I can only describe as euphoric. If I could have bottled it up and shipped it back I would have. Think thick, creamy, Greek yogurt like you have never had in the U.S., then add rose and black cherry preserves. We asked for it two more times while we were there, even though I think it was only meant for guests upon arrival. Sorry Andronis, you can’t tease my taste buds like that.
When we woke up we hit what they call the ‘Breakfast of the Gods.’ You could probably just eat their breakfast and never have to eat again. There was a buffet as well as a menu, and all of it was complimentary. And when i say buffet, don’t let that cheapen the experience. That buffet had more juice, fresh fruit, cheese plates, and pastries than you could shake a stick at. It was so delicious.
The hotel itself was smaller, but had a full restaurant, as well as a cold and warm pool, with a stunning view. Each of the cave-like rooms also came with a personal hot tub. The staff was very accommodating on our wedding day, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect.
We got married on the roof/deck area of their luxury suites. They also let us use one of the luxury suites that night, serving us dinner outside by the private pool. Our wedding planner was not with the hotel, she owns Tie the Knot Santorini. Maria made everything so simple and was great during the entire process. Our photographer, Leanna Jean, is a family friend from California that flew out with us. She is a gypsy available for hire, when she’s not with us!
Ron’s one request while we were there was to visit Santorini Brewing Company – the ones responsible for Yellow Donkey, Red Donkey and his favorite, the Crazy Donkey IPA. It wasn’t far from our hotel, and on the way to Fira, where we found my wedding band at Poniros. Thanks to their owners that helped us get a black diamond band in my size, made in Athens, then shipped to Santorini in just two days. We appreciate it, and I love my ring! From there we went to Santo Wines, which is one of the largest wineries on the island. They have a great overlook where you do the tastings and it’s worth stopping.
As far as activities/excursions, we went out on a catamaran with Sunset Oia Sailing. Since it was the end of season, we were able to go out on a private tour around the islands for a half day. Seeing the sunset by boat is a must. To Sunset Oia, we also sincerely apologize for scaring your captain. He’ll know what it means.
For food, I lost count of how many times we ate at Oia Vineyart. Holy Greek food, it was amazing. The Greeks have something called ‘eggplant in a pot’ that I ate over and over. They had killer mushroom risotto, and Ron had the lamb multiple times. For drinks we went over to the Sphinx, which had a great atmosphere and I loved the decor. Dessert was at Lolita’s Gelateria where the Rosewater and Pink Pepper gelato will knock your socks off. The owner is also very actively searching for a wife, if you know anyone.
We ate other places as well, but these are the few that you cannot miss. Besides that, don’t try to steal a dog, it has an owner somewhere on the island. Santorini is very safe, and they don’t limit tourists on taking money out of the ATM, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I was very comfortable walking around and never felt like I had to guard my bag, or watch my phone. The locals are extremely friendly and want you to experience the island and love it as much as they do. Safe travels!