Day 3 – Boat Tour Excursion in Santorini Greece
Sleeping felt so good and waking up and walking out to the balcony was pure bliss. We stumbled around our room to find our shoes and made our way down the narrow steps to the hotel terrace to be served a homemade breakfast. Breakfast was included with our stay and was pleasantly tasty. As we discussed our plans for the day and finished up breakfast, we made our way back to the room to get ready.
We had a few hours to kill before our caldera boat tour, so we took a stroll again through the Santorini alleyways and stopped at the one with the best view overlooking the Aegean Sea for some much-needed cocktails! Afterwards we grabbed a couple of gyros to go and headed back to get ready for our excursion.
Pro Tip: Bars with a view are more expensive so be repaired to pay premium prices.
Everything seems to be an adventure in Greece, after all we were in another country and couldn’t speak the language in the least bit. So, even finding the bus stop to get picked up for our boat tour was challenging. It was only a few blocks away but not having precise walking directions and not many people who speak English, it was harder to find then it should’ve been. The morning streets of Santorini were already bustling, and you could feel the energy starting to pick up for the day. We finally found “the old hospital” and while we almost got hit by a car, we held our invitation in the sky and looked for our bus. We noticed somebody shouting “Aphrodite, APHRODITE” and we knew that was our ride. The tour was $84.96 per person and includes dinner.
It was a short 20min ride from our bus stop to the port of Athinios, the main port in Santorini. We got off the bus and stood right in line to board The Aphrodite. The ship was beautiful. It’s rustic appeal, golden wood stained bow, double decker and bustling sails were something I’ve never experienced before, a real and genuine sailing boat.
We boarded the ship and quickly looked for the best spot on the boat to get a seat. Early bird gets the worm and we didn’t want to be stuck in the hot sun, so we chose a covered spot on the first floor near the back of the ship. Most importantly, it was right next to the bar! Ha! We figured we would have a great view of the ship and our surrounds and we sailed the Aegean Sea and boy, were we right. We happened to forget sunblock because I was more worried about my camera equipment, silly me, so staying covered all day was crucial. The ship left the port and we had a wonderful view of the caldera and the white and blue domes of Santorini as we looked back on the island.
Our first destination was the famous volcano of Santorini! After 20 minutes of sailing, we reached Nea Kameni’s jetty. We got off the ship and paid the 2.5euro/ per person (they dont except US cash) as an entrance fee to walk to the top. The walk to the top was a bit strenuous as it was very hot and the elevation changes that I could feel in my lungs. We stopped to take a few pictures on the way up and to catch our breathe. As we got higher and higher, the view become more spectacular. Once we reached the top, we had some fun taking epic photos of the landscape. We made our way to the volcano’s ridge and listened to our guide that explained everything about the history and the geology of the volcano.
As we embarked again to our boat for the next stop, we grabbed a drink or two before setting sail to the hot springs. The small island of Palea Kameni where the famous hot springs are located on the west side or the island were a bit popular with other ships and groups of tourists in the area. It was a bit crowded and felt un-natural to experience this place. The best part was jumping off the ship into the ocean. It was a good 12ft plung and it was so refreshing! The water was colder here until you got to the hot springs, which were more like warm springs. The water was dark, brown and murky and you couldn’t see the bottom or what you were swimming in. the waters are mixed with mud that they are full of sulfur, iron and other metals coming from the volcano and it’s said that they are very good for the skin, rheumatism, arthritis and other physical pains. I’m not so sure about that, but science is science, right? This was a quick stop and by the time we swam from the boat to the springs, we heard the ship horn to swim on back and we were off to our next location, Thirasia.
We pulled into the cove of Ormos Korfou and anchored. Again, we were offered to jump off the boat and we wasted no time jumping into the deep blue sea. I had never seen water so blue in my life, it was crystal clear and a very dark blue color. It’s hard to explain but the photos do a little bit of justice. We swam and took some GoPro shots before climbing up the ladder and getting rinsed off by the crew. The crew was adventurous and funny, the trip wouldn’t have been the same without them.
As we dried off and listened to the dinner bell ringing, we grabbed a plate and got in line. Dinner on Board consisted of a tasteful Greek buffet; pork, chicken, rice, baked potatoes, Greek salad, tzatziki sauce, bread, seasonal fruit and an included glass or local wine. The food was very good, and I waited for everybody to eat and the lines to die down before going back to see what was left for round 2. Full and feeling good, we walked around the ship to get a view of different angels. At this point we have disembarked and were setting sail to Oia for the sunset. The warm light cast brilliant shadows along the caldera and surrounding islands. Golden hour was upon us and everything looked straight out of a fairytale. As the sun dives to the sea in the northernmost part of the island, we settled in at a great spot to watch the sunset. This was an unforgettable experience as the Caldera and the village of Oia turned into gold. The tour could’ve not concluded any better as the sun set and we made our way back to the port.
When we docked back at the port, there was some confusion about which shuttle bus to board. Overall the drivers were very unorganized, and we just wanted to make sure we were heading the right way. As English-speaking tourists, it was hard to communicate and figure out where we needed to be going with the bus drivers. Long story short, we made it back to our bus stop safely, albeit dropped off in a sketchy area a few blocks from the main street.
My final thoughts; I highly recommend doing a boat tour during your stay in Santorini. While most of the tours are the same, it’s important to read the fine details and make sure everything you want is included. A big deciding factor for me was deciding on this specific boat, I wanted an older sailing ship as opposed to a catamaran. Make sure to read reviews thoroughly so you know what you are paying for.