There was soo much to see and do in Santorini that I’ve split the post into two parts. This part (Part One), covers the best time to travel, together with recommendations on where to eat and sleep. Then the second part (Part Two), covers Our Top Ten Sights on Santorini Island. All my recommendations are based on the fact that I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time we visited Santorini, however I’ve added in additional comments here and there to make them suitable for non-pregnant folks too (after all Stu enjoyed himself just as much as me, and he definitely wasn’t pregnant!)
Hope you find it useful xx
Deciding on a destination…
Santorini is somewhere we’d wanted to visit for a long time, however it wasn’t our first choice for a babymoon. Looking back now, that seems ridiculous as I couldn’t imagine a more perfect destination. However as had always been the case in the past, we initially overlooked Greece (and the rest of Europe) in favour of more exotic destinations such as the Far East or USA.
As I mentioned, we wanted to travel somewhere special because we realised it was probably the holiday we’d have just the two of us in a long while. I started by researching long haul destinations such as the Maldives (I wanted to go all out!) and the Caribbean. However as I delved into things a little further, it became apparent that the advice was to avoid travelling to remote desert islands when pregnant, as they generally have long transfer times to hospitals with special care baby units (if I was to go into labour early). I did discover that Barbados does have a neo-natal unit, but when coupled with a long and potentially uncomfortable flight to get there, and the fact that we should really have been saving our money for our impending arrival, we decided long haul probably wasn’t the most sensible option so turned our attention to destinations a little closer to home.
With its whitewashed walls and breathtaking scenery, Santorini was the first place we turned as its always been top of our travel agenda… albeit, when we’ve looked into it in the past and weighed up the price, we’ve tended to find long haul destinations that seemed to offer more for our money and so opted for those instead.
Because our wings had been clipped somewhat on this occasion, Santorini was back in the running and my fingers practically pinged with excitement as I scrolled through pages of the internet in search of the perfect cave hotel.
I’m sure i’ll say it many times before you reach the end of this blog post, but choosing Santorini was the best decision we ever made. I spent two summers working on a Greek island many moons ago and it was the best time of my entire life! Needless to say the culture, the food and nature of the fantastic Greek people are really special to me. So as soon as we stepped off the plane and I smelled the familiar warm air, I knew it was going to be an amazing holiday.
* I feel like I should add a little disclaimer here, apologising for the number of photos in this post, but the views really are as incredible as you imagine and it is impossible to walk 100 yards without taking another picture!
The best time to travel…
Whilst we’ve only visited Santorini once, I have worked in Greece for over a year of my life and having had that experience, I can categorically say that August is a bad month to travel. It’s very hot, very crowded and if you are pregnant I just don’t think you’ll get the relaxing holiday you deserve during that month. We visited Santorini at the very end of April which coincided with the first week of the summer season. As a mum to be, with a big bump and no desire for night life, this was perfect for us as it was cooler, quieter and we could pretty much choose our tables at dinner, meaning we secured some amazing seats to watch the epic sunsets. If you are looking for a little more action, then my recommendation would be to travel in the shoulders of high season so May/June and September as it will be then that the staff are most friendly, the weather most accommodating and ques to get into places the least annoying!
Where to Stay…
Santorini island itself is very small. Curved around an ancient volcano, the eastern shores are home to flatter beaches and famous volcanic sands, whilst the western coastline is dominated by pure white buildings with colourful roofs, so typical of Greek architecture.
It’s on the western coastline in villages such as Oia, Fira and Imerovigali that you find the picture perfect cave houses, carved into the mountainside with breathtaking views out over the Caldera (volcanic crater). If it was going to be our last holiday as a two for a while, this was definitely the area we wanted to stay as what better way to savour your last few weeks as a twosome, than by watching the sunset from a hill-side cave in the middle of the Aegean sea!
Initially I was a bit concerned that the hillside nature of the Caldera would be a bit heavy going on my pregnant body, but I needn’t have worried because it was absolutely fine. I think the sun and sea air injected a whole heap of extra energy into me as and I even found myself climbing up a big rock on our last day!!
We chose La Maltese Estate, Buddha-Bar Beach Santorini, because it had a bit of everything. Our room was in a traditional white cave house, with its own balcony area for privacy. But there was also a large communal pool and restaurant too. We found that many of the private pools were merely dip pools which might have been hard for me to waddle in and out of at 28 weeks pregnant, so we opted for a hotel with a larger pool instead. We also preferred the location of Imerovigali hearing that it was a little quieter than neighbouring Fira and touristy Oia.
If I had to sum up La Maltese in one word… it would be fantastic! The staff were super friendly, our room was amazing, and the views over the Caldera were out of this world. Located on the highest point of Imerovigli, La Maltese boasts uninterrupted views of the Caldera from sunrise to sunset and each morning when we opened our shutters we were greeted with a spectacular vision of blue from where the sky met the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea.
Breakfast was available from the restaurant area by the pool or could be taken privately outside our little villa…. however we opted for the restaurant because the breakfast was so huge (much to Stuarts satisfaction!) With a full plate of delicious freshly baked breads served every morning before anything else on the menu, it was lucky that I was sporting a six month pregnancy belly or there would have been no hiding the carb pouch by the end of the week.
La Maltese is fully accessible by car, which is a God send when comparing it to many of the other hotels located along the Caldera. Due to the cliff top nature of the area, many hotels can only be accessed via steep winding paths, which wouldn’t be too much of a problem if you only have a small case, but if you’re pregnant and staying for a week or more, it may be something to bear in mind.
Also because we arrived so early in the season, we were actually one of the only couples staying at the hotel meaning we pretty much had exclusive use of the pool and restaurant almost every day. Talk about winning at life!
Where to Eat…
As you might expect for one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, Santorini is full of incredible places to eat. From cute little tavernas with serving mouthwatering mezes, to fabulous restaurants with a plethora of amazing fresh seafood, there was something for all budgets. I wont go so far as to pretend I know all the best places to eat in Santorini – after all we were only there for a week – but I can share with you some of the little gems we managed to find in the hope that you will be able to enjoy them too.
Dining Al Fresco at La Maltese Restaurant
La Maltese Restaurant – Imerovigali
Not usually ones to stay in and dine at our hotel, we opted to dine in at La Maltese one evening simply because we wanted to take advantage of the spectacular views. Given that is it located on the highest point on the island, the views out over the Caldera are uninterrupted and its one of the best places to catch the sunset. Because we only had a few yards to travel to dinner, we reached the restaurant early and had our choice of tables. We chose one on the terrace overlooking the pool, and because we were separated from all of the other diners, it felt more like a private dining experience. The waiters were so friendly, offering to take our photograph as the sunset and the food was delicious and really well presented. It did feel a little odd at first being dressed up by our hotel pool, but it ended up being a really lovely and romantic evening.
We visited V Lounge on a whim as we were walking through the winding streets from our hotel on our way into Fira. It’s in a really great location on the cliff site and had a really good atmosphere. The cocktails were really reasonably priced too.
Kastro Restaurant, Oia
We found Kastro by chance after being recommended it by a friend. It is on the north-west tip of the island in the village of Oia and is in a prime spot for watching the sunset. Because we arrived early, we were fortunate enough to nab a table right at the front of the restaurant with a perfect view of the sunset. Stu had the seafood spaghetti which was full of muscles and crab and I had the catch of the day.
Remvi Resteraunt – Firostefani
Sights to See…
As I set out in the opening paragraphs, there was soo much to do and see in Santorini that I think the sights deserve their own blog post. If you’ve enjoyed this and would like to know more, then I’ll upload Part Two of this post ‘Our Top Ten Sights to see in Santorini’ in a couple of days. I’ve also listed the places we visited below as a little appetizer so you know whats in store.
- Skaros Rock
- Santos Winery
- Akrotiri Lighthouse (Faros)
- Kamari Beach
- Red Sand Beach
- Perissa Beach
- Walk from Fira to Oia
Overall we had a fantastic time in Santorini and if you’re on the look out for a really special holiday, then I cant recommend it enough. We came home feeling refreshed and relaxed and ready to welcome our baby, with a lot of lovely extra travel memories stored in our mind.
If you are looking for great deals on flights to Santorini, we found the Holiday Gems website really useful. It has a wide selection of low cost flights to and from many destinations throughout Europe and even includes a ‘Price Match Promise’ on many of the main online travel companies such as Expedia and Ice Lolly.com. Whilst we only used Holiday Gems to search for flights, they also offer a wide selection of Cheap Holiday Deals and All Inclusive packages. Find cheap all inclusive holiday deals here
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