Fira is the administrative capital of this South Aegean island of Santorini. It has a land mass of about 90 sq km and a population of 16,000. It is basically the central point of the tourist spot with many stores, restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, car rentals, cruise, bus, taxi and other tourist services and the like. Fira is the nearest to the airport which is 5.5 km away. However, Santorini isn’t a big island with a length of 18 km and a breadth of 6 km, the furthest of any tourist spot would be 30~45 minutes from the airport. We have not come across of any halal outlet and Muslim travelers would be wise to bring or cook your own.
Quick links : OiaFirostefani Our second day drive takes us to Oia (pronounced ‘e-ya’) in the morning and to Firostefani in the evening. Distance from our apartment to Oia is 11.5 km with a travel time of 25 minutes one way. The road is narrow but due to off-season, the traffic is scarce.
Oia, is the gem of Santorini. Like Fira, the town is located on a hill slope overlooking the magnificent Aegean sea. Here you’ll find up-scale hotels, lots of restaurants and stores for souvenirs. It is also the sought after point to watch the fantastic and dramatic sunset in the Island.
What inspired us to come to Santorini are majorly found here. The white-washed buildings with blue dome.
Day 2 driving route.
The white-washed buildings with blue dome of Santorini
Blue doors will do.
The favourite spot for watching sunset.
Love ribbons rather than love padlocks.
Dwellings, apartments, hotels overlooking the Aegean sea.
Restaurant overlooking the sea.
Stores for souvenirs.
Later in the evening, we drove to Firostefani a much smaller town also by the hillside facing the sea. Another tourist spot just 1.2 km from Fira town. It’s a 5 minutes drive or a 16 minutes walk away. Firostefani also offers magnificent sunset views without obstructions.
Quick links : Athinios PortKamariSantorini AirportSanto WineryPerissaPerivolia The first location we drove to is Santorini International airport. On our day of arrival, it was already dark hence we took this opportunity to have a look-see of the airport. It’s a small double storey airport with the 1st floor occupied by a cafe and toilets. I wonder how they cope with the many chartered flights during summer. It basically has one carousel for arriving baggage and the departure hall has barely sufficient seats to cater for all A320 passengers.
Santorini International airport. About 5.5 km from Fira town.
Santorini ATC tower adjacent to the terminal.
From the front of the airport, we went around to the back and south of approach runway 34, and arrived at Perivolia. Here the pebble beach (no sand) is just by the roadside. The wave hitting the pebbles create a thundering sound and quite intimidating. There were no tourist when we arrived.
The beach at Perivolia, south of approach runway 34 of Santorini airport.
Clean pebble beach.
The intimidating sound of the crushing wave.
From Perivolia we drove on without any specific itinerary or GPS assistance as I’m confident we wouldn’t get lost in Santorini. We drove pass the country side and reached Kamari beach. Here the sand is black and Kamari beach is one of the well-known tourist spot with hotels and food outlets.
Santorini country side.
Isn’t as impressive compared to a European county side.
Black sand Kamari beach.
A popular tourist spot, Kamari beach.
Onwards, we passed the country side again before proceeding an uphill drive to cross to the western side of the island. Atop of this hill, we can clearly see the airport and the Aegean sea. Crossed to the other side of the hill, we stopped by the car park of Santo Winery for the magnificent views of the caldera.
Residential houses and hotels by the hill-side.
Santorini airport and plane taking-off.
View from Santo Winery overlooking the caldera.
View from Santo Winery.
From Santo Winery, we took a turn leading to Athinios port where ferry from Athens disembark their passengers. From the top of the hill, it’s zig-zag all the way down to the port. To cater for the tourist, there are car rental companies and travel agents down at the port.
Athinios port from atop.
Car rental, tourist information centre, cafe, etc at the port
Road leading to Fira atop the hill.
Last location of our drive is Perissa, another well-known tourist and beach spot. Like Kamari, the beach too has black sand. I would say Perissa is much larger and happening than Kamari. On the way into Perissa, there’s a Carrefour outlet where you can get more varieties of whatever you require.
Perissa beach. No one swimming .. the water is chilly. Just sun bathing. Another black sand beach.
Relaxing by the beach.
Menu at beach restaurant.
We started our morning drive a 10:30 and we got back to our apartment by 14:30. Google plotted our driving distance is 45km and a total driving time of 1 hour 26 minutes. I suppose if we started earlier in the morning, we could also cover the northern part of the island too all within a day.
Day 1 driving route. I later found out there is a red sand beach at Akrotiri. You may want to google and read more. So, Santorini has white, black, red and pebble beaches !