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Santorini: The best of the rest

There are lots of restaurants to choose from in Fira and Firostefani, though the choices are limited to almost exclusively Greek food. Understandable, but after ten days we were craving other cuisines. Italian is probably the second most popular cuisine type; we had a nice Italian dinner at Da Vinci and a cheap and cheerful lunch at Il Cantuccio (both in Firostefani).

I am now a massive fan of gyros (top left), souvlaki (top right),and fava, though I didn't understand the appeal of the Santorini tomato balls when I tried them - the ones I had were far too doughy/stodgy. Gyros though I can totally get behind! It's basically meat, red onion, tomatoes, chips and sauce served in a pita, though this varies slightly from place to place. Why Not! Souvlaki in Firostefani was our favourite place for a quick and tasty gyros lunch, and I can also recommend Meat Corner in Fira.

Mama Thira is the place to go for souvlaki - I had it there twice and it was beautifully tasty both times - and I had the best fava at Rastoni (Fira). It came with smoked almonds and roast Apaki pork, though I'd give Rastoni a miss and have tasty fava from Pirouni (Firostefani) instead. Pirouni offers massive portions - you could quite easily share a main, even if you're super greedy - a great view of the sunset, plus the staff were lovely. Aktaion is another nice little Firostefani restaurant. As for Fira, try Naoussa - their pork in Santorini sauce was so yummy. We also ate at Vanilia (Firostefani) and Fanari (Fira), which were nice enough.

Two courses each, a bottle of wine and water at most restaurants costs between €65-100, and you usually get given a free dessert or shot. We found that the restaurants in Fira are slightly more expensive than Firostefani, and slightly less tasty. If you want to have cocktails in Fira, we liked V Lounge.

Speaking of drinks, we took a trip one evening to the Artemis Karamolegos Winery, where you'll also find the #1 rated restaurant in all of Santorini (as voted on TripAdvisor in September 2015): Aroma Avlis. Although we didn't have a tour, we did do a wine tasting session and tried six different glasses of their wine for €8 each. Our favourite was the Nykteri, though I really liked the dessert wine: Vinsanto.

Another popular drink on the island is Yellow Donkey (the Santorini Brewing Company also do Red Donkey and Crazy Donkey), which Olly loved. As for Aroma Avlis, the food was delicious and ridiculously cheap - definitely get the Santorini sausage starter - and I'd highly recommend that you visit both the winery and the restaurant.

As for what else you can do in Santorini if you're not feeling lazy like we were - lots! One option is to rent a scooter, quad bike or hire car to take yourself off around the island, as taking taxis all the time will get quite expensive. For reference, a taxi from the airport to Firostefani will cost €20-25, and that's only a distance of 3 miles. Another option is using the local buses, which we used to get to Oia and back.

Visit the beaches and take in the difference colours - you'll find black, red and white beaches in Santorini. Other sights include:
  • The Prophet Elias Monastery - the highest point on Santorini
  • Akrotiri - the Minoan settlement preserved by the volcanic eruption 3,500 years ago
  • Mesa Gonia - a village that was deserted after the earthquake in 1956
You can also take a full-day boat trip that covers the volcano and hot springs, like we went to, but then goes to Thirasia, the other inhabited island in Santorini, and finishes in Oia.

That's it for my Santorini adventures, other than to say you can fly direct from London to the island in under four hours, and I'm sure we'll be doing that again at some point in the future! What do you think to what you've seen of Santorini? Have you been? x

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