A foodies guide to Santorini

 

20768226_10213680891592521_4542167224932255520_n-2Santorini is known for its romantic sunsets, blue domed homes, and breathtaking views of the Caldera. But what some may not associate with this small Greek island, is its incredible food scene. From seaside feasts, to grab and go gyros, Santorini offers a variety of delicious meals and today I am sharing some of the places I fell in love with.

Best for a Romantic Setting: The Red Bicycle 

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Santorini is known for its romance, and a lot of restaurants in the area feed off of that, but the Red Bicycle really set the tone. The restaurant looks quaint from the outside. An adorable sign complete with a red bicycle hangs on top a couple of stairs. Once you walk through the doors however, you are transformed to one of those views that looks like it was painted in the sky. The giant veranda extends over to views of the Mediterranean and the deep red rock of the Caldera in the distance. As the sun sinks down, the colours ignite the sky. Bright pinks and purples light up your table. Views aside, the food is what you truly come here for. Chef Gikas Xenakis not only produces beautiful looking dishes but also beautiful tasting combinations. From the eggplant puree, to the famous lamb shoulder, you cannot go wrong. It is the best spot in Santorini to grab a glass of wine and take in the sunset with your loved one.

Best View : Sunset Ammoudi Tavern

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Santorini is famous for its sunsets, so why not grab yourself a front row seat to watch the magic unfold. Sunset Ammoudi is located down the winding stairs of Ammoudi Bay. The restaurant itself is carved into the red volcanic rock, and because of its locations, it offers the clearest view to the west. Try and arrive early to get a seat right on the water. The restaurant was opened by a local fisherman, so their speciality is the fresh seafood. Try the lobster pasta and then sit back, relax, and watch the sunset unfold in front of your eyes.

Best Sharing Menu : Melitini 

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This little tapas restaurant in the heart of Oia came highly recommended by the locals, so you know it has to be delicious. This was actually the first tapas that served traditional Greek food in the town. All of the food and drinks are local and fresh. Despite the tasty treats, you also have a stunning view. Their upstairs patio looks directly onto the Caldera. The sharing portions are the perfect sign and the best part is the food isn’t just traditional but also affordable.

Best “Off the Beaten Path” Restaurant: Vineyart

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This restaurant is the perfect spot if you are looking for something a little different. While most restaurants in Santorini focus on romance, this one has more of a funky feel. No view of the Caldera, instead you get to truly explore local art and food. It is located off the main road, tucked away in a quaint corner of Oia. While the menu is small, everything is sourced locally from Santorini from their food items to their wine. Try their traditional Greek salad, topped with hand made olive oil while exploring their exterior decoration. Santorini vines take over the walls and tables. Once you have finished your meal, stop into their downstairs art gallery where local artists work hangs from the wall.

Want to see more of Santorini? Well here you go

Mia Goes M.I.A. Yacht Week

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Take a second and close your eyes. Picture you and six of your closest friends sailing on the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean . Now picture you eating the freshest seafood, dancing with white sand in between your toes, and creating memories that will last a life time. Sounds pretty epic dream right?

Well what if I told you this epic dream became a reality for me this past summer as six friends and myself embarked on a journey of a lifetime;  The Yacht Week. We signed up with the company after a couple of glasses of wine one cold winter night and there was no looking back. Six months later we were on a flight for the journey of a lifetime.

Over the next seven days we would visit islands I had never heard of before, but came to love; Alimos Poros, Port Heli, Ermioni, Dokos, and a true hidden gem Hydra. Each one unique, each one beautiful, each one unforgettable.

Since returning from my trip, a lot of people have asked me about the experience. Was it worth the money? What was it like? Would I do it again? The list goes on, hence why I decided to share some of the experience  with you here. I wanted to highlight some of the amazing moments, some lessons I learned, and also how to prepare for the trip.

Highlights

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Let me start off by saying The Yacht Week is definitely worth the money because of the following highlights of the trip I wanted to share with you.

  • Discovering Hidden Gems: When I first looked at the Yacht Week route, I was a little concerned because I had never heard of any of the islands. However, during the trip I discovered some of the most amazing places that I would never have dreamt of visiting on my own.

The highlight of the trip for me was actually our last stop, Hydra. The town is built on the slopes of a hill around the port which was stunningly beautiful as we approached the island. The amazing thing about Hydra is that there are no cars or motor vehicles. The best way to get around town is either by foot or donkey, and we definitely did both. The donkeys took us up some of the slopes for some breathtaking views of the sea below. at night we enjoyed a sea side feast as we watched the sun set. Only one word to describe Hydra; Magical.

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  • ATV Rides in Paros: There was a lot to see and do in Paros. Paros is a traditional village meaning a lot of the buildings have to be constructed the same way and so there were pretty blue domed homes throughout the island. It is also famous for it’s golden beaches which we danced the day away at the Retro Party. The highlight on this island though was definitely the ATV rides. You can get around the entire island in about two hours and you will see unique scenery from the water front to the more trees it was a gorgeous ride. 20638798_10213643505297887_3016174544226350237_n20663956_10213643503937853_8443405676865702035_n
  • Gyros and parties in Ermioni: Ermioni is home to the infamous Rivera party, where everyone dresses up in their chicest outfits and dance from day to night at an amazing bar right on the beach.

My favourite part of this island though had to be the food, particularly the gyros. Right where you dock for the night is the most delicious gyros restaurant and it is open late so you can get some post dancing food.

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  • The Raft Circle: I am not going to lie, I was a little disappointed when we visited Port Heli and Nikki Beach. Overpriced food and drinks and not much else to do on the island. The saving grace though was before setting out for sail the follow day, a bunch of the boats joined in a giant circle. We got out our floaties and jumped in the middle for a few hours of music, drinks, and floating around with our new friends. It was pretty spectacular. 20915420_10101572788966980_9065524513949806491_n20638034_10213643502017805_3316981009282349056_n
  • The Regatta: We all lead busy lives, so our Regatta theme was a very last minute effort. We went with full moon party and got a bunch of neon paint and flower crowns. The good thing is, Regatta isn’t just about your costumes, it is about how much fun you are having and we sure had fun. We danced, sung, and partied the entire race. And guess what? We actually won the Regatta which means we got a pretty awesome prize! 20953774_10101572789221470_8449639833459106239_n
  • Sleeping under the stars: We didn’t really think about how hot it would be in Greece in the middle of August. We also happened to be there during a heat wave so we resorted to sleeping on the deck and so did a lot of other crews. It was pretty fun being outside on the water falling asleep under the stars. 20728150_10213651033566089_5894231814005175472_n
  • Making memories that will last a lifetime: I am honestly not sure that I can top this trip. I got to sail around Greece, discover beautiful islands, swim in the middle of the ocean, ride a donkey, join a circle raft but the best part is I made some amazing new friends, and shared this amazing experience with some old ones. We will always be able to share these memories together.

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Know before you go 

There are a few things I wish I knew before setting sail, and so I wanted to share those with you so you know what you are getting yourself into ahead of time. In advance, you are welcome!

  • Splurge on a larger space and air conditioning: I know that Yacht Week is already expensive, trust me it pretty much broke my bank, but if I knew then what I know now, I would of paid the extra money for a boat with air conditioning. It was so hot the entire week that it was unbearable to be inside the cabins even with multiple fans.
  • Splurge on a hostess: You are on vacation, the last thing you want to be worrying about is making meals and cleaning up after. Also, the hostess’ have a lot of experience so they know exactly what you will need. Make sure to plan that into the budget. Shopping for food cost us about $120 each.
  • Yes it will cost more than you think: Our skipper told us that one of the biggest complaints is that it is more expensive than people originally thought it would be. Food, port costs, bottle serves etc. does add up. Plus you are responsible for your skipper and hostess’ meals. Just be prepared to be spending a few extra dollars.
  • Airbnb the last night: You have been on a yacht for a week, with no real shower, no real bed, no air conditioning (for us this last time), none stop parties. You are exhausted. Unless you want to be woken up at 7am to leave the next day, go and get an airbnb. We found a beautiful spot in Alimos and it only cost us about $15 per person.
  • A happy skipper is a happy boat: The nicer you are to your skipper, the nicer he will be in return. You are one big happy family on this boat so make sure to treat everyone with respect. Our skipper went out of his way to make sure we had the best possible time, ate at the best restaurants, went to the best spots. Mainly because we treated him like part of our crew. Also they are working for tips so be kind and tip your skip!

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What to pack 

Packing for Yacht Week can be a little tricky because well, how many of us have lived on a sail boat for a whole week. Here are some key items to bring.

  • A soft duffle bag: The yachts are small as is, the last thing you want to do is try and find room for a big hard top bag. Make sure to bring a bag that you can fold and store easily.
  • Sunscreen: I can’t even tell you how much sunscreen we went through as a crew, you are going to need lots of it.
  • SPF Lip Balm: You want to protect everywhere, it is hot!
  • Clothes: As for what clothes to bring don’t forget about the theme parties, you need a Retro theme, a Chic Rivera theme, and costumes for your Regatta. On top of that bring some bathing suits, cover ups,  2 shorts, and about 3 tops, sandals, walking shoes, and a nice dress. Make sure that everything you buy is quick drying. I lost one of my favourite tops because I had to leave it outside to dry and it blew away in the wind.
  • Country Flag: Great way to get into the spirit and also to find your boat after a party
  • Don’t bring your floaty: You can buy them in Alimos, no point in bringing one on the plane with you.
  • Good Speaker: You want to be the loudest crew at the Regatta
  • Earplugs: Since we slept outside mostly, it could be noisy with all the crews in one area.
  • Multi-port charger
  • Waterproof cases 
  • Battery Powered fan: Trust me this was a lifesaver
  • Sea Sick Pills: I am lucky I don’t get sea-sick, but if it is a possibility for you, make sure to have some handy. The waters can be a little rough.

Well there you have it, my guide to Yacht Week. I can honestly say this was an incredible trip and if you are on the fence about it, take the plunge. I believe our crew is even working on a second trip.

xo

Mia

 

 

 

Mia Goes M.I.A. Top things to do in Santorini even if you aren’t on your honeymoon

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It was on the cab ride to the airport when I first questioned my decision to go to Santorini. Our driver told my boyfriend and myself that; “Santorini will make you fall in love all over again.” Listen I can be romantic at times, but my idea of a holiday includes adventure and excitement. Here we were heading to what some might call the honeymoon capital of the world.

When we first arrived in Santorini, I instantly knew what our driver was talking about. This place was like a picture, hand painted to perfection. Gorgeous views around every corner. I thought I was in a dream. Yes, it had all the elements for the perfect romantic getaway, but what I quickly discovered was that Santorini is not just for the lovers. It also happens to be for the wine lovers, the food lovers, and even the adventure lovers. Oh and yes, with the magical sunsets that take place every single night, it is also for the lovers as well.

I wanted to share with you a different side of Santorini. The Santorini that you don’t need to visit with your new hubby or wife . The Santorini that you can enjoy with a group of friends, solo, and even with your boyfriend of two years. The following are my top things to do in Santorini when you are looking for more than just a romantic getaway.

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Cliff Jumping

I had never been cliff jumping before but it was always something that I wanted to do. I had heard about a great cliff jumping spot in Oia by Amoudi Bay. When I made my way to the top of the cliff, I instantly knew why this spot had become a go to destination. You could see the entire city of Oia from here. The beautiful white buildings that resembled snow-capped mountains are all around you. The crystal clear Mediterranean down below. I cannot say that my jump was all that graceful, but it sure was exciting. Letting out your inner daredevil and going for a dive is a must if you visit Santorini.

 

Getting here: I probably should have mentioned this first, but getting to the actually cliff is a daredevil experience as well. You need to make your way down a slew of steep steps to Amoudi Bay. Once at the bottom you take the path on your left around the rocks and keep going until you see the rock out in the water. Trust me there will be people already jumping to let you know you have made it to the right spot.

ATV/RZR Tours

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When I first landed in Santorini I was amazed by the landscape of this island. Deep red and black rock cliffs are what make up this volcanic land and what better way to explore the amazing terrain then via ATV.

The great thing about taking an ATV tour is that it only takes around an hour to get around the whole island, meaning that there is plenty of time to explore along the way.

The roads can be a little scary. They are extremely narrow, not well marked, and for the most part you are driving up or down a giant slope, but the views are spectacular. Make sure to stop by the Monastery of Profit Ilias, the tallest point in all of Santorini for an incredible view of the entire island.

Beach visits

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To tie in with the unique landscape of the island, is the unique beaches that you can find here. Two of the more famous beaches are the Red and Black Sand Beach and they should both be on your list to do in Santorini.

The Red Sand Beach was truly remarkable. The beach is surrounded by deep red cliff sides. If you are heading to the Black Sand Beach make sure to bring some flip flops because the sand gets extremely hot.

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Wine Tasting

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I know, when you think of Greece you don’t particularly think of wine tasting but Greece and in particular Santorini has some of the most unique wine in the entire world.

Firstly, it is one of the few places in the world where you can get volcanic wine. The volcanic soil of Santorini really creates a different tasting experience. Secondly, their wineries aren’t afraid to experiment.

The winery that I went to in particular was called Domaine Singalas. This is one of the more daring wineries on the island because they will try all different types of fermenting and aging techniques to create one of a kind wines. Trust me each glass I tried was more delicious then the last.

The food at Domaine Singalas was also local and amazing, I highly recommend their eggplant tower!

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Taste the local food

As a true foodie, Santorini was a dream and there are two spots I cannot recommend enough.

Melitini: This might of been the best meal of my entire life. The food was so fresh and so delicious. It is a little tapas restaurant so make sure you order about three different plates to share. You need to try their dips  and order them with some fresh pita. I left their full and happy.

Vinyart: This restaurant was a little off the beaten path but it had a really cool vibe. Celebrating both the food and local art the restaurant was decked out with photography, sculptures, and paintings. Plus the food was amazing. For a mixture of a great meal and some culture you need to eat here.

Cool-off

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I learned the hard way that Santorini in the summer time is hot, hot, hot! But thankfully a lot of the hotels in Oia have beautiful pools with even more beautiful views. I had the chance to check out the infinity pool at the Canavas Suites. Not only was it a great way to cool down, but it also offered a stunning view of the Caldera.

 

Take in the Sunset

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Now we get to the romantic part of the trip, the famous Santorini sunsets. This island is known for having the best sunset in all of Greece, (maybe even the world). Whether you are there with your significant other, friends, or even by yourself the sunset is a must see.

I know that a lot of people will gather on the top of the castle in Oia to take in the views, but here is the thing, it can get really crowded and tough to find a good spot. So I decided instead to make a dinner reservation at Sunset Amoudi (hey a girl has to eat right). Sure it was a little pricey, but it was definitely worth having a front row seat to watch the sun set over an amazing day.

If you do chose to have dinner with a view, make sure to call ahead. A lot of the restaurants with sunset views will book up really quickly.

 

Take a Stroll

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One of my favourite things to do in Santorini was just taking a walk around town because you never know what you are going to find. Walk down some alleyways and you may just be surprised by some picturesque views perfect for your Instagram page!

 

Honorable mentions

There were two things that I really wanted to do, but alas the hot summer month of August didn’t seem to be the best time to do it. The first was hike from Fira to Oia. I have heard there are spectacular views along the way and will probably stare at pictures from other blogs regretting not doing this walk for as long as I live. The second was take a visit out to the volcano and hot springs, again hot springs seemed unappealing in 30-degree weather.

I honestly cannot recommend Santorini enough. It truly became one of my favourite places in this whole wide world. It offers so much beauty, so much culture, and so much to explore. You need to cross this one off the bucket list. Happy traveling friends!