Santorini Part 2: Folegrandos

As much as I loved Santorini and its incredible views, Folegandros was a welcome break from the crowds that chocked the streets in Oia and Fira. A tiny island just north of Santorini, only accessible by ferry, Folegandros has a lot going for it. There's only a tiny port, so no huge cruise liners can dock here, which was one of the downsides of Santorini - there must have been five or six cruise ships sat in the caldera while were there, at times tarnishing its beautiful view. 

We stayed just inland near the port, in a contemporary hotel that's part of the Design Hotels Group. There's not much to do on the island, so this is a great place to come for some proper r&r. There are only three towns, with the main one, Chora, a 10 minute drive up into the hills from the port. When we went to visit on the second day, it was practically deserted, with only a few tourists wandering around and some of the old local men sitting outsides cafes playing backgammon or putting the world to rights. 

It's by far one of the prettiest towns I've visited, with traditional white Grecian buildings all beautifully preserved - so pretty, it almost didn't feel real. I particularly loved the crazy paving cobbled streets. And in the evening, it was like a different town, full of locals dining out in the open air cafes under a canopy of trees and fairy lights. It was truly magical. 

Top Tips: 

Stay: Anemi Hotel (lovely design and decor, but the service and food needs some work - they got our breakfast order wrong a few times and didn't know how to cook a soft boiled egg, which in my book is the first thing you learn when cooking!) 

Eat: Pounda Restaurant, which you can see in the photos above and below. You can't see it in the images, but there's a beautiful walled garden behind where the tables are - it's like a secret garden. The food is delicious and run by a husband and wife team (she also makes beautiful ceramics).

Beach: Katergo - there's a boat that takes passengers to and from the beach during the day. (Make sure you bring a parasol as there's no shade, as well as food and drink. It's secluded and there's no cafe..)

The port seen from the boat to Katergo beach 

Katergo Beach

Santorini Part 1: Oia

Santorini is by far the most beautiful island I've visited. In fact whilst walking around Oia, I kept repeating: 'I can't believe this place exists!' The white washed houses built into the cliffs, made brighter by the blazing sunshine are striking against the deep blue sky and sea just below. (Fortuitously I even packed to coordinate! See

here

,

here

and

here

.) And the odd splashes of colour - the bright blue church roofs, and buildings painted coral, pale yellow and pink are an added bonus. 

Santorini tips: 

- We stayed in Rimida Villas - traditional houses, right on the edge over-looking the Caldera with breakfast served on our doorstep each morning 

- Get a good coffee or fresh juice at Passagio

- Dine at Dimitri's in Amoudi Bay (a 10 minute walk down steps to the water) and Skala in Oia (a tavern with a great view) 

- Eat ice-cream at Lolita's (try the blueberry - I had two helpings!)

- If you can get accommodation facing the caldera, buy a bottle of wine, some nibbles and watch the sunsets from your terrace to avoid battling with selfie sticks and crowds in the town!