This is personally my favourite town in Santorini. It is overwhelming how beautiful the view is from here. I highly recommend staying in this area when visiting Santorini.
Ride a quad bike to Ammoudi Bay
My friend and I accidentally stumbled upon this small village and were amazed to discover it was used for some of the movie Sisterhood of the Travelling pants 2. It is a fishing village and has around 5 cute restaurants with tables looking over the bay. To get here – keep driving through the town of Oia and you will come across a sign directing you where to go. *Beware parking is a nightmare so best to take a scooter or a quad bike!
Visit the Ancient town of Thera
Ancient Thera dates back to the 9th Century BC and has the most amazing views of the Island!
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A black sand beach with cute artsy souvenier shops, cafes and restaurants. After a hard mornings shopping, you can spend the afternoon lounging on the beach with free wifi and a food and drinks menu. *Usually 5 euros to rent a lounge chair
Volcanic Crater Tour
A MUST do while in Santorini. The tour includes a boat ride to the island of Nea Kameni where the volcano is located (on a ship – how cool is that!?), there you have the opportunity to walk to the top of the crater, where you get to see Santorini from afar, and briefly learn about the history of the volcano. Afterwards you can go swimming in the hot springs that were created thousands of years ago, then you sail to Thirasia Island, where you can eat in the small taverns near the port, swim, or visit the village of Manolas on the top of Thirasia.
This beach is well known for its colour, hence the name. It can be reached either by boat or by foot, lounge chairs are available for rent to lie on the beach. Be prepared to pay for one as the sand is very rocky. Awesome place to visit, surrounded by red cliffs and clear water.
Try traditional greek food
When in Greece, you must try traditional food. Santorini was my first stop in Greece and I couldn’t wait to try it all. Baklava is my favourite – a sweet nut filled pastry. If you’re on a budget and can’t dine out for all meals like me, kebabs are only around 2 euros.
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Watch the sun set in Oia
Follow the signs in the town of Oia and park yourself up to watch the sun set. It is a breathtaking thing to watch, but I recommend getting their early to secure yourself a spot as it gets quite busy.
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Ride a donkey
Last but not least – have a go at the locals mode of transport and ride a donkey!
This post is going to be a bit different than usual – it’s turned more into a “journal” entry about my experience in Morocco, and what we did each day. I am so grateful to have had time off work, to be able to visit here the past week. It was by far one of the best experiences of my life, and I will never forget it.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect coming to Marrakech. I had heard a lot of speculation as to whether it was safe to visit or not. I do believe it is a safe city to visit – in saying that, all normal precautions must still be made (such as locking away valuable belongings in hotel, paying attention to items you have on you, not to carry too much cash on hand).
Marrakech is such a colourful, vibrant city, and the weather was absolutely stunning our whole trip, although a bit chilly at night.
The first day we were there, we wandered the souks (local markets) and explored the Ben Yousef Madrasa – an old Islamic college that was founded in the 14th Century. I straight away fell in love with the architecture and tiling of this building. We then found ourselves perched at Terrasse des Epices – which overlooked the rooftops of Marrakech. We all (accept Rachel) decided to try our first Tagine, a traditional North African dish, which was delicious! Faye and I then ventured off to visit the Marrakech Museum together.
As dinner time came around – we headed to a restaurant recommended by the owners of our Riad (a large traditional house built around a central courtyard, often converted into a hotel). I ordered a three course meal; a salad as a starter, chicken tagine as the main, and orange and cinnamon as the dessert, for a whopping 6 euros total! Still to this day I find it hard to fathom the prices of things in Morocco!
The next morning began with breakfast at 6:30am, as we left on our Sahara adventure at 7am. The journey to the desert was long, but was broken into pieces, as we had a few stops along the way. First stop being the Atlas Mountains. We then continued on to our next destination – Ait Benhaddou. An old town, which was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Films and TV series have also been filmed here, such as The Gladiator, The Mummy and Game of Thrones. Faye and I used most of our time here sneaking off the beaten track and lagging behind our tour group. The remainder of the day was spent in the van until we arrived at the edge of the desert by nightfall.
We were greeted by some locals and were taken to our next ride – a Camel! Despite the fact the sun had set, the moon was bright enough to light our way. The locals guided our camels in the direction of the campsite, and I wondrously gazed at the thousands of stars above me and took in the moment. It was nice to see the stars, since i’m sure they have been hiding from us in Paris. At our campsite, hot tea was brought to our “rooms” as a welcome offering. Soon after, Dinner was served; delicious Berber soup (Harira) and…wait for it….tagine! We filled our belly’s and moved to the bonfire outside, where we spent our night dancing to music with the Locals.
I barely slept that night, because of the pure fact that I was too cold! For those of you who plan to sleep overnight in the desert, make sure you bring some warm pj’s, cause I surely didn’t. I am unsure as to whether it would still remain cold during the summer nights however!
Eventually the sun began to rise, and that was our que to get up, once again around 6:30am. I don’t think any of us expected to be getting up this early in the mornings on our trip, as we were on holiday of corse. I guess not all holidays mean sleep ins! We grabbed our blankets and headed out, seeing the desert for the first time in daylight. This sight definitely woke us all up! We hung around the Camels, acting like silly school girls laughing at the funny noises and faces they were making, trying to capture as many as we could on our cameras.
At 7am it was time for us to depart on our camels once again for a 30 minute ride to our vans. The trip back to Marrakech wasn’t hugely exciting, as we only stopped once for lunch. We were all extremely happy to get out of the van when we arrived home.
The owner of our Riad then suggested a place that we could go get a Hammam which we thought meant a Moroccan massage. All of us were a bit stiff and sore from riding the camels, so we thought this was a great idea! We all had no idea what we were in for and it ended up being the complete opposite to what we expected! A Hammam (In Arabic translates to “Hot Water”) is traditionally known as a Turkish/Roman style Bath. This is a place where locals go to cleanse or purify themselves.
When we arrived at the Hammam, we were instructed to take all our clothing off and put on a robe. Little did we know that they would then tell us we did not need our robes and throw the 5 of us into a sauna together, practically naked! Suddenly hot water was thrown all over us and we sat there laughing our heads off at how uncomfortable we felt! They then scrubbed us down and covered us in mud and clay. I can say this was a very different experience and if I had known what it was going to be like – I probably would have said no way! But now that i’ve done it, despite how out of my comfort zone I felt, I’m glad that we had the chance to partake in something so traditional in the Moroccan lifestyle.
The next morning exploring more of Marrakech, buying spices, teas, and some remedies to help our skin. We then visited Bahia Palace from the 19th Century. Bahia means “brilliance”, and this Palace was intended to be the best of its time.
Lunch was spent at Nomad – which had to be my favourite restaurant the whole entire trip! The view was perfect and food was absolutely delicious, so good that we went back the next day! Nomad is definitely a must do for those of you whom plan to visit Marrakech.
Next stop was the main square, also known as the ‘Jemaa el-Fnaa’. Here we aimlessly wandered the markets and somehow ended up with snakes around our necks! Having never touched a snake in my life, I was quite nervous! and of all people, the ‘snake man’ decided to grab a handful of baby snakes, and casually place them on top of my head, mid photo. You can see from a photo below that I was not too happy about that.
Sadly afterwards it was time for Faye to head back to England – as she had to leave a day before us. We said our goodbyes and then headed up to the rooftop of our Riad to watch the sunset over Marrakech.
And then it finally became our last day. We decided to make a quick tour around the Majorelle Garden, the Saadian tombs, and the New Town of Marrakech. The Majorelle Garden was beautiful and the colours of the buildings were such a lovely blue. It has been open to the public since 1947. In 1980 the garden had been owned by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and when Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008 his ashes were scattered here.
We returned to Nomad for lunch, this time managing to get a table in the sunshine. We all made the most of our last meal in Marrakech and ordered a lot! It was just as good as the first visit.
After lunch, it was time to go back to our Riad and pack our bags and head to the airport. I started getting a little sad at this point as I was having too much fun and didn’t want to go back to the cold, rainy weather in Paris.
Now i’m off to London in 6 weeks with my parents, who are visiting me during the holidays from New Zealand!! You can say i’m a tad excited!! 🙂
You can also watch what we got up to in Morocco in the video below – Don’t forget to subscribe for more videos like this to come 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!
A lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon in Paris has brought me to reminisce through my old photos from my trip to California this past July. If there’s something I learned in my month living in California, it’s that every evening, my breath was taken away by an exquisite sunset. Sadly one month was most definitely not enough time in this wonderful place. California is known for its dreamy weather and beaches, and definitely exceeded my expectations when I was lucky enough to go there. Who knows, maybe my future will bring me back? Only time will tell.