Santorini, A Single’s Perspective

The island of love, they say. Every honeymooner’s dream, people tell me. The perfect place to be with your other half, couples boast. They also told me, it was definitely NOT the place to enjoy alone.

Yes Santorini is definitely a couple’s paradise. I was dying to go there purely for its insanely gorgeous scenery and clear, blue sea water. No matter how everyone said that it should be spent with your other half, I was determined to have a great time with my two girl friends.

After a bumpy start of my Greece tour in Mykonos, with the jellyfish and beachophobia. I finally arrived in Thira, the Greek name for Santorini, by ferry (two hours late from Mykonos!) in the evening. I was welcomed by a near to perfect sunset and zig-zag road which seems scary at first but with the view of perfection outside, you seem to forget this long and winded road by the cliff.

The middle-aged man who picked us up was the owner of the Pension we were going to stay for the next few days. The location of the Pension was perfect, just by a junction where the main buses passed to places in Santorini. His wife was a cheerful woman who sat us down and explained us about places to visit in Santorini. She took us to a room for three people, it was not extremely lavish but it was nice and comfortable. The Pension had a small swimming pool, which was quiet and peaceful. This was perfect.

I remember the old centre, called Fira, to be amazing, filled with mischievous aisles full of unique shops and tempting gelato stands. Just a few minutes walk to the edge, I was welcomed by this perfect view that you can only dream of seeing. A volcano can also be seen from the edge of the beautiful Fira. My friends and I did the bravest thing of climbing the volcano while it was around 40°C outside. Sweating and gasping for a breath of fresh air, we did finally made it to the top!

Volcano hike

While I was in Mykonos, I met a traveller from Australia and when I told her we were going to Santorini, she told us to search for the village of Oia. It was the place for sunset hunting. I just had to find this village. Fulfilled by the breathtaking view in Fira and exhausted from the volcano hike, we were ready to set our foot in Oia the next day. With a bus from Fira, Oia can be reached quite fast, around 20 minutes or less.

When I got there, it was already quite late, only a few hours away from sunset. I was ecstatic to see this sunset village that girl boasted to me earlier. Every sunset I’ve seen in Greece was already perfect, I didn’t think there would be any better.

One of my most amazing findings in Oia before finding a spot for sunset-watching was the blue-domed church, famous in practically every single Santorini postcard. The church itself was not full of carvings or complicated architecture, it was painted in plain white with a bright blue dome. It was so simple and yet so beautiful at the same time. I felt like I was finding surprising treasures in this village. After going around to discover this pretty village (and again more amazing view of the Aegean Sea), it was finally time for us to find the “perfect spot” for watching the sunset.

All of the sudden, this petite village was packed with people. There was actually a “traffic jam” as we walked from one place to another. Seemed that we weren’t the only one sunset hunting. Narrow streets were flooded with people covering its pretty cobbled-stone ground and cute jewelry and painting stands perfectly placed on each side of the aisle.

Finally we found a nice spot, less crowded and the countdown began. The sun, slowly but surely, sank down. Its colour turned from bright yellow to an amazing orange-tangerine colour. With no clouds in the sky, it was doing its solo performance so flawlessly. I think about the people living there all their life and enjoying this view every summer, how refreshing it must be for them. This was by far the most amazing sunset I have ever seen in my whole life. As the sun was swallowed by the night, a bright moon accompanied by twinkling stars replaced the empty sky. It was just breathtaking. I would do it again and again if I could. I love seeing how nature in itself can create such amazing transformation, from sun to moon, from daylight to darkness.

I realized after this spectacular show that around me were couple hugging and kissing. Of course there was a moment when I felt “man I wish I had a boyfriend!”, but standing next to me were my friends and I already felt lucky being with them, sharing this gracious setting of the sun.

For some people a destination is only “made” for a certain type of traveller, be it a backpacker, couple traveller, luxury traveller. However for me, “destination labelling” doesn’t make sense. A destination can indeed have multiple sides which can be enjoyed by everyone. Thira was an example. I enjoyed the view, beach and sunset as a single person travelling with friends. Once you are there, you literally forget about the prejudice given to the place.

So what do you think? Do you agree with me or is there some place you think only certain people can enjoy?

Word of advice
When travelling to Santorini, you will notice that they have donkeys carrying people from the endless stairs, both up and down. Please don’t do it! Take the cable car instead, they are not expensive and so much better than torturing these poor animals in the blazing heat of summer. I just didn’t have the heart to do it, even when some people call it a cultural experience, for me it’s just plain animal cruelty.

29 Comment

  1. Beautiful photos! I agree, I hate when people label destinations. I think it all depends on how you look at a place and what there is to do. The special people you share your experience with can be friends and sometimes that’s even better than a boyfriend. 🙂

    1. Oh so glad you agree with me! Absolutely, it depends on how you spend your time there and you are right, friends and family can be better than a boyfriend 😉

  2. “destination labelling” doesn’t make sense. I couldn’t more agree with you, Aggy. I’ve visited some of most romantic places in the world….with my family and yet I felt so happy. There’s no point to spend with a boyfriend if they start a fight or ruin your mood, right :p

    1. So true Deb! I never regret my choice of travel as a single, especially with friends and family. Maybe the most memorable travel moments I have was with them 🙂

  3. Santorini does look like the Paradise in your pics. Love the sunset shot!

    1. It is an absolute paradise, the sunset was unbelievable! Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  4. Wonderfully written as always, Gy 🙂
    I definitely agree that “destination labeling” should be shoved out of the window. Beauty is universal, and you don’t have a luxury traveler to enjoy the world. Greece in particular is just too damn beautiful to be missed in this lifetime.

    PS: if you’re surrounded with wonderful company, be it friends or family, who cares about being single 😀

    1. I knew you would agree with me and so glad you do! I know right, beauty can be enjoyed alone or with loved ones. I’m so glad I took my time to go there 🙂

  5. Hi Aggy,
    Great photos! The one of the blue domed church is spectacular and makes me once more long for Santorini! There was a small group of us (in-laws, friends & my hubby & I) Experiencing it with them made it so much sweeter. We’ve shared so many times since about the beauty that surrounded us that day! I agree with you, what’s important is to travel to see those beautiful places and not worry about any labels but enjoy the moment!

    1. Hi Nancy! Sounds like you had a great time in Santorini, it is such an amazing place isn’t it? I agree with you about enjoying the moment, I sure did that when I was there 🙂

  6. Whatever they said about the place, you have proven it can be explored by a single independent traveler in a very adventurous way! It was pretty romantic too :P. Well done. I’m not afraid of going there on my own and I agree – torturing these poor donkeys is just way too cruel!

    1. Thank you my dear Agness!
      I was really sad to see those donkeys, I cannot believe people are still doing this as “business” when there are probably hundreds of other opportunities in Santorini 🙁

  7. Nice post Aggy! And I couldn’t agree more with you.
    “destinations labeling” is overrated, and we really shouldn’t do that. It’s important for us to have an open-minded and accept a destination as what it is, not because some labels people put on them. When it’s said as a “couple destination” we probably enjoy it more with a partner, but still doesn’t mean that we can’t have a good time there as a solo traveler.

    1. Hey Esti! Well said! An open-mind is definitely important and hey, I had a blast in this super romantic destination with my friends 😉

  8. Lovely – and like everyone else I agree so much on the destination labeling thing… I would have to add, however, that labels like that of course have a prupose. Some singles might actually mind being there among mayn couples, so it’s good when they know about the reputation of the place and can decide for themselves if they want to expose themselves to that. In that sense I think destination labeling can be done – but it would never keep me from seeing a place even if I don’t fit the label 🙂

    1. I guess that make sense, seeing things from two sides. Some singles might not like being in a “coupley” place too. But for some like me and you, I don’t think it’s a reason for us to skip a place right? 😀

  9. Hey Aggy! It looks like you had an amazing time in Santorini. It looks so beautiful and your pictures are gorgeous! Where’s next?!

    1. Hi Sophie! It was so fab in Santorini. Just planning to explore Switzerland in the next few months. Hope you’re having a great time in Xi’An 🙂

  10. Good for you for seeing Santorini solo. I think destination labeling is so overrated. I have the fondest of memories in Oia.. and we also took the cable car. I feel bad for the donkeys. Plus, you prob don’t smell all that great afterward. LOL

    1. Hi Kieu! Oh yes the smell was rather awful too with those donkeys! I just found it really cruel to let them drown in the heat, so sad 🙁

  11. Wow Aggy – Santorini looks beautiful! You’re right, as travellers we have to be conscious of things that may be ethically wrong even if it is a ‘traditional experience’ – and I’m glad you pointed that out.

    1. Heya there girl with awesome hair 😉
      Absolutely lovely, you will love it there!

    1. Why thank you! I love it too 😀

  12. Γτιοργιος Κουστακουπουλις says: Reply

    Nice article, but I would like to clarify one point. Donkeys and asses are working animals in Santorini. When the tourists are not around, they are used to carry everything, whether it’s the weekly shopping or the materials to build a house. They are very strong animals and they are looked after by vets, with very stringent rules on their wellbeing. I would recommend tourists to use and enjoy them and allow their owners to earn a few euro (gondola 5 euro, donkey 4 euro)

    1. Ah ok, but I really didn’t have the heart to ride them. It is also similar in my home countries with horses, and I did use to ride horse carriages when I was little, now I don’t have the heart especially with the heat. However it all comes back to our personal choice. Thank for stopping by 🙂

  13. Hi, I am planning on visiting Santorini with friends for my birthday. Can you recommend any great singles hang-out?

    1. I think the beaches are great. I went to the red, white and black beaches and it was amazing! Enjoy the celebration with your friends 🙂

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