Santorini is a tender port, and you have to get from the base of the island up to the top, which is done either by cable car, walking or by donkey. This can make for some long lines and can be time consuming by the time you get off the ship and take the tender over. We decided to do a ship excursion to avoid all of that, and our tender took us directly to a dock where we were met by a bus and driven right up to the top for the start of our tour.
Santorini is one of the islands that uses private ferries for tenders instead of the ship's lifeboats. This way many more passengers can fit on board at one time.
Our first stop was in Oia, to see the Blue Domes. We drove and our guide talked about the island, and what we would be seeing during our tour today, and we made it to the parking lot where so many other buses were already parked! Afterall, it was already after 2:00 right? She walked us up to a squre in Oia, and then took us around another corner to another square, gave us some directions and then what time to meet back at the bus and off we went!
We wandered the crowded streets and followed the people, and finally we saw the domes. I wish I would have taken a picture of all of the people taking pictures though. It was amazing just how many people were here! But it was stunningly beautiful!
Our next stop was a smaller town where some in our group walked up to a chapel on the top of a hill for a better view, while others of us wandered around a bit in the town square. Keith and I chose to hang out and relax a bit. It was a nice bit of quiet time, people watching. And donkey watching.
Part of our tour was a Greek Celebration dinner. This was a huge banquet type meal with a few hundred people I'm guessing who were on this tour but on different busses. We had a Greek buffet dinner, which was good, and then there was some Greek dancing and Opa plate breaking! It was a fun ending to the meal!
After dinner it was almost time for the sunset, so it was time to head towards Fira for the view, and then we would make our way back to where we could catch the cable car back to the tender to the ship.
When we got to Fira, our guide brought us to a great spot to see the sunset. This is one of those things, that if you're in Santorini, the sunset is a highlight. People stop what they're doing to watch the sun set and when you see it happen, you will see why.
Afterwards we got our directions to the cable car, and said our goodbyes to our guide, and our group. We had plenty of time if we wanted to shop a bit, or hang out. But we decided to make our way back to the ship. It had been a pretty long day.
The line for the cable car was long. I think we waited about 45 minutes to an hour, so keep that in mind if you are going! It moved, and people were friendly! But leave yourself time if you have a ship to catch! We saw the donkeys coming up the mountain....
And before getting on the cable car, the sky had the most beautiful colors!