TRAVEL BLOG

Santorini & Mykonos

Our very own Personal Concierge Consultant, Kirsty, decided to venture to Santorini & Mykonos for 11 nights. She wanted to explore again and see first hand what the ‘ New Normal’ is like for travel. 

 

We have all been through a lot within the last 2 years with lockdowns, introduction to face masks everywhere, limited food supplies and restrictions on travel. Greece has always been a favourite destination of mine and I decided that I wanted to explore Santorini and Mykonos, so I decided to complete both in one trip. Why not hey!

For the majority of us, it has been a while since we packed that swimsuit & Sunglasses and hopped onto a plane, so I wanted to share my journey and experiences with you. I hope it gives you the confidence to travel again and call me to plan your next getaway.”- KIRSTY, PERSONAL CONCIERGE CONSULTANT. 

 

preparing for the trip

Not the most exciting information but important so lets get this part out of the way first….

Preparing for the vacation wasn’t half as stressful as I thought it was going to be because of all the new rules and testing.

I travelled in September 2021, so at this time Greece allowed fully vaccinated passengers to show their NHS Covid-19 or for unvaccinated passengers you would just present a negative result from a Antigen or PCR test. As I only received my first vaccination dose, I booked online a Rapid Antigen test to take the morning of my departure at the drive through centre at Manchester airport.  This cost around £40 and it was quick, simple and the results come back to me within 1 hour which allowed me to head to the airport to jet off to Greece that afternoon. 

We usually book a luxury chauffeur transfer, however we decided to pre book the onsite parking at Manchester Airport. Our vehicle was secure and because of their registration plate recognition, you easily enter the car park and park up. It is then only a 2 minute walk to the Terminal.  

Online Check in opened 48 hours prior to departure which allowed me to check in online and download my boarding passes. 

We completed an online passenger form that was required by the Greek authorities. This was simple to do and took 5 minutes to complete. 

We checked our passports to make sure that they had 6 months remaining on them as this is now important when travelling for a lot of destinations. Don’t be caught out at the airport, make sure you check it in advance! Don’t be caught out at the airport. 

**TIP** Booking with Optimum Experience, we would help you to book the correct pre departure testing if required, check you in online, reserve your seats and help/give as much advice regarding any pre departure information about Covid-19. Information can change at any time. 

the airport experience

The day was finally here, the start of my adventure to Santorini and Mykonos! I felt like a child again on Christmas morning, I was filled with excitement and that passion for travel was certainly back running through my veins!

There is nothing worse than a queue, especially when you’re going on holiday so we fast tracked through security, treated myself to some goodies in duty free (who doesn’t right?) and then headed straight to the airport lounge. Here we indulged in alcoholic and soft drinks in a comfortable and quiet environment. It was the perfect place to relax and unwind before the flight. 

*FYI* All bookings with Optimum Experience will include Fast Track through security in the UK airports and an airport lounge if one is available in your departing airport. 

It was that time, it was time to board! I felt like I was skipping all the way from the lounge to the gate as I waited so long for this getaway. 

Sat in my seat, ready to take off, any worry that I had prior to the airport about travelling again just flew away with me. Mykonos, here we come!

ARRIVAL INTO MYKONOS

Almost 4 hours later and a few drinks enjoyed, we had arrived late in the evening into Mykonos. We didn’t get that Sunshine hitting your face moment as it was dark, however  that warm heat still hit us as we left the aircraft. Oh I had missed that feeling! 

We disembarked the plane and inside, we had to have ready the QR code, passports and Covid-19 pass/negative test result for inspection by the border control. They were efficient and we were not in any long queues, which was perfect as I just wanted to grab my bags and go. 

 We headed to the arrivals hall where our chauffeur driver was waiting for us with a friendly smile and he was easily located as my name was on a board. I felt like a VIP as he took our baggage and showed us to the luxury vehicle which was just outside. No stress, no wondering how I was getting to my villa, everything was all organised and it was ice and easy. Exactly how it should be. 

20 minutes passed by quickly as the driver was super friendly and offering us advice on where to visit while in his home country. This is exactly why I loved Greece, everyone is just so friendly. We arrived to our villa, checked in and had an early night ready for our week of adventure in Mykonos!

**FYI** Optimum Experience will always organise a luxury chauffeur transfer or a luxury car hire if preferred.

DINING & Drinking IN MYKONOS

As we stayed close to Mykonos town, we managed to visit some well known restaurant’s in this area. Mykonos is known for it’s high end restaurants, bars, nightlife and delicious dining. There is something for everyone, even if you just fancied that Greek kebab to fill a gap. 

Here are places that are must for your visit in Mykonos. Tried and tested:

 

Mamalouka, Mykonos Town

Not only does this place have the most amazing décor, atmosphere and service but the food was unbelievable. Perfect for lunch or dinner, the choice is extensive from salads, fish and meat dishes to mouth watering deserts. If you’re celebrating a birthday, make sure you go here and tell them as you may get a lovely surprise from the staff. 

Located in the heart of Mykonos Town, you would get a taxi to the edges and walk to it, however this was the best part as Mykonos Town is filled with white washed buildings and cobbles streets. 

 

Negrita, Mykonos Town

Situated in Little Venice, this was the place to be to watch the sunset, have some amazing cocktails and a place to enjoy music through the night. With the sounds of the crashing waves and upbeat music, it was a lovely change of scenery for the night.  Highly recommended and one of my favourite places to go! Make sure that you try it at least once to watch the sunset to end your perfect day in Mykonos.

 

Blu Blu Lounge, Mykonos Town

Blu Blu was our go to bar as it offered everything from light lunches, great cocktails and one for the sporting fans, all day sports! This is the place to go if you or the other half are having any withdrawals from the football with amazing views!

When we were there, the Anthony Joshua fight was taking place, so they put on a huge screen in a large back room and the atmosphere was just incredible. Everyone was in great spirits, the service was great and plenty of drink choice to keep you going all night.

Blu Blu is situated jus a 5 minute walk away from the main town area and Little Venice in Mykonos Town. The perfect way to start your evening before heading into town. 

EXPERIENCES IN MYKONOS

Little Venice

Have you ever seen those amazing videos on social media under Mykonos that show a line of tables outside bars along a little bay with the water splashing up and amazing sunsets? Then this is Little Venice!

I would highly recommend visiting ‘Little Venice’ in Mykonos Town, not only does it have the picturesque cobbled streets and great bars but the sunsets are just breath-taking. One of my best evening’s were spent here as we booked a table at Bao’s Cocktail bar which was situated in the centre for a stunning sunset view. It was on the edge of the water and we had a cosy corner where we relaxed, drank champagne and watched the sky turn from blue, to orange to darkness filled with stars. Moments like this, you cannot put a price on it, as this memory will stay with me forever. 

Top tip for the ladies – Wear flats as the cobbles make it difficult to walk on in some parts of this area.

Kalua Mykonos

This was a fun day and one that #i won’t forget from Mykonos. If you like to visit a Beach club while away, then this is the place for you. It is situated in Parga and easily accessible via a luxury transfer from any part of Mykonos. 

We hired out a large Cabana for the day which had the most amazing beach views,  great background music and the sun shining down on us. We spent the day sipping champagne, sunbathing and eating delicious Sushi. The perfect day to relax and unwind and enjoy the Greek sunshine. 

‘Mills of Mykonos’

Situated in Mykonos town, take a wonder from Little Venice over to the historic Mills of Mykonos. When searching for Mykonos, these appear in many photos and they have become very iconic. We went over just before sunset, then grabbed a drink and sat by the wall to watch another amazing sunset to end such an amazing day. 

 

EXPERIENCES CAN BE RECOMMENDED AND PRE BOOKED BY YOUR PERSONAL CONCIERGE CONSULTANT , PRIOR TO YOUR VACATION.

ARRIVAL INTO SANTORINI

Our week was over in Mykonos and from experiencing the delicious food, various sightseeing and the friendliest local’s, it will always be known to me as Magical Mykonos!

The most amazing thing was that I was not going to start my holiday blues as I wasn’t going home, it was time to venture over to the beautiful island of Santorini and make some new memories there!

We pre booked a luxury chauffeur to take us from our villa to the ferry port and I would recommend that you get to the port about 45 minutes prior to departure as there is no check in procedure. We waited in the outdoor café area until a member of staff asked everyone to queue up as the Ferry was approaching. As we were waiting, they checked the Covid-19 pass or negative results.

Once the ferry arrived, you just simply walk onto the ferry, show your ticket and make your way upstairs to your allocated seat that is on your ticket. You are greeted by a member of staff and they direct you to where you are seated. The seats were leather and comfortable and a small cafe onboard offering refreshments. 

2 hours sailed by and we were in beautiful Santorini. The sun was shining and our chauffeur was waiting for us as soon as we got off the Ferry in the arrival area. 30 minutes went by and we were in stunning Fira. After freshening up, we headed to the town to start our 4 night adventure on this stunning island. 

DINING & Drinking IN SANTORINI

Santorini is well known for it’s amazing Caldera views, but that is not the only thing that is great about this island. Santorini also has various dining options with so many choices that will cater for all types of dietary requirements. It also has bars that vary from small,  romantic bars to enjoy with a loved one or a bar that will play your favourite music where you can dance the night away. 

Here are a few restaurants that I tried, LOVED and would recommend you to try them too:

 

Ohh Boy, Fira Town

If you are looking for a restaurant in Fira town that will blow you away from the moment you walk through their doors, then this is the one. It serves simple but delicious food with the most amazing view of the caldera.

As it was my first night in Santorini I had high expectations as I had seen photo’s online, however this was exceeded. The feeling I had when I first saw that view was just breath-taking.  If you are vegetarian, then this place has a good selection to choose from.

 

Buddha Bar, Imerovigli

Buddha Bar in Santorini is where the East meets West in this stunning restaurant with a breath-taking view ofthe sunset in Santorini. The surroundings are lavish, food is divine and once again a great opportunity to watch the sunset without obstructions.

If you enjoy sea food, then the Sushi is recommended! I had the tuna option and it was divine! They do also offer various different meal dishes including vegetarian so you will still be spoilt for choice.

Staff here were very attentive and the evening that we visited, it was a little breezy (as it is so high up and it was late September), so they gave me a blanket to put over my legs. Tip ladies, if you go here at that time of the year maybe wear trousers rather than a skirt or dress!

 

Nektar Lounge, Fira Town

If you are looking for a hearty breakfast, lunch or just a glass of fizz then head over to Nektar Lounge situated in the heart of Fira Town.

The perfect views and friendly staff just make it the perfect spot to relax and unwind. We met one couple there and they told us they go there every morning for breakfast and have been doing for many years! I asked them why and they said it the people, the view and they are so accommodating with their dietary requirements. What more could you need.

 

EXPERIENCES IN SANTORINI

Oia, Santorini 

If you are not staying in Oia, then I would say take a visit to this beautiful part of Santorini. I bet you have already heard of this place or seen the pictures, which could have been the reason for booking your stay here. 

You will not be disappointed, as it is filled with the White washed buildings with the blue and colourful roofs and cobbled streets. Oia is also filled with high-end boutique shops, bars and restaurants. All with amazing views. 

You can get to Oia easily by either arranging a luxury chauffeur or hiring a car for the day. 

FYI – Visit Oia in the morning (great for sunrise) as this is the quietest time. You will be able to stroll and enjoy the area at leisure. Anything after 12pm, then the crowds do start to appear as it is the hot spot for photo’s.

 

Perissa

If you fancy a change of scenery and a bit more of a relaxed environment away from a bustling town or city, then head to the coastal village of Perissa. We stayed here for 2 nights to end our trip and it was the best decision. 

It has 7km of beach and the beachfront is lined with bars, restaurants and small shops. Great place to go for a nice long walk and stop off through it for a nice cold drunk or spot of lunch! 

A bar that I would recommend is the Tranquilo bar as it is very colourful, laid back vibe and the staff were just amazing. We sat there for 4 hours in the sunshine, enjoying sangria and watching the world go by. The perfect spot for an afternoon to spend quality time together. 

Anyone vegan visiting this area will love it here, as their food is vegan!

RETURNING HOME

It was time to return home, very sad crying face. 

When we arrived, the queue was very long to check our bags in, however we had Fast Track booked. Thank goodness for this, it saved at least an hour of waiting! Got through security and did some last minute duty free shopping. 

Almost 4 hours later, were back to reality and in Manchester Airport. I heard so many stories about long queue’s in the arrivals security, so I booked the Fast Track through security to test it. The result was that it was the best thing that I could do as we went straight to the front, scanned our code, showed our passport to border control and straight to collect our bags. Some people were waiting between 30-60 minutes to get through. 

There was no stress, no long waiting times and we were home in no time. 

FYI – All bookings with Optimum Experience will include the Fast Track returning back into the UK Airports where available.  

“FINAL THOUGHT- I had nothing to worry about with travelling, Greece is still one of my favourite destinations to visit and I have made memories that will last me a lifetime. 
This is what Optimum Experience is all about, helping to create those memories from recommended experiences. 
So, the questions is, are you ready to explore again?
Contact us today so we can turn that dream into a luxury reality for you and your loved ones.”.

RECOMMENDED accommodation IN SANTORINI

CANAVES OIA EPITOME

Located on the Northen part of the cosmopolitan town of Oia, Canaves Oia Epitome is set above the picturesque fishing town of Ammoudi. The hotel features an infinity-style main pool, a breakfast restaurant, a sunset lounge bar-restaurant, a sun terrace and private cabanas by the pool. Elegantly designed, the suites and villas include a private or plunge pools, sea views and access to the beach in a walking distance. Guests benefit from complimentary drink upon arrival, butler service, VIP butler service upon request, laundry service, fitness area, and massage and spa treatments.

Signature Champagne a La Carte or Room Service breakfast is available daily at Canaves Oia Epitome. Daily yoga sessions and a pool bar are also provided.

You will find Katharos Beach in a walking distance from Canaves Oia Epitome. Complimentary shuttle to/from Oia Town is provided and free parking is available

RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATION IN MYKONOS

BILL & COO SUITES

Bill & Coo, a beachside boutique hotel in Mykonos Town, offers sea-view serenity and contemporary coastal cool in the Aegean Islands. There’s a large waterfront pool at both locations. At the Suites and Lounge, a classy combination of glass and wood-panel flooring surrounds the infinity pool, where you can unwind on banquettes or sun loungers and admire the view (and your fellow guests). At the Coast Suites, the pool fringes the the beach and has a sun terrace with large cabanas.

Rooms 50 suites and villas.

Facilities
Restaurant, Swimming pool, Spa, Gym/fitness suite, Pet-friendly
Spa and gym, valet parking, free WiFi throughout, dry-cleaning service. In-room amenities: LCD TV; Sonos sound-system; tablet for controlling the temperature, tea- and coffee-making facilities, lighting and more; straw hat or baseball cap; Molton Brown toiletries..



 


where dreams become memories

Based on 2 adults sharing one room. Offer subject to availability at the time of the booking and the price may vary depending on the flight & hotel availability and the exchange rates. Other UK airports are available, price may vary, please check with your consultant.

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(Other dates are available, prices may vary, speak to your consultant today) .

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