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I went sailing in Santorini! Sunset Oia boat cruise: Greek islands tour, beaches, Ia architecture.

rupaul big blow out hairstyle

Hello from one of the world’s most fabulous beach destinations: Santorini, Greece! The Mediterranean breeze made me look like RuPaul for a moment…

(I’m dressed in this exact Iron Fist skeleton bones jacket. More items from this fun Gothic brand below).

oia santorini blue roof churches

In my first post from Santorini, I took you inside my luxurious villa overlooking the Mediterranean.

In addition to securing us the perfect stay, Blue Villas Collection helped us arrange activities on the island (they have a concierge service for all their guests).

oia windmill, ia houses

Before and during the trip, our Blue Villas concierge gave us personalized advice to make the most of our Santorini sojourn.

Thanks to her tips, we went to postcard-perfect Oia (Ia) during the best time of day, and relaxed on all the major beaches on the island. (All photos by Joey Wong)

irregular choice clothing, fashion

I told our concierge that I wanted to do a sunset sailing trip (when in Greece, one must spend time on the water!). She immediately recommended a half-day cruise with Sunset Oia, the leading company for yacht excursions in Santorini.

♡ Outfit Details ♡ I’m wearing cat-eye sunglasses by Moat House, and a unicorn fringe top by Irregular Choice (it is from the wardrobe of my friend Rose). While my shirt is no longer found online, it’s similar to this Carmen pom pom top and off-shoulder white dress with rainbow pom-poms.

traditional greek fishing boats

Sunset Oia has a handy shuttle service included in tour packages, which makes it easy to get to the starting point. A driver picked us up right outside our private villa, and took us to Vlychada port. Quite a few colorful, traditional Greek boats were tethered to the pier.

sunset oia sailing dinner cruise

Ahoy, mateys — here comes our Sunset Oia catamaran!

Sunset Oia is a local organizer of luxurious sailing tours, ranging from small group day-trips to romantic private cruises. Their fleet of modern, luxurious yachts brings guests to beautiful spots all around Santorini, including the beaches and therapeutic hot springs.

oia harbor dock greece

Joey and I had signed up for a 5-hour water excursion, which departs in the afternoon and stops in multiple locations. We got to dine on fresh Greek food on-board, then watch the sun set while drifting on the Aegean.

boat cruise santorini greek islands

Sunset Oia’s friendly and professional crew welcomed us on board, and walked us through safety instructions. We had to remove our shoes and put them in a basket for the duration of the journey — hence the barefoot photos!

For those of you who worry about sea sickness: fear not. We had a smooth ride throughout, with no choppiness. (However, the crew has ginger chews available in case you feel nauseous).

santorini sailing, luxury yacht boat

Our Sunset Oia trip stopped in several locations, starting with Akrotiri or Red Beach, famous for its rust-colored cliffs. We weren’t able to get off the boat, but guests had the opportunity to jump overboard and swim or snorkel for about 15-20 minutes. 

(As you might expect, I didn’t go into the water — but used this opportunity to sit in the corner seat and take photos!)

akrotiri red beach santorini

On a different day, I took the bus to Red Beach and took these snaps. (Give yourself at least 15 minutes to walk from the bus stop to the beach, and even longer if you go up the hill and down to the larger stretch of sand).

The peculiar rocks originate from volcanic lava, hence the reddish-brown hue.

santorini red beach church

Akrotiri is also an important archaeological site; starting in the late 19th century, excavators discovered the remains of a Minoan Bronze Age settlement. Above is a curving white church that currently sits near the beach.

sailing yacht fashion, greece

I’m a pirate at heart, and love the feeling of sailing o’er the seas. But leave your tricorn hat at home, as it would blow off from the wind. Instead, I wore layers (as it can get chilly), sunglasses, and lots of sunscreen.

– My unicorns top is by Irregular Choice, who are best known for their wildly original shoes. They have heels that look like Cinderella, Snow White and Star Wars Darth Vader for example! Scroll more mind-blowing designs:

boat tours day trips oia

Sunset Oia took us to intriguing spots on Santorini that are only accessible by boat. One of my favorites was this little hideaway, which is inhabited by one hermit. Doesn’t this look like a scene from an alien movie?

greek boating sailing trip

The white church and yellow boats stand out starkly against the dark cliffs. It must feel like being on another planet, living here…

sunset oia review, boats

Sunset Oia pipes music out onto the deck, and makes drinks available at all times. This is my happy place: sitting on the tarp, sipping ouzo, watching the horizon…

best santorini sailing tours cruises

High up above, we spotted the ancient lighthouse. A day cruise is well worth it, if you’re in Santorini — you can only see views like this here.

oia sunset view dinner

Yarr for pom-pom fashion. More designs from Irregular Choice here and below:

drinking party cruise greece

The ship’s crew prepared a spread of Greek food for us, including fresh BBQ. I filled my plate with dolmades, tzaziki, Greek salad, Mediterranean pasta… and washed it down with plenty of anise-flavored ouzo, the Greek aperatif that is similar to absinthe. Dessert was slices of green apples, drizzled in Greek honey and cinnamon — so good!

santorini catamaran sunset cruise

Santorini’s sunsets are infamous for their beauty. I can’t begin to describe the joy of watching the sky change color, from the vantage point of the sea…

As the light faded to black, the catamaran pulled up to the historic port of Ammoudi in the village of Oia. Time to disembark, and board the shuttle to return to our villa.

Thank you Sunset Oia: your sailing experience was 5-stars from start to finish.

oia santorini windmill location

On another day, we traveled by bus to Oia / Ia (pronounced “Eee-yah”), the picturesque village at the top of the island. I suggest coming in the afternoon and making the most of golden hour, before enjoying the sunset.

oia ia blue church

We came right before the start of the spring tourist season, and turned out to be the right decision. The off-season meant we had the streets mainly to ourselves, and didn’t have to jostle with tour buses and tourists. At the same time, the sun was shining on the blue church domes (cupolas).

santorini greek orthodox church

Oia’s pastel and white colored homes are layered onto the high cliffs, and connected by snaking stairs. It’s like gazing upon an MC Escher drawing that meets the laws of nature.

I’m sure you have seen photos of this village before, with classic blue and white Greek Orthodox churches, and an old Aegean sea windmill. 

travel blogger instagram santorini

It’s a delight to explore Oia by foot — walking up and down the cobblestone steps, browsing Greek art stores, finding scenic points tucked around corners. Instead of following a map, simply wander and enjoy.

famous santorini windmill view

The cozy cave homes look out over the Aegean sea (Blue Villas has vacation rentals here as well). The Cycladic architecture is perfectly suited to its environment, and has lasted throughout the centuries.

cute sheepdog santorini cafe

I stopped by a cafe to eat a Greek salad, and watch the clouds pass over the caldera (volcanic crater sunk into the sea). The resident foofy sheepdog stole my heart!

oia ia architecture, stairs

Can you imagine living here, and having these views of the caldera and clear waters year-round?

santorini oia cliffs

Santorini’s other major village, Fira (Thira), has equally magnificent viewpoints. I shared photos and took you inside my accommodations, in Part 1 of Santorini.

santorini church bells, greek flag

Magic hour begins, as the sun begins to sink. (Photos by Joey Wong.)

female travel fashion blogger oia

The skies transform into pink, matching my hair.

pia watch sunset

Not bad, right?

oia sunset viewpoint

Santorini layers archtecture, cliffs and waters great

greek church sunset ia

No filter needed: the skies naturally turn into these rich, warm hues of pink. However, I suggest that you check the specific sunset time in advance, to avoid rushing and missing out.

oia santorini tourism tourists

Millennial pink and rose gold fans would feel right at home in Oia / Ia.

best sunset view in santorini

The best sunset viewing locations can get very crowded, especially during the high season. Try to avoid the pack of tour groups, which head to the same spot across from the windmill.

Joey and I found a side street that provided just as magnificent a view. There were only a handful of people next to us — hooray for unobstructed views and no chatterboxes to ruin the moment.

world's best sunset oia santorini

No wonder a Santorini sunset is on the bucket list of many a traveler. The light is radiant and dramatic, and one couldn’t have designed a better natural setting.

kamari beach santorini

One final must-visit spot: Kamari beach, located 10km southeast of Fira and easily reachable by bus. Kamari is known for its black pebbled beach — how Gothic!

greek bookstore cat atlantis books

Kamari is next to a little village that is worth a stroll. I said hi to this cat outside Atlantis Books, and stocked up on tins of sardines at the neighborhood grocer.

black sand beach santorini greece

Kamari has a long, black stretch of beach beneath the gloomy mountain of Mesa Vouno. The water is deep and blue, which gives the shore an unusual contrast.

prehistoric black egg rock

In 2002, locals discovered an archaic sanctuary dedicated to Achilles. Kamari’s dark volcanic rocks, which range in size from minuscule to massive, are even older.

black pebbles beaches greece

Doesn’t this look like a prehistoric dinosaur egg? The black rocks are polished by the waves into smooth circles and ovals.

skeleton bones jacket coat

A Goth beach requires a Goth outfit, don’t you agree? I’m wearing this exact Iron Fist jacket; find more styles below…

santorini beach ocean waves

There’s something about being by the ocean that thoroughly rejuvenates me. Do you feel this way too?

kamari beach big rocks

And that’s all she wrote about Santorini. If you’re interested in visiting any Greek island or mainland destinations, check out Discover Greece for lots of tips.

blue villas collection greece designer villa

Very grateful to Blue Villas Collection for hosting us in this futuristic-classic cave, and for the seamless daily arrangements. (Take a tour inside this villa in Part 1.)

sun setting oia santorini

The sun sets on Santorini — but there’s still one more post to come, from Greece.

I’ve saved the Acropolis for last... check back soon for photos from the ancient Athenian temple. And you can see previews of my Austin, Texas trip right now on Instagram @lacarmina.

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What to wear in Greece: Silver Goth babydoll dress! Pi Athens Hotel Suites, Aegean Airlines, Iron Fist Clothing.

iron fist skeleton babydoll dress

“It’s all Greek to me!” Ready for more from travel adventures from Athens?

In my first post, we went on an eye-opening underground, alternative walking tourThis time, I’ll show you where we stayed, and the intriguing architecture found all throughout the city.

There’s no substitute for coming here yourself — but to give you a sense of the experience, Joey Wong shot this travel video about our Athens trip. 

Please take a moment to watch the short vlog above, or on @LaCarmina YouTube.

Pi Athens Hotel π Π

Joey took these images of me on the rooftop of Pi Athens Suites, a newly-opened luxury hotel. From up here, you can see the Acropolis — and the “golden hour” lighting conditions are perfect as the sun is setting.

uchuu kei space japanese fashion

Outfit details: My silver baby-doll dress is this exact Iron Fist Gothic dress with a skeleton design, and a metallic clutch by Makeup Junkie Bags

(Shop my style with a click below:)

aegean airlines plane

I know many of you dream of visiting Greece, and have it as a bucket-list destination. Fortunately, it’s easy to get to Athens by flying on Aegean Airlines. Joey flew here from London (where there are three direct flights daily on Aegean), while I came direct from Amsterdam (on their daily flight) — and it only took us a few hours.

Aegean Airlines uses the latest technology to make the journey smooth: if you download the smartphone app, you can check in, download, and access boarding passes even when offline.

greece aegean airlines flight review

I chose a window seat for incredible views during the entire flight. I watched the Mediterranean waters, ancient Athenian ruins, and tiny islands below me… it was better than any in-flight entertainment!

I had an excellent experience flying with Aegean, which goes to more than 30 destinations within Greece. They also serve 145 international destinations in 40 countries, and are an award-winning Star Alliance member.

athens boutique art hotel

From the airport, it was only a short drive to Pi Athens / π Hotel, where we were staying. (Address: 4 Fokianou St, Athens, Greece).

I’m all about living like a local, and was glad to see that these suites were in a non-touristic neighborhood. Pi Suites is run by a family, which gives the stay a personal touch. The owner, Sokratis, greeted me warmly, shared his favorite restaurants, and showed me major sites on a map.

rooftop sunset athens greece

He took me up to the fourth floor, and we walked up to the π Terrace. From the hotel’s rooftop, I got a 360 degree, unobstructed view of the Panathenaic Stadium, Acropolis, the National Gardens, Filopapou Hill… a magic moment.

hotels near acropolis athens

The hotel’s location is ideal — within walking distance of the landmarks, yet in a neighborhood with an authentic, residential feel.

(In the next post, I’ll take you right up to the Parthenon, the iconic temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.)

athens apartment hotels suites

Sokratis is passionate about interior design, and did all the decor and furnishings himself. The result: Pi Athens’ interiors are modern and luxurious, with bursts of color. 

(If you like my Goth metallic fashion, see more below:)

art design luxury hotel athens

I particularly loved the interior courtyard of Pi Athens, which looks like a picture-window into a dollhouse. Such a cute place to sip coffee and bask in the sunlight, surrounded by greenery.

pi suites athens hotel room

π Athens only has six rooms, which gives guests the personalized service of a boutique hotel. The rooms are large, and decorated with modernist minimal accents (my favorite type of interior design, as you’ll recall from my apartment tour).

pi athens suites rooms

I slept extremely well in this big, fluffy bed…

(Wearing this exact Iron Fist Wishbone Halo dress, silver high heels from my friend Sandi, and a Makeup Junkie bag.)

greece top 5-star hotels

Every morning, I looked forward to the home-made breakfast downstairs. Fresh orange juice, Greek honey and orange marmalade with zest, and my beloved “dolmades” or seasoned rice wrapped in grape leaves. 

press trip greece travel blogger

Love the architecture of the suites, which take inspiration from pi. π is the Greek letter that symbolizes the ratio of the circle’s circumference to its diameter.

It’s impossible to square the circle (you get 3.1416… to infinity), but Pi Hotel Athens always aims to give guests a 5-star stay.

iron fist clothing goth clothes

(My pink hair is by Stephanie Hoy at Sugar Skull Studio in Vancouver. There’s a buzzcut / undercut / hair tattoo in the back, but you can’t see it if my hair is down.)

Panathenaic Stadium steps

Our hotel was right by the Panathenaic Stadium, or “Kallimarmaro” (which means “beautiful marble.”) This is the only stadium in the world built exclusively from marble, making it an architectural marvel as well as a historic monument.

You may recognize this Athenian stadium from TV — it’s where the Olympic flame is first lit, before it goes on a journey by foot, all the way to the hosting city.

bright pink goth long hair

● Outfit Details ● I’m wearing this Iron Fist Bone faux fur black coat, and metallic skeleton skirt (click the links to get these exact designs). My Ouija board shirt is from Long Clothing, and my fishnet stockings are similar to these.

athens olympic stadium

This landmark dates back to 330 BC, when it was a racecourse established by the Athenian statesman Lycurgus. It was refurbished in the late 19th century, and became the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

The stadium became an Olympic venue again, when Athens hosted the games in 2004. Today, it remains a popular site for events, and is the finishing point for the yearly Athens Classic Marathon.

Kallimarmaro athens stadium

I posed like a champion in front of the marble stands. (Although in the days of ancient Greece, Olympic athletes were always male… and they competed nude!)

athens greece olympics venue

Classic, timeless architecture. The ancient Greeks were ahead of their time, in so many fields.

first modern olympic games athens

From certain angles, the Panathenaic Stadium reminds me of a stark, alien spaceship.

travel influencer, snapchat instagram

I stopped in front of the massive Greek columns of the Zappeion. Located by the National Gardens, it was built in the 1880s as a fencing hall, for the first modern Olympic games.

faux fur coat fashion blogger

Vertical meets horizontal, light and shadow. For architecture buffs like myself, Athens is a joy to explore on foot.

athens greece outdoor cafes

The city’s neighborhoods have very different vibes, ranging from gritty industrial, to romantic Mediterranean. One of my favorite parts of Athens was Monastiraki, in the winding paths near the Acropolis. 

athens patio restaurants

Find a local cafe, bask in the sun, sip a coffee or ouzo (Greek anise-flavored liqueur), and dine on orange cake (made with layers of filo, orange zest, and Greek honey)… Zeus, this is heaven.

greek food, sea bass, sardines

It’s rather obvious that I’m a fan of Greek food! I could wax on about the incredible dishes we tried in Athens.

I suggest asking locals for recommendations, and dining on traditional fare from the region. Two of my favorite restaurants were Fish Point (8 Archimidous St, Plastira Square, Pagrati) and Seychelles (‎Kerameikou 49, Athens 104 36). The grilled sardines with fresh lemon, sea bass, cabbage dolmades with herbs, spanokopita (spinach feta and filo pies)… take me back…

Korres olive oil soap creams

And needless to say, Greek olive oil is beyond compare. In addition to eating it with every meal, I found my new favorite bath product: olive oil soap from Korres. This company creates Greek beauty products with natural ingredients like honey and yogurt;  I also picked up an avocado face mask that is a winner.

Mitropolis Church in Athens, Greece

It’s fascinating to see layers of history in Athens, one of the world’s oldest cities. Above is Mitropolis, or Greece Metropolitan Cathedral, built in the late 19th century.

athens old greek orthodox church

Walk a little more, and you’ll come across the Panaghia Kapnikarea: a Greek Orthodox church, and one of the oldest in the city. This structure dates back to the 11th century, and it was built over an ancient Greek pagan temple dedicated to either the goddess Demeter or Athena. Today, it’s in the center of a busy, modern shopping area!

modern athens greece hotel

Ultra modern meets ancient… Athens is one fascinating city.

(All photography by Joey Wong.)

acropolis pantheon ruins hill

If you’re planning a visit to Greece, check out the Discover Greece portal for lots of helpful travel tips. You’ll find suggestions for every type of traveler, from family hotels to nature excursions to spas.

athens architecture apartments

How are you enjoying my Athens stories and outfits of the day? Wait until you see what I wore to the Parthenon… you can see glimpses of this in our travel video – come watch!

 

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We stayed in a Santorini cave with Blue Villas Collection! Ikastikies Suites, luxury villa vacation rentals in Greece.

Blue Villas Collection Vacation Rentals greece

Ah, take me back to Santorini!

Imagine waking up in a luxurious cave villa… walking out to a private patio with this view of the cliffs… and then digging into a hand-delivered local breakfast.

perissa beach santorini greece

That was my life for a sweet moment in time, thanks to the outstanding team at Blue Villas Collection!

As you’ll see in this photo diary, they went above and beyond to ensure we had the best possible stay in gorgeous Santorini.

luxury cave design villa santorini

I’ve always wanted to stay in a classic Greek home, but wasn’t sure how to find the right accommodations. Thankfully, Blue Villas works with over 200 luxury rentals on four Greek islands, hand-picking only the best hosts.

My lovely concierge took the time to get to know my interests (modern design, young local culture, photography), and paired me with the perfect Santorini stay — the cave-like Ikastikies Elegant Suites

firostefani fira villas santorini

The 5-star service began from the moment we arrived. Our concierge, Amanda, personally picked us up and took us to several insider locations on the island — including a Cretan bakery and scenic spots.

Then, she drove us to Firostefani (north of Fira), and helped us get settled into our dream vacation home. (All photos by Joey Wong).

ikastikies elegant suites, hotels santorini

Amanda introduced us to George, owner of Ikastikies Suites. He designed the four villas himself and runs them as a family operation.

As you can see, Blue Villas Collection is all about creating personalized, tailor-made holidays for clients. They gracefully take care of all the logistics, and offer the concierge services of a top hotel.

5 star villa with balcony fira

Ikastikies had everything I dreamed of. We had the home to ourselves, with our own private pool, and landing with a brilliant view of the water. 

travel blogger girl santorini greece

Every morning, I had “me-time” out on the edge, with my cup of coffee. I could look out at the Aegean Sea and cliffs for hours…

Condo Hotel Ikastikies Suites, Firostefani

… but I loved spending time inside as well, lounging in the fluffy beds and soaking in the giant Jacuzzi bathtub. 

The design is a modern take on the island’s traditional cave homes, which were carved into the caldera (volcanic cliffs).

ikastikies suites villa interior

Taking inspiration, Ikastikies Suites feels like a cozy white cave, filled with light. The rooms have elegant curving lines, highlighted with minimalist accents.

Natural accents like the seahorse statue and coffee table add to the Mediterranean island vibe.

round caves villa santorini

I’ve stayed in a lot of unique boutique hotels worldwide — but this Santorini cave villa captured my imagination!

Every time I woke up and saw this glowing circle next to my bed, I imagined that aliens had transported me to outer space. 

boutique cave hotel santorini fira

Our Ikastikes cave home had everything we needed for a relaxing holiday, including a full kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

santorini honeymoon villa, luxury rentals

I felt utterly relaxed here, thanks to the kindness of George and Amanda. Booking with Blue Villas Collection made our stay far more special than if we had blindly chosen a rental, as their arrangements were tailored exactly to our needs.

Next time I’m in Greece, I’ll be sure to reach out again: BlueVillas has over 200 stunning properties on the Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, and Crete. 

santo winery santorini greece

Our concierge, Amanda, took care of every detail so that we’d get the most out of our experience. 

She knew we loved to shoot travel photos, so she drove us to Santo Winery.

santo wines winery santorini

Once again, I got a science-fiction feeling from this door that seems to open into space.

perissa beach greek beaches

Amanda also suggested that we stop by Perissa Beach, and her recommendation was spot-on. I felt so tiny, standing next to the towering Mesa Vouno rock. 

blue studded leather jacket, fishnet tights

Located on southeast Santorini, Perissa beach features crystalline waters and black sand (quite fitting for a Goth!)

blue white dress greek fashion blog

I like to wear outfits that match my destinations: hence the blue clothing, and a white ribbon in my ponytail.

(If you’d like to get your hands on my fishnet tights, they’re for sale on my shop (no need use app, just email me and let me know what I can send you!).

fashion blogger outfit greece

We couldn’t have found a better spot for photos — such an interesting texture on the rock wall, contrasted with the clear waves and dark sand.

Perissa is also one of the best-protected beaches from the wild Aegean winds, as it lies right next to the Profitis Ilias mountain.

perissa beach cafe ocean black sand

Anyone can come to Santorini’s major beaches for free, and chill on the sand or at the waterfront cafe. 

In the distance, you can see the Church of Holy Cross, painted in the traditional Cycladic white with a blue dome.

pink hair ponytail, hairstyle

– I’m wearing hand-crafted wooden sunglasses by Moat House. I get so many compliments on these, and the pink polarized cat-eye frames are made for my face.

– My studded blue leather jacket is one of my wardrobe staples (no, I’m not selling everything I own… only most of it!). It’s from the Bauhaus store in Hong Kong and no longer available, but similar to this Acne blue biker jacket.

style travel blogger outfit santorini

Santorini has a bus system that lets you ride to and from the various beaches for less than 2 Euro. However, the locations can be quite spread out, and the public transport routes don’t connect (meaning you’d have to return to the main terminal, then hop onto a different one).

Thanks to Amanda, who guided us around by car, we were able to see several places within a few hours.

greek breakfast blue villas collections

Between excursions, I loved the secluded feeling of our villa. Such a pleasing contrast to a large hotel and group buffet meals.

Every morning, we phoned the Ikatikies Suites staff — and they hand-carried over a tray laden with delights, fresh from the local market and bakery.

boutique villa with swimming pool firostefani

If only I could have breakfast like this every day, enjoying the sunshine and view from the patio.

ikastikies suites breakfast greece

Everything was prepared fresh for us. I ate up every last drop of the Greek yogurt, with local honey and orange marmalade.

Blue Villas can arrange for dinners to be delivered as well, and services such as wellness, gastronomy and sailing.

fira architecture, houses

Joey and I came to Santorini right before the start of the tourist season (late March — most villas and restaurants don’t open til April 1st).

5 star hotel with view fira

If you’re keen on avoiding the crowds, we recommend coming here in the off-season. The weather can still be a bit cool in late March, but we had clear skies and plenty of sunlight.

The conditions were great for photography; nice to feel as if we were alone on this beautiful Greek island.

santorini swimming pool hotel

When I first researched villas, I was dismayed to find that many were not open yet (as the season hadn’t started), and that our selection was limited.

Fortunately, Blue Villas Collection took care of us. They have personally vetted over a hundred properties in Santorini, and introduced us to Ikastikies Luxury Suites.

female travel blogger oia fira

Our villa is located at one of the most beautiful spots on the isle: Firostefani. The quiet village lies between Fira and Imerovigli, and has magnificent views of the Caldera and sunset.

black milk bleeding mummy bandage dress

Talk about a picture-perfect patio. (I’m wearing a bleeding mummy bandage dress by Black Milk Clothing — a limited edition Halloween release.)

white house villas santorini

I loved being surrounded by the traditional architecture of Cyclades, characterised by narrow cobblestone paths, whitewashed houses and volcanic cliffs.

Ever wonder why Santorini homes are white, with touches of blue? Historically, locals added a bit of blue to the “sovas” (white layer of plaster) to avoid having it look too bright under the sun. The shades also mimic the Greek flag, and were compulsory during the rule of Metaxas (1936-41).

fashion blog greece trip travels

Although the architecture has a historic basis, the effect is ultra-modern, with echoes of the Avant Garde movement and architects like Le Corbusier.

sunset greek islands

The quality of light is beyond compare. When the sun sets over the Aegean and caldera… ahhh.

Karavolades Stairs fira

From our villa, it was a short and easy walk to the main village of Fira (or Thera). We often went there for dinner and snacks (try the spanakopita from Svoronos Bakery, and tsipouros anise liquor, sardines and risotto at Tsipouradiko Santorinis).

From Fira, you can also descend the Karavolades Stairs, which take you down the 400 meter high caldera cliffs.

lanterns beach fira santorini

Photographer Joey Wong trekked down the 588 stairs, which opens into the Old Port of Ormos Firon. There’s a cable car option, but it was closed by the time he reached the coast… so he had to walk all the way back up.

holding gelato ice cream travel instagram

If you’re not keen on a “stairmaster” workout, you could also ride up and down the steps on a donkey. 

As for me — I descended about halfway, then went back up to eat dark chocolate gelato. 

black milk halloween dresses

Despite the futuristic feeling, Santorini’s earliest settlements trace back to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC.

twilight lights fira

The islanders built their “yposkafos” houses right into the volcanic rock — creating villages nestled into the cliffs. When night falls, the view is mesmerizing.

private villa swimming pool santorini

Santorini has a long history with many different rulers through the ages, including the Phoenicians and Byzantine Empire. The Italians and Germans occupied the island during WWII, and it suffered a devastating earthquake in 1956.

However, from the 1970s onward, Santorini became known as a luxurious getaway spot — and is one of the most popular Greek islands for vacationers today.

vampire dracula shadow wall

Whether you’re here for a honeymoon, family trip, or Gothic adventures… this island has something for everyone to enjoy.

blue villas collection concierge

A million thank yous to Blue Villas Collection, for the sublime hospitality and memories! 

Reach out to them if you’re traveling to Greece (Paros, Crete, Mykonos, Santorini), and looking for a perfectly tailored vacation. And check out Ikastikies Suites in Santorini, for a 5-star stay with a friendly owner.

swimming pool santorini hotel

I know I’ll be staying with them again, as I’m keen to see more of Greece. (You can find more info about Athens and other cities at DiscoverGreece.com.)

greece famous beach fashion shoot

Is Santorini one of your dream destinations as well?

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My Alternative Street Art tour of Athens, Greece! Urban Adventures: Bohemian Tales walking tours, murals.

fashion blogger athens greece

When you think of Athens, Greece… does “ancient” come to mind?

Then let me blow away your expectations, and reveal the unexpectedly creative, modern side of the Greek capital!

I got an insider view of the city, thanks to Athens Urban Adventures. They took me on their Bohemian Tales of the City walking tour, which avoids tourists sites and focuses on hidden, indie neighborhoods.

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Athens Urban Adventures customizes excursions according to your interests. I wanted to see local street art, alternative shops and cafes — and take photos with intriguing backgrounds — and that’s exactly what they delivered.

● Outfit Details ● I’m wearing an Iron Fist Bone faux fur coat, and Wishbone Halo Skirt (click the links to get these exact designs). My Ouija top is from Long Clothing, and the fishnet stockings are similar to these.

athens greece big murals

There’s a new, young generation of Greek creatives that are launching startups, and expressing themselves through progressive art.

I got to see this for myself as we strolled through Athens’ hippest districts: Exarchia, Plaka, Anafiotika, Monastiraki and Syntagma. As you’ll see, the city has a colorful, playful, punk spirit that you’ll glimpse in the most unexpected corners.

urban adventures street art tour

Our fabulous Urban Adventures guide, Nikoleta, met us at our Pi Athens hotel (I’ll write about our stay soon). We immediately clicked: she’s a photographer, and shares my passion for youth / underground culture.

It was a joy to see Nikoleta’s favorite spots in the city — she answered all our questions with a smile, and took us to hidden places that we would have never found on our own.

athens street art, graffiti walls

Urban Adventures works with guides who are true local insiders, which makes the tour feel more like a hangout session with friends. Nikoleta was excited to show us her favorite streets filled with graffiti. (Photography by Joey Wong).

bohemian tales walking tour athens

Look up: art is everywhere. Residents of the neighborhood contributed lamps, birdcages and other interesting objects, which were strung up above this narrow pathway. All throughout Athens, districts that were once run-down and gritty have been rejuvenated.

long clothing ouija shirt top

We saw tons of old, “ugly” facades transformed through street art — which formed the perfect photo backgrounds.

I’m wearing this Iron Fist skeleton bones jacket and Wishbone silver iridescent skirt, which pop in front of these painted shutters. My Ouija board shirt is by Long Clothing, and I have fishnets similar to these. (Click below for more items:)

hipster athens hip neighborhoods

The indie posters tell a story of a city that’s brimming with artistic events. Concerts for Blonde Redhead, Greek experimental theater productions, subculture club nights, you get the picture.

iron fist clothing bones jacket

In a city as ancient as Athens (dating back about 5000 years), the layers of history are visible wherever you go. But the modern incarnation stands out: you can feel the energy in the street murals.

instagram walls greece

There’s a cheeky, ironic playfulness to many of the works. I love how the drab grey side of a building gets turned into a fantastical scene. On the left, the rainbow walls are accompanied by text: “This is a great hipster Instagram opportunity.”

secret underground alternative tour athens

Nikoleta from Urban Adventures took us to a variety of artistic venues. I’m in front of the secret Embros Theater, which is housed in what used to be a newspaper factory. Local groups manage the space, and put on free productions.

Unlike some cities in Europe, Athens fully embraces urban expression. Citizens encourage street art, and some small businesses commission pieces for their walls, or donate space for events.

metamatic art space athens

We popped into the alternative multi-purpose art space, metamatic : taf. The inner courtyard looks like a stable — but these were actually interrogation holding cells! Today, TAF is an active social space that is accessible to anyone, encouraging dialogue and collaboration.

weird athens galleries

We were fans of the slightly bizarre installation art inside Metamatic Taf. The lips on the right have a Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Rolling Stones vibe.

iron fist silver skeleton skirt

One of the most prominent Greek street artists is Sonke. His distinctive swirls and melancholic girls are found all over Athens. I think my style goes rather well with his aesthetic, don’t you?

greek handwriting fonts writing

Even the fonts on cafe boards caught our eye. The Greek written language is itself a work of art.

gazi technopolis eye mural

Nikoleta brought us to Gazi, the gay district and home of Technopolis (a large cultural venue and industrial museum). Look close, and you’ll see binary code inside this eye-popping mural. 

madonna street art

From Madonna to Nintendo figures, Greece’s urban art draws upon every possible type of inspiration.

asian pink hair, gothic fashion

There’s so much talent to be glimpsed through a walk — and this is a side of Athens that not many travellers know about.  

My jacket is this Bone faux fur, and my skirt is the Wishbone Halo: both are by Iron Fist. More from this alt Goth brand below; click for more info:

loukoumades shop athens

The Bohemian Tales of the City tour includes a few tastings (and Athens Urban Adventures also offers food tours, and other themed activities).

We stopped at Lukumades for a sweet treat. As you can see in this Instagram video, loukoumades are Greek donuts that we got in the traditional style (dripping with honey and cinnamon). There are other toppings available, such as nuts or ice cream.

ouija board tshirt long clothing

After a long winter, I was thrilled to relax outside under the sun. Athens is all about taking it easy, and having a leisurely coffee or snack outdoors with friends.

punks graffiti tag

Quite a few of these stylish cafes also have DJ dance nights and live music…

six dogs coffee shop athens

… such as Six Dogs, a local favorite. I couldn’t resist the swing in the outer courtyard!

My friends and I took part in the Athenian coffee ritual: savoring a cappuccino frappe or freddo, made with thick Greek coffee.

athens hipsters, cafes

The Monastiraki and Psirri neighborhoods are filled with cool restaurants and music venues. There’s an air of passion and optimism in these parts of the city.

athens dragon statue

A snap of the Little Kook cake and tea shop, which has a fantasy Alice in Wonderland theme. I’ll have to return and visit it soon.

athens cool creative young subculture

We were having so much fun that we extended the tour (it usually is 3.5 hours). So much to see in Athens, from flea markets to vintage shops.

ziggy stardust street art

Ziggy Stardust and cats — these twee designs were up my alley. My sunglasses are Moat House.

hidden athens, edgar allen poe art

Since I love Gothic / horror, Nikoleta brought me to this illustrated pillar of Edgar Allan Poe. She also told us the tale of this haunted balcony… one day, this dangling telephone cord appeared without any reason. It remains hanging mysteriously today!

modern greek graffiti

Athens, a city that blends the ancient and hip, is truly a joy to explore on foot.

iron fist faux fur coat

No need to adjust your glasses: that’s indeed a mummified figure, looking out from the balcony!

iron fist metallic iridescent skirt

Wearing this Iron Fist coat, and this silver miniskirt. Sunglasses are by Moat House Eyewear.

funny graffiti door

The new face of Athens is an exhilarating one. I hope this story gives you a different view of the city.

dog mural Loukanikos athens

I leave you in front of an “All dogs go to heaven” tribute to Loukanikos, the stray dog that barked at police officers during the anti-austerity riots, and became a symbol of the people.

Thanks so much to Nikoleta of Athens Urban Adventures for the Bohemian Tales of the City tour! You can glimpse more of their insider, local-run experiences on Instagram.

urban adventures greece insider tour

What’s next? We’ll visit the Acropolis, dine like Greek gods, and bask in the Mediterranean sunset… Stay tuned.

iron fist clothing model outfit

Are you surprised to see this contemporary, creative scene in Athens?

For more about Greece, check out the Discover Greece portal, which has tons of insider travel tips. And please support my stories with a Share / Tweet / Like (you can click the buttons below) – I am very grateful.

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