Hiking a Volcano and Sipping Endless Frappés in Santorini | Travel Diary

Our series about wanderlust-worthy, slightly off-the-grid vacation hotspots, with local picks (and gorgeous pics) from our intrepid Nordstrom crew.

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GLOBETROTTER: Laura Oxford, Digital Copy Manager

WHY THERE? I’ve always wanted to visit the Greek islands. There are so many to choose from, but Santorini has the reputation of being one of the most gorgeous. The island was formed out of lava from a volcanic eruption, and the central part of the volcano sank into the sea to create a crater, or caldera. We flew to Athens and then took a 30-minute flight to Santorini. I definitely recommend flying versus taking the 8-hour ferry ride.

WHERE DID YOU STAY? We stayed at the Xenones Filotera Hotel, a gorgeous place on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea.

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DON’T-MISS ACTIVITIES: We took a catamaran tour around the caldera to go snorkeling and visit the sulfuric hot springs at the center. Swimming in the Aegean Sea was amazing—the water was crystal clear and so warm. I ended up swimming with a school of needlefish at one point, which was a bit unnerving! We also hiked along the rim of the caldera—it’s about a 4-5 hour walk, and the views were spectacular. I loved seeing all the bougainvillea and blue domes in the towns.

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FAVORITE MEAL: All the food we had was incredibly fresh; we ate lots of grilled octopus and fried sardines. There’s a brewery on the island and a few wineries that produce retsina, a white wine flavored with pine resin. My favorite thing by far were the Nescafé frappés. They were basically just iced coffee with cream and sugar, but there was something so delicious and refreshing about them. I drank a LOT of those.

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BEST FIND: I bought a little bronze statue of Athena, which I love. There are lots of local shops that sell beautiful pottery, olive oils and, of course, classic leather sandals.

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PACKING TIPS: Definitely bring tons of sunscreen—the sun is really intense—plus a sun hat and good shoes for walking around. I ended up wearing my favorite Caslon linen pants almost every day—they’re comfortable, cool and kept me protected from the sun, and we visited a lot of little churches so our legs had to be covered. My linen pants and a chambray shirt or tee were my go-to outfit.

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IF YOU COULD LIVE THERE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR A LIVING? Interestingly enough, Santorini is home to the annual Atlantis Books Caldera Arts & Literature Festival, so, as a writer, I’d write my books during the winter and work on a boat during the summer.

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FAVORITE MEMORY: Floating in the sea and feeling in awe of my ancient surroundings.

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