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Greece. It’s just one of those places that calls to me. A few days in Athens and a week cruising the islands with my mama the summer I graduated college didn’t even come close to sating the hunger I’ve always seemed to have for all things Greek. If anything, that perfect tease of a trip only made my desire to return stronger.

So when Heather and I started brainstorming places to recover post-Tomorrowland, and a casual flight search from Brussels to anywhere revealed Athens as the cheapest choice? There was no convincing needed.

Imerovigli

While I’d spend just under a month in total traipsing through gorgeous Greece, Heather had a week to spare. And there was only one thing on the agenda for it — recovering from the four nonstop days of festival intensity we’d just put our bodies through.

While I can’t say it was on purpose, serendipity led us to stumbling upon the world’s most perfect place to do it. While Santorini is far from a hidden gem, its two top draws, Oia and Fira get most of the attention — and most of the tourists. So allow me a moment — or a thousand words, give or take — to obsess over the dreamy village I fell in love with, nestled between the two: Imerovigli.

Imerovigli Village

Considering our plans for Santorini involved an extensive rotation of napping, floating in the pool, staring out at the ocean, casually grazing on snacks, more napping, and occasional unconscious meditation (also know, to some, as even more napping), we weren’t going to stray very far from home base. Where to stay was critical.

I had never even heard of Imerovigli when I discovered Hara’s Houses. But the five bright and colorful studios, the charming interconnected balconies, and the poolside caldera views left me swooning. We were sold.

Hara's Houses Santorini

Hara's Houses Santorini

Santorini Crater View

I mean, can we talk about that view for a minute? I was hypnotized, completely. Every morning I’d wake up, blink into consciousness, and suddenly remember where I was. Then I’d rush out of bed and fumble to fling open the door, somewhat skeptical that my memory must be deceiving me about what lay beyond it. But no — there it was, that endless cobalt ocean and that beautiful ancient caldera, just waiting to be dreamily stared at all day long.

Imerovigli Apartment Rental

Hara's Houses SantoriniPhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

I know much of the travel world had this revelation a few years back, but I am in the midst of a great love affair with renting apartments instead of staying in hotels. As someone who is on the road constantly, it’s such a luxury to stay somewhere that truly feels like a home. But for any traveler, you can’t beat the treat of having a homemade breakfast in bed, making a simple dinner and watching the sunset from your balcony, or being able to keep a bottle or two of white wine chilled for emergency toasting situations.

Five nights? I could have stayed five weeks.

Imerovigli Apartment Rental

Hara's Houses Santorini

Hara's Houses Santorini

Imerovigli Apartment Rental

Hara's Houses Santorini

Imerovigli Apartment Rental

And actually, the best part of Hara’s Houses can’t be shared through a photo. Even warmer than the light on the cliffs at sunset was the hospitality of the property manager Stamos, who treated us like old friends. When Heather needed antibiotics for a raging sinus infection, he personally drove her to the hospital and stayed with her the entire time, translating and keeping her spirits up.

 

He refused our money but we paid him back the Santorini way — with a bottle of the finest Vinsanto we could find.

Imerovigli Crater View

We did, in fact, leave the comfortable clutches of Imerovigli a few times, to go diving, to do a grand winery tour, and to take in an infamous Oia sunset — but those adventures will get posts of their own. For the vast majority of our time, however, we could not have been happier kicking around Hara’s Houses, or taking one of the winding knot of paths that makes up Imerovigli, and seeing what surprises awaited us around the corner.

It is possible to walk all the way to either Oia and Fira in opposite directions, never losing sight of the caldera along the way.

Imerovigli

Imerovigli

Not that we really needed to ever leave the village, technically. Everything we needed was just a white-washed stroll away. Need a massage? We made our way to the neighboring Avaton Resort, where Heather treated us to an indulgent afternoon at the spa.

Avaton Spa, Imerovigli

Kapari Natural Resort

Need a good meal? Imerovigli is home to some of Santorini’s finest restaurants. I had the best meal of my entire month in Greece at Kapari Restaurant, where every single course, backed by one of the most famous sunsets in the world, made me feel like I was losing my actual mind. Heather and I just spent the entire dinner wide eyed, mouths full, gesticulating wildly between our plates and the horizon, unable to speak.

We are excellent dining companions.

Kapari Natural Resort

Kapari Natural Resort

Kapari Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

My favorite course was an appetizer made entirely from ingredients found on Santorini’s fifty-six square miles. Fava, white eggplant, capers, and lots of love went into those bites. From the homemade bread still warm from the oven to the carmelized banana dessert, we were still talking about this meal on the ferry back to Athens.

Kapari Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

Kapari Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

Kapari Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

Kapari Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

Kapari Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

Another favorite was La Maison, which was as hospitable as it was delicious. The waitstaff was sweetly accommodating of our particular dietary needs (I eat meat but no fish, and Heather eats no meat but does eat fish, but only after a ten minute interview on ethical sourcing), they handed out pashminas when it got a bit chilly, and they also had a seriously bumpin’ playlist. When they saw us waving our phones in the air trying to Shazam various songs, they brought over a handwritten list of what had been on rotation.

I can say from personal experience that I highly recommend you come here and order every dessert on the menu.

La Maison Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

La Maison Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

La Maison Restaurant, Imerovigli, Santorini

Yes, overall, Imerovigli was enchanting. It even inspired Heather, who is a professional photographer and arrived in Europe in the midst of a bit of a creative burnout, to pick up her camera again. And I’m seriously glad she did — look at these beautiful shots she captured!

Imerovigli, GreecePhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

Imerovigli, GreecePhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

Imerovigli, GreecePhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

Imerovigli, GreecePhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

Imerovigli, GreecePhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

Imerovigli, GreecePhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

We left Belgium broken after pushing ourselves to the limit in every capacity at Tomorrowland. We crawled our way onto Santorini  — I mean, okay, technically we flew in an airplane but crawling more accurately depicts our mental state — and Imerovigli healed us. It’s a special place, and it captivated me completely.

I think it was the view.

Hara's Houses, Greece

Hara's Houses, GreecePhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

Hara's Houses, GreecePhoto courtesy of Heather Holt

Hara's Houses, Greece

Greece, you got me again.

. . . . . . . . . . .

Many thanks to Hara’s Houses and Kapari Restaurant for their generous hospitality. As always, you receive my honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.

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106 Comments...
  • Annie Anywhere
    October 21 2014

    Wow! Your pictures on this post are amazing! The light and the pastel colours are to dream for!

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Thank you Annie! Santorini really inspired me. I couldn’t put my camera down!

  • Miquel
    October 21 2014

    Ok now I’m jealous. This looks aaaaaaamazing. Greece is calling my name.
    Miquel recently posted..A Girl From Cairo

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Mine too! I wouldn’t mind stopping by every summer 🙂

  • Tracey @ A Taste of Trace
    October 21 2014

    Oh my gosh – all of the pictures in this post are absolutely beautiful! What an incredibly stunning town. Imerovigli has been officially added to the (endlessly growing) list of places I need to go (in addition to the rest of Greece – heh).
    Tracey @ A Taste of Trace recently posted..Overcoming Fears in the Kitchen

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Even after spending about 5 weeks in Greece in total, I feel like I’ve just barely scratched the surface. I can’t wait to go back again and again!

  • Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide
    October 21 2014

    Speechless…

    Don’t change your linking system because I have a feeling I’ll be coming back for this post in a couple years!
    Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide recently posted..Sacsayhuaman: Sounds Like Sexy Woman

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      It will always be here for ya, Sonja 🙂

      • Sonja Riemenschneider
        November 29 2015

        Aaaaaaand I’m back! Planning my trip to Greece for next June! Thanks for the inspiration! Forgot I left this comment, and had to laugh when I stumbled upon it again.
        Sonja Riemenschneider recently posted..Munnar Guide – Recommendations for the Perfect Indian Retreat

        • Alex
          November 30 2015

          That happens to me all the time! I’ll read a blog post thinking I’ve never seen it before… and then see my own face staring back at me in the comments. Ha ha!

  • Justine
    October 21 2014

    I agree that renting apartments is where it’s at. During my year abroad, I made a point of renting apartments in the cities I loved the most (like Cartagena!). It’s such a fun way to spend time in certain places and get to know them more intimately. Looking at your photos of Hara’s Houses, I’m pretty sure I could have spent five years there! My god, everything about that place looks amazing!
    Justine recently posted..Motorbiking Bohol: Exploring Natural Wonders & Natural Disasters

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      It really was. Probably some of my favorite accommodation I’ve stayed in anywhere in the world! I was definitely ready to move in.

  • Silvia
    October 21 2014

    So glad Heather picked up her camera again – gorgeous shots! I have to say that I was much less enthusiastic about my time on Santorini this summer, especially after enjoying much more beautiful (and budget friendly) beaches in Albania. But that might be because I had to stay in a super cheap hostel. Hara’s Houses would have been a whole different experience!
    Silvia recently posted..Polaroids from Kuala Lumpur (and NOT Melaka)

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Yeah, I think Santorini is one of those places that I’d rather not do on a budget. Some places are just MADE for backpacking, and others — like Vegas, for example, and I believe here too — I think are just infinitely more fun when you can enjoy the luxury side.

  • These photos are stunning. It’s years since I’ve been to Greece, and I can barely remember it. This just makes me want to hop on a plan back there.

    I love that light too that you get around the Mediterranean. Gorgeous. Glad you had an amazing time, and re-ignited your love affair with Greece! 🙂
    Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog recently posted..Monday Wisdom: ‘Wear bright colours when you’re young’

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      The light in Santorini was from another world! Just complete stunning. And writing this post made me want to get on a plane too, ha! I love reliving my trips here.

  • Katie
    October 21 2014

    I love renting apartments when I travel too – it’s so fun, and they are often so quaint. I love the colors even inside of the one you rented. That meal sounds amazing and the views are even better! I’ve never been to the Greek Islands, but this little town is right my alley. Good views and good food, what more could you want? 🙂
    Katie recently posted..Affordable Luxury in Bali at Alaya Ubud

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Don’t forget about the good massage 🙂

  • Shannon
    October 21 2014

    Okay it’s gotta be more than coincidence than I just returned from a week in Greece on Saturday and one of the first posts I read is this beautiful one! We stayed just outside of Oia, towards Imerovigli and it was unbelievable – one of the most stunning places (if not THE most) I have ever been.. we rented an apartment too and looking out the window every morning was like waking up in a dream.. thanks for sharing! Reading your blog is one of my favorite things to do on the Internet! Keep it up 🙂 x
    Shannon recently posted..The Magic of Giant’s Causeway

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Thank you so much Shannon! That is a massive compliment to read 🙂 I felt the exact same way… there’s nowhere on Earth like Santorini!

  • Ashley
    October 21 2014

    Your apartment rental looks gorgeous, and those views- wow! Greece is high on my travel wishlist, but I feel like I need to allot a significant amount of time if I ever want to visit because there’s no way a few days would be enough.
    Ashley recently posted..Friday Foodie Photo

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Yeah, but at the same time Greece can be kind of pricey! I would have loved to have spent an entire summer backpacking around, but everything from the ferries to the dorm rooms was eye-opening (at least coming from my predominantly Latin American and Southeast Asian travels.)

  • becky hutner
    October 21 2014

    magical post, alex!! my favorite in awhile. from the sky blues & corals of your gorgeous room to the drop dead gorgeous view, i can see why you fell in love.

    & heather with your no meat & sustainable fish interviews, you’re a girl after my own heart!
    becky hutner recently posted..INSTAWORLD!

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      My favorite in a while to write, too! 🙂

  • Breanna
    October 21 2014

    Wow. I am in love with all of your photos and if I ever find myself in a burnout from life I think I know where to go.

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Thanks Breanna! Santorini would definitely be the place to go to remember what’s to love about life.

  • Once again your pictures are stunning! I just requested my vacation time at work this week so I can begin to plan my big European trip in May, which includes Greece! I can’t wait to read all about your time in Greece. Is it May yet? 🙂
    Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster recently posted..An Epic Sunset on the Top of the Rock NYC

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      That’s awesome Katelyn! I think I’ll have plenty of inspiration for you in the upcoming weeks 🙂

  • Liz H
    October 21 2014

    UNREAL! Your pics are seriously professional, and it sure doesn’t hurt to have a backdrop like that. Absolutely spectacular!

    LOLing at the dietary needs, much like a particular vegan in a steakhouse 🙂

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Ha! I have the best dining companions 🙂

  • Steve
    October 21 2014

    Those photos looked amazing. I looks a great place to recharge the batteries.
    Steve recently posted..Waterproof – Day 11, 23/09

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      It was indeed! Vitamin D, beautiful views and a great friend… what more could you need?

  • Polly
    October 21 2014

    This looks like absolute heaven and your pictures are stunning!
    Polly recently posted..Argentina v Brazil

    • Alex
      October 22 2014

      Thank you Polly! This is my idea of heaven!

  • Stef
    October 21 2014

    Not that I needed your persuasion because I’m dreaming of going to Santorini one day too. But your post really really increased my urge to go there soon (impossible right know as I am situated in Ecuador). Your photos are incredible and it seems like a great place to stay for a while.
    Stef recently posted..Escape Buenos Aires: Do a day trip to Tigre

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      Santorini will always be there… and The Galapagos are a pretty great place to hang in the meantime! But yeah, definitely make sure you get there someday 🙂

  • Jana
    October 21 2014

    Wow! Absolutely stunning pictures! I love these white greek houses!!! I have only been to Kos which is a beautiful greek island as well. I really wanna check out the rest of the thousands of islands as well which is probably a mission impossible…
    Jana recently posted..Instacafé: Breakfast in Hamburg – But Where?

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      Next time I go to Greece (and there WILL be a next time) I am hoping to check out some of the lesser known islands. I’ve only been to the most touristy ones. I’ve had great experiences but would like to see another side 🙂

  • Maddy
    October 21 2014

    ALEX.

    I have been super behind on my blog reading but jesus christo, woman, I could read this post 5x over and still never get enough of those views! As mentioned before (multiple times) it is my bigggggessssst goal to go to Greece and you just filled me with so much wanderlust and travel envy. CAN’T WAIT to read the rest of the posts and see more beautiful pics! xo
    Maddy recently posted..I should be in New England right now.

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      Woo hoo! Okay, I’m setting a new goal… I want Maddy to book a ticket to Greece by the time this trip coverage wraps. We’re on!

  • Shaun's Cracked Compass
    October 21 2014

    Wow, this is the first time Santorini actually looked good to me. I had a layover there between Milos & Crete and I couldn’t get off the island fast enough. So over priced. The sunset was surreal, black sand beach as well but a 12 euro ice cream? Now it’s personal.

    Hara’s Houses sounds like a better option then the hotels for sure but still, beaucoup €€€
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..Boston – Part 1: More Than A Feeling

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      Yeah, as I mentioned elsewhere in the comments, I think Santorini is one of those places best explored on a big budget (whereas other places I actually think are more fun to do on the cheap.) And I feel you on the ice cream — I almost wept when I paid 9 euro for the tiniest cup of fro yo in Belgium.

  • Kristen Noelle
    October 21 2014

    WOW!! I’m speechless. Round of applause for everything about this.
    Kristen Noelle recently posted..Things to Do LA: Burbank Indoor Go Karting

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      Ha! I love this comment. Thanks Kristen! It was a dreamy trip.

  • Amanda
    October 21 2014

    GUH!!!! This makes me want to be back in Santorini RIGHT. NOW.

    I promised myself that on my next trip to the Greek Islands, I would stay somewhere just like this in Santorini, with a nice pool and great views!
    Amanda recently posted..Conquering the Sleeping Bear Dunes

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      I think it’s a must for Santorini 🙂 Though when I came back on this same trip, I stayed in a budget hotel inland in Fira, and loved the island too. It’s hard not to!

  • Jeff
    October 21 2014

    Your pictures look good enough to have been published in a travel magazine! Greece looks very nice, but you are so close, you have to go to Albania, too – beautiful country at half the price!

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      Thanks Jeff! Albania has never been on my radar but you’re the second person to mention it in these comments… I might just have to give it a try!

  • Monika
    October 21 2014

    One of the amazing things about Santorini is even Heather’s beautiful photos do not do it justice. The view of the perfectly blue sea in the Caldera is surreal. I loved everywhere we traveling Greece, but am so glad Santorini was our last stop. It outshines almost everywhere else.
    Thank you for this wonderful post leading me to reminisce about an incredible place!

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      I’m with you Monika. Santorini gets so much hype but it deserves it all — there truly is nowhere on the planet like it! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Maclean
    October 21 2014

    Awesome pictures!

    • Alex
      October 23 2014

      Thanks Maclean! And thank you for reading <3

  • Colleen Brynn
    October 21 2014

    One of my favourite things to do is to look at a map and find a spot I’ve never heard of and go there. This seems like it would kind of meet those requirements, since it wasn’t really on your radar (or many travellers’ radars)! That place looks like heaven, and I could definitely spend 5 weeks there too!! I’ve never done Greece before, but I know I will keep this place in mind for sure. 🙂