The first port of our cruise with the MS EUROPA 2 through the Greek Aegean was the beautiful island of Thira, which belongs to the island group of Santorini. We love Santorini! The island of Thira definitely is not only one of the most beautiful places in the eastern Mediterranean but also one of the most beautiful ports of call on a cruise. The cruise ships can only drop anchor a short distance away from the island because there is no possibility to dock. That means, that you have to tender to get ashore. The small tender boats bring the guests ashore and while tendering you can enjoy the marvelous view of the cruise ship and the approaching harbor.
We took so many beautiful pictures on this fantastic trip to Thira that we could not decide for a few pictures. We will take you with us on our day trip. Enjoy the view and the beautiful white houses, the sea and the cruise ships. Have fun!
Cabin Breakfast and Tendering
Once again we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast on our veranda. This time we had fruits, fresh coffee, orange juice and jam with a bread roll. The view was stunning. We already saw the white houses before us, which spread like snow in the mountains. We enjoyed a bright blue sky, sunshine and an amazing blue sea. This was our breakfast on board the MS EUROPA 2.
After this refreshment we left the cabin to go to the tender boat. You can always get water bottles and soft drinks before leaving the cruise ship. That was a great service, because there is no extra charge for that. We waited a few minutes and went on the tender boat. We loved the seats on top, where you can take the most beautiful photos and enjoy the sea breeze.
Aboard the tender boat we saw, that another cruise ship dropped anchor next to us. The MSC Musica was next to the MS EUROPA 2. On the other hand, the EUROPA 2 looks more like a somewhat oversized yacht.
After we arrived ahore, we continued our trip by bus. This time our tender boat did not dock in the old port of Firá, but in the harbor dock of Thira, a little further south.
The bus drove us to Oía, the most beautiful place on the island. In Oía you will find the famous blue domes and enjoy the view over the whole island. We went to a small and cozy café and enjoyed this wonderful view.
The Melenio Café offers delicious homemade desserts and a bombastic view. A coffee here costs 3.30 euros and the bottle of water (0.75L) costs 1.60 euros. Freshly squeezed juices start from 6 euros and an ice coffee costs 7.50 euros. We treated ourselves with a delicious piece of cake and a ball of ice cream. It was definitely worth it. We found this wonderful place in our Dumont travel guide for Santorini. You can find out where this café is located and which other highlights we recommend in Oiá in our map further below in this post.
Afterwards we explored the small streets of Oía on foot. There are many shops selling jewelry, clothing, souvenirs and decoration. Slowly it was getting crowded in the alleyways and we realized that many cruise ships were in port. It was not the first time for us on the island and therefore we explored the beauties of Oía by strolling around the alleys and not only walking along the main street called Nik. Nomikou.
At the viewpoint we had an undisturbed view over the island, the white houses, the churches with the blue domes and the sea. From time to time a few tourists wandered around, but the crowd mainly passed by the main street. We stayed at this viewpoint and enjoyed the view of the fairytale surroundings.
Afterwards we walked on the main street and found some more beautiful corners. You should always dare to explore the alleys to the right and left of the main street. The most beautiful spots can be found off the tourist stream.
Discover our highlights of Oía on this map:
Observe Cruise Ships in Firá
After a few nice hours in Oía we continued our day trip to Firá. Two to three hours are enough to get a good impression of Oía. Firá is the capital of the island and is located over the more than 260 meters of steep coastline. There is also a cable car and a donkey track, which lead both down to the old harbor. From the bus stop, a steep street leads up to the cable car and the donkey trail.
Before we went to the cable car to go down to the harbor, we explored the neighbourhood. Soon we had a perfect view of the sea and saw four cruise ships close to Santorini! The Norwegian Star and Costa Deliziosa accompanied the MSC Musica and the MS EUROPA 2. In addition to the huge cruise liners, countless tender boats were cruising around to all the passengers ashore. It was still early in the afternoon and we were very happy that we already left Oía, because it would get really crowded there.
Our walk through the alleys of Firá led us down to the harbor. Between the houses we searched for a suitable viewpoint to take pictures of the cruise ships from above. After a short time we found a wonderful place and enjoyed the fascinating view. In the afternoon it was very hot, so you definitely need sunglasses and a hat. For us this view was the best moment of the day.
Follow the Donkeys to the Old Port
After we took almost a thousand photos, we looked for the way back to the cable car. On our way, however, we discovered the donkey track and looked up to the cable car station. The people were queuing up and the cable car station was quite far away. So we decided spontaneously to walk down the donkey track. We did not know what to expect on the way. So we walked down the cobblestone path and still enjoyed the funny run of the donkeys. Groups of people sat on donkeys, which came from below as well as from above.
After about half an hour, we got tired and annoyed. In the meantime, we had pain in our legs and felt like almost getting a heat stroke in the sun. We were annoyed by the tourists and the donkeys, because they did not take care of the pedestrians. Some groups were even traveling without a guide and therefore lost control of the donkeys. The curves were a good place to hide and not get hit by a donkey, because the donkeys could only walk up and down along the outer curve. In addition, the donkeys slipped on the cobblestone path, so you should not get too close to them. We kept our goal in mind: we wanted to get back aboard the MS EUROPA 2 and sip a cold drink.
When we arrived at the old port, we felt quite at ease and happy. We probably burned the calories of our piece of cake and enjoyed a fantastic view while walking down, but it was really exhausting. In the old port, the tender boat station from the MS EUROPA 2 awaited us with a cold water and a chair. We fell into the chairs and looked forward to tendering back. It only took a few minutes for the next tender boat to arrive. At all other stations were long queues of people. At our station of the MS EUROPA 2, however, we were a small group, looking forward to return to our big yacht. We went aboard the tender boat and once again we enjoyed a wonderful view from on top.
From our veranda we then enjoyed the view of Thira and the cruise ships. It was a really wonderful day trip. By the way, the last tender boat went back to the MS EUROPA 2 at 11:30 pm. Guests could enjoy the whole day on the island.
By the way, the other cruise ships left Santorini much earlier. The MSC Musica, for example, left Santorini around 4 pm. At night we enjoyed the view of the lights of the houses in Oiá with a delicious cocktail in the Sansibar on board.