We’re the Santorini donkeys.
We live on the Greek island of Santorini. (It’s one of most unique places in Greece – the top was blown off the island by a volcanic explosion around 1628 BC, leaving behind only a crescent-moon curve of land.)
Perhaps you’ve met us?
If you visit Greece and our island on a cruise, you’ll see us near where your tender boat docks at Santorini’s old port.
To get up to the top of the island and the capital of Fira, you either have to take the Santorini cable car or walk up a whole swack of zig-zagging stone steps. How many steps are there? Precisely 588 (just one of many fun facts about Greece).
Or you can take a Santorini donkey ride up on one of our “donkey taxis.”
Santorini donkey ride
Some people say we’re smelly, and we may nip you. And some say you should avoid riding donkeys because we shouldn’t be used to carry visitors this way.
What do you think?
Most who hop on us find the donkey ride both fun and terrifying (we kinda bump into each other and like veering off to look over the cliff edge). And we don’t want you to ride us if, ahem, you’re overweight, because we get very tired otherwise and can get injured.
Even if you don’t take a Santorini donkey ride, you might like to take our picture!
Now, if you can visit our island for longer than a day, you have to think about where you want to stay.
We love you Oia!
Many visitors really like Oia high up on the cliff-tops on the northern tip of Santorini.
It’s a little fairy-tale village, with narrow lanes winding up, down and around sugar-cube houses, boutique hotels, shops and restaurants.
You get stupendous views here.
And at sunset, the place is clogged with photographers and sunset lovers celebrating the sun’s fiery descent below the horizon.
Check out Ikies Traditional Houses in Oia. It’s a cave hotel – but rest assured, these boutique suite digs aren’t hobbit holes.
From Oia, you can hike along one of our old donkey trails to Fira.
At certain sections, the 7.5 mile path snakes along the rim of the caldera (crater) – with those heart-stopping views – and you pass little white chapels. Ideally you’d do this hike in the spring or fall (not in the heat of summer).
Peaceful in Megalochori
Also consider staying in the traditional village of Megalochori. No caldera views.
But the compensation is peace and serenity.
Vedema (part of the Luxury Collection) is built around a beautiful 15th century winery in the village.
It offers a complimentary shuttle to both Fira and the resort’s beach club on the black sand beach of Perivolos. And excellent tavernas are just a short walk away from Vedema. (Have you tried Santorini’s famous fava dish?)
Well, that’s it for now folks.
If you visit Santorini, make sure you drop by and say hello to us Santorini donkeys!
Have you done the Santorini donkey ride?
Is it okay for visitors to ride the donkeys? You can share your views in the Comments below.
Photo credits: 4, 6, 7 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase