Hello there! We’re Santorini donkeys. We live on the Greek island of Santorini. (Ours is the island where the top was blown off by a volcanic explosion around 1628 BC, leaving behind only a crescent-moon curve of land.)
Perhaps you’ve met us?
photo Mstyslav Chernov
If you visit our island on a cruise, you’ll see us near where your tender boat docks. To get up to the top of the island and the capital of Fira, you either have to take a cable car or walk up. Or you can ride one of our “donkey taxis” up 588 zig-zagging stone steps.
Santorini donkeys – “donkey taxi”
Some people say we’re smelly, and we may nip you. And some say you shouldn’t ride us because we shouldn’t be used to carry visitors this way. What do you think?
video by Janice’s mother (hey, it’s a family affair…)
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).
People sure like to take our pictures though!
Here’s looking at you, kid… photo Klearchos Kapoutsis
If you can visit our island for longer than a day, you have to think about where you want to stay.
How would you like to stay in a hotel perched high up on the caldera rim?
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.
Church roofs at sunset
Table for two?
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 Starwood 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?)
An old man walks slowly up these steps in Megalochori
We saw a wedding party gathering outside this church on the outskirts of Megalochori
Well, that’s it for now folks. If you visit Santorini, make sure you drop by and say hello…
Oh, you want another picture? photo Klearchos Kapoutsis
Have you ridden the Santorini donkeys? Did you like your experience?
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We’re Janice and George Mucalov, professional award-winning travel writers, sharing tales of luxury travel with a twist of adventure.