Places To Stay In Santorini

Before I start this post, just want to clarify that the following places to stay will be all around Santorini. During our trip we stayed in a love place in Fira, mentioned below, but for the sake of it I’ve included places from all over, because the higher you go up the island, the price goes up too.

This place was so, so lovely and the best place for us during our trip. The price was amazing, admittedly it was in off peak times, but the owners still treated us like top guests and included free transfers to and from the airport which was an incredible add on. The bedroom we got had a little balcony, a fridge, a double bed, sofa and fully equipped bathroom spread across two floors. Oh and did I mention the price? It was so good, and I would do it all over again.

Price for 7 nights: £168

I think the only reason I didn’t go with this place was because it got booked up just before I wanted to. I mean, jus look at it. For that price, it is a bargain.

Price for 7 nights: £186

This place is pricey for Fira but it is one of the villas right on the cliff face, so you are one of the little buildings in all the beautiful pictures, so I guess in that sense you are really getting what you pay for.

Price for 7 nights: £695

This spot is in Kamari which is at the south of the island, but it looks beautiful and fits in 4 people so perfect for a group holiday. As mentioned before – the price is for the entire venue so split the below between 4 people and you’re laughing.

Price for 7 nights: £372

Once again, this is down the south, but it has incredible views from a private balcony at a lovely price.

Price for 7 nights: £248

This place looks absolutely gorgeous. Imagine looking out at that view as you wake up? Omg. But be warned, in Oia, prices are not low.

Price for 7 nights: £606

Another beautiful flat, set in the mountains with an incredible view of the Caldera. What more can you want? Prices go up from the below, as it’s obviously a lotttt cheaper in off peak times.

Price for 7 nights: £496

We walked through this town on our mini hike to Oia – it’s in between Fira and Oia – and the whole place looks insane. The views are amazing and all the places there are incredible. I googled it once we had wifi and almost fainted at the prices for what there was, but this place was one of the cheapest of what I could find, srsly.

Price for 7 nights: £786

I went a bit crazy including this place because it’s expensive but omg it looks insane. You open the door and look out towards the sea, as in it’s right on your doorstep. Amazing.

Price for 7 nights: £843

And, if you really want to go crazy, below is one of those incredible, insane, absolutely gorgeous all white villas you find in oia that are the dream. As in, they are the dream. You stay in one of those then that’s it, you’ve won at holidays forever.

Price for 7 nights: £1,987

Travel Diary: A Week In Santorini

Let me start off this post with a disclaimer: Santorini is bloody amazing. It is so beautiful, and lovely, and sunny, and cheap, and lovely. I cannot sing it praises enough, although I think I already have, and I will continue to do so for the rest of this post. So here is a little overview for what I got up to for a weeks holiday in Santorini.

As always with cheap holidays, I went through all the usual steps for finding the best deal. Because both my boyfriend and I are employed full time and we’re not teachers or parents, we can go on holiday in off peak times to get the best of the quiet seasons and value deals. This is always my best tip – go on holiday in March/April/May or September/October as holidays practically halve in price and it’s significantly less busy and also a lot quieter, because lets face it, kids are noisy.

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I have wanted to visit Santorini since forever. It looks absolutely gorgeous, I guarantee if you type dream holiday into Google it’s going to be at the top of the pics. Just look at it.

So once I’d found our cheap flights, I found our hotel on booking.com at Anemomilos Suites which was an absolutely bargain at £168 for the room, for the week, so that’s £89 each. The owners were lovely, picking us up and dropping us off at the airport, and also helping us to book excursions like the volcano tour – more on that later. It had a pool, which to be honest we didn’t use much because y’know, the whole place is surrounded by the actual sea. Our hotel was in Fira, which is the port city on the island, it was a bit set back from the main town but this wasn’t a problem for us as we definitely appreciated the quiet nights. It is a popular destination for cruises so be prepared for it to be busy during the days as cruise ships dock into the port and it fills up with plenty of tourists, but they all tend to leave in the early evening, so these were more peaceful for us to sit back with a drink, and watch this infamous Santorini sunset.

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If you look up Santorini you are guaranteed to get pictures of Oia, and the prices for Kamari. Oia is a town at the top of the Santorini, and the place with the beautiful white buildings, sunset views and ridiculous prices to match. Kamari is at the bottom of the island and is a lot cheaper beach side option with the Santorini black volcanic sand. We settled in the middle, which was Fira, which as the main town, and the hill top restaurants with the great views, and an equal distance between top and bottom to get to both for a cheap price. For this, the buses in Santorini were really great, you can find the bus timetables here, but they were pretty much every twenty minutes and always 1.80 euro each way, which is basically like travelling around on a London bus, right?

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I’ll start off by talking about the bottom of the island, mainly the beach towns of Kamari and Perissa. The beaches here are great, they look quite surreal with the volcanic black sand, but this also means all along the beach you have sunbeds and parasols attached to each restaurant and beach bar, with most of them letting you use them for free if you ate at the place in the evening. This worked absolutely fine with us, and as I usually wouldn’t fork out to pay for sunbeds so it certainly felt good, and also a great way to order in drinks from the bar which were also really cheap (I live in London so 3 euros for a large glass of wine is a miracle). Most of the restaurants we came across here weren’t really authentic Greek places, they were more like tourists traps with a standard menu, but they also had great deals, and we were happy with that. Having a pile of calamari and Greek salad (with a side of chips) and a bottle of wine for 25 euros for two was a particular highlight and certainly a good trade off for enjoying the beach on the sunbeds all day.

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Everywhere around Santorini you’ll find offers for excursions around other smaller islands or to the volcano. Most of these come in different package deals, but with the help of our hotel, we chose a three hour excursion to the volcano which included a dip in the hot springs. The trip was really great, and was something a bit out of my usual comfort zone, but I actually found myself really enjoying walking up and across the massive volcano, and the view from the top was really great. The surface of the volcano is crazy, and looks something out of The Martian, the Volcano is dormant now but you could see the massive craters of where they used to be.

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Once you’re back on the boat after an hour on the volcano, they take you round the back of the volcano to a spot of hot springs. If you fancy having a swim you can jump in from the boat and swim into the springs (the yellowy/brown area in the pic above, to the left of the white house). I didn’t do it myself as I’m not a very confident swimmer, but my boyfriend enjoyed it. But be warned, the sulphur of the hot springs can stain your bikini/trunks a brown colour unless you wash it off as soon as – just be warned!

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Every evening on our trip we would spend on the edge of Fira, looking over at the sunset. This view is famous for Santorini, and it made for perfect evenings kicking back with a few drinks and enjoying the view.

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One of my trip highlights was our walk/mini hike from Fira to Oia. The internet told us it would take 2 hours but more realistically for non-hikers with sandals on who like to stop for drinks, it took around 3 and a half, but it didn’t feel long, in fact I really enjoyed it. We packed 3 litres of water which we drained throughout the walk as it was boiling, but one of the perks of walking along a cliff face is there’s a bit of a breeze, so you’ve got the best of both. Anyway, the walk is a great way to get some really incredible views. We passed through small villages and little churches like above that looked absolutely beautiful, and by the time we made it to Oia we felt like we really deserved our drinks, ice cream and once again, a massive plate of calamari.

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I looked up some of the price tags of the places we passed, like above, and they’re crazy expensive, but a girl can dream right?

Talking of massive plates of calamari I really need to mention the incredible food and drink we had whilst on our trip. Of course, the seafood was incredible and whilst I tried to explore each menu, I just couldn’t help coming back to my old fav, Calamari. I also have to give a shout out to the kebabs, I mean, I’m not a fan of your usual doner, but the kebabs in Greece are insane. Not only that, but you can pick up a standard chicken gyros for around 2.50 euros, which made our lunch budget a lot cheaper than expected. Oh and they were really bloody good.

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So overall, Santorini is amazing. It’s just as good as it looks in the pics, if not better. It’s also really good for a cheap trip, and everyone we met was so welcoming during our time there. I’ve visited Greece twice now and I can confirm that I absolutely love it. The people, the food, the drink, the views, the sunsets, the beaches. It’s all amazing and my boyfriend and I have basically agreed to visit Greece for every beach holiday from now on, because if it ain’t broke and all that…

Places To Stay in Barcelona

This is my first post of this kind so I’ll quickly explain what this is.. I love looking for holidays and getting them as cheap as possible. I’m a massive fan of airbnb and booking.com because you can find really great places at really cheap prices. Below are my favourite picks for Barcelona, including where we stayed on our trip which I could not recommend enough, it was absolutely babin’.

This is the little flat we stayed in on our trip to Barcelona and it was great. We only paid £16 a night for a private room in the flat, but as it was a bank holiday weekend there was no-one there so we had the whole place to ourself. It was right next to the Sagrada Familia which was a great sight to wake up to every morning. We never met our host but she left the flat very clean and tidy with instructions for how everything worked. It’s such a bargain for a really central spot so I would definitely recommend it.

Price for 2 nights (can only do 2 nights at a time): £62

If your budget is a little bit bigger than ours (and ours was really really tiny) then I would recommend this place. It looks absolutely dreamy and at only £53 a night for the entire place it could work out as only £100 each for 4 nights. It looks in a great position for a holiday right next to the Barcelona beach which was one of our highlights of our trip, so what’s not to love?

This place looks amazing. Guaranteed you’re only paying for a private room, but look at this place. If I ever had enough money to buy a lovely place (in London lol never gonna happen) it would look like this. Fun fact – I have the same chairs at these people so you already know their sense of style is incredible.

Price for 4 nights: £303

This is a private room in an old mansion, do I really need to say anything else? Nope.

Price for 4 nights: £319

So this place has a balcony and is only £35 a night. Why haven’t you booked it aready?!

Price for 4 nights: £160

So all the airbnbs in Barcelona are dreamy apparently. This one especially looks like it’s jumped right out of a ridiculously unrealistic rom-com. We all know those kind of apartments, am I right?

Price for 4 nights: £202

Hostels are seriously underrated, and this looks like a really good one. Something you can always guarantee with a hostel? Cheap drinks, free city guides and good internet. And if you’re a solo traveller it’s a great way to meet people.

Who doesn’t love a pool? Nobody, that’s who.

Price for 4 nights: £365

And if you really want to splash out…

This place looks amazing, I mean I saw a pic on Ellie Goulding’s instagram of her staying in this hotel and it basically looks as though you wake up and you’re basically sleeping above the sea. The view looked insane. I’m going to post it below in a really non-creepy way, but I just would like you to see how insane it looks. LOOK AT IT. But it is pricey of course but if you have the cash to flash, then go, go, go.

Price for 4 nights: 523 euros

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I hope you enjoyed this, and if none of these take your fancy, take a look at my tips for buying the cheapest flights and holidays post 🙂

Things To Do In Barcelona

Obviously there are a thousand things to do in Barcelona but this is a little list of what I thought were the best value for money, most enjoyable and best all round. So here goes…

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  1. La Sagrada Familia. It looks pretty bloody massive and is a great sight to visit both in the day and at night. It’s gothic structure really does loom over you and looks incredible, luckily for us it was right next to our airbnb apartment, which was great to look at every morning out the window! You can pay to go inside for around 15 euros, which we didn’t choose to do, but I’ve heard it’s best to book online to avoid long queues on the day.11108945_10155588980305727_3803775598491907928_n
  2. The beach! Barcelona has the best of both worlds for a holiday, in that you can do all the city break destinations with the added benefit of a beach holiday. When we went in early April the temperature was pushing 30 degrees so it’s a great way to merge the best of both into one holiday! The beach is lined with bars and restaurants – we stopped for breakfast on our last day and I really wish we’d have done it more, sitting on the beach in the sun in the morning eating away at poached eggs and bacon is always a winner. Of course you don’t have to stop still to enjoy the views, there are other ways, which leads me on to my next point…. 1929947_10156592597705727_8328606179838133323_n
  3. Hire bikes! We hired a bike each to cycle along the beach, it was 6 euros each for two hours which was plenty of time to speed down the beach, stop for a drink and cycle back. The beach in Barcelona is 4km long and hiring bikes is the best way to take in the whole thing and also to get a chance to see the incredible looking W Hotel, which is a place I would love to visit one day purely to wake up literally right next to the sea, but hey a girl can dream. Anyway, back to bikes – they’re great, I’d definitely recommend as they’re a fab and cheap way to spend an afternoon.11149444_10155588992240727_1023794751118214341_n12507153_10156592597610727_2837377923907773875_n
  4. Ciutadella Park. To be honest we discovered this park by accident. When travelling on the cheap we tend to walk everywhere (plus its a good way to burn off all that tapas am I right), and on the way to the beach we ended up walking through this park. I have a great Barcelona tour guide which recommended this park as it’s number one spot, and it really is a nice park. It has a large lake for little boat rides, large fountains and a zoo if you’re into that (personally really don’t like zoos…) and it’s a great place to hang out and sunbathe if you have a few hours to kill. The atmosphere there is more of a festival ground kind of thing, everyone seems happy, there’s games, food and drink and you can just enjoy the sunshine! 11130225_10155588979485727_1587313728970064868_n
  1. Tapas. This isn’t technically a thing to do, but you can’t go to Barcelona without eating Tapas. I had never really had it before which is pretty bad, especially now I realise how amazing it is. Throughout our 4 days there pretty much every meal was tapas, because it’s cheap and amazing. Ham croquettes, calamari, potatas braves and fries chorizo are just all the yeses really, so what more can you ask for?12507195_10156592597575727_8874148149060078609_n
  2. Drink. This leads me on to the drinking part because Barcelona really has some of the best bars (especially the beach side ones) and offers on drinks, especially Prosecco, I’m talking 5 euros for a quality bottle of prosecco. It was amazing. The cocktails as well, we’re talking the size of your head. I wish I could recommend a specific place, but you know I’ve forgotten because = drinks, but go to the beach and take your pick, there’s tons!10451778_10155588985945727_770129613589913683_n
  3. Park Guell is the postcard picture place of Barcelona and even though I did enjoy going, I didn’t realise you had to pay to visit all the pretty bits. But, if you don’t want to spend too much, like we didn’t, you can still enjoy the views of Barcelona and large walkways and parks that surround the pretty bits. The view you get up there (it’s quite high up – be prepared to walk up to the park btw) the view of Barcelona is really great, and for that reason I’d recommend! Of course if you want to spend some cash then go for the ticket to let you into the pretty mosaic bits, but you still get a good view from the peasant areas 😉1526107_10155588983785727_2941321958858433623_n
  4. Explore! Go walk around the streets of Barcelona and stumble across parks, tapas bars and beautiful architecture. It’s the best way to get around the city and also to discover places unexpectedly (see no. 4)11102623_10155588982310727_3898578724071174293_n

Travel Diary: A Long Weekend in Barcelona

I’m going to start this blog off with a mini tour guide for Barcelona. I went to Barcelona over Easter weekend 2015 which fell over my birthday (perks of being an early April baby) which also meant we didn’t need to book any holiday off work, so you could say everyone was a winner. By everyone, I mean me.

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As always with my holiday planning I started off with flights (you can read more about my tips for cheap holiday buying here). We had a short window for when to go, as it was a bank holiday weekend but luckily that didn’t make flights too expensive, they worked out at around £108 return each with Easyjet. We arrived at Barcelona airport, hopped on the train (one way tickets were only 6 euros) and were transported straight into the centre. We only had to walk a couple of streets along to make it to our airbnb which was right next to La Sagrada Familia.

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Airbnb is always a winner and this one especially worked out! Only £16 a night for a private room in the apartment – but it seemed as it was a bank holiday weekend no-one was there – so we had the whole apartment to ourself. It was a great find for how cheap and central it was, we could walk to all the tourist hot spots and the beach, and I would definitely recommend it.

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The best thing about Barcelona is that it’s a city break with a beach, it has the best of both worlds. You can walk everywhere (or get on the underground if you really fancy) and you run in to tapas restaurants everywhere you go, which makes eating out for dinner really, really cheap.

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One of the highlights of Barcelona was definitely the food and drink! Every meal we had was tapas, because y’know, when in Rome and that. Another amazing perk with Barcelona is that you can grab a jug of Sangria, a bottle of process or cocktails for a tiny price, and this definitely helped with my birthday celebrations, I’m talking a lot of prosecco.

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We visited the main

 

 

 

 

Finding Cheap Holidays

I love going travelling, I really, absolutely bloody love it. But like most people in their twenties and living in Central London – I’m not rolling cash. Luckily I (like to think) have managed to get budget holiday buying down a defined art, so please find below my tips for getting holidays as cheap as possible!

Sky Scanner is your best friend – First step to finding cheap holidays online is head straight to this website. It scans all possible holiday sites for the cheapest flights. Guaranteed, it takes a bit of mastering to get the best deals so here are my top tips:

  • If you don’t have specific dates to go between, go to Skyscanner and in the filter, select ‘Whole Month’ and it will give you a little calendar of the cheapest flights for every day in that month. This way you can see which is the best day to go out and when to return. The below is for New York – I booked flights there the other day for a trip in New York which was £305 return. For NEW YORK. So yeah, it works.

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Bear in mind these are the cheapest possible flights so they won’t include jazzy extras like checked in luggage or meals (if you’re doing long haul) but it’s a fail safe way to find the best deals!

  • And if you really don’t even know where to start when it comes to the holiday, just search ‘Everywhere’ in the location box and it’ll show you the cheapest places to go! These prices below are for return tickets by the way, £20, for a return. Thank me later.

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  • If all else fails, airlines have sales, and especially at the time of writing this post (January 2016) there are tons of cheap flights going. So go to your airline of choice and have a browse, it’s my favourite way to procrastinate, looking at tons of cheap holidays (I really promise that is less tragic than it sounds…)

Accommodation 

The next shout is always where you’re going to stay… My favs for cheap accommodation are airbnb and booking.com. On both of these sights you have real people reviews and great filters to get the cheapest options possible. Another way they’re great for budget travelling is the price you get is for the venue as a whole, not per person as some travel companies like to spin it. Therefore the price can change depending on how many of you in your trip there are (especially works well with airbnb…)

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I’ve done airbnb twice now and both experiences have been great. Both times were booking private rooms which means you’re living in the place with the owner, but only one of these trips the owner has actually been there, and they were lovely. Most airbnb owners have the whole thing down and do it really well, and you can always count on honest reviews with airbnb from other users, so always go with the best you can find. We have two trips for 2016 booked and both are with airbnb as it really is a great way to have quality accommodation at a cheaper price.

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Booking.com also works really well at showing the cheapest accommodation and provides real person reviews which you can filter depending on what experience you’re after (family holiday, couples, travelling etc). You also have a chance to see actual visitors pictures of the places so you can see whether or not the official pictures are actually realistic.

If all else fails…

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It still exists guys. Except it’s no longer on your old telly, it’s on the internet. And its a really great way to get a cheap holiday. I used it in 2014 to get a cheap holiday to Marrakech and it throws in flights, hotels and transfers in the package. Unfortunately you can’t book the holidays online, you have to call up, so it hasn’t fully joined the 21st century, but as long as you resist the constant questions they will persist at to make you upgrade, you can get a really good deal. I sing it’s praises all the time and people really take the piss, but you know what? Cheap holidays are always a winner.

So there are my tips, please enjoy. If you happen to pass this page or if I’ve forced it on you somehow and it actually comes in handy when booking your next holiday then please let me know!

F xx

The beginning.

Hello all! Just a quick introduction to this blog! I’ve been travelling around for a couple of years and I absolutely love it. I love planning holidays and am addicted to finding getaways for as cheap as possible, so I wanted to set up a blog so I could finally have a space to put everything and fill it with tips and advice on places I’ve visited and also my favourite topic – how to find really cheap holidays…

So far (since leaving for uni 5 years ago and gaining some sort of independence) I have visited the following –

  • Rome
  • Gibraltar
  • San Francisco
  • Corfu
  • Interailing around Europe, Paris, Venice, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Berlin & Amsterdam
  • Marrakech
  • Barcelona
  • Corsica
  • Santorini

And so far on the list for 2016 is…

  • Rekyavik
  • New York
  • Glastonbury – because Glastonbury is a holiday, and this will be my 4th time…

Anyway, no matter if anyone reads this welcome to the blog! I hope you enjoy the tips and tricks I have in this blog for travelling, and hey if not then I’ll have a great online diary of all my trips!

Fiona xx