It’s hard not to feel a little smug in Santorini.
It’s been voted the most beautiful island in the world.
Between the aquamarine water, cobalt sky, cobbled streets and cliffs hugged by white houses, it’s got a lot of assets.
There should probably be a sign somewhere on the edge of the island that warns anyone who isn’t- happily coupled, engaged, married, or contemplating becoming one of the above- not to enter.
It’s simply too dangerous.
And this is why.
The sunsets on Santorini make you prick your ears for the sounds of passionate arias (or Norah Jones). They’re the visual equivalent of berries puddled in champagne and cream. They’re melting chocolates covered in red foil. They’re bundles of white lace, caught up with scarlet ribbon. There is nothing subtle about them at all.
Which is why, if you manage to snaffle a corner table at Sunsets Bar and watch the sunset while nursing a glass of pink wine, it’s hard to feel anything but smug.
Sunsets Bar is at the furthest end of the town of Oia.
Oia is the small town at the far end of Santorini- about a 30 minute drive along some nerve twistingly thin roads from Fira, the capital.
Oia is honeymooners central. It’s also where you’ll find the best uninterrupted view of the sunset. In July between 7.30 and 8.40 pm there’s a performance that happens when the sun slowly slinks into the sea.
At 7.15 pm we were canny enough to look at our watch and begin skulking around the bars and cafes search of somewhere to sit and have a drink.
Which is why we ended up here.
And not down here.
By 7.30pm every one of the white wooden tables at Sunsets has been taken, or reserved. Every three minutes for the next hour hopeful faces will creep up the stairs to the white rooftop terrace, searching for somewhere civilised to sit and take in the view.
There’s a perverse glee that comes over us when the host says time after time; “Sorry, we are all full”.
In order to secure the table we have to order dinner. It’s a little strange to be eating our evening meal at 8pm in Greece (9 or 10pm is much more what we’ve acclimatised to)- so we opt for a light mezze style approach.There’s nothing wrong with two dinners, we reason.
We opt for lightly spiced meatballs, corners of flat bread, wide saucers of olive oil drenched tzatziki and an impressively acidic eggplant puree.
There could have been more, but we soon discover that the simplicity of Sunsets Bar also extends to its payment systems. It doesn’t accept credit cards and there’s no money left in the single ATM in Oia.
So we carefully cordon off our budget to make sure there’s room in it for two glasses of local pink wine and two Alpha beers for The Hungry One.
It’s happy-making stuff.
As we sit and sip our drinks and pick at our food, the crowd below us continues to swells as latecomers try to secure a position near the cliffs. They do this so they can take a photo of the sun above the heads of eight strangers.
Meanwhile we’re feeling smugger by the second. We sit, we drink, we watch. When the sun has hidden below the horizon, the crowds below burst into smatterings of applause. We join in- clapping both the sight and our good fortune.
The early birds get the food, the wine- and best of all- that view.
Sunsets cafe and bar