Guys, let me start this post by banging on about the power of Instagram. Because actually, the thing that planted the seed of an idea in my head that Caveland was the place I needed to be heading to when I arrived on Santorini (I might even go so far as to say I decided to go to Caveland first, before I actually realised where in the world it was), was the fact that I’d seen it on Instagram. I can’t remember if the hostel followed me, if I saw a picture on someone else’s feed, or what exactly it was, but all I’m saying is that from the second I saw the pictures of hobbit-like rooms carved into caves and bougainvillea draped across pathways, I was pretty much hooked. Although I was only there for three nights, I’d say it was one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in, with more of an air of a boutique hotel about it than the backpacker vibe that you might expect.
I arrived in the village of Karterados very early one morning, after getting on a bus from Santorini’s miniscule airport, and trekked my way down the road in the hot sun until I reached a dirt pathway by an abandoned tennis court surrounded by some cacti shrivelling under the sun. There was barely anyone to be seen and I was starting to question whether I was in the right place when a very friendly dog appeared and proceeded to show me the way to reception. (True story.) Reception wasn’t yet open at this early hour of the morning, so I waited outside with a lass from Portland who had been sleeping on a pool chair for two hours already in wait. The only sound that we could hear was the odd cockerel crowing in the distance (honestly one of my favourite sounds in the world), and I knew at that point that I had made the right choice in staying here. That’s right folks, the sound of a chicken made me 100% sure I’d done the right thing, because that’s the kind of lass I am. Eventually the doors were opened and in we went to be checked into this lovely little cave hostel and find out what Santorini had to offer.
This beaut little gem is housed in a collection of caves that were once storage places for wine, on some sloping hills overlooking part of the island of Santorini and right out towards the sea. The island isn’t particularly large, and from the hostel it’s only around 15 minutes to the airport or ferry port by bus (there’s not really much point in getting a taxi because of this.) It’s technically within walking distance to the busy town of Fira- around 20 minutes at the most- but far enough away that the vibe is still very much a tranquil one! Maybe some people would rather be closer to it all, but for me the slightly tucked-away feeling was ideal.
I had two different rooms during my three day stay- the first was a gigantic ten bed mixed dorm split over two levels. When I say gigantic, it really was MASSIVE, with a big living space with sofa, a table and a fridge to store water in slightly split off from the first sleeping area, a staircase leading to the smaller mezzanine with more beds in, and two adjoining bathrooms. There was more than enough space for everyone and the amount of extra room meant that you could get up and ready in the mornings with slightly less of a fear that you were going to wake everyone else up along with you.
On the third day I moved to a private room (basically just because this was the only way I could stay a third night, all the dorms being fully booked), which shared a bathroom- and an entrance- with one of the smaller dorm rooms. Let me just add here, the bathroom was full on awesome mainly because there was a massive rock jutting out of the wall in the style of a boutique designer-chic location. The beds were full on comfy and because of their cave locations the temperature was not boiling hot like I’d experienced in an Athens hostel when I’d first arrived in Greece.
Breakfast is free of charge and buffet style, with all the coffee and tea you could wish for, featuring normal breakfast materials like cereal and toast plus a whole load of Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and honey. (Plus some really cool seeded breadstick things…I’m not sure exactly what they were, but I was a real fan I’ll tell you that for free.) It’s served in the communal kitchen right by the reception area, which you can also use to cook your own food whenever you feel like.
One of the main selling points for this place is the beaut pool which is surrounded by flowers and therefore just basically full on PRETTY, full stop. It’s this that also helps to trick you into thinking you’re at a hotel instead of a backpackers paradise. There are also yoga classes held regularly at the hostel which residents and non-residents can attend, and they organise a whole load of trips at a cheaper rate than what most tourists can find (This is the beauty of hostels, dear pals). I took things at my own pace instead of going on any of the tours, though I did make the most of a dinner they arranged at a local taverna, which was a downright awesome way of trying a whole selection of Greek food at a really amazing price, whilst also meeting a whole bunch of new and interesting people. Good one, Caveland! High five to you.
The cost of one night ranges from €17 (for a bed in the largest sized dorm), to €60 (for a private). That’s pretty darn good for one of the most popular islands in Greece.
- Caveland is located not too far from both the airport and the ferry port; flights and ferries run daily from Athens, as well as very regular ferries running between the surrounding islands if island-hopping is more your cup of tea.
- Awkward times: not just for Caveland but the whole of Greece. The plumbing is bad. Meaning that instead of throwing toilet paper in the toilet, you throw it in the bin. Otherwise there’s a very real possibility that all the toilets on the entire island of Santorini will be blocked for all eternity.
- The tap water is not fit for drinking, pals! It’s all about the bottled stuff round here.
- If you want to take a look at Caveland, go here!