Interview by Susan Hanson

Santorini had long been on Erika Bandy’s must-visit list, and the Sweden-based Virtuoso travel advisor often booked the Greek isle as a romantic getaway for honeymooners and other couples. So when she and her husband became pregnant with their first child, they knew just where to go for some pre-baby R&R. “It was the perfect opportunity to visit Santorini as a couple, before we became full-time parents,” says Bandy. For trips like this, “it’s important to choose a destination where there aren’t too many families around,” she adds, “to create that special feeling that it’s just the two of you.” Here, her thoughts on a swoon-worthy stay.

Above the Rim
“Oia, a village built on the slope of a caldera, is definitely the place to be on Santorini. It isn’t that large, so you can explore it on foot – although you need to go slowly when you’re 32 weeks pregnant!”

Santorini at dusk. [Photo: Hanquan Chen/Getty Images]
Suite Secret
“I recommend staying at Canaves Oia for its amazing views of the caldera. It comprises several properties, all close together, and each has its own personality: The Canaves Oia Hotel’s history and charm make it appealing to the more traditional traveler; the Suites attracts more of an ‘It’ crowd; and the Sunday Suites, with just eight rooms, is ideal for those who want to feel like the island is theirs alone. The Sunday’s Honeymoon Suite is by far the most incredible I’ve ever seen. Its bathroom has a massive shower with dual heads and a secret door that leads to a private outdoor balcony with a Jacuzzi – simply magical.”

The Honeymoon Suite’s stylish shower. [Photo: Christos Drazos]
Hitting the Water
“The highlight of our trip was a daylong cruise, arranged by the hotel’s concierge, which lets you see Santorini from all sides and also explore some of the smaller Cyclades islands. A sunset cruise gives you a different picture, so if you can, do both.”

That’s Greek (Food) to Me
“We dined at an amazing Oia restaurant called Candouni. Two brothers run the place, and they set up a table in the back where some friends played live music. It was the perfect Greek setting. I’m a vegan and was surprised by the array of options, all crafted with local ingredients. The tartare (with couscous, black-eyed peas, lentils, and red peppers) and soutzoukakia (Greek meatballs made with lentils and vegetables rather than beef) are a must. There’s plenty for nonvegans as well; for example, the chef prepares fresh fish from the Aegean daily.”

Quite a Spread
“Fava, a hummus-like spread made with yellow split peas (not fava beans, despite the name), is a specialty throughout the island. I highly recommend trying the various ways it’s prepared in Santorini’s restaurants.”

Tip: Traveling While Vegan
For vegans, it’s essential to be well prepared before a trip, notes Bandy. She suggests packing multivitamins and favorite snacks, as well as researching a destination’s culinary scene to avoid any confusion upon arrival. Equally important, however, is being open minded: “If you have the chance to try something specific to a destination that you’d probably never eat again, I’d recommend doing it,” she says. “Basically, be flexible!”

Featured image: Canaves Oia’s Sunday Suites perches above the Aegean.  [Photo: Christos Drazos]