Choosing Megalochori as my first landing pad on my trip to Santorini was a wise one, though I couldn’t have known when I spent hours looking at dozens of those charming Cycladic houses looking for just the right one to rent back in San Diego.

My HomeAway rental was a one-bedroom house nestled in a quiet neighborhood. It had a sweet little patio that I practically lived on, and an upstairs balcony where I couldn’t quite catch the caldera sunset (too bad).

The town was a far cry from touristy Fira or Oia, but the restaurant staff were welcoming (get used to the fact that they say “hello!” to all tourists, trying to get them to dine there) and the buildings were beautiful.

Megalochori is close by bus to everywhere, which was another reason it was a great home base.

And the best reason of all was that I made incredible friends there at Symposion. Sometimes you’ve got to trust your gut when it comes to choosing where you’ll stay when you really don’t know what you’re getting into.