Santorini is one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever visited. The island itself is a caldera (volcanic crater), and the half moon shape of the island makes for some amazing photos! I couldn’t get enough of the traditional white cave houses perched over the crystal clear blue water, and the incredible sunsets which draw out both locals and tourists each night. Not to mention the island’s local tavernas which serve fresh, delicious greek food literally inches from the ocean. The famous town of Oia really is picture perfect — it’s like stepping into a postcard. You won’t want to leave!
needed to take it all in
Where to Stay
- Airbnb – Oia is the place to be. We rented a traditional cave house perched overlooking the ocean there, and it was incredible. There’s plenty of similar houses to choose from on Airbnb no matter what your budget or you can stay in the one we found. If you’re new to Airbnb, here’s [noskimlink]$40 off your first booking[/noskimlink]!
- Caldera Villas – an easy choice if pool time is essential for you. The terrace at the Caldera Villas also has stunning ocean views, and they often run deals on their rooms and suites.
- Charisma Suites – for a direct view of the sunset each night, book your stay here and prepare to be pampered. If it looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on Instagram…
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Where to Eat
- Sunset Ammoudi Taverna – easily one of my favorite meals on the island. The fresh octopus and fish are pulled directly from the bay the restaurant is sitting on. The best part — you can dive right in the water after lunch!
- Lolita’s Gelato – you can’t miss this popular spot for the tastiest gelato and ice cream on the island. I couldn’t get enough of their pistachio ice cream.
- Sunsets Restaurant – for the best sunset view, reserve a table early on the upstairs patio here and watch the crowds queue up below for an unforgettable evening.
- Pito Gyros – the perfect spot for a casual lunch of tasty Gyros and fries.
- Floga – consistently delicious, fresh dishes are served at Floga — and the views don’t disappoint either.
Where to Go
- Ammoudi Bay — I suggest heading down to Ammoudi for a leisurely afternoon starting with lunch. Around the corner is Agios Nikolaos rock, which is a great spot for cliff diving and sunbathing. Facing the water, head left down the path past the restaurants until you see it!
- Red Beach — this unique red sand beach is situated at the bottom of the island. My tip: go in the late afternoon once the crowds have cleared, for a sunset dip. Note: many beaches on Santorini are rocky, so don’t be afraid to lounge rather than swim.
- Fira Town — lined with boutiques overlooking the ocean, it’s easy to spend an afternoon here wandering the quaint streets and hunting for products from local designers.
- Byzantine Castle Ruins – for beautiful views of Oia and beyond, I suggest visiting this spot and exploring the beautiful winding streets nearby.
- Perissa Black Sand Beach — this beach is famous for its black sand. There are also plenty of nearby tavernas where you can grab lunch and go back to soaking up the sun.
What to Do
- Rent an ATV — I was skeptical at first, but this really is the best way to see the island. We even found a hidden beach (without anyone on it!) because it was so easy to explore the smaller roads.
- Hike from Fira to Oia — this two and a half hour hike features beautiful views of the ocean. If a long trek isn’t in your plans, visit Skaros Rock instead and stroll towards Oia or explore the small paths leading downhill – you never know what you’ll find!
- Go shopping — there is no shortage of shops in Oia or Fira, so don’t forget to take home some gifts for your friends and family (and yourself!).
- Visit the Akrotiri Ruins — check out the preserved remains of this ancient greek settlement, which are said to have inspired Plato’s story of Atlantis.
- Relax and unwind – the Greeks are all about maintaining an easy, comfortable way of life. Enjoy the views, have a leisurely lunch, and take a nap. You’ll feel like a local in no time.
Boat Trips in Santorini
I can’t stress enough how much I recommend going on a boat trip! Santorini is stunning, but many of the beaches are rocky. Planning a boat trip will give you the chance to swim in the clearest blue water of the islands. You can also opt for a sunset boat trip like the one below.
What to Bring
- Sandals – these are essential for the walking streets in and around Oia and Fira.
- Blue and white clothing – take a tip from the locals!
- Swimsuits – lots and lots of them.
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