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!
BEST TIME TO VISIT– PEAK SEASON IS MAY THROUGH SEPTEMBER. WARMER WATER LATER IN SUMMER, LESS CROWDS IN SPRING AND FALL
WEATHER – HOT AND DRY IN SUMMER, CAN BE WINDY IN THE EARLIER MONTHS
GETTING AROUND – MOTORCYCLE, ATV OR RENTAL CAR
CURRENCY – EUROS, MOST PLACES TAKE CREDIT CARDS
LANGUAGES – GREEK, MOST PEOPLE SPEAK ENGLISH
NEARBY AIRPORTS – SANTORINI AIRPORT (JTR)
Where to Stay
Almost all photos you see of Santorini are taken in Oia, the postcard-perfect town with white houses and blue domes overlooking the sea. Accommodation here comes at a premium, but you will have breathtaking caldera views and be within walking distance of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants on the water in Ammoudi Bay. Alternatively, stay in Fira or Imerovigli towns for plenty of nearby food options (both are larger towns); or opt for a spot inland for less crowds and more budget-friendly options.
Hotels in Santorini
Finikia Memories Hotel – $$ – family-run, traditional white-washed style with bright and spacious rooms just outside of Oia.
Caldera Villas – $$$ – if pool time is essential. The terrace at the Caldera Villas has stunning ocean views, and they often run deals on their rooms and suites.
Charisma Suites – $$$ – for a direct view of the sunset each night, stay here and prepare to be pampered. If it looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on Instagram.
Pezoules – $$$$ – cave houses carved in the volcanic rock of Oia with modern and minimalist design.
Kapari Natural Resort – $$$$ – a 300 year old, recently restored complex in the gorgeous village of Imerovigli.
San Antonio – $$$$ – a boutique hotel (and member of Small Luxury Hotels) with a cave spa, San Antonio is perched overlooking expansive ocean views in Imerovigli.
Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel – $$$$ – built on the cliffside overlooking the Caldera, with Cycladic-style architectural elements just outside of Fira. Where I’d want to splurge.
Andronis Luxury Suites – $$$$ – stunning property with elegant suites that are carved into the cliff, featuring hot tubs and picturesque views over the island.
Homes in Santorini
Santorini Villas – $ – slow living at these traditional cave houses, featuring a pool and a short walk to the nearest beach.
Olea Cave House – $$ – hilltop views in Imerovigli, with a rooftop terrace that overlooks the blue waters of the Caldera.
The Nook Agate – $$$ – located high on the cliff side in Imerovigli; this beautiful space faces towards the sea with two terraces and a hot tub.
Oia Spirit – $$$ – beautiful, white-washed Greek residences with arguably the best view (and location) in all of Oia. Where I’d stay next time.
Artia Mansion – $$$ – located in Oia with incredible views and a dipping pool conveniently located near restaurants and shopping.
Historic Bakery Cave – $$$$ – the old bakery of Oia was transformed into this stunning open plan cave house, complete with a hot tub, terrace, and thoughtfully curated antiques.
Postcard Perfect View – $$$$ – traditional cave house with the quintessential view of Oia town on the sea. Where I stayed.
Blue Art Caves – $$$$ – this top-rated collection of villas, perched overlooking the caldera, includes in-room hot tubs and a small kitchen in each room.
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!
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.
Book a boat trip – Santorini isn’t known for sandy beaches (many are rocky). However, the ocean and views here are incredible and best experienced by boat. I highly recommend booking in advance so you have a chance to swim in the clear blue water the islands are known for. A small group boat tour or sunset cruise are both great options.
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.
For more Greek Islands inspiration, have a look at our Mykonos guide or photos from our favorite beaches in Milos. You may also want to check out our guide to choosing the best Greek Island to visit!
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