When you think of Greece, your mind will involuntarily conjour up pictures of Santorini. Those scenes of white buildings with blue domes, perched on a cliffside above the most beautifully, blue and sparkling water are Greece personified.
But if it is details you are after, here is my guide to Santorini.
I can’t really think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to visit Santorini! Picture perfect towns, breath-taking scenery, delicious food, luxury hotels, laid back vibes and that blue. That perfect blue of the sky and the sea that you only really get in Greece, and it seems extra special in Santorini.
How to get there
Santorini has an airport with regular flights in and out. The island is only tiny, so the trip from the airport to Oia, or anywhere else on the island is no more than 30 minutes or so.
You can also get a boat to and from other islands if you are lucky to be doing a bit of island-hopping. From Crete, a fast ferry to Santorini will take about 2 hours.
Where to stay
My first suggestion is to head to Oia which is on the northern tip of the small island. Quite simply because it is incredibly beautiful. Marble clad streets, winding alleys, white white white everywhere you look, views across the Caldera, magnificent sunsets…I could go on but I think you get the picture!
Oia is a small place which is in high demand and as such the hotels can be pretty pricey. Like THOUSANDS for a night pricey, but don’t be put off. There are plenty of gorgeous affordable hotels there too, you’ll just need to book early to get them and hunt around a bit.
We stayed in Kyma Villas for four nights which was gorgeous. We had a balcony overlooking the Caldera and ate breakfast there every morning, pinching ourselves to make sure we weren’t still dreaming. The rooms are typical Greek so quite basic, but it’s not the rooms you are there for after all.
The staff were so friendly and helpful, and the place was immaculately clean. I’d definitely recommend it.
We made staying in Santorini affordable by not staying our whole week in Oia and moving south for a few days too. As it turned out this was an excellent idea.
We spent three nights in Acroterra Rosa – a five star boutique hotel which, because it is out of the main towns, is so much more affordable and you get a lot more room for your money too. Staying further south allowed us to explore the southern part of the island which we may have been reluctant to do if we had stayed in Oia for a whole week, but it was well worth it.
Fira is also a really popular place to stay. It is more or less in the middle of the island, and is where the cruise ships dock. We only passed through on one day for a bite to eat and liked what we saw. It seemed a bit livelier than Oia and I think this might be the place to go if you want a bit of nightlife!
Where to go for juice, coffee, snacks, lunch
Passagio – Oia
Don’t think you can go a week without stepping foot in a trendy coffee shop? Fear not, Passagio will sort you out. Get an iced coffee, freshly squeezed juice, cakes, delicious lunches etc to take out or if you want to eat in, head up to their roof terrace. I also hear they are opening Passagio number two in Oia so look out for that.
Where to go for sunset cocktails
Sun Spirit – Oia
This place is the go-to place to watch the sunset with a drink in your hand in Oia. My recommendation – get yourself into position a couple of hours before sunset and try out some of their menu. The waitresses are friendly, the views are lovely and they do a cheese platter if you want something to nibble on.
Find out more at their website here
Where to go for Greek tapas
Meltini – Oia
Greek tapas? Yes please! You could easily walk passed this place without realising it was there and that would be a real shame. We had excellent service from the waitress who was so friendly and fun, and helped us choose what to order, advising us on how many dishes we should go for each.
The food was of a really high standard, with well thought out twists to traditional dishes that really worked. And the bonus is it is pretty cheap! For two of us to eat more than we really needed, washed down with wine and beer, was about £30.
Where to go to swim
Amoudi Bay – Oia
From our hotel we could see way, way away to a spot where people were jumping from ledges into the water – one of my favourite things to do despite it terrifying me! One day we went on an adventure to find it.
From the main street, follow the 200 or so steps down to Amoudi Bay, passed the donkeys and towards the sea. When you get to the bottom, hang a left through the three restaurants that are right on the water’s edge and follow the coast round until you find this gorgeous little spot, with crystal waters and cliffs to throw yourself off if you are brave enough.
The best waterfront seafood restaurant
Sunset Taverna in Amoudi Bay – Oia
We passed this place on our adventure above and had possibly the best meal of our trip. Sitting so close to the water you are almost in it, you will be delighted with the excellent service and fresh fish. I went for shrimp saganaki as I often do in Greece, but this dish blew me away it was so good. I am determined to create the taste back home, but i’ll never recreate that view! This restaurant is featured in the book ‘Where chefs eat’. Says it all really.
If you want to eat here for sunset, you’ll need to book, but don’t overlook it for an excellent lunch option. Website here.
Where to go for a book
Atlantis Books – Oia
If you run out of literature when on holiday in Oia, don’t panic. Just head down to Atlantis. They have helpfully filled their shelves with an array of interesting books in a number of languages.
Where to go to for a sunset cruise
There are numerous sunset sail cruise companies in Santorini, and your hotel will normally have a relationship with one or two of them and can offer you a good rate.
I would strongly advise going for a sunset cruise on a catamaran. There won’t be too many people so you will get treated like a superstar and feel like you have a private yacht on hire!
You may be offered different levels of food on board – from a light snack to a full-on BBQ. We went for the light snack, which was actually a whole meal of Greek salad, bread, tzatziki, spaghetti and bbq chicken, with wine and beer or soft drinks. This was the cheapest option and was more than we were expecting. Fingers crossed you get the extra unexpected surprise of seeing dolphins like we did!
Where to go to taste Santorini wine
Santo Wines – Pyrgos village
This vineyard has a beautiful terrace overlooking the volcano and the Aegean sea where you can sip on wine, enjoying the heat of the sun and a lovely cool breeze. They offer tours of their modern winery, delicious food and wine tasting sessions. The wine is delicious, catering for everyone with white, red and sparkling options.
If you want a table, or a tour, I would recommend you book ahead. Take a look at their website here.
I hope this has inspired you to visit Santorini, or if you already have a trip planned, given you some ideas of what to do and where to go.
If you have any recommendations for Santorini, please share them in the comments below 🙂