Literally, my favourite Greek island and probably everybody else’s. It has the best wineries in Greece, lots of historical locations, a volcano, beautiful calderas with caves turned into magnificent hotels and that Greek hospitality bursting on every corner.
Oh, and it’s full of greek cats. Everywhere!
Little history and facts:
Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in The Aegean Sea. It was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape.
The whitewashed, cubiform houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater).
They overlook the sea, small islands to the west, and beaches made up of black, red, and white lava pebbles.
Santorini is the world-famous volcanic island located in the most southern part
of the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea, in Greece.
Great poets have sung its praises, a 4.000-year-old history.
The eternal rock continues to stand, strong and majestic rising proudly from the sea and guarding well the secrets of Atlantis.
Useful tips for your trip:
- Before you go check the voltage of all the electrical tools you have! Must be universal 110~240v or 220~240v. If you are an American, your 110~120v tools might explode or stop working permanently as the circuits will be fried.
- As it is in a European country, it has European sockets. Make sure you carry an adapter if you’re coming from the UK, US or other parts of the world. Click on the picture to go to Amazon and check it out:
- Rent a car! It will save you so much time and struggle with the local buses. It’s cheap and easy to rent.
Top 5 things to do on Santorini:
Here are my top 5 must-do things on my fave island. 😉
1. Wine Tasting Tour:
You have heard about the world-famous indigenous grape varieties of Santorini!
The wine roads of Santorini are something you have to visit.
Santorini is famous for its wine and especially its signature Vinsanto, which has won many awards.
There are many tours you can do, but this one is my favourite and also highest rated on TripAdvisor.
2. Boat trip to the volcano:
This is a hike that combines many of the most exciting elements of Santorini: sailing, the volcano, the hot springs, the views.
Starting from Fira, take the switch-backing path down the cliff to the Old Port (save taking the cable car for the way back up), where you can hop aboard a boat tour that will take you across the Caldera to the volcano on Nea Kameni.
A spectacular hike up over this dormant mountain is moderately challenging but worth the effort for the breathtaking views.
It takes at least 20 mins to get up to the edge of the volcano and feel the sulphurous heat from the underground steam vents.
The path is rough and ready, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake as me to wear flip flops.
After the hike, your boat will circle around to the other side of the volcano, where your weary legs will relish a chance to soak in the thermal hot-springs at Palia Kameni before looping back to Fira.
3. Watch the sunset from Oia:
Even though Oia Castle is the most popular sunset viewpoint, it was not my favourite spot. It was way too crowded
and you don’t get to see the iconic blue domes.
My favourite spot was right next to the three blue domes of Oia.
There is a photo spot labelled Oia Sunset Photo Spot on Google Maps.
However, this is now inaccessible, since there are gates marking off private property here.
The closest I could get was on a terrace next to Aspaki Exclusive Suites (GPS coordinates: 36°27’40.7″N 25°22’33.9″E).
This is still a fantastic view, because not only do you get the blue domes, but you also can get the bells of a church in your photo.
And guess what, at sunset, I shared this photo point with just a handful of other people.
4. Visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri:
The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini is one of the most important sites in the Aegean.
In prehistory, it was a well-connected Minoan port town, with connections to mainland Greece and as far afield as
Egypt and Syria.
As the town was covered in ash following a volcanic eruption on the island, preservation of the settlement is exceptional, making this one of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece.
5. Enjoy the view from Prophet Elias Monastery:
What makes the monastery noteworthy, other than its history and importance is the fact that it is built approximately 565 meters above sea level, making it the highest point of the whole island.
Thus, it becomes clear that the view from there is for a fact unrivalled.
You can admire an exclusive view of the entire island and those around and take striking photographs.
Especially during sunset time, you will find yourself in a state of rapture.
5 more things to do:
If you have more time to explore here are some more things you could enjoy in Santorini:
Taste the local cuisine:
Today Santorini has become the ultimate gastronomic destination in the country.
Unique agricultural products, pioneering restaurants with national and international awards, hospitable tavernas with local dishes, wineries that offer wonderful wine tastings and tours, special shops stocked with local products, cookery lessons, gastronomic sightseeing have all set the stage for a very special experience for food lovers.
My favourite restaurant is located in Oia and it’s called Lycabettus restaurant and it’s located in Andronis Luxury Suites.
Fira to Oia Hike:
There’s a good reason this hike is the most talked-about trek in Santorini – it is absolutely incredible, and offers a real taste of the Aegean
It is 10km long and it will take you 3-4 hours to complete.
The trail starts in the picturesque port of Fira and follows the rim of the caldera to Oia at the tip of Santorini, passing the historic sights of Firostefani and Imerovigli on the way.
The hike includes spectacular, cliff-top walking with the sparkling, azure Aegean sea stretching for miles before your eyes—if you’re going to hike in Santorini, this one is not to be missed.
A stop to the Red Beach:
The unique colour of the sand and the breathtaking volcanic landscape make this beach an attractive destination for the thousands of tourists that flock to the island every year.
Its particular rock formations treat travellers to stunning views and the smooth, mirror-like sea create a contrast with the bold red of the shore.
The beach is pebbly and not ideal for laying down, though its rock formations make it perfect for snorkelling.
Santorini, the perfect romantic destination in everyone’s hearts, has a perfect combination of tranquillity and nightlife, something for everybody.
There are several peaceful traditional villages but also places full of liveliness.
These are found in the coastal cosmopolitan settlements of Perissa and Kamari but mostly in the capital, Fira, which is the centre of all the action.
The multitudes of tourists that visit Santorini annually, seeking a vibrant nightlife, have caused the development of these settlements where there is a growing number of hotspots, bars and nightclubs.
HERE is a guide to the nightlife in Santorini.
Taking a donkey ride from Santorini old port to Fira is controversial and not that comfortable.
It is however the most traditional way to travel.
It takes around 35 minutes for the donkeys to climb the 586 steps to Fira, and tickets cost only 5€.
You have to do it at least once and I recommend you to do it on the way up and not down.
It is extremely scary otherwise and I had a feeling that I will fall of the cliffs the whole way down.
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