Honestly, I don’t know anyone that hasn’t had the idea (or fantasy) of escaping to the Greek Islands. You know how it goes, the carefree sailing the Aegean sea, the beautiful white washed houses lining the cliff tops and the amazing sunsets to take your breath away. Before I had visited the Greek Islands, experiencing stunning Santorini was indeed my fantasy and I often thought would I ever get the chance to visit? So when this dream actually turned into a reality, nothing could have prepared me for when I first caught site of the caldera. I knew it was stunning but physically seeing it with my own eyes had utterly blown me away. The view really is truly more beautiful than you can ever imagine.
What I loved about Santorini
I loved the easy going relaxed lifestyle, with an emphasis on eating, drinking and of course that view. The place is truly unique and that incredible view never gets old. The walks through the little pathways, lead you on a journey of discovery – there is lot’s to see and admire as you walk. The architecture is fascinating and I became a little obsessed with taking photos of doors and stairs! The restaurants take advantage of the views and the service I encountered was fabulous everywhere I went. The sunsets are pretty spectacular and there is nothing like sitting on your own balcony sipping a wine and taking in the view. I visited in the month of July when the tourist season begins to get into full swing and the weather heats up.
Things to do in Santorini
- Watch the sunset in Oia
- Visit the Santo Winery
- Hike from Fira to Oia
- Have lunch at Amoudi Bay – don’t miss this!
- Visit the Akrotiri Archaeological site
- Enjoy a cocktail at PK cocktail bar Fira
How long to stay
I spent 4 days in Santorini, which I felt was a good amount of time to see the island. My first 2 days I explored Imergolivi, Firostefani and Fira on foot, the 3rd day I visited Kamari and spent the whole day there and on my last day I spent it at Oia. I really, really loved this island and if I were to go again I would add an extra couple of days. Whilst 3-4 days is good, and if your budget allows, then 5 to 7 days would be perfect.
What area to stay in Santorini
Your holiday style and budget will determine what area to stay in. For most part the island is small, so you can easily catch a bus to other areas of Santorini, with most towns reached within 10-20 mins. I walked almost every time from Imergolivi to Fira which took me around 30 minutes. I enjoyed the walk as there are lots of things to see and photograph on the way. If you take the walk along the cliffs edge in summer it will get extremely hot so bring a hat and a bottle of water for the trek.
Hotel prices vary greatly, properties with a view of the Caldera will attract a higher rate, Fira has some of the cheapest accommodation and then at the opposite end of the spectrum there are the luxurious properties with no expense spared in both Oia and Imerovigli. Be mindful that Santorini gets booked out rather early, especially for the middle of the road priced hotels and properties. My advice is to start doing your accommodation search well in advance.
I stayed in Imerovigli which is about a 30 minute walk from the main tourist area of Fira. I found Imergolivi to be very peaceful and offered magnificent views of the Caldera being located up higher than Fira. It’s a popular area for honeymooners due to it’s quietness. From where I stayed I witnessed a lot of wedding parties coming through the streets, including a bride riding a donkey! There are a number of good restaurants and wine bars in Imergolivi and there is some iconic architecture that is often photographed in this area. I stayed at Nefeli Homes which had a magnificent view and the most hospitable owner who made you feel more than just a guest.
Located in-between Fira and Imergolivi, once again a like Imerovigli it’s a little quieter than Fira. Firostefani also boasts some fabulous restaurants, cafes and wine bars.
Fira is the heart of Santorini and is full of budget accommodation, bars, restaurants and tourist shops. You will find plenty of tour sales offices throughout Fira, along with being able to purchase Ferry tickets to other islands. There is a cable tram (costs 5 euros) that takes you down to the Santorini port (this is not the main port) for sailing the caldera tours. The central bus depot is located in Fira which will take you to other areas of the island. Fira is where the nightlife is with lot’s of bars and clubs, that attracts the younger crowd.
Oia (pronounced ‘Ee-ah’) is equally as popular as Fira but is more up market. Fine dining options, boutique shopping and high end hotels can be sought here. Oia has beautiful white architecture with splashes of colour which is great for photos. Oia is the destination to watch the sunset, which results in many restaurants with a view will be booked out. During the earlier part of the day, tourists on day trips descend on Oia, which can make the small streets very crowded.
Located on the other side of the island (you can actually see it from the main road) is Kamari. Kamari is a beach side town that has a black pebbled beach. Kamari has a casual vibe with cheap cafes and restaurants located along the pedestrian only road. Restaurants line the beach and many offer you a free sun lounge to use after lunch. Not only that, there is a cocktail service on the beach and free wifi. If laying on the beach is your type of holiday then Kamari will suit your needs.
How to get to Santorini
There are two options in getting to Santorini, either by plane or by ferry. I flew into Santorini via Agean Air from Athens. During the summer months there are regular plane flights direct from Athens and the further in advance you can book the cheaper they will be. From Santorini you can easily visit other islands via Ferry.
Like it? Why not Pin it!