Santorini, one of many Cycladic islands in the Aegean Sea, is one of the most popular destinations in Greece. Its beautiful beaches, dramatic ocean views, luxury hotels, white washed walls and blue domes have made it a famous vacation spot for many international tourists. Despite the crowds of people during peak season, the local charm of Santorini and its stunning beauty will surely have you packing your bags too! For reference, I went the beginning of October and it was still quite busy but not as packed as summer would be. The weather during the day was warm and evenings were a bit chilly which isn’t so bad when the pools are heated (which they are)! The best thing to do on this island is to rent a car to get around and explore the 3 main towns, wineries and beaches. Driving is easy and affordable, I’d recommend a car over a scooter here unlike in Mykonos.
10 Things to do in Santorini
1. Roaming around the pretty alleyways in Oia
2. Watching the sunset in Imerovigli or at the Castle in Oia
3. Explore Fira after dark
4. Wine tasting at the many vineyards
5. Visit the many beaches especially the Red and Black beach
6. Hike the trail from Oia to Fira
7. Sail on a traditional Greek vessel to the volcano
8. Swim at Ammoudi Bay
9. Hike to Skaros Rock
10. Watch the sunset in Oia
Where to stay in Santorini
There are many places to stay in Santorini that can range anywhere from $50/night to $5000/night. Surely there are hotels, AirBnB rentals and boutique bed and breakfasts that will fit any budget. There are many options in the 4 main towns Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. Fira has lots of shops and nightlife but can get too noisy after dark. Firostefani is very close to Fira with some restaurants and shops but much quieter and very quaint. Imerovigli is the quietest of them all with very little shops and restaurants. Imerovigli is also very steep with many stairs in some places. Oia is a good mix between Fira and Firostefani but we found hotels there to be the most expensive. Oia is also the farthest out so visiting Fira will require a car. Some of the most luxurious hotels have spectacular infinity pools with a view of the caldera but could cost you an arm and a leg. We stayed at both inexpensive bed and breakfasts(~$100/night) and a chic 4-star hotel with a private heated cave pool (~$600/night). You’re probably wondering why? Besides the fact that we started and ended our trip in Santorini, we just wanted to experience both so I could have some recommendations and advices for you guys (plus $600/night was a bit steep for our pockets to be staying an extended period of time)! We found Firostefani to be perfect. We loved that it was quaint and quiet yet still in walking distance to town. The views here are gorgeous and the stunning sunset views in Imerovigli is not too far away (~1km).
Where we stayed: We decided to spend our stays in Firostefani mainly due to convenience. Lugging our luggages every couple of days from town to town, up and down stairs didn’t seem like it would make the most pleasant of holidays. Besides, our hotels were literally across the walkway from each other! Nothing better…
We wanted to love this place as it was the most expensive of all the places we stayed here in Santorini, but there were a few shortcomings for me. One of the biggest factor was cleanliness. The heated cave pool (in the honeymoon suite) was beautiful and was a major plus for us as that is something you can only experience in Santorini! And the view from the hotel is nothing short from breathtaking.
One of my favorite stays here. We loved how clean it was and the wifi worked like magic. The views are stunning and the breakfast was also amazing. The room we booked had no pool and a bit generic, but if you’re just looking for a comfortable and clean stay then look no further!
Very spacious and clean. We loved that we had our own little private veranda where we could have breakfast in the morning. The wifi inside our rooms was not the best and actually didn’t work most of the time but who needs wifi all the time when you’re on vacation right?
Places to Eat in Santorini
Because eating is important right?? Well, at least for me it is! A trip is never completed until I’ve left with a happy and full stomach. Some things you’ll have to try during your time in Greece includes: Fava me koukia(mashed fava beans), spanakopita(spinach and cheese baked in filo), saganaki (fried cheese with honey), roasted lamb, moussaka(eggplant casserole), grilled octopus souvlaki and gyros. My favorite spot for gyros and grilled plates pictured is pictured below. We ate so much Greek food over the course of 2 weeks, we just had to venture out for a day and try something else. So we found a little Thai cafe in Santorini called “Paradox” which was pretty good! It’s a short walk away if you’re in Oia. Melanie cafe is an awesome place to sit for a snack or dessert. It’s right on the edge, so you have a gorgeous sea view(and even prettier at sunset)! My only advice is that if you want to dine at sunset with an ocean view(anywhere), you need to make prior reservations, as these tables fill up.
Wanting to visit other Greek islands? Check out my Mykonos guide.