I’d like to think that Santorini or at least one of the Greek Islands is on everyone’s bucket list, right? Well if it’s not, then I am here to show you why it should be. After recently visiting Santorini, I want to share with you ten reasons why you will want to visit, where you should stay and the best activities to keep you busy whilst allowing you to see the beauty of the island.
1. INVEST & STAY IN WELL LOCATED ACCOMODATION
Fira is the capital and the main town on Santorini. Loads of places to eat, drink, shop and party. Plus there is a great view of the sunset. There are many hotels either with a sea view (or not), depending what you’re looking for.
Oia is the most famous town on Santorini. Undoubtedly the best place to view this amazing sunset but also the most expensive place to stay. There are loads of restaurants, and amazing views (or what I’d like to call photo opportunities for us bloggers!) but not really any nightlife.
Kamari is the most accessible destination. I say this because it will offer you the most reasonably priced accommodation, but sadly in my opinion, without an authentic Santorini vibe. Plus, Kamari is on the opposite side of the island to the sunset, and I think if you’ve paid to go Santorini- you need to do it properly. I’ve heard some people have gone to Santorini and just spent the week sunbathing on the Kamari beach and not gone anywhere else- don’t miss out on the rest of the Island!
Pyrgos is what you’d say is the old town of Santorini. Absolutely beautiful but its in the middle of no where on the highest peak of the island and you will be forever in the clouds and that’s a cold experience (trust me!).
Lastly, there is Imerovigli which is situated along the Caldera 2km along from Fira. Imerovigli to me was the perfect destination. You can either walk (20mins) or drive (5mins) to the main town of Fira for some great food and nightlife, but if we stayed local it was just as good. There were some delicious food offerings a 30sec walk from our hotel and the view of the sunset was just as beautiful from here. It’s the perfect all round location.
2. HIRE A QUAD & EXPLORE THE ISLAND
Without doubt, you will need to rent some kind of transport on the Island. Options available are Quads, Jeeps, Cars or Mopeds. For us, a quad was definitely the best option. Its safe, fast, reasonably priced (we paid €130 for a weeks hire) and they only require a standard driving licence. Its the best way to explore each peak of the island and takes 45mins from the furthest point Oia to Karmari. Some days we would just get on the quad and see where the roads took us and that meant we saw the most beautiful views that aren’t typically accessible by the Santorini bus service. Its really easy to drive – just remember that if you’re from the UK, you’ll be driving on the opposite side of the road. With virtually no traffic, open roads and wind in your hair, it’s a great way to experience Island life.
3. VISIT THE VOLCANO & HOT SPRINGS
This is such a unique experience – climbing an active volcano, and jumping into the hot springs that surround it. We boarded a traditional boat in the main Fira port, and then sat back and relaxed for 30minutes taking in all the views. You then get to dive off the boat into the clear Mediterranean sea and swim for a few minutes and the water will turn from a gorgeous green colour to the murky brown colour of Sulphur where the temperature is a warm 30C. They advise you wear dark swimwear as the Sulphur can ruin and discolour clothing, so definitely don’t wear your best cosies. As for climbing the Volcano itself, its definitely something you want to try once and say you’ve done, but the experience for me was underwhelming with unattractive inactive craters. If you are going to attempt the climb, take some trainers or some very good walking shoes…
4. VISIT OLD TOWN PYRGOS
This was one of my most favourite trips in Santorini. Pyrgos is like the old town of the Island, and anywhere you visit, the old towns tend to be the most beautiful and have the best food. We parked up the quad and just went for a stroll with no real plan. We discovered that we were on the most northern tip of the Island so its a little colder but with all the walking you’ll soon forget. Pyrgos has a stunning Church and the historical Kasteli Castle which is definitely worth the hike up the hill. Also, as many locals also live in Pyrgos, we found some amazing houses and outside spaces. After all of that walking we were starving and headed to the local restaurant. The food was AMAZING. Best food I had throughout the whole trip. It makes me hungry just looking at it again…
5. TAKE A WINE TOUR
Now, Santorini is world renown for its wine, so if this doesn’t give me an excuse to drink more of the stuff then nothing will! I did a little research on trip advisor and decided to go for the Santorini Wine Adventure. Tours are held either in the morning or late afternoon/evening so we went for the later slot as this also included tapas and a view of the sunset on the southern tip of the Island. We had around 8 people in our group, so a really nice number for everyone to chat away and get to know one another. We visited 3 wineries and drank ALOT of wine, so the tapas was well needed afterwards. We paid around £80pp, so it is a little pricey but well worth experience.
6. VISIT OIA – THE TOURIST HOTSPOT
Oia is the town at the most northern tip of the Island. And whilst Oia is more famous known as the ‘go to’ place to view the sunset in the evening, the town itself is as beautiful in the day. Here you can expect to find boutiques, shops, eateries and the famous blue domes. TOP TIP: Allocate a whole day to visit Oia from strolling through the picturesque streets in the day to experiencing the gorgeous sunset in the evening.
7.DINNER & DRINKS WHILST WATCHING THE SUNSET
Eating good food, drinking fine wine and watching the most beautiful sunset in the world sounds like an awesome night to me. While you’re in Santorini this is an absolute must, whether it be in Oia, Imerovigli or Fira the view of the sunset is insane. I probably would recommend Oia for its atmosphere and choice of restaurants. TOP TIP: Definitely book a few days in advance! There are also quite a few wine bars with stunning views; we booked and went to the Mylos Bar Restaurant which is more widely known as the Windmill Bar. This bar is at the tip of the Island and gives you the best view of the sunset. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a clear sky on the day we went but the pictures have turned out to be pretty unique.
8. VISIT THE RED, BLACK & WHITE SAND BEACHES
All these beaches are worth a quad ride but I must admit that the red beach is in the middle of nowhere and a bit of a hassle to get to. Most people were parking up, taking a photo and continuing their journey. The black beach however, is located in the commercial tourist town Kamari. Its a great spot to sunbathe and experience the atmosphere of the local restaurants and bars. There are a few hotels along on seafront which have pool bars open to the public and play popular music all day.
9. HIKE THE FIRA TRAIL
I would definitely take the time to walk the Fira trail, or at least some of it. The full length of the walk should take you around 2-3 hours and the views are breath-taking. The trail follows a path set high within the cliffs between Fira and Oia. And if you are feeling extra adventurous, you can ride a Donkey along the way.
10. TAKE A DONKEY RIDE
Whilst strolling along the Fira trail or waiting in line for the cable car for the Port, you can alternatively soak in the views whilst taking a donkey ride. The walk down to the Port is 600+ steps and you’ll probably get stuck in the middle of a donkey herd, so I definitely recommend taking a ride.
I was also lucky enough to capture this picture of a bride and groom on their wedding day and was blown away by the red dress against the white back drop. I just couldn’t resist from sharing this with you.
There are so many more places that I would love to visit and I have dedicated a whole blog post on the very subject here Travel Bucket List
So are you planning a trip to Santorini? Or have you already been? I would love to know in the comments section below! x
Before you go, I have some exciting news! I have been nominated for Amara Interior Blog Award in the Colour Inspiration category. If you liked this post or have been inspired by any of my content it would mean so much to me if you could take 10 seconds of your time and click the vote button via this link Amara Interior Blog Award – Gold Vibes Only. Being shortlisted and in with a chance of winning could help me and my small space on the internet reach new heights and take part in amazing opportunities that I’ll be able to share with you all through my content. Thank you so much. Annie xx