Santorini Best of
I have been planning to write this for ages….but something always came up. I took a break from writing and focused on photography instead. And when I say photography, I actually mean showcasing my best photos on my IG account. Head over there and have a look 😀 .
So… Santorini! Let me try to put it a bit into context. The legend goes that Santorini island is the remnant of the lost continent of Atlantis! I leave it for you to decide whether true or not. I can only say that Plato believed it to be true! 🙂
Santorini, as we see it today, is the result of the second biggest volcanic eruption in history which took place around 1600BC. That eruption is responsible for the disappearance of the Minoan civilisation but also for the formation of the Caldera.
Today’s Santorini is everything you see and here about this gorgeous island and then some! Santorini has some of the best sunsets I have ever seen (and you know I am addicted to sunsets), excellent food and wine, stunning views and gorgeous hotels. No matter how hard you try to take that perfect photo that “says a thousand words” the reality is still better. So, if you like my photos, imagine how it looks in real life!
So what is there to do and see in Santorini? Glad you asked 😉 Here is my Santorini Best of guide
Best of Santorini
This little town is THE biggest attraction in Santorini! Oia is a small town situated high on a cliff that offers spectacular views to the visitors. Everybody goes there for the sunset. And I mean EVERYBODY! Even with zillions of people around you, trying to get that magical shot, it is still worthwhile to go there once for that famous sunset . But Oia has also great hotels, excellent restaurants and some of the most beautiful little alleys meandering through the cliffs.
Amoudi Bay (just below Oia)
It is a small bay where you find plenty of taverns with delicious fresh seafood and where you can also swim (one of the very few swimming spots on this side of the island!) Plus, going down the long flight of stairs from Oia, allows you to really take in the beautiful view of the bay below! I suggest going there in the evening.
Fira, also called Thira, is the capital city of this gorgeous island and it is also my favourite place to watch the sunset! Yes, it is busy, but there is a reason for that and the options to watch the sunset, eat , drink or even dance the night away feel countless too. Fira is a gorgeous town with stunning views of the Caldera. Think thousands of white and blue houses (with the yellow and red spots every now and then), small winding alleys dotted with terraces, taverns, bars and restaurants, some of them with the most amazing view.
My favourite time of the day is always around the sunset time. That golden hour, just before the sunset, offers the most amazing warm light that transforms a gorgeous place into an even more stunning one. Don’t you think?
As far as the actual sunset, this is what you can see looking from one of these beautiful terraces or restaurants….sipping a glass of Santorini wine
Once the sunset magic is gone for the day, the magic of the night starts and you can choose a nice restaurant with delicious fresh food and enjoy the cool breeze of the night. Do not worry, Fira has got you covered also for the post dinner drinks 😉 .
Aaaahhh Imerovigli!!! It was love at first sight. Our hotels played a big part as well of course! 😉
Imerovigli is the quietest from the “big 3” of the island which makes it the perfect place to actually stay in. It has the most beautiful (and I also think the most luxurious) hotels, with pools carved in the cliffs, from where you can watch the whole splendor of the caldera. Imerovigli is 2km north of Fira and the stroll between the 2 and Firostefani along the Caldera, is just simply unique with incredible views. We did this quite a few times and never got bored.
But you are going there on holiday right? And what is a holiday without some time at the beach? Do not worry! Santorini has got you covered there too. What colour would you prefer: White Beach, Red beach or black sand beaches? 😀 . Santorini island is not very big but you need to rent a car if you want to reach from the west coast where all the scenic views are ( Oia, Fira, Imerovigli) to the east coast where the beaches are.
The White Beach is the least visited from the “coloured” beaches as it can only be reached by boat. The Red Beach is called so because of its red volcanic sand (see photos below). Most of the beaches in Sanotorini have dark grey or black sand due to the volcanic nature of the island. Probably the most popular of them is Kamari beach, which is also more upscale, but at the same time more touristy. Other popular beaches are Perissa, Perivolos, Vlichada
Theros Wave bar
This was one of my favourite spots in Santorini and I personally call it “the champagne bar” :-). The bar sits on top of a volcanic rock and it is one of the best bars on the island to watch the sunset…sipping a glass of champagne (therefore the name 😉 ). The bar is pretty isolated, making it even more unique and…. it has it’s own beach!!
A day trip on a catamaran is a must do in Santorini. Or you can rent a private boat. Regardless of how you do it, it will be a wonderful experience. Not only, it will allow you to admire the island from inside the Caldera, but it will take you to the volcanoes (Nea Kameni & Palaia Kameni), let you swim in their thermal waters and at the end of the day, you will enjoy the most amazing sunset from the boat itself!
For those in need of some culture infusion, Santorini offers also a different type of sightseeing, other than the stunning views of the caldera. The most important is Akrotiri, an archaeological site where one can marvel at the ruins form the Minoan age. I suggest you make a day of it and either rent a car or take an organised (preferably private) tour and go and explore the nearby villages with their beautiful churches and vineyards. The island so small that it is impossible to get lost and no matter where you go, you will always be by the sea.
Yes, the island of Santorini is producing its own wine and not recently either, but since ancient times! Seriously! Those volcanic soils have worked miracles for the vines of the island. The most famous of all is probably Vinsanto, a sweet, award-wining wine.
As for the grapes, Asyrtiko is the most popular grape cultivated on the island (about 80% of the total). Other local varieties are Athiri and Aidani. When it comes to the wines, the most popular is Santorini wine , followed by Nykteri and Mezzo. Of course, all the above are white wines. Santorini is producing also some red wine but to a much lesser extent.
Not much I can say about this, other than it is all fresh and delicious! Think pure mediterranean food: all kinds of seafood, cheese, local fruit and vegetables, olive oil. All going perfectly with that Santorini wine and view! Perfection! Among products that are typical to Santorini are the white egg plant, fava (different than the usual fava beans) and cherry tomatoes.
Where to stay
We stayed at a wonderful hotel in Imerovigli and which I am planning to review in a separate article. So stay tuned 😉 . The west coast of the island is the most luxurious and therefore most expensive part. But even there you can find a full range of hotels. The accommodation on the east coast is the least expensive because you do not get the Caldera views…but you are at the beach. So it really depends on what you want.
I would strongly suggest you stay in one of the top 3 towns of the island: Oia, Thira (Fira) or Imerovigli. You will not be at the beach but you will have the best of Santorini and the most amazing views! And what views!!!
- for the best seafood head to Amoudi Bay . Or if you are staying on the east coast of the island, Vlichada is another sure bet.
- trek/hike from Oia to Fira (through Imerovigli). If you prefer a shorter and easier route, you can simply walk from Imerovigli to Fira. But you need to do at least one of the two, in order to truly enjoy the place
- you can take a cable car from Fira down to the old port
- you can ride the donkeys (not really my fave but people do it)
- dance the night away or simply chill at one of the many bars in Fira
- indulge in one of those extremely sweet and delicious Greek deserts like baclava
- And least but not last: GET MARRIED there…obviously if you already have a plan to do so 😀 . People from all over the world come to Santorini to get married on one of the most romantic island (see photos below)
If you have other tips/advice I would be really happy to hear from you in a comment below!
And now, as usual, you can enjoy the rest of my photos selection in the gallery below. I highly recommnend you click on them and watch as a slide show for the best experience 🙂 .
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