Santorini Travel Guide

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The magic of

Santorini

Oh, Santorini. Where do I even begin with you? This year was my second time returning to the island and it somehow felt even more beautiful than the first. To say it is one of my favourite summer destinations would be an understatement. Unless you’ve been living under a rock or hiding away from social media, it probably would’ve made quite a few appearances on your feed. Can’t blame anyone though, the white-washed buildings gathered on a volcanic cliff contrasting with the blue Mediterranean sea got me too.

Santorini takes on the same Cycladic theme as all the other Greek islands, but once you arrive, you’ll notice it’s truly a place like no other. During my visit, I stayed in both Oia and Fira, the main village of Santorini.

If you’re considering a trip, I hope that this travel guide will help you in planning your stay!

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Where to Stay

THE TOWNS OF SANTORINI

Oia

Oia is the most picturesque town in Santorini that extends for almost 2 kilometres along the northern edge of the caldera. It’s surroundings consist of white washed blue dome churches, charming traditional Cycladic houses and cave houses that are carved into the rock face on top of the cliff. At night, Oia is very quiet, mellow and laid back, and the nightlife is limited to a few mellow bars and cafes to preserve the environment. That being said, it’s known as the honeymoon spot and it’s where you’ll find all the luxurious villas and hotels with infinity pools.

Fira

The next town down from Oia is Fira, the commercial hub and capital of Santorini, also located in white-washed buildings along the caldera. It’s a completely different vibe to Oia – one that is more vibrant and bustling until the early hours of the morning. There are more restaurants, cafes, hotels and shopping in Fira than in any other village on the island. It’s also the hotspot for nightlife with everything from rowdy bars, huge outdoor beer gardens, to clubs and lounge bars. If you’re looking for a base to explore the island, I can’t recommend Fira enough.

Imerovigli

Imerovigli is a smaller and quieter than all the villages, but has the best caldera and sunset views as it is at the highest point. There’s not much there but private homes and small boutique hotels, a few small restaurants and shops. It’s far enough from the hustle and bustle of Fira that it has earned the reputation for being the most peaceful village over the caldera.

Firostefani

Firostefani is about 15-20 minutes walk from Fira. It is very quiet and small, but some people prefer it as it’s close enough to Fira to be accessible for the bars, restaurants, clubs etc, but far enough away to offer a bit of privacy and quiet.

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What to Do

SIGHTS & ADVENTURES

Cliff jump at Ammoudi Bay – I loved Ammoudi Bay so much that I wrote a whole post dedicated to it! It’s one of the best experiences in Santorini, whether you actually cliff jump or not.

Explore Pyrgos village – Pyrgos is a very traditional Greek medieval village in the center of the island and was the capital of Santorini until the early 1800’s. The village is built amphitheatrically on a hill (with a slope of the 567m high), around the Venetian Castle, and boasts stunning panoramic views all over the island. Get lost inside the maze of winding narrow alleys and paths, under hidden arches and passages and behind fortified walls.

Visit the Beaches – Santorini is not known for having the best beaches, but they are very unique so still worth a visit! There’s Perissa, Kamari and Perivolos, which are all black sand beaches. Then there’s Red Beach, which is, as you probably would’ve guessed, a red sand beach.

Hire an ATV/quad bike – The best way to get around the island is of course by ATV! I wouldn’t recommend hiring a car or anything bigger as roads are very narrow and it’s much more fun to get around on a quad bike.

Enjoy dinner at a Greek Tavern – A must whilst in Santorini, or Greece in general! Greek Taverns are traditional and have the most incredible Greek-Mediterranean food. The best ones I found were in Fira and Ammoudi Bay.

Hike the Fira trail – I didn’t have the chance to do this one myself as it was far too hot when we were there, but I’ve only heard only great things about it (mostly due to the amazing photo opportunities). It takes about 3 hours if you’re walking at a leisurely pace and it’s recommended to go early in the morning or around sunset as temperatures are cooler.

Catch the cable car – From the Old Fira port, you will find a cable car that goes to the top of the caldera. The journey itself only takes a couple of minutes but the views are insane! Alternatively you could hop on a donkey for 8 euro which is always a fun time.

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Eat & Drink

BARS & RESTAURANTS

Kapari Wine RestaurantThis place literally defines the term “dinner with a view.” It’s located in Imerovigli, the highest point of the caldera, and if you’re lucky enough to book a seat during sunset, the view is unreal. The staff, presentation and food is to an exceptionally high standard. A must in Santorini!

V Lounge Cafe & Cocktail BarAn incredible cocktail bar in Fira but I recommend making a booking if you want good seats. They serve tapas and creative cocktails in a rooftop setting overlooking the caldera, ocean and volcano. There are many places like this in Fira but I still believe this is the best!

Argo RestaurantThe seafood is exceptional (the shrimp pasta is TO DIE for), but all the dishes looked delicious and very reasonably priced. Again, it’s definitely worth booking a table for the best view!

Dimitris – Down by the port in Ammoudi Bay is where you’ll find this waterfront Greek tavern. I think I talked about this place in my Ammoudi Bay post but I’m going to mention it again because it was THAT good. Order the “Lobster with linguine” and I promise it will be the best meal of your trip. Although I’ve heard all the restaurants in Ammoudi Bay have very similar menus so you can’t go wrong no matter where you go. They also host “Greek nights” with live music and smashing plates! Fun, right?

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What to Pack

SUMMER IN SANTORINI

 

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Have you ever been to Santorini? Is it somewhere on your bucket list?

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