A Quick Guide to Santorini

How can you miss Santorini when you’re in Greece?

Long have I dreamed about visiting this picture-perfect island in the Cyclades. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to walk along the caldera to see the whitewashed houses, to swim in the crystal clear blue waters of the Agean Sea, and to catch one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets. My wishes finally came true when we spent three nights here on our honeymoon last year. Here’s a quick guide to visiting this timeless destination- Santorini!

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1. Travel in low/shoulder seasons

Do NOT go during the summer months. If you hate crowds like us you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Heck, we were there in early September and it was still extremely busy. We used the public bus to get around Fira-Imerovigli-Oia and passengers were packed like sardines every time. Unless you get on at the very first stop, chances are you’re gonna be standing in the aisle holding on for your dear life.

We went in early September and it was still very, very hot. Swimming in the ocean was heavenly but there was no shortage of sweat on land. Go either in early/mid June or mid/late September not only to avoid the crowds, but also for a more comfortable temperature.

2. Stay in Imerovigli

Because of its elevation and central location on the caldera, Imerovigli has my vote for having the best view in Santorini. Yes, we’d say it’s even better than the famous town of Oia.

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Our three nights at Vallais Villa was, without a doubt, one of our most memorable hotel stays. It was like waking up to paradise every morning! With a view of the Skaros Rock and caldera, a breakfast spread that is equally beautiful as delicious, and an outdoor Jacuzzi on our private balcony, this place is hard to fault.

 

3. Indulge in delicious food

Maybe it’s the lack of rice and noodles, maybe it’s the amazing seafood. Whatever it is, I LOVE Greek Food. Tzatziki, gyros, baked feta, hummus, calamari, moussaka, fresh octopus, … the list goes on! If you’re on a budget you can survive on gyros and souvlakis. Our go-to’s for cheap eats are Pitogyros in Oia and Lucky’s in Fira.

Our favourite is a little place that serves tapas and meze (Traditional Greek cuisine). We dined here multiple times and loved every dish we tried. Their portions are very generous and prices fairer than most restaurants in Oia. And of course, don’t forget to stop by Taverna Katina in Amoudi Bay for some fresh catch of the day!

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4. Get lost in the towns

This is an obvious one, but an absolute must! You can hike from Fira to Oia, or you can bus between towns to save time. Make sure your camera is fully charged because you’ll be greeted with a postcard moment every corner you turn.

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There are also many, many cats on the island… like this little guy who was very friendly! Most of them are pets of restaurant and shop owners but many are feral.

 

5. Go on a sunset cruise

We signed up with Santorini Sailing for an afternoon of sailing and swimming in the Agean Sea, visited the hot springs, and stopped by the Red and White Beaches. Oh and did I mention we were served unlimited drinks and food? Hell yeah!

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6. Catch the world famous sunset

There are a couple of places to watch the sun dip into the horizon and they all offer different perspectives of this beauty. We had a pretty good view from our balcony in Imerovigli with a long stretch of the caldera in the foreground, and we also had an unobstructed view from our boat. Another place is Santo Winery in Pyrgos. What better way to to enjoy the sunset than pairing it with some wine?

Then there’s Oia Castle, the obvious choice. You’ll have to camp out for a good spot but there’s a reason why everyone gathers here for the sun to go down. It was truly magical. 

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What took my breath away, though, is seeing the town light up against the multicoloured sky. I mean, just look at this! We couldn’t have asked for anything more romantic.

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25 Comments

  1. September 26, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    Your photos are gorgeous!!! I’ve always wanted to visit Santorini and your tips will help me plan my visit some day. I definitely want to avoid the crowds and heat, so I’ll have to go during the off-peak seasons. And great tip on where to stay!

    • September 26, 2016 / 10:50 pm

      Thanks Candy! With climate change the summers are probably going to be dragged out longer and longer, maybe early October wouldn’t bad either- and it’ll be cheaper too!

  2. September 26, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    Wow what a location the islands of Greece always look amazing with their white house, beautiful beaches and amazing sunsets. Picture perfect that’s for sure and your pictures make it more beautiful

    • September 26, 2016 / 10:51 pm

      Thanks, Mark! Although we wish we had a wide angle lens with us to capture all its glory… There’s always next time, right? 😉

  3. September 26, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    Wow, every time I see a photo of Santorini it makes me want to get a flight there immediately!!!! It is so beautiful, and that view from the hotel is unreal! Its nice to see photos of other places in Santorini, not just “that” famous shot 🙂

  4. September 26, 2016 / 11:26 pm

    I loved my trip to Greece. The Greek islands were a world apart from Athens. Cruise around a few islands was one of my favorite activities. Beautiful photos.

    • October 1, 2016 / 2:03 am

      We still have to make our way to mainland Greece one day. Only been to a few islands so far!

  5. September 27, 2016 / 2:00 am

    Great tips for Santorini! I can’t wait to go, and while my first reaction would be to travel to the Greek Islands in summer, I’ve heard from many people that the crowds during this time are just bonkers!! Thanks for the great tips – shoulder / off peak season it is!

    • October 1, 2016 / 2:04 am

      And the heat too! Happy travels 🙂

  6. October 1, 2016 / 2:02 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Santorini, we will make it there one day! These are great tips, we will be sure to refer back to this when we are planning our trip! That sunset cruise sounds incredible, that will be a must for us!

    • October 1, 2016 / 2:05 am

      It was so fun and the food was delicious- one of the best meals we’ve had on the island actually. Make sure not to wear alight-coloured swimsuits/trunks so you can enjoy the natural hot springs!

  7. October 1, 2016 / 2:39 am

    Never been to Greece but will surely go there really soon as part of our European escapade. Thanks for sharing your tips. Might go there on low peak season to enjoy the place better. I also hate mingling with the crowd and unable to maximize the beauty of the place.

    • October 5, 2016 / 10:22 pm

      Good call! The crowds are terrible especially with rude tourists who actually physically push you out of the way 🙁

  8. October 1, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    Yessss! I’ve wanted to go to Santorini since I read “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants!” 🙈 Even though it seemed a bit crowded still for you, it sounds like such an awesome experience! Dying to see that sunset in person!

  9. October 2, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    Wow every picture of Santorini that I’ve ever seen looks amazing. Good tip about not going in Summer. I’d have to use public transportation and wouldn’t like being packed like sardines!

    • October 5, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      You can also get around in ATVs or mopeds but it wouldn’t be safe especially with so much traffic during high season!

  10. October 2, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    I’ve always wanted Santorini and Greece overall to be my honeymoon destination. Since I have no honey, I think I’ll be moving my travel dates a lot sooner =). The sunset cruise with unlimited food and drink is a plus and the views are gorgeous! Great choice for a romantic honeymoon.

    • October 5, 2016 / 10:26 pm

      Haha get it girl. You don’t need no honey to go to Santorini! The sunset cruise would be so much with a bunch of friends because of the unlimited drinks 😉

  11. October 5, 2016 / 7:57 pm

    Your pictures are gorgeous. Makes me wanna go to Santorini right now. Such a lovely choice for your honeymoon.
    We stayed in Fira, however, after looking at where you stayed, I feel that we should have stayed in Imerovigli as well.
    We visited in April & took only our summer wardrobe with us. It was soooo cold!

  12. October 27, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    I was in Rhodes and Kos years ago, but Santorini remains high on my bucket list. Your views from Imerovigli were incredible, and you have completely sold me on staying at a villa up there. Andy has been talking about renting a boat and sailing around the islands, and after seeing your photos and recommendations, now I want to do it more than ever!

  13. October 28, 2016 / 2:02 am

    Oh my goodness, you had the time of your life didn’t you! Such gorgeous shots and fun recommendations – makes me wanna just pack my bags and hop on a plane there. Thanks for sharing <3

  14. October 30, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    Ohh how dreamy are your pictures! I love Santorini as well! And absolutely agree that Imerovigli is the best place to stay! And the red sand beach?? just a dream!

  15. Coree
    October 31, 2017 / 4:45 am

    Beautiful photos! How many days would you suggest for Santorini?

    Thanks!

    • October 31, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      Thanks, Coree! At least three!

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