Blue domes, white Cycladic houses, romantic sunsets, sheer cliffs, black volcanic beaches. Santorini has it all!
This small volcanic island of just 73 km2 (28 sq mi) in the middle of the Aegean Sea is located about 200km (120 mi) southeast of Greece mainland, resulting from several volcanic eruptions through the centuries.
WHEN TO VISIT SANTORINI
Peak season in Santorini is between July and August when hotels are full and streets are packed with tourists (especially in Oia). Avoid this period of the year and travel to Santorini in May-June or September-October when things are quieter, more affordable, and much more enjoyable.
On the other hand, wintertime can be quite an experience since most restaurants and hotels shut down from November to the end of March.
WHERE TO STAY IN SANTORINI
The most popular destinations in Santorini are Oia, Imerovigli, and Fira.
If you pick one of them as your base, be prepared to invest good money in accommodation: hotels can be pretty expensive on this side of the island facing the Caldera, especially in Oia and Imerovigli. But, simultaneously, you’ll enjoy the most beautiful spots of Santorini. In other words, it can be worth the money.
But, if you are on a tight budget, choose a place on the east coast, like Perissa or Kamari, and then travel by bus, bike, or car to the other side of the island. This area is also great for watersports and a relaxing beach vacation.
WHAT TO DO IN SANTORINI
Despite being a small island, there’s plenty to do in Santorini.
The first activity you’ll surely be doing is walking: there are endless trails to go through, the most famous ones linking Fira-Firostefani-Imerovigli-Oia. But even without adventuring in a 10-mile walk, remember that going from your hotel room to a restaurant, a shop, or a viewpoint usually involves walking and a lot – A LOT – of stairs. In fact, all the Caldera-edge towns are unsuitable for people with reduced mobility, and also, be careful if traveling with small children.
Sunsets in Oia (and also in Imerovigli) are something you’ll be chasing since they allegedly are the most romantic in the world. Be aware that, especially during peak season, people will get to the viewpoints hours in advance to secure the best spot.
Swimming in Santorini can mean very different things: you can swim in a lovely swimming pool or an exclusive plunge pool on your private terrace in the Caldera area. If you stay on the black beaches on the east coast of Santorini, you’ll get a taste of the Aegean Sea.
Another must-do in Santorini is wine tasting in one of the 12 local wineries. One of the biggest producers is the Estate Argyros, a winery that hosts wine tasting featuring a selection of vintage wines accompanied by fine Greek food. Santorini’s most famous wines, made from the assyrtiko grape variety, are the dry whites and the dessert wine Vinsanto.
Last but not least, if you have a limited time in Santorini or don’t want the hassle of renting a car and looking for things, many tour agencies on the island organize both group and private, customizable tours.
. Santorini travel guide
WHAT TO SEE IN SANTORINI
The island deserves a stop, but you can’t leave Santorini before visiting these spots if you are going for the essentials.
– Oia. As cliché as it sounds, this little former fisherman town does deserve a visit. And not only for the world-known sunsets but also for the historical center with all the small shops and restaurants and the narrow streets with the Caldera view.
– Imerovigli. Less famous than Oia but, in my opinion, as beautiful, Imerovigli has something unique to explore: the Skaros. Today a conical peninsula, but historically the first of five fortresses built on Santorini in the 15th century to protect the islanders from pirate attacks. Back in the days, it was home to more than 1,000 people, but earthquakes ended the “town,” and the inhabitants moved to Fira.
– Firostefani. This town could be considered a borough of Fira, and it’s famous for the 3-bells church with a blue dome looking at the Caldera.
– Red Beach. More famous for sightseeing than swimming, this stunning beach in the South of Santorini is a traveler’s favorite.
– Black Beaches. Most of Santorini’s beaches on the east coast are lined with black volcanic sand, a unique feature in all of Europe.
With all that fear, it’s much easier to stay at home in our
comfort zones than to break out and travel.
So, are you ready for a perfect Santorini getaway? Santorini travel guide
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