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Santorini Highlights : Exploring the Island

Santorini Highlights Oia

I had Santorini on my wish list for a long time (probably influenced by all the dreamy pictures on Instagram), so needless to say my expectations were quite high. Well, Santorini did not disappoint! Truly gorgeous views, delicious food and just an island vibe that was much needed at this time of the year.

Where We Stayed

Santorini Highlights Fira

I considered staying in Oia but hotels were quite expensive since it’s the most famous part of the island. It’s also the busiest. I’m glad we stayed in Thira (also called Fira) as it made the whole trip easier and less expensive – although we spent quite a lot on Santorini restaurants .
To get to the beaches on the other side of the island or to Oia, we just had to hop on a direct bus for a short ride.
Other very important criteria: there was a gym (not the most modern but still a decent gym) just a short walk away from the hotel.
And although Thira was quite busy in the middle of the high season, it had nothing to compare with Oia where it was pretty much impossible to walk.

Santorini Fira

Top Santorini Highlights

We had only 5 full days there so we didn’t tick every touristy box but I feel like the trip was a good mix of chill and exploring. If you’re making a quick stop in Santorini, put these on top of your list:

  • Go to Red Beach. Early in the morning and with your trainers on. To reach this scenic beach surrounded by high red cliffs we walked and climbed for about 20min and as it’s a small beach it gets easily packed after 11am.

Red Beach Santorini

  • Hike from Thira to Oia and enjoy the best views of the Caldera. We made the right choice by setting off at 6:30 in the morning. It wasn’t too warm and we completed the 6miles hike in a little more than 2hours with a few stops to take pictures. We arrived just in time for breakfast and were ready to explore Oia.
  • Did you even go to Santorini if you didn’t take pictures of the 3 blue domes? They are not easy to find on a map but once you get to Oia you just have to follow the crowd and you’ll find them.

Santorini Oia blue domes

  • Don’t miss the sunset. It’s enjoyable everywhere alongside the caldera but the higher the better.
  • What about the food? I wrote another Santorini Highlights post with my top restaurant picks.

Santorini Travel Tips

  • Book a table for the best view especially if you want to catch the famous Santorini sunset whilst dining. It’s fairly easy to do online, over the phone or just when walking by a restaurant. Just ask for a table on the edge with sea view. I do love planning (a bit too much) and I didn’t want to miss out so I booked a few places before landing there.
  •  It’s pretty much impossible to find a quiet spot to watch the sunset in Oia but we managed it in Firostefani, the town next to Thira. Just walk to the highest point. A good spot is near the Volkan on the Rocks restaurant. Much less crowded.

Santorini sunset Fira

  • Be prepared for the small island airport experience especially when departing. What you read online is true, it’s not great at all. There’s loads of people, very little room and barely any AC. Don’t make the same mistake as us: don’t arrive too early. Flights are often delayed and you’ll have  to join the crowd sitting on the floor for a few hours.

Now debating which other Greek island is next on the travel wish list…

18 thoughts on “Santorini Highlights : Exploring the Island

  1. Christen

    Your post brought back found memories of my trip to Greece last year! I stayed in Fira too and loved it :). If you are considering another Greek island, check out Mykonos if you haven’t already

  2. Milan

    The pictures and description are delicious. Thanks for the handy tips too

  3. Chloe

    I highly recommend it! Plenty of things to do and the views are incredible!

  4. laura

    This place looks so beautiful, a common wedding destination yes? with it so popular I wonder if its overcrowded at all though. But maybe its worth it

  5. Chloe

    It is crowded, yes, but still worth it!

  6. Mary Meier

    OMG….I have GOT to plan a trip to Greece! Your images are gorgeous, and I am so grateful for the inspiration!

  7. Chloe

    Thank you so much 🙂 Yes I highly recommend Santorini!

  8. Janine Ella

    Santorini is on my bucket list! I wonder when I can go here! The place is so beautiful! And I think if I go there, I have to really save up so I can stay in Oia! Haha

  9. Monidipa

    Can definitely understand why this place is so famous, with all the mesmerizing views, and a plenty of things to do. Anyone would like to visit there. Seems totally worth it.

  10. Anonymous

    Your photos are stunning! Looks and sounds like such an amazing place- will have to add it to my bucket list!

  11. Catherine Santiago Jose

    Wow, that is such a beautiful place to see and to explore. I will definitely add this to my bucket list and will also recommend this place to my friends.

  12. Nandita

    Santorini has been forever in my travel list because of the blue, white and the gorgeous horizon. The highlights and travel tips you mentioned are very helpful.
    – Nandita

  13. Chai

    Panoramic view is so inviting. I will add this to places that I’m going to visit in the future. Thank you for sharing this, Santorini wait for me!

  14. Holly

    What a fun trip. It looks like you had a great time. Such beautiful photos…I definitely want to visit!

  15. Preet

    So many things to love about Santorini! It’s really beautiful out there This is such a great place to visit

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