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
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…