Probably the most romantic island in Greece, Santorini offers dazzling vistas, postcard-worthy sunsets, volcanic beaches and much more. It is no surprise, Santorini is featured on so many travel bucket lists
Blue skies, warm sun and cool breezes while surrounded by sounds of people laughing and enjoying an idyllic Mediterranean locale…are all things I wished I could be experiencing instead of waiting in the Athens airport. Here I was waiting to depart to this dream destination, the place officially known as Thira, the place everyone calls Santorini. Read on in our Santorini Travel Guide and let’s see what this premiere Grecian locale has to offer.
When traveling, I find having a beautiful place to live helps to enhance having a great experience. Thankfully it’s easily done here.
In the island central town of Fira, the private sea side villa Deep Blue Suites offers a quiet and intimate setting, with a cliff side terrace overlooking the Aegean Sea; it faces the center of the ancient volcanic caldera. Ask for the amazing host Lola.
Located north of the island is the beautiful town of Oia. Known for the best sunset views on the entire island, you’ll find the Canaves Oia Hotel. When you think of iconic views of white cliff side buildings and the blue domed churches, this is it. Did I also mention world class spas and infinity pools?
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My first authentic Mediterranean meal was the musttry classic, freshly grilled octopus marinated in herbs and olive oil. Joined by one of the owners of the family run restaurant Naoussa, most of the customers had left for the evening when he proceeded to bring out complimentary wines and chat the night away.
Famous for its terrace views, the restaurant Ambrosia offers an intimate dining experience with only a dozen tables, all overlooking the sea. Romantic? Verily. Book in Advance.
1800 is a former island mansion built in 1845, now one of the premiere dining spots in Santorini. Don’t miss what its wine cellar has to offer as well as experiencing their private rooftop garden.
Some of the most beautiful views on the island can be experienced on a hike between the towns Fira and Oia. How long it will actually take will depend on the path chosen and the amount of indulgence into the various forms of retail depravity. That said, there is no official fixed path except a general direction (scenic routes versus retail routes) weaving amongst the numerous shops every few feet.
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Preferring places of a more adventurous nature, I soon found myself at its highest point, Mount Pyrgos. With sheer cliffs and panoramic views overlooking nearly the entire island, be prepared if heights make your legs wobbly.
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For the thrill seekers, I also happened upon a local motor cross track (off road motorcycle racing), Pista Motocross. They’re not difficult to miss as you pass by, with motorcycles flying up in the air.
Scuba Diving is another thrill option where instead of flying up, you’ll get to submerge into the depths of the deep blue. Getting an amazing tan is an added bonus. Two popular options for beginners or experienced divers are Aegean Divers and the Santorini Dive Center.
If you prefer just the tanning, Santorini with its volcanic origins, has numerous beautiful and especially unique beaches.
Kamari Beach is one of the largest black sand beaches on the island. While beautiful, footwear is still suggested due to the pebbly sand in certain parts of the beach.
Popular with hikers is Red Beach, named so for its surrounding red cliffs. One has to hike in over rocky “paths” to gain access to this semi-secluded beach as there are no paved routes in. Feel free to ignore the “Danger” sign posted before entering the path, everyone else does.
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Greek wineries have the distinction of being the oldest producers of wine in Europe. With lush vineyards scattered throughout the island, it has a long history of special grape growing techniques unique from the mainland. Do we really need a reason to explore this topic?
Founded in 1947, Santo Wines is the largest winery on the island. Largestwine producer. They also offer a tasting tour. Lots of wine. Go.
If by chance you’re too exhausted from lounging on beaches, shopping and exploring the island to track down individual wineries, Santorini Wine Adventure can help. They’ll arrange for what they call Multi-Winery Tours, ie. multiple tours lasting throughout the day, traveling throughout the island. Wine everywhere.
Being a small island, you can find the same wines at local restaurants, bars and shops. I bought a few bottles from a local shop, Diporto Santorini, who provide an international shipping service, and sent a few bottles back stateside. You can take more wine home with you.
One final suggestion if you’re not one for crowds of tourists (ie. massive hordes) on a small island, try pre or post summer months April – June or September – October.