Food. Life. Travel

Greece 101: A Quick Guide to Santorini

Santorini is undoubtedly the most romantic island in Greece. You can’t help but feel romantic and starry eyed as you roam this beautiful island. The island is post card perfect with its blue domed churches and white washed homes. The more I swam in the Mediterranean sea the more I fell in love with the island.

We had a very rigorous schedule during our time in Santorini that consisted of breakfast, beach, nap, dinner then gelato. When it comes to gelato, I can safely say the best I’ve had is in Santorini and I am not saying this because I got to indulge in a naughty scoop of Greek viagra & Cuban lover. Trust me, the flavour combination is mouth watering and are worthy of their namesakes 😉

Santorini is a magnificent island and it will truly leave you spellbound. Sadly a lot of the photos I took during my time in Greece were on my phone that was stolen a few months after my return. Hence why I do not have photos for some parts of this post but I tried to do my best.

If you decide to visit Santorini, I hope that you find my quick Santorini travel guide helpful. Happy Travels!

Sites To See

Amoudi Bay

Visit Amoudi Bay, Oia

The trek to Amoudi Bay is not long if you take the stairs down to the bay. We, of course, did the opposite and ended up walking along the roads of Oia, maneuvering over rocky outcroppings much like Indiana Jones, until we reached our destination

What lays before your eyes will be something out of a travel fairy tale. Fishing boats bobble gently on the sea, you can hear the chatter of fishermen as they discuss the days catch, the strong scent of salty sea air and fish swirl around your senses. Looking up top you see the that the big cliff of Santorini looks down upon you and small homes and stores dot the terraces. It is magical. Stop. Relax. Breathe. Take the time to enjoy the view and grab a seat at one of the sea side restaurants. You are guaranteed to have the freshest meal!

Cliff Dive in Amoudi Bay, Oia

Cliff diving has been on my bucket list for some time now. When we checked into our hotel I asked the concierge if she knew a place we could cliff dive and she suggested Amoudi Bay. The bay provides a barrier that allows for very calm, clear waters that are deep enough for jumping. To reach the area to cliff dive you have to continue walking past the restaurants and around this rocky cliff. It is slightly precarious but incredibly worth it!

Although you can swim in this area (and I highly suggest you do), there is no real place to set your belongings down and lounge. In fact the area is just a series of rocky plateaus and boulders.

Directly in the middle of the bay is a big rocky cliff where you jump. There are two ways to get to the top, the first requires climbing up the face of the cliff and the second is a similar method but you have a rope you can hold onto. I prefer the former method and found the latter to be trickier. Once you reach the top it ends up being a 20 meter or so drop to the bottom.

I jumped off that cliff several times that day and I felt liberated. However I would never do it again. Funny right? Thinking back to that moment I feel a rush of adrenaline and then fear kicks in. No way could I do it again.

Climb the Famed Steps of Oia

Climbing down the steps to reach Amoudi Bay is easy. Climbing up, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. First there are about 500 steps and each step is around 1 meter long. Second there are donkeys that many travellers use an option to foray up the stairs. When you have a cluster of about 5 donkeys ever 20 stairs or so, you will start to notice that donkeys smell. Very very badly. So badly that in the sweltering heat the scent is amplified to the point that you want to pass out. How do you fix this? Well when we climbed up the stairs we had our wet towels from the beach and wrapped them around our faces. I will warn you, you will look silly – but the cloying scent of donkey poo won’t be a problem anymore.

Once you are at the top, look down at the view below and give yourself a big pat on the back for doing such a great job 😉

staircases of oia

Explore Oia and Fira

Oia is the postcard of Santorini and where the famed blue domed churches are found. Oia has many things to do, and plenty of shops to browse. All over Greece you will find that there are items  made out of olive wood. In Santorini we ended up purchasing a beautiful olive wood honey spoon that we use to this day. Aside from stores, Oia also has fantastic contemporary art galleries where the artist themselves are present. In addition to this, Santorini has some beautiful architecture that you should certainly stop and admire.

Many people think that the life of the party is in Oia – but they are wrong. In my opinion I found Fira to be such a happening place and a little less touristy than Oia. Fira is less expensive than Oia and had some of the most delicious restaurants on the island. Furthermore, Fira has a vibrant night life, boasting rooftop bars and classy lounges. In fact when we were walking around Fira at night we were invited into a club for some shots of Ouzo on the house. I will warn you – nightlife in Santorini starts late. So if you want to party, head out to the clubs around midnight and expect things to pick up around 1 am or so.

 

                   
Catch the Sunset

Santorini is world famous for a sunset that is sure to take your breath away – and rightly so! The orange-y red, fiery glow of the sun settling over the horizon of the Mediterranean sea is mesmerizing. People start to flock to the highest points in the island to capture this view. In fact many restaurants are fully booked around this time because people want to dine and watch the sun set.

Do not feel like you have to be right in Oia or at an expensive patio to enjoy the sunset. Where ever you find yourself on the island is a perfect place to watch the sun go down. Once you see that sun set, I guarantee you will never want to leave the island ever again.

sunset in fira santorini view of the sunset in santorini

Where To Stay

We stayed at Villa Irini in Fira. The villa is family run and features rooms that are actually built into the side of the volcano in Santorini.

The villa is incredibly beautiful and the rooms are spacious and well laid out. At night you can sleep with the windows open and feel the cool sea breeze. In the morning we woke up to the sounds of the fishermen down below, their music drifted up, a sweet melody to wake up to in the morning. Villa Irini offers a breakfast option but we opted to purchase breakfast elsewhere on the island.

Aside from the beautiful rooms, Villa Irini offers the most spectacular views of the island, including the famed volcano. There also have a pool that looks out onto the Mediterranean sea. We spent our evenings in the pool before heading out for dinner. If this hasn’t sold you yet, then the icing on top of the cake is the fact that every night from our apartment we were lucky enough to see the beautiful sun, set over the horizon of the island (a small bakery up the road from the hotel).

Fira will be considerably cheaper than Oia for accommodation. Alternatively, you can also rent out an Air BnB on the island which works for people who have a tighter budget.

hotel room villa irini

Where To Eat

Ouzeri, Fira

The Ouzeri is a quaint restaurant with an outdoor patio located in Fira. We ate the most tender and flavourful lamb at this restaurant and sipped on a carafe of house wine (a rose). I recommend choosing the features at this restaurant and opting for the house wine. The service is wonderful and the food is not expensive at all. In fact it is one of the best places to eat in Santorini.

Lolita’s Gelato

I know many will argue and say that Italy is the birthplace of gelato, but I think otherwise. Greece is the best place for gelato and Lolita’s Gelato is the best on the island of Santorini. I recommend Greek Viagra and Cuban Lover because that is a flavour combo made in heaven!

Beaches

Perissa / Perivolos (Agios Georgios) Black Sand Beach

Located to the southeast of Fira, Perissa beach was the first beach we went to in Greece. The beach is centrally located and was only a 15 minute bus ride from our hotel. In fact these two beaches are actually 4 km worth of coastline. You get a stunning view of the Mediterranean sea as well as the rocky outcrops that frame the sides of the sea. However what is most striking is the black sand to the water is similar to that of walking on hot rocks. The beach is equipped with lounging chairs and there is a snack bar located on site. You can order your food, swim for a bit and then return to your chairs to eat lunch. Some argue that the beach is a bit too touristy (and the food is pricey), which I do not dispute. However I still find this beach to be a great place to swim in Santorini.

black sand beach santorini

~~~

Santorini is undoubtedly a beautiful island with many things to do. The island has delicious food and incredible views. I fell in love with the island and its beauty – and I do not doubt that you will feel the same way.

I hope you find this guide helpful. Be sure to check out my guide to Athens on the blogto get some tips for your next trip. Be sure to follow my instagram as well @Thousand Caminos where I will be sharing more photos & stories from my travels in Greece.

If you have traveled to Santorini, let me know in the comments below! I would love to know what you thought of the island.

Until next time!

XO

 

2+
Share:

18 comments so far.

18 responses to “Greece 101: A Quick Guide to Santorini”

  1. Elisabeth says:

    I stayed at the same villa when I was there 3 years ago! So magical. Santorini is probably the most beautiful place in the world to me. Great pictures!

    1+
  2. nicole says:

    Wow these photos are just breathtaking! It looks like you had a fabulous time, I cant wait to visit Santorini its at the top of my bucketlist!!
    -www.wanderlustbrunette.com

    1+
  3. Oh my! Greece is sooo beautiful! I’m sure I’d be laying on the beach all day.

    1+
  4. Alexandria says:

    It’s sooo beautiful! I can’t wait to visit Greece!

    0
  5. Santorini is my absolute dream destination! I love this guide and if I end up traveling there I will definitely reference this!

    xo
    Sami
    The Classic Brunette

    0
    • Thank you so much Sami! If you have pinterest I would love for you to pin the guide. And if you ever do go (which I hope you do) please let me know how it went, I would love to hear about your travels 🙂

      0
  6. Kristen says:

    Oh my gosh, Santorini is B E A U T I F U L !! I can’t wait to visit this city, it’s definitely on my bucket list 🙂

    Kristen | http://www.sophisticatedgal.com

    0
  7. Emma says:

    Santorini has been on my bucket list for years! It’s so beautiful and your pics make me want to visit even more! Ill get there soon

    0
  8. Roxy says:

    Santorini is my dream destination! It is breathtakingly beautiful. Fira sounds like a dream. I will def have to keep this in mind for whenever I make it!

    0
  9. Santorini is soooo beautiful! I’ve never seen any bad pics from Santorini. Would love to visit!

    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *