It may sound cliche that I would favor Santorini of all the Greek islands I visited… but frankly it was just so easy to fall in love with. You want relaxation, black and red sand beaches, and panoramic dinner views overlooking the volcanic crater? CHECK. You want to party, sail, and cruise around the island on a 4-wheeler? You’ve got that too. It’s hard to believe this tiny island is one of the most touristic in the world, yet still has the ability to free you from the summer crowds. Needless to say, it definitely lived up to the hype.
– Where to Stay –
Fira – Staying in the town of Fira will not only put you near the nightlife, port, and shopping, but it will also keep you central on the island. It is the main hub for all the port, airport, and local buses on the island, so nothing is too out of reach. It also has similar views as Oia so you can have the same cliffside feel with half the crowds. I recommend staying here if you’re a solo or young traveler that wants to be where the action is OR if you’re on a relaxing getaway with your significant other.
Perissa Beach – This black sand beach is ideal for couples or travelers that need a detox after arriving from Mykonos or Ios. It’s just far enough to have some peace and quiet, but close enough that you can pop on a bus for the 15 minute ride to Fira for a night out. It has a tiny strip of delicious restaurants, chill reggae bars, and basic souvenir shops, so don’t worry about being too isolated.
- Anny’s Studio – An inexpensive route with private studios and dorms.
– What to Do –
SCUBA – There’s 3 main dive shops on the island but I went with Santorini Dive Center! They offer some packages which significantly reduce the price per dive, but I just opted for 1 dive off Akrotiri Beach in the crater. We got to see some amazing rock formations, a few simple fish, and I FINALLY got to see an OCTOPUS!
Scooter/ATV Rental – There is no shortage of rental companies on the island. Each rents scooters, ATVs, and dune buggies with a variety of speeds starting at 30EUR for 24 hours with a basic “mere-transportation” model. I suggest touring the island and stopping at the iconic Red Beach, Caldera beach, and the less touristic Vlichada Beach.
Day/Sunset Cruise – There are a few operators running an all-inclusive boat cruise through the crater of Santorini, making a few stops along the way. They offer a daytime cruise that allows for snorkeling, lunch, a few stops, and views of the cities draped over the cliffs of the crater. They also run a sunset cruise – essentially the same but in reverse, stopping right in front of the picturesque town of Oia so the sunset can create the ultimate dinnertime backdrop.
– Where to Eat & Drink –
Murphey’s Bar, Two Brothers, & basically the whole area of Fira : This area is the spot for bar hopping and staying out until 8am. Of course it’s just tourists continuing their island crawl from one of the other Cyclades, but hey it’s a good time!
Tranquillo Bar : Perissa beach – as I mentioned before – is perfect for vegging out after you’ve had too many forgetful nights. If you just want to listen to reggae, sip a cocktail, and have some nachos… this is the perfect place.
Panorama Restaurant : Located on the cliffside above Caldera beach, this restaurant is true to its name – giving a full view of the entire crater all the way to Fira and the small islands inside the volcano. It also has this resident cat that clearly missed its calling as a model.