The island that most honeymoon, wedding photos and romantic getaway Pinterest boards are made off. Yes, I am sure you have heard of Santorini or at least seen pictures of this beautiful Greek Island in the Aegean Sea. In this post I am going to give you a travel guide to Santorini, covering places to see in Santorini, food, best tours and of course hotels in Santorini.
When you read about Santorini, Oia is not so far behind. Oia is the picturesque cliffside town with white-washed Cycladic cave buildings overlooking Caldera. Luxury sea-facing boutique hotels, art galleries, clothing and jewellery boutiques, wineries and restaurants serving up mouthwatering Greek food to endless beaches.
Tell me why it took me this long to visit Santorini! Although Oia is the most famous of the island’s towns, I would highly recommend you also take the time explore surrounding towns like Akrotiri, Fira, Perissa to name a few. There are so many things to do in Santorini Greece. I have shared a couple of links below to some of my posts from our exploration in Santorini, including in our stay in a cave hotel in Akrotiri.
Travel Guide To Santorini + Things To Do
It’s easy to understand why people flock to Oia, with its labyrinth of alleys and narrows streets to easily get lost in, the beautiful and iconic blue domes, the magical sunsets and beautiful atmosphere the blue hour creates as the lights from the town’s cliff-side buildings start to flicker on.
If you are lucky enough to be staying in a hotel offering uninterrupted views of the Caldera then that can help beat the queues for a prime spot to watch the sunset over the Aegean’s horizon. If you are staying in hotels in Oia while visiting Santorini then you can scope out the best spots to watch the sunset without crowds of hundreds all rustling for the same spot.
If simply visiting for the day then stake out places earlier as it can get pretty hectic as people start to rush to the edge of the island just before sunset. I would highly recommend at least 2-3 days on the island to really get the most of it at a minimum. In addition to that below are 7 Reasons Why You Need To Visit Santorini and things to see and do on the island.
1. Santorini’s Magical Sunsets By The Caldera – Sunset Watching in Oia
The magical sunsets alone draw enough crowds to Santorini, in comparison to those that come for the white-washed cave architecture. Yes, Santorini’s sunsets are just as magical where ever you happen to catch them, whether that is when sailing around the island, on the edge of Oia, along Akrotiri’s quieter viewpoints.
Many people will flock to Oia when they visit the island. In that case, you will need to scope out the best spots early when you visit the Oia or head to your chosen spot at least 30 minutes before sunset. Even better if you can grab yourself a glass of wine and take in the sunset in style, over a glass of bubbly.
2. Santorini’s Beautiful Church Domes
Many have dreamed of having blue dome churches as backdrops to wedding, engagement, honeymoon photos or in my case Instagram photos. Who wouldn’t want to explore the islands many blue domes that are scattered around Santorini, amid its white cubic architecture? Just not that most of these are hidden behind little alleyways, so if you see a lot of people disappearing into little alleyways then its highly likely they that’s where they are heading.
3. Explore Santorini Through Greek Food and Local Wines
If you are on a diet then you are on the wrong island because even Greek salads come with delicious Greek Feta cheese. The island has plenty of restaurants to cover all budgets gourmet restaurants serving up mezze platters, freshly caught seafood, locally sourced wines and topped off with Greek phyllo desserts and more sinful amounts of wine while coming up with reasons why you can’t just move to Santorini for a lifetime of island living.
Don’t be fooled into believing you have to head to Amoundi Bay for great seafood, Santorini is littered with plenty of options. You can check out food tours and wine tours in Santorini on Viator for inspiration. For tips on how to make the most of Santorini Greece on €53 a day. Check out Bel Around The World.
4. Luxury Shopping In Oia
Santorini among many Greek Islands is one that is known for its luxury and expensive hotels, and with that there are plenty of luxury boutiques to test your bank manager’s patience. For those with bank accounts that don’t seem to match daydreams of being draped in diamonds, there are plenty of shops to cater to you.
I fell in love with many a jewellery shop and walked away with more earrings to add to my crazy collection. While we are on the subject of shopping do not leave the island without testing some of the delicious gelatosato, or checking out the cute souvenir shops on the island.
5. Visit Santorini’s Best Beaches
Red sand beach, black sand beach, white sand beach and “normal” coloured sand beach, you will them all in Santorini. There plenty of beaches to keep even the fussiest of beachgoers like myself who prefer the less crowded beaches. From well-organised beaches with rent-able beach lounge chairs to those that require a boat ride and your own picnic basket in tow. Check out my post on a guide to Santorini’s Best Beaches.
6. Santorini Boat Trips | Tour Santorini Sights and Activities
For a small island, it’s actually pretty packed with activities to keep you entertained. Aside from those mentioned above; Donkey rides up and down the island, take the cable cars (you can just about see them in one of the pictures with the donkeys above) to not only take in the sea views but quickly get up and down the island, you can indulge on a Santorini boat trips around the island.
Read about our Catamaran Sunset Tour in Santorini. take wine tasting tour, rent a quad bike and explore the island, visit Akrotiri’s archaeological site, hike the Fira trail or even scuba dive. There are plenty of activities to choose from on the island.
7. Experience Island Living in Santorini’s Cave buildings
Another draw to the island is the beautiful cave style buildings that Santorini is synonymous with. You can read about our Stay in Santorini at Sigal Villa on the blog. In terms of accommodation, there are many options. From camping, hostels, hotels both budget and luxury.
You also don’t have to pay a ridiculous amount to get the views and experience Greek cave style buildings with seas of cobalt blue seas to wake up to. Check out my post on why you need to my guide on the best hotels in Santorini, which includes details of where we stayed.
Search for hotel deals in Santorini
Getting to and around Santorini
I have a guide to getting around in Santorini. If traveling from the UK like I was, you have 2 options. You can now travel directly to Santorini from London or travel to Athens then fly to Santorini. I have a detailed guide on how to travel from Athens to Santorini By ferry and another on how to get from Mykonos to Santorini.
For any other city check out Expedia, Momondo and Kayak to find the best flight deals from your city. You can also take the ferry from Athens which is range from 4 hours for the fast service or 7+ hours for the budget service. Getting around the island I have found to be a hit and miss. There is public transport but from what I have heard buses are never on time.
You can also rent a quad bike for about € 20 a day but if there are 2 or more of you I have found renting a car far more comfortable and economical. Parking is also free in many areas on the island. There are also plenty of tours on the island. Check out tours on Viator and Get Your Guide.