about the city
There's a reason this is on everyone's bucket list. I think Santorini might be the most magical place in the world. If you want to leave all your worries and cares behind and have a total getaway, get lost in Santorini. Is it an authentic Greek experience? Is it a place full of endless adventures and things to do? Nope. None of the above. But throw that thought out the window, and just enjoy it for what it is- a place full of vacationers who are here with nothing to do but relax and be merry.
Get lost amongst blue and white buildings and stuck behind a donkey. Wake up with nothing to do but swim in clear water, drink ouzo and wine, and never-ending amounts of fresh olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta. Dream of maybe just staying there forever. Welcome to paradise!
Before you go
Santorini certainly has Greek culture but has ben highly tainted by the tourism that completely overwhelms the island. I would highly recommend pairing your trip to Santorini with another Greek island or a few days in Athens, where you will probably fly into. You can take ferries for fairly cheap. Crete is a great option for an island that is more rugged and untouched.
where to stay
There are several small towns in Santorini, but in my opinion, you only want to stay in Oia. Those pictures you've seen on postcards and Instagram? That's Oia. Yes, it's way more expensive than the other towns, but getting in and out of Oia is a complete pain by car, and if you're coming all the way to Santorini, pay more to do it right. Otherwise, you'll be too far from the restaurants, the views, and the charm.
Atlantida Villas- I've stayed here twice now. The rooms are very simple, but the multiple pools are incredible. Set just outside of Oia, you can easily get into town by a walking path that goes all along the cliffs looking down onto the Mediterranean. A short mile walk spits you right into the center of town. This is a great option to be close to everything Oia has to offer for a fraction of the cost.
Beyond this, they start to all look and feel the same. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!
what to do
I don't have a whole lot of "to do's" in Santorini because, honestly, just relax! Wander the streets, eat slow meals, and relax poolside all day. This is a place to be slow, and sometimes that is totally okay. Treat yourself!
Watch sunset over Amoudi Bay- Head over EARLY to get a spot at the lookout point at the top of Amoudi Steps, or just go straight to the Amoudi Steps themselves because these tend to be much more open. You will be there with every other person on the island, so if you are there in the summer, stake out your spot early. I do think it's worth doing though, as you'll see the beautiful orange sky behind the iconic view of the blue and white homes cascading along the side of the Santorini cliffs. When the sun officially sets, everyone claps and cheers. It's one of those we're-all-in-this-together moments that gives you goosebumps.
Skaros Rock- Set in the town about 15/20 minutes away from Oia, Imerovigli, you do need a way to get here. Many people rent ATVs to get around the island, or you can ask your hotel to book you a taxi. Just organize a plan to get back as well. Once you get to Imerovigli, park in the center of town- there is a bunch of parking by the basketball courts. From there, it's only a short trek through some quaint local homes mixed with beautiful luxury hotels to a path that leads to Skaros Rock. It is pretty well marked, but you might want to look it up on a map beforehand. You will see a very large rock jetting out of the island with a hiking path up to it- that's it! From the top (there's this final part that you basically have to rock climb up- not necessary to make it all the way up there. The view isn't much different.), you'll get a beautiful look back at the island, and if you go in the early morning, you'll see the beautiful fog resting amongst the rocky cliffs.
Boat Tour to the Volcano and Hot Springs- If you want to get out and do something active, add this to your list. You'll get to take a fun quick boat over to the still active volcano and get a guide to tell you all about it. You can then swim in the hot springs surrounding it. This is a fun half-day trip.
where to eat
Lotza- It can be pretty easy to get caught in the tourist traps of restaurants in Santorini, but as a Greek girl myself, let me tell you that this place is just like yiayia's kitchen. Absolutely do not miss this if you are wanting to try some truly authentic Greek food. The pastitsio (lasagna like dish with layers of noodles, meet, and bechemel sauce with a distinctive touch of cinnamon) is one of the best I've ever had and is my favorite Greek dish. We also tried the moussaka, a rice & shrimp dish, and the spanakopita- all fantastic. I went with my family, and none of us wanted to share our dishes because what we ordered was so good! The family who runs this restaurant takes great pride in their work and flawlessly work together to provide a perfect meal. I would honestly come here every night and just order something different.
Vitrin Cafe Creperie- Heart eyes for days and days. I came here each morning to start things off with a delicious crepe, juice, and latte. Whatever their recipe for the crepe is taste likes heaven, but what really puts this place over the edge is the incredible view of Amoudi Bay. Start your day off slowly here with a great view of the perfectly view ocean and a Greek flag waving by a bell set in arches. This is an Instagramer's dream. Pro tip: this is also a perfect place to grab a drink and watch the sunset with a fancy drink in hand. The crowds will flock to the steps, but for some reason, people haven't yet caught on to come here.
Taverna Katina at Amoudi Bay- Come here to watch the sunset or scramble down the steps quickly after the sunset to get a spot. There will be crowds, but it's a charming place to eat freshly caught seafood right on the water. You can go select your fish and watch them cook it outside on open flames for you. I've heard the lobster spaghetti is unreal good but expect to shell out lots of $$$$ for that one.