So excited to share my Santorini guide with you because it is my most memorable trip to date. Santorini will always hold a special place in my heart, because it's where I got engaged, but it also is one of the most beautiful places in the world. This guide is a roundup of where my fiancé and I stayed, ate, and spent time while in Santorini. Enjoy!
Where to Stay
First, some background on Santorini. If you're planning your trip to Santorini, you should know that there are three main towns on the island: Fira, Imerovigli, and Oia (the most commonly known).
Fira: if you're not looking to break the bank and enjoy more the backpacker's lifestyle, this is the place for you. With many hostels and a younger crowd, this area of the island
Imerovigli: this is my favorite part of the island because of the incredible views. Since it is the highest point of the island, you will get beautiful views of the island and the most breathtaking sunsets. I also loved this part of the island because it's very quiet and romantic.
Oia (pronounced "E-ya"): This part of town is where you'll see all of the iconic domes and homes sprinkled all over the caldera. It is beautiful, but gets very busy during the summer.
Stay - Imerovigli, Santorini
White Santorini: Our stay here was beautiful. From the all-inclusive breakfast options, to the incredible view, this was a lovely stay. The room had an outdoor hot tub and patio that overlooked the island and to top it off, the staff was so hospitable.
Stay - Oia, Santorini
Santo Maris Oia: I cannot say enough amazing this about this boutique, luxury hotel. From the moment you arrive, you are treated like royalty. You are greeted with a homemade welcome lemonade spritzer and then escorted to your room via golf cart. The vibe here is modern Mayan meets Grecian boutique hotel, and it's surreal. The room we stayed in had an outdoor hot tub (not uncommon for hotels in Greece) and its own breakfast nook. Most "hotels" in Oia are small and only consist of a few rooms since they are located on the caldera, but since this property is not technically in the downtown area of Oia, it offered much more space and had a luxury resort feel to it.
*A few added bonuses of this place:
Sunset: It is the BEST place to catch the sunset in Oia. Most people will crowd the calderas in the town of Oia to catch the sunset, which becomes very busy and uncomfortable. This is a hidden gem in Oia, where you can catch the sunset from the outdoor bar, with no crowds and a nice cold glass of wine as the sun dips into the ocean. If nothing else, this should definitely convince you to stay here.
Walking path: Santo Maris created a walking path into the town of Oia (that is well lit at night) and only a 5 minute walk into the town! This was such a nice added perk that we found out upon our arrival, If you look at Google Maps, it does not know this path exists and tells you that you are over 30 minutes from the town. In reality, you're only a five minute walk which is great for a pre/post dinner walk.
Where to Eat
*Most, if not all, hotels in Greece offer free, daily breakfast with your stay so these restaurant recommendations are great as lunch or dinner options.
Eat - Imerovigli
Avocado: This restaurant is right across the street from White Santorini and has really great authentic Greek food. Must try: avocado tzatziki dip.
Cavo Tagoo: Mediterranean upscale. For an incredible dinner with an amazing sunset view, this is your place.
Anogi: Great food, service and outdoor seating. Favorites: pork belly and the pasta of the day.
Eat - Oia
Ambrosia: This is my favorite restaurant in Oia. Come here for sunset (you can't see the sun dip into the ocean, but the sky still looks beautiful). The restaurant is cliffside and very romantic. As the sunsets, you'll start seeing the caldera light up which is magical. Make reservations is advance for a table outside because it gets very busy. The food is incredible. Do not miss the Shrimp Risotto in a fresh tomato sauce with white truffle oil. If you like spice make sure you ask for the the hot chili oil (it's a secret and they get it from the south side of the island): it's life changing.
2. Amoudi Fish Tavern: Great for lunch or at sunset- the restaurant is right on the water and has the freshest feta you will eat. They display whole squids (which are caught daily) and have amazing fish specials to share. There are a lot of restaurants in the Amoudi Bay area, so you'll enjoy eating at any. I've been told Dimitris and Sunset Tavern are also good options.
3. Alios Ilios: Located in Santo Maris, this will be the best place to get a full sunset view during dinner. The food is great and on certain nights, they have a live pianist during dinner which is super romantic.
Grab a Drink
Buddha Bar: Great (and only) bar in Imerovigli that has a cool vibe. They offer hookah here and have a beautifully lit pool area. It does get really windy at night so be prepared if you'd like to sit outside, otherwise their indoor area is really cool to grab a late night drink before heading into Fira.
Koo Bar: Really fun indoor/outdoor nightclub in Fira. It's a big space with great music, and was the place to be at night.
Tropical: great sunset views and good drinks
Hassapiko (Marykay's): This bar goes by both names and is the only bar in Oia. It's so much fun and def worth the visit! It's really small, but they play great music and drinks aren't too pricey. The place to be at night in Oia.
What to Do
Hike to Fira: The hike to Fira from Imerovigli is an easy 1.5 miles one way. The path is paved and offers a gorgeous scenic route into the town with lots photo opps on the way. In the town you'll find tons of little shops, restaurants and cheap bars with goof happy hour deals. It can get really hot on this walk so make sure you bring a hat and sunscreen!
Hike up Skaros Rock: Skaros Rock is a formation of ruins with a very steep hike. It gives you a gorgeous view of the island, but make sure you're wearing good sneakers because the hike can get tricky at times.
Walk the town: Through the town of Oia you'll see the infamous blue domes- if you want to grab a picture with fewer people around try before 9AM.
Kastro House photo opp: The Kastro House is the iconic peach building which is actually a hotel/restaurant. It's a really nice place to snap a photo along your walk to Amoudi Bay.
Amoudi Bay: The walk down to Amoudi Bay is over 300 steps and is a tad rocky and scattered with donkey poop (so wear comfy shoes), but wow is it worth it. The water looks gorgeous from this vantage point and the food down at the bay is even better! You can even take a dip in the water if it's not too windy. Options to get back up are: walking back up the stairs or taking a cab from the other end (closer to Amoudi Fish Tavern). Another option we took is walking up the cab route so even though it was steep, there were no stairs so it wasn't a bad walk up at all. This route also offered a beautiful view of the other side of the island. Whatever you choose to do, I do not recommend taking the donkeys up or down as they are not treated well.
Charter a boat: there are options for day trips or sunset cruises on catamarans which will offer a nice view of the island from the water. You can do this from any part of the sand you choose to stay in. You will most likely be taken to the volcanic beaches, Perissa (black sand) and Akrotiri (red sand) which are more for viewing than lounging. This is a really nice alternative to seeing the beaches along the coast instead of driving to them.
Santorini is a beautiful island, perfect for romance and relaxation. If you'd like specific tips catered to your travel preferences, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.