Visiting the Beautiful Island of Santorini
Honestly, when Linn first suggested going to Santorini, I had no clue what she was talking about. Most of the destinations I was aware of/wanted to go to, were places I saw in Indiana Jones films. Yes, the majority of my bucket list came from 80’s and 90’s cinema.
After looking up the island of Santorini, I realized that I had seen the famous blue domes before. So, roughly 30 minutes of google searching later I was also hooked on the idea of visiting Santorini.
Don’t make the mistake I made in assuming it’s a small island. There is plenty to see on Santorini and you’ll need a few days to hit the hot spots.
How do you get to Santorini Greece?
Considering Santorini is an island, it’s no surprise that there are two ways to get there, flying or taking a boat!
We chose to fly as it was expedient and there were affordable flights coming straight from Athens. There are direct flights from other locations, so don’t feel the need to stop in Athens unless it’s a budgeting option.
If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper option (or more costly depending on the one you pick), ferry’s leave to and from Santorini every day. The trip can take between 5 and 8 hours, so you can save a little money, but at the cost of time.
Things to do in Santorini Greece
Santorini offers plenty of different experiences! If you’re into relaxing, sightseeing, or outdoor adventures, it doesn’t matter as you’ll find something for you. Because there are so many options, I wanted to separate the places based off what you might prefer. So there’s going to be a outdoors section, food, sightseeing, and extras.
Nature and Outdoors Things to do in Santorini
Exploring Amoudi Bay
We discovered Amoudi Bay on accident after exploring Oia. As you reach one side of Oia, you’ll notice down the cliff filled with homes a small cove. Obviously we decided to check it out and walk around the bay past the shops and restaurants. We eventually reached what turned out to be a popular diving spot. Neither of us expected it so we didn’t have swim attire, but we still enjoyed hiking along the coast below Oia.
Hiking Trail – Fira to Oia
I love hiking and spending time outside in nature. If you’re the same, then hiking around Santorini is something you won’t want to miss. If you add in some nice weather and a full breakfast, hiking the Fira trail will make the day perfect!
The trail obviously goes from Fira to Oia and can take up to 5 hours. You can take a side trip to Skaros Rock and add maybe an extra hour for some better views!
Some outdoors fun in the sun and a place to relax. The beach isn’t on a “10 must see beaches before you die” list or anything, but it is a nice spot to grab a drink by the sea and enjoy some peaceful time.
If you were planning on going, I’d go with an empty stomach. Most of the restaurants have free beach sun beds for patrons, meaning you can have a comfy place to sit and eat. Also, the beach is pebbly and may not feel the best to walk on so bring some shoes for pebble beaches.
Jet ski in Santorini
While relaxing on a beach is fun, so is riding jet ski’s! If you’re more of a thrill seeker, then there are some exciting things to do in Santorini to get your blood pumping.
There are plenty of rentals on the island and a tour is even offered around the island!
Sunset in Oia
While not as thrilling as taking a jet ski tour around the island, this is a great way to end the day. We spent a whole day exploring Oia and it was suggested by a local to watch the sunset. We just figured it was something they personally liked, we didn’t realize there would be crowds on the hills watching it as well. It was peaceful and serene despite being crowded, and I highly recommend ending one day with an Oia sunset.
Food & Drink in Santorini
Seafood in Amoudi bay
I already mentioned exploring Amoudi Bay for an outdoor adventure, but there are other things to do in the bay. There are a few options for restaurants with seating roughly 1 foot from the water. In fact, if you do plan on going to the diving spot in Amoudi Bay and come from the top of Oia, you’ll end up walking through a few restaurants to get there. These restaurants have some amazing options for seafood and other types of Greek dishes.
I love good food and good wine, and there isn’t any wine like what you’ll find in Santorini. You’ll have options for booking a wine tasting here as well as visiting their café. Their café offers some interesting foods (not like any café food I’ve had in America) and it’s definitely worth checking out if you plan on doing a wine tasting anyway.
Santorini Wine Museum
If you fell in love with Santorini wine from other places and want more, then you’ll be happy to hear that Santorini has a whole museum dedicated to its wines. Take some time to learn about how wine is made here and get some tastings in. If that’s not enough, they also offer the very unique experience of grape stomping!
Sights and Landmarks in Santorini
Akrotiri Archaeological Site
I personally love archaeology type travel and learning about the long-forgotten history of the places we visit. Akrotiri is a perfect example of a site that we love! While Santorini was inhabited as early as 6,000 years ago, it wasn’t until 4,000 years ago that it became an official urban center. Having evidence of multi-story buildings and remnants of local art, Akrotiri gives a glimpse into the distant past and lives of those who lived there.
A Day in Oia
One of my favorite experiences of Santorini was just walking the alleys and streets of Oia. Exploring around is an experience in itself, everywhere are whitewashed walls with scattered blue domes, making the cliffside city shine. We ended up gathering all of our souvenirs from Oia as there were multiple shops everywhere we went. There’s also some of the best bites of Greek food I’ve ever had, so make sure to stop at as many restaurants as you can.
Moving forward in time past the Akrotiri settlement, you’ll eventually get to the city of Thera. With a history ranging from the 9th century BC to the 8th century AD, Thera had a long history in the Greek timeline. Thera’s history is far too much to write about in a short paragraph, but I strongly encourage anyone visiting Santorini to stop by and experience it firsthand.
A small city located on Santorini with picturesque neo-classic architecture and phenomenal sights, Megalochori offers a similar walkthrough experience to a day in Oia. Obviously, they are different though and exploring both are worth the effort. This is also located around the “vineyard areas” and offer some unique tastes for wines!
Places to stay in Santorini
With all these great things to do in Santorini and wonderful sights to see, it can distract you from planning the rest of the trip! So, here’s a reminder to book a comfy place to stay during your time there.
There are a lot of hotels in Santorini such as the El Greco and the Santorini Princess Spa, but those are the only accommodations on the island. We ended up staying at an AirBnb for a very affordable price per night and the host was incredibly welcoming!
Is Santorini Worth Visiting?
Overall, Santorini was an unforgettable experience that I’m glad Linn talked me into. I thought it might just be another destination in Greece, but it was a beautiful island with phenomenal people.