Santorini is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece – and for good reason. The indigo Aegean sea is the perfect backdrop for whitewashed cube-shaped houses that crowd the island’s clifftop. The island also boasts black and red sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and magical sunsets. Santorini looks and feels like no other place on earth. Here’s a starting point on how to spend time exploring this stunning Greek island:
As a bit of an orientation, Santorini is an archipelago of volcanic islands located in the southernmost part of the Cyclades. Thira (which is also commonly referred to as Santorini) is the largest island and has breathtaking cliffs that soar from a sea-drowned caldera. The island is shaped like a crescent because of the expansive crater left by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in history. There are smaller islands that circle the western edge of the fragmented caldera, but it is the main island of Thira that you will want to spend most of your time.
The Village of Oia
Thira is home to Santorini’s major towns, including Firá and Oia (pronounced Eee-yah). Travel to the village of Oia located on the northern coast of Santorini. Chances are all of those postcard worthy pictures you’ve seen of Santorini were taken in Oia. Plan to spend time strolling the village’s alleyways, admiring the blue-domed churches and enjoying sweeping views of the Aegean down below. Tip: duck into the alley located beside the Minerali jewelry store on the main road for the ultimate photo op.
Wine Time in Pyrgos
Santorini’s rich volcanic soil is ideal for growing grapes, so you’ll find many wineries and tavernas on the island. A great way to spend an afternoon is to take a winery tour and enjoy a tasting. We chose to visit the Santo Wines property in Pyrgos. Drinking delicious wine while taking in stunning views of the caldera – could it get any better?
Pyrgos 84701, Greece
+30 22860 22596
Greek Fare in Firá
Besides Oia, you’ll also likely spend time in Firá, the island’s centrally located capital. In Firá, you’ll find the cable car ride down to the old port, as well as many shops and restaurants. Have a meal in one of the town’s restaurants and be sure to try the local fare like crispy tomato fritters (tomatokeftedes), creamy fava bean dip and Greek salad (with a hefty block of feta cheese of course). Don’t leave the island without trying authentic Greek frozen yogurt. Louyo is located just opposite the cable car and serves the best (seriously, I’m not exaggerating) Greek frozen yogurt in several different flavors with various toppings. I don’t think there’s a better way to beat the Mediterranean heat (or kill the boredom of standing in a long line for the cable car) than savoring a smooth and tart Greek frozen treat.
Fira – Santorini, Kyklades, Greece
+30 22860 27190
If you’ve spent time drooling over images of Santorini on Pinterest and a vacation to the island has dominated your imagination like it dominated mine, I have one word of advice: Go! Pack your bags and just go. Santorini won’t disappoint. Although summer is peak season to visit Santorini, don’t rule out shoulder seasons like late spring and early fall when temperatures are still warm and the crowds are few.