I have always wanted to visit this marvellous Greek island, over the years I had seen multiple pictures of this place and infinite numbers of movies have been shot here which made me want to visit this place even more. This is one place that has been on my bucket list for the longest time and I genuinely couldn’t contain my happiness when I finally landed in Santorini, it was as I expected, beautiful!
I had booked three days at this island, and I think it’s enough to explore the different regions of Santorini as well as it gives you enough time to unwind too.
We choose not to stay in the touristy area of Oia, as it gets very busy but instead decided on Pyrgos. This area is much quieter compared to Oia and Fira but has several good restaurants and a quaint town centre.
If you are going to hire a car, it will be the perfect decision to tour the different parts of Santorini, as every area is very different and has a distinct character.
Some of the things to see and do here are
Ammoudi Bay – Just below the lovely town of Oia, is this charming bay. There are multiple Greek restaurants here, which are buzzing with people and if you are adventurous enough then try cliff jumping too. The view of the ocean is superb here, and I could sit here for hours adoring this lovely bay.
Town of Oia – No visit to Santorini is complete without paying a visit to its main town centre, this is where you can catch some of the most stunning sunsets especially from the Oia Castle. You will be flooded with restaurant options, cafes and shops. I was particularly surprised at how big the town centre is, and you can easily spend hours here. Don’t forget to see the famous blue domes here, the bells of Agia Ekaterina, Panagia Platsani (Church) or the Maritime Museum.
Take a Greek Cooking Class – You need to try your hands at cooking and what better place than Santorini, multiple cooking classes are happening which you can easily book online. I particularly loved learning how to make Tzatziki, Greek Salad and the heavenly Orange Cake.
Hike to Imerovigli and Fira – This six-mile uphill hike surely requires some determination but you shall be rewarded with scenic views. The site of the Caldera, the cobblestone pathways, and an opportunity to detour to marvel at the Skaros Rock is something I wouldn’t want to miss. Many tourists do this, and I couldn’t stand not adding this activity to my bucket list.
Sunset Cruise – I have already mentioned that the sunsets here are magical and I had the opportunity to catch a few, but my favourite sunset view has been while I was on a cruise. These cruises usually start in the afternoon and serve you lunch along with the opportunity to dive in the water. You will get to see many appealing attractions including Amoudi Bay, Caldera, Red Beach, and lastly they make a stop in the middle of the ocean so you can marvel at the majestic sunset, it’s the best feeling ever.
Centre of Fira – This is also the capital of Santorini, and offers an array of activities, viewing points and the opportunity of shopping and dining at some superb restaurants. There are many boutique hotels around too, also if you like to increase your step count like me take the challenge to walk down towards the port of Fira Skala its 587 steps! There are also two enlightening museums to visit like The Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the archaeological museum.
Hot Springs of Palea Kameni – Take a swim in these hot springs of Santorini, which was foamed due to a volcanic eruption. The thermal water here is supposed to have beneficial qualities and you see many people taking a dip here, people usually combine the trip to the hot springs with a stop at Nea Kameni which is another volcanic island. Both the stops are accessible by boat, and you can even combine your visit with a sunset cruise.
Visit the Beaches of Santorini – You be surprised to see the beaches in Santorini as they are quite distinct from the usual beaches, this is particularly due to their geographical feature and the volcanic eruptions. While here you are try visiting Red Beach, Kamari Beach, Eros Beach, and Perissa Black sand beach.
Akrotiri – Visit the ruins here, it takes around an hour or so and I highly recommend you visit it. The ruins here are from the Minoan period, and by the 16th century this place was destroyed due to a volcanic eruption. The government today has done a good job to restore some of the frescoes, artworks and antiques. While you are here don’t skip the chance to see the breathtaking Lighthouse too, it is considered to be the best lighthouse in the Cyclades.
Ancient Thera – Another place to see some ruins is this, perched between the beaches of Kamari and Perissa, having a good location this place also offers great views of the nearby islands. You can head here by taxi, or join a tour as it’s a bit further away from Oia. A must visit if you like to see the ancient Civilisation, excavations have also revelation statues, figurines and artefacts.
Pyrgos – Such an underrated place in Santorini, after spending three nights at this part of the island I do feel that Pyrgos doesn’t get the fame as its neighbourhood Oia and Fira. There are some charming restaurants, churches, shops and the views are breathtaking from here. My favourite restaurant here was Agaze, the food here was phenomenal. Also check out Castelli of Prygos, the view is captivating from up here. If you have the time, I would suggest you visit Pyrgos.
Santorini was what I needed the most, it’s romantic, oozing character, slightly quiet compared to Mykonos and serene! Tell me what were your favourite things to do in Santorini?