Santorini has always been confused for the island “Thira”, but in reality it is the region and not the island. It is situated in the Southern Aegean Sea and consists of a group of islands. Adventurers, explorers or couples for that matter, always have Santorini on their bucket list particularly due to the aesthetic of this landscape. Owing to the beauty of the island flooded with cliff-side, white-washed town, it is indeed the most popular Greek island.
Santorini’s population is about 12,000 and the influx of tourists round the year is about four and a half million. Due to the same, no one wants to plan a getaway only to come across a ton of people. Therefore, it is recommended to visit Santorini during the off-season in November.
There are a plethora of things to do or places to visit in Santorini. Here is a curation of everything from tip-to-toe that one can look forward to in the extraordinary Greek island.
1. Breathtaking Sunsets
Sunsets in Santorini are hyped at an enormous level. Believe me when I say it, every bit of that hype is absolutely justified. They are amazingly gorgeous and unite the entire tourist population right before dusk. A pink hue blankets the entire island. One of the best spots to witness the vibe is the town of Oia since it is located at the tip of the island. Along with this, Fira doesn’t lack behind and provides a picturesque view of the caldera. There are a number of restaurants and iconic spots doing the job, such as Franco’s in Fira, Akrotiri Lighthouse and Venetsanos Winery.
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2. Winery and More
There are exquisite wineries in Santorini and in order to make the most out of a tour here, it is highly recommended to check them out for not just delicious wine but also captivating views worth capturing. Venetsanos Winery is quite a renowned place along with Megalochori Winery. Apart from this, Santos Wines Winery is another go-to place for doing an 18-Wine Flight Tasting and getting to learn about Greek wines. It is the perfect excuse for a getaway as winemaking in Santorini dates back more than 3000 years. Served with an assortment of local cheeses, snacks and alluring sunsets, it is every tourist’s calling.
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3. Spectacular Beaches
Santorini is famous for a lot of things and beaches are one of them. They are expected to be less crowded and many of them are named after the colour of the sand. For instance there is a Black Sand Beach, Perissa, accompanied by a chain of amazing bars and restaurants. The Red Sand Beach, located next to Akrotiri is a challenging place to reach, but worth it due to the shades of red that can be seen from the headlands. Apart from this, Santorini also has a White Beach, Vlychada which can only be reached by a boat, Kamari Beach, full of pebbles that is lively in its own way and last but not the least is Monolithos Beach which is a place far from crowds and a perfect spot for a swim.
4. Hike from Fira to Oia
The first most popular town in Santorini with a variety of souvenir shops and dome-shaped houses, is Fira. Oia falls next in line with a number of attractions of its own including the Yellow Church and the windmill. It is a 9 km walk from Fira to Oia which takes about two and a half hours depending upon the halts. One must wear comfortable shoes to work its way from the loose gravel areas. It is the most scenic adventure here and it takes the tourists along the caldera cliff for flawless views. One might want to stop to capture the remarkable beauty of the island on the way to Oia only to reward oneself with a hearty meal.
5. Open-Air Cinema
It never hurts to double the fun that one is having in Santorini by watching an outdoor movie while enjoying the lovely breeze. One of the best Open-Air Cinemas is located in the Kamari village on this Greek Island. A perfect setting with director’s chairs, popcorn and cocktails set the mood for an exemplary movie night. Fans of “Mamma Mia” or “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” are in sheer luck as Santorini brings them an exclusive movie night at Volkan on the Rocks restaurant in Fira. They switch movies every day, so the tourists can watch either of them at this outdoor cinema.
6. Exploring the Peak
The top of Mesa Vouno, the mountain delivers a splendid look of the entire island. It is the best to drive to the top and meanwhile enjoy the ravishing scenery from the windows. Climate change is clearly evident and it gives a perspective of a different kind. Mesa Vouno is the first settlement of the volcano right after the eruption. It is said to be accommodated by Spartans. Nea Kameni is located at the center of Santorini caldera and while hiking to the top of it, one can come across interesting lava formations and pleasing views. Indubitably, it is one hell of an adventure.
7. Akrotiri Tour
It is rich in Greek culture and has typical sites of prehistoric settlement which justifies the life of past settlers. There are museums along with various archaeological sites in this ancient city. A major attraction is the Akrotiri Archaeological Excavation Site, which features ruins from the city buried by volcanic eruptions in 1700 BC. It is recommended to hire a tour guide and dwell on its expertise to get all the historical information related to Akrotiri and Santorini in general. The tour covers the entire walkway around the perimeter of the site while exploring the ruins.
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8. Best Restaurants
Santorini is equipped with magnificent food joints and bars and there is a perfect spot for every meal accompanied by an adorable view. A Greek tour stands incomplete without a classic taverna and Santorini has Taverna Aeolus doing the job in the best way possible. A halt at Salt and Pepper can fetch a Santorini Salad and fried tomato fritters for a foodie. Since the bakeries are open 24*7 mostly, heading to the best of them can be a treat for the tongue. Family Bakery is one little joint. Apart from this, make way to Sirocco for wood-fire pizza and Pitogyros or Mike’s for gyros in Greece.
Among the irresistible Greek islands, Santorini stands out with its impeccable reputation which is every bit true to its core.