Santorini has the reputation of being the Greece’s greatest travel destination and is among one of the greatest travel destinations in the world. Surrounded by sparkling turquoise waters, dazzling panoramic views and gorgeous sunsets, the Greek island will captivate your heart & leave you breathless.
White wash buildings sit atop multi-colored cliffs that stretch down to the sea drowned caldera. Volcanic sand beaches attract world class sun bathers who comfortably lounge under the Mediterranean sun, a welcomed reprieve after walking up and down the steep sloped steps and paths sprung all over the island.
Officially known as Thira, part of the cyclades island group, Santorini sits in the Aegean Sea at the midway point between Athens and Crete. The islands shape is similar to that of a croissant (yum!) was once circular but that all changed when a colossal volcanic eruption shifted the island and caused the center to sink. What was left behind was crater also known as “Caldera”, with cascading cliffs on the east side – which is now, the present day Santorini landscape.
The history is rich, the flavors are fresh, simply put, it’s magical – and it’s no wonder Santorini is bucketlist destination for many.
Like many tourist destinations, peak season falls during the summer months of July and August. This is also when you’ll pay the most for your stay. Shoulder season months, such as April, May, September and October are ideal times to visit. There are less crowds, the temperature is tolerable and price point is marginally different, in a good way! Knowing this, we traveled to the island in September. The weather was perfect, the crowds were less prominent, and the price point was right.
Stay on the caldera edge and take in the sweeping views of the Mediterranean by day and stunning sunsets by night. I would recommend staying in Fira, Imerovigili or Oia. Each location has a different vibe and ambiance but all have villas or hotels with white washed interiors and terraces (some with infinity pools!) with amenities that will leave you feeling like royalty.
Fira is Santorini’s main town layered with hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. Fira is lively and is a main stopping point for large cruise ships to offload their vacationers. Expect crowds and long waits for dining, that is, unless you are grabbing street meat or gelato from the countless vendors that line the narrowly packed streets. The ambiance in Fira changes dramatically from day to night. As crowds go back to their ships and hotel rooms to re-charge, the lively night life crowd takes to the streets, restaurants and bars. Music rings into the evening night and the soft glow of lights cascades down cliffside caldera, what a sight to behold and experience.
Imerovigili is a village centrally located between Fira and Oia. It is the highest point of the caldera edge and is scattered with saphire domes, narrow paths and you guessed it, incredible views! This is where we arrived and stayed the first couple of nights. It was tasteful, trendy and thankfully, not overly crowded. A perfect starting point to our Greece adventure!
Then there is the breathtaking village, Oia. Oh Oia! This place is something out of a dream. This was my favorite destination in all of our travels in Greece and so far, in all of the world! The sleepy gorgeous town is perched on the most northern tip of the island. It is famous for shopping, delicious dining and jaw dropping sunsets – a true recipe for romance! Oia has a reputation for being pricey, especially when it comes to accommodations. If you have the means to “ball” out then by all means, go for it, but if you’re on a travel budget there are lower priced accommodations in Oia which will afford you the trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank.
WALK OR HIKE
The most obvious activity is to walk and take in the sites! Walk to the caldera edge and admire the views. From Fira, walking north to Imerovigli on the caldera-edge pathway if you keep walking north and you’ll eventually reach Oia. This journey is no small undertaking and the trail beyond Imerovigli can be rocky and rough. It’s about 9km in all, and a good 3 to 4 hours journey in one direction. It sounds overwhelming but it’s completely feasible and if you have the proper footwear and the time, it’s worth the hike!