Santorini is one of the most popular islands in Greece, and without a doubt one of my favourite places in the world. With beautiful and unique beaches, amazing scenery, ancient cities, great restaurants, friendly people and even an active volcano, there is really no where in the world quite like it! It’s truly a postcard perfect place.
Since it’s so popular with tourists and a huge destination place amongst cruise ships, us going in November was actually the perfect time to go. It was warm enough to lie on the beach, and no crowds meant being able to enjoy off-season prices and not having to wait in lines for anything. It was similar to our Venice trip in January where it really felt like we had the place to ourselves!
As a small island, there is actually quite a lot of small villages located there, with Fira being the largest and its capital. It’s a really pretty place with white cobblestone streets lined with shops.
We stayed at a hotel called San Giorgio Villas, which was one of the nicest hotels we’ve stayed at, with friendly staff who picked us up at the airport. Fira became our home base while we explored the island. While there are buses to take you to the different villages, renting a car or scooter is much more convenient and pretty affordable, especially if you’re travelling with a group of friends.
You can also hike the island, and going from Fira to Oia takes about 2-5 hours depending on how fast you go and how long you stay for photos (it’s not too hard finding yourself distracted by all the amazing photo opportunities). If you have the time, I highly recommend the hike as the views are stunning!
Things to do in Santorini
One of the best beaches in Santorini is in Persia, with its fine black sand. It’s also the one most suitable for a swim. Since we went in November, the water was a bit too cold for us but it was still warm enough to lie on the beach and enjoy the sun!
There are sun beds and restaurants that line the beach front. We shared a delicious seafood platter there!
Akrotiri is a village left behind after a devastating volcanic eruption that made the island inhabitable. As a 3,500 year old town preserved in volcanic ash, it makes for a really fascinating visit. The roof over the village makes it ideal to visit anytime of the year, and descriptions around the ruins lets you read up on its history while taking in the marvel.
The ruins are well preserved, and things such as streets, buildings, stairs, and even pottery are still visible. It’s pretty fascinating!
The Red Beach
Down the road from the Akrotiri ruins is a red beach. Its vibrant red sands is spectacular and makes for some gorgoeus and dramatic views. There’s also a black beach that’s well worth a visit.
View from Pyrgos
15 minutes from Fira, you’ll find Pyrgos on a hill. There’s a castle, church and wonderful views of the entire island.
Explore the countryside
One of the biggest advantages of renting a car is being able to enjoy the island on your own pace. You can leave the towns and explore the countryside, which boosts beautiful views of the sea and plenty of wineries!
Watch the sunset in Oia
Oia is hands-down the most stunning village in Santorini, filled with white houses, blue-domed churches, white windmills, red cliffs and the perfect place to enjoy the sunset in the evening.
The best way to see Oia is by walking around as much as possible and trailing off the main path, as there are tons of hidden pathways that boosts some pretty spectacular views.
Food in Santorini is pretty affordable as there are places to get gyros for about 4 euros, and restaurants where a meal costs around 8-9 euros. As the most touristy location, restaurants in Oia are the most expensive.
Overall, Santorini was the perfect island getaway. It’s the prettiest place I’ve been to definitely felt like a magical experience! Go during off season to avoid the crowds as the weather is still warm and sunny most of the year.
Have you guys been to Santorini? What was your favourite thing to do there?