The island of Santorini is one of those destinations which absolutely everyone wants to visit at least once in a lifetime. That’s no wonder considering the fact that Santorini is among the most beautiful islands in Greece and its unique architecture and and cliffs on caldera are just some of many things which make this island so special. Here are top things you should definitely do while staying in Santorini!
1) Feel the vibe of Fira and hike to Oia
The ‘capital’ of Santorini is Fira, the biggest village on the island. Over the years it has become a tourist centre, full of restaurants, bars and clubs, so those who look for parties and nightlife should stick with Fira. Visit the port of Fira by descending 587 step, but be careful – although you’ll be walking your way down and not up, it still might be a bit challenging, especially on a hot summer day. While in port, get yourself a delicious souvlaki and relax. The important thing is not to rush because Greeks are laidback people, and so should you be too. On your way back take a cable car for only 5€.
The best time for hiking to Oia, another picturesque village, is in the afternoon so you can get there right before the breathtaking sunset. This almost 10 kilometres long path is without a doubt the most scenic walk you’ll experience. It usually takes around 3 to 4 hours to get to Oia, depending whether you will take a short break in Firostefani. And make sure you have proper footwear because the path has cobbled stone and gravel. The hike ends at the Castle of Oia, where you can enjoy the romantic sunset. And don’t miss the chance for a perfect photo!
Chalk-white houses, churches with blue domes, windmill houses (some of them are actually available for rent) are the things that make Oia the most picturesque village in Santorini. Visit galleries in Oia such as Mnemossyne Gallery which tourists seem to prefer the most because you can buy handmade jewelry there. It would be a shame no to visit the Amoudi Bay located in the foot of Oia. Path to Amoudi Bay is significantly shorter than the one in Fira, ‘only’ 300 steps on your way down. In the end, there’s no rule on what you should visit in Oia, the point is to wander around and explore Oia on your own.
3) Visit open air cinema
Make sure you put open air cinema in Kamari on your ‘to do’ list. The cinema is located right at the entrance of Kamari village. It is open from May until October and the entrance fee is 8€. Besides watching movies you have cocktail bar at your disposal, you can try local wine and beer or get some snacks while waiting for the movie to start. Movies usually start at 21:30 and they are in English with Greek subtitles.
4)Take a swim at one of the beaches
Santorini beaches are much different than other Greek beaches because they have volcanic pebbles and are situated in the foot of steep cliffs. The most famous beach is the Red beach, 11 km southwest of Fira, near Akrotiri – prehistoric town from Bronze Age and today an archaeological site attracting over million of tourists each year. Another beautiful beach is Kamari, located 11 km southeast of Fira. The beach is covered by black volcanic sand and it offers sunbeds, umbrellas and many water sports.
5) Try local food
Besides well known gyros and souvlaki, you should definitely try Santorini salad. It is very similar to classic Greek salad but with typical vegetables cultivated on Santorini, such as dried tomatoes, cucumbers and capers with anchovies and bits of local hard cheese. This salad is a great, light meal on hot summer days and you can order it in practically any tavern you come across in Santorini. Don’t miss the opportunity to try saganaki (fried cheese in pastry covered with honey), spanikopita (spinach pie) and tomato kefthedes. And of course, finish you meal with a glass of Santorini wine, often considered as the best wine in entire Greece, thanks to its unique taste.
6) Walk up to the top of a volcano
Now, this is a chance to experience something that you don’t have the opportunity to experience whenever you want. The volcanos are not located on Santorini itself, but they’re actually on two smaller islands near Santorini called Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni. First you will have to go on a boat cruise from Fira to Nea Kameni and once you get there you will need to hike up to volcano. Yes, it may be a bit exhausting, but it is certainly worth it because the view from the top is absolutely amazing. Just make sure you are properly dressed and that you bring enough water and you’re ready to go. A small note: at the beginning of the path leading to the volcano you will have to pay € 2.5 to climb up to the top.