Santorini has to be one of my favourite islands – after my true love Crete. It’s no coincidence that I have visited it more than 5 times.
The white houses with the blue windows, built on the edge of the cliff, create an extraordinary image that can amaze even the most difficult visitor.
The island is mainly known for its magnificent sunset and its volcano, but that’s not all there is to it. Below you will find a list of where to stay, what to eat and what to do there for an unforgettable holiday.
Santorini the infamous volcanic island of the Aegean.
Santorini is an island in the Aegean Sea and belongs to the group named Cyclades. It is one of the most touristy islands due to its architecture and its unique Instagrammable places.
No matter what your personal preferences are, Santorini has a lot to offer you. If you like history then you should visit ancient Thera or the prehistoric archaeological site at Akrotiri. If you are a foody like me and you like good food, you will certainly find many different choices of local and traditional dishes, as well as a huge variety of wines from local producers to accompany them. Finally, if what you are looking for is a good night out and get a great nightlife experience, then Santorini is the ideal place for you.
“Wonderful view in Santorini”
The active volcano of Santorini
The caldera of the volcano is perhaps the most famous attraction of the island. It has been created by many volcanic eruptions, with the most famous being the Minoan one in the 17th century BC. In the centre of the caldera you will find two islets, the Old and the New Kameni (Burnt). To access New Kameni, you will need to take a service boat which runs daily. From there you can walk 20 minutes on a trail of lava rocks and reach the crater of the volcano located at the top of the island. You could also dive into the exotic orange waters created by the hot springs.
Click here to get more information about the catamaran cruise we took.
The best beaches in Santorini
In Santorini, due to the volcanic eruption, you will find trully unique beaches. Below you will find my favorite ones, but that doesn’t mean that the rest are not worth visiting.
Red Beach / Kokini Paralia
The Red Beach of Santorini is one of the most famous beaches in the island and is located in the southern part. To access the beach is easy, you can go either on foot or by boat from Akrotiri. It is also good to know that the beach has private facilities and sunbeds.
“On the trail to the Red Beach.”
Another infamous beach in Santorini, with black sand, is Perivolos. It is the largest beach, and will most likely suit your needs. Here you can find multiple beach bars, cafes and small taverns, but also quiet corners to disconnect and relax.
Vlychada / Vlichada
Vlychada is also a beautiful beach on the southeastern part of the island. Most of it is filled with sunbeds, but you can find enough space to enjoy your swim in peace and quiet. However you should keep in mind that there is no cellphone signal on this beach.
White Beach / Aspri Paralia
The White Beach of Santorini is the one that stands out the most. As its name suggests, it consists of white rocks that create a stark contrast with the black sand and all together make an idyllic landscape. To get to the White Beach you have to take the boat from Akrotiri, but be well packed and prepared as you will not find any taverns, canteens or bars there.
“White Beach from the sea.”
What food to try - What to eat
You cannot visit Santorini island and not try the local traditional food.
Fava / Split Peas
You should start your food journey with the famous fava / split-peas of Santorini. You can find this local legume as a side dish or as an appetizer. I recommend you try the “married Fava”, or in Greek “Fava padremeni”, if you like capers.
“Delicious tomato croquettes”
Tomato croquettes / Tomato balls
The locals are very proud of their tomato croquettes and with good reason. Santorini’s tomato croquettes are made from locally grown products and have such a soft and wonderful taste.
In a Santorinian salad you will find almost all the famous products of the island. The main ingredient is usually the Santorini cherry tomato and then you can find capers, nuts and chlorotyri (a local cheese).
“Salad with cherry tomatoes from Santorini.”
“Local wine with a view of the sunset.”
Santorini, among other things, is known for its wines. Here you can find wineries that will introduce you to the flavours and aromas of the wines produced in the volcanic vineyards. Don’t forget to try the famous Vinsanto, the local wine selection.
EXTRA TIP: For traditional and high quality dishes, the Cave of Nikola in Akrotiri and the Anogi in Imerovigli are excellent choices.
How to move around and means of transport in Santorini
“We never visit an island without my Vespa.”
One solution is definitely to rent a car, a scooter or an ATV (4-wheeler). However, the roads of Santorini are very narrow and driving may not be the best or safest option.
Additionally, the island provides public transport, buses in particular, with the cost of the ticket ranging from 1.60€ to 2.20€. The bus frequency is not high, and you can wait at the bus stop for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Where to stay in Santorini
Santorini is divided into two parts, the Western and the Eastern part.
Western part of Santorini
The western part is the busiest part of the island because that is where the caldera, Thera and Oia are located. Most hotels that are located in this part have stunning views of the caldera, the sea and the sunset. There are some downsides though. The prices are very high, the majority of the hotels have way too many stairs and many of them do not accept children under 13 years old. Finally, keep in mind that not all hotels on the west side have a nice view, as some of them are located deep inside the settlements.
Eastern part of Santorini
On the other hand, the eastern part is more like the rest of the islands of the Aegean. Here you will find beachfront hotels which attract many young people and families. These hotels usually offer bigger and cheaper rooms than those on the west side.
“Hotel view on the western part of the island.”
Suggested budget for Santorini
Santorini is not one of the cheapest islands in Greece… So if you want to keep your travel budget low, I would suggest visiting another island.
Public Transport: A one-way ticket costs 1.60€ – 2.20€, depending on the destination.
Hotels: Hotel rates start from 45€ per night and go up depending on the location and the season.
Food: You will need 15€ – 35€ per person depending on the type of meal, the restaurant and the area.
Other useful information and things to know about Santorini
I hope I have helped you and wish you an unforgettable holiday on this dreamy island. See you on your next trip. Until then, stay safe and travel…