Today I’m giving you the scoop on the beautiful Greek island of Santorini and this truly was the trip of a lifetime! This destination has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Photos don’t do it justice but per usual I got a little camera happy so prepare yourself for some photo overload as I share where we stayed, restaurant recommendations, and some things to do on the island in my Santorini travel guide!
Read my Mykonos travel guide here.
Santorini Travel Guide
WHERE WE STAYED: COSMOPOLITAN SUITES
Y’all- I cannot say enough great things about our hotel in Santorini… it was absolutely amazing! We stayed at the Cosmopolitan Suites in Fira which was on the main caldera path and very walkable to everything in town. Trying to figure out where to stay in Santorini was tough and it was basically between Fira and Oia. I knew a lot of our trip would be spent relaxing and taking in the views so I decided a hotel with an infinity pool was a must and our hotel has one of the biggest pools with great view. I will say it was definitely a splurge, but similar hotels in Oia were even more expensive for what we wanted so ultimately decided on Fira.
Can we also have a moment of silence for this pool?! My jaw dropped when I saw it- perfect views of the volcano, caldera and cruise ships coming in. We spent lots of time here relaxing and sipping frappes with Baileys. Not going to lie, it was a little scary being on the edge but had to get that shot!! There was another ledge slightly behind it but after that it was straight down the cliff- it was truly breathtaking!
WHERE TO EAT
We didn’t do a ton of restaurant research on this trip and took a lot of recommendations from our hotel. We went to Idol the first night because it was just a few steps away and we wanted to eat outside (which we did every single meal in Greece because the weather is that perfect)! The food was very good and we enjoyed watching our first sunset in Santorini- it was magical!
Another restaurant close to our hotel- we sat on the 2nd level after having cocktails one night. Highly recommend the “variety of starters” which is pictured below and included fried cheese pies, eggplant salad, different types of tzatziki, fave beans and tomato croquettes.
We ate here on our last night in Santorini. It’s not on the edge of the caldera so you won’t get sunset views, but the food was delicious and very reasonably priced. Their Greek salad and ceviche were SO good!
This place was recommended several times to me and it didn’t disappoint! It is in the heart of Fira with 3 levels and is the perfect place to watch the sunset. The drinks were reasonably priced and I loved that they included nuts and popcorn to munch on. Oh, and when it started to get windy they brought us blankets! Also, make sure to make a reservation online and early in advance. You can actually pick your table and we reserved table L4- the best seat in the house!
We enjoyed a lot of gyros and souvlaki for lunch- these are a staple in Greece! We went to both Obelix and Lucky’s Soulvaki and there were equally as delicious and for under 3€, you just can’t beat it!
THINGS TO DO IN SANTORINI
We knew we wanted to experience Santorini from the water so we booked a catamaran tour with Caldera Yachting. It was a 5 hour tour with about 18 people on board so the size of the group was nice. I will say the first hour or so was very choppy but it eventually calmed down. They took is by the volcano (Ryan was the only one who swam to it, lol), White Beach, Black Beach and Red Beach. I took a quick dip (they had noodles for us) and it was pretty cold at first, but very refreshing. We got to watch the sunset from the water and the crew made us a delicious homemade Greek meal which was definitely a highlight of the night!
The only negative thing about this experience was the shuttle transport but it’s honestly how the island is laid out. They pick up each guest from their hotel and drop back off at night. Unfortunately we were one of the first stops out and last stop coming back home so each ride was 1 hour long. I’m sure each boat tour is like this because the ports are either in Akrotiri or Oia, so just be prepared to have a long ride!
Oia is known to be the most picturesque town of Santorini but honestly, they’re all beautiful! This is the town with all the famous blue domes. I had grand ideas of taking the 6:30 or 8am bus to get there early for photos before all the tourists, but honestly neither one of us felt like waking up that early so we left around 10. When you map it out, Oia is about a 20 minute drive from Fira (that is on the caldera side)! We took the bus and it took us weird ways around the back of the island so it ended up being a 45 minute ride and we had to stand because the bus was so packed. My best advice- spend the 30€ and take a cab each way.
That kind of started our day on the wrong foot and it was probably the hottest day as well. We walked around, explored some shops and took in the views but were so sweaty!! After Ammoudi Bay (more on that below) we stopped at Flora for a salad, smoothies and much needed coffee. We were actually supposed to come back the next night for dinner & sunset but decided to relax and stay in our town instead since it was further than we wanted to travel. If you’re looking for a fancy dinner spot, some recommendations I received were for Ambrosia, Naos, and Petra. I do wish we could’ve spent some more time in Oia and tried out some of the restaurants, but we’ll just have to save that for our next trip!
We heard Ammoudi Bay was a must-see spot so we walked down the 400+ steps from Oia down to the water (it wasn’t as bad as it sounds… until we went back up)! You can also take a donkey down if you prefer. We contemplated eating lunch at one of the restaurants on the water but weren’t super hungry so we went on to the swimming area.
All we brought were our bathing suits (changed behind a rock, lol) so no towels or water shoes. I actually packed them specifically for this but left them at the hotel, go figure. Honestly, we were fine without them and dried off as we hiked back up to Oia. I wanted to cliff jump but made Ryan test out the waters and go first to let me know how scary it was. After he got back and I mustered up the courage, I swam over and jumped and it was SO fun!! I almost chickened out but I know I would’ve regretted it if I didn’t jump so this was definitely a highlight of our day.
HIKE TO SKAROS ROCK
On our last full day we decided to walk over to Imerovigli and hike to Skaros Rock. Imerovigli is the town between Fira and Oia and has the highest elevation of all the towns in Santorini. It’s definitely quieter and is mostly made up of small hotels, not as much nightlife or dining options (usually recommended for honeymooners).
We hiked down a lot of steps and across the path to get to Skaros Rock. We saw one person on the very top but after trying to climb between some seriously steep rocks we figured it was safer to stay put. I would not climb to the very top unless you are an experienced rock climber! Anyways, the views of the island were great and it was a good workout. Bring lots of water and when you get back on the main path in Imerovigli there is a smoothing shop where you can grab a refreshing drink!
Overall Thoughts/ Random Tips
- If you’re coming to Santorini from Athens, definitely book a flight because the ferry takes about 6 hours. We stayed in Mykonos first and the ferry from there was only 2 hours which wasn’t bad.
- Plan your hotel transport ahead of time! It’s kind of chaotic when you get off the ferry at the port and there are lines of vans/buses everywhere and you have to take a winding road to the top of the island. We were in Fira which is pretty close to the port and it took us about an hour.
- Buses are a cheap way to get around the island (about 3€ per person), but like I mentioned earlier they take longer than you would think so just be prepared for that.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, the Fira to Oia hike is supposed to be a great way to see multiple towns and has great views of the caldera. I think it takes about 3 hours one way and most people typically take the bus back. Be sure to pack lots of water and a hat because there is no shade!
- If you’re into wine, I’d recommend checking out one of the wineries on the island (Santos and Venetsanos are the most popular). We thought about it but didn’t want to pack our days with too many activities but I’ve heard great things!
- You don’t go to Santorini for the beaches, but you can check out a few on the southwest part of the island if you wish. Some people rent ATVs to explore this side of the island or you can also rent a car.
- The weather in Santorini is perfection. In June the average temperature is 75° and it almost never rains from April to September. There is nothing better than being on vacation and knowing you will have clear blue skies and sun every day!
- When packing for Santorini I would recommend bringing lightweight dresses, jumpsuits/rompers and flat sandals. I would definitely pack blue & white things because it’s fun to match your surroundings. Make sure to pack a straw hat for extra sun protection because there isn’t much shade and a pair of sneakers if you plan to do more walking/hiking.
We were in Santorini for 4 nights which was a great amount of time to explore the island but also kick back and relax at our hotel. The island was absolutely beautiful, the food was amazing, and there is truly no place like it. I still dream of those views and can’t wait to visit again one day!
What I Packed for Greece
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