Visiting Santorini? Best Santorini Experiences

 

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See or ride a Donkey

The best place to catch these donkeys is at the old port at Fira, the capital of Santorini. During the day they can be seen trotting up and down the cliffs from Fira to the port at the bottom where the boats come in. If you fancy, you can take a ride for about 3-5 Euro each way with a change to get a photo to take home as a souvenir! If not, there are many opportunities to view them while in Fira.

Read more on my post about Donkey riding in Santorini here

 

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Catch a sunset

Santorini is home to magical sunsets, ones you cannot possibly miss if you stay on the island. Although Oia is famously known for the best on the island, it is also the most visited spot and arguably the most crowded too! If you want to head away from the heavy crowds, Oia is definitely not the only location – or necessarily the best to catch a beautiful Santorini sunset.

– Fira can be a great viewing spot, as this side of the island faces the direction the sun sets in. There are many bars and restaurants that are perched upon the cliffs all along Fira who have some magnificent views. Just get there early to ensure yourself a seat for sunset – it’s worth it!

– If you really want to avoid crowds, head to Pyrgos. It is a quiet little village located on one of the highest points of Santorini. Vlihada beach, Akrotir lighthouse and Imerovigli are also other sunset spots.

 
 

Ancient Thira
The fascinating ruins of Ancient Thira sit well above sea level, high up on the cliffs overlooking Kamari Beach on a rocky headland called Mesa Vouna. There are spectacular views to be seen looking down to the sea and if you’re a bit of a history buff, this is something that might interest you. The ruins date back to the 9th Century BC and are one of the richest historic ruins in Santorini today.

 
 

Black Sanded Beaches

Kamari and Perissa are beautiful beach spots on Santorini and both are famous for their black sand. You can take a stroll down the beautiful waterfront esplanade full of shops, restaurants and bars. Along Perissa and Kamari, the beaches are organised neatly with little beach umbrellas – they do come at a price to hire though! If you’re looking for a little more peace and quiet from the busier side of Santorini, either of these two are perfect to sit back and relax.

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Fira

My accommodation was in Fira, which was a great location to stay in! Fira town is the capital city and it is here where you will find lots of shopping and boutiques, plus many, many restaurants and bars to enjoy. The town is famously pictured in many Greek images, perched high up on the cliffs of Santorini overlooking the sea.

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Thirassia

Thirassia is unofficially one of Sanotrini’s best kept secrets. Located just off Santorini, Thirassia still remains far more undeveloped in contrast to Santorini but still a stunning island to explore. There are many guided tours on offer to take a half day or full day trip out to Thirassea, or you can simply do it yourself via boat. The views can be amazing looking from the island back to Santorini and the Aegean Sea.

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Akrotiri

This ancient town is like travelling back in time. It was buried by an volcanic eruption over 3,500 years ago, and today still continues to be excavated. It is open to the public to walk around for a 5 euro admission fee.

 
 

Food and Wine

The food in Santorini is divine… it’s a definite must to have a taste of the Islands local and fresh produce – you will regret it in the end if you don’t!

Oh and I should mention that Santorini is also known for winemaking!  In fact, one of the most famous exports is a sweet dessert wine called Vin Santo. If you do have the chance to drive around Santorini, you will see a number of vineyards across the island, and there are quite a few wineries that are open to visit and take tours.

 
 

Emporio

Emborio is the largest village on the island with beautiful windmills on the top of the hills, narrow streets painted in white and blue domed churches dating back to the 3rd century B.C. The village is quiet with only a few shops and restaurants, however tourists who randomly stumble across Emborio are mesmerized by the quaintness and traditionally Greek architecture.

 
 

Hire a scooter or quad bike

IF you are looking for ways to explore parts of the island that aren’t walkable distance and don’t fancy catching Santorini’s public transport….give a scooter or quad bike a go! You’ll see loads of them zipping around.

 
 

Hiking

If you enjoy fitness, then you’ll be happy to hear that Santorini have some of the best hikes in the Mediterranean. From cliff-top walks to volcanic walks, you can bet that hiking in Santorini will be an experience to remember!

– Fira to Oia
Approx. 10 km (3 to 4 hrs. walking) of spectacular, cliff-top walking with the sparkling Aegean sea views stretching for miles – great postcard pic opportunities!

– Thirasia hike
For a magical look at Santorini and with the chance to escape from all the hustle and bustle of crowds in Santorini, a hike through Thirassia is ideal. Take a ferry over from Oia and explore the quiet but absolutely stunning and natural island Thirassia – all without the crowds! The 360 degree views will be breathtaking. Just remember to pack plenty of snacks and water, as you won’t have easy access to cafes and restaurants like back in Santorini.

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Oia & Amoudi Bay

Oia is located on the far northern part of Santorini and is probably the most pictured part of the island. It is the most famous location for sunset sightseeing each evening, however it is beautiful at any time of the day with 360 degree panoramic ocean views!

Amoudi is below Oia, surrounded by steep cliffs and where you’ll find a few quaint little cafes’ serving up some of the freshest seafood on the island. It is also a fantastic swimming spot (arguably one of the best on the island!) and a nice spot to enjoy the sunshine.

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Red Beach

Like Santorini’s other beaches (Perissa and Kamari), this red sandy beach comes with all the trimmings (beachside cafes, restaurants and little shops) however, it is much less crowded due to its more remote location.  It lies just south of Akrotiri and you can get there on foot, via bus or by car. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the stunning landscape views and mesmerise over the stark contrast between the brick red cliffs and the blue sea.

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Imerovigli

Imerovigli is not far north of Fira and sits high up on the cliffs of Santorini. The village is known for having some of the islands best views overlooking the caldera and also Fira. Some of the more exclusive and expensive hotel and resots are also located here.

 
 

Relax

Most importantly, Santorini is the perfect island to kick back and enjoy the sun’s rays and wind down. While there are many bars and nightclubs throughout the island, it doesn’t share the same party atmosphere like other islands such as Mykonos or Ios have. So, let Santorini be the island of leisure 🙂

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