Santorini is a bucket-list destination for a lot of people! The blue and white cave houses that look like they are about to drop off the edge of a cliff into the indigo blue water hundreds of feet below draw people from all over the world, and while the island definitely caters to tourists and travelers, so much of the charm and fantasies of a Greek Island still remain.
Hopefully you read Part 1 of the Greece Guide so you know that prior to arriving in Santorini, we were in Athens and Thessaloniki. Our group did a lot of walking and exploring and we were ready for the relaxation and warmth of Santorini.
Day 6-9: Santorini
We flew from Thessaloniki into Santorini late so even the descent into the airport was magical as if the twinkling lights in the middle of the ocean were guiding us to our destination. After landing, we went to our hotel in Thera which is probably the biggest town on the island and where I would recommend staying. Oia (pronounced Ee-Ah) is very popular and while it has beautiful sunsets, it can get kind of quiet at night and is more expensive than other parts of the island. Thera has most of the nightlife and is more centrally located on the island so it makes it easier to explore.
One thing I never realized was that Santorini—and Greece in general—isn’t always warm. We went in May and it was kind of chilly. I was expecting very warm weather and packed that way but I wish I would have packed more jackets and pants and less swimsuits. Our second day there, we got a full day of sun and decided to make the most of it!
Highlights of Santorini:
- The first day we were in Santorini we hiked from Thera to Oia. The hike takes about 4 hours and we wanted to make sure we made it in time to be in Oia for the famous sunset. The hike was hard (so make sure to wear good shoes) but totally worth it. The sunset was breathtaking and we all felt so amazing afterwards! You can take the bus back and it’s really inexpensive and worth the ride after such a long hike.
- On the second day, we rented ATVs. My friend Marianna and her husband did that on another island and I’m so glad they recommended it. There are parts of the island that are off the beaten path and you can cover more ground with the ATV. It’s only $20 for a day. Totally worth it!
- We did a wine-tasting at Santo Wines. We tried a variety of wines which all have a unique flavor because of the dry climate and volcanic soil. Plus the winery sits right on the edge of the cliff so you can’t beat the view!
- With our ATVs, we rode down to Amoudi Bay. The rest of the island is way above sea level which makes for some stunning views, but Amoudi Bay is one of the few areas where you can access the water. There are a few little taverns down there and a path that leads to a swimming area where you can swim over to a small rock formation that has a cliff to jump off. We didn’t get pictures because all of us swam over but check out my friend’s video for the inspo and courage you need to jump.
- Metaxy Mas is a restaurant in the small town of Pygros so it’s a little out of the way but it maybe my favorite meal ever. It could have easily been the company or the setting but the food seriously was so delicious.
- Our last day in Santorini we did a half day sailing cruise. We got to see some of the more remote parts of the island by water like the black sand beach and the hot spring (which because of the weather weren’t that hot). The crew was really fun and informative and had snorkeling equipment and served lunch and drinks. It was the perfect way to spend our last day!