Santorini is probably one of the most picturesque and romantic of all the Greek Islands, known for its whitewashed, cubist houses with turquoise roofs, and breathtaking views of the mythical Aegean Sea from the cliffs of Fira and Oia.
If you’re planning a holiday to Santorini and are looking for inspiration for your travel itinerary, here is The Ultimate Guide to exploring Santorini in 4 days…
Lunch in Ammoudi Bay
For the best fish in town and beautiful views of the caldera, hike down 300 zigzaging steps from Oia to the tiny port of Ammoudi Bay, and eat at Sunset in Ammoudi.
The fish counter is stocked daily with the freshest catch from the Aegean, caught by fishing boats that have been used for families for generations.
Sunset in Oia
The village of Oia is located at the northernmost tip of Santorini on an impressively steep cliff face, and offers gorgeous views of the sun setting over the volcano of Palia, Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia.
The narrow streets that wind up and down the cliff are bedecked with classic blue-domed churches and white buildings, inside which are boutique clothing shops, patisseries and restaurants with views out onto the sparkling blue sea. You could easily spend a whole afternoon exploring Oia before settling into one of the many bars or restaurants and watching the sun ebb into the Aegean Sea. It is utterly beautiful.
Exploring Fira (and A Donkey Ride for the Brave)
Like Oia, Fira is a traditonal village in Santorini located on the west coast of the island, on the caldera cliffs opposite the volcano and with its own spectacular views of the ocean. The wider walkways of Fira mean that it often feels less crowded that Oia, and the sun-bathed verandas with their white architecture and bright blue skies provide ample opportunity for a photo.
Donkeys are available to hire for $10 euros to ride down the steeper, winding pathways, but you’d have to be brave to do it…
A Yacht ride along the Caldera
For an unforgettable experience try out a private cruise along the Caldera, catching a yacht from either the Old Port of Fira, Athinios Port or from the Ammoudi Port of Oia.
The experience of getting up close to the volcanic island in the middle of the serene Caldera is fantastic, before being taken to the hot-springs where you can dive into the hot sulpheric water and be carried away into the history of the volcano.
Boat rides to Ios for the golden sand beach
Beaches on Santorini are known for their volcanic pebbles and although they are gorgeous in themselves, if you fancy visiting a fine sand beach then take a ferry to Ios. Ferries depart from the harbour at Fira, but only run a few times a week so be sure to organize the trip in advance.
Kamari Beach, the laid back southerly village
Kamari Beach is the largest and most well organized in Santorini, with a long parade of restaurants, boutique hotels and resorts to choose from. The beach itself is formed of black pebbles, courtesy of the islands volcanic history, and the best advice is to walk on the beach with scuba shoes. Many shops on the beach parade sell these for around 8 Euros, so no real need to bring your own.
From the many eateries on the beach try the fat, meat-filled souvlaki, homely kleftiko stews and sprightly feta in filo with honey.
Kokkini Paralia, the peaceful red beach
The stunning beach of Kokkini Paralia is backed by almost sheer red, rock-faced cliffs, and is one of the quietest in Santorini. Reached by taking a 15 minute bus to Perissa and then a boat from Perissa to Kokkini Paralia.
Have you been to Santorini before? Where would you recommend going?