I arrived in Santorini at sunset and I was instantly wowed by the pink purple colors of the sky. From the airport to the hotel I got a small glimpse of what Santorini had to offer: beauty and charm.
I’ve heard a lot of good stories about this island before and I have to admit that they are true. it’s hardly surprising the island features on so many travellers’ bucket lists.
During my trip to the Greek islands I visited Santorini, Milos, Paros and Mykonos and there is no denying the uniqueness of this destination or it’s huge allure.
Important to mention that I went to the Greek islands in October 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and the start of the low tourism season.
I did experience quite a few perks such as having some famous spots all to myself and not having extreme elevated prices at some places.
What to do
1. Watch the sunset at Fira and Oia
Before coming to Santorini I’ve heard that the sunsets are one of a kind. I didn’t quite get how it could be so different than other places I’ve been until I experienced it myself.
It’s not that the sun sets differently in Santorini, It’s the view that makes it spectacular!
It’s so stunning to see the village of Fira and/or Oia at golden hour.
There are many places to watch the sunset and many spots come with a price. We went to a mini market, bought some beers for €1,50 a piece and found a great spot to watch the sun go down.
I have to admit that it even made it more charming doing it this way than having an expensive cocktail in my hand.
2. Hike from Fira to Oia
On the boards it said it would take about 3 hours to go from Fira to Oia. The day we chose to do the hike it was 34 degrees Celsius and I have to admit that we didn’t think it through.
But nevertheless it was an amazing hike that took us more than 4 hours with some breaks. The views were amazing and you come across the most beautiful spots to take pictures.
We also made a detour and climbed the Skaros rock which gives you a great view over Fira.
Careful while climbing it up, it’s pretty basic and a little bit dangerous. My boyfriend had to give me some confidence to believe I could climb the top. Worth it though.
3. Rent an ATV/ Quad or scooter
I highly recommend renting a quad or a scooter during your stay for at least a day or two to get around the island and explore more than Fira and Oia.
The bus connections are fine but you experience more if you’re on the road by yourself. Ask your hotel/ air bnb where you can rent a quad/ scooter. Many times they give you good discounts because they have the connections.
Note that in Greece they rent fast scooters that require a motor license.
The roads aren’t that great and we felt more stable with the quad on 4 wheels.
If you rent a scooter/quad/car I highly recommend visiting the Akrotiri lighthouse and a winery, like Santo Wines.
4. Visit Perissa and Perivolos beach
If you’re more interested in a beach break or activities visit Perissa and Perivolos.
Our hotel Vila Olympia was very near Perissa and Perivolos beach so we visited this area quite a few times.
We were there in October 2020 so the atmosphere wasn’t that alive.
We did have an impression of how it must be during high season and covid free period and it has to be a lot of fun with many pool parties to attend.
The restaurant prices are much lower than in Oia and Fira and the quality is very good.
It was interesting to experience the beach in Santorini. It’s black rocky sand and at some places just black rocks don’t make it very comfortable but it’s different. And let’s be honest, it’s always nice to be at the beach!
If you have transport go to Kaminia beach. Great beach to snorkle and read a book. It’s quite steep to go down so make sure your quad/ scooter is powerful enough.
5. Go to Pitogyros in Oia
The pita souvlaki/ gyros is so delicious here that people get in line to have a table.
The problem with this place is that the pita gyros/ souvlaki is so amazing that wherever you’ll go to have this traditional sandwich you’ll always compare it to the one from Pitogyros.
The quality is another level and the prices are great. A pita chicken souvlaki for €4,50.
6. Open Air Cinema
There are two Open Air Cinemas in Santorini. One in Fira where they show 2 movies: Mamma Mia and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Cliché but it’s a pretty cool location to watch the movie.
The other one is Open Air Cinema Kamari. Check their website to see which movies they are showing. The location is very beautiful.
7. Have a romantic dinner at Metaxí Mas
I saw this place on Pinterest and it’s one of the best restaurants in Santorini. Luckily it’s not situated in the centre of Fira or Oia so only the ones that have heard of it come.
It’s very popular and many locals come here as well. I recommend you make reservations so you wont have to wait.
I absolutely LOVED Metaxí Mas. Not only the setting is stunning and romantic, the people are so nice and the food is delicious!
And the best thing is that the prices are very reasonable, not expensive as you would expect because of its popularity.
I can’t recommend this place enough!
Where to stay
If you can afford it, first-timers to Santorini should stay on the Caldera Edge to experience the full ‘wow’ factor. Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia have hotels and villas with whitewashed interiors, terraces and infitinty pools that are just picture perfect.
We stayed at a more budget friendly place Villa Olympia and loved it. They offered a free shuttle to pick us up at the airport and were very helpful.
The rooms are clean and cosy and they have the most beautiful olive trees decorating the area.