Santorini hardly needs any introduction or praise. It really is as amazing island as described in most of the travel guides/blogs/movies etc. You simply could not go wrong visiting it and experiencing the landscape, culture, and cuisine. Once on the coastal side everywhere you look you see breathtaking views and unique architecture.
Santorini (Greek: Σαντορίνη, pronounced [sandoˈrini]), classically Thera (English pronunciation /ˈθɪərə/), and officially Thira (Greek: Θήρα [ˈθira]), is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland.
It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2011 census population of 15,550.
Getting to the island is an experience by itself. The local airport is quite small and the organization is not the most efficient. For the hotels and most of the Airbnb clients, there is a shuttle or a driver waiting to get you to your hotel/room. We got picked up and dropped at Oia’s main parking/bus stop. Getting from there to our place took some imagination. Due to the terrain and the way the city is built the luggage is carried by hand or by mules to most of the places in Oia.
We were extremely lucky to stay right next to the Blue Domes of Oia. Booking our stay was a funny experience since almost all of the hotels in Santorini double book and then cancel on those unlucky souls who got the cheaper price. We got canceled three times! But I guess it was meant to be since the fourth time we used AirBnB and booked one of the most amazing and convenient locations we could have possibly hoped for. Literally twenty meters from the Blue Domes of Oia!
We spend most of our time enjoying the views and restaurants in the town of Oia. There were so many amazing places to eat, drink, relax, and enjoy the views. The town is filled with little “streets” and stairways everywhere and quite a few people on them as you would expect. Oia was busy from 9 AM to midnight. However early in the morning is quite empty and perfect if you are after some sunrise photos or videos. Drones are for the most part banned so we flew ours only over the ocean from the bottom of the island far away from the people/hotels etc.
At the pinnacle point of Oia is the ruined castle which was the seat of the Argyri family under the Venetians and serves as a lookout point with a complete 360-degree view. It is also called Fort Londsa. One of the most recognizable buildings in the town is an old windmill, which often appears on postcards. There are many kiosks offering a range of ethnic goods, handicrafts, jewelry and souvenirs, and several small art galleries, including Art Gallery Oia and The Art Gallery.
As impressive as Oia was during the day at night it as just as stunning. Walking on those main little “streets” and seeing the lights everywhere was surreal. Every direction you look … just beautiful views and people having the best time of their lives.
We also managed to spend a day in the town of Fira. There we explored the main streets and had a few meals in some of their most famous restaurants.
Firá (Greek: Φηρά, pronounced [fi.’ra]) is the modern capital of the Greek Aegean island of Santorini. A traditional settlement, “Firá” derives its name from an alternative pronunciation of “Thíra”, the ancient name of the island itself.
It is a noticeably larger town than Oia and very busy. The main walking streets are just exploding with various stores, galleries, and places to eat. One of the attractions there is the Cable Car. It is basically a small cable car for 6 people which gets you from the top of the town to the port at the bottom and back up. It is a nice experience and the port was great to see. There were two cruise ships at the time passing by right when the sun started to go down.
Other things to see
We also visited Red Beach as well as a few other beaches and attractions. We missed the buggy riding experience which is quite popular. It did not work for us since we had a kid and they did not have a 4 seater buggy. However, we rented a small car and drove around the island.
There is no need to probably further explain how truly special Santorini is. We spend a week there and time just flew by like it was just a few days. It was by far one of the most relaxing and rewarding trips we have ever done and one we will repeat the first chance we get again. If you have the opportunity do it! You will thank us later.