Today, I bring you part 3 of the Greece travel series, what to do in Santorini. Santorini is a breathtaking island. It is such a romantic island with the most beautiful sunset views in the world.
Getting to Santorini
We took one of the many ferries that leave Mykonos daily. We bought our ferry tickets for the Hellenic Seaways Hellenic Highspeed online before we left. It was a large ship, but unlike the Blue Star, we had assigned seats that were similar to airline seats, but larger and more comfortable. Our ship wasn’t busy, so we each had our own row to spread out on.
The ferry ride between the two islands is 3 hours long. Once we arrived on port, we caught a shuttle to our hotel. Don’t worry about per-arranging transportation if your hotel doesn’t have it. There are taxis and a shuttle stand that can get you anywhere on the island.
Where to stay in Santorini
Santorini is divided up in to four towns along the caldera on the west and beaches on the east of the island. Every town has its own unique beauty and feel to it. Fira is the largest town with the most nightlife and shops. Firastefani is just a short walk from Fira, but it is not as busy. Imerovigli is my favorite town and has the most gorgeous views. Oia is romantic and full of shops and restaurants but no nightlife.
We read up on the towns before we left and decided to stay a couple of nights in both Imerovigli for the views and Fira for the nightlife.
In Imerovigli, Colton and I stayed at Remezzo Villas. Upon first sight of this gorgeous place, I wanted to move in and stay forever. The views from the balconies are spectacular.
We walked down the steps to the first balcony and lobby and were greeted with a glass of wine and staff that helped us tweak our entire itinerary. They were wonderful. The villas were in a great location, close to restaurants and right off the hiking path.
Breakfast is offered for $16 per person each day. If you like breakfast and are staying at the Remezzo, definitely try this multi-course feast overlooking the caldera at least one morning.
In Fira, we stayed at the Cori Regas Suites. This hotel was hard to find at first. We had to carry our suitcases down a ton of steps to reach it. However, it is a beautiful hotel with stunning views and close to many restaurants and shops.
Breakfast is included and is made to order. The night before, you submit what you would like from the menu to the kitchen. The next morning, you eat breakfast on a balcony with a view of the caldera.
What to do in Santorini
Touristy things to do in Santorini
Skaros Rock– Climb and explore the remains of a medieval castle fortress. There are a ton of steps going down and around the rock, so be prepared to walk up them afterwards.
Explore all of the towns- Each town has such a different vibe. There are many hidden alleyways and steps that lead to walkways. Explore them all. Stop. Take photographs.
Watch the sunset from Oia- Hundreds of people gather to watch the sunset here every day. Several restaurants offer “the best view,” but there are no shortage of places to watch it from.
Walk down the 588 steps to Old Port– (or take a donkey or cable car) Not only is it a great workout, but there are plenty of boats below that can take you around the island.
Take a boat to the volcano and mud baths- We pre-booked with Santorini Sailings for 26€ before we left. There is an additional charge of 2,5€ per person to tour the volcano. We enjoyed learning about the history of the island from the tour.
Our favorite part was the mud baths. We jumped off the boat into the icy blue waters and swam to the warmer brown muddy waters. You should be a strong swimmer or bring your own life jacket, because it is deep where you jump off. Then, we covered ourselves in the sulfuric mud. Unfortunately our Go Pro wasn’t charged, so these are the best photos we got.
Amoudi Bay- This is the spot to grab sea food, according to everyone we talked to. It’s worth the walk down the steps to grab a bite to eat down here. To get here, walk through Oia town to get to a long staircase. Walk down steps to this quiet little fisher bay.
Red Beach– The red beach is one of the most famous beaches in Santorini. It’s a small beach, so it can get pretty crowded. There is parking just past the ancient site of Akrotiri. Follow the crowd around the rocks and down the steps to the red and black volcanic rock beach.
Black beach– There are several popular and quiet black beaches in Santorini. We ended up at Perissa Bay, a little less crowded than the main part of Perissa Beach. We stayed here for hours, relaxing, eating, and drinking.
Unique things to do in Santorini
Hike from Fira to Oia– This is an incredible hike that can be done all at once or split apart. Since we stayed in Imerovigili, we did the hike from Imerovigli to Fira and back the first day. Then, the next morning, we hiked from Imerovigli to Oia. There were a couple of spots on the hike with loose rocks and steep hills. Be cautious.
Cliff Diving Amoudi Bay– If you continue to the left of the stairs, past all the restaurants, around the cliffs, and through the rocks, you will find a swimming hole. It’s hard to find and not super crowded, but there is a great cliff you can climb up to dive off into the clear Santorini waters.
Atlantis Books– Even if you aren’t a fan of books, you should check out Atlantis Books. It is located in one of the cool houses in the heart of Oia. Atlantis isn’t your average bookstore, it really is a one of a kind place. Don’t forget to drop some money in the donation jar if you don’t pick up a book or poster.
Fish Spa– If you haven’t seen one of these before, it is definitely unusual. Little toothless scavenger fish eat at the dead skin on your feet to leave them feeling smooth and refreshed. There are several fish spa locations in Santorini. We tried Dr. Fish Spa in the central square and loved it.
Rent a 4-wheeler– When you rent a 4-wheeler, you can see the whole island, go beach hopping, wine tasting and more. You can drive up to Oia for the sunset or Fira for shopping and nightlife.
Watch the sunset from your balcony– We had an unobstructed, beautiful view of the sunset from our hotel in Imerovigli. We went to a local store and bought a bottle of wine to enjoy while listening to beautiful music.
Where to eat and drink in Santorini
Anogi– Our first night in Imerovigli, our hotel recommended Anogi. Colton and I were blown away by their great prices and delicious food. We both ordered different lamb meals and they were wonderful. All of the ingredients were from local places. Don’t forget to grab dessert.
Meat corner– One of the many souvlaki restaurants in Fira. Great prices and good quality, so stop in for lunch during your Fira exploring.
Volcano Blue– One of the other restaurants recommended by our hotel. Volcano Blue has a little bit of everything. Colton and I both enjoyed pasta (he had a seafood pasta and I had a chicken and broccoli penne). The food was wonderful, but the view was unbeatable. Our recommendation is to make reservations for around sunset.
Apollon– We had pizza, drinks, and brownies at this restaurant in Perissa Bay. The dessert was so good, I licked the bowl. (I even posted this on Snapchat for those of you who saw). If you eat here, you get free beach lounge seats.
Pelikan Kipos– This little hidden gem in the central square is like a garden hideaway. It is an open air type restaurant with beautiful, romantic seating. Check it out!
Passagio– Although you can’t climb up the ladder, there is a staircase in the back that takes you to the rooftop bar. They offer beer, wine, mixed drinks, coffee and shakes.
Two Brothers- This bar In Fira gets busy and at night, but during the day a good place to grab buy one get one drinks.
PK Cocktail Bar- Not only does this bar boast beautiful views, but they advertise the “best bloody mary” and many more delicious drinks. There are two terraces that are open daily from 9 am until late every night.
Chillbox- I recommended this in Athens too. Their yogurt is delicious and creamy the perfect consistency.
We left Santorini by the Blue Star Delos ferry. We bought our tickets in Athens through Corfu travel. Colton and I were impressed with the ferry and how much room we had. Although, one of the stops during the 8 hour ferry filled the boat up, so it became a little cramped. I was just glad we had room to walk around and stretch our legs (and that we had several movies loaded up on the iPad).
I hope you found this post helpful for what to do in Santorini.
You can also check out this post for general tips for traveling to Greece.
Is Santorini on your bucket list? What are you most looking forward to seeing when you go? Leave me a comment below.