Santorini: Your guide for a 5 night getaway

Santorini.  The name evokes images of bright whites caves and vidid blues.   Santorini is the Southernmost of the Cycladic islands in the Aegean Sea.   The island's unique geology is the result of a volcanic eruption forming a caldera.  Santorini is one of the world's most popular destinations.  A part of me wondered if it would live up to the immense hype and a part of me knew it would.  Well, Santorini, you delivered! It was remarkable.  The cliffs, the caves, the sunsets.  It was a trip I will cherish for years to come.   

Here's what you need to know:

Best time to go: Is really whenever you can go, but if you have some flexibility, I recommend late May/early June.  Just before peak season, and the weather is really nice and it's not overwhelming crowded yet.  

How many nights?  4-7 Nights.  We stayed for 5 and it was great! I felt like we really had time to soak it all in and do everything we wanted! 

Where to Stay: Imerovigli or Fira.  

I loved Imerovigli.  If you want to be where everyone else is, go to Oia, but I personally didn't love Oia.  I thought it was a little overrun and touristy.  Imerovigli was wonderful, still plenty going on but it was a little more relaxed and quaint.  I enjoyed that. 

We stayed at Tholos Resort and it was fantastic!  Classic cave rooms with a view of Skaros rock.  Breakfast served on your balcony every morning...this is vacation!  I really loved this place and would gladly stay here again if we return!  

If you really want to spulrge: Grace Santorini (5 start hotel).  This place is stunning!  Every time we walked by we were drooling.  The reviews are excellent.

Activities: What's great about Santorini is you can be very active or very relaxed, and be perfectly happy! 

Hike from Fira to Oia -  Ok, we love hiking so we did this a few times!  It's incredible! This hike really highlights the unique and unusual landscape of the island.  An added bonus? You pretty much always have a view of the caldera! It was tougher than we expected, but not as tough as some other hiking we've done (ahem, I'm talking about you, Cinque Terre).  Start early in the day and pack plenty of water.  There's no shade at all, so just be prepared with sunscreen, snacks and hydration.  Approximately 2.5 hours from Fira at a moderate pace.  

Hang out at Ammoudi Bay: It takes some effort, especially after the hike, but this was one of my favorite memories of our time here!  You climb down hundreds (not joking) of steps and then you'll get to the bay.   The water is bright turquoise  and you can just enjoy watching the boats come in with their fresh catches!  We lingered over lunch at Ammoudi Fish Tavern and just took in the view!  I could have stayed here for hours on end!  

Tip: The day we did this there were no cruise ships in the harbor.  I highly recommend doing things like this and spending time in Oia on these days.  It happened to be on a Friday, but that could change.  Just keep a lookout in the harbor!

Wine Tour:  We did a tour with a small group, 3 other couples (8 people total).  We visited 3 different wineries and learned about wine making in Santorini.  Wine making is a little unusual here and it was really interesting to learn about the process!  Our guide, Evan, was so much fun (and so was our group)!  We finished our tour on the south part of the island with heavy appetizers and our final tasting.  This might have been my favorite sunset of the entire trip! It was a very small gathering of people so we could enjoy the view without fighting for spot (opposite of Oia).  It was really special!  I highly recommend it!

Tip:  White and Rose wines are Santorini's specialties!  Perfect after a long, hot day! 

Where to Eat:

Kapari Wine Restaurant - exceptional views and service.  Make a reservation in advance so you can request a table outside to watch the sunset.  

View from Kapari Wine Restaurant- I thought I was dreaming!

La Maison my favorite meal of our entire trip!  Sea Bass, and Creme Brûlée! French inspired,  it was Magnifique! 

Avocado - Imerovigli. We went here for starters and wine and it was great!  We wanted to return, but we just didn't have enough days!

Mezzo - Greviera Ios (starter) and Moussaka were solid!  

Book early!  If you want dinner with a  view, make reservations well in advance!  Especially if you are traveling during June, July, or August.  

Other cool things to check out:

Bloom a little shop Fira with unique, handmade goods designed and made in Greece.  I bought a fun clutch here, probably my favorite souvenir from the trip!  I really liked this store because it there wasn't an overwhelming amount of products and the prices were very reasonable.  

Taf a coffee shop next door to Bloom, I loved their lattes, and they also made a really good mixed juice (aka a smoothie)!

Getting around: The bus system was very easy to figure out! You buy your ticket once you're on the bus.  So if you hike one way and don't want to hike back, you can take the bus!  

Don't forget to pack: Shoes with good grip on the soles.  There is cobblestone is everywhere and it can be a little slippery, especially if it rains! 

I really hope we get to return to Santorini someday!  I was swept away by it's unusual beauty and charm of the people!

Hard not to smile here!

Have you been to Santorini?  What were your favorite things you did?

Until next time, Happy Wandering!


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*This is based on my genuine experience.  This not a sponsored post and I was not paid by any restaurant, hotel, or tour company to mention them in this post*