Some destinations are about exploration and discovery, while others are for hitting reset, finding your own little slice of heaven and relaxing to the max.
There’s plenty of exploration on offer in Santorini via hikes, boat trips, vineyard tours and nights out.
If it’s your first trip, choosing which village to stay in is absolutely crucial and each one will bring a completely different experience.
Some restaurant gems and places where watching the sunset will take on an entirely new meaning!
If you are flying into Santorini, you absolutely want to avoid being in the middle of the plane.
Get a seat in the front, or way back, because almost all flights deplane using both doors, and last off will face the longest wait at immigration.
As most locals will tell you, experiencing Santorini isn't about turning over every stone, it's about finding the stone you like most and spending as much time enjoying the natural splendour of it all.
FIRA To say it’s by far the most tourist centric is an understatement.
PIRGOS An enviably high position overlooking the island, a cool place to stay with a very local and authentic feel.
IMEROVIGLI People go to Oia for sunset because that's what they've been told, but Imerovigli may be the best value in Santorini, while also offering arguably even better sunset views.
Very few hotels feature grand entrances, with most simply offering a gate with a sign offering its name.
Santorini’s villages are dotted with boutique hotels, but you’d be excused for walking past most of them.
OIA The famous windmills, blue roofed churches and the buzzing restaurants. Oia is no longer the peaceful getaway it once was and sees more than 5,000 people descend upon it every night at sunset.
There are luxury hotels, but it's much more music by the pool with champagne than read a book and relax environment.
Experiencing Santorini isn't about turning over every stone, it's about finding the stone you like most. In other words, don't go crazy trying to tick all the boxes.
Come, relax, eat delicious food and take in the stunning views that you can't believe with your own eyes.
With that said, there are a few great things to do...
MUST DO ACTIVITIES
If you do one thing, and only one thing: take a boat ride. But don't just take any boat ride, hire a private or semi private boat from a boutique operation which isn't packing 100's of people onto a deck that feels as if you're on a pirate ship.
A BOAT TOUR
Santorini is the new hot spot for the world's top mineral driven whites.
The assyrtiko grape is an incredible expression of rich, opulent flavour, all with the minerality you'd expect from a black soil, black rock Volcanic island.
Vassaltis offers an amazing experience as far as high end wine goes, and Santo Wines offers truly stunning views with great menus. Booking ahead is a great idea.
WINE TASTING OR TOUR
Although they're more soft volcanic rock than soft white sand, these beaches are dramatic, picture worthy and a great place to relax for the day, particularly if you don't have an amazing view or private pool where you are staying.
CHECK OUT THE BEACHES
Melitini Laid back, delicious and with enviable views over Oia, Melitini is a great call. Prices are extremely fair - think €10 for a main course - and made with real attention to detail.
Red Bicycle This is the go-to for slightly more sophisticated dining, and although prices are a bit higher than elsewhere, the food really doesn't disappoint. Go for the views, stay for the food - you're paying for both.
GREAT PLACES TO EAT
Metaxi Mas It's popular, but with good reason. Yet another great example of low key delicious food with great service aiming to please. IT books up fast so don't sleep on it if you want in.
Aroma Avlis Looking for lunch? Ding, ding-ding. This is modern Greek done right, with exacting presentation and style but all with the laidback vibes you are looking for on an island vacation.
GREAT PLACES TO EAT
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