The best beaches, Santorini tours, villages, sunset, fine wine, little secret oases and all the magic of Santorini in ten “must” steps.
The most beautiful island on the planet. The land of the lost Atlantis. Europe’s most magical summer destination. The seals of Santorini’s fame are so complete that when you finally get to port, you don’t know what to look for and what corners to explore. You want to experience this intoxicating charm that makes all travel guides forget. And here we come, to concentrate on the whole experience of a road trip to Thira with Santorini private guided tours. In other words, here’s what not to miss:
1. The sunset in Oia
Even if you are not one of the world’s romantics, it is possible not to be seduced by this mysterious force that almost hypnotizes the crowd in the alleys of Oia while sunset. Then, a huge demonstration with hats, cameras and a scent of sunscreen instead of banners and hoods, moves to the edge of Oia in the Castel of St. George. There you simply stare at the sun to dive into the Caldera and the world to applauds. If you are looking for a less spectacular sight, there are more other amazing spots on the island to see the sun go down. The peak of Prophet Elias, the tower of ancient Thira, the lighthouse, the castle of Pyrgos and the beach of Vlychada.
2. The extraordinary beaches
You have probably heard that Santorini is not famous for its beaches. Don’t pay attention to the rumours so that you don’t get neglected with your towel. You may not see turquoise waters and golden sand, but you will see other exotic things. In Vlychada, the sand has a background of rare geological formations, which look like they emerge from a lunar landscape, where you can climb.
At the rugged Red Beach, you will swim in the waters of a saltwater beach, with purple, almost like soil, sand coming out of another world. In Kamari, Perissa or the other east coasts of the island you will be scattered. The backdrop of the large pebbles and black sand of the island are the remnants of volcanic activity. There you will also find the most economically organized beaches, as the sun loungers are not charged on this side of Thira. Enjoyable, alternative and even more picturesque are the dives in Ammoudi and the small port under Oia.
3. Overnight in Fira
The day is at the beaches, the sunset is at Oia, and at night it is right at Fira. The vibrant capital of the island that has not only gorgeous cave houses on the Caldera side. It also has a multitude of bars, restaurants, taverns, taverns and squares, which are pleasantly humming all night.
4. Santorini Full Day Private Tours
The Caldera villages of course have the first reason. The SOS rides follow the stone-built paths in Fira and Oia. They have characteristic white rock houses, tufted bougainvillea and unbeatable views. Oia in particular is a unique experience, which is not disturbed by the flock of tourists. In front of it, in the disarming beauty you hardly realize that it is real and that it lives in… regular people. Between Fira and Oia, you will find two more “hotbeds” of Cycladic luxury and scenery, Imerovigli and Firostefani.
As for the rest of the island, you will walk to the quiet settlement of Karterados, where you will not miss a traditional windmill feast, climb the Kasteli of Pyrgos and Emborio, admire the islands of Fotino and the Vothia the view from Exo Gonia or Megalochori.
For those with energy and adrenaline reserves, a hiking trail along the Caldera, which connects the villages of Fira, Imerovigli and Oia (it will take about three hours for the nine kilometers of a breathtaking route) is advisable. Under the water, diving enthusiasts will adore the locations of Trypiti and Old Kammeni, near the Taxiarchis shipwreck, while near Akrotiri you will dive into the reef of Adiabat. Finally, Mesa Pigadia is ideal for cave exploration.
5. The volcano
Parts of the active volcano of Santorini, the islands of Palaia and Nea Kameni that populate the other side of the Caldera, remind us that they were once part of the same island, then called because of the shape of “Round”. Boats to the volcano and the neighbouring island of Thirassia depart daily from the port of Fira, which is worth boarding if you are fascinated by it.
The idea to get on an active volcano. Don’t expect scenic landscapes, but “wild” hills to climb in the hot sun. And yet it’s worth it, as you’ll be as close to the heart of Atlantis legend as smoke and warm air in the small openings of Kammeni where the volcano breathes.
Note that the mini excursion is not suitable for those who are not very resistant to the sun or the ascent. Note also that on the return you will also pass the “hot springs” point, where the water turns red and hot, in the small creek of an island with a single inhabitant: The mysterious man with a weakness in red, not excluded to find him meditating on the shore.
6. The summer cinema in Kamari
Voted in 2020 by the Guardian as one of the ten most beautiful summer cinemas on the planet, and not unjustly! It sits on the coastal shore of the Kamari coast and is an (yet) oasis of coolness and nostalgia. It has comfy director chairs to bar with watch the movie drinking your drink and the green background that accompanies the movie.
7. The archaeological treasures
The archaeological “heart” of Thira strikes at Akrotiri. The ancient settlement from which frescoes, artworks and the ruins of a well-designed city with multi-level buildings, water supply, furnishings and all that were well preserved after the Minoan earthquake were saved. No human skeleton was found in Akrotiri, which supports the theory that there were warning earthquakes that prompted residents to mass evacuate. At an altitude of 396 meters, the remains of ancient Thira in Mesa Vouno stand with ruins from the Hellenistic period.
Finally, in Fira you will find the Museum of Prehistoric Thira and the Archaeological Museum. There are sculptures, inscriptions, pottery, kouros and finds from Akrotiri, the River and other parts of the island. Do not miss the chance to book a Santorini historical tour!
8. The most special bookstore in the world
One week on the island was enough for Oliver and Craig from Britain to decide to return to Oia to open their own shop. So, 10 years ago, they transformed an empty house looking at Caldera into a bookstore. It was the first on the island then and started not only selling rare or used books… But also organizing literary festivals and parties with dogs and cats, sunset poetry readings and beautiful nights with the smell of the Aegean Sea and the printed paper. Don’t miss the chance to find yourself in the small oasis of the Atlantis book store.
9. Santorini wines
The special land and climate of Santorini was… fertile ground for the Cyclades’ winemakers. They endowed the island with a heavy tradition of winemaking. White assorted is the “dominant” of production, followed by atheist and hawk. The well-known local Vinsanto wine is in itself an experience for the taste buds. You can try it in small local cannabis (traditional wineries) or in larger establishments. Such are those of SantoWines, Koutsogiannopoulou, Gaia Winery, Sigalos Real Estate and Kanawas. Of course, local wine can be found in every restaurant on the island.
10. Santorini Local food
As we talked about restaurants, grab a spot to enjoy classic fish dishes to fine gourmet delicacies. Don’t miss out on tasting Santorini fava and Santorini salad with the island’s fine tomatoes. Always keep in mind why prices aren’t on the list what would we say… affordable. Good and not expensive food will be tasted at the following:
- Nikola’s Tavern in Fira
- Callisti at Tasting Seafood
- Aktaeion in Firostefani for local delicacies
- Taverns in Ammoudi
- The small port under Oia, for a more picturesque and quiet island setting.