10 things to do and see in Santorini – the most beautiful Greek Island

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10 things to do and see in Santorini – the most beautiful Greek Island

We are so glad to start our blog with recommendations for one of the most beautiful islands in the world, especially famous for the unique sunset experience and romantic views.

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We’ve travelled to Santorini through Thessaloniki with Astra Airlines – they have seasonal summer tickets from June to August for most of the Greek Islands. We’ve spent 10 wonderful days on this small piece of paradise, since we also wanted to enjoy the beaches while exploring the small villages.

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Our list of recommendations for Santorini (Fira):

1. Stay in Perissa

If you travel on budget, the best place to get accommodation is in Perissa. It is in the south of the island – 13 km to the southeast of Fira (the capital), near the Messa Vouno rock. According to us, Perissa has the most beautiful black volcanic sand beach on the island. Santorini’s coastal treasures have been profoundly influenced by the volcanic nature of the island. Many people often will say “why do you go there, the beaches are black and ugly“- trust us, the black sand gives you such an exquisite experience, unique and marvelous at the same time.

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The village is full with beautiful beach bars with their rental sunbeds and umbrellas. The prices for the sunbeds are starting from 7 euros for 2 sunbeds and umbrella, up to 15 euros. There are some restaurants that offer “free” sunbeds if you spend at least 20 euros for lunch in their tavern.
Beach Bars in Perissa: Demilmar, Tranquillo, Waves, Yazz and restaurant Acropolis
Best gyros on the island is definitely in Perissa – Gyros Place (right across the church), it costs 2,50 euros.
There are also 2 bakeries with delicious pastries every morning. Sweets, salty pastries, coffee, fresh orange juice – you can choose whatever you want for you breakfast.
In Perissa you can enjoy the most beautiful sunrise on the island (Yes, even though the island is famous for it’s sunset, the sunrise is equally beautiful).

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2. Make sure you rent a Moto or ATV.

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Yes, Santorini has island buses for most of the destinations, you can get in 30 minutes or 1 hour. The tickets are 2,40 euros let’s say from Perissa to Fira, but they get easily crowded so you may wait for an hour and the bus to be full and not even stop at the station .

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So, after visit in Fira by bus, we decided that it will be the best to rent a bike or ATV. We haven’t been driving ATV on island before because usually people say that they are not safe and can be dangerous – so we decided to give it a try :). Make sure you do a good research for rentals (in Perissa there are many) and try to get the best deal. We got ATV for 4 days (170 m3) for 30 euros per day from Mike’s Bikes. It was definitely best decision since the island roads can get crowded especially in the sunset hours and if you are with a car, you can spend a lot of time stucked in the traffic. Also they have huge suitcases where you can fit towels, bags and all the necessities for the day. The parking is free everywhere in the island.

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3. A day at the Red, White and the Black Beach.

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We usually do hop on – hop off on different beaches during the day so this was our perfect chance to explore this part of the island. Drive to Akrotiri and you will see signs on the road for the Red Beach. You can take a boat ride to the beach from the harbor of Akrotiri port or you can hike – short steep road, make sure you wear snickers (even though we wearing our flip flops and manged to get to the beach carefully). The all-red landscape is certainly worth the trek!

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The first beach is the Red Beach, one of the most popular beaches on the island. What makes the beach absolutely irresistible is its impressive red rock formations, which form a breathtaking unique volcanic landscape. There are sunbeds and umbrellas here, but if you decide to use the towels for lying down on the sandy beach, make sure you put them near the rocks because the sea can get wavy (we lost one hat and our towels and clothes were completely wet!).
From the Red beach, on every half hour there are small boats (5 euros both ways per person) that take you to the White Beach (it is the only way to get to this beach) and the Black beach. The last boat from the Black beach is at 6 p.m.
The sea is crystal clear and turquoise blue.

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4. Take a walk in Fira in the afternoon and enjoy the sunset.

Get the real feeling of dinner with a view.

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Even though Oia is famous for the sunset, the sunset in Fira is also spectacular. Since it is nice to see the city during the day and also for sunset and night lights, best time to visit is around 6 p.m. – 6.30 p.m.

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Stroll up and down the steep streets, enjoy the small shops, perfect white houses, beautiful sea views… We got some nice white wine with meze (different cheese and salami) in Enigma Bar and truly have enjoyed the sunset and sea breeze.

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5. Wine degustation at Santo Wines in Pyrgos.

Since we truly enjoy trying different wines wherever we go, trying Santorini wines is definitely a must. The volcanic land is perfect for producing grapes.
The island of Santorini is most famously known for its indigenous white grape varieties Assyrtiko (our personal favorite), Athiri and Aidani. Some wines are made from international varieties and also from indigenous red grapes such as Mandalieria and Mavrotragano.

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There are many wineries around the island but we choose Santo Wines in Pyrgos. Although they told us we don’t need reservation, if you want a nice table at the Sunset period -DO make a reservation. Nice live music – Italian and Spanish sounds, dancers, amazing view and delicious wine is the recipe for perfect night on the beautiful veranda.

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We got the menu with 6 different wines and homemade tomato sauce with olives, and cheese. It costs 11 euros per person. You can also choose a degustation with 12 and 18 glasses – but it seems too much to drink and might not be good if you have to drive at night (there are no lights on the roads).

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6. Visit Donkey Brewery and Kamari beach

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Kamari is one of the liveliest places on the island, with lots of bars, shops, restaurants, pool bars. It is close to the airport so you can see the planes near you while swimming. The right part of the beach is better since on the left part there is sleepy rock in the sea (if you don’t have sandals it is very hard to get inside the sea). The beach is sandy, black and the water is clear. There is also a boat from Perissa to Kamari and back every half hour – 5 euros both ways, but you can also drive to Kamari. On the road to Kamari there is the Donkey Brewery. It is a small brewery that produces local beer – stop for a quick free tour and delicious sampling of Donkey Brewery’s products. It is open for visits Monday – Saturday, from 12 until 5 in the period of May-October. Try the Crazy donkey beer- it has a specific different taste.

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7. Daily walk and sunset in Oia or THE SUNSET that gets applause.

Yes, it is beautiful. But it gets really crowded. Really, really crowded with tourists. People are trying to get the best spots to see the sunset. We wandered around Oia to find a place where we can enjoy the view without being crowded, and possibly to have a drink without reservation. Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar is at the end of Oia and here we decided to wait for the sunset here while having a coffee. And yes, the sunset in Oia gets applause from the viewers!

After the sunset, there is a huge traffic line from Oia to Immerovigli and Fira – so drive carefully, especially if you are with vespa or ATV.
Check Oia during the morning and afternoon – but make sure you have water and hat with you since in summer it is the hottest place on the island with no shadows on the streets.
It is truly spectacular!

 

8. Try the local food.

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Despite the good wine, ouzo and local beer, Santorini is famous for the delicious cuisine of local products. Must try: Gyros in Gyros Place in Perissa, Souvlaki in any tavern, Fava and Tomato balls in the village restaurants in Pyrgos, Mousaka, tsatsiki, melitzana…

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The cherry tomatoes grown on Santorini may be the best tasting tomatoes you will ever have. Pan fired crusted feta cheese with honey is delicious.. mmm…
And if you are fan of sea food, make sure you go for a lunch or dinner in Ammoudi Bay in Oia.

 

9. Relax on the beaches in Perivolos and Agios Georgios.

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If you want fancy beach bars, expensive food, DJs and luxurious dining, spend a day in Perivolos and Agios Giorgios (they are next to each other, you can walk by the beach to reach them). JoJo and Chilli are the fanciest beach bars at the island, where you should pay 10 euros for umbrella and sunbeds and 35euros for Cabana. There are usually DJs on Sunday afternoon but it doesn’t get very crowded.

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If you want a more relaxed place, check Theros Wawe Beach Bar in Vlychada.

 

10. Drive around and explore the island.

Get up early.
Watch the sunrise in Perissa.
Start your tour from the villages of Emporio and Pyrgos.
Drive to Kamari and take a ride on the east side of the island. Take a swim in Monolithos.
Drive to the village of Exo Gialos and Vourvulos. Have a lunch with tasty moussaka in Roza Restaurant in Vourvulos. After that, go for a swim on the beaches near Oia – Kouloumbos or enjoy the silence, the view, a glass of Mythos beer and a good book in the bar at Paradisos beach.

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Go back from the other side of the island and take a night walk in Imerovigli and Fira. Enjoy the lights on the caldera.
There is something special about this island that makes you keep a smile on your face all the time while being there. The air, the sea breeze, the spectacular views and irresistible sunsets – it enters your soul and lives there forever.

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For more views on the splendor of Santorini, and our best moments on the island, follow us on Instagram @flipflopsandrooftops

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