...HELLO- YASAS... GOODBYE- YASAS... PLEASE- PARAKALO... THANK YOU- EFHARISTO...
WHERE TO SLEEP
Aliko Luxury Suites
This set of two suites located in Imerovigli has stunning views of the caldera and Skaros rock. Both rooms have a private balcony and hot tub and the interior is classic Greek cave house style.
If you are looking to get a little more peace and quiet and don’t mind sacrificing the caldera view this might be the hotel for you. Located just up the hill from Pyrgos is the 4 suite hotel each room equipped with its own private pool and a balcony overlooking the southern edge of the island. George is a wonderful concierge too, anything you need, he can make it happen!
WHERE TO EAT
Serving classic Greek cuisine and using fresh, local ingredients is not unique to this restaurant but definitely makes you want to put it on your list. My favorite dishes are the Greek salad and moussaka. Mezzo also has a great view of Skaros rock and the caldera so all the more reason to check it out.
Ordering at this restaurant can be daunting because everything looks amazing. My favorite dishes are definitely the bottarga, the grilled and stuffed sardines and the tarama spread. But don't fill up on appetizers, make sure to save energy for picking out a fish to put on the grill.
The Red Bicycle
This modern take on Greek cuisine in Oia uses only the freshest seafood and meat and makes all their pastas in house. The salad made with Santorini cherry tomatoes and local cheese is outstanding as well as the cuttlefish risotto in its ink. Make sure to check out the shop below for unique Greek jewelry, Giota (pronounced Yota), the owner, has been living on the island most of her life and can give you many recommendations of where to eat and shop.
In Amoudi Bay there are plenty of choose-your-catch grills but this seems to be a local favorite. Sit at a waterfront table and enjoy the sights and sounds of this little fisherman's cove while dining on the freshest fish and an ice cold beer.
Make reservations for this popular yet casual Greek restaurant in Imerovigli. The food here is simple and fresh and they use ingredients from the island to cook. This is a restaurant that I have continued to return to whenever I travel to Santorini for the authentic cuisine and friendly service.
You have two options at this Pyrgos restaurant, a casual dining room downstairs or the swanky tasting menu with a view on the second floor. Both are unique experiences but I prefer to more casual dining experience with rustic foods to the more refined meal upstairs. Selene also offers cooking classes.
Specializing in Cypriot cuisine which is somewhat of a mix between middle-eastern and mediterranean food. This restaurant is located on a quiet street in Oia and has an excellent view of the caldera from the second-story patio.
This tavern that was established over 90 years ago in Firostefani. Order classic Santorinian dishes like fava with onions and capers or white eggplant. You can also try cheeses from the different islands like a gruyere from Naxos or chloro from Santorini and of course an all Santorini wine list.
This SUPER popular restaurant located in Exo Gonia may seem out of the way but is definitely worth the drive from wherever you are staying on the island. Specializing in Cretan and Santorinian cuisine with a great wine list and yummy complimentary raki too. Don’t sleep on the kataifi cheese rolls, you will thank me after ;)
A charming Mediterranean restaurant set in the hills of Pyrgos that seams to have no challenges in marrying Spanish and Greek cuisine with ease. Most dishes are flawless but the absolute stunner on the menu is the chicken cooked in mastiha (a traditional Greek liqueur made from resin) and nestled in a basket made of kataifi dough.
After a visit to the charming town of Megalachori, hop over to this nearby seaside taverna for a yummy lunch on the beach. The whole fish selection is excellent and they also have a nice selection of seafood appetizers and salads as well. The best part is after lunch you can beach yourself on the beautiful black sand of Perivolos.
If you don’t have the time to visit some of the great wineries on the island this restaurant’s speciality is Santorini wine tastings. You can sample most of Santorini’s wineries productions and they offer help in pairing with their incredible food menu. They also have a small market inside with bottles to take home, a beautiful selection of Greek charcuterie, cheese and smoked fish as well as edible souvenirs.
WHAT TO DO
★Domaine Sigalas Winery
Santorini is host to many great wineries but this one happens to be my favorite. Rent an ATV and drive to the northeast side of the island to try some of the best wines Greece has to offer.
It's no secret that most vineyards are in the most picturesque places but Gaia may take the cake. The tasting room is located on the beach with the vines just behind it. Take your glass down to the beach and bask in the sun while listening to the waves.
Santorini Brewing Company
A few years ago you could only find these awesome microbrews at a few tavernas, but upon returning in 2015 the donkey beer craze has swept the island. Even though you can find these beers practically everywhere in Santorini now it's still fun to visit the brewery, plus it's on the way to Gaia.
For an alternative to the sunset in Oia come checkout the views at this lighthouse on the opposite end of crescent. You can see the entire interior of the island, it is one of the best views to be had.
Hike up Skaros Rock
This large protrusion of rock in Imerovigli is one of the best places to get a view of the entire island, unless you are in the ocean. You can get to it from steps just behind a row of hotels and then there are a variety of ways to get to the plateau on top. Ask a local for tips.
Hiking trail between Fira and Oia
The hike between Imerovigli and Oia can take a 1.5-2 hours depending on your pace so if you leave from Fira you can add anywhere from 30 minutes to an extra hour on to that. It is definitely worth it for the views but be warned, most of the trail is unshaded, so go earlier in the day and bring plenty of water.
Hike from Prophet Ilias Monastery to Perissa
This beautiful hike starts on the highest point in Santorini. After viewing the monastery take the somewhat hard to find trail down the mountain towards the beach. Midway down is the ancient town of Thera where you can catch your breath and soak up some more culture. From there depending on which direction you take you can end up at Kamari beach or Perissa beach. The hike down is easy, be prepared for the hike back up though and bring plenty of water!
I probably shouldn't admit this but ancient ruins aren't really my thing. That being said, Akrotiri is still worth going for the historical value. It is an ancient Minoan settlement dating back to the fifth millennium BC. but was destroyed during a volcanic eruption in the 17th century BC. The excavations here led to one of the most important prehistoric settlements in the Aegean to be uncovered.
Very close to Akrotiri, this stunning beach can only be reached by scaling some tricky steps or by boat. It is worth viewing just for the unique and colorful cliffs that loom above the water but it is quite small and crowded most days so you may want to do your sunbathing on another stretch of sand.
This small stretch of beach was touted by locals to be the best. It is black sand and rocks, not unlike most of the beaches on Santorini, but is fairly quiet and secluded. It is near the great seafood restaurant To Psaraki.
A larger, more touristy black sand beach on the southeastern side of the island. Like the other beaches on Santorini the sand turns into large flat rocks at the water's edge so be cautious when entering the ocean.
Just 300 steps down from Oia at the northern tip of the island lies
this quaint port full of tavernas and fisherman. From here you can also arrange boat tours, kayaking and paddle board trips or catch the ferry to Thirassia.
Shopping in Fira or Oia
Both of these towns on the island are great spots for picking up souvenirs and finding locally made goods. There are a number of great boutiques and jewelry shops down the less crowded corridors. Fira tends to lean more towards cheap and easy tchotchkes, where Oia is slightly more high-end and seems to deal more in fine jewelry and clothing.