Santorini is a place you must see and experience in person. Not even the tourist swarms in summer can spoil the beauty that awaits you; although the Greek Island is the perfect for off season travelling too, which will save your wallet big time.
WHAT EVEN IS SANTORINI?
Santorini is a Greek Island - and a freak of nature. Yes, quite literally. It is essentially the edge of a volcano, sitting in the middle of the ocean. It used to be a fully formed island, but more than 3-thousand years ago one of the world's biggest eruptions blew most of the island to bits. What's left is an steep, rocky horseshoe shaped cliff edge. The Greeks have built incredible villages hanging along the whole length of the cliff - joined together by a maze of white marble paths.
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WHAT TO DO?
1. RED BEACH:
With breathtaking red volcanic cliffs and boulders, and beautiful crystal clear water, this is a must-do. Easy to reach with your quad bike plus a little walk.
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2. VISIT THE METEOR CAFE
This cafe has the best view in the world. No, really - we think it might just be it. Head there before 10 - and you’ll be the only one there. Grab a coffee and enjoy!
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3. WATCH THE SUNSET
Most people head to Oia to watch the sunset. Each night you’ll find hundreds of people at the end of the peninsula. But avoid the crowds - and catch the sunset in Fira looking towards Oia. You’ll find it much less crowded - and you’ll get an incredible picture of the island and the sunset!
4. SWIM ON A CLIFF
Don’t have your own pool bar at your accommodation? No problem - we found one on the island where you only have to buy a drink - and in return you get to use theirs for as long as you want. To find this little gem, head to the Honeymoon Petra Villas and look for the sign below:
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5. DONKEYS IN THE FISHING VILLAGE
Walk down the winding steps to the small fishing village of Ormos Armeni, below Oia. Walk along the rocks to an incredible swimming spot - complete with diving board! You’ll also see plenty of donkeys taking tourists up the steep steps back to Oia.
6. BEAT THE CROWDS
Walking the beautiful marble paths through the maze of white buildings in Oia is like walking through a huge luxury resort. Do it between 7am and 9am, and you’ll have it all to yourself!
7. WINE TASTING WITH A VIEW
One of the best views of Santorini is actually from the balcony of a winery! Visit Santo Winery for their trademark 6-glass tasting session, or just enjoy the view like we did.
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8. WALK FROM FIRA TO OIA
It will take you about 3 hours, weaving through beautiful marble and stone paths from the town centre of Fira to the super-lux Oia. Make sure you have heaps of water and a full camera battery!
WHERE TO STAY:
NO BUDGET: Honeymoon Petra Villas
Santorini redefines luxury, and Honeymoon Petra Villas is at the top of the list. It has the most outrageous cliff-top infinity pool, and incredible villas overlooking the best Santorini has to offer. Beware, this place books out months ahead.
ON A BUDGET: Tataki Hotel.
This cute hotel is right above the main square in Fira. You don’t get more central than that! You literally walk down the steps - straight into the hustle of Santorini. The big advantage of this place is it’s central location, so you won’t need to hire transport. The hotel will also pick you up from the ferry for free!
TIGHT BUDGET: Villa Kasteli
Everyone who goes here raves about it! The only downside is that it’s on the other side of the island - so you’ll need to bus or hire transport to get to the main attractions.
WHEN TO GO
Try to avoid going in July & August. This is when the Island is overrun with tourists, and prices go insane. You’ll also feel like you’re in a stampede just walking along the footpath. September and early October are great times to go. Prices decrease by as much as two thirds and the weather is still beautiful and sunny!
The best way to get around is by hiring an ATV. You don’t need to book ahead (unless you’re heading there in July/August) and you shouldn't pay more than €20 per day. Always haggle!
There is so much to see and do on the island, you really do need your own wheels. Don’t bother hiring a car, unless you don’t like motorbikes, as a car is really overkill (a lot of the roads are more suited to motorbikes anyway).
BEWARE: Make sure you carry an international driver’s licence with you. It is against the law for foreigners to drive without one in Greece. The hire companies will rent to you without one - but if you end up in an accident you won’t be covered by any insurance (even your own medical insurance won't cover you because you were driving illegally!)