I’ve dreamed of going to Santorini for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those places you always see so many pictures of and they’re all absolutely gorgeous. Sometimes places like that are disappointing and full of tourists or just not what they seem. Santorini is one of those places that honestly the pictures don’t do it justice.
I loved every minute (and stair) of my time in Santorini. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful and romantic places I’ve ever been. I stayed in Oia (pronounced ee-uh) which is the most picturesque and famous part of Santorini. Think blue domes and cave houses.
The thing I didn’t think about so much when planning for Santorini was that I’d be climbing stairs. Literally everywhere. I’d walk up 100 stairs and think “oh thank goodness, finally some flat walkways”, only for Santorini to be like “juuuuuusssst kidding here are 10 more.” It was exhausting but in the best possible way. Every time I’d walk up some stairs I’d find a new amazing view or I’d walk down some stairs to find 3 stray dogs. Yes, there are stray dogs everywhere in Oia and I was so happy.
I obviously knew there would be some stairs seeing as Oia is built on a cliff. I was just surprised how steep and how slick some of the stairs were. Definitely something to remember when packing shoes.
Where to Stay
Oia – The most famous and picturesque part of Santorini, Oia is very laid back and relaxing. During they day it’s bustling with tourists, but at night it’s quiet with only a few bars and cafes open late. Oia is the best option if you’re looking for quiet nights with the sound of the sea.
Oia Mare Villas – I stayed at Oia Mare because it’s on the farthest part of Santorini. So when everyone scrambled to the old Castle in Oia to get their pictures of the sunset, I was sitting on a rooftop at the hotel without a tourist in any of my pictures. You’ll also probably recognize the hotel since it makes it into most pictures on Pinterest.
Fira – If you want a more exciting nightlife, you’ll want to stay in Fira. There are so many more restaurants, clubs, and shops in Fira.
What to Do
See the sunset – After the blue dome churches, the second most famous part of Santorini is the sunset. It’s absolutely gorgeous and gets better and better. Find a good spot early in the day so you know where to park it in time for the sunset.
Atlantis Books – One of the best bookstores I’ve ever been in and that’s really saying something. It’s chock full of first editions and some rare books. You must stop in if you love books as much as I do.
Wake up early – If you want the best photos of Oia without any tourists, you’ve got to get up early. I was up every day between 6 and 6:30. Not only is the sunset in Santorini amazing, but the sunrise is just as beautiful. The first morning I was up early getting ready in the bathroom and looked out the window to the most amazing pink sunrise. The town is sound asleep until about 9am. Make your way along the walkways to grab a cappuccino freddo and a pastry from a cafe. Then wander through the streets and stairs to find a new amazing view everywhere you turn.
See Santorini by boat – There are lots of different boating options you can do in Santorini. Tour the volcano, head to the different beaches, or take a sunset catamaran. The sunset catamaran is the best way to get away from the tourists chasing the sunset.
Cliff jump at Ammoudi Bay – Ammoudi is at the bottom of Oia and the place to go for fresh fish. It’s also known for cliff jumping and swimming in the sea.
Hike the Fira trail – If you’re in Santorini at a time when it’s not 90 degrees, I definitely recommend this. I didn’t get to because it was honestly just too hot and I’d already been tricked by the Acropolis and it’s lack of french fries at the top.
Where to Eat
Ammoudi Bay – There are a few restaurants at Ammoudi Bay and they are all known for the freshest fish. You can take your pick for which one has the fish of the day you want. My recommendation would be Dimitris if I had to choose.
Pelekanos – One of the few rooftop restaurants in Oia, Pelekanos was such a great experience. The view was unbeatable too. If you want to watch the sunset while you eat, be sure to get a reservation. Otherwise go after sunset and have an even more incredible view of the moonrise.
Cafe Passaggio – A great spot at the beginning of the pedestrian footpath to grab your cappuccino freddo and a pastry.
What I Wore