Have you ever dreamed of living in a postcard? Well, visiting Santorini will make you feel just like that! It’s no wonder that Santorini is the most coveted Greek island thanks to its stunning view, unique architecture and well its volcanic past. This is probably one of the few islands that beaches aren’t a priority. Not that they are not clean, but they have black sand due to the volcanic minerals. The picturesque village of Oia and the “capital” of the island Fira with their whitewashed buildings and beautiful view over the sea (where once the volcano crater used to be) make up for the no t so exotic beaches.
Last time I visited Santorini was 2 years ago. I was there for 5 days and really made a good use of my time: I walked in Oia, I saw the sunsetfrom Fira, I tasted wine in 2 wineries, I ate…well a lot, I visited the archaeological site in Akrotiri and I swam in the sea, which surprisingly was not ice cold at the time (as it is usually in the Aegean Sea).
What to See
Of course Oia and Fira will be on top of the list. Walking, exploring, taking pictures, making memories. The best time to explore this beautiful villages is late afternoon when the sun isn’t so harsh…trust me, I learned the hard way (p.s. if you notice my photos where taken during midday). Also it’s highly likely that you may even get jammed in order to watch the sunset! If you’re lucky and it’s a cloudless and humidity free day, you’ll even see the sun setting in the sea!
Also do visit the archaeological site in Akrotiri. It’s amazing! Here you’ll see a whole village with its roads and buildings that was demolished during the volcano explosion way back when. The site is restored and preserved thanks to a modern ceiling that allows air and sun to come in but protects the ruins from corrosion.
What to Do
During my first visit in Santorini back in 2002 I wasn’t aware of the many vineyards and wineries that this island has! Well this time (in 2012) I visited 2 of them, where our friends are working and tasted some very interesting wines (and I’m not even a wine drinker)! First stop was the Boutari winery, were we tasted the white wines Kallisti and Nychteri, the red wine Mandilaria (that’s the grape’s name) and the sweet wine Vinsanto (to be drank with fruits/desserts). The next day we visited the Domain Sigalas winery where we tasted the Cavaliere wine (it’s a white one) (p.s. we had already tasted their Vinsanto wine, which has to be my favorite)! The Domain Sigalas has a very nice courtyard with nice view of the vineyards and the sea, where you can taste your wine! So if you visit Santorini do add at least a winery visit in your itinerary!
Beaches to visit
As I wrote in the introduction, Santorini isn’t known for it’s beaches, as the sand is usually black-ish due to the volcanic minerals. Notable beaches are Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari. The Red Beach near Akrotiri is also one of the well known beaches of the island (due to it’s color). Last, I really liked Vlychada for it’s peculiar stone formations and its not so dark sand.
In order to be more helpful I gathered all my suggestions in the following map.