7 Reasons You Need to Visit Santorini
Ever since I traveled to Santorini, I consider the island to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Every new corner seems more picturesque than the last and pictures will never be able to capture its mesmerizing atmosphere. If you’re still contemplating whether to add Santorini to your bucket list, here’s 7 reasons why you must.
1. The sunset in Oia
Hands down, one of my favourite moments in Greece was being able to witness the Santorini sunset. It’s the only sunset in the world I’ve seen that gets a round of applause once it subsides. Get down there early though (at least half an hour) for a good spot. The crowds can be a bit of a nightmare and the last thing you want is to be running to find a spot, dodging photos whilst simultaneously trying to take your own before the sun disappears (been there, done that).
Waiting for the sunset in Oia (along with everyone else…)
If the crowds prove too much, and you would prefer somewhere a little quieter, another sunset spot is Imerovigli. Again, it offers a beautiful, uninterrupted view of the sunset.
But in all honesty, you can’t really have a bad sunset in Santorini. It’s kind of magical anywhere you are.
2. Quad around the island
There are a few ways to get around the island: renting a car, ATV, taxi or bus. However, taxis can get expensive and buses give you less time flexibility. Roads are mostly cobble-stoned, narrow and Grecian drivers are crazy (and talented!), which leaves us with renting an ATV. Renting an ATV, also known as a quad bike, is the best and most popular way to get around the island, especially thanks to the steep hills and heat which make it a rigorous task walking from point A to B.
Depending on the season, size and type of your ATV it could cost anywhere from 25 to 75 euros per day. Plus around 8-10 euros per day for fuel, based on a 200cc ATV.
It’s a wonderful and fun way to see the island on your own terms and time. Definitely a must-do whilst in Santorini!
P.s. make sure to bring your drivers license!
3. Wine & dine with a view
With stunning views sweeping over the Aegean Sea and caldera, Santorini will completely surpass any expectations you have of “dinner with a view” with the scenery that surrounds you.
If you’re looking for restaurants that marry heavenly views with delicious cuisines, popular ones include Ambrosia, 1800 and Lauda in Oia, Archipelagos and V Lounge in Fira, and Kapari Wine Restaurant in Imerovigli.
4. The beaches
Santorini is not known for its beaches, so don’t expect the typical white sand & crystal clear water view that you generally associate with Greece. The beaches are volcanic, not white sand, so they’re either red or black rocks, pebbles or grit, and get very hot on the feet. However, this makes them unique and some prefer them to the typical white sand beach, which makes them well worth a visit. Here’s a few I’d recommend.
Red Beach: The ‘famous’ beach of Santorini. It has black and red volcanic pebbles instead of sand and hot water. Make sure to wear closed shoes (no thongs or sandals) as the walk in can be slippery and the sand gets extremely hot.
Kamari: A cosmopolitan beach resort situated on the southern part of Santorini, right next to Perissa, with the enormous rock called Mesa Vouno between them. The sand is black and the waters are deep and blue, with activities such as diving available. There’s close-by cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and supermarkets, as well as a lively nightlife which makes it a more popular tourist destination.
Perissa/Perivolos: Perissa and Perivolos Beaches are essentially one very long beach. Perivolos is at the far end of Perissa Beach and is a fairly quiet, more up-market scene that is more alive during the day than night. Perissa is more catered towards the party and backpackers scene, with easy access to all of the bars, restaurants, cafes etc.
5. Cliff Jumping at Amoudi Bay
From Amoudi Bay (in Oia), take the steps down to the water and follow the signs that say “Amoudi Bay”. Once you reach the water, take a left and keep walking down until you see a seafood restaurant. Keep following the path past the restaurant, and around the bend. You’ll eventually reach a little rock cliff on your right, which you have to swim to. There’s a stairway located around on the backside of the cliff facing away from the city.
There’s different places on the cliff you can jump from if you’re not to keen on the highest point. Plus, the waters are beautiful around there.
6. Fira nightlife
Although Santorini is no Mykonos or Ios when it comes to partying, it does still offer a vivid nightlife, which is mostly concentrated in Fira. There’s Franco’s Bar which is known for its classical music at sunset. People who want to hear Greek music go to Club 33. The Koo Club is probably the most popular club in Santorini and plays progressive, mellow, house, trance and Greek music. The Highlander is the island’s only Scottish bar but the music ranges from typical mainstream pop and rock to trance & dance party beats. There’s also Enigma bar which offers three rooms (with seperate bars) where you can dance all night long or lay back in their open air courtyard.
A lot of bars and clubs will have “happy hour” offers to get people in early, but during high season (July to August) the fun and crowds don’t start until after midnight, so be sure to pace yourself!
7. Shop the laneways
Now to an area I personally thrive in, shopping. I did the most damage to my bank account in Santorini due to the gorgeous handmade jewelry stores, clothing boutiques, wine stores, local art, crafts and so much more. If you get a chance, I highly recommend heading to Oia after the sunset and walking around all the little markets and boutiques. The view and atmosphere entirely make the experience. There’s cheaper finds like jewelry, crafts and clothes for a few euros, and then there’s luxury boutiques with real jewelry from brands like Cartier and Chanel.
There are over 40 jewelry stores, a lot of them also in Fira which is how it got the name ‘Gold Street’. Another great way to spend a few hours and then end it with some much deserved gelato, or in my case, frozen yogurt!
& if you’re still not convinced, I guess pictures speak louder than words…