Santorini is known for their cute little towns and blue domes stacked on a hill with amazing cliff-side views of the Aegean Sea. They are also known for their beautiful sunsets. The views are absolutely breathtaking. I was in awe the entire time. Carl and I spent four days in Santorini and we loved every minute of it! In this travel guide, I will be sharing how to get there, where to stay, restaurant recommendations and the best things to do in Santorini Greece.
How to Get to Santorini
Similar to Mykonos, there are two ways to get to Santorini – ferry or plane. Since we were departing from Mykonos, we took a two hour ferry to Santorini. We booked our ferry tickets here and the one we took was the SeaJets Champion Jet 1. I was super nervous because I thought I was going to get seasick, but this ferry was huge so you didn’t feel much movement. I recommend booking the ferry in advanced and getting to the port one hour early to pick up your tickets. It isn’t super organized so there were just crowds of people waiting for the ferry. There wasn’t anyone instructing you to get in a line so as soon as you see the ferry approaching, I recommend getting close to the front so you can get inside to get a good seat.
If you are getting to Santorini from Athens, you can either take a five hour ferry or a 45 minute flight. When we left Santorini to head back to Athens, we chose to take a flight since we didn’t want to spend a lot of time traveling.
Where to Stay in Santorini
This was such a hard decision to make when we were planning our trip. I did a lot of research to learn about the different towns in Santorini. Each one is different so it depends on what kind of vibe you are looking for.
When you are looking at a map of Santorini, the top of the island is the town of Oia. Oia is one of the most famous towns in Santorini. This is where you can find the famous blue domes and the best view of the sunset. It’s filled with a bunch of shops and restaurants. It is such a cute town! The only downside is that it gets really crowded and hotels can be really expensive.
In the middle of the island is a town called Imerovigli – that’s where we stayed. I absolutely loved it! It was way less crowded and it also had incredible views of the sunset. To me, I thought the sunset here was just as beautiful as in Oia. Other than restaurants, there wasn’t a lot to do in this town. But it was away from the crowds of tourists and felt more relaxing. That’s one of the reasons we chose to stay in this town. And the great thing is that this location is super convenient to get to other towns. It’s only a twenty minute cab ride to Oia and a ten minute cab ride to Fira.
Fira is the capital of Santorini. This is the place to stay if you are interested in the night life scene. It has a lot of bars and night clubs. You can find a lot of different shops and restaurants. There are also a lot more affordable hotel options in this town. However, the views and the town aren’t as picturesque as Oia and Imerovigli.
At the bottom of the island is a town called Akrotiri. If you are looking for a quiet laid-back town with more privacy, this is the place to stay in. This town is also close to the black and red sand beach.
Our Hotel In Santorini
There are endless hotels in Santorini. We looked at so many! The hotel we chose to stay in was the Regina Mare in Imerovigli, Santorini. One of main things I wanted in a hotel was a private patio with a really nice view. We chose the Deluxe Suite. It’s one of the highest level rooms in the hotel and has a private patio with sunbeds, a table, and a hot tub. The view was absolutely amazing. We spent our first and last night watching the sunset from our patio.
The hotel has a pool and they had a complimentary breakfast buffet. They have tables along the cliff-side so you can enjoy the view while you are eating breakfast. The hotel staff was super friendly. When we checked in, they offered us cake and drinks and when we had an early flight, they brought us something to eat for breakfast the night before since they knew we were going to miss breakfast. So sweet!
The only downside about this hotel is that the WiFi isn’t great (first world problems lol). My phone mostly worked when we were downstairs by the pool. Other than that, this hotel was great and I highly recommend. They don’t have a restaurant within the hotel, but there is room service you can order. Their lamb and beef meatballs were delicious!
Where to Eat in Santorini
Ambrosia Restaurant – This restaurant is in Oia. It has the most amazing view and it’s so romantic. It is expensive, but the food was delicious! We made a dinner reservation at 7 for an outside table to watch the sunset and then we realized the restaurant doesn’t face the sunset – oops! They were kind enough to give us a later reservation at 8:30 so we can watch the sunset and come back. But the view is incredible – it overlooks the caldera and you can see the volcano. Since we went at the end of the April, it gets really cold when the sun goes down so it was nice that they offered us blankets lol.
Pito Gyros – This is a great quick lunch spot in Oia. We heard so many good things about this place. It’s supposedly one of the best places to get gyros in Santorini. I got the chicken pita gyro and it was so good! I highly recommend.
Lolita’s Gelato – We didn’t get a chance to try this, but I saw that this gelato place had great reviews! I wish we had went because it looked so yummy!
What is there to do in Santorini Greece
Hike from Fira to Oia
There is a famous hiking path that takes you through the villages of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. We started in Imerovigli since the path was right by our hotel. It took us about two hours, but if you are starting from Fira, it can take 3-4 hours depending on how often you stop. You are walking along the cliff-side so it’s impossible not to stop and take photos of the sea.
The hike is pretty easy. It gets rocky and hilly in some parts, but most of the time you are just walking on a cobblestone or dirt path. Some people wore hiking and athletic gear, but you don’t need to. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes. I wore a loose flowy dress and sneakers. We visited at the end of April so it wasn’t super hot, but the sun is strong so make sure you wear sunscreen and bring a lot of water – especially in the summer!
Spend the Day in Oia
Spend the day in Oia and watch the sunset. There are a bunch of cute shops, boutiques, and restaurants to explore in Oia. And the sunset in Oia is absolutely beautiful. It gets pretty crowded during sunset since everyone is trying to find a good spot to watch it. I recommend finding a spot an hour before sunset so you don’t get stuck watching it in between people’s heads lol. But hands down – Greece has such perfect sunsets. And this is the first time that I’ve ever seen a group of people clap after the sun goes down.
Visit a Winery
Carl and I went to Santo Winery. We went for lunch and sat at a table outside. You can get a tasting of six, ten, or sixteen different types of wine. They are very generous with the amount of wine they give you (haha!) so Carl and I split the sixteen glass wine option.
Go on a daytime or sunset catamaran cruise. We went on a semi-private catamaran sunset cruise. We booked this one through Viator.
The cruise was about five hours. The boat picked us up at 3pm and took us to the volcanic hot springs, red and white sand beaches, and then these crystalline waters to snorkel.
Keep in mind that the volcanic hot springs are actually only a little warmer than the rest of the sea and the sulfur can permanently dye your bathing suit. Make sure you wear a bathing suit you don’t care about or bring an extra. The water was too cold so we didn’t swim, but it was so fun hanging out on the boat.
For dinner, you had the choice of chicken or pork and they also had shrimp, bread, pasta, potato salad, stuffed grape leaves, and other vegetable dishes. The food was so good! And they had unlimited beer and wine. As the sun was setting, they take you to the middle of the sea to watch the sunset. It’s amazing!
Go to the Beach
Santorini has a White Beach, a Black Beach, and a Red Beach. You can also visit Ammoudi Bay. They have a bunch of restaurants right by the water and you can even go cliff jumping. If the water was warmer, I would have totally done this!
Fira is the capital of Santorini and they have so many different shops, boutiques, restaurants, and bars to explore.
Here are some fun Santorini excursions to add to your itinerary
What to Wear in Santorini
We went to Santorini at the end of April. It was 65 degrees during the day, but the sun made it feel like it was 80 degrees. I wore dresses and skirts during the day. It was chilly early in the morning and at night so I always carried a jean jacket or sweater to wear over my dress or skirt.
On the sunset cruise, it got really chilly when the sun went down. I brought a pair of pants, a sweater, and my denim jacket. I get cold so easily! And it felt even colder since we were on the water.
At night, I would wear jeans and a cute blouse with a sweater. Most of the streets are cobble stone, so definitely pack comfortable shoes. I didn’t bring heels on my trip. I just packed a comfortable pair of sandals, white sneakers, and flip flops.
In the summer it gets super hot so I would pack light, flowy dresses, rompers, and shorts. If you want to match the scenery, pack a lot of blue and white! I also recommend packing a sunhat and sunglasses since the sun can get really strong.
- Don’t forget to pack sunscreen
- You can’t drink the water in Santorini since it is very salty so I recommend buying water bottles at a grocery store. They are so much cheaper at the store, rather than buying a bottle at a restaurant.
- If you are looking for Greece souvenirs in Santorini, I recommend buying them in Fira. A lot of shops sold the same exact items and in Fira they were so much cheaper.
You can find out more about my trip and what is there to do in Santorini Greece by checking out my “Greece” Instagram Story that is saved on my highlights!