Welcome to the beautiful island of Santorini! This island is one of Greece’s most popular destinations, so be ready for loads of tourists. The island is stunning and deserves all the hype, but if you aren’t prepared for crowds and loud neighbors, you might want to consider a different island. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Santorini, I wouldn’t list it as my favorite place. It was a bit too overcrowded for my taste, but it’s one of those places you should see once.
Getting to Santorini/The Island’s History
Santorini can be easily accessed by ferry. Since many tourists come from the mainland or other Greek islands, the ports are busy and can be overwhelming. Once you arrive, you’ll need to take a bus up the steep cliffs to get to the main towns on the island. The most popular spot, one that is probably what you picture when you hear Santorini, is the town of Oia. Oia is located at the northern tip of the island. After you hop off the ferry, you’ll give €2.30 (need cash, no cards accepted) to a bus driver who will be waiting there. There’s no need to purchase a bus ticket ahead of time. The bus will go from port to Fira, and if Oia is your end destination, you’ll need to change to another bus. There are information booths in Fira if you have any trouble finding the right bus.
The island was formed from a volcanic eruption in the 16th century and now sits above an underwater crater. Santorini is part of the Cyclades islands.
Where to Stay in Oia
I don’t have a specific hotel that I’d recommend staying at, as there are many at different price points. The hotel I stayed at (Residence Suites) was not the best, so I suggest you read through lots of reviews, especially the hotel’s check-in/check-out policies. We had trouble finding our check-in location and struggled with our bags. We ended up dragging them up and down the stairs in the heat, which was not a fun experience. Just read the reviews carefully and you should be fine.
Where to Eat
There are loads of restaurants to choose from, along with some cafes which are nice for quick breakfasts. Some of the restaurants that are known for their sunset views fill up very quickly, so definitely make reservations. Specifically, Sunsets Restaurant is one of the most popular places in Oia for an upscale dinner and a sunset view. You’ll need to make reservations at any restaurant known for their sunset views! Here is a list of the places we enjoyed:
Pelekanos– Amazing views
Nocturna– AMAZING CREPES, the freshest orange juice, and amazing iced mocha lattes! lol
Sunsets Restaurant– Good food, slightly overrated and expensive. Need a reservation. Great place to view the sunset.
Pitogyros– AMAZING. Chicken gyros and garlic pita bread are to die for, quick lunch spot.
What to Do
Most of our time was spent lounging on the deck, by the pool, reading. There is a walk/hike that you can take down to a beach which looked cool (we never did it because it was SO hot outside). There are many shops (mostly cheap touristy shops), restaurants, and photo spots to explore on the main drag.
Walking up and down the street is fun, but be prepared to deal with the crowds! I really wanted to get some photos without all of the people around so my friend and I woke up for sunrise. I’d highly recommend skimming on some sleep one morning to enjoy this beautiful place without all the tourists.
There are plenty of other spots on the island to explore, which you can get to by bus.
*Note, there are other ways of getting around the island, none of which I have experience with so I’ll refrain from mentioning them here.
I hope this guide was helpful! Overall, I’d recommend visiting at an off-peak time because the crowds can get really bad and can ruin the experience (I think). We visited mid-April, still too crowded! The beauty of the island definitely made up for all the people:)