Hushed, ambling streets adorned with fuchsia pink Bougainvillea flowers, the calming soundtrack of ocean waves and perfectly white buildings nestled into hilltops – Greece, Santorini looks like the perfect place to escape on holiday.
But once you’re there what are the things you absolutely MUST see? Well, the answer largely depends on what kind of holiday-er you are and where on the island you are staying.
I’m definitely the adventuring type, but I like a few beach days sprinkled in there too. My best friend and I recently returned from staying in Kamari, a peaceful town on Santorini’s southern coastline.
It was the perfect place for us! Kamari is quiet enough for a relaxing holiday but has just the right balance of nearby tasty restaurants, spectacular views and things to do so that you’ll never be bored if you spent a week there.
Being the adventurers we are we also ventured to Fira, Santorini’s capital and the northern town of Oia (pronouncing E-AH) – the home of those beautiful blue domed buildings and stunning sunsets that you always see with a Google of ‘Santorini’.
So here are my top picks for those of you who like exploring on holiday AND taking it easy too:
1.Visit a the Open Air Cinema in Kamari
LISTEN, okay, so I know you probably have a cinema at home too, but trust me on this one you don’t want to miss this cinema. It’s adorned with plants and decorated impeccably, there’s an affordable beach-style bar inside with everything from cocktails to popcorn & nachos and the films are in English with Greek subtitles.
This is definitely NOT your average cinema experience and it’s so worth the 8 euros it costs for a ticket (especially if you’re seeing Mama Mia like we did!). Find out more here.
2. Visit a Vineyard
We visited estate argyros during our stay and we were so happy we did! We booked a tour for around 15 euros during which we got to see the vineyard, the laboratory and we also got a wine tasting of three wines (with a cheese platter thrown in!).
The package was great value for money and we loved the deliciously moreish dessert wine we had so much we purchased some wine-laced chocolate to take home as gifts!
3. Spot a few stunning vistas in Oia & Fira
My favourite day trip was to Oia in Santorini, Fira was also cool to see but beware it is very tourist-centric and can be a little overwhelming at times! If you do visit Thira I recommend you get the bus, and eat at Salt n Pepper (be sure to a book a table it is extremely well loved, and for good reason).
4. Get lost among Oia’s white buildings (& do a little shopping too!)
While exploring Oia we visited Atlantis Books which I had on my bucket list, it has been called one of the best bookshops in the world, and it did not disappoint. No visit to Santorini is complete, in my opinion, without a pit-stop at this georgeous bookshop, you’d be very proud of me…I was very restrained and only picked up one book (Circe by Madeline Miller) on our visit. But, I really could have bought several more paperbacks and stayed there all day!
Oia is famed for it’s blue domes and white staggered buildings so this really is the place to go so a scenic walk in Santorini (but be sure to wear your walking shoes).
Oia is also a wonderland if you’re a bit of a magpie like me – there’s a host of beautiful silver and gold jewellery shop but be sure to shop around and haggle a little – the owners tend to be very friendly and you could get a great bargain.
5. Sample traditional Greek food (with a twist)
Thira Restaurant recommendation: Salt n Pepper
Oia Resuturant recommendation: Roka Kafeneio Ouzeri
Kamari Restaurant recommendation: Fistikies (our favourite of our trip!)
Happy adventuring, where have you explored lately?