Santorini, one of the better known Greek islands, is a dream vacation for many, with hundreds of iconic white-washed buildings and the signature blue domes gathered together on a striking volcanic cliff with stunning backdrop of caldera and beautiful Aegean Sea under sunny clear blue skies! No wonder Santorini has the reputation for dazzling panoramas, romantic sunsets, volcanic-sand beaches and it’s hardly surprising the island features on so many travelers’ bucket lists.
Our Hotel: Volcano View Hotel, Fira (3 nights)
Taking full advantage of Santorini’s breathtaking beauty is the Volcano View Hotel, Fira perched high on a cliff maintaining its idyllic, super-tranquil character. Just a short distance from the island’s capital Fira, this luxurious five-star hotel offers an blissful retreat with plenty of terraces and vantage points to take in the stunning panorama. We were lucky to get an amazing deal at booking.com with this hotel mostly because we were here in the beginning days of the season.
We recommend you to spend enough time in your hotel and enjoy some relaxing time away from all the tourist troubles. After all, you came to Santorini just to escape from all the hustle-bustle in our day-to-day life!
Volcano View Hotel offers excellent service, the rooms are super cute in traditional Greek style with best views of ocean and Caldera. My personal highlights were having delicious Breakfast overlooking Caldera right next to our room, chilling around three swimming pools with huge sunbeds and enjoying idyllic Spa with incredible sunset views! Ahh….. this totally makes me want to go back!!!
Best time to go
- Early May to Early October
Top Things To Do in Santorini
1. Get lost in Oia: Oia was definitely my favorite town on the island. It is everything everyone says it will be — gorgeous and magical. The best way to explore its winding alleys and little nooks is to just let yourself get lost! They have great (but expensive) restaurants here and it’s a popular place to watch the sunset from as it sets right over the town.
2. Red Beach: This beautiful beach on Santorini Island has a red volcanic cliff worth visiting. There is also a black sand beach on the southeastern side of the island.
3. Winery: Santorini has a lot of incredible wineries. The fertile, volcanic land is perfect for growing grapes. There are winery tours through the island and they last about half a day. You can also rent an ATV and do your own tour. Just don’t drink too much.
4. Visit Santorini Volcano: A good day trip, you visit the volcano’s caldera and then take a dip in the hot springs, take a donkey ride, and then see the sunset in Oia. If that’s too much for you, you can simply head out to the caldera and go to the hot springs.
5. Skaros Rock: From Imerovigli, a sign points west for the track to Skaros, the conical peninsula jutting out into the caldera. Not only geologically interesting, it is also historically important, as it was the first of five kasteli(fortresses) built on Santorini in the 15th century to protect the islanders from pirate attacks. Walk out for great views and a perfectly situated church, but expect plenty of steps.
6. Walk up and along the cliffs: Although it’s quite a climb, the view from the cliffs is worth it. You’ll get a great view of the whole island and surrounding oceans. While you can see a lot from the main town, the best views are from Oia.
7. Indulge in an Amazing Santorini Shopping Experience: First of all, in Santorini you will find a plethora of souvenir stores. There you will have the opportunity to buy amazing little gifts for your loved ones or for your home. A quick reminder of how great you have spent your vacations and constant motivation to come again and again! Then, there are jewelry shops with some of the finest handcrafted pieces of jewelry you could ever purchase. Wonderful design and attention to detail, high quality materials and unique presentation offer an exquisite final outcome.
8. Take a boat tour around the island: This is one of the best ways to see the island and the circular “Caldera,” which formed when the area collapsed from a volcanic eruption. This volcanic event is what gave Santorini its present-day unique semi-cirluar shape. The entire area is a basically a collapsed ancient volcano!
9. Take a deep dive in Aegean: Explore the 34-metre-long sunken ship Santa Maria, which has been sitting 18 metres beneath the surface since 1975. Nearby sea caves and lava formations add even more wonder to this already bucket-list-worthy dive spot.
Santorini Photography Tips:
- Our equipments:
- Canon EOS 77D DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-135 mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens – Black
- Canon EF 50 mm 1.8 STM Lens
- We use Adobe Lightroom for editing all our photos.
- Take a great picture of some iconic blue domes. You can read about my favorite blue-dome photo spot here. But these gorgeous blue domes dot the island, and searching them out is half the fun. Read more : “Best Photo Spots in Santorini” (Exact postcard locations for your trip which even google fails to provide!!!!! :P)
- 1-2 Hours private Photo session in Santorini
Santorini Travel Tips:
Stay in Oia or Fira: Our experience in Santorini would definitely not have been nearly as special, had we not stayed in our luxurious caledera collection hotel in Fira and we loved relaxing in our room with the stunning views. Waking up to the views over the caldera and watching the sun set from our personal terrace is simply unforgettable.
There is a reason the hotels in Oia and Fira are expensive, they offer some of the best views and infinity pools of all the hotels on the island.
Our Hotel: Volcano View Hotel, Fira
Visit in the shoulder-season: August is the most expensive month and temperature are quite high too, so if you can arrange for a visit in May, June September or October, you will save lot of your expenses.
Explore Santorini and not just Oia: Oia is beautiful, but it’s not the only part of the island that is worth the visit. Imerovigli has a wonderful view, but less visited places like Akrotiri also offer amazing photo opportunities.
Rent a Car/ATV: As the buses are infrequent and the taxis are expensive. A rental car will allow you to get to the various photo locations on the island quickly and easily. In Santorini the smaller the car the better, as parking is limited and the roads can be very narrow. We found driving on the island to be safe and the roads are good. ATV rental is another popular option in Santorini.
Avoid cruises: Try to avoid cruise ships specially if you’re visiting Oia. They go in groups and it’s quite difficult to walk in narrow streets.
Prepare for crowds during sunset in Oia: The crowds in Oia for sunset were some of the busiest we’ve ever experienced. If you want to enjoy the sunset view from the castle, take into account that you may need to arrive at least 2 or 3 hours in advance to grab a perfect seat. The great news is that the majority of the people leave right after the sunset and that is the best moment to take the pictures in the golden hour. Plan to do most of your shooting during these times.
Don’t wear heels: Use comfortable shoes as Santorini is full of cobbled streets. Especially if you plan to trek to Skaros Rock.
Money Saving Tips
- Rent an ATV/moped – The buses are infrequent and the taxis are expensive. The most cost effective way to get around is to rent your own ATV/moped.
- Hit Happy Hour – Drinks get very expensive on Santorini. Drink your fill during happy hour, when they have 2 for 1 drinks and 1 EUR shots. Perissa beach is a popular nightspot.
- Avoid Oia – The main town is the most expensive place on this relatively cheap island. Avoid stay and eating here and you’ll find yourself cutting your costs in half.
- Book ferries early – If you book the ferries around two months in advance, you can save up to 25% off the cost of your ticket. This is recommended during the high summer months especially when prices increase a lot!
- Visit in the off/shoulder-season – August is the most expensive month, so if you can arrange for a visit before June which would really cut down your accommodation and flight costs by up to half.
- Average cost of food – Food is not very expensive here. You’ll find a lot of cheap gyro (meat, cheese, sauce, onions, and tomatoes served on pita bread) and souvlaki shops for about 4 EUR for a meal. Inexpensive restaurants will cost around 9 EUR. A nicer restaurant will cost around 20 EUR with a drink. Prices just go up from there. If you are eating in Oia, prices are about 30% higher because of all the tourists.
- Fine Dining (Recommended):
- Alali Astarte Suites
- Mylos Restaurant and Bar
- Pelakanos Restauranthttps://mylenscape.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/img_4399.mov
Also do checkout our short video from Greece 🙂