A Weekend Guide to Santorini, Greece
Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands on the Aegan Sea. A volcanic eruption in the 16th century shaped the islands rugged landscape and colorful sand beaches. The picturesque clay cave houses that overlook the deep blue sea cling to the edge of the cliffs above the caldera (underwater crater). Trust me, the reality of Santorini is even better than the stunning pictures you’ve seen!
How to Get There
From Florence, Italy, my travel buddy Elle and I took a train to Rome. After arriving in Rome, we caught a taxi that took us to the Roma airport where we caught a flight to Athens, Greece. The airport is actually quite far from downtown Athens, but there is a shuttle that will take you directly into the city. We roamed around the streets for a few hours before hopping on a bus that took us to the docks where we would later board our ferry. While waiting, we walked along the beach and dined at sea front restaurant that had the most amazing lamb gyros I have ever had! The ferry ride took
Where to Stay
We stayed at the charming Anemomilos Hotel Apartment Villas right next to the lovely village of Oia. Our villa was a two story townhouse that overlooked the caldera and the Aegan sea. Every time we stepped out the door we were greeted by the most amazing view! The villa was very well furnished with a bedroom on the top floor; living, dining, and bathroom on the main level. Anemomilos Villas is also located near a bus stop, which makes traveling around the island easier. I would definitely recommend this hotel again!
What to Do
Rent a Four Wheeler
I would highly recommend renting a four wheeler to explore the island. It was about a 5 min walk from our villas to the rental shop. It only cost about 24 euros to rent a four wheeler for a whole day! The four wheelers can fit two people comfortably and they have a lockbox on the back to store your belongings. We had to pay for gas, but you don’t need much to fill the tank! You can cross the island in about 45 min by four wheeler. We rode around the entire island stopping at beaches along the way. Santorini is small and easy to navigate with the help of a map. We felt totally free while zipping around the island with our hair whipping behind us!
Oia is the most beautiful and picturesque village on the island of Santorini with commodities such as a high end shopping center, charming cave houses, and blue domed ceilings. Oia is much more quiet and laid back then the busy and bustling Fira. The busiest part of the village is the pedestrian path that runs the length of the town. Along this path is where you will find all of the high end shops and art galleries. Take your time and explore the picturesque paths, narrow streets, and stunning views. I wish I would have spent more time exploring the village; especially the section near the staircase that leads down to Ammoudi Port!
Kamari & Perissa Beach
These are a few of the unique black sand beaches we stopped at along our way to Ancient Thera. We sun bathed on the beach and took dips in the water to cool down. It was so relaxing, floating in the clear waters of the Aegan Sea. Elle and I kept telling ourselves how lucky we were to be there! Warning: the black sand gets extremely hot! Be sure to wear good sandals. There is also a boardwalk with shops to browse and restaurants to grab a quick bite to eat.
Red Beach is the most unique beach on the island; only a few steps away from the ancient city of Akrotiri. The beach is quite small and can get crowded. We chose to admire the beach from along the rocks. The different coloring and formations are very impressive! There is a parking lot at the entrance of the beach where you can park your car or four wheeler. If you like to snorkel, I would highly recommended it at Red Beach because of the interesting rocks along the beach.
This ancient city is only a few steps away from Red Beach. After the volcanic eruption in the 17th century, the city was covered in piles of ash which actually preserved the ruins for tourists to enjoy today.
Exploring the village of Pyrgos was one of our favorite memories from Santorini! We loved exploring the ancient Kasteli (castle) of Pyrgos. The village was also charming with surprises around every corner and tons of great spots for pictures. We parked our car near a convenience store and walked through the village in the direction of the castle.
The small port at the bottom of the cliffs near the caldera can be reached by a set of 300 steps that lead down from the village of Oia. This staircase is where you might have seen donkeys carrying bags up from tourists arriving by boat. Have you ever seen the movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Ammoudi Port is where Lena arrives by boat and rides a donkey to her relatives house. The donkeys were so cute that we would have felt bad riding them. Be prepared for piles of dung along your way! Boats leaving from the port can take you to the island of Thirassia. Ammoudi Port is a good spot for seafood! There are several taverns along the caldera.
Sunset in Oia
You must watch the sunset in Oia! Oia is known worldwide for it’s fantastic sunsets. Many tourists choose to enjoy the sunset from Oia, so be sure to snag your spot at least an hour before sunset. We did not plan this detail out ahead of time to so we ended up watching the sunset while lounging by the pool at our villas. It was still beautiful and a magical ending to the perfect day!
Santorini was hands down one of the most beautiful and charming places I have ever visited! I would love to return someday with a few more days to spare. I have heard great things about Air BnB’s in Santorini. If I visited again I would definitely consider trying one.