Traveling, to me, is the most important thing you can possibly do in your life. Each destination that you visit adds a new layer to you, making you into the person you want to be. There are always specific places that you especially want to go to, to experience and to take away with you. Traveling is something that stays with you forever. For my birthday, Nick took me on the most incredible trip to Santorini, Greece. I have always, always wanted to travel here. I have never seen a photo of Santorini and didn’t wish to see it all come to life in person.
If you have always had a deep longing to visit and/or are planning a trip for the future, I created a simple travel guide to getting the most out of your visit to the breathtaking Santorini.
Things and tips to know about Santorini:
- The locals in Santorini are the sweetest people you will ever meet.
- Transportation: If you are planning to explore the island you need a way of getting around. The most popular form to rent is ATV’s or Quads. They’re fun, fast, easy to use and definitely add to the Greek style of living and exploring. We decided on a car because we were staying there for a while and wanted to be sure to be comfortable if the weather changed and because of the heat. The car ended up being an extra 10 euro from the other transportations totaling 50 euro per day, with gas included.
- Parking: It’s free. Just look for giant “P” signs.
- Currency Exchange: The airport in Santorini does not have a currency exchange, and to be honest, I would never exchange money in the airport. The change is ridiculous and you end up getting nothing in return. It’s a waste of your money, so always exchange ahead of time. You can go to a post office or a bank. The bank in Santorini was halfway across the island.
- Credit Cards: If you’re planning on using a credit card, be sure it is a Visa or Mastercard. No one even knew what a Discovery card was, and American Express is hardly accepted anywhere. They have a card called Diners International.
- Foot Wear: Pack sneakers! Since I never check bags at the airport (I am an expert packer and always just bring a carry-on), I cut out sneakers which was a big mistake. There is a lot of uphill walking in Santorini that will leave your feet hurting at the end of the day if you’re not wearing proper footwear.
From the moment you step off the plane you are hit with the culture and lifestyle of the people there. I had never heard of any of the stores or restaurants here, which made the whole trip so much more exciting.
Places to go and things to do:
There are two main shopping towns, and Fira is the busier of the two. It is filled with the most beautiful shops and delicious places to eat.
-You can find the Fira Trail. If you take the cable car, a donkey or walk down the 588 steps, it will lead you to the boat dock, but along the way you have incredible views of Santorini. I didn’t pack sneakers, so we took the cable car for 5 euro each way. It was extremely calm and we really got to appreciate the beauty around us.
-Try a gyro! We tried ours at “Nick the Grill.” I had never tried one before but it ended up tasting amazing. Plus they put french fries inside which was fun and a delicious bonus.
-Get a fish pedicure! You can find so many different places to get this done, and all are basically the same price. We did 10 minutes for 10 euro at the “Kissing Fish.” At first, all I did was laugh because it tickled so much! I’d watch a specific fish and then he’d start nibbling on my foot and it was hilarious. But after a minute or so, I got use to it and it became relaxing and felt nice. Afterwards my feet were super soft and I was happy I did it.
-Get gelato. I had never tried gelato before, but now I am a little bit obsessed! You can find many shops within Fira, so be sure to stop and try some!
-Watch the sunset at dinner and see the town light up at night. We went to a restaurant called Zafora, which was in a perfect location and completely open all around us. It allowed you to see the whole town and watch the sun slowly set amongst the boats below.
Oia is known as the perfect place to watch the sunset. At the edge of the town, you will find a look out point where people line up and wait for hours before, just to get the perfect spot to glimpse the view. I’d say skip this, because we saw incredible sunsets all around Santorini. Try getting here before the crowd to get photos of the town. This is where you’ll see tons of blue roofed churches and buildings scaling the sides of the hills. There is a church you can visit right in the center that allows visitors. Everything was gold and breathtaking.
- Cliff jump at Amoundi Bay
On the fourth of July we came to Amoundi Bay. We had written a small to-do list and cliff jumping was close to the top. It was even better than I could have imagined. I was a bit nervous because everyone kept saying how it hurt their butts, but I decided to just go for it! I made the jump and fell for what felt like forever, but that might have been because my eyes were closed. It was amazing and I did it over and over again. This was my favorite day in Santorini.
How to get to Amoundi Bay:
- Go to Oia’s looking point and walk down the 300+ steps. Follow the path which includes a bit of climbing over roads on the side of the island. At the end of the path, you will see lots of people all gathered around sunbathing. Drop your things here and take a swim over to the area for jumping!
- For an easier way, you can drive down to Amoundi Bay, park and walk around the island from here.
- Take a Catamaran to the Hot Springs
I was very excited about this day trip. Be sure to shop around before you settle on one catamaran. There are so many different companies that offer this type of excursion and the prices range from 135-150 euros, depending on the type of boat you want to go with. This price was worth it for us, because we knew it’d be an all day attraction. Along the trip we saw, black sand, red sand and white sand beaches. We passed the lighthouse, a volcano and then finally reached the hot springs. Our catamaran stopped three times along the way, for people to jump off and swim. The hot springs were a tiny area of orange sulfate water that you can swim inside. It is a warm, comfortable temperature that allows a nice float. After, the boat finds a calm area to stop for 2 hours, where we were able to sit, swim and just relax while the staff cooked dinner. It was the most amazing Greek BBQ. The trip back allowed us more incredible views of the sunset.
Be sure to NOT wear a light colored bathing suit. My bikini top was white and when I left the springs it was orange from the sulfate. I’d definitely recommend a dark colored bathing suit.
5. Go to the beach!
-Most of the beaches of Santorini are black sand beaches. The one we went to was called Perisa. It was so clean and welcoming, with its rows of brightly colored beach chairs. I had never seen black sand before so it was a great experience. Be careful though, because the sand is extremely hot! Our hotel had their own chairs set up for us, but renting them only cost 10 euro, and came with free lunch.
-We visited the red sand beach, which was more like a red rock beach. You can drive here but then have a 15 min hike to get to the beach.
-There is also one white sand beach but we only saw it on the Catamaran because it was only assessable by boat!
6.Go to the highest point of the island
To get here, you will have to go through the town of Pirgos and continue going up the one lane windy road to the end. It is so high, it is as if you are in an airplane looking down on the entire island. In the distance you can see Fira and Oia and the endless blue sea. It is the most relaxing and peaceful place to just sit, look around and of course, watch a sunset.