Santorini has always been on my travel bucket list. I think it started when I was a teenager and read "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"! One of the main characters goes to Santorini and falls in love with the island.
I finally got to go for 5 days in mid-September of 2017. I loved it! It's such a stunning island. Even though it was the end of peak season, temperatures were still really hot! It was sunny all week and around 30 degrees (86F) by day and 23 degrees (73F) by night. If you want to go, I would highly recommend this time of year or even later, to avoid the crowds and still get lovely sunny and hot weather.
This is where I stayed. My apartment was right by Perivolos beach, which has black sand. Curious, right?
To be honest, I was expecting it to be full of tourists, but it actually wasn't! I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet it was. Just an amazing place to relax by the sea. All the beachfront restaurants and bars have umbrellas and deckchairs you can either rent or get for free in return for consumption. If you don't want to spend money, you can just spread out your towel on the sand.
Both the sand and the water were really clean. All in all, I loved this part of the island for chilling on the beach with a good book and going for an occasional dip in the sea. Highly recommended.
Fira is the central "hub" of Santorini. This town is where all the buses pass through, which also makes it the busiest place on the whole island. I had to pass through there on my way to Oia, so I thought I might as well make a stop and check it out.
Be prepared for the hordes of people you will encounter there. Let me remind you that I was there in mid-September, and the town was still crowded. I can't imagine what it must be like during peak season!
The town has all the things you can expect from a tourist hotspot: restaurants of all cuisines, lots of souvenir shops and sky-high prices. Needless to say, I didn't love it.
However, you can walk uphill to the top point of Fira and get a spectacular view of the caldera, the remnant of the volcano. So, Fira, you redeemed yourself. If for nothing else, and since you have to stopover in Fira regardless, go to the hilltop to see the view and snap some photos (but be prepared for a lot of other people to be attempting the same thing).
This is where I really wanted to go. I'd heard so much about Oia that I was afraid my expectations were too high, but no, it didn't disappoint.
I arrived there by bus at about 3 in the afternoon, and it was really quiet! I took a stroll around the town, and I found the vibe to be completely different from Fira. Oia is so idyllic, with many little winding streets and breathtaking views of the caldera below.
Oia is where you'll get to see the postcard side of Santorini.
The Oia sunset is one of the most famous attractions of Santorini. At around 6 pm, everyone flocks to this village to witness the spectacle. So, my advice would be to choose a rooftop bar or restaurant with a good view at around 5.30 and sit tight for 2 hours. Not kidding.
It is worth it! The sunset was definitely one of the most beautiful sights I'd ever witnessed.
Nevertheless, the photos don't do it justice. You should go and see it in person. Promise me!! OK?
Plus, Oia at night is so beautifully lit up.
If you're brave, you can walk down the 230 (yes, they're numbered) steps down to Ammoudi bay, and back up. "230?? That's nothing!!", you're thinking. Let me stop you right there. These are not your ordinary staircase steps. These are cobbled, often with loose stones, steep steps covered in donkey crap. You heard me. So, think about it carefully before you decide. Apparently, you can also get a taxi back up, but hey, where's the fun in that? 😉
Once down there (yay, you successfully dodged a lot of donkey crap...or not, in which case, your shoes stink now), you can reward yourself with lovely grilled seafood down in the village.
It's very quaint. Plus, you can organise any number of different sailing trips from here. Might be fun!
Perissa is really close to Perivolos beach. You can actually walk between the two, it takes about 20 minutes. This little town is last on the list because there really isn't that much to see or to do here.
I went to Perissa on the last day of my trip just to wander about and go to the beach. The beach is almost exactly the same as the Perivolos, just more crowded. I did find some cool shops and restaurants here though.
It is well worth a walk down here if you're staying nearby. If not, many buses stop here, so you could do a little stopover.
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I hope you liked reading about Santorini! If you did enjoy this post, you know what to do;)