Santorini – A Travel Guide To The Stunning Greek Island

santorini

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.

 

Here are the 5 places I would recommend you to visit on Santorini:

A Travel Guide to Santorini

 

Perivolos

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. 

santorini perivolos beach
santorini perivolos beach

Fira

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).

santorini fira
santorini fira

Oia

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.

santorini oia
santorini oia
santorini oia sunset

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.

santorini oia sunset
santorini oia at night

Ammoudi Village

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!

santorini ammoudi bay donkeys
santorini ammoudi bay
santorini ammoudi

Perissa

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.

santorini perissa
santorini perissa

If this post inspired you to book a trip to Santorini, grab your accommodation with the best deals from booking.com!

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I hope you liked reading about Santorini! If you did enjoy this post, you know what to do;)

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Helene is a lifestyle blogger whose goal is to inspire others to live their life to the fullest. She loves dancing, and she would love to see as much of the world as possible!

56 Comments

  1. Alex
    September 21, 2017

    What a fab guide! So detailed ? I would love to go to Santorini

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 21, 2017

      Thank you! My travel posts always get really long because I try to squeeze in as many photos as possible haha! I hope you can go sometime, it’s definitely worth it!

      Reply
  2. Danielle Wilson
    September 21, 2017

    Looks beautiful, wish I was going here on a holiday!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 21, 2017

      It’s such a lovely destination! I hope you can go sometime:)

      Reply
  3. Shannon Morscheck
    September 21, 2017

    I would sure LOVE to go there! What a gorgeous place! Sign me up!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 21, 2017

      Yay! I would love everyone to witness the beauty of Santorini:) You should book it right now!

      Reply
  4. Anushka Aggarwal
    September 21, 2017

    I always love to read your guide, they are amazing, and those pictures they are simply stunning. I wish I could visit there soon..

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 21, 2017

      Thank you so much!! It means a lot to me:) I hope you can go too, you would love it!!

      Reply
  5. Agnes
    September 21, 2017

    By looking at the amazing pictures, I already feel like I have visited Santorini. I hope one day I will be able to visit the Island. Thank you Helene.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 21, 2017

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll be able to go!:) Thanks for your compliment, I appreciate it!

      Reply
  6. Sam
    September 21, 2017

    I’ve heard a lot of great things about Fira. Bookmarking this for later!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      Thanks!:)

      Reply
  7. Neely Moldovan (@Neelykins)
    September 21, 2017

    This looks gorgeous. its been on our bucket list forever!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      I hope you can go sometime!:)

      Reply
  8. Erica D Ardali
    September 21, 2017

    Santorini is definitely on my travel bucket list. Those beaches – the architecture. It is just awe inspiring and I can’t wait to go there.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      I know, the beaches were beautiful! I hope you can go:)

      Reply
  9. Courtney Blacher
    September 22, 2017

    Santorini is on my bucket list! I love how everything there look blue and white. Thank you for sharing this great review.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      It was on mine for such a long time too, I’m so happy I finally got to go! Yeah, I love the colours too!! Thanks for stopping by??

      Reply
  10. Reese Alvarado
    September 22, 2017

    This travel guide is so helpful! I’m planning to go to Santorini, and I am so happy that I found this post!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      I’m so glad!! When are you planning to go???

      Reply
  11. Dominic
    September 22, 2017

    Greece is one of my favorite go-to European travel destinations. There is a charm about Santorini that is classic Greece, and you are right – it will always meet your expectations. Makes me want to go back. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      I wouldn’t know, because this was the first time I traveled to Greece!! I’m really glad you agree with my assessment of Santorini?? thanks for your input!

      Reply
  12. Tracey
    September 22, 2017

    I’m so jealous! I can’t wait to go, but it will be a couple more years yet. I love all the info you shared, and your pics! Looks like Oia is where I need to be…

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      Thank you so much! Yes, Oia was by far my favourite:D Wish you lots of fun when you go!!

      Reply
  13. Gabby
    September 22, 2017

    so beautiful, I would love to visit Santorini.. honestly I didn’t even realize there were different towns to visit .. thought it was just one small island! great guide 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      Haha I didn’t know much before going either! I love finding these things out when I get there:) Thanks for your compliment:D

      Reply
  14. Danielle
    September 22, 2017

    Oia is my absolute favorite! You have gorgeous photos! I want to go back to take more haha 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      Oh yay, when did you go? Thanks!!????

      Reply
  15. Medha
    September 22, 2017

    Love and agree with all your suggestions. Santorini is such a lovely destination x

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      Thank you! When did you go?

      Reply
  16. Dr. K. Lee Banks
    September 22, 2017

    How exciting you got the chance to go there! I’m always amazed at the beauty in different parts of the world. I was captivated by the first photo and found the closing sunset photos just spectacular! Thanks so much for allowing us to go on this virtual tour of your trip! I’m glad you included so many details and photos. It was -almost- like being there!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It makes me happy when people enjoy reading my posts and looking at my photos:) I hope you get to see it in person someday!

      Reply
  17. Constance
    September 22, 2017

    Loved all your photos and I’m officially even more jelly than I was before! Also love how thorough you were with your recommendations. Like you, I’ve totally been wanting to go there since I saw “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants,” but I still have yet to make it there so I’m gonna save this one for later ?

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      Whaaaaat that’s crazy haha! Twins?? thanks for your lovely comment!

      Reply
  18. Kerry Maskell
    September 22, 2017

    I’m hoping to head here early next autumn, so it’s great to hear the weather is still nice 🙂 your photos are incredible and really set the scene x

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 22, 2017

      Oh how exciting! You’ll definitely still have good weather then, don’t worry:) Looking forward to your posts then! Thanks for your comment Kerry!

      Reply
  19. Chad
    September 23, 2017

    I love the guide! Santorini is truly one of the most photogenic islands in the world 🙂

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 23, 2017

      Thank you!! Yes it is, makes it easier to take good photos haha

      Reply
  20. Indu
    September 23, 2017

    Such a pretty destination. And you covered it so amazingly. Enjoyed your post.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 23, 2017

      Thank you!:)

      Reply
  21. whodoido
    September 23, 2017

    I would love to visit Santorini – it’s on my bucket list! The views are picture perfect especially with the sun setting in Oia. Seems like September is the ideal time to visit with less crowds and the weather is still lovely and hot. Thanks for sharing the fab tips! : )

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 23, 2017

      Thanks Lana!:) I hope you can someday, it’s not too far for you:) The plane tickets are also a lot cheaper in September!

      Reply
  22. findworldsbeauty
    September 23, 2017

    Santorini is a beautiful island, went there a few years ago, unfortunately is has become quite touristy but still a magnificent place, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 23, 2017

      Thanks Jack! I agree, but it’s so often these beautiful spots that are easily accessible that become flooded with tourists unfortunately!

      Reply
  23. Jem
    September 24, 2017

    Wow! Looks absolutely beautiful! I loved the sisterhood of the traveling pants and it inspired me to want to visit Greece as well, looks like a postcard

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 24, 2017

      I know, it was a photographer’s dream! No wonder so many people choose to have their wedding there!;)

      Reply
  24. meganh295
    September 24, 2017

    Ahh this is giving me serious wanderlust right now! It’s such a beautiful place.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 24, 2017

      Haha you should book it now!?

      Reply
  25. mario
    September 24, 2017

    Santorini is definitely one of the most interesting islands of the Kyklades, and thus it gets a lot attention by tourists. As a Greek I’d also recommend folks to not only visit Santorini, but to do some island-hopping there. Naxos (for scuba divers: beaufighter & mariana wrecks!) & Paros do also look quite similar (building-wise) and are a bit less touristy. Milos combines interesting rock formations (Sarakiniko for example) with the typical blue-white colored houses. If you want to visit a Monastery but lack time to go to the mainland, Amorgos island might be interesting for you. Happy travels!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 24, 2017

      Thank you so much for the extra tips!! So good to know:)

      Reply
      1. Mario
        September 26, 2017

        Gladly! We all want to see cool stuff, don’t we? 😀

      2. Helene Choo
        September 26, 2017

        Definitely??

  26. Kristine Nicole Alessandra
    September 24, 2017

    I sit here reading your blog andl ooking at the lovely photos of Santorini. I am in tears. Santorini is my dream destination but I guess i have to accept the fact that i will never get the chance to visit. Thanks for sharing your photos. It was almost just as good as being there myself.

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 24, 2017

      How come you won’t get to go?:( I’m so sorry to hear that! Thank you for your super kind words!

      Reply
  27. Courtney Coughlan
    September 25, 2017

    Santorini was my favorite place on Earth until I moved to Hawaii! I loveeee the sunset there and the donkeys are so cute. Thanks for sharing about your time there!

    Reply
    1. Helene Choo
      September 25, 2017

      Oooh I would love to visit Hawaii sometime:) I’ll hit you up when I do!!thanks for commenting!!

      Reply

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