It’s nearing 2 years since I visited Santorini, and I’ve just booked a trip to Mykonos for this year! After researching things to do there, I realised I never put together a post about my favourite activities in Santorini. Though it’s a pretty tiny island, there is still plenty to keep you busy, so here are my top ten…
1. Watch The Sunset in Oia
If you’ve read my full Santorini blog post, you’ll know we were staying in the heart of Oia: the picturesque, Instagram-worthy part of the island you’ll have seen before. This is where you should head if you’re a sucker for sunsets. If you follow the main street all the way to the end, you’ll reach two little cobbled streets. The one to the left leads to an old worn-down castle, and the other leads to the windmills. Both are equally beautiful but very busy, so try to head off an hour or so early to get a good spot. As we were there for 5 nights, we tried both paths a few times but I’d definitely recommend the castle view if you’re there for a limited time as that way you get the classic photo of the windmills with the sunset in the background.
2. Get Lost in The Hotel Streets
Yes – you are allowed to do this! Another famous attraction of Oia is the abundance of boutique and luxury hotels, each with their own winding grey and white staircases. Unless these are actually blocked off, feel free to wander through them until you find yourself all the way at the bottom, by the water. There aren’t usually many other tourists down these paths as they do look private, but we weren’t ever asked to leave!
3. Lolita’s Ice Cream
We went here every. single. day. of the holiday. I intended to try a different flavour each time, but couldn’t stay away from the chocolate sorbet (hard to find in Europe as a vegan)! The owner is absolutely lovely and gave us our last one for free because we’d visited so much, which I’m not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of… He attends a convention for ice cream (who knew this was a thing?!) in Italy every year, so his food is insanely good.
Moving away from Oia and to the other side of the island, this was one of the things I was most excited about. I’ve always wanted to visit Pompeii so this preserved village seemed like a great compromise! It takes about an hour to walk around and there are buses every hour, so it’s a really easy little excursion from every other part of the island.
5. Fava & Pitta Bread
I think I pretty much became 99% Fava Bean during the course of this trip. You can’t visit a Greek island and not eat this; it’s available everywhere and super cheap, and tastes AMAZING. It’s like the best hummus and pitta bread you will ever eat and needed a mention.
6. Amoudi Bay
This little gem is pretty tucked away and not many people brave the stairs, so you’ll have it pretty much to yourselves. Don’t be put off by the lengthy walk down/back up again; it was nowhere near as tiring as I was expecting – I just felt sorry for the donkeys heaving people up and down. I did the walk in flip flops, so that should give you an idea as to how difficult it is! The bay itself is made up of a few waterside seafood restaurants, but you can also walk around the side of the cliffs to find secluded sunbathing spots.
7. Hike Oia to Fira
Speaking of walking in flip flops… that was maybe a little less intelligent for this hike. I still managed (just about) but wouldn’t recommend it! This walk took us a few hours and we absolutely loved it – there’s one path you follow the entire time and the scenery is incredible start to finish. You’ll meet people along the way, and a few stray dogs who’ll join you for a while. This is a must, but make sure you take some cold water and sun cream.
8. Perissa Black Sand Beach
We didn’t visit many beaches, but I loved this one. It’s one of the famous black sand beaches on the island and was home to my favourite restaurant we visited, Tranquilo, with lovely outdoor seating and a welcome cool breeze! This was another bus excursion from Oia and didn’t take long, so you could easily visit a couple of beaches in a day if you wanted to.
9. Boat Around The Caldera
Santorini is actually a volcanic crater, which is what gives it its amazing circular shape. Because of this, there are a few surrounding (even tinier) islands that you can visit, or just take a little boat tour to see. These can be expensive so do your research beforehand! Lots of people seem to do this to tie in with watching the sunset and having dinner on board.
9. Visit The Winery
This isn’t something I did but can confidently recommend doing it – all the locals tell you to and photos look beautiful. There are baskets of grapes everywhere on the island; you’ll drive past an empty field and there’ll just be hundreds of them dotted around, so wine is made locally by the bucket load. I wasn’t really into wine drinking when I went, but am now and would definitely visit if I went again! This is definitely something I’ll look into for Mykonos.