A complete guide to Santorini

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Santorini, the most romantic Instagram picture-worthy Greece island there is. Besides the hype around the place you will discover that it’s much more than a new Instagram feed. I visited the place last year, just as a random pick between the Greece islands. I wanted to visit Greece since it’s such a beautiful but above all cheap summer destination to go to. I looked for a small island, with both culture and beautiful nature and I landed on Santorini.

Background information

If you don’t have time to look it up on Wikipedia here is some basic information about Santorini: Santorini is one of Greece’s many islands, and it belongs to the Cyclades island group. The Island exists out of three main parts: the main island with its capital Fira, a volcano and a smaller island called Therasia. The island is all that’s left of a big volcanic eruption a looong long time ago. The island is quite small with its 15.000 habitants and with a surface about 105km² big. Without further ado let’s get into the places you should definitely look out for when visiting this picturesque place.

Fira

The first place I visited when I came on the island was the capital: Fira. Besides of course the touristy shops and things that every capital has, Fira’s main attraction is the old port. You can walk down to the old port on the famous donkey trails. You can do this by foot manoeuvering your way through the donkeys, or for a few euro’s you can take the trip down on the back of a donkey. If you are down at the old port and you don’t want to walk or donkey up again? No problem, for a couple of euro’s you can take the cable cart going up again, while enjoying the beautiful view.

Beaches

While beaches may sound like a relaxing and lazy part of this trip, they don’t have to be. The two most famous beaches of Santorini are Red Beach and Black Beach, and like the names already say these beaches are black and red. While you can of course relax and swim at these beaches they are also perfect for a beautiful beach stroll, or snorkeling.

Historical sites

Of course being Greece the island also comes with some historical sites, dating way back to the old times. Akrotiri is the main historical place, easy to combine with visiting Red Beach. The entry can be quite pricey since it’s about €15,- for not much to see , however there are special prices for students and you can also buy a pass that will allow you visiting all the historic sites of the island.  For all of you hikers out there, there is also an archeological site at the top of a mountain on a hiking trail between Perissa beach and Kamari beach (both black beaches). This site was in my opinion the  most worth visiting, since I can’t resist a good hike, the price to enter was way below the price of Akrotiri and this side was also in the open air unlike the Akrotiri site.

Oia

The other “big” city on the island is Oia, also know for an old port with donkeys. Oia can also be combined with another popular hike of the island. There is a 10 kilometre trail between the capital of Santorini and Oia, a breathtaking trail along the coast line, with beautiful scenic views and little chapels on the way. The beginning of the trail is quite hard to find, but there are always people who are willing to help you, and once you’ve found it the path becomes quite clear. There are also a few fruit stands and places to drink on the way. Once you’ve reached the city of Oia I would higly recommend to go down to the port and enjoy the sunset, something Oia is famous for. Down there you have plenty of restaurants but you can also bring your own food and have a little picnic in the rocks. Also in the city itself you have restaurants that can give you a beautiful view over the sea and the sunset, and they may seem like more expensive places but the price difference between a restaurant with view and a normal one is minimal.

Volcano

Another thing that I found quite exciting was to visit the volcano of Santorini, Which you can reach by boat. Me and my friend booked a trip on a sail boat which was about €30,- I would say, at Caldera’s boats.  We had to book it a day in advance. On the day itself we got picked up by a bus, near to our hotel, that brought us to the harbour. On the harbour we entered the sail boat. Our first stop were the hot springs, the hot spring are naturally heated by the volcano, part of the water with a lot of mud.  They gave us some time to swim around and to cover ourselves in mud and after that we were off to the volcano. On the volcano we had time to explore and to walk around, and they gave us a tour with background information of the volcano. After that we went to the island of Thirassia for some lunch, a nice small island and great to visit for lunch only. At the end of the trip they stopped at Oia for us to get off the boat and to enjoy the city.

Cinema

Something fun to do in the evening is going to the cinema, not just your basic old cinema, but Santorini has an open air cinema in the city of Kamari. The cinema both displays new and older movies depending on the day. Sit back relax in a beach chair and order your classic popcorn with a tropical cocktail.

Public transportation

All over the city are bus stops, provided with timetables. Also in most of the hotels they will provide you with the timetable of the bus and otherwise you can always find it on the internet. Although its always good to have a timetable don’t expect the bus to always be on time, in Greece coming late is quite a habit. The bus will cost about two euros depending on the destination. Another thing you can do to get around is renting either a scooter or a quad, renting places are to be found all over the city.

These are all the things I did during my stay in Santorini, things that I would surely recommend. Everything took about 5 days, which I would say is the perfect time for staying on Santorini since it’s quite small. Hope you enjoyed and that you will consider Santorini as your next destination! And as always

-Until next time-

Brit

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Red Beach
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Donkeysss!
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Thirassia
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Fira – Oia hiking trail