Going through my Santorini pictures always makes me happy. I feel so blessed to have been able to visit this famous Greek isle, not once, not twice, but THREE times! It’s truly a magical place, and even though it’s overrun by cruise ship groups come high-season, I recommend it to everyone, as it’s an island with something to please everyone.
Though Santorini promises to be an incredibly romantic island, it’s also perfect for sun-worshippers and back-packers seeking beach parties by day, and dance clubs by night. Families, foodies, history-buffs and retirees will enjoy the island too—you just need to know in which area to stay according to your interests:
Fira is the center of Santorini’s action. Though it can be touristy, you can find some excellent family-run hotels further back from the pricey caldera-view hotels. In 1956, there was a devastating earthquake that destroyed half of Fira town which has since been rebuilt. Stay here if you want the best of everything: a quiet place to sleep, excellent nightlife based in the Erythroú Stavroú central square and no shortage of restaurants (however with price tags to match this highly-trafficked area).
Akrotiri is the site of the Minoan ruins that the history-lover in me is fascinated by. The advanced Minoan civilization lived here on Santorini until 1450 B.C. (scholars debate exactly when) when the volcano exploded in one of history’s most violent explosions ever.
Present-day Akrotiri is located in a very peaceful part of the island, near the Red Beach (where the volcanic sand really is red!) and in an area where many locals live. Be sure to check locally if the ruins are open—they’ve been closed since 2005 when a roof collapse killed a tourist.
Oía is stunning. It’s called the Paris of the Aegean and is famous for its must-see sunsets. This part of the island is perfect for couples on a romantic getaway and those seeking a peaceful, relaxing vacation. Even if you’re not staying in this part of the island, take the bus out there and make time for the sunset—it’s magical!
Kamari For families I recommend the resorts on Kamari. This area has access to the black volcano beaches, many Greek tavernas and isn’t rowdy like Perissa and Fira can be.
Imerovigli is another quiet option which can be thought of as an extension of Fira. Its location offers lots of small hotels and apartments with caldera views, not to mention plenty of Greek Orthodox churches to explore by day.
Perissa is a backpacker’s haven. Think cheap, clean hostels for as low as 10 Euros/night, a long strip of beach bars, restaurants and cafés and lots of sunburnt foreigners and young Greeks playing beach volleyball and sipping on cocktails in the sand.
So now that you know where to stay in Santorini, here’s what to expect: sheer beauty.
When I first traveled to Santorini in summer of 2008, I was floored by it. Perched precariously on dramatic cliffs overlooking the Aegean, words hardly do this place justice. It’s on the top of many a bucket list for good reason and is easily one of the most stunning places I’ve ever seen.
During my visits to Santorini, I would get lost for hours wandering the streets of Fira, having long chats with friends over frappes and snapping away with my camera before hopping on my motorbike to the next part of the island.
See a peek of what I saw…