This round up has taken me forever and is probably one of the most difficult posts I have ever had to write. Santorini had been on my bucket list forever. You can’t scroll through Instagram these days or glance at a travel website without seeing the beautiful white-washed buildings of Santorini. With that being said, nothing I saw in the photos prepared me for what I saw in person and no matter what I write here about how gorgeous it was I will never be able to do it justice.
We started our vacation in Santorini, and clearly, it set the bar high. When I was planning the trip a did a bunch of research on where to stay, in the end, it came down to two places: Oia and Imerovigli. We ended up picking Imerovigli and were happy with our choice. Imerovigli sits on the highest point of the caldera, and it has the views to prove it. There are some really good restaurants, a handful of shops and a 30-minute walk to Fira. With that being said, its more geared towards couples and is the quietest of the towns. If you are looking for more of a nightlife and shopping, Oia might be a better option.
We stayed at On the Rocks Hotel, and I only have good things to say. Everything was perfect. I also highly recommend Altana Hotel, which is also in Imerovigli. If you don’t stay there, at least go for a drink; the bar was so tiny and charming, one of my favorites from the trip.
Things you must see and do:
The Hike from Fira to Oia: This was probably my most favorite thing we did the entire time. The hike takes about three hours and goes from the main city in Santorini to Oia or vise versa. Two pieces of advice: First, start early. We left at around 9:30 and arrived in Oia by 12:00, just in time for lunch. There is no shade along the trail, so it can get really hot if you wait too late in the day. Second, do not wear flip flops. For the most parts, the trail is an uneven and very rocky terrain. Sneakers are a must. We took a cab back to our hotel at the end but you can also take a bus for a more budget friendly option.
Amoudi Bay: Amoudi Bay sits 220 steps below Oia and is a must-do spot for a swim and some fresh fish. There are four restaurants that sit right on the bay. We ate at Katina’s, but I think they are all pretty comparable. You pick your lunch out of a tank, and they grill it up for you. The food was amazing, and if we had had more time, I would have gone back again. Make sure you go for a swim and a cliff jump before or after lunch. When you get downstairs, take a right and follow the path; around the corner, there is a rock with a tiny church you can swim out to.
Eat a Greek Salad: I must have had one with every single meal, and each one was better than the last.
Sunset: Santorini sunsets are pretty famous, and let me tell you, they live up to the hype. Everyone says that Oia is the best place to catch the sunset on Santorini, but it can be super crowded, so plan ahead and be prepared; we were not. People go out hours in advance to scope out a spot on the walls to watch the sunset, and by the time it is about to set, it can be so crowded you can’t even turn around. There are restaurants that have rooftop decks, where I wish we had gone. Call ahead and get a reservation. To be honest, though, the sunset is spectacular from anywhere on the caldera, so don’t kill yourself fighting the crowd just to see it in Oia.
Black, White, and Red Beaches: We made a stop at each one. They were all so different but so beautiful. Red beach was a small hike and was crowded, but it was worth the stop just to see it. Black beach has much more of an atmosphere. There are restaurants and shops that line the street along the beach. If you spend a certain amount at one of the restaurants, they will let you use their lounge chairs for the day.
Stop And Take It All In: The view is one of the most breathtaking I have ever experienced. It’s so easy to get caught up in your vacation and trying to cross everything off the list. Santorini is a place where I could have sat on our balcony and just admired the beauty of it all forever.
Fishy Pedicure: Yup, you read right. It's exactly how it sounds. Do it.
Restaurants We Loved: The Athenian House (Imerovigli), La Maison (Imerovigli), Lotza (Oia), Argo (Fira), Katina’s (Amoudi Bay)