If heaven is a place on earth, it’s called Santorini. This amazing Greek island, (which has no doubt made multiple appearances on your Instagram and Tumblr feeds) will captivate you with it’s crystal waters and ancient cobblestoned streets leading to charming white stone homes. If you’re on your way to Santorini, here is a list of the top attractions and activities you shouldn’t be missing. Let’s get started…
Fira is the capital and the biggest city on the island. By „biggest“ I’m talking about 2000 inhabitants and probably 10% of them are donkeys. You get there easily by bus or ferry from every town on the island or other Greek islands. In Fira you find restaurants, bars and souvenir shops basically on every corner – if you’re looking for designer shops and luxury this is not the right place for you even though the island is pretty pricey. The food there is just awesome. If you’re into seafood you should definitely try some calamari and fresh fish with a nice glass of white wine. Nodal point in Fira is the old port – there are three ways to get down there: if you’re sporty and you don’t mind sweaty faces and clothes you can walk a stairway down. Another but not less smelly option is riding a donkey. This is really popular for families but takes about the same time as walking. The third and most comfortable way is going by cable car. If you’re not suffering from acrophobia you’ll have a great view over the other islets close by and with 5€ one-way it is just as expensive as a donkey.
Do a boat-tour to the Volcano and Hot Springs
Speaking of the harbor makes me think of something not that unusual – boats. Another recommendation is a boat-tour from Fira to the hot springs on an uninhabited islet called Palea Kameni. You can just jump off the boat and swim into the warm and reddish water. Just make sure you’re not wearing a white bikini. After half an hour of relaxing, the boat goes on to the islet Nea Kameni where you find an active volcano (the last eruption was in 1950). Both areas have been nominated for a place on the World Heritage list of geological monuments. When capturing the volcano you definitely need a hat, some water and sunscreen as there is no flora on this islet which could spend you a little shadow. Tours are about 20€ and there are offers from many different companies, for example Dakoutros Bros J.V. Don’t forget to get your ticket one day in advance.
Oia is the most popular town on the island and therefore full of tourists who try to get the best selfie with the stunning background. And you’ll do the same for sure! I won’t blame you! Oia is a small and cozy town with a lot of these typical Greek Orthodox Churches with the cute little blue dome roofs. It’s the best place for souvenir shopping if you are into penis-bottle openers and donkey beer. All joking aside… THE thing to do is to watch the sunset! Find a nice restaurant and order a bottle of wine and tzatziki and watch the sun going down for hours. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
Swim on the Red and White Beach
Another must is to visit the Red and White Beach in the southwestern part of Santorini. You can get there by bus to Akrotiri and walk all the way down, which takes 10 minutes or you have access to the beach by boat (return tickets are 5€). It’s definitely worth visiting for its diversity – the first beach is the Red beach, after that you’ll attain the White and last but not least the Black Beach. As they’re are the most famous beaches on the island it’s always crowded and very touristy. Make sure you come early to get a nice sun bed. Snorkeling is also highly recommended due to the interesting rocks and bays. Another great adventure are the kayak-tours. They’re about 80€ but a once in a lifetime experience and you can go all the way to the lighthouse which is located at the western tip of the island – absolutely breathtaking.
Try some wine at the Wine Museum
Santorini is also well-known for their exquisite wine culture. You’ll find vine stocks all over the island. That’s why you shouldn’t be missing to visit the wine museum called Koutsoyannopoulos close to the airport. It is a family business which was established in 1870 and is now under care of the fourth generation. It is located 8 meters under the ground and 300 meters long in shape of a labyrinth. The tour annotates the history and production and the vineyards of Santorini wine. It is open every day all year long. Admission fee is €9 and you can also buy their different wines – from white to red and sweet to dry – isn’t it a nice souvenir?
Watch a film at the Open Air Cinema Kamari
And the best comes for last: definitely a must for every cinephile is the Open Air Cinema in Kamari. Every evening there is a screening taking place of the latest blockbuster or some classics like Mamma Mia!. The admission fee is 8€, the film starts at 9.30pm and all films are in English with Greek subtitles. Make sure you arrive at least an hour early to prevent waiting in long queues. The atmosphere is very unique so you won’t be bored before the film starts… there is 20’s music playing in the background and you can buy popcorn, hotdogs and great cocktails at the bar. Not without reason the theatre was elected as one of the 10 best open air cinemas worldwide by The Guardian in 2012. A real highlight!