A First Timer's Guide to Santorini

Santorini has easily become one of my new favorite places to visit! With gorgeous views at every turn, the picturesque whitewashed villages sprinkled across the island, and delicious food, what's not to love? I think I took approximately 500 pictures and that was me showing restraint (sorry, David). The classic white and blue buildings perched high on the cliffside are incredibly dreamy especially when paired with a sunrise or sunset. So if you're thinking of visiting this beautiful island, take a peek at our Santorini guide and let us know what you think!

When to Visit Santorini:

I will almost always recommend visiting a new city during shoulder or low season and Santorini is no exception. The small walkways in the caldera villages make it difficult to move through large crowds especially when trying to find a place to watch the sunset in Oia. If you can visit in shoulder season like May or September, you will still be able to enjoy warm days with cooler nights with far less crowds. Aka...win-win. So if you're looking for a European adventure, you can visit Santorini and the Amalfi Coast both in September with cheaper prices and less crowds. Score!

How to Arrive in Santorini:

Santorini easily has the smallest airport I have ever seen! With only a handful of gates, you can arrive 1 hour before with plenty of time to spare especially if you only have carryon luggage. They do have a terrace upstairs if you find yourself with too much time on your hands after you breeze past security.

If you're coming from a nearby island, you can also use a ferry that are quite large especially when comparing them to the ferries along the Amalfi Coast. Even though these ferries are massive, if you have trouble with motion sickness, I'd recommend bringing something to help you out. Hello, dramamine!

Because taxis are expensive and the buses are often unreliable, we rented a quad through Rent Me Love Me and it was the best decision we could have made to see the island! You can of course rent a car as well, but since the quads are so small we could squeeze between cars to park so parking was never an issue. In one day we were able to visit beaches on the south part of the island, go back to our hotel in Imerovigli and then pop up to Oia for the sunset. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

**If you are not from the EU, you will need to get an international drivers license.

Where to Eat:

Skala Restaurant - Delicious and healthy options in Oia.

Franco's Bar (Fira) - Epic sunset view & cocktails. Make a reservation if you can!

Lefkes - Delicious restaurant but it's tucked away so be prepared to get a little lost

Amoudi Bay Restaurants - There are several right on the water so you can't go wrong.

Ok obviously there are a lot more restaurants than just these, but we researched the heck out of places and these repeatedly came up as some of the best and the research truly paid off. We were honestly surprised by how much we enjoyed the food. When stepping into a new culture you just never know what the food will be like compared to what your tastebuds are used to but man, gold stars all around!

P.S Tipping is typically expected so add an additional 10% or so, but always check your bill prior to tipping as sometimes the restaurant will round up the bill to include the gratuity. Also after talking with one of the servers, they prefer cash tips as tips put on the card are taxed.

Where to Stay:

Oia - The most expensive and well-known part of the island. Many restaurants and hotels but you are truly paying for the location and potentially a sunset view.

Imerovigli - Much quieter village north of Fira that still has the classic whitewashed buildings. You can easily explore during the morning without running into anyone.

Fira - The capital of Santorini and also quite expensive. Be prepared for a lot of stairs!

Firostafani - Just a 15 minute walk away from Fira, but far quieter location.

Pyrgos Villages - A 10 minute drive south of Fira with classic buildings but not a great sunset view.

Now that you have the lay of the land, here are some hotels to get you started:

Blue Canaves Boutique Villa

Amber Light Villas

Cosmopolitan Suites

Agali Houses

Skyfall Suites

Overall we loved our stay in Santorini and are already mentally planning for our next visit...whenever that may be. I'd recommend spending at least 3 days here to truly relax and soak in all the beauty the island has to offer. Though the island is small, I felt like there was a lot to do and see. Santorini has always been on my bucket list and it certainly did not disappoint!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchases made through these links earn myself a small commission at no extra charge to you.

#Santorini #Greece #GreekIslands #Travel #TravelGuide #Europe

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