One of the most visited and romantic Greek Islands lies in the Southern Aegean Sea, namely Santorini (or Thira). It is an active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc and is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the recorded history, which occurred approximately 3,600 years ago. Today, this beautiful island mainly runs on tourism. It has been voted as the world’s most beautiful islands by the Traveler’s Choice Awards, 2015.
It has become one of the most favourite wedding destinations, as couples travel from thousands of miles just to get their wedding photos taken on this romantic island. The combination of blue and white, symbolising the Greek national flag, makes this island the highlight of Greece.
Top 5 things to do in Santorini:
1: Oia, Santorini
Oia (or Ee-Ya) is a small and cutest town in the North-Western part of Santorini Island. It has reached the peak of prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 2004, this site was used to record a few scenes in the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and again for the Part 2 of its series. It was also featured in the opening sequences of the film Lara Craft Tomb Raider; The Cradle of Life, starring ‘Angelina Jolie’. Visitors loved this beautiful town of Santorini, especially because of the beautiful landscapes located at this site.
A visit to Santorini, without visiting the town of Oia would be incomplete. It should be the number 1 thing to do in Santorini. I would straight come here from the airport……I guess!! Hmm….Well, I might check-in to my hotel first, LOL!
2: Imerovigli, Santorini
Imerovigli is a small village, close to the capital ‘Fira’ on the Santorini Island with only 470 permanent residents. It is also called the Balcony to the Aegean and mainly famous for the sights of its beautiful sunset. It is renowned for its beautiful churches made in the Cycladic architectural style, mostly seen on the postcards of Santorini. The highlight of this village is the Ai-Stratis and Anastasi Church and the Monastery of Saint Nikolaos, which connects Imerovigli to the capital Fira.
3: Fira, Santorini
Fira (or Thira) is the bustling and charming capital of the Santorini Island. It is a town of pure white houses built on the edge of the 400 metres high Caldera on the Western edge of the Island. It is easily accessible by roads on its Eastern side or climbing from its port via the Z-shaped footpath on foot or on donkeys (I personally don’t recommend riding a donkey, come on, it’s such a poor and innocent animal, I won’t ride them) or by riding the steep cable car from its lower terminal by the port. It is the most lively part on the Island with plenty of local shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops. It is a best place to catch the Greek boutiquey vibe on the Santorini Island.
Take pictures with the donkeys only, no riding…! Well, you can if you want, I don’t recommend it.
4: Shopping in Fira
Fira has beautiful local designer shops where you can buy either souvenirs or some classy items to add to your wardrobe. We came across this beautiful designer shop The White Door, while browsing the town of Fira. All of their items are single pieces, as they don’t make copies. So, it’s all EXCLUSIVE.
5: Red Sand Beach
You probably haven’t visited a red sand beach anywhere else in Europe, as visitors come to Santorini to visit it’s unique red sand beach. A beach where swimming is technically prohibited cause it lies beneath the red rocky cliff, which poses danger of avalanche. Nevertheless, it is one of the most visited spots in Santorini. You’ll see hundreds of tourist laying on the beach, swimming or just sun-bathing. My recommendation is checking out the area or sun-bathing. Strictly no swimming as it’s a very dangerous rocky area, but, if you’re adventurous enough then go for it.
Remember to bring your sunglasses, sun-screen, hat, water bottle and comfortable shoes with you. This place can be really WINDY, so keep the sunglasses on all the time, cause you never know what will land in your eyes!
These were the top 5 things to do in Santorini. Remember not to miss any of the first 4 cause they’re the must for your visit here. Let’s give you one extra below: –
6: Browse the neighbourhoods of Fira
That’s right, Fira is such a cute capital that I would just want to browse it’s residential area and find those hidden gems. If you see any of these houses with shocking pink or purple flowers, stop by and take a photo, they look gorgeous. Take pictures with the white-washed houses and cute little things that you won’t see anywhere else in Greece.
Because getting around Santorini could be a lot of hassle due to it’s narrow roads and the lack of proper public transport (you’ll see local buses that runs every 30 mins, but I didn’t see any on time, except for the airport buses which were always on time), you are better off hiring a Car or ATV. But what if you don’t drive? or if you do drive, how will you locate these important areas for those perfect holiday pictures to make your friends jealous on Instagram and Facebook? The best thing you can do on your visit to Santorini is to book a PHOTO TOUR for at least 2 hours or more (depending on your budget). Trust me, it will be the best thing to do in Santorini, cause otherwise, you’ll be climbing the whole of the Island without locating that particular photo spot you were after. My journey was made hassle free by Santo Photo Tours, as Nick drove me around to places which I wouldn’t have found myself. You can book your photo tours here: http://santophototour.com.
WAIT, please remember to quote HASEEB10 to get 10% off your exclusive photo tours. Nick was being very generous to offer this discount to my readers cause he don’t usually offer any discounts.
See you at other destinations around the world!