The majority of this post is going to be pictures, because explaining Santorini (and all of Greece for that matter), is best done through visuals rather than words, but I’m going to start this post by just saying, Holy. Shit.
Santorini is perfection.
If you have the desire and ability to go (and you haven’t been yet), RUN. Don’t walk. Literally. Book your ticket right now. I’ll wait.
Santorini has been on my “bucket list” since before bucket lists were even a thing and it should be on everyone’s. The island is relatively small compared to some of the other Greek Islands, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in personality. There are so many layers of this gorgeous island and I am so happy that we had the opportunity to explore the entire thing. And yes, it was crowded because it is the most popular of the Greek Islands, but it’s so perfect that it doesn’t even matter.
Seriously, go to Santorini.
Kind of by accident, we stayed in Perissa, which a beach town on the opposite side of the island from all of the picturesque cliffs of Oia and Fira. Staying in Perissa is definitely where you should stay when you visit Santorini, for a few reasons. First off, it is WAY less crowded. Cruise boats arrive daily in Santorini, and the majority of the cruise passengers take a tay trip to Fira and Oia when the get off the ship. Most don’t even make it to the side of the island where we stayed. Secondly, Perissa is actually a beach town. Fira and Oia are gorgeous and I could stare at the white washed buildings all day, but unless you have a pool at your hotel, you don’t have direct access to a beach.
We stayed in a hostel-like, hotel which was a 4 minute walk to the boardwalk where all of the restaurants and shops were and most importantly, the beach. While the Airbnb wasn’t the nicest place I’ve ever stayed and the common space is nothing like what it shows in the pictures, it completely makes up for it with the location. Link to Apartment
(If you haven’t used Airbnb before and are thinking of trying it on your next vacation, use this link to get a $35 travel credit towards your first booking!)
This was the best decision that we’ve made, maybe in our entire lives. Because we were staying on the opposite side of the island from the cliffs of Oia and Fira, we decided to make one of our days in Santorini a day where we explored the island. The only option for public transportation on Santorini is the bus system, which is pretty unreliable and expensive (you have to pay for every transfer). When we arrived on the island, the first thing that we noticed was that everyone was riding around on scooters or ATVs.
This is hands down the best way to see the island.
For $35 we had the ATV for the entire day and an extra $10 got us a full tank of gas. The ATV itself is so easy to drive and I felt completely safe riding around on it (max speed on the island is around 40mph so you don’t ever go that fast).
With the ATV, we were able to explore the towns of Oia and Fira, as expected, but we also got to see the Red Beach (which is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches on the island) and we were able to avoid the crazy crowds in Oia at sunset and drive out to the lighthouse on the Southeastern tip to watch one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.
In summary: Rent an ATV, or a scooter, or something. I don’t care what it is, just make sure that you explore the entire island.
Okay, enough talk. Picture time!