Santorini Travel Guide & Travel Diary

I’ve dreamt of visiting Santorini for as long as I can remember, the white stone homes, the endless Aegean sea, and blooms of bougainvillea framing colorful doors. Today I’ll be sharing with you our travel diary of our visit to the island with some tips along the way. This was our first time in Santorini and it was a relatively short stay, so I am by no means an expert. I did, however, have an incredible time so I’m sharing what I can so you can have an even better time!

I’m sad that this is my last batch of photos to edit but I still have my vlog coming* which I am so excited to work on. I put together a little sneak peek above to hold you (actually, me) over until then :) What do we think?

*The vlog is up so I’ve updated this post above, enjoy! 

Where to Stay

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Pictured above is Petit Palace Suites in Fira, Santorini

If you’re looking for the quintessential Santorini experience with the white buildings and blue churches, Oia is where you want to be. Its one of the most picturesque villages in the world and it looks exactly IRL as does in photos. I was a little clueless when I booked our flights – I didn’t realize that there is an actual operating season in Oia. I thought there was a busy season and a slow season like most other places. I was totally wrong. The tourist season officially begins April 1st but some of the properties don’t open until mid-April. Take a wild guess when our flight landed in Santorini.. April 1st 12:05am lol! I would have kicked myself if we arrived even a couple days too early. We weren’t able to check into our hotel until the afternoon so for our first night we decided to stay in Fira, the modern capital of Santorini. I wanted to get a feel for both Oia & Fira during our stay so it worked out perfectly. Our first night we stayed at Petit Palace Suites, which is just outside of Fira and super close to the airport which was important for me with our late night arrival. The property was unbelievably gorgeous and was the perfect way to kick off our Santorini getaway. We arrived late at night so I didn’t know what to expect when the sun rose, I opened the curtains in the morning and just… gasped. I had a preconceived notion that Oia is the only place for picture perfect views but that is without a doubt, false. Anywhere along the caldera (cliff) will give you stunning views of the volcano.  If you’re a Bollywood fan, you’ll recognize the entrance of the hotel from the movie Bang Bang!

The rest of our stay on the Island was in Oia at Andronis Luxury Suites. I have a full review of the property HERE, so be sure to check that out if you’re interested – or if you just want to see another set of stunning photos ;)

Oia is mostly a pedestrian village so if you plan on leaving the area often or have a car I would recommend staying near the beginning of pedestrian street (like Andronis!) so you don’t have to walk a ton every time you leave. You’ll already be dealing with a lot of stair climbing in Oia.

Last thing to mention is for families. Because of all the stairs and the steep cliff, Oia is not child-friendly and most properties are adults-only because of this. I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing young children because of the low railings and all of the stairs but of course everyone is different! If your little ones aren’t walking yet, you won’t have to worry about the lack of baby-proofing but it isn’t a very stroller-friendly place either because of the steps. Just something to keep in mind while you’re planning!

Getting Around

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Don’t quote me on it but I vaguely remember hotel airport pickup rates being around €30-50 per person. If you’re planning on staying put in Oia most of the time it’s probably no biggie. Excursions will pick you up from your hotel and you can always grab a taxi to explore on your own. Keep in mind that there are only a total of 30 taxis on the island though and *gasp* no Uber!! We landed in Santorini with plans of cabbing it the whole time but I’m so glad we changed our mind at the last minute and rented a car. We were walking out to the taxi line and thought we’d get a quick car rental quote at the desk. The woman working explained to us how small the island is and easy to navigate; parking is free everywhere and we’d probably not even use a quarter tank during our whole stay. We got a cute baby blue convertible Fiat (hello photo-opps!) and it was €35 per day. Best. Decision. Ever! Santorini is much smaller than you might think, at least a lot smaller than what I was expecting.

We originally planned out our days for different areas (Oia, Fira, Akrotiri, etc) but everything is such a quick drive that we were able to enjoy everything on the island whenever we wanted – thanks to having a car! There is one main road that goes along the caldera so there is no getting lost also.

One thing I absolutely recommend scheduling during your stay is a day cruise. We took a tour with Sunset Oia Sailing which I shared in detail a few weeks back (HERE). You’ll require at least a half day and I was worried at first to dedicate that much of our limited stay to one activity but it was beyond worth it. Santorini is such a unique place, its incredible to experience from both on land and from sea. You’ll be able to knock a ton of things off your to-do list during the tour too like take a dip in the hot springs (located between the small volcanic islands on my map!) and visit the red and black beaches – all while cruising the deep blue aegean sea.

Let’s get on with the photos! As always, I’ll chat some more as we go!

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The entrance to Petit Palace Suites looks like a faux-door for decoration at first but the stairs on the other side lead down to the main floor of the property. Again, all of the properties along the caldera are built right into the cliffside.. stairs, stairs, stairs! If you’ve seen the movie Bang, Bang! you’ll recognize this spot. :)

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Straight ahead is the volcano and behind it is Thirasia which was connected to the main island long ago.

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Before heading to Oia to check into we explored Fira a bit and got fish pedicures! Omg it’s such an overwhelming feeling, I panicked most of the time lol! There are fish-spas everywhere but the one we went to is called Kangal.

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Off to Oia we go!

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Jumpsuit: WantMyLook (code ‘IRENE‘ for discount) | Sunglasses: Dior | Visor: HERE | Sandals: Hermes | Bag: Chloe

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Above was from our lunch at Canaves Oia Hotel, another gorgeous property.

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Andronis Luxury Suites, where we stayed for most of our time in Santorini. I’ve repeated a few photos here but if you want to see more be sure to check out my full hotel post HERE.

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Kaftan: Isalora

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The speck of light behind me is the lighthouse on the complete opposite end of the island past Akrotiri (we saw it during our day cruise!), I loved that we were lucky to catch it in this photo!

And now… Exploring Oia on foot!

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If you kept up with my social media during my trip (or my husband’s snaps) you know I fell deathly ill immediately after leaving Santorini. I felt the beginning stages on our last day of exploring Oia so we popped into this cafe below so I could rest up and cool down – Meteor Cafe. I wanted something like an iced coffee and the man working recommended a freddo cappuccino… uh yum!!! That’s all I drank in Athens after we left Santorini. Waseem and I are currently in the market for an espresso machine (any recommendations?) & I think I need something I can make freddo cappuccinos with haha!

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Dress: Ale by Alessandra

Cruising with Sunset Oia Sailing.. Here’s the lighthouse I was talking about! :)

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Back on land!

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Dress: Hot Miami Styles | Glasses: Dior | Coat: Forever 21

There are ruins of an old Byzantine castle and apparently its the most famous place in Oia to catch the sunset! We aimlessly strolled for a spot to watch the sky and ended up nowhere near it which turned out to be a good thing! Look at that crowd!! We found a little abandoned terrace to watch and it was absolutely lovely. You can see this area better in my video at the beginning of this post. Again, I am so excited to put together my travel vlog :)

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I hope this was helpful to those of you planning a trip and gave some inspiration to those that aren’t! If you have any questions at all, let me know below and I’ll do my best to help!

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30 Comments

  1. Safina
    May 15, 2016 / 4:23 am

    Love all the pictures and travelling details. 💜

  2. May 15, 2016 / 10:11 am

    Absolutely gorgeous views and great looking food. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Saim
    May 15, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    This post is just amazing. Everything from the pictures, to the sneak pic video, to the travel details – with just enough information so that it’s useful, but not overloaded. I’ll definitely be coming back to this post when planning a trip there in the future, Inshallah.

    • May 15, 2016 / 6:30 pm

      Thanks so much Saim! That means a lot!! So glad it was helpful.

  4. Lisa
    May 15, 2016 / 6:06 pm

    Love all the posts of your trip! My family and I are planning a last-minute trip to Greece/Turkey in July. Did you just buy airfare and then go day by day with your trip or was it all pre-planned? Just wondering because I am kind of overwhelmed working out all of the details of our vacation.

    • May 15, 2016 / 6:29 pm

      Hi Lisa!! Thank you so much! We’re pretty spontaneous with our travels.. I dont know if thats a good or bad thing lol! What we do is write down all the things that we *have* to do and things that we’d just *like* to do so we can mentally prioritize. We roughly plan out which day will be spent in what area (if things are spread out) and we go from there. Athens and Istanbul for us were a bit of a bust because I was so unbelievably sick.. everything depended on how much energy I had. But Santorini luckily I was healthy so we were able to do everything we wanted. Having a little handwritten calendar helps! Have a great trip!!

  5. Divya Raj
    May 15, 2016 / 6:34 pm

    Amazing post :) Loved all the pics I enjoyed your snaps when you guys were there wish you had not fallen sick. You and Waseem are made for each other :) #Snapchatfam

    • May 17, 2016 / 11:28 am

      Thank you so much!! I wish I hadn’t either, ahh it was horrible. xoxo

  6. May 17, 2016 / 11:27 am

    where are your aviators from? I love them!

  7. komal Azeem
    May 21, 2016 / 11:53 am

    LOVE your travel guides/recaps!! just recently started following your blog more and im just so in love with you’re work!! can’t wait to see more!! absolutely beautiful!!

  8. marisa
    May 27, 2016 / 12:28 am

    Your photos are omg. What lens do you use with your mark iii?

  9. June 3, 2016 / 7:03 pm

    Woah all those photos are breathtaking! And I love your outfits! :)

  10. June 9, 2016 / 10:40 am

    I love Santorini. In shaa Allah want to go there soon! It’s so beautiful and so picturesque. I absolutely
    Love your photography, so many amazing pictures! You can tell you had an amazing time.
    I have a quick question, since it is a non Muslim country I have a few reservations about halal food? Is it available anywhere or what did you about food there? What’s it like? Thank you x

  11. Fatima
    June 17, 2016 / 6:12 am

    we’re headed to Greece in a few weeks and am so happy to have stumbled across your blog! thanks for the recommendations and love the pictures!

  12. VinishA
    June 21, 2016 / 12:09 am

    Love your all pictures and you both looks so good, made for each other, and I love watching your all video.😘

  13. Melissa
    July 9, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    I just stumbled across your Instagram on my feed and I am so glad I did! I’ll be heading to Athens at the end of month for my mom’s birthday and we wanted to go to Santorini as well! Since it’s only a 45 min flight from Athens, we were wondering if it would be realistic to go to Santorini for a day to see the white buildings and churches and walk around, and of course take some beautiful pictures. I’d really appreciate your opinion and what you recommend. Thank you! :)

    • July 18, 2016 / 4:30 am

      Hi Melissa! WELCOME!!! If you’re planning on staying one night in Santorini it’s totally doable!! It’s a small island and super laid back so you can easily check out Oia for the white buildings & churches in a day. Travel time is annoying and Santorini airport is very barebones (do NOT be late leaving!!) but it is such a breathtaking place, you don’t want to miss it!

  14. komal
    July 27, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    hi irene!

    thanks so much for this post – the pictures are amazing (and the video is too, i watched on youtube before i was directed here). i have a couple of questions about the car rental:

    1. is it right hand or left hand driving there?
    2. would a canadian license be enough to rent a car there? (i assume if american worked, so would canadian?)
    3. did you guys look into any options like atv rental? i’ve heard that’s fairly common and it sounds fun :p

    thanks again! amazing pictures!

    • July 30, 2016 / 4:45 pm

      Hi Komal! Sorry for my delay. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and video!

      It’s left hand driving there just like in the West. I’m not sure about Canadian drivers license but I’m sure you can find out with a quick google search! I would assume it’s okay! We didn’t really see any atvs roaming around but definitely a ton of motorcycles and scooters — I’m too chicken & have too much stuff for all that lol!

  15. Hinza Bhurgri
    September 6, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    Hi Irene! I was just wondering why I cant find the exact white jumpsuit even after clickiing your link? If you have anything similar can you link it next to it. Please and thank you:)

  16. Nida
    January 15, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    Was the pool open to all guests at the hotel? And it just so happened that no one was there and Waseem had it to himself?

  17. Riz
    March 2, 2017 / 11:36 am

    I’ve booked this trip for my husbands 30th as a surprise and I cannot wait to see his face at the airport! Such a helpful post and amazing pictures (in awe!). Thank you!! So excited now! Xxxx

    • March 2, 2017 / 11:37 am

      Ahhh!!! How exciting! Have so much fun and a happy early birthday to your hubs!

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