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
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!
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!
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. :)
Straight ahead is the volcano and behind it is Thirasia which was connected to the main island long ago.
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.
Off to Oia we go!
Above was from our lunch at Canaves Oia Hotel, another gorgeous property.
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.
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!
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!
Dress: Ale by Alessandra
Cruising with Sunset Oia Sailing.. Here’s the lighthouse I was talking about! :)
Back on land!
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 :)
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!