The lovely village of Oia, at the northern tip of the island, is undeniably one of the most photographed places in Greece, and rightly so. But there is much more to Santorini than its caldera views and sunset. The island is home to a plethora of villages, ancient sites, stunning beaches and even wineries worth discovering beyond the blue-domed whitewashed churches of Oia—make sure to explore it.
The rule in Santorini is that you pay more for location and a view than for the food. Yes, some of the top restaurants offering splendid views over the sea are, in fact, worth it, but they shouldn’t be the only places where you dine. A delicious meal by the sea in Akrotiri or with a view of the black sand beach of Perissa may be just as delicious and cost you less than in Oia or Fira.
A sunset cruise or a donkey ride may all sound good—well maybe not the donkey ride—but more often than not, you will end up paying a lot to be squeezed in a sailing boat with big crowds just to enjoy the view or the sunset while you could comfortably be sitting on a chair in Imerovigli. While sailing around the volcano is not a bad thing, not doing it won’t make your visit any less spectacular.
Every day during the peak season, thousands of tourists flock to Oia in the afternoon to find the ultimate spot to watch as the sun sets on the sea and colors the sky with warm hues. More often than not, people sit for hours before the show to secure a good spot, sometimes overstepping on someone’s backyard or over their fence. Don’t be that person.
Speaking of the sunset, while Oia is undeniably one of the best places to watch it, it is not the only one. There are plenty of options across the island where you can hang out and enjoy the show, without stepping on someone else’s toes.
There is a reason why Santorini is considered one of the most romantic islands in Greece and is a top destination for weddings. As such, the island often attracts couples and not necessarily party animals like in Mykonos or Ios. While you will find clubs and bars in Kamari and Fira or hear of a beach party on Perissa Beach, you shouldn’t expect these to be all-night ragers.
Yes, Santorini is truly a unique island with fantastic views and picturesque caldera villages. But there are so many things you can see and do other than sitting by the hotel pool or shopping in Fira. For example, step back in time with a visit to ancient Akrotiri, and stop by the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the archaeological museum in Fira to learn about this ancient civilization. Also, take a wine tour or a cooking lesson, and explore the hidden coves and beaches near the airport.
A mistake that too many people make is to focus their time on capturing the most picturesque and stunning photos of Santorini rather than basking in the joy of simply being there. Don’t spend your time on your phone retouching photos before posting them online. Just enjoy the fact that you are there. Granted, you may never get another chance to visit, but no one can take those fantastic memories you make there away from you. Technology, on the other hand, is less reliable.