The very best of Santorini
Discover the rare beauty of this tiny volcanic isle
If you’re searching for a relaxing getaway in the heart of a sun-kissed paradise then look no further: Santorini is your spot. Its rugged landscapes, glowing sunsets and idyllic clifftop villages have made the island the darling of newlyweds and the beau monde alike.
However, as beautiful and romantic as it is, there’s much more to Santorini than initially meets the eye. Scratch the surface and you’ll discover the astounding volcanic legacy responsible for the island’s dashing good looks, as well as a fascinating collection of ancient settlements and a string of occupations that resulted in the island’s unique architecture, vibrant culture and delectable food and wine. Touted as being the inspiration for the lost island of Atlantis, Santorini is myth incarnate. A glittering isle of rich history and golden legend floating upon the azure waters of the Aegean Sea.
The onefinestay experience
Whether you’re after relaxation, adventure or pure foodie indulgence, here at onefinestay we know exactly what it takes to make your getaway special. With our incredible range of exclusive concierge services, you’ll have a host of sumptuous experiences at your very fingertips. Relax with your very own in-home spa experience, feast in the comfort of your home with your own personal chef or else explore the oceans in style in a gleaming private yacht. What’s more, it can all be booked pre-stay, meaning all you have to do when you get there is relax. Pure bliss.
A trip to Santorini isn’t complete without a camera roll full of mesmerising sunset shots. In fact, finding the best spot for sunset is almost a sport on the island. If you’re feeling up for an adventure, then head out to the Akrotiri Lighthouse. Perched on the southwest edge of the island, this lookout boasts breathtaking views all day long but is especially magical at sundown, when a dusty pink tinge illuminates the sparkling ocean and horizon beyond.
While Santorini is gorgeous on terra firma, it is equally as beautiful when viewed from the water. Charter your own yacht for the day and explore the waters of the caldera, before mooring at a secluded spot for sunset and toasting the end of the day with cold beers and fish fresh from the barbeque.
Home to some of the oldest vineyards in Europe, oenophiles should not miss the chance to take a wine tour in Santorini. Boasting rich flavours, strongly influenced by the rugged volcanic terrain, the wines on the island are completely unique. Meanwhile, history aficionados will want to pay Ancient Thera a visit. Perched on a ridge of the towering Messavouno mountain, this historic settlement dates back to 800 BC and offers a fascinating glimpse into the various civilisations which inhabited the island - the ruins of Roman baths sit side by side with Byzantine walls and Hellenistic shops. What’s more, the spectacular views from the top more than make up for the steep walk up.
Blue domed towns + clifftop villages
You can’t holiday in Santorini without visiting some of the awe-inspiring clifftop towns for which the island is famed. Firá, Oia and Imerovígli are perhaps the most well known, making up the ‘Caldera’s eyebrow’ and offering breathtaking views of the volcano and surrounding landscape. Wander the quaint stone-flagged streets, past whitewashed houses as pretty as a picture, soaking up the traditional atmosphere and sampling local delicacies in the tavernas.
Each town and village boasts its own distinct ambience and charm. Firá, the capital, is cosmopolitan and buzzy, filled with an array of restaurants, bars and boutiques. Oia is an exquisitely picturesque village that bursts into life at sunset, the streets lined with love-struck couples searching for a romantic photo spot. Imerovigli is the highest point on the caldera edge and consequently offers astounding views over the landscape and ocean beyond.
Those searching for a more peaceful spot will adore Pýrgos, which is very similar to Oia but further away from the caldera so without the sunset rush. The pace of life here is slow, the locals relaxed and down to earth. Visit at lunchtime and you’ll be welcomed by bustling bars and cafes serving milky glasses of ouzo and endless plates of meze. History lovers will want to head up from the main square to the Pyrgos Kasteli, the best-preserved Venetian castle on the island. While culture vultures can spend a blissful afternoon browsing the countless local art galleries and boutique shops.
While Santorini may not be as abundant in silken sand beaches as its lankier cousin, Mykonos, there’s still plenty on the island to satisfy even the most stalwart of sun-seekers. Those wanting to be in the heart of the action should head to Kamari or Perissa. Lined with bustling beach bars and gorgeous views, these are the perfect spots to while away a sunny afternoon sipping cocktails and basking in the Mediterranean sun.
If you’re searching for a breathtaking beauty spot, then Red Beach is the one. Framed by spectacular red stone cliffs, this beach makes for a picture-perfect setting. Meanwhile, families will want to make tracks for Monolithos. Here you’ll find velvety black sands, shallow crystalline waters and a lovely laidback atmosphere. Finally, those seeking seclusion and serenity should make the journey to wild and windy Cape Colombo. 8.5 km from Firá, this heavenly headland hideaway is one of the most isolated beaches on the whole island.
Where to eat & drink
The flagship restaurant of Yiorgos Hatziyannakis - a pioneer of Santorinian cuisine - Selene Restaurant in Firá is a must-visit for any foodies in the group. Situated in a former monastery, you’ll find the very best of Greek gastronomy here. For that much-awaited date night, Lycabettus has to be one of the most romantic restaurants in town. Perched on the edge of a cliff, the dining terrace here is a thing of dreams, illuminated by the soft glow of lanterns and surrounded by stretching vistas of brilliant blue. Those craving something a little less formal will be charmed by Ammoudi Fish Tavern. Serving some of the best seafood on the island, this is the perfect spot for a relaxed family supper.
Cradled by a dramatic landscape of towering cliffs and sandy shore, it’s little wonder Theros Wave Bar has been hailed as one of the best beach bars in the whole of the Mediterranean. Characterised by its spectacular surroundings and barefoot chic vibe, you’ll visit for lunch and find yourself still there hours later, sipping on some of the island’s best cocktails and soaking up the lovely ambience. If you’re searching for an excellent spot for sundowners, then PK Cocktail Bar will certainly fit the bill. Offering one of the best views on the island, the bar perches on the edge of the cliff in Firá, boasting a spectacular panorama of the caldera from the terrace. Owned and run by a local family, the place has been going strong for 43 years - a real classic - and is brimming with authentic Santorinian atmosphere and style.