Everyone will be familiar with the island of Santorini. The sunset, the blue-domed churches and the enchanting caldera are famous world-over. But do you know which part of the island is best to visit?
While it’s a relatively small island compared to some of its neighbours, there is so much to do all across Santorini. Before jetting off, it can be useful to know what you can expect from each part of the island, so you don’t miss anything off of your itinerary. Here, we highlight the very best that each region has to offer, to help you decide which part will be best for you.
The north of the island will likely be the part you are most familiar with. Here you’ll find the seaside village of Oia, which is famed for its unrivalled sunset views. Whilst this region encapsulates the beauty of the island, you can expect to have to contend with longer waits at restaurants and attractions, particularly in the summer, as it’s a hotspot for tourists. You can also expect to pay a bit of a premium at restaurants in and around Oia, so if you’re visiting on a budget, you may consider visiting this part of the island for just a day or two.
There is so much variety along Santorini’s east coast, you’re sure to find something to keep everyone entertained. If you’re looking for a family day at the beach, head to Monolithos, which lies around 9km east of Fira. This famous spot is popular with young families, due to the shallow, calm waters, and the more laid-back atmosphere compared to some of the other busier beaches.
You’ll also find plenty to keep the grown-ups occupied in this charming corner of the island. Head to Gaia Winery, where you can learn about Santorini’s most celebrated vinicultural varieties, and even enjoy a sample or two. Do note, the winery is only open to visitors between April and October, so bear this in mind if you’re travelling outside of the peak summer season.
South Santorini is best known for its catalogue of sandy stretches, and it’s here where you’ll find the popular resort of Perissa. The black-sand beach here is one of the best-loved spots on the island, and as such you can expect to be battling the crowds during the summer months. Away from the beach, Perissa is one of the most developed parts of the island, and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to the nightlife. There is also a wide range of restaurants here, serving everything from international fare to local specialities.
The list of places to see along Santorini’s west coast is headlined by the capital of Fira. Overlooking the caldera, this picturesque town is characterised by the whitewashed homes and terraces that’re perched high above the sparkling Aegean Sea.
There is so much to see and do in the capital, but one of the most popular activities is hiking from Fira to the neighbouring towns and villages. Take on the trail along the northwestern coast towards Oia, and enjoy the breathtaking views along the way, before being rewarded with the famous Oia sunset at the end of your adventure.
So there you have it! Choose the region that best suits your holiday style, or better yet, spend a little time in each of them during your Santorini stay.
When I visited, I stayed at the fabulous – but not exactly cheap! – Liakada Oia Suites. For more options (including this stunning hostel in Oia!) I recommend taking a look at the best deals from Booking.com. Booking with them often includes free cancellation, and gives an option to pay later at the property.
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