It was on the cab ride to the airport when I first questioned my decision to go to Santorini. Our driver told my boyfriend and myself that; “Santorini will make you fall in love all over again.” Listen I can be romantic at times, but my idea of a holiday includes adventure and excitement. Here we were heading to what some might call the honeymoon capital of the world.
When we first arrived in Santorini, I instantly knew what our driver was talking about. This place was like a picture, hand painted to perfection. Gorgeous views around every corner. I thought I was in a dream. Yes, it had all the elements for the perfect romantic getaway, but what I quickly discovered was that Santorini is not just for the lovers. It also happens to be for the wine lovers, the food lovers, and even the adventure lovers. Oh and yes, with the magical sunsets that take place every single night, it is also for the lovers as well.
I wanted to share with you a different side of Santorini. The Santorini that you don’t need to visit with your new hubby or wife . The Santorini that you can enjoy with a group of friends, solo, and even with your boyfriend of two years. The following are my top things to do in Santorini when you are looking for more than just a romantic getaway.
I had never been cliff jumping before but it was always something that I wanted to do. I had heard about a great cliff jumping spot in Oia by Amoudi Bay. When I made my way to the top of the cliff, I instantly knew why this spot had become a go to destination. You could see the entire city of Oia from here. The beautiful white buildings that resembled snow-capped mountains are all around you. The crystal clear Mediterranean down below. I cannot say that my jump was all that graceful, but it sure was exciting. Letting out your inner daredevil and going for a dive is a must if you visit Santorini.
Getting here: I probably should have mentioned this first, but getting to the actually cliff is a daredevil experience as well. You need to make your way down a slew of steep steps to Amoudi Bay. Once at the bottom you take the path on your left around the rocks and keep going until you see the rock out in the water. Trust me there will be people already jumping to let you know you have made it to the right spot.
When I first landed in Santorini I was amazed by the landscape of this island. Deep red and black rock cliffs are what make up this volcanic land and what better way to explore the amazing terrain then via ATV.
The great thing about taking an ATV tour is that it only takes around an hour to get around the whole island, meaning that there is plenty of time to explore along the way.
The roads can be a little scary. They are extremely narrow, not well marked, and for the most part you are driving up or down a giant slope, but the views are spectacular. Make sure to stop by the Monastery of Profit Ilias, the tallest point in all of Santorini for an incredible view of the entire island.
To tie in with the unique landscape of the island, is the unique beaches that you can find here. Two of the more famous beaches are the Red and Black Sand Beach and they should both be on your list to do in Santorini.
The Red Sand Beach was truly remarkable. The beach is surrounded by deep red cliff sides. If you are heading to the Black Sand Beach make sure to bring some flip flops because the sand gets extremely hot.
I know, when you think of Greece you don’t particularly think of wine tasting but Greece and in particular Santorini has some of the most unique wine in the entire world.
Firstly, it is one of the few places in the world where you can get volcanic wine. The volcanic soil of Santorini really creates a different tasting experience. Secondly, their wineries aren’t afraid to experiment.
The winery that I went to in particular was called Domaine Singalas. This is one of the more daring wineries on the island because they will try all different types of fermenting and aging techniques to create one of a kind wines. Trust me each glass I tried was more delicious then the last.
The food at Domaine Singalas was also local and amazing, I highly recommend their eggplant tower!
Taste the local food
As a true foodie, Santorini was a dream and there are two spots I cannot recommend enough.
Melitini: This might of been the best meal of my entire life. The food was so fresh and so delicious. It is a little tapas restaurant so make sure you order about three different plates to share. You need to try their dips and order them with some fresh pita. I left their full and happy.
Vinyart: This restaurant was a little off the beaten path but it had a really cool vibe. Celebrating both the food and local art the restaurant was decked out with photography, sculptures, and paintings. Plus the food was amazing. For a mixture of a great meal and some culture you need to eat here.
I learned the hard way that Santorini in the summer time is hot, hot, hot! But thankfully a lot of the hotels in Oia have beautiful pools with even more beautiful views. I had the chance to check out the infinity pool at the Canavas Suites. Not only was it a great way to cool down, but it also offered a stunning view of the Caldera.
Take in the Sunset
Now we get to the romantic part of the trip, the famous Santorini sunsets. This island is known for having the best sunset in all of Greece, (maybe even the world). Whether you are there with your significant other, friends, or even by yourself the sunset is a must see.
I know that a lot of people will gather on the top of the castle in Oia to take in the views, but here is the thing, it can get really crowded and tough to find a good spot. So I decided instead to make a dinner reservation at Sunset Amoudi (hey a girl has to eat right). Sure it was a little pricey, but it was definitely worth having a front row seat to watch the sun set over an amazing day.
If you do chose to have dinner with a view, make sure to call ahead. A lot of the restaurants with sunset views will book up really quickly.
Take a Stroll
One of my favourite things to do in Santorini was just taking a walk around town because you never know what you are going to find. Walk down some alleyways and you may just be surprised by some picturesque views perfect for your Instagram page!
There were two things that I really wanted to do, but alas the hot summer month of August didn’t seem to be the best time to do it. The first was hike from Fira to Oia. I have heard there are spectacular views along the way and will probably stare at pictures from other blogs regretting not doing this walk for as long as I live. The second was take a visit out to the volcano and hot springs, again hot springs seemed unappealing in 30-degree weather.
I honestly cannot recommend Santorini enough. It truly became one of my favourite places in this whole wide world. It offers so much beauty, so much culture, and so much to explore. You need to cross this one off the bucket list. Happy traveling friends!