Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. It was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape. The whitewashed, cubiform houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater). They overlook the sea, small islands to the west and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles. A mini destination guide diary to Santorini staying in one of the most luxurious hotels on the island.
Here is your guide to Santorini
With Hayley Vincent
Recently travelled: Oia, Santorini, Greece.
Santorini is an island many people have on their bucket list and that’s no surprise at all, it is truly a beautiful place. Famous for it’s rugged volcanic landscape, white décor and intriguing history, it is the perfect place to go if you want a mixture of relaxation and exploring. I chose to visit Santorini for all of those reasons, exploring the quirky buildings and narrow streets of Oia and Thira and also enjoying some well-earnt rest by the pool!
Where to stay in Santorini:
During my stay, I stayed in two hotels. Sunday Suites and Charisma Suites:
Sunday is situated in the heart of Oia and if you didn’t know where to go you would certainly miss the small walkway which leads you to a hidden gate further down. It’s clear after stepping through reception that you’ve found a little gem amongst the bustling streets. The whole hotel looks out over the sea so everywhere you go the view is breathtaking. The hotel has two infinity pools, one which is a bit more private with just two beds giving you ultimate privacy and a romantic feel. The other has six beds and a bar next to it which gives you the best of both worlds while still maintaining that exclusive and private feel. The hotel staff are incredibly helpful, always ensuring you have what you need and sharing their local knowledge of the best places to visit. They gave me recommendations for restaurants and boat cruises while helping me book ATV’s and other activities to make the trip as good as possible.
As for the hotel itself, well, it’s amazing. It is a brand new property and decorated to a very high standard. The rooms are very spacious and inviting, all with that famous Greek touch adding to the aura of the hotel. An amazing inclusion for me was the insane breakfast they offer. Order it the night before, choose what time and where you would like to enjoy it, then waiting for you in the morning is a breakfast like none other! My favourite place was sat on the edge of the infinity pool, enjoying the morning sunlight with a fresh orange juice and lots of delicious pastries to choose from.
Charisma Suites is elegant, simple and modern. Every suite differs in its own unique way giving you the feel of a very personal stay , it is also one of the only properties that offers a sunset view over the Caldera which makes every night magical.
Each suite looks out to the ocean offering views of the other islands that Santorini has to offer and down to Amoudi Bay below the streets of Oia.
There is an infinity pool in the main part of the hotel with incredible views, it definitely makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. It also has a small bar and a selection of single and double sunbeds to lounge around on! On top of this you can also book a suite with your own private infinity pool or Jacuzzi which is seriously impressive.
The suites have really good food with a big variety to choose from, you can pretty much order anything you like (with enough notice for the chef of course) and they will make every effort to ensure you have everything you need, We dined under the stars on the balcony of our suite which they set up with candles and champagne, it was a lovely touch.
A Diary in Santorini:
Wake up to a delicious breakfast of fresh fruits, pastries, granola & yogurt, eggs and pretty much anything else you can think of. I would enjoy this outside by the pool in the morning sunlight with your legs dangling in the water – it’s the perfect way start the day.
Take a stroll through Oia, the streets are quiet in the morning as most tourists haven’t got there yet so it’s lovely and peaceful. Have a wander around some of the churches and head to one of the many little cafes to enjoy a morning coffee.
As the sun gets higher in the sky it’s time to jump on a sunbed and make the most of the beautiful weather, grab a drink from the bar, maybe even a glass of champagne depending on the time and relax. If you get too hot you can always have a dip in one of the swimming pools and enjoy the stunning, uninterrupted views of the Caldera.
After a few hours of sunbathing, you could take out an ATV. We had one for the day and spent the afternoon exploring the rest of what Santorini had to offer. Within minutes you can reach Thira and enjoy a late lunch with fantastic views then explore all the local shops in the town before jumping on the bike again. Taking some back roads you can explore the sloped side of Santorini and find some perfect little beaches and warm seas to enjoy a quick swim.
Of course you need to be back in Oia to get ready to go and watch the sunset – this is a must. Pack a bottle of wine, a rug to sit on and your camera and head to the Byzantine Ruins the tip of Oia. Don’t be scared by the huge number of people there because if you pass all of them (and do a bit of climbing) you can make your way to a very beautiful, empty and romantic spot and watch the sunset in peace.
To finish off your day head to one of the fantastic restaurants in Oia or even have the hotel cook you up your favourite meal by you suite. However, the night won’t be complete without curling up beneath a clear sky and watching the stars above – certainly the perfect ending to a great day in Santorini.
Pack light! It’s gets seriously hot that you will not want to wear anything other than a pair of shorts and a thin top. The number one thing to bring with you is a hat and lots of sun cream as the sun is so strong. It’s a great way to avoid the top of your head getting burnt because believe me that is painful!
Favorite Restaurants in Santorini:
Ambrosia is a great choice if you are celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon or special occasion as the restaurant is pouring with romance. With candlelit tables under the stars and views to watch the ships move around in the Caldera it’s really a beautiful spot. It’s very traditional Greek restaurant with a long list of famous Greek wines to work through as well as fantastic local dishes to choose from. It is placed on a cliff side terrace near the main church in the centre of Oia so very easy to locate.
Catch Bar and Restaurant is for those looking for a lively and fun night. It has a very open vibe with seating around an island bar. The Greek food is amazing, make sure you try the spinach pie! The decor is modern and offers a refreshing twist to the rest of the very classic greek restaurants in Oia!
In the town of Imerovigli, Kapari Wine Restaurant is a must. The views of the sunset are to die for and the food is incredible. Make sure you book a table though as it gets pretty booked up and you don’t want to be disappointed.
Favorite Shops in Santorini
I stumbled upon the Aqua Marine Jewellery shop and I believe it’s the best for handmade silver jewellery. The collection is really unique and the staff are incredibly helpful in choosing the perfect piece especially for you and your style.
Walking along the main street of Oia there are loads of different souvenir shops to get something special for those back home, one in particular that caught my eye was Epilekton as it’s not an average souvenir shop. The shop is filled with lots of little treasures and the owners can inform you on every item in the store and the history and meaning of each individual piece. It’s definitely the place to find something more unique.