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The ultimate guide to Santorini

Cyclades ● Santorini ● 28 June 2018
Santorini - Reading time: 5 minutes

Santorini is not an exaggeration to say that it is the queen of the Greek islands, the most famous destination in Greece and one of the most popular in Europe. The volcanic island with the breathtaking Caldera and the white-washed houses and chapels hanging on it is one of the most photographed landscapes worldwide.

Are you thinking of spending your vacation in Greece there? Well done! Santorini is on its own an amazing destination, but you can combine it also with other Cycladic islands in an unforgettable Greek Island Hopping. Just check our super cool Greek Island Hopping Ferry Pass, which gives you the opportunity to visit up to 7 islands (including Santorini) and pay only the price of one ferry ticket having the flexibility you want during your holidays.

What are you waiting for? Read here everything you need to know about Santorini and pack your suitcase!


The beaches in Santorini are much different than the long, sandy Greek beaches, with the golden soft sand and the crystal emerald waters. The geographical characteristics of the volcanic island, the wild landscape and the caldera created a special scenery with red and black colours that impress everyone.

Red Beach

The Red Beach is the most popular beach on the island thanks to its outstanding scenery. Black and red volcanic pebbles create a stunning setting, and the hot waters give you the opportunity of natural spa. The beach is located in a close distance to the historical site of Akrotiri, so you can combine the archaeological excursion with swimming and sunbathing.
Red Beach


Perissa is a famous tourist resort that provides you everything you need for a great day by the sea. Cozy beach bars, youngsters due to the famous camping behind the beach, sunbeds, Greek taverns, diving club and water sports facilities. This is Perissa, the impressive bay with the black sand. In a close distance to the beach, are situated the remnants of Ancient Thera.


Perivolos Beach is located just near Perissa, and it is also a popular tourist resort with every facility you may need. Family-friendly, sandy and organised beach, Perivolos is the best beach in Santorini for families with kids.


Vlychada is the most impressive beach on the island with extraordinary beauty. It is sandy, partly organised and nudism-friendly, but it is worth visiting mostly thanks to its lunar landscape that is one of a kind. You haven't seen such a different beach before!


Kamari is a popular tourist resort and one of the most crowded villages of the island. It is located next to Perissa and Perivolos, with an enormous rock separating two beaches. It is a fully organised beach, with sunbeds, many taverns, water sports facilities and diving club.


The biggest asset of Santorini are its villages on the caldera. The view is magnificent, the shops elegant and the scenery ideal to take thousands of photos. Even if you don't stay there because the accommodation may be expensive during the high-season, you should definitely spend there your evenings and nights.


Fira Santorini is the capital of the island and the biggest town with view of the caldera. It is the most vivid part, where you can do anything you want: relax and spend romantic moments or party with your friends in one of the various bars meeting new people. All kind of shops, like restaurants, cafés, boutiques, shops with local products, jewelry stores bars and night clubs can be found here, but in the summer, Fira gets very crowded, and thousands of tourists take a walk in its famous paved streets.


Firostefani Santorini is basically a suburb of Fira, and it provides you with an alternative option, if you want to stay away from mass tourism. Small, with traditional whitewashed houses at the edge of the cliff, Firostefani is the perfect place to eat dinner, drink your cocktail or stay in a five-star hotel with the pool hanging above the caldera.


Imerovigli (Santorini) is located in a short distance to Firostefani, and it is also a quiet village to spend relaxing moments with your other half or your company. Here, you will mainly find hotels and restaurants that offer their visitors the best view of the caldera as well as peace and privacy. The greatest advantage of Imerovigli is that it is situated at the highest point of the caldera, offering you the most impressive sea and volcano view.


Words are not enough to describe the beauty of Oia. It is the most beautiful and romantic village of the island. It is located on the other side of the island. Calmer, quieter and more elegant than Fira, Oia is the best place to feel the mystery of caldera, listen to classic music in one of the wonderful cafés and bars, eat in a luxury, world-class restaurant and of course enjoy the sunset with your beloved one The sunset in Oia and generally the romanticism of this picturesque village is something you should definitely experience in your life... 


In addition to the caldera and the impressive beaches., in Santorini you should also enjoy the food. The volcanic soil of the island makes the cultivation of the local products a hard process, which however, together with the Aegean breeze gives them an unbeatable taste. On the island, you can find true culinary treasures having an unforgettable gastronomic experience. A journey in the amazing world of Santorini' s food has just began!

Don't miss the most famous recipe of the island, fava. Extra tasty, velvety in texture, nutritious and sweet, fava of Santorini has awarded PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin). Most commonly, it is pureed and served as a dip, sprinkled with lemon juice, olive oil and onions. However, there are many recipes with fava, such as with pork, tomatoes, capers, octopus, and it can also be served as a soup. It is the perfect starter before eating meat or fish!

Tomato fritters or in Greek tomatokeftedes are another signature dish of  Santorini, which can be found everywhere in Greece, but on the island it is at its best as expected. Basically, tomato fritters are dried tomatoes fried with flour, and they are the perfect veggie starter. Tomato fritters consist of the famous small tomato of Santorini. It needs little water, and its growth is perfect for the dry weather conditions on the island. The tomato and its leaves capture the moisture from the mist on summer evenings and extract the nutrients from the volcanic earth. This small vegetable is one of the most famous products of the island, and you can buy it in a local shop or in the airport, which packs the small tomatoes in a vase in order to take it home with you and remember this amazing taste in your country.

Of course, something you should not miss is the wine of Santorini. What gives the Santorini's wine its characteristic taste is that the vineyard's soil is very poor, composed of volcanic ash and rocks, while the calcareous subsoils are porous, which helps to retain some of the humidity in the air and release it as moisture in the night for the vines to utilize.  Moreover, the soil on the island is immune to the plylloxera as it contains none of the clay that the parasite needs in order to survive. As a result, many of the roots found on the vineyards are centuries old. Vinsanto, Athiri and Assyrtiko are the best wine varieties you can taste in Santorini.

Museums and historical sites

Santorini was home to one of the oldest and most significant Neolithic civilisations in Europe. The stay in Santorini can turn into interesting cultural vacation if you want to. These are the best sites and museums to visit and explore the history and culture of the Aegean Sea.

Archaeological Site of Akrotiri

Akrotiri Minoan Site (Santorini) is located on the southern side of the island, in a close distance to the Red Beach. It is visited by thousands of visitors each year thanks to the amazing findings of an ancient fully-working and developed settlement, which was constructed around 4,500 B.C. The town of Akrotiri was covered by ashes and lava due to the enormous volcanic eruption around 1,650 B.C., and thus, it was preserved intact through time. Something like Pompeii but much older!

Museum of Prehistoric Thera

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera is located in Fira. It exhibits findings, such as ceramics, marble statues, tools, weaponry, jewelry and frescoes that have been excavated in Akrotiri, Ancient Thera and other ancient areas of the island. The Museum of Prehistoric Thera has very impressive exhibits especially from the prehistoric era. 

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum is also located in the capital of the island. It has a larger collection with findings from Archaic, Geometric, Hellenistic and Roman Periods. Thus, if you visit it, you will be informed about the whole history of Santorini, which is part of the glorious ancient history of Greece.


Santorini is not only a romantic place for couples, who want to enjoy the famous sunset and live their love. It is also a vivid place with many clubs and bars that are perfect for students and youngsters, who want to combine their vacations in a wonderful place with having fun, drinking, flirting and dancing all day and night long. The hottest part scene is Fira, while the beaches of Kamari and Perissa are the most crowded and youthful beach scenes, where you can party by the sea.

Fira is the ultimate nightlife spot. The party begins and ends at the central square of the village, which during the summer period is full of young people ready to spend the time of their life. Many legendary clubs are located there, but if you walk around the paved streets inside Fira, you will definitely find more bars, ideal for bar hopping!

On the opposite side of the island, on the beaches of Kamari and Perissa, there is another type of nightlife. Open-air beach bars gather young people, who want to drink and dance by the sea after swimming and sunbathing. The party there starts in the afternoon and ends before midnight. You can then sleep and get ready for the next stage in Fira! 


The excursion to volcano, hot springs and Thirassia

In the middle of the caldera, stands the famous volcano of Santorini, a place you should definitely not miss. The volcano erupted thousands years ago, creating the caldera as well as many small islands around Santorini. Many boats organise excursions to the volcano, where you can swim in its hot springs, which are considered to function therapeutically as natural spa. The excursion includes also a visit to the two famous islets near volcano, Nea Kameni and Thirassia. You can swim there, eat Greek food in one of the popular taverns of the islets and enjoy the view of Santorini from the inside of the caldera. The photos you can take will be just gorgeous!

Wine tasting excursion

AS above mentioned, the Santorini' s wine is famous worldwide. The volcanic soil and the special climate of the island give a unique taste to the local wine. A spectacular excursion you can do in Santorini is to visit some wineries on the countryside of the island, which are open to the public. In their large vineyards, you can learn about the wine-making procedure and taste a glass of their unique wine.

How to get there & Greek Island Hopping

The boats to Santorini depart from Piraeus Port early in the morning. If you go to the island by ferry, you need about 4-5 hours, while by boat at least 8 hours as Santorini is the remotest Cycladic island from Athens. Basically, Santorini is very close to Crete (remember that the tsunami due to Santorini's volcano destroyed the flourishing Minoan civilisation in Crete). Another option is to take the aeroplane to Santorini, which has international airport. Flights to Santorini depart from Athens and Thessaloniki, and you need less than one hour. Of course, there are also many charter flights to Santorini from several places in Europe.

Santorini is ideal if you want to do Greek Island Hopping. As mentioned earlier, it is one of the stops you can make if you buy the Greek Island Pass of Hostelbay. The scenario is amazing for your summer vacation in Greece: you pay only the price of one ferry ticket, but you can visit in addition to Santorini other famous Greek islands. More specific, after or before Santorini, you can go to Mykonos, Paros, Ios, Naxos, Koufonisia and Amorgos. You can make up to 8 routes anytime you want with great flexibility. Thus, in only one summer and on a budget, you will have visited the best Greek islands in a Greek Island Hopping that remains unforgettable for the rest of your life! The distance between the Greek islands is very short, so even from remote Santorini, you need less than 2 hours to go to the other islands. Cheap, convenient and beautiful. This is Greek Island Hopping with the ultimate ferry pass of Hostelbay!