4 Marvelous Musts of Santorini


Architecture of white and navy blue hues along with crystal-clear waters are distinctive features of the island the Greeks call Thira – and one considered by many to be Greece´s most charismatic and captivating (and quite likely most photographed). With its stacked houses, orange sunsets and, above all, impressive views of the Aegean Sea, Santorini is a destination that no one should miss in their lifetimes. No matter the month or season of the year, it´s always the perfect time to escape to this magical member of the Cyclades with friends, family, your significant other, or even on your own.

Pyrgos, a Gem of a Village

Just a ten-minute ride from the main town Fira – the island´s past capital is an enchanting collection of medieval Mediterranean architect in those classic whites and blues. It´s also Santorini´s highest village, and don´t miss climbing up its highest points, the Venetian 17th-century  Kasteli (castle) and Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary (one of 40 here), from which you can check out spectacular sunsets and views out over other villages as well as the craggy coastline and sea. The narrow winding lanes and alleyways, meanwhile, are lined with all sorts of establishments aimed at visitors, including bars, hostelries, shops, and eateries (one we especially love is Brusco, a deli and coffee house on whose terrace you can quaff some strong java and graze on Greek and especially local fare including sausages, chloro cheese, pickled white eggplant, sundried tomatoes, stuffed peppers, fava (split-pea dip), and katsouni cucumbers in various forms, along with baklava and other tasty sweets.

Amoudi Bay and its Seafront Dining 

Down a wide, 278-step stairway below the village of Oia in the northwest, this charming little bay is lined with eateries famous for their fresh seafood and traditional Greek fare (and there´s a spot for swimming, too, just south of here). Besides walking, you can also get here by taxi and boat

Memorable Beaches 

Santorini’s volcanic past has dramatically left its mark on the coast, as evidenced by “Red Beach” (yes, red sand), “White Beach” (black pebbles and grey sand, the name deriving from the white cliffs above), and “Black Beach“. The first two are near Akrotiri, the famous archaeological site dubbed “the Pompeii of the Aegean”. Meanwhile, Black Beach (known locally as Mesa Pigadia), a mix of black pebbles and sand also known as Perissa, is a 15-minute walk from Oia, has plenty of amenities, and here you can have a go at stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and diving. No matter the location, all of them, along with others such as Caldera, Kamari, Monolithos, Perivolos, and Vlychada, highlight this island´s singular natural beauty.

Sunsets & Screens

Speaking of Kamari, this pleasant village – located in the southeast next to the airport and 12 minutes from Fira – was founded in the late 1950s, and besides being famous for magnificent sunsets and its long, well-organised black-sand beach, is also home to the island´s only cinemas. The most notable is the Open Air Cinema Kamari, which from May through October screens popular current movies (along with liberal doses of the top Greece-set hit of recent years, Mamma Mia!) in English with Greek subtitles. Entry is 10 euros a head and moviegoers sit in canvas directors´ chairs and of course have access to plenty of food, drink, and snacks (and speaking of food, if you´re looking for something a bit more Kamari can also boast one of Santorini´s best restaurants, Metaxi Mas, with both nostimotatos – delicious – local cuisine and breathtaking Aegean views)

All this along with the stunning Bronze-Age Minoan ruins of Akotiri (a possible source of the myth of Atlantis). Reason enough to make Santorini part of your summer travel plans this year – or any other time of year, frankly. It will leave you with amazing memories for the rest of your life!


Photos| Patryk_Kosmider ; InnaFelker ; Moonstone Images