Oia’s iconic sunset is what draws enchanted visitors from all over the globe to Santorini, this island of wonders in the Aegean Sea. However, Oia isn’t the only place that’s worth a visit in Santorini. There are several other villages and towns on the island, each of which has its unique character. Here’s our curated list of the 5 best places to visit in Santorini and what to expect from each of them.
Oia is the indisputable queen of Santorini and the most photographed town on the island and this is why it tops our list of the best places to visit in Santorini. A former maritime power, Oia is lined with glorious captains’ homes but it’s the once modest cave dwellings that steal the show. Carved into the rock overlooking the caldera and the deep blue sea for as far as the eye can see, these caves are now turned into 5-star luxury hotels that promise a once-in-a-lifetime experience to anyone seeking an elegant vacation like no other.
Oia’s sunset is world-renowned and for good reason. Standing at the rim of the cliff to watch the sun dive into the sea before painting the sky into all hues of red, pink and gold isn’t a spectacle that you can enjoy every day. Similarly, Oia is a sight to behold after dark when it’s dimly lit to perfection and as peaceful as can be.
Fira is the vibrant capital of Santorini and the island’s main transport hub. It’s also the ideal place to go shopping in Santorini. The whitewashed town of Fira is abundant in shopping options that range from souvenir shops and designer brand stores to supermarkets and grocery stores where locals do their daily shopping.
Apart from catching breathtaking views of the volcano, Fira is also the perfect place to dig into Santorini’s culture and history as the town is home to two amazing museums: the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the Archaeological Museum. Furthermore, Fira is one of the best places to visit in Santorini for nightlife. Whether your idea of a night out is sipping cocktails at a sophisticated bar or dancing the night away at a fancy club, Fira is the place to be when the night falls.
Due to its proximity to Fira, Firostefani is sometimes overlooked as many people think it’s the edge of Fira Town rather than a separate village. Firostefani is one of the smallest and most tranquil villages in Santorini, which makes it a welcome change from the buzzing rhythms and ambiance of neighboring Fira.
Situated just a short walking distance from Fira, Firostefani is famous for its beautiful traditional architecture and the stunning unobstructed views of the caldera and the Aegean Sea it offers. If you’re into nature and architecture, a hike from Fira to Imerovigli – or even Oia – with a stop at gorgeous Firostefani is one of the things you should plan during your Santorini vacation.
With the best panoramic views on the island, it’s no wonder that Imerovigli is regarded as the balcony of Santorini. Built at the highest point of the caldera, this whitewashed dream of a village is perched on the volcanic cliff and it’s home to some of the finest boutique hotels in Santorini.
Imerovigli is one of the best places to visit in Santorini if you’re looking for a romantic getaway in the most idyllic setting. Apart from the gorgeous views of the caldera and the sea, Imerovigli is also adorned by Skaros, an imposing rock where you can wander around the remnants of an old fortress.
5. Perivolos Beach
Some of the best places to visit in Santorini are those that seem to hang on the dramatic cliff, offering breathtaking views of the volcano and the Aegean Sea beyond. However, Santorini is, above all, a Greek Island, and as such it’s the ideal place to indulge in some quality beach time.
Perivolos Beach is one of the most cosmopolitan seaside resorts in Santorini. With long stretches of black lava sand and deep sparkling waters, it’s the ideal place to enjoy the sea and the sand, without the crowds that frequent other beaches in Santorini. Perivolos Beach is very easy to get to and it’s well-organized, featuring premium facilities that guarantee a seamless beach vacation.
Deciding which villages and towns to add to your Santorini itinerary is a matter of personal preference. It all comes down to what you expect from your Greek Island escape. With this in mind, which of these 5 best places to visit in Santorini would you be more eager to explore?