One of my favorite, must repeat, vacation spots is Santorini Greece. There is something magical about everything you see. The sunsets, the architecture, the food, it is all special.

Where to Stay in Santorini

Santorini White BuildingsSantorini is a fairly large island with many cities. The two main cities you will hear about are Oia and Fira. Oia is the image you have in your mind when you think of Santorini, the white washed villas built into the cliffside overlooking the ocean. Oia is beautiful and romantic and will give you the best pictures of your trip. However, Oia comes with a price tag. Those little villas overlooking the ocean will cost you $1,000/night and you will have tourists peering down on you at all hours. Fira (also known as Thera/Thira) is a bit more of the commercial hub of Santorini, here you will also get breathtaking views of the ocean but you will find more restaurants and nightlife. It also has high price tags and many tourists.

We stayed in Pyrgos which is a village about 10 minutes south of Fira and 30 minutes south of Oia. I really fell in love with Pyrgos, it has had a recent revival and here you will find many new villas in the same white stone design that you find in Oia but for a quarter of the cost. We stayed in a two bedroom, two bathroom villa which had it’s own turquoise jacuzzi pool on the patio. We found some lovely restaurants and cafes overlooking the ocean and the caldera all within walking distance of our villa. Pyrgos is also where you will find the wineries in Santorini 😉

Sunset Santorini

Where to Eat in Santorini

If I had to define peace and serenity it would be Franko’s Cafe in Pyrgos. After a long day of travel, hassles with our rental car and finding our airbnb we stumbled into Franko’s because it was simply the first place we saw. We were amazed when the host sat us on the roof deck, we had a view of the ocean and caldera, there was soft music playing and everyone was just sitting and relaxed. I’m not actually sure what I even ate or drank here, but it is a must visit for the atmosphere.

If you are looking for a more glamorous experience head to the Buddha Bar. The Buddha Bar is an international franchise known for its lounge music, asian fusion food and cocktails. In Santorini the Buddha Bar overlooks the ocean and is an amazing place to watch the sunset. Arrive early to get a seat right on the cliffs edge.

Looking for a quick gyro while you are in Oia? Some of the best gyro’s we had were from PitaGyros, an unassuming roadside shop with patio dining. I would recommend planning a stop here for lunch while you are shopping in Oia.

What to Do in Santorini

Santo Wines

One of the favorite parts of my trip was visiting Santo Wines on our last night. They are a large winery in Pyrgos and offer tastings and flights of their local wine as well as dinner. We came for a sunset seating and sipped our wine while watching the sun set for a final time in Greece.

Another great thing to do in Santorini is a Sunset Catamaran Boat Tour. Our tour picked us up near our villa around 1 in the afternoon and dropped us off around 9 or 10 at night. On the tour we went for a swim in the volcanic hot spring, swimming near a beach and then they served a lovely barbecue dinner on board with beer and wine while we watched the sun set over the caldera. The boat hold about 20 people comfortably and during the five hour adventure we got to know and chat with each of the other travelers (and later ran into some of them throughout the trip!). My only complaint about the trip is with the travel time to and from the boat the “sunset tour” ends up consuming most of a day.


A few things to note if you are planning a trip to Santorini.

  • The summer is hot. The temperature may be listed as 80F but it is very hot sun, so be prepared.
  • There are a lot of stray animals around. The cats and dogs are generally well behaved and friendly but if you are not used to being approached by animals this may be un-nerving.
  • Santorini is full of narrow winding roads and steep cliffs. Beware if you struggle with motion sickness and use caution driving if you are not experienced with these conditions.