Can a place capture your heart? I think yes, I’ve fallen for more places then people throughout the years I have lived. Of all the places that I fell in love with, I don’t think any place gripped me harder than Santorini, Greece. As rightly described by Joe Bonamassa “Greece was a muse. It inspired creativity in magical ways that I can’t even begin to understand or explain”. And that’s exactly what happened with me too, it mesmerized my eyes and filled my heart with all sorts of feelings. It made me twirl in the blues of the city and let me live in a dream called Greece.
Before I visited Santorini, just like all of you I too would spent hours on the internet researching about the country I was going to visit next and I’d see so many beautiful pictures on the mighty web that I thought, is this place even real? But as soon as I stepped my foot over this country I knew for a fact that it’s going to have my heart forever. It is simply a picture-perfect destination and often I failed to distinguish between the postcard in my hand and the view my eyes were witnessing.
Put me in a room with view, Sunshine at golden hours, Pool with no boundaries, and the sight of lovely small white houses and then let me live an eternity, name that eternity greek heaven.
If you want to stay in hotels that have epic blue and white views you would want to consider staying in Fira, followed by Oia and Imerovigli. They are the three topmost choices of tourists who want to indulge in scenic beauty. Though they might cut a hole in your pockets, you can divide your time between luxury and budget, and choose areas near the beaches namely Kamari and Perissa beach where you will stumble upon budget-friendly options too.
The island ‘s largest town and the restaurant center, shopping, and nightlife scene. Fira ‘s view of the caldera is spectacular. Fira is also the bus hub so it’s just one bus trip away from every other town. In contrast, a trip between 2 other cities will often involve a change of buses in Fira (e.g. Oia to Kamari requires a bus from Oia to Fira, and then Fira to Kamari). If you are to party in Santorini and hit the clubs then you will spend a lot of time in Fira. Noise rates are strictly restricted to the caldera so you probably won’t have a loud-music problem if your hotel’s perched there.
Oia is the most romantic and enchanting city in Santorini, crisscrossed around every corner with lanes and alleys and jaw-dropping vistas. People gather here every night to watch the sunset-sitting on walls, steps, and rooftops. It can be busy but never feels overwhelmingly overwhelmed. Some of the best places to eat are found in Oia. There are plenty of places to get a drink late into the evening but you’ll want to catch a bus or taxi to Fira for dancing and partying. It takes about 2 hours to walk from Oia to Fira (in either direction) and is one of the magical highlights of a visit to Santorini.
Imerovigli is at a higher elevation than any other town along the caldera, giving it the best sunset and volcano views. Most Imerovigli hotels have a direct view of the setting sun. This is the quietest of the three towns and has no nightlife here. While the town is small it has some of the best restaurants in Santorini, as well as a few shops and markets. Firostefani is a 15-minute walk along the clifftop path and Fira is another 10 minutes away, where eating and shopping choices expand exponentially. The busses go in both directions every 30 to 45 minutes: south to Fira and north to Oia.
Tip: Choose a hotel room that faces the caldera and has an infinity pool.
The best way to really see all of Santorini is to rent a bike. The island has lots of different areas and beaches to explore which is best done via bike at your own convenience. You can also rent a car but staying inside the car won’t make you actually feel the breathtaking views of the sea, mountains and traditional settlements. Until and unless you are able to cross the bylanes on your own you won’t feel the heart of Santorini in its truest self. We rented a scooter from a local rental shop and had the best times of our lives while halting at coffee joints, clicking pictures at corners, and waving locals while riding our way to the towns.
I covered everything on the island in three days. But I would suggest keeping aside at least 5-6 days for Santorini in case you fall in love with the sunsets and the vibes of the island in between exploring the island leisurely.