Why visit Santorini, Greece
Wondering what the top reasons to visit Santorini are? Then look no more!
On our very first trip to Greece, it made sense for us to embark on some island hopping and after much deliberation decided to settle on exploring the Cyclades.
It’s no wonder that Santorini kept popping up and this left me undecided. Is Santorini worth visiting? Is Santorini overrated?
These questions kept swirling around and around and after careful consideration we finally pushed the button and booked to spend a few nights on this romantic gem in the Cyclades.
Thankfully Santorini is pretty easy to get to and since we had already included Mykonos into our itinerary, it was an easy hop over from Mykonos to Santorini.
It’s now been a couple of years since our visit and I can honestly say that Santorini Island is absolutely worth the visit! Despite all the hesitation, we were pleasantly surprised and made some wonderful memories on our holiday to Greece. Not only is Santorini an incredible destination, but despite popular belief, you can still visit idyllic Santorini on a budget too!
As such, I’ve decided to summarize my top 10 reasons to visit Santorini, Greece, to hopefully inspire you to do the same too!
- Why visit Santorini, Greece
Before you go, be sure to plan & book your Greece Travel Essentials:
Pssst…Before you jet off to idyllic Greece, be sure you have all your essentials packed by reading our European packing guide.
1. Sensational Sunsets
One of the most memorable moments was our decision to spoil ourselves and book a private dinner at the Aqua Vista Above Blue Suites hotel.
Set out on the hotel pool deck and overlooking the ocean, with views of the Caldera (the volcano), we enjoyed a stunning romantic meal and watched as the sun set over the Aegean Sea. This was honestly one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve experienced and a memory I will cherish forever.
Since we stayed in Santorini for 4 nights, we had the luxury of appreciating many more of these beguiling sunsets as we sipped on our sundowners!
2. Gorgeous white-washed buildings & architecture
What can be said of the architecture in Santorini?! Well, if you love that quintessential white-washed Greek island feel, then Santorini is the place for you.
Whether you’re based in Oia, Imerovigli or Fira, the island oozes charm and personality by the bucket loads. We stayed in Imerovigli ourselves and often wandered through to Fira. Making our way through the narrow streets and alleyways, there was just so much to see and explore. Contrasted against the white-washed buildings were colourful flowers and blue domed-churches. A delight around every corner!
If you need any more convincing, then have a look at my post of 11 stunning Santorini travel photos for some more inspiration and motivation to visit Santorini.
3. Mesmerizing views
The views in Santorini are simply exquisite! Being located so high up, we often woke up in the mornings to find we were actually in the clouds, amazing!
Looking out over the caldera and the blue waters of the Aegean was incredible. But what truly took my breath away was the way in which all the hotels, houses and buildings were precariously perched on the edge of the hill (the rim of a now extinct volcano).
Throughout the day, these views change as the sun and the light shifts position, never a dull moment. Another unforgettable moment was walking at night from Imerovigli to Fira and turning a corner to see the entire Fira neighbourhood lit up at night. The twinkling lights of the hotels and restaurants were pure magic and so mesmerizing!
4. A photographer’s dream
If you’re an avid photographer, then I’m sure the above-mentioned reasons to visit Santorini would already have been enough to inspire you to travel to this glorious Greek Island.
Santorini offers up ample opportunity to snap away and get lost in the incredible landscape, architecture and colours of the island. So popular is Santorini’s romantic views that you’ll no doubt stumble upon a number of bridal photo shoots as you explore the island.
What really stood out to us was the ever-changing scenery, from which you’ll no doubt never get bored!
5. Delicious Greek Food
Greek cuisine has long since been one of my favourites and to be able to enjoy my favourite Greek dishes in Greece was top on my bucket list. But what really surprised me most was that Greece still remains one of the only countries we’ve travelled to where we never had a bad meal.
Perhaps this was pure luck or maybe it’s down to the fact that the Greek people are fiercely proud of their heritage, culture and food and take it very seriously.
Either way, we loved indulging in the various dishes and foods on offer. From the delicious, stuffed grape-vine leaves, Dolmades, to my favourite Moussaka and the delectable Greek Baklava, we definitely picked up a few kilograms before returning home.
6. Crisp Santorini Wines
Think of Santorini and you may not immediately associate the island with viniculture, but surprisingly, Santorini produces a variety of fantastic wines. Most notable of these are the fresh, dry white as well as the sweet Vinsanto varieties. Although Santorini does produce red wines, reds only account for roughly 20% of the island’s wine production.
Quite interestingly, and one of the reasons we didn’t realise Santorini actually had any vineyards, is that the grapes are grown really low, almost on the ground, so it’s not what you’d expect from a traditional vineyard.
If wines are your thing, then why not consider booking a wine tasting and tour for when visiting Santorini? Some of these tours include a 3-hour Santorini Guided Winery Tour, a 5-hour Wine Tour with Sunset in Oia or enjoy a 6 to 8 hour Private Tour of Santorini that includes a wine-tasting experience.
7. Hiking – another reason to visit Santorini
One of our highlights of visiting Santorini was to take the Fira to Oia hike. Just shy of 11 kilometres (7 miles), the hike can last between 2 to 5 hours, depending on your level and how fast you decide to hike or walk the route.
Starting in Fira, the walk meanders through the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli and eventually ends in Oia. We found certain sections fairly easy and others quite challenging and steep.
This was a wonderful way to explore the island on foot combining walks through the various villages as well as sections out in nature with yet more stunning views.
Do take note, especially during the summer months, that Santorini can get quite hot and large sections of this hike is out in the open with very little to no shade. Rather start the hike earlier if you’re travelling during these months and make sure to always carry lots of water in order to stay hydrated.
8. Unusual Beaches
Right, so admittedly, Santorini does not have the stunning golden or white sandy beaches that you’ll find across some of the other stunning Greek islands. But it doesn’t mean that you should head down to the beach at all.
Due to the island being a volcanic island, you find some pretty unique beaches including the black pebbled beaches of Kamari and Perissa.
We decided to pay Perissa a visit and opted to rent a lounger for the day. Whilst the black pebbles were quite different from what you’d normally expect, the rock formations and the crystal-clear waters all made up for it.
I do have to point out, those black pebbles do tend to get quite warm as the day goes by and the sun gets hotter. Thankfully there are wooden walkways that lead from the beach bar and restaurant down to the beach. To get to the beach we opted to take a taxi from our hotel, the Avianto Suites, which was pretty inexpensive and took around 20 minutes to get to.
9. Unique Tours & Excursions
Whenever I’m planning a holiday to a new destination, I’m always on the hunt for unusual or unique experiences or tours that I can plan and book for ahead of time. I absolutely love to explore all that a destination has on offer, from food to culture and anything in between.
And if you’re like me in this regard, then I have great news. Santorini has no shortage of exciting and unique things to see, do and explore, yet another reason to visit Santorini.
One such experience we absolutely loved was to go to the Open-Air Cinema Kamari where we watched a movie (in English) out in the open air. It’s a delightful space that also offers a bar service, snacks and popcorn and was one of our favourite experiences whilst in Santorini. The cinema does not operate all year round, but the program usually starts around May, but be sure to check their website for more info.
Other interesting experiences worth checking out include a Santorini Cooking Class and Wine-Tasting Tour, a Santorini Morning or Sunset Cruise with food & drinks or a full day Santorini sightseeing bus tour ending with a sunset in Oia.
These are only a few of the tours & excursions on offer. Click here to view a wider variety of different experiences you may want to book in Santorini.
Is Santorini worth it? In my opinion, it’s a resounding yes!
Having visited Santorini a couple of years ago, I often look back at our photos and think how wonderful it would be to return to this incredibly romantic and alluring island.
So, if you have any hesitation or doubts on including Santorini into your travel itinerary, then go ahead and take my advice and visit this jewel of the Cyclades.