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Visiting Santorini for the First Time

By Tully Luxury Travel | 06-06-2023 |

Uncategorized Greece

The classic blue-and-white Cycladic architecture, the sky-high cliffs, the rugged volcanic terrain, the magnificent sunsets over the Aegean Sea – travel to the archipelago of Santorini, Greece, is filled with all these awe-inspiring sensations and more. This beautiful, whitewashed, international island can be overwhelming if you’re visiting for the first time, so consider this checklist of the best things to do in Santorini for your inaugural trip.

Get your bearings.

The two main villages of Fira and Oia sit high above the Santorini shoreline, both offering panoramic views of the bay. There is even a hiking trail between the two towns to further cement the geography in your mind. A cable car ride up from the Old Port at the base of Fira brings you to its cobblestone streets and quaint alleys filled with interesting shops, romantic cafés and picturesque churches. Hotels in Fira put you at the center of island nightlife. Similarly, the tiny town of Ammoudi is at the base of the larger town of Oia at the northern tip of the island. Take a pass on the donkey tour and take a boat tour instead, sailing around the most dramatic parts of the bays and getting a different take on the island’s stunning beauty.

Inhale the local food.

Santorini cuisine is both plentiful and satisfying, all the towns on the island containing an abundance of restaurants and cafés. Local dishes to sample include fava beans, tomato fritters, white eggplant, fried cheese in filo pastry, kofta, roast lamb, moussaka and more. And oh, the olives! The wineries are equally – and surprisingly – just as spectacular as the restaurants, with boutique wineries offering daily tastings and wine tours hitting all the highlights, including Estate Argyros, one of the oldest wineries on the island.

Dig into the past.

Your list of Santorini must-sees needs to include Ancient Thira, a mountaintop city settled by the Dorian people in the 9th century. Accessible on foot, it comprises Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine ruins. Another glimpse into the past is revealed at Akrotiri, an ancient Minoan city discovered in 1967 deep in the volcanic ashes. This ancient settlement is said to possibly be the real Atlantis. A hike to the top of the volcanoes will land you at Akrotiri Lighthouse, one of the oldest in Greece. While touring the island, be on the lookout for several interesting museums filled with artifacts that tell the unique story of Santorini.

Find your favorite beach.

One of the top things to do in Santorini, of course, is spend the day at the beach – perhaps several days, if you’re working on your golden tan. The tough part, though, is finding the best one. Beach towns throughout the islands offer the perfect getaway, including stellar sunset viewing.

Kamari Beach is a very popular black-sand beach, offering calm waters, plus restaurants and cafés. The rock formations at Vlihada Beach make it one of the most unusual beaches in Santorini, almost like you’re sunbathing on the moon. The long stretch of black sand at Perissa and Perivolos Beaches is famous, a cosmopolitan playground. Aspri (White) Beach is a secluded white sand cove, only reachable by boat. And though it has no amenities, Kokkini (Red) Beach is out of this world, its red cliffs looking as if they were on fire.

When you tire of your sun lounger, you can hop on a motorboat, go fishing or scuba diving, or relax at the beach bars for a while before repairing to the infinity pool back at your luxury hotel. Your Santorini time is your own.

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