• Rod

#2daysin Santorini: a comprehensive 2-day travel guide

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

This was our second trip to Santorini and boy were we looking forward to it! Santorini is one of the most beautiful and amazing places that we have ever visited. Situated in the in the Mediterranean in the Aegean Sea, with excellent weather all year round, beautiful surroundings, and great Greek hospitality, this is not a place to be missed.



When to go?

The best time to go is from April to October when the weather is at its most splendid during the summertime period. Take your summer wear but also be prepared to bring something to put over your arms in the evening, as the temperature drops to being quite chilly (due to the high temperatures during the day and little cloud cover). This means you can still drink and eat out in the open, without feeling too much from the slight chill at night.


So without further ado, below you’ll find a guide to the best locations in Santorini to prepare you for your next trip. Enjoy!


Day 1

Akrotiri

It is believed that Akrotiri was the inspiration for Plato's story of Atlantis. An important historical town located in the south of Santorini with buildings stretching back to 4000BC. There are several archeological findings. Here you can find the ruins of the bronze age buildings, and beautiful frescos which were covered in Ash from the nearby Volcano Theran Eruption.


Getting there: To get Akrotiri you are best travelling by car which is a short journey about 15-20 minutes from Fira.

Entrance fee: none

Best time to go: Anytime during the day is best to visit Akrotiri.

Instagram tip: There are some really interesting Frescos and Bronze age ruins and artefacts. Akrotiri also has some great views of the beach, sea and island (see below)


Red Beach 

The red beach is a volcanic sand beach located near Akrotiri. It is a narrow beach which is interesting to view because of the striking arrow head decline of the cliff pointing down into the sea. Although you can find a few sunbathers nearby –it is probably not the best type of beach for sunbathing but more for scenic photographs. The reason for this is its red-hue colour which is the reason for its popularity.


Getting there: You can get to the red beach often by using a tour. However, you can also take the bus from Thira to Akrotíri and then either take the boat directly to the beach or walk for about 15 minutes from the bus stop. It will cost you about 5 euros compared to a tour which may be more expensive (but include other activities).

Entrance fee: none

Best time to go: The best time to go to the red beach is during the day rather than the evening whether you want to view the cliffs, stay on the beach, or walk round the volcanic rocks.

Instagram tip: You can get a good Instagram shot of the “arrowhead” like cliff projecting into the sea from a top of the cliff overlooking the beach. If you are travelling by boat then as you sail on past you can get some impressive shots of the coastline.


The Dolphin restaurant 


Ahhhh this is such a wonderful restaurant in Akrotiri! All the fish and seafood is sourced by the fishermen in the bay who run the Dolphin Restaurant. The tables and chairs are set out along the dock so you are surrounded by the calm waters around you as you eat. The fish and seafood is amazing due to it being recently caught and so fresh. Whilst we were there we actually saw the fishermen bring in a shark which was then hung up nearby as they prepared it for meals.


Getting there: The restaurant can be a little tricky to find and to be honest you are best getting a lift to the destination. There is limited parking and it can get quite busy in this area, with fairly narrow and winding roads.

Entrance fee: none. Reasonably priced meals which won’t break the bank.

Best time to go: The restaurant is moderately busy but you don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of people. As it is located very close to the sea and there is plenty of space between tables you don’t feel crowded. I’d say that the best time is to go mid-day rather than evening – when I would imagine it wouldn’t be as sunny.

Instagram tip: Obviously you can take some great pics of the food and sealine as you order and eat your food. Try to get a table close to the edge of the bay rather than inside the restaurant main areas.


Oia



Oia is a town you simply have to put onto your itinerary if you are going to Santorini. Oia is in many ways similar to Fira, but has some amazing views, fantastic restaurants and bars, and is very famous for the blue and white domed buildings. A truly brilliant experience was being able to go to Athenian House – a Michelin style restaurant with fabulous gourmet food and wine. From the restaurant you can watch the sunset drop behind the volcano as you eat your meal.


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Getting there: We travelled to Oia by car which took about 30 minutes journey time. You can also get there by bus from Fira centre for less than 5 euros but will take slightly longer to get there than by car.

Entrance fee: none

Best time to go: Visiting Oia is very much like visiting Fira - April to October time when the summer is at its best. You are best going there earlier rather than later in the day if you want to avoid the build up of crowds.

Instagram tip: You can get some truly astounding Instagram pics here. There are some great opportunities by the walkway next to the church overlooking the whole town and capturing the blue domed buildings  as well as some great shots of you walking across the white/grey paths and alleyways near the hotels and bars. These meander their way across the cliff top.


Pyrgos 



Pyrgos is a town on the island about 7km away from Fira. On top of the hill is the Kasteli (castle) which gives you views across the entire island. It is the town to visit in Santorini if you are visiting for Easter (large celebrations happen). During Easter the local population light large candles across all the walkways and buildings. From a distance the entire town is lit up high with candles – it really is a fantastic sight. Pyrgos is also a more traditional town and less focussed on tourism.


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Getting there: If you are visiting Pyrgos for the festival during Easter then be prepared for some difficulty with getting there. To be honest, you may as well forget travelling by bus as you can expect to be held up in long traffic queues. Parking can also be extremely difficult. The best way of getting there during this time would be by taxi or driver who can drop you off nearby. Outside of these times, then it is relatively easy to get there by both bus or car, with nearby parking facilities and bus centre.

Entrance fee: none

Best time to go: The best time to visit Pyrgos is in Easter during the celebrations. The town comes alive and you can witness the parade and lighting of the candles.

Instagram tip: You can get some great Instagram shots from the roof of the church at the top of the hieghts of Pyrgos. However, I would strongly recommend getting an Instagram shot during easter from a distance – perhaps from Fira of the whole town being lit up by the candles.


Megalochori


Megalochori is one of the most picturesque villages on the island a short journey away from Pyrgos. Similar to Pyrgos it is a more traditional Santorini location compared to the most tourist places of Fira and Oia. There are several vineyards here for some of the delicious flavours of wine produced on the island.


Getting there: A short journey away from Pyrgos you can travel there by car or bus in a relatively short time. The advantages of having a car is that you can park and walk through some of the areas which have been restricted from all traffic.

Entrance fee: none

Best time to go: The best time to go to Megalochori is probably during the early afternoon to give you chance to visit some of the wine tasting and walk throughs of the traditional buildings.

Instagram tip: Walking through this town you really get a sense of the “real Santorini”. There is a bell monument which is built over a narrow street which leads onto the main square, and some beautiful churches with amazing church bells, and quaint buildings. You can walk up some of the narrow streets which lead quite high up for some great shots. You can also visit a traditional cave house for free.


Day 2

Catamaran sailing


The great thing about this tour is that you don’t have to worry about how to get there. The companies tend to run a pick up and transport service directly from your hotel. By booking in advance online, you can provide your details and the address. You can be expected to be given a time for collection and drop off either for the morning or evening. The mini bus (which is modern and comfortable) can take about an hour to get from Fira to the port of Amoudi Bay and the tour lasts about 5 hours.


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Entrance fee: £95 per person

Best time to go: Early in the morning is a good time if you want to spend the day on the Catamaran and also have something else planned for the evening. The benefits of the afternoon/evening trip is that it would allow you to catch the sunset. If you choose to do this take something to put over your arms as it can get quite cool at that time.

Instagram tip: There are loads of opportunities for a great Instagram photo on this trip, from standing at the point of the boat, to taking a dip in the thermal springs, to laying on the netting at the front of the Catamaran as you cruise into the distance. There are some stunning views of the cliffs of Oia as well as the Volcano and Tharasia Island.


The heart of santorini




We were looking enough to be provided with our wonderful driver Nicos who was able to drive around the island to some of the lesser known and more beautiful spots of Santorini. One of these was the “Heart of Santorini”. The Heart of Santorini is the most beautiful spot I have encountered on all of our views of the island. Hidden away at the side of the cliff, after a short journey through the daisies and the wild Thyme growing amongst the grass and rocks, there is a hidden staircase taking you down towards the bell towers. A natural opening in the cliff face forms a “heart shaped” view, a truly awe inspiring and stunning vista of the whole island bay. Has to be seen to be believed. Completely quite, picturesque and secluded.



Entrance fee: none

Best time to go: Anytime of day when the sky is clear.

Instagram tip: Taking a view through the hear shaped opening is your best place for capturing a beautiful shot of the island. There’s also some great shots to be taken by the bell tower near the opening.


Wine tasting


As part of our trip to the heart of Santorini we decided that it was a good opportunity to carry out some wine tasting! Our driver at the time had a really good realationship with the Manager and Owner and so we managed to get a seat and table at our preferred time. Wine is produced from the grapes and ingredients cultivated under the sunkist skies of Santorini. We were introduced to some great and flavoursome wines found on the island such as Mandilaria and Nykteri.


Getting there: a few minutes drive from Fira centre

Entrance fee: none

Best time to go: We visited about 5pm – this isn’t the best time to go. You are probably best off heading here between 2-3pm which would give you time to be able to take the tour around the winery before finishing off with a fabulous wine tasting activity. We just missed out on the wine tour which finished just as we were arriving.

Instagram tip: The winery is on a cliff overlooking the sea, so if you take a seat outside you can take a pic with the glass of wine whilst you are drinking outside. The al fresco feel is quite pleasant and the view is really quite stunning. If you opt for the 6-8 wine tasting experience then you can take a great shot of all the different wines laid out on front of you, with the taster food and wine glasses.


Fira



Fira is the Capitol of Santorini. The view from the Caldera (the three islands) is breath taking – I cannot emphasise this enough. One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited with an awesome view of the cliffs, shoreline and ocean, watching the ferries come and go, with a fantastic vista of the partially submerged Volcano. There are a wonderful panoply of bars and restaurants, with plenty of great tasting Greek and international cuisine. Most of the ingredients for the food and wine are made on the island which has great weather all year round.


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Getting there: You can get to Fira from Santorini airport by bus or car. The journey takes about 15-20 minutes and so it really is easy to get too and from the airport. You can also hire a car if you are feeling brave enough to drive. A word of warning on driving – most of the roads are very quiet up until you enter the towns - when it can get very busy and most people seem not to mind driving very close or faster than what would be considered safe in the UK.

Best time to go: The best time to go to Fira is from April to October when the weather is at its most splendid during the summertime period. Take your summer wear but also be prepared to bring something to put over your arms in the evening, as the temperature drops to being quite chilly (due to the high temperatures during the day and little cloud cover). This means you can still drink and eat out in the open, without feeling too much from the slight chill at night.

Instagram tip: The alabaster white buildings and restaurant bars views all have panoramic views of the bay, ocean, and volcano. Some of the bars have some beautiful walkway entrances it can be great to take a pic walking down. Also, where there are some turns on the cliff further up in the centre of Fira, you can get panoramic shots of Fira up on the cliffs.




Overall, our second visit to Santorini was a fun filled one. But is 2 days really enough in Santorini? Nope. Santorini has plenty of things to do and see so you'll gonna get busy even if you stay for a week! As to the accommodation, we stayed in Aressana Spa Hotel and Suites, which is highly recommended! If you want to know more about them, blog post is coming next!

καλα να περνατε! Enjoy your 2-day trip to Santorini!


#2daysin #Greece #EuropeE #santorini