If you have read my Mykonos guide, you'll have seen that I changed my flights home last minute so I could also spend a few days in Santorini too. If you are looking at visiting either Mykonos or Santorini, I would suggest visiting both as they are only a 3 hour ferry, €50, ride apart and both have so much to offer!

Santorini, despite being another nearby Greek island, had a completely different vibe and volcanic terrain compared to Mykonos. It was a lot more chilled out and honeymoon-y, a more picturesque location for those wanting a relaxing week. Because of this I think I split my time perfectly with 7 in Mykonos and 3 in Santorini. 

The main towns of Fira and Oia are built on these dramatic steep cliffs overlooking the deep blue sea below, literally the instagram dream. Mykonos is relatively flat, so in comparison the views and sunsets in Santorini have no competition. But I would say the beaches of Mykonos can't be beaten.

If you're looking at which area to book your hotel, it all depends on what you're after. Santorini is essentially in a half moon shape, with all the beaches around the south edge, but with Oia (those picturesque domes you'll be hunting down) and the best sunset, off of the northern point. The island is however only 12km by 7km so if you're thinking of renting a vehicle, you'll have no problem wherever you stay! I suppose it's almost like Santorini has it's own huge lagoon due to it's shape.

(Map, credit: Lonely Planet)

For our first night, we stayed at Voreina Gallery Suites, in their newly opened Pyrgos House Project -a central point in a village called Pyrgos, where we were able to rent quad bikes and see the southern point with the lighthouse and all of the beaches very easily - at the same time being a 25 minute journey to get to Oia for sunset. I think this made a great, comfortable base for exploring, however I do think having a vehicle is key for this location.

Typically speaking, people tend to want to stay at Oia as it is the most attractive part of the island and has amazing hotels built into the cliffs, however it does also tend to be the most pricey. We moved onto Oia for the remainder of our visit, staying at Charisma Suites, as we had explored enough of the south by quad bike and Oia had everything we needed there with a good transport link into the main town of Fira, plus it contained the port of our boat trip which took us to explore the south by water.

Keep reading for my suggestions of things to do and see whilst in Santorini (and have ad blocker turned off to shop my outfits!)...

Visit Oia

No matter which part of the island you're staying, you can't say you've visited Santorini without seeing those instagrammable blue domes in all of their glory. When you see postcards of Santorini, they typically use the view of the small town of Oia, built upon that dramatic cliff edge, with the water below. Other than the views and aesthetically pleasing buildings, there are many great shops and restaurants, with a bus station and port for boat excursions.

It is a view like no other, day and evening, which takes me onto my second recommendation...

Watch the sunset from Oia

Yep, I know... Oia again, BUT, the sunset is unmissable on a trip to Santorini. Oia is supposedly the best place to view it as the sun sets out behind the town and I would totally agree.

Spend a day on the 'Sunset Oia' boat tour

When an email popped into my inbox regarding an invitation for a boat trip, I was sceptical. I'd never been on a leisurely boat trip abroad - only transportation ones, and growing up on the Isle of Wight I've been haunted by boats dictating my plans.

Thankfully for Jenny's encouragement I agreed and it was literally one of my highlights of Greece! I don't know if I've been living under a shell, but I completely had underestimated the fun of these boat trips! For one you aren't strapped into a seat, inside, for the duration, looking out through the window like I envisioned... you're out on the deck sunning yourself whilst the water laps up to the boat. What could be better? Well, how about a BBQ, unlimited alcohol and also stop off points to swim in the hot springs of a volcano, swim and snorkel, plus seeing a different perspective of everything you'd explored by land, topped off with the best sunset out to sea?


Basically this was an amazing day and I could not recommend Sunset Oia anymore! If you are staying in Oia or Fira, this is the perfect way to see the beaches/lighthouse if you don't have your own transport.

We opted for the 7 hour sunset tour which picked us up from our hotel around 1pm and dropped us home around 9pm - the itinerary can be found here and I certainly think it's very good value for money... especially if you're fond of the onboard Greek wine spritzers like I was (of course with alcohol the boat became a swimwear shoot for Jenny and I...)!

Explore the island via vehicle (my preference - quad bike!)

Whilst staying in Prygo (Voreina Gallery Suites, Prygos House Projects) we rented a quad bike to explore the beaches/lighthouse and then an evening trip to Oia. This wasn't like the 50CC we had in Mykonos, this was a beast-like-310CC which did 0-80 in about a second (I don't exaggerate...). As Santorini is so hilly, if you're renting a quad bike, make sure you get a good engine otherwise it can be dangerous on the steeper slopes and take a lifetime to get to places. We paid €25 for this quad bike but it was definitely worth the price as it was brand new, a good engine and came with helmets - we covered so much ground for €10 fuel too.

If you were on a schedule you could spend 3 hours seeing the lighthouse and the beaches - Red Beach (famous for stunning scenery and red cliffs), Black Beach, Vlihada Beach (all dark sand due to volcanic island) and my personal favourite Kamari Beach (white sand), however we made a day of it, spending some time at Kamari to sunbathe and get lunch.

I hope my recommendations have been helpful and if you're pondering booking Greece... DO IT!
If you are yet to see my Mykonos guide, read it here.