Traveling always helps me grow as a person as it gives you new perspectives, new experiences, and so much more. I knew I would feel this way about Greece, but I was definitely was not prepared for the immense impact that Santorini would have on me. Everything in this city resonated with me so much: the people, the culture, the delicious food, the way people scheduled their days around appreciating the beautiful sunset, and so much more. It is one of my favorite places that I have ever had the chance to spend time in and I plan to make many trips back in the future.
This guide shares all of my favorite things that we ate, drank and more in Santorini! All of the opinions are 100% my own. If you visit any of these places, please tag me in your pictures so that I can live vicariously through you!
Where to Stay in Santorini
This past June I was fortunate enough to spend around five days in Santorini, Greece with one of my very best friends, Amanda. We stayed in the breathtaking town of Oia, Santorini. There are three main towns that most people stay in in Santorini: Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli. Our stay in Oia was more calm than it would have been in the city of Fira, the city with more bars and late night activities to offer. Imerovigli is a town in between Oia and Fira and it is a little closer to Fira. We found that a majority of our favorite restaurants were in Oia and it was definitely a nice area to spend time in after four late nights in Mykonos.
In Oia, we stayed at the Atrina Canava hotel. The hotel was perfect for us and our needs; it was in a great location and offered a free breakfast daily. Each day, you were able to choose the time you wanted breakfast and the menu items you desired. You were able to enjoy your meal on the deck and take in all the beauty of Oia. This was definitely one of our favorite parts of the hotel as it was the best way to start the day.
Canaves was another hotel that was recommended to us. We went by it during our trip; it looked extremely nice and it was a little secluded from the busier parts of town. We did not stay there because it was too expensive for the dates that we were going to be there, but I hope to on future vacations! There are so many beautiful hotels all around Santorini and Airbnb is always a great option if you are looking to spend less money.
Where to Eat in Santorini
I cannot recommend this fabulous Greek tapas restaurant in Oia enough! All of the food was amazing and extremely affordable (including the wine!). Make sure to order the fried zucchini chips, the Santorini Salad, the octopus and the grilled cheese with herbs. This was one of the restaurants we came to twice in Greece and I will definitely be back on future trips!
Tip: Make sure you make a reservation on the rooftop terrace area and go around 8:00PM so you can watch the sunset!
The fried zucchini and the grilled cheese with herbs.
We had an incredible seafood meal on the rooftop of Catch one night at sunset! You’ll want to make a reservation here around 8:00PM so you can enjoy the sunset on the beautiful terrace. The view and the food are both not to miss. They brought the most delicious, homemade turmeric sourdough to our table that I will dream about until I gain the confidence in the kitchen to mess around with a sourdough starter. They brought it out with “Taramasalata” which is a Greek dip made out of fish roe, olive oil, and lemon. We were absolutely obsessed with it. Sometimes, it could be found on the menus in Greece as “Tarama”.
We enjoyed the fish of the day, sea-bream, cooked and filleted fresh with olive oil and lemon. The octopus appetizer was delicious. Everything was so fresh; definitely make a reservation if you love seafood!
The octopus and tuna appetizers and the view at sunset!
We had another delicious, very reasonably priced meal at Roka in Oia. It was here that we discovered our favorite Greek red wine from Domaine Sigalas. We got the delicious Santorinian salad made with a goats cheese instead of feta, the mushroom ragout on sourdough, the sea-bass and the Santorinian fava beans with with fresh shrimps, Greek soutzouki sausage and herb crust. Everything was super tasty and the staff was extremely friendly! Roka did not have a view of Santorini, but the reasonably priced food is not to be missed.
The Santorinian Salad and the Mushroom Ragout on Sourdough.
This was the second restaurant that we went back to twice during our stay, and for a great reason! The area of Ammoudi Bay in Oia is a must visit when you are in Santorini. More on this later in the guide, but our absolute favorite seafood restaurant here was Ammoudi Fish Tavern. When you see the hanging octopuses outside of the restaurant, you will know you are at the right spot.
Ammoudi Fish Tavern is another wonderful restaurant to enjoy the sunset at. During our visits here, we tried the sun-dried octopus, the lobster with orzo and truffle oil, the mussels cooked in a white wine sauce, and a delicious Ammoudi special salad. Everything was incredible here, but definitely do not miss out on the sun-dried octopus! When you go, ask for Harry the waiter; he was incredibly nice and welcoming both times we visited. Tell him Cori and Amanda sent you!
The delicious sun-dried octopus appetizer.
Onar popped up right when we needed it one day during our hike from Oia to Fira, right before Fira in the town called Firostefani. We were so “hangry” we didn’t care where we ate, but we were so pleasantly surprised by this amazing spot we chose! We went for lunch, but the beautiful view from the restaurant would make for the perfect dinner spot as well.
Amanda and I ordered the halloumi and talagani cheeses, the grilled vegetables in a spicy sauce, the fresh crab tartar, the Greek salad and the crab salad. Like I said before, we were “hangry”, lol. Halloumi cheese was one of our favorite food discoveries in Greece and it was delicious at Onar.
The crab tartar and the halloumi and talagani cheeses.
Fino is a wonderful cocktail bar and restaurant in Oia. We originally came here because the starters menu appealed to us, but we ended up having a great overall meal. I will share that we had really poor service here; it definitely could have been an off night as we had heard amazing recommendations about Fino before coming. All in all, the food and cocktails were great and I would definitely recommend spending a night here in Santorini! There is not a view from Fino, so make your reservation before or after the sunset.
We ordered the lobster spring rolls, the tuna tataki and the octopus for starters and our favorite was the lobster spring rolls. For the main course, we shared the sea-bass which was also amazing! It was cooked in capers and lime juice and was really refreshing.
The lobster spring rolls and the tuna tataki appetizers.
This restaurant is actually one of the highest rated restaurants in the city of Oia. Vegan or not, the food here is fresh, flavorful and not to be missed on your trip. There is a beautiful view from the restaurant. I would definitely recommend it as more of a lunch spot. It is about a 20-25 minute walk from the main city of Oia, but there are really nice views of the water along the way.
Everything on the menu looked amazing here, but we had to come and try the baked vegan feta. Don’t get me wrong, the feta in Greece is amazing, but our stomachs needed a little break. The vegan feta was to die for and came with a delicious whole-wheat pita to dip into it. I would definitely come back here and try all of the other delicious menu items!
The baked vegan feta and the beautiful view from Katharos Lounge.
This was another hotel/restaurant that we discovered on one of our hikes from Oia to Fira. We had heard amazing things about this hotel prior to our trip, so we had to go in and see what the hype was all about. Cavotagoo was one of the most breathtaking, amazing hotels I have ever witnessed in my life. The view was like no other and it had this peaceful aura that made me never want to leave. Of course, we had to take a look at the restaurant menu and it had sushi which sold us immediately. We enjoyed a delicious lunch by the water there and will remember this experience for a long time!
In order to spend the day at the pool here, you have to rent chairs which can get pricey. If laying out is your thing, I would definitely recommend spending time here if your budget allows. To enjoy the restaurant, you do not need to have a chair rented and you still get to enjoy the indescribable views. The tuna sashimi salad was delicious and all of the sushi was really fresh.
The most delicious gelato in Oia! Make sure to get the Greek Viagra flavor; it has Greek yogurt, hazelnuts and honey. I got the Pistachio, Greek Viagra and Hazelnut flavors in a cup and they were all perfect! It is the best snack to help get you through the Santorini heat.
Greek Viagra, Hazelnut, and Pistachio gelato flavors!
What to Do in Santorini
Hike from Oia to Fira (or vice versa):
This was hands down my favorite activity that we did in Greece. It was the most beautiful hike and we craved the views every single morning we woke up. The hike takes around 2 1/2 – 3 hours total. I recommend waking up early to do it, and if you hike it in the heat bring lots of water! Every morning we went on the trail we brought huge water bottles filled with Liquid IV packets (hydration multiplier – you can use code ‘matchaandmargs‘ for 20% off plus free shipping), and it definitely helped a ton.
You can also do a shorter hike to Imerovigli, or just simply hike until you start to feel tired and turn around. Some days, we decided to do shortened versions of the hike and it still was amazing! There is a public bus system that can take you back to Oia/Fira respectively for about 1.80 euros.
Tip: There is a stand about halfway that sells Powerade, water, etc. so bring money just in case! Remember, hydration is key on this hike, especially with the summer heat. We saw people hike in bathing suits, etc. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, I guess!
Taking a catamaran around Santorini is a must! You get to see places on this tour that aren’t easily accessible otherwise. Throughout the tour, you get to see the black and red sand beaches, the volcano, and so much more! The food on board is amazing, and the beer and wine is reflected in the price of your rental. We chose the Horizon boat which fit up to 18 people and was semi-private. Our total was around 150 euros. You can select a cheaper boat for around 100 euros, but there are a lot more people on board. It’s totally up to you and your preference; we really enjoyed the Horizon and all it had to offer!
The staff is friendly, informative and will answer any questions along the way that you may have. We chose this catamaran company because it was featured on the Food Network; all the food definitely lived up to the hype. We could not believe it was all cooked on board! The company also provides a free hotel pick-up service that will transport you to the port the day of sail. We did the half day tour from 10:00AM – 3:00PM. They also offer sunset tours from 4:00PM until sunset.
As previously mentioned, Ammoudi Bay is an awesome shore-side area in Oia that is not to be missed. You can access it by renting an ATV and taking it down to Ammoudi, or you can hike down the 200+ stairs like we did! There are donkeys at the bottom that you are able to take back up to the top, but we couldn’t get past how they were whipping the donkeys to move. Oh, and the plethora of donkey waste everywhere. You have been warned 🙂
Ammoudi is a fabulous spot to watch the sunset, enjoy fresh seafood, and cliff dive! Don’t forget your bathing suit. There are other restaurants besides Ammoudi Fish Tavern, but it was definitely our favorite. I’ve heard great things about Dimitris, too.
Tip: If you enjoy a nice dinner here with lots of wine, be sure to call a taxi to take you back to the main part of the city. Don’t be ambitious and try to hike up the 200+ stairs like we did, lol.
Recommended restaurants and activities we did not make it to:
- Lauda – one of the best known fine dining restaurants in Oia
- Armeni – great restaurant in Oia with a view
- Ambrosia – another well known fine dining restaurant in Oia with a great view
- Go out in Fira
- 2 Brothers: casual bar with cheaper drinks and good deals (we did end up here and it was fun for a casual drink!)
- Koo Club: popular club in Fira
- Murphy’s: one of the most popular bars, good for meeting other travelers
- Santos Winery tour
- Domaine Sigalas Winery tour – our absolute favorite red wine from the trip was from this winery**
- Get a fish pedicure
- Ginger – sushi restaurant in Fira
- Nao’s Restaurant for cocktails
- Lotza’s for the best baklava in Oia
I hope you enjoy this travel guide and are as inspired to go (back to) visit Santorini as I am now! If you make the trip out to Greece, let me know and I am more than happy to share personalized recommendations or elaborate on any of the above. Happy traveling!
Cori (+ Amanda, my best friend and travel partner!)