Our trip to Greece marked my 30th country! Growing up, I always had a thirst for learning and exploring new places. I held on to objects that people gave me from their travels like precious treasures, imagining the places they had been. Although I always loved travel, I didn’t get the opportunity to go abroad until later in my life. And I never would have dreamed that there would be a future in which I would have gotten to travel so extensively. I know to some people, 30 may not seem like a big amount, but for me, I feel grateful for every trip that I get to go on. I think that’s why I love to plan so much and why I want to do and see so much when I go abroad, because, to me, each trip as a gift, much like how I used to treasure the souvenirs people gave me many years ago.
When we were planning our trip to Greece, I was worried about having too high expectations for Santorini, but I wasn’t disappointed, far from it. Santorini was one of my favorite trips I’ve taken! Read on for some suggestions for things to do and were to eat, mostly in and around Oia, Santorini.
Hike from Imerovigli to Oia. Many blogs talk about the hike from Fira to Oia, however, my husband and I decided not to take on the long, 5 hour hike, and opted for a shorter one, about 2-3 hours. The hike comes in about halfway through the longer hike and has stunning views of the caldera and cute, whitewashed churches along the way. It’s also great because you get to walk through Imerovigli, another town in Santorini that feels a little sleepier than Oia. I would suggest packing a lot of water and wearing sturdy tennis shoes or hiking boots. The path is, at times, rocky and slippery with loose gravel and there are a number of inclines that you’ll have to navigate. We really enjoyed this hike, as it was just long enough to give us a good workout, without being so long that it took the whole day. I would highly recommend starting early in the day, as even in shoulder season, the sun is intense. Also, try to pick a day that has some cloud cover, it really helped provide some relief from the Santorini sun. For the hike, take the city bus from the main square in Oia to Imerovigli. Once you get off the bus, navigate your way to The Blue Note Cafe. From here, you can follow this article that gives step by step instructions with photos of every turn or fork of the hiking path.
Spend a half day exploring Fira. My husband and I spent about 3-4 hours in Fira and we felt that was just enough. We found the church with the three bells in Fira, ate at a restaurant with an outdoor terrace, and did a Fish Spa. It was a nice change of pace from our more quiet, relaxing time in Oia. We took the city bus there, which is only a couple Euros if I remember correctly.
Walk down to Ammoudi Bay. Ammoudi Bay has crystal clear turquoise water, fishing boats bobbing in the water, and excellent seafood. I would suggest getting the lobster spaghetti and dining seaside at Katina’s. The owner is super friendly and even took us back into the kitchen to show us the lobsters before he cooked them. Be warned though, the walk back up the 300+ stairs is brutal in the heat. We had to stop several times to catch our breath on the way up.
Savor the sunrises (& sunsets). Watch the sunrise and sunset from different vantage points. Chances are, you’ll be spending multiple nights in Oia, so switch it up with your sunset/rise viewing. Do one time at the castle ruins, surrounded by the bustle of 200 other people (get there 1-2 hours early). Or book a reservation at a restaurant with a stellar caldera view. This offers a more comfortable and private experience. You can also do a sunset cruise, or even walk around the town looking for the perfect spot. We enjoyed the sunset many nights from the privacy of our Airbnb, which I wrote a whole post about here.
Where to eat in Oia
Skiza Cafe-get their homemade meat pies. They are absolutely amazing, super flakey and delicious. Just the right size for breakfast. Their glass walled sea views are amazing.
Vitrin– Outdoor, great sea views, and open early for breakfast. Their crepes are light and tasty. I would suggest any crepe with feta in it. Plus, it’s fun to walk around this stretch of Oia because of the windmills nearby.
Katina’s- located at Ammoudi Bay. I would highly recommend the lobster spaghetti, super rich, fresh, and amazing.
Pelekanos – pricey with smaller portions but their view is gorgeous since it’s a rooftop restaurant overlooking the ocean.
Skala, We ate here a couple of times at their outdoor terrace that overlooks the ocean. Their tzatziki is HEAVENLY. We came back once just to eat that. You may have lots of curious kitty visitors as this restaurant is mostly outdoors.
Lotza- This lovely place was right by our house and had killer moussaka and shrimp saganaki in tomato sauce.
Lolita Gelato-Super cute gelato place. We went here every. single. day. and enjoyed our sweet treat on the patio.
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