Authored by Andrew Wise
I first stepped foot on Santorini for my honeymoon. I had promised my wife the most romantic destination on earth, and all research pointed to Santorini; one of the most beautiful islands of Greece, and easily one of the most stunning in the world.
From cobblestone streets to stark white homes with colorful blue domes, straight from the front of a postcard, there is no shortage of things to do and see when you’re on this Greek island.
To kick start your research for putting together a Santorini trip, we have put together an introduction to the island.
An Introductory Travel Guide to Santorini
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There is a small, circular group of volcanic islands in the Agean Sea, approximately 124 miles off of Greece’s mainland. Santorini is one of those islands.
In 2000 BC, the city of Akrotiri, on the island of Santorini, was an extremely civilized community. They’re even credited with creating the first water closets, which we now consider modern day toilets.
Unfortunately, the civilization came to a halt in 1650 BC. A massive volcanic eruption blew a hole into Santorini and left this originally circular island as the crescent shaped island it is so well known for today.
Only in the 1970’s did tourism really start to thrive again, with original settlements beginning to turn into hotels. Today, Santorini is one of the biggest international tourist hubs in the entire world, catering to over 1.5 million visitors every single year.
There are 3 cities that make up the island of Santorini, each with its own unique atmosphere and vibe. This means that there’s a little something for everybody.
First is Oia (pronounced “eee-ah”), which is home to some of the most beautiful sunsets in the entire world. Tourists flock to Oia every single night and flood the narrow streets just to get a peek at the beautiful few moments when day turns to night.
Oia is also the place you can most easily view those white and blue homes that Greece is so well known for, so it’s worth stopping if only for the stunning architecture. There is no shortage bars and restaurants for you to visit, but it is important to keep in mind that most places close by midnight here.
It is a completely walkable town – it takes roughly 30 minutes to walk from end to end – and is great if you want to enjoy some once in a lifetime scenery while dining in a beautiful outdoor restaurant.
Next is Imerovigli. Imerovigli is best known as Santorini’s #1 honeymoon spot. The town is extremely small (the smallest of Santorini’s 3 cities by far) and has significantly fewer tourists than the other two. Because of that, it is definitely geared towards couples looking for a bit of alone time.
There are a few delicious restaurants and the occasional bar or two, but Imerovigli is best experienced poolside in your hotel. It’s also a very short walk to Fira, which is Santorini’s hit nightlife city, so you can manage to transition from privacy to lively in just 15 minutes or so.
Speaking of Fira, let’s talk about it! Best known for its lively bar and restaurant scene, Fira is the place to go if you are looking for a night out on the town.
DJs from all over come out to play the nightclubs in this Santorini city, and there is never any shortage of things to do. Unlike Imerovigli and Oia, where the bars and restaurants close extremely early, Fira is up all night. If you are looking for a good time, look no further than this city.
Common Greek Phrases
If you’re headed to Santorini, you may want to know a few common Greek phrases so you can fit in with the locals. This is by no means a comprehensive guide for what you need to know, but it’s a good starting point.
➡ “Kalimera” means good morning.
➡ “Kalo apogevma” means good evening.
➡ “Efcharisto” (ef-haristo) means thank you.
➡ “Parakalo” means you’re welcome.
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The first toilet, eh Andrew? Interesting. Santorini always looks amazing whenever I see it covered on the travel blogging circuit. Closest I came to this island feel was living on Cyprus for a month. Definitely a similar Greek feel to both islands.
Wow Ryan Cyprus for a month sounds like it would have been incredible! If I hear about a house sit in Santorini I’ll let you know – I haven’t been yet either but definitely looks like an incredible spot – so scenic!
For the first time knowing the history of these islands of Greece! The trivia on water flushes here is interesting. 2000BC is a long time back. So hard to believe a civilized society existed there! Hopefully I get there some day to see the world’s best sunset!
Greek history is so interesting, and each island has something fascinating if you dig back. Hope you do have the chance to visit Santorini at some stage soon!
This is such a useful article for visiting Santorini! Great to know about the three cities on the island, and insider details like when the bars and restaurants close, and which island is the most romantic. I had no idea about the massive volcanic eruption that happened there in 1646, and how the island got it’s shape. What a fascinating history about Akrotiri! Thanks for the quick Greek lesson too! :)
Glad you enjoyed it Jenn – it sounds like you would love a visit to Santorini, between the history and the incredible towns. Hope you have the chance to visit soon!
I think this is what people are really dreaming of when they think of Greece – all those gorgeous shades of blue and the amazing hill side architecture. It’s so lovely.
I agree with you – I think Santorini is the quintessential Greek experience of which most people dream :)
Amazing write up on Santorini. I have read a lot about Santorini and I find this one gives more tit-bits than any other. Who would have ever guessed that the world’s first WC was built here. I would surely like to visit it sometime in my life … sigh….
Glad you enjoyed the post Nisha, and found more information than you’ve read in the past :) I hope you do have the chance to visit at some stage soon!
Indeed, Santorini is one of the ideal locations for a honeymoon! I’ve been really dreaming to go here and been telling my partner to spend our future honeymoon in Santorini since it’s also near Germany! Imerovigli should be in our top spot! And learning a few Greek words could be helpful too! Though sometimes even living abroad, I’m lazy to learn even basics lol
I swear Santorini is like THE honeymoon destination – it can’t really be beat! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! This would be the perfect spot to head after your ceremony, especially if you’re close by in Germany :)
I absolutely loved Santorini! I can see why it’s the top romantic spot. Greece is pretty well know for wine too. I don’t even know where to begin. The beaches are super. I spent time on the red beach, the black beach and white beach. The food, the town of Oia with the sunset, swimming in the thermal waters, driving around on the atv’s. My high light was being able to find the location of where the photo of that iconic blue roof church that is used in all print media was taken. Naturally I got my fill of photos lol.
Sounds like you’ve fallen head over heels with Santorini too! And congrats on finding that iconic blue roofed church – when I get there I’ll have to go on the same hunt!
Oh man Andrew, you are making me realize how bad we need to get there. We’ve honeymooned in lots of places, but have yet to hit Santorini. I also had no idea about the other two cities, I always thought it was just Oia with the blue domed hotels. Thanks for the great 101 to the island.
Glad you could learn a bit about Santorini from Andrew’s post Mike :) Would love to know what you think of the island compared to the other destinations you’ve honeymooned in!
Santorini looks like a fabulous honeymoon place! Thanks for giving us a virtual tour of the villages we should check out and where to spot stunning sunsets. Hope to make it there one day.
Only the best! Glad you enjoyed the post Jessica :) Hope you do have the chance to visit at some stage!
It definitely looks like you delivered on taking your wife to a super romantic destination. I was in Greece 7 years ago now, but didn’t make it to Santorini. Clearly, that was a huge mistake! I had no idea that it was a big enough island to have individual cities! I’d love to catch a sunset (or two or seven) in Oia!
Sounds like you have the perfect excuse to head back Paige! Hope you have the chance to visit Greece again at some stage :)
I really can’t get enough of those iconic views! They’re postcard perfect. I’d really love to go here for a relaxing holiday, though I’d find it hard to put the camera down for a moment. Thank you for the introduction to a lovely destination.
One of those views you could stare at forever and never tire of right! They really do belong on the front of a postcard … you’re probably spot on that one of the hardest things would be trying to balance out taking photographs vs being in the moment!