1. Pick an amazing Airbnb so that you never want to leave
Did you miss my last post? If you did you need to read it right now! I talked all about my favorite spot I have ever stayed using Airbnb! Find a spot that you not only sleep at, but can also enjoy!
2. Get out on the water - on a catamaran
This is my number one recommendation if you are in Santorini for just 2 days. We booked this not knowing what the weather would be since it was early May, but we ended up with great weather! It was around 70 - 75 degrees with a nice breeze out on the water. Warm enough to relax out on the boat, but not hot enough where it was too uncomfortable to sit in the sun for 6 hours.
I did a lot of research about what catamaran tour to book and really did base it off of reviews. I found one with only 5-star reviews and it did not disappoint. They took us past some amazing sites, took us to some cool beaches and even to the hot springs. The service was incredible - they kept the wine and beer coming all day, and the food was amazing! Everything was cooked right on the boat the first 4 hours of the trip. We had more food than we could eat including huge, fresh shrimp!
You can book the trip we took but visiting clicking this link
Overall, this ended up being one of the highlights of our trip!
3. Visit the hot springs at the base of the volcano
When you research tours in Santorini, a lot of the tours include hiking the volcano + a dip in the hot springs or see the hot springs via a boat cruise.
I 100% recommend skipping the volcano hike and opting to see the hot springs from a boat. The volcano is not lush and green, it is all volcano rock and you are exposed to full sun the whole hike. You can get the views you would get from the top of the volcano from various spots in Santorini.
Going to the hot springs via boat is the way we decided to go after doing some research. Depending on the time of year you go, you may encounter a ton of other tour boats and your boat may have to stop pretty far from the hot springs. Make sure you can swim for a longer distance. Our boat gave us pool noodles which helped and we were fortunate to go on the off season. Our boat was able to get as close as they could then sent us to jump off the side of the boat. We swam for about 2 minutes before starting to feel the warmth of the hot spring. The first shock of the water is hard to get used to but it wasn't bad once we were in!
Tip: Make sure to wear a dark bathing suit and remove your jewelry. Due to the sulfur content from the hot spring, your suit could be stained and your jewelry ruined.
Below is a photo I found online. We basically swam toward that channel. The water in this area would fluctuate between warm and cold water as we swam toward the channel. As you can see, the orange on the rocks is from years of sulfur, and what would be on your light swimsuit if you didn't wear a dark one!
4. See a Santorini sunset
There are a ton of articles all over Pinterest about where to see the sunset. Honestly, there isn't a bad place on the island, but we wanted to avoid the crowds. After reading 10+ articles on the topic, I stumbled across an article that said to go to PK Cocktails in Thira.
I recommend making a reservation ahead of time. Do some research on when the sunset is for when you will be there and book the time for about 30 - 45 minutes earlier than sunset. You also get to choose your seat! If you are traveling with friends and family, book in groups of 2. You can't book the very front row unless you search for just 2 people.
Since we booked so early, we were able to get the very front row and picked the middle and left side. We had to pay $10 to reserve the seats but this $10 applies as a credit toward your final bill at the end of the evening.
When we got there, they had blankets waiting for us and our tables were ready immediately. We had two rounds of drinks during the evening. A few of them come with a presentation at your table. Unfortunately, there were clouds for our sunset, but we had a great time staring at the views and talking with our friends!
5. Eat a dinner overlooking the Santorini cliffs
Particularly, if you aren't staying in Oia, come to Oia for a dinner and views of the classic white buildings with blue roofs. We didn't really have a plan for where we wanted to eat so we walked along the main road in Oia and stumbled across Thalami. We lucked out with an outdoor seat along the railing. Though it was a bit windy, we got to take in the views and eat incredible Greek food.
6. Grab a souvenir (or 2)
There were actually so many items I wanted to buy (and I am not really a souvenir person. I stopped in a shop along the main drag and got a Santorini color block crew neck sweatshirt, a really cute coaster with a painting of the Oia cliffs and of course picked up a postcard!
7. Visit the Santo Winery
I really promote staying in Pyrgos because this winery is pretty out of the way unless you are paying a lot to take a tour out here. I would say it is one thing you can't miss simply because of the amazing views and atmosphere. We lucked out and ended up being a 15 minute walk to Santo winery from our Airbnb.
I'm assuming it gets 10 times busier during the summer months, but when we were there we ended up being able to get a wall seat to stare right out to the ocean. the weather was perfect, if not a bit warm, and we had cheese boards and shared a tasting flight of 16 wines!
Our server is great! He took the time to tell us about the wines and was very friendly. He seemed to get overwhelmed when huge groups of people started arriving, though.
8. Eat local cuisine
Sure, you have had lamb gyros, tzatziki sauce, baklava, and souvlaki other places, but WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE THESE THINGS IN GREECE! It will ruin Greek food for you back where you live. Make sure when you are going out to eat, you are choosing your food, you choose some authentic Greek dishes to try. We also really enjoyed trying octopus and Greek salads too!
Have you been to Santorini? What else did you do that I have to do next time I am there?