Exploring Santorini: Beyond the Iconic Blue and White Towns
Yes, Fira and Oia are beautiful towns, with their stunning blue and white buildings slung across the coastline, but my gosh there is so much more to this dreamy island…including black sand beaches, quiet little villages and endless spots for panoramic views of the coast line and islands. So hire a quad bike and tick these spots off your list:
1. Skaros Rock
This is a huge rock that juts out into the ocean from the shoreline, near Imerovigli. To get there, you’ll walk down between all the luxury apartments and then up the huge rock, with a tiiiiny bit of rock climbing right at the end. All up, it’ll take less than an hour to get there and back. The panoramic view of the coast and the islands is spectacular. Best to do this one in the morning, before it’s too hot and while no one else is around.
Just outside of Oia, you’ll find this relatively quiet spot for a swim. The rocky coastline is beautiful and the water is crystal clear. You can even swim out to a little rocky island to do a bit of cliff jumping. If you bring your goggles, you’ll see all kinds of little colourful fish swimming about.
3. Perissa & Kamari Beaches – plus a little hike!
These are two of the best beaches that the island has to offer. Both are black sand beaches (though, Kamari is really black rocks – Perissa is much finer, more like sand) Between the two beaches there is a little mountain. The walk up from Karami is along a road that weaves around, gently inclining, taking about 40 minutes to reach the top. Once at the top, if you can withstand the wind, you’ll get great views of the area. You can come back down on the opposite side and end up at Perissa, but the path is a bit more of a scramble. It’s possible to get a water taxi between these two beaches, too.
4. Red Beach
Another beautiful and very well-known beach. Black sand, surrounded by towering red rocks – it’s not hard to tell why people love this spot. Just to add to it all, there’s some sizeable rocks out in the water you can perch on, living out all your mermaid dreams. But if you’re going to visit, you should also be aware that the area is in serious danger of landslides.
5. Akrotiri Lighthouse
Right on the southern-most tip of the island, this little lighthouse offers the most incredible panoramic views of the coastline, the never-ending ocean and the many surrounding Greek islands. Climb all around the rocky area to see as much possible.
5. Sunset at Francos in Pyrgos
It absolutely baffles me why this town is not drowning in tourists – but the fact that it’s so quiet is part of its magic. After roaming the cobble-stoned streets and admiring the blue and white churches dotted throughout Pyrgos, head to Francos. This cute little bar/restaurant looks over the coast and offers the most amazing sunset. If you call ahead and book like we did, you can bag yourself a prime position!
Confession: I was so busy seeing the rest of the island that I didn’t actually explore Fira at all. Oops. But I don’t regret it. I think I squeezed plenty in during my short time in Santorini. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!