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One Day in…Santorini, Greece

One Day in…Santorini, Greece

Traveler Profile: Katie, UK

Location: Santorini, Greece 

Time of Year: May

Travel Goals: Great photography locations, local culture, vibrant colors

Santorini, unquestionably the jewel of the Aegean Sea, is a destination that captivates with its stark white buildings, blue-domed churches, and breathtaking sunsets. This volcanic island, part of the Cyclades group in Greece, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, ancient history, and culinary excellence. Spending one day in Santorini is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the island’s enchanting atmosphere, from the picturesque village of Oia to the historic ruins of Akrotiri. Follow this guide to experience a day filled with awe-inspiring views, cultural exploration, and gastronomic delight. You’ll find endless breathtaking images on Instagram!

Breakfast with a View in Oia

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Zebra-Studio

Oia is Santorini’s most photographed village, known for its whitewashed houses carved into the cliffs, blue-domed churches, and stunning caldera views. Starting your day with breakfast in Oia means enjoying delicious Greek cuisine while soaking in panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. My favorite has to be The Yard Coffee Bar. Try their Healthy breakfast with an egg white omelet with peppers, tomato, a slider bun, a side salad, brioche toast with jam and butter, yogurt with honey, oats, and fruits, freshly squeezed juice, or a specialiality coffee. Sit back and appreciate Oia’s tranquil beauty in the morning light.

My Insider’s Tip: For the best experience, choose a cafe that offers a view of the caldera. Arrive early to secure a prime seating spot, as these venues can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist season.

Visit the Ancient Ruins of Akrotiri

Image Credit: Shutterstock / R. Lemieszek

The ancient city of Akrotiri is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Aegean. This prehistoric settlement was preserved in volcanic ash after a massive eruption in the 17th century BC, leading many to refer to it as the “Minoan Pompeii.” A visit to Akrotiri offers a fascinating glimpse into the advanced civilization that once thrived on Santorini, with well-preserved buildings, frescoes, and artifacts that tell the story of the island’s ancient inhabitants.

My Insider’s Tip: Hire a licensed guide at the entrance or book a guided tour in advance to gain deeper insights into the history and significance of the ruins. The additional context will definitely enrich your visit. Your guide will be able to take you to the best spots for photographs.

Lunch in Fira

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Maridav

Fira, the capital of Santorini, sits atop the caldera’s edge, offering spectacular views and a vibrant atmosphere. The town has various dining options, from casual tavernas to upscale restaurants, where you can enjoy local specialties such as fava, tomato keftedes (tomato fritters), and fresh seafood. Dining in Fira allows you to experience the culinary richness of Santorini while enjoying views of the volcano and the sparkling Aegean Sea. I had lunch at Selene. Its 37-year history offers a high-quality dining experience focusing on local and fresh ingredients. Situated in a former Dominican monastery, the restaurant’s dishes reflect the building’s historical and architectural influence through their creativity and simplicity. Under the leadership of Michelin-starred chef Ettore Botrini, Selene serves innovative dishes such as red mullet with wild fennel pesto and pistachios. Seasonal offerings, like the sea urchin and artichoke salad, are also recommended.

My Insider’s Tip: Selene boasts an extensive wine list, supported by a vast network of cave cellars filled with local and international wines. You can dine in the courtyard under an iron pergola or participate in cooking classes or wine tastings offered by Selene.

Afternoon Wine Tasting at Santo Wines

Image Credit: Shutterstock / – Yuri A

Santorini’s unique volcanic soil and ancient vine cultivation methods contribute to the distinctive flavors of its wines, making a wine tasting a must-do activity. The island is renowned for its crisp Assyrtiko white wines and dessert wines like Vinsanto. Visiting Santo Wines, founded in 1911, is Santorini’s largest cooperative. It has 1,200 members dedicated to producing quality PDO wines and promoting sustainable farming. It supports local farmers, ensuring fair trade and sustainable agricultural practices. The cooperative also focuses on research and development to preserve indigenous grape varieties and improve winemaking techniques.

The cooperative oversees an Organic Vineyard for exclusive single-variety wines and offers a wide range of authentic Santorini products, from PDO wines to traditional sweet preserves. Santo Wines features advanced facilities, including a modern gravity winery and the only active PDO Santorini Tomato process factory. Its Wine Tourism Center in Pyrgos village, known for exceptional hospitality and stunning Caldera views, has made Santo Wines a top wine-tourism destination, attracting over 600,000 visitors worldwide.

My Insider’s Tip: Pop into the Wine and Deli shop where you can explore the full range of their wines and an array of food and local farming products from the cooperative members.

Sunset Dinner Overlooking the Aegean Sea 

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kirk Fisher

Ending your day with a sunset dinner overlooking the caldera is the quintessential Santorini experience. The island’s western coast offers unobstructed views of the sun dipping below the horizon, painting the sky in orange, pink, and purple hues. Many restaurants in Oia and Fira specialize in sunset views, offering Mediterranean and fusion menus that pair perfectly with the breathtaking scenery. I had dinner in Argo Restaurant by Constantin” Village. It specializes in dishes that showcase the island’s distinct ingredients, offering innovative takes on classic flavors. The restaurant emphasizes the quality and origin of its ingredients, sourcing from local farms and its hydroponic garden, and features specialties like Santorini’s fava, cherry tomatoes, and white eggplant. The menu is complemented by a wide selection of wines, cocktails, and fresh juices, all served in an atmosphere that combines excellent service with a welcoming ambiance. This approach ensures a dining experience that is both memorable and satisfying, highlighting the best of Santorini’s culinary offerings.

My Insider’s Tip: Book well in advance to secure a table with the best views. Try the fresh micro green salad!

History of Santorini

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Svetlana Ryajentseva

Santorini’s history is marked by significant events that have shaped its cultural and physical landscape. Originating in the 4th millennium BC with the Minoan civilization, the island’s defining moment occurred around 1600 BC with a massive volcanic eruption. This eruption led to the collapse of the island’s center, forming the current caldera and altering its trajectory. The aftermath of this event likely contributed to the decline of the Minoan civilization on Crete due to a resultant tsunami.

Following the eruption, Santorini saw various settlers, including Phoenicians and Dorians, with the latter naming the city Thira. The island’s strategic location in the Aegean Sea attracted Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman influences, each leaving a distinct imprint on Santorini’s architecture and culture. The name “Santorini” itself stems from the Venetian period, named after the “Santa Irini” cathedral.

Despite challenges such as pirate attacks and further volcanic activity, Santorini thrived, especially in wine production, showcasing the resilience of its inhabitants. Present-day Santorini reveals its rich history through archaeological sites like Akrotiri, a city preserved in volcanic ash, offering insights into the island’s prehistoric era. 

When to Travel

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sorapop Udomsri

The best time to visit Santorini is during the shoulder seasons of April to early June and September to October. The weather is pleasant during these months, and the island is less crowded than in the peak summer months, allowing for a more relaxed experience.

How to Get There

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Stefanovic Mina

Santorini can be reached by air or sea. The Santorini (Thira) National Airport welcomes flights from Athens and several European cities. Alternatively, ferries and high-speed catamarans connect Santorini with Athens’ port of Piraeus and other Cycladic islands.

The Bottom Line

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Maridav

From sunrise to sunset, your day in Santorini promises an unforgettable journey through the island’s stunning landscapes, rich history, and culinary delights. Each activity and destination has been carefully selected to offer you a comprehensive experience of Santorini’s beauty and culture. As you explore this magnificent island, let the charm of Santorini captivate your heart and inspire memories that will last a lifetime.

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The post One Day in…Santorini, Greece first appeared on The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Maridav.

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