The beauty of Oia is unsurpassed. One of the most-photographed places in the world, Oia (actually pronouced EE-ay) is rightly considered the jewel of Santorini and makes almost every visitor's "must-see" list.
Situated at the northern tip of the island, Oia is an idyllic collection of tiny white homes and blue-domed roofs carved into the cliff face overlooking Santorini's Caldera. Between these iconic colours run pinks, yellows, reds and greens creating a picture-perfect canvas in which to lose yourself.
A short walk (and quite a few steps) from the centre of Oia will take you to the port of Amoudi, which sits below the town. Stop here for a fresh seafood meal and a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean. If yo're the adventurous type there are some great spots for cliff diving around here.
In the evenings, Oia glows in the warm light of its extraordinary sunsets, but be aware that this is the village's most popular visiting time. Whilst the sunset here is a beautiful site, try a morning visit if you want to miss the crowds.
Imerovigli is considered one of the best spots in Santorini for admiring the sunset. There is a good reason for this: a long time ago, this village was built as a viewing fortress, where the approaching pirate ships were best seen. Now practically nothing has changed, except people come not to catch pirates, but to witness one of the most spellbinding sunsets in the world.
Imerovigli is a perfect place to get inspired by the landscapes around. The terrain is surrounded on one side by the sea and an elongated line of similar houses on the other. In the distance, you can see the outlines of Oia and Fira. The locals themselves call Imerovigli "balcony to the Aegean," and explanations are not needed here - seeing the beauty that opens from the viewport is breathtaking.
But Imerovigli offers much more than sunsets alone: Cycladic style architecture is a well-known reason to come here. It is recognizable in this town as nowhere else, featuring white washed, blue domed churches and monasteries.
The most famous church is located right in the center of the village - the Ai-Strasis Church. The startling Agios Nikolaos Monastery is hard to miss on the way to Fira. Looking upon the rock of Skaros, you can see the remains of the most photographed of the Venetian fortresses on the island. This castle attracts thousands of tourists annually who come from across the world to see the sunset over the sea. Do not forget to check out the local shops with carved decorations and have a cup of coffee in one of the cozy cafes Imerovigli has to offer. The views promise to be spectacular. You can explore the village in just a few hours, and the memories will remain for many years to come.
Fans of a relaxing holiday will like Firostefani - a small village in the suburb of the capital Fira. Every corner of Firostefani offers stunning views of the volcano and the Aegean sea. A small village like this can compete with Oia for the right to be the first in its beauty. It's less crowded, which makes walking along the narrow paths on the edge of the cliff exceptionally pleasant.
Firostefani is not only famed for its charming sunsets but also for its architecture: the Catholic Church of Virgin Mary, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Gerasimos, a number of cozy restaurants and souvenir shops. For museum lovers, locals recommend visiting the female monastery of Agios Nikolaos. On its territory, you can find folklore and the ecclesiastical museum. Only here, you can witness rare Byzantine icons. Photography enthusiasts assure that Firostefani is a treasure full of mind-blowing picture spots. Although it is but just a few minutes walk away from Fira, Firostefani is far from the noise and crowds and its location offers a unique viewing platform to watch the sunset from.
As the capital of Santorini, Fira is the biggest and busiest town on the island, and the centre of its shopping and nightlife.
Located on the western coast of the island, Fira sits on a rise surrounded by breathtaking views of the Caldera and the rest of the island. The town spills down towards the sea with its huge range of sights and entertainment.
However long your stay on Santorini, it would not be complete without a visit to this heart of the island.
The smaller towns of Firostefani and Imerovigili sit nearby and can be reached on foot over the course of about 45mins of meandering through cobbled stairs and white-washed walls. .
Head down the long but shallow stone steps to reach the Old Port. Once the only way to reach Santorini's single port, the steps can now be swapped for a ride on the cable car, which takes you up or down the cliff side in a matter of minutes.
Today, the modern port of Athinios, further south, has replaced the Old Port as the gateway to the island, however the Old Port is still active with restaurants, shops and boat trips to other parts of the island.
As one of the highest points in Santorini, Pyrgos village gives panoramic views that are undeniably outstanding. Cycladic architecture amongst the green valleys, vast sea views and traditional alleys. Surrounded by vineyards, churches, wineries, lovely restaurants and shops, Pyrgos will enchant you with everything it has to offer.
Among Santorini many churches, the Prophet Elias Monastery in Pyrgos stands as one of the largest and most historical. Build in 1712, you would be forgiven for thinking it a fortress as you approach the tall stone walls. As the highest settlement on the island, at 565m above sea level, you can admire incredible 360 views of the island.
Megalochori is a gem of a village.
Located on the southwest side of Santorini, about 9 kilometers south of the capital Fira, it can be reached easily via the main road that runs from Fira down the island towards Emporeio and Perissa.
Once arrived in the village, take a wonder around its cobbled streets and traditional buildings. With its iconic church standing in the centre of the village, this is one of the most picturesque and distinctive villages of the island. The main square, where you'll find the church, is home to many restaurants and is well worth a stop for lunch or an evening meal.
Megalochori is at the heart of Santorini's wine business and around the village, vineyards stretch out towards the stunning views of the Caldera. Several wineries nearby offer tours and tastings.
To the west, on the coast, the unusual Agios Nikolaos chapel can be found perched on the cliff side.
The word "Megalochori" in greek means "large village". Whilst the town is by no means Santorini's largest today, centuries ago it was one of the most important settlements on the island, fortified against pirates and home to luxurious mansion houses, some of which can still be found in the village today.
From Megalochori, you are a 15 minutes drive away from the southern side of the island, where you can explore the ancient settlement of Akrotiri, Vlychada Beach and Harbour or the Red Beach.
THE RED BEACH
The steep red cliffs, deep blue waters, wild scenery and beautiful black sand combine to make this place a rare piece of natural magic.
Located near the village of Akrotiri, the Red Beach displays Santorini's volcanic geology at its best.
The Red Beach is only accessible on foot, from a small car park 5 minutes walk away. The trail takes you over rocks and some steep climbs therefore we recommend packing light for a day there to keep your hands free. Once on the beach, you'll find it a quiet, secluded and awe-inspiring place for sunbathing, swimming and relaxing.
Nearby you'll find the ancient settlement of Akrotiri and Akrotiri village where you can find places to stay and eat. Santorini's Lighthouse is also a further 15mins drive away and offers idylic views of the sunset.
Santorini's Lighthouse is located on the southwest tip of the island and is arguably the best spot for watching the sunset, rivalling even the view from Oia in the north.
With fewer crowds and an absolutely un-interupted view of the horizon, the Lighthouse is an increadibly beautiful spot in which to end your day. Follow the main road from Fira and then signs to Akrotiri, then look for a right turn to "Faros" after which you follow the road until it ends. Park up and walk round to the front of the lighhouse facing the sea, then find a comfortable rock to enjoy the show!
After the sunset you'll find numerous restaurants on the road back toward Akrotiri where you can stop for an evening.
The Lighthouse was built in 1892 and was one of the first lighthouses in Greece. It briefly ceased operating during World War II but has been in use again by the Greek Navy since 1945.
VLYCHADA BEACH & HARBOUR
Vlychada is located 2km round the coast from where the Black Beach ends. This marina for fishing boats and small yachts is a tranquil place, ideal for a short stop at one of its seafood restaurants and a walk around the harbour.
The black sand beach continues from Vlychada over to Eros Beach and what you won't find any where else on the island are the cliffs that border the sand. Unique to this area, the weather and volcanic activty have carved them into strange, lunar-like rocks, encasing the secluded beach.
Vlychada is also home to the Santorini Arts Factory, an old tomato factory turned into a museum.
THE BLACK BEACH
On the southeast coast of Santorini you'll find the Black Beach, the longest stretch of beach on the island. Named for its characteristic black sand, the beach runs from Aigios Georgios at the southernmost point, through Perivolos and up to Perissa, where it meets Mesa Vouno, the sharply rising rock that separates Perissa from Kamari.
You'll find an abundance of beach bars, cafes, restaurants and facilities along the sea front, including serviced sun loungers and water sport activates.
Numerous hotels can also be found along the beach should you want a room with a view.
At night the many bars offer a fantastic choice of places to relax and enjoy the evening.
Should you be looking for a place to spend a day on the sand, the Black Beach is the best place to go on Santorini for all kinds of travellers.
THE WINDMILLS & EMPOREIO
One of the biggest attractions of Emporeio, along with Kastelli, the old Venetian Castle, Goulas Watchtower and the many angelic blue-domed churches, are the eight rennovated traditional windmills. They can be found on Gavrilos Hill, found when going through the vineyards to the chapel of Prophet Elias, at the edge of the hill, from where one can see the entire south and southeast coast of Santorini.
On the southeast side of Santorini, at the foot of the towering Mesa Vouno mountain, you'll find the cresent moon shaped bay of Kamari.
An organised beach, with sun beds, water sports and facilties, Kamari is a wonderful place to spend a day with family or friends.
The beach is bordered by the sea front stretch of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Kamari town is also the starting point for the road up to the historical site of Ancient Thera, the ruins of an ancient city devastated millennia ago by the last volcanic eruption.