The sun-kissed island of Santorini is breathtaking. Alongside the white buildings and blue domed churches that hug the coastline, each cobbled street corner feels like a dream. Location wise, the ideal place to situate yourself is up to your style. Fira, the capital, is a hub of activity, filled with restaurants, bars, museums and entertainment. Imerovigli is known for the honeymooners, is quiet and has the best views of that breathtaking sunset, while also being a thirty minute walk to Fira. Oia (ee-ahh), of course, is one of the most Instagrammed villages on the island, with winding paths that intersect with one another. Beware the hectic cruise ship crowds that are bused in every day during peak season.
Some TFC advice…
- – Get around the island buy hiring an ATV or scooter (approx 35-45 euro per day), catch the half hourly buses (2 euro) or call a taxi. We hired an ATV and flew around with a go-pro in one hand and Google maps in the other. Be warned, they drive on the right hand side of the road.
- – Be smart and wear sunscreen. Or at the very least bring it from home, where Priceline sells it for a swift Australian tenner. Buy in Europe, and pay the price (like, up to 18 euros).
- – The night is young and the dinners are late. The busiest time to eat is from 8pm onwards. The generosity of the Greeks is evident in their hospitality, where most tavernas serve raki and olives as an appetizer. But pace yourselves on the home made bread – the servings in Greece are bigger than your Greek friend’s wedding.
- – Take a charter boat/catamaran for a day of swimming in the warm blue waters.
- – Amazingly, we don’t have any quality coffee recommendations. We tried Passagio in Oia and Pure in Fira as recommended by a few blogs, but everything tastes the same (a little bit bitter if you’re purists like us). Drop us a line if you found a good brew.
- – Work off the souvlaki by attempting the Fira-Oia hiking trail. Breathtaking views and a great way to get that body moving (after lying in the sun all day).
And now to the foodie tips…
Sunset Amoudi Taverna
A must on your gastronomical holiday. Enjoy fresh seafood overlooking the picturesque Amoudi Bay. But, dear friends, it’s not without a journey. While dodging donkey poop, walking down 200 steps and avoiding donkeys themselves is no mean feat, what waits for you at the end is a beautiful afternoon of eating and people watching. Pack your swimmers but look out for sea urchins if you go for a dip. Diners are wearing bikinis, cover ups and pretty much pure joy on their faces. It’s a trek back up the steps, but you can always hire a donkey to take you up.
Sunset Amoudi Taverna | Amoudi Harbour, Santorini, Oia 847 02 | +30 2286 071614
La Maison boasts an incredible view of the Caldera, and is a special foodie destination for those looking for fine dining without the wank. With an intricate menu of Modern French and Greek Mediterranean, order the chef’s selection if you’re looking for the full gastronomic experience. But if you’re like us, we picked a few dishes and devoured the waiter’s perfect wine recommendation.
La Maison | Santorini 847 00, Greece
Metaxi Mas feels like a secret. Hidden behind a church, this taverna is a 20 minute ATV ride from the main touristy haunts, and simply has views for days. It’s cheap and cheerful and has an authentic take on quality Greek food – even if it is stuffed full of tourists. We ordered a lamb shank with aubergine in tomatoes and basil, as well as grilled octopus and the Santorini specialty, fava bean dip.
Metaxi Mas | Exo Gonia, Thira 847 00, Greece
Everyone loves a fixie in front of a white wall framed by cascading bougainvillea, especially if there are aromas of fresh coffee coming from inside. Passagio is a much-loved Instagram favourite (which we all know is the key to travel life), which serves up breakfast, coffees, fresh salads and juices. In all honesty, while the fit out has a laid-back, beachy vibe and the food is good, it’s not an extraordinary find. Being Australian, and hot all over that cafe scene, nothing really compares. A good one if you’re in need of an average coffee fix or a cool backdrop to your holiday snaps.
Passagio | Nik. Nomikou, Oía 847 02, Greece
All you need to know is Lolita’s Gelato. Beckoned by that big lolly pink sign, Lolita’s icy treats are a welcome cool-down after much walking/dying in the Santorini sun. You can’t really go wrong with these house-made gelato flavours, and we highly recommend ordering as much as you can, while lounging in the courtyard for an afternoon cure.
Lolita’s Gelato | Oia 847 02, Greece
Family run since 1903, Argyros Estate is a sustainable vineyard which doesn’t require toxic pesticides due to the soil’s natural immunity. Totally up our ally. It’s well known for its dry white wine and vinsanto (12 and 20 year aged wines), and the architectural design of its cellar door is fascinating. Book in a wine tasting, and sample the Vinsanto Austrian chocolate, which is never sold outside of the island.
Side note, Santo Winery is another place to add to your list. We spied some good friends clinking glasses there, and wished we had made the trip there too.
Argyros Estate | Episkopi Gonia, Thira 847 00, Greece
We love that when you switch gears from work to holiday, your priorities become about what you’re eating next, the best places to watch sunset and how far you’ve walked in one day. Seriously though. Dem Views. Avocado, in the quiet Imerovigli, is perched a few metres away from the coastline, and if you nab a seat outside, you will see one of the most glorious sunsets of your life. The food is organic and local, and the service is generous and gregarious. We ate moussaka, octopus salad and that favourite fava dip, of which I could not request enough pita to go with it. Delicious, but we did not spot any locals. Tourist city.
Avocado | Thira 847 00, Greece