Ready to jet set to an exotic island with dazzling views overlooking the Caldera to the left, the Mediterranean to the right and charming white villas scattered across Santorini’s voluminous cliffs? Then, prepare yourself to be awed by Santorini’s panoramic views and unhinged natural beauty with our top picks for the best luxury villas, beaches, and traditional Greek cuisine in this relaxing and chic European retreat.
By Liz Weiss
WHERE TO VISIT
This village, located in the center of the island, is busy and bustling during the summer months, but the side street shopping and magnificent, expansive views of the Mediterranean from the restaurants above the crowds are worth seeing. *Tip: Be sure watch out for the crowd of tourists hopping off the cruise ships that dock nearby in June, July, and August.
You’ll be bowing your head to the Greek gods once you arrive to this beautiful village at the Northwestern tip of the island. Renowned for it’s stunning sunsets, and exceptional vantage points of the island, the village offers a wide variety of high-end stores, restaurants, cafes, and top-notch resorts and authentic villas to stay in.
Apart from the delectable Greek food lining the beaches at Perissa, this unique island village offers alternative views underneath the large cliffs that comprises Santorini. The water is crystal clear and the cliffs are striking against the black sand covering the expansive beaches of Perissa and Perivolos.
WHERE TO DINE
Apart from the divine food and drinks, this luxurious restaurant also has the best view of the island’s magnificent sunset. The outdoor terrace offers a unique 360 degree view of the Mediterranean, the Caldera, and the fascinating village landscape.Tel: +30 (22860) 71045
Based in the heart of Oia, the delicious and affordable traditional dishes and relaxed island ambiance are aimed to please all island visitors. Be sure to get a table on the upstairs balcony if you want to gaze out at the romantic island sunset while you eat delectable Greek cuisine.
Tel: +30 (22860) 71294
Located down by the harbor front in Oia, adjacent to Ammoudi Bay, this savory Seafood market not only supplies the best variety of fish on the island, but also provides a distinct vantage point of Oia‘s beautiful sunset from underneath the expansive cliffs of the island. Be sure to try the grilled calamari and tzatziki. You’ll be glad you did.
Tel: +30 (22860) 71280
WHERE TO FIND THE BEST BEACHES
Located nearby the harbor at Oia, this beautiful sun bathing spot is visited by trendy Europeans looking for some sun and a refreshing dip from the summer heat. You’ll swim by a gigantic rock, where you’ll find European twenty-somethings jumping into the water and laying on rocks nearby away from the crowds.
The Red Beach at Akrotiri
Apart from the stunning views, the rocky beach reveals the island’s natural beauty and crystal clear Mediterranean water. Although the beach is typically crowded, get there early to get under an umbrella. You’ll want to spend a few hours people watching, soaking up the sun, and the attractive European bodies patrolling around the water.
Marked by black sand and small huts, this beach offers a different landscape than the Caldera. You’ll be amazed by the crystal water and the affordable, lively, traditional Greek restaurants stretching across the beach.
WHERE TO STAY
These charming villas built into the island’s expansive cliffs offer splendid views of the Caldera and balance the right amount of style, beauty, and simplicity. Located in Oia’s enchanting, small village, the villas are based in a great location and offer tranquility and a break from the warm summer heat in a comfortable environment.
Tel: +30 (22860) 71287
Another excellent option in Oia, Zoe Houses combines luxury and comfort in traditional Greek villas. Also built into the rock of Santorini’s large cliffs, these villas have impressive views of the Mediterranean and boast kitchen facilities in their luxurious private suites.
Tel: +30 (22860) 71466
Lauda’s lavish accommodation stylishly interweaves comfort and decadence in their exceptionally-designed rooms. Built into the the island’s cliffs in Oia, these rooms interestingly have a distinct cave-like feel while also boasting beautiful decor and style. The Hotel also offers a swimming pool overlooking the Caldera and, another bonus, the rooms are reasonably priced.
Tel: +30 (22860) 71204