A Guide to Santorini & to its Picture Perfect Spots
Greece is composed of over 1300 islands and Santorini is one of the most popular. For a good reason. This idyllic island is the perfect representation of the Cyclades. It’s recognisable especially for its charming white & blue houses, narrow streets and awe-inspiring views. Without a doubt, Oia is the the most impressive and popular place on the island. However, we are here to tell you that there is way more to this idyllic destination. Embark on a journey to discover the lovely village of Pyrgos or get lost in the tiny streets of Imerovigli. Santorini is definitely a dream destination. In this article, you will find a guide to Santorini with the best picture spots & towns to visit & photograph to create memories of a lifetime.
- Ammoudi Bay
- How to get to Santorini
- When is the best to visit Santorini
- Santorini & Covid regulations
- Where to eat
- Where to stay
A lot of people only think of Fira as an arrival and departure point. We think it’s a shame, the views of the caldera are truly breathtaking and the city offers a variety of accommodation and gastronomy choices. If you’d like to visit Santorini on a budget, we highly recommend you to check out Fira with its great, budget friendly hotels and also cool picture spots. We stayed in the beautiful Loizos Stylish Residences for 45 EUR/night and in Galatia Villas for 26 EUR/night. We can highly recommend both places.
Fira is also a good spot to base yourself for the first days. You can rent a scooter or a quad here and explore nearby places. From Fira, it’s a 15 min drive to Imerovigli or Pyrgos, and 20 min to Oia and the port. In the centre, you can also find a taxi stand where for 20 EUR, drivers will take you to the airport.
Having a scooter in Santorini is a must for anyone who plans to see a bit more of the island than just one village. We rented a scooter at Theoni’s Car Moto & ATV and can highly recommend his services. Theoni is a cool and easy going guy, who’s also trustworthy and helpful. When we got a flat tire in our scooter going to dinner around 8:30 PM, Theoni came within 15 minutes with a new scooter to replace ours and took care of the trouble at no extra cost. He also allowed us to leave our bags in his shop for a whole afternoon on the day of our departure. Thx again Theoni!
Scooter rental costs 15 EUR per day off season and 18 EUR per day in the high season. You will get discount if you rent for 2 or more days!
Picture spots in Fira
The most beautiful part of Fira is the path with caldera views. You will pass stunning blue dome churches and picturesque panorama.
Imerovigli is more quiet than Oia, yet equally beautiful. Here you will find some of the most luxurious hotels on the island. There are 3 main picture spots in Imerovigli (not counting the hotel you plan to stay at). What is worth mentioning is that the streets of Santorini’s towns are more like paths and it is impossible to miss the recognisable locations. The places are relatively small and it’s very easy to find the locations.
Picture spots in Imerovigli – Santorini
The spot on a small rooftop with a beautiful blue dome church in the background is located here.
The spot with pink tree and blue dome is here.
Skaros Rock & the sunset church
This is our absolute favourite place and picture spots in Santorini. We originally thought this spot was located in Oia, but luckily we discovered its exact position. Theoskepasti Church is located BEHIND the Skaros Rock and it’s not visible from the town. It’s unique “hidden” location makes it less visited by tourists and there is a good chance you will have the whole place to yourself. It requires a good 30 min hike and countless stairs up & down. It’s not too tiring (if you are in a decent shape), but be prepared for a little work out. You will be walking down from Imerovigli all the way to Skaros Rock, and still won’t see the church.. But worry not! Soon enough your efforts will be rewarded by the astonishing view as you reach the last turns.. 🤗
A small, unique village in the center of Santorini. Often overlooked by tourists. It’s worth to spend at least an afternoon here and experience the local life. The streets are small and beautiful. Climb up to the church and the remains of the castle and wander around. Stop for lunch at Franco’s and try our greek cuisine.
↬ Note : Climbing on most rooftops it’s not allowed in Santorini. If there are no forbidding signs it’s acceptable, but you should always take precautions and respect private properties.
To reach Ammoudi Bay you can either drive all the way around Oia, or walk a beautiful 30min long path. There are few restaurants here which serve the best seafood on the island. The vibe of this spot in truly unique and you should not miss it while in Santorini.
Behind Ammoundi Bay there’s also a perfect spot to swim and enjoy warm Mediterranean waters. There isn’t a beach, but some red rocks you can jump from and relax on. Nothing feels as good as a refreshing swim after a long, hot day.
We save the best for last 🥳 Oia is definitely the key place to visit in Santorini. The most recognisable town with its perfectly white buildings and blue church domes, magical sunsets and unique hotels. Oia is best explored simply wandering around and getting lost in the small streets. Oia is relatively small, just as all Santorini towns and you can see it all within one afternoon. If you stay for longer you will find yourself walking the same paths, but let’s be honest: those place can never get boring.
Picture spots in Oia – Santorini
The most popular picture spots in Santorini are located along the main street of Oia. You have to start early if you want to avoid crowds and get beautiful captures. We recommend you to start in the morning shooting at the Kastro House and make your way back towards the centre. Usually people do the other way around- this will most likely guarantee you will be alone for your pictures. Below you will find the order of picture spots we recommend shooting in : from sunrise to sunset. Each location has the exact GPS coordinates you can save in Google Maps.
↬ TIP : When you come across cords or little gates blocking some paths, it doesn’t mean the entrance is forbidden. It’s just a way for locals to keep people out of those popular spots. However, if you ever come across a sign that forbids you to enter or step on a roof, please respect it. Some of those places are private properties.
La Perla Villas & Spa (or your hotel)
It’s one of the spots where stepping on the roof is allowed.
After this picture take a break and relax at your hotel or visit another town for the rest of the morning & afternoon.
Start shooting again around 2 h before the sunset. The light will be softer and even if this time you won’t avoid the crowds, you will get really beautiful pictures.
Those picture spots offer great views over Oia and Santorini, but will get extremely crowded daily for sunset as there is rather small place.
How to get to Santorini
Santorini has an international airport with direct connections from many European cities. Check Skyscanner for the best flight deals. To lower the cost of your trip, you can choose to fly first to Athens and from there take another 50 min flight to Santorini.
↬ TIP : For our trip we found incredible flight deal from Paris to Santorini with Ryanair. It was longer and not so comfortable, but it cost us roughly 28 EUR each! We flew from Paris to Dublin (Ireland), had a 3h layover and then flew directly to Santorini.
Since flying can be expensive, especially in the high season, many people choose to take a ferry to Santorini instead. From Athens, there are few ferries departing everyday and you can check the schedule here. The fast ferries are much more pricey, so if you are not in a rush, consider taking the longer ones.
Traveling between the islands
The best way to travel between the islands is by ferry. Depending on how fast the ferry will go, the price will be higher or lower. For example a ferry between Santorini and Milos can cost 57 EUR and take 1h40min to travel. Or 15 EUR, but take 5h to travel. Check the ferry schedule and prices here.
Best time to visit
Without a doubt we say best time to visit Santorini is in Autumn! Late September and October must be the most ideal months in the year. Why? The temperatures are still very high, but not too hot (it’s around 30 degrees). The Mediterranean Sea is extremely warm and pleasant to swim in at that time of the year : it’s warmed up after long summer time. There are way fewer people : Santorini and Greece in general are one of the most visited countries between June to August. In autumn, you will find a fraction of the crowd. And lastly : as October is considered low season the prices of hotels and restaurant decreased significantly. You can travel on a much smaller budget!
Some might say that spring will be equally good. And it’s true. With one difference. In April/May the sea is still very cold after the winter and swimming might not be as pleasant then.
Traveling to Greece in 2021 – Covid regulations
Currently (as of April 2021), only residents from the European Union, along with travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates may enter Greece—and all of them must enter quarantine for seven days upon arrival. Negative test results are required and must be taken with 72 hours of departure (excluding children under 10). Travellers must also fill out ahead of time a Passenger Locator Form.
However, the Tourism Ministry of Greece announced a plan to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions and as well as some domestic regulations. It is said that people who are vaccinated against COVID-19, have antibodies or test negative will be able to travel to Greece in time for its summer season. The specifics have not been announced yet, but 14th of May looks like a believable date from which tourists will be able to enter Greece without isolation upon arrival.
Even with borders opening some of the regulations will remain. Please check before your trip the current covid restrictions. Remember to look into the return policies to your own country, as well as departure.
Where to eat
in Fira –
- Panigyri Festival Food – we had breakfast here and it was delicious. A beautiful open restaurant with traditional and international dishes. Highly recommend.
- Pelican Kipos cafe and wine restaurant – great place for dinner in the capital.
- Volkan on the Rocks – the coolest restaurant on the island. Why? Apart from the beautiful setting and good food they have an open air movie theatre. We watched ‘Mamma Mia’ musical while enjoying delicious tapas and we highly recommend it! Tickets cost 15 EUR per person and include snacks like tzatziki, pita and olives. Book in advance.
in Oia –
- Skiza Cafe – only for a late, quick lunch when other places are closed. The quality of the food is good enough and the lower prices, compared to Santorini standards, is a big plus.
- Lotza – a small, local restaurant with beautiful views. Good food.
- Karma – off the main street, this restaurant is set in a beautiful garden and serves some of the best food on the island. It’s the perfect spot for a quiet dinner or lunch break.
- Roka – said to be the best restaurant in Santorini we were not disappointed. Every dish was rich in flavour and the portions were large. The service was also very nice and friendly. The entrance is located on the same street as Oia Vineyart (google maps can be slightly misleading). It’s best to book in advance- the tables in high season are reserved weeks in advance.
- Sunset in Ammoudi – perfect place for lunch. A small restaurant in the port, serves fresh fish everyday.
Where to stay
Santorini is one of the most expensive places in Greece. However, you can find a variety of accommodations, even for those traveling on a smaller budget. The prices for hotels vary depending on the location: the most expensive places are in Oia, the cheapest in Fira. If you are traveling on a budget, base yourself in Fira and do day trips to the nearby towns. However, we recommend anyone to spend at least one night in Oia, to wake up and see the sunset from this unique place.
You can find accommodations on booking.com