My top 12 Things to Do in Santorini
(because I couldn't narrow it down to 10)
- Ride a Mule up the stairs (Take the cable car down, trusssst me)
- Dine at a restaurant at sunset on the romantic cliff face in Thira. I fervently recommend Rastoni (greek/italian style restaurant).
- Tour the Volcanoes (I didn't get to, but you should!)
- Walk the winding, hilly streets of Thira and purposefully let yourself get lost
- Wander into a bakery and try 5-7 things that look unfamiliar
- Get some Frozen Greek Yogurt! (tart/original with strawberries and choco chips is my fav)
- Eat a Gyro (Souvlaki) with Tziki Every. Day. (don't skip the chips!) I HIGHLY recommend you search out and find Lucky's Souvlaki!
- For the alchy's of the group: Toast a shot to me at Tropical bar for my excellent recommendations :)
- Check out a Wine Tasting at Santo Wines and pick up a bottle for later
- Spend the day at the Black Sand Beach (or Red - but watch for rock slide warnings) - Or see the ancient city of Atroki they uncovered (archeological dig) if the beach isn't your thing and you're more into history
- Visit Oia! (Truly Breathtaking - Catching a sunset here is a must!) You can also visit the Atlantis bookshop while you're here (if you're a book nerd like me - really neat little store)
- Aquire a minimum of 3 bags of SANTO NUTS (personal favorite is the caramel with sesame seeds)
- First bag you'll tear through immediately
- Second bag you'll munch on later
- Third bag you'll want to bring home to share with friends how amazing they are!
Ahh Fira (Thira to the non-Greeks). What fond memories I carry for this city. Our first night we were treated to a dinner at a restaurant right on the cliff face. We stayed a little closer to the city than the beach at this stop. Particularly at a hotel (The Hotel New Haroula) that resided at the bottom of a very very very steep hillside. (Pulled a calf muscle not walking properly - or too much! - up this incline). This place really was lovely though. The way up to town was a direct shot over uneven cobbles (no stairs - so steady yourself).
Heels NOT recommended in the capital of Santorini, ladies! (I saw many struggling and one take a tumble)
Even if the way up was the hardest part, the city was just a windy up, down, around all sort of maze. I loved the maze though. I remember Stacey, Mariah, and Mike and I just wandered the streets without direction on purpose - just to get a little lost and find our way back (it's not that hard to - up was the cliff face and ocean, down was pretty much the way home).
Fira also had a great nightlife with little pubs scattered about. We particularly enjoyed Tropical - right up on the cliffside - I believe and Aussie owns it. It's small but great drinks and GREAT music. I also enjoyed Murphey's, which was a little closer to the hotel in town, with an upstairs and downstairs area. I recommend going downstairs, there was a pool table and darts and it was way less crowded than upstairs.
Ride a Mule (technically not a Donkey)
The best experience by far had to be the epic mule ride up the famous hillside in Santorini. Our tour manager recommended only riding the mules up as riding them down was quite the terrifying venture - the mules basically hurdle down the winding stairs at top-mule speed. So of course, up was the much slower, enjoyable pace. You'll also want to avoid walking down the stairs as the mule traffic is quite abundant, you'll probably just be up against the wall hoping they don't run into you the entire time. They have no fear of humans. If you are walking down the stairs and you are in their path, they will walk right up to you and stop nose to nose until you move out of their way.
So yes, word of caution if you aren't taking the cable car down - stay out of the mule's way (especially in shady paths - it's their favorite) and watch your step for left behind bowel contents.
Lastly, if you're take a selfie with one - watch where you put your feet. While standing next to a mule, my friend Mariah's foot was stepped on (not on purpose) and her foot was swollen and black and blue for days! Regardless, this experience was worth every penny and actually was really inexpensive to do. Only 5 euros.
Oia was another favorite activity of mine. We all were able to find a really nice spot with some wine and snacks and watch the sunset over the water. My regret is not getting to spend more time in Oia exploring the tight, winding streets and discovering different shops and trades. We stumbled into a crystal shop that was really fun and unique experience and also the Atlantis bookshop is fun to see with your own eyes and maybe grab a souvie for the book nerd at home (or yourself!) Don't forget to stock up on Santo Nuts while you're here.