Most people’s first thought when they think of Santorini is the picture-perfect white houses with the iconic blue rooves that blur seamlessly into the sea and sky. These nautical splashes of colour against the shimmering sea and jagged cliffs mean you won’t want to put your phone down for wanting to capture it all. The island, formed from a caldera (volcano crater) and the aesthetic half-moon shaped bay is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands that Greece has to offer. The intricate little lanes that wind round the cobbled streets are home to some of the best hidden gems that you may just stumble across. However, here are a few of the places that you simply can’t miss out on.
If you’re familiar with Nikki Beach Dubai you’ll love it’s sister club in Santorini. Reopening on the 27th May for a new season, the first and original beach club concept is set to wow you in every way. From the beach chic elegance to the dedicated art spaces that line the walls, the interiors at Nikki will pull you into its infectious concept.
Since 1988 Nikki Beach have been combining their love of music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film and art, the Santorini location is the epitome of these. While you swim up to the pool bar (the largest pool on the island) and soak up the Agean coastline, a global resident DJ will be curating beats along with live percussionists to amp up the ambience.
The entertainment doesn’t end there, the legendary live performers and aerialists will add some sizzle to your sundowner. The farm-to-table culinary experience will boast all the flavours of their worldwide locations including extensive sushi and raw bar menu.
Appropriately characterised as ‘Gastronomy by the sea’, Yalos claims to give you the ultimate rustic Mediterranean experience. The mouth-watering menu boasts authentic flavours from the island, with the catch of the day hand delivered by the resident fishermen to the fresh, locally sourced cheese.
To help you take in the bohemian surroundings, have one of the expert mixologists concoct a cocktail to your mood or try the famous “Katsouni” (Santorinian cucumber). The upcycled sofas which have been restored and transformed from boats that used to sail the blue Agean sea will leave you with an unforgettable dining experience. Lap up the Mediterranean sun from your private cabana with the help of the lulling beats of the DJ which will add to the sparkling atmosphere. Info: https://www.yalos-santori
Located on an open beach front space, Chefs Tassos Bacharidis and his business partner Maria Christofidou, remix classic Santorini flavours with their own personal style creating a new genre of food – Cosmo Mediterranean.
They will take you on a ‘journey through the senses’ from the uninterrupted views of the black volcanic beach and beyond to the oyster and champagne bar.
The setting for this restaurant, as the name suggests, is a delight for any time of day but especially for sundowners.
The golden hour gives a regal glow to the red cliffs in which the restaurant is hidden under, although the 300 steps to get down may be challenging, the end result is well worth it. While the location of this tavern is reason alone to visit, the array of fresh seafood options is every foodie’s heaven. Famous for its lobster pasta, made with a top-secret recipe, it’s a dish that truly embodies the spirit of Santorini. The magical sounds of waves lapping the old port, whilst you sip on your delicately selected wine really does take dining on the water’s edge to a whole new level. Info: https://www.sunset-ammoudi.gr/
Many people don’t know that due to Santorini’s unique volcanic minerals it actually makes some of the best, full-bodied wines in Greece. Assyrtiko is by far the most popular, a unique tasting wine accentuated from the acidic compounds in which the grape was grown.
From small group tours to private sunset tastings, the island can cater for all your grape needs. If you’re looking for a winery with a view, Santo Wines in Pyrgos has breath-taking views over the caldera and cliffs. Santo’s house a variety of wines from white, red, sparkling, oak-aged and unoaked, and Vinsanto dessert wine.
If you want to experience Santorini from a different viewpoint there is no better way than to take to the Agean sea. Set sail on a majestic catamaran through the Greek azure and literally chase the sunset. Most boat trips will offer you the chance to take a dip in the crystal-clear waters and go snorkelling to the red and black beaches.
For the most magical sunset experience, Oia and in particular Oia castle is the place that comes to mind. As it is one of the best spots to watch the sunset it does tend to attract crowds in their hundreds. If you want to avoid this, instead of heading up to the castle, head towards the lower levels and you will be sure to find your own secret, secluded spot.
Fira : Blue dome churches
This place is known for the ‘three bells of Fira’, one of the signature viewpoints in Santorini. If you’re after a quieter sunset then this is the place for you. As you look out onto the sunset, you will be able to watch the sun slowly drop behind the church bells with no distractions. The pristine, white building creates a crisp focal point and emphasises the colours of the everchanging skyline, all the while capturing a certain simplicity to the normally busy event.
Franco’s is the perfect chillout bar with spectacular views for miles. The classical music isn’t everyone’s vibe, however it may surprise you and for most it will whisk you away from the town centres’ crowds to a place where the stillness can be enjoyed. If there is a slight chill in the air you can nestle down into a blanket with glass of sangria and nibble on some rustic bread and Greek olives to fully soak up the romantic atmosphere.