The cold winter is almost over! If you are planning to visit Santorini island this days, be prepared for an amazing weekend! Santorini, also known as Thira is a beautiful Greek island located in the Aegean Sea. It is one of Greece’s most charming island and it is known for its gorgeous views, remarkable sloping hillsides, spectacular sunsets, blue-domed churches and quintessential Greek towns and villages.
This weekend is the end of Carnival season in Greece. Carnival is a feast of great parties that takes place all over the country with masquerades, dancing and music. In every corner of the island you’ll find a party that can last until early morning! On Monday is Kathara Deftera or Clean Monday as Greeks named this day, is a day of joy and more tranquil celebrations. The locals head for the nearby beaches or countryside in the morning, where they fly colourful kites to the sky. At noon, they gather in the village centre to share the traditional meal of the day like lagana, taramosalata, seafood, beans and other fasting delicacies.
Why you should Rent a Car in Santorini?
Renting a car in Santorini is one of the best ways to see as much as possible. We highly recommend renting a car in Santorini to have the freedom to explore at your own pace and discover everything the island had to offer. Regardless of the public transportation for a village or a beach, you’ll never pass up an opportunity to explore the island by car. There’s nothing better than walking out your room and putting keys into the ignition whenever you feel like it, with any anxiety!
This time of the year the traffic in the roads are non-existent and you can easy drive around the island. There is one major road that runs the length of Santorini and most of the beaches and towns are fairly easily accessible. There are also many free public lots so parking is rarely an issue. Take it slow and expect everyone to pass you, regardless of whether or not it is safe. If you find yourself head-on with a tour bus, pull as far off to the side as you can, tuck in your side view mirrors, and trust that the bus drivers know what they’re doing.
Where you should go?
Oia, the first settlement to be preserved (1976), is without a doubt one of the most photographed places in Greece. Its sunset has been a source of inspiration to inexperienced artists, and its streets work like magnets inviting you to get lost in their well-kept secrets. Oia, which is about 40 minutes drive from Fira, will amaze you because it is truly irresistible. The main road divides it into two areas: one, facing the caldera, has impressive cave buildings, the other adorned by captain houses. Do not miss the 214 steps that separate Oia from the picturesque Ammoudi, where you will enjoy guaranteed fresh fish. Also in Oia is the Maritime Museum, which is worth your visit.
Located 12 km from Oia, the bustling Fira, the capital of Santorini, is one of the must-see stops on the island. About 260 meters above sea level, they seem to be wearing their whites and climbing the cliff, to the delight of every visitor. Fira’s unique location on the caldera offers breathtaking views of Nea and Old Kameni. Crowds flock to the densely populated area of Fira at all times of the day, while numerous businesses operating in the straits of the island’s capital attract visitors of varied interests and of all ages. Your stroll will start from Theotokopoulo’s main square with the many café bars, while a little further down a street full of luxury jewellers is spreading in front of you, promising ‘diamond’ experiences!
Indulge yourself in the charm of the beautiful straits of Fira and let your gaze wander the calming beauty of the caldera. In Fira you can visit the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, the Gyzi Palace and the Santozeum. To get the most out of Fira, you can climb the 588 steps of the Old Santorini port. An alternative is the cable car, which runs daily every 20 minutes, from 07:00 until 22:20. Tradition lovers can make the ride to and from the Old Harbor Kavala in donkeys! You will enjoy magnificent views of Fira from Budi, where many interesting events take place every summer. There is municipal parking in the area of Fira.
You can reach Firostefani from Fira by following the caldera “eyebrow” and covering a distance of about 10 minutes on foot. Firostefani, is the favourite stop of every visitor on the island. The view of the caldera is simply unbeatable. With the cliff being so steep that many times your heart will beat harder. In Firostefani you will find several noteworthy food suggestions, in restaurants and taverns with relaxing atmosphere. On the way to Imerovigli you will find the monastery of Agios Nikolaos, built in 1651 by the Gyzi family.
Imerovigli occupies the most privileged position and enjoys the most breathtaking views of the caldera and Thirassia. It is renowned for its luxurious hotels that offer their guests a ‘natural balcony’ in the caldera, a tranquil atmosphere and super relaxing scenery. Every restaurant in the main square gives you the opportunity to write the perfect epilogue of your day, introducing you to the best of Santorini gastronomy and authentic Greek hospitality. Visit the Church of Our Lady of Malta with the imposing wood-carved iconostasis and icon of the Virgin, said to have been found in Malta.
Within 10 minutes of Fira is one of the most peaceful and beautiful diamonds on the island. Megalochori is a traditional small village that will steal your heart with its unique aesthetics. Here everything seems to have come out of the painting. While respect for tradition seems to impose absolute peace on every corner. The village is knowed for its close relationship with wine. Here are the famous Boutaris and Gavalas wineries, the tranquillity and quality businesses. You can visit it either in the morning or in the afternoon or even in the evening. Walking up to the main square, admiring the impressive bell towers of the churches and strolling through its alleys.