Essential Guide to Santorini: Don't Ride The Donkeys!

December 5, 2014

An island we love so much that you can literally make a count out of how many times we call it beautiful! Nestled in the Southern Agean, sunny Santorini has been a tourist hotspot for years, but it definitely doesn’t lack that rustic feel. Beautiful buildings and strong traditions can be found everywhere so it won’t take you long to get a nice slice of culture! But for the very best Santorini has to offer, these are the sights we recommend…

The Balcony to the Agean – Imerovigli

Known as the “Balcony to the Agean” the village of Imerovigli has beautiful views of the sea and gorgeous architecture. Honestly, the trip to the village is worth it just to see the gorgeous water alone, but then there’s also many churches, built in the classic Cycladic style, with stand-outs like the Monastery of Saint Nikolaos. With only 470 residents in Imerovigli you’ll really get the feel of the quaint, peaceful life during your visit. For reference, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic holds nearly 10 times more people than that!


Take a swim in the Agean – Perissa

Now you’ve seen how good the sea can look from Imerovigli, time to take a dip in it visiting Perissa! Perissa is another beautiful little village, but this time it’s well known for some beautiful beaches just waiting to have you lounge upon them, after taking a dip in the Agean, of course! Not a fan of the beach? Well hold on, there’s still plenty more Santorini has to offer…

Sun chairs and umbrellas on a black sand beach in Greece.

Don’t ride the donkeys!


It’s a bit of a tradition, but it’s also strongly frowned upon! Once upon a time a donkey ride was the most convenient way of travelling up to Santorini, but these days there’s a cable car that’ll take you up the hill in only a few minutes. Donkeys are sometimes subject to mistreatment or even animal abuse, so it’s in everyone’s interest to leave the donkeys alone and either hoof it (Get it? Hoof?) yourself up around 600 (six hundred!) steps, or shell out a few euros to take a short cable car ride. We recommend the cable car, at least the cable car doesn’t smell, is more comfortable and riding a donkey is hardly the most fashionable kind of transportation…

Cable car from Santorini, Greece

A mini Pompeii? – Akrotiri

Santorini isn’t just defined by beautiful beaches and glorious weather – there’s a lot of history and culture on this little island! Akrotiri is possibly the very best example of this – a Bronze Age settlement, it was laid to ruin during the Theran eruption in about 1627 BCE and buried in volcanic ash. Luckily, the volcanic ash preserved many of the artefacts and artwork incredibly well. Would you like to see some of them? Well, you can!


Museum of Prehistoric Thera

Located in Fira, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera contains many of the ancient artefacts from various excavations across Santorini, and of course is a fabulous place to soak up some culture and history. Many artefacts here are centuries, if not thousands of years old, with the history of Akrotiri going back to 3300 BCE. If you’re interested in learning and not just observing, this is arguably the best place in all of Santorini. We recommend the painting of the Blue Monkeys from 17th Century BCE.


Like you need another excuse – have a glass of wine!

You’re on holiday – do you need a reason to have a glass of wine? We certainly don’t think so! But just in case you’re in need of an excuse, did you know that Santorini is home to a small but flourishing wine industry? The pride of the island is the Vinsanto (Italian for ‘holy wine’), a dessert wine known for a sweet and strong flavour. Local white wines are extremely dry with a strong citrus scent. Grapes grow well on the island thanks to fertile soil, helped by the ancient volcanic ash. Look out for the grape variety Assyrtiko, referred to the “Chablis of Greece”, it’s grown natively on the island and has placed well in multiple wine awards. Now we definitely need a drink…


Boat ride around the bay

Recommended to us by some real cruisers who did exactly the same! Quite possibly the best way to see the island is a boat ride around the bay. Seeing the island in this light truly makes you appreciate how beautiful the entire island is, with colourful rooftops and bright buildings glimmering in the sun as you sail past them – this should be high on the list of every visitor to Santorini!


The Best Sunset in the World

What a few members of our cruise community have called the best sunset in the world! A perfect way to end the day in Santorini? There’s only one way to do it, and that’s to watch the sun turn the sky into gorgeous shades of orange and red before disappearing over the horizon. The best place to see one of the most marvellous vistas to bless the seas is just atop the steps entering Santorini. Truly the island’s residents are blessed to see this incredible view pretty much every day…

Image shows a spectacular sunset in the village of Oia, Santorini, Greece

That’s Santorini, a beaut of an island with a lot to offer wine aficionados, culture lovers, history buffs and beach fans. Santorini is a jewel in the Agean, one you would be foolish to miss!

Beautiful count: 8