Try to stay away from places that are overtly commercial and go to the family run fish taverns located nearby the smaller beaches and communities.
Try Limanaki in Vlihada beach by the new marina.
You can find nice local tavernas (restaurants) which serve excellent food.
The Commercial part of the island is the Caldera with the villages of Thira, Imerovigli, Firostefani and Oia.
Oia is perched so far above the sea like a painting. It is like three islands. And exactly it is here in this part which is the most commercial of all and is completely dependent on it's image to attract the visitors.
You will be impressed with the beauty of these towns. You will carry these pictures with you throughout your lifetime!
See some beautiful photos I have taken!
We refer to SANTORINI as one island, but actually it is a complex of five islands. Santorini (Thira) is the main island and around it Thirasia and Aspronisi (parts of the ancient Stroggili) and the two volcanic islands Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni.
It was one island named Stroggili (circle in Greek) until about 1645 BC, when the volcano in the middle of the island erupted and Caldera was created. The two volcanic islands appeared much later from various eruptions starting from 157 BC until the last one in the 20th century (1950).
Fondest memory: I was dreaming of this island every night for weeks after the trip was over.
It can never be forgotten, and I am planning to visit it again soon.
The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.
Here are some useful phone numbers that you might need while in Greece:
Forest fire: 191
Coast guard emergency intervention: 108
Counter- narcotics immediate intervention: 109
Greek street signs can be confusing at the best of times especially when you are looking for a specific street for which you only have a Latin transliteration. Santorini manages to deftly avoid such confusions simply by not having names for streets.
If you want to find a specific hotel or restaurant etc you need to know where it is in relation to some landmark or well-known building. Thus, for instance, the "address" I was given for my first hotel was simply the hotel's name and location in regards to the main square - "Markakis - 150m down the side street heading away from the caldera, where the mini-supermarket is"!!
I can imagine it being a bit of a nightmare on your first day in your new job as the postman!
There are several cafes and bars that provide free WiFi if you have your own machine - one such is Cafe Classico, overlooking the caldera. But if you are travelling machineless the best Internet Cafe in the town is this one. I don't know its name but the machines are up-to-date, it's not expensive, connection is good and coffee excellent.
Friendly multi-lingual staff are a double-plus benefit!
This is pretty much centrally-located on the town's mini square.
Santorini, is a group of islands, as follows:
:: Thera, which is the biggest, 75.8 km2, 7000 habitants
:: Therasia, 9.3 km2, 250 habitants
:: Aspronisi, 0.1 km2, uninhabited
:: Palea Kameni, 0.5 km2, 1 habitant
:: Nea Kameni, 3.4 km2, uninhabited; still active, its last eruption was in 1950.
Some important villages of Santorini
:: Fira, 10 km from the main port, Athinaios, Fira has cca. 1.600 constant inhabitants.
:: Karterados, next to Fira south, with a lot of hotels, eateries and shops.
:: Imerovigli & Firostefani, 2 km north from Fira. Actually, it is the extension of Fira but the village is situated on a higher cliff.
:: Oia, 11 km north from Fira, pronounced 'Ia', is world known for its quite life and fantastic sunset and it is obviously the most beautiful and picturesque village of Santorini.
:: Perissa, 8 km south east of Fira, farming village with production and storage of wine.
:: Akrotiri, 8 km south from Fira, next to famous Red beach and the most important archaeological site.
:: Pyrgos, 4.5 km south east of Fira, there are tavernas, and the usual tourist style shops.
:: Mesa & Exo Gonia, 8 km south east of Fira, farming villages with production of wine.
:: Emporio, South part of the island; with old windmills on the hillside.
Sometimes I took a pleasant stroll from Fira to Imerovigli. Between these two places there is another village; Phirostephani.
Once you are in Imerovigli you will notice a huge rock in the sea. Its name is Skaros. There is a small church on it. Once I went to that church and it was quite a tiring walk.
Favorite thing: The 10 minute walk to Fira from our accommodation at Firostefani often took a half hour or longer. There was so much to see either side of the walking pathh, much of the time beautiful calder views, local homes and apartments on the cliffside, interesting local shops, churches and people from all over the world.
Favorite thing: Before the big heartquake in 1956 destroyed a big part of the villages, mostly of the houses were carved in the vulcanic stone. Now almost every house is new but here and there you can still see some parts of the old style houses.
Favorite thing: Driving around the island you can see the different kind of lava that shaped the ground in the past. The most present is black lava, red lava and green lava. It is very interesting to see how the ground color chages.
Santorini island is known for the very good wine they product.
Local grapes provide strong and tasty wine, the soil is very dry even if fertile because the volcano and give a typical taste to the wine.
The main types of wine produced in Santorini are:
Brusko - Red / dry / strong
Nichteri - White / dry / strong
Vissando - Red / sweet / extremely strong (looks and tastes like liqueur)
Fondest memory: The grapes tree grow in a very interesting shape, almost laying on the ground to protect themself from the UV ray and the strong wind.
I went to Santorini last summer in July and it was pretty packed. There are a ton of people walking around all day and night, especially in the more popular parts of the island. We decided to book a room ahead of time, and to be honest it seemed like there were definitely rooms available even with all the people there.
I remember specifically that each time we got off a ferry for a different island, there were various people waiting for the passengers, offering them rooms, cars, etc. during their stay.
While I felt more comfortable having booked a room ahead of time, I wouldn't say it was absolutely necessary, but here is the agency we booked through last year - their service is excellent and I'm sure they will be able to answer any questions you have regarding the need to book your hotels ahead of time.
Fondest memory: Santorini had some of the best sunsets I've ever seen - head up to Fira early in the afternoon, have some lunch, walk up as high as you can, and enjoy.
Favorite thing: Above Thirasia as we sailed out towards Oia we noticed the almost human/lion face in the rock - has this been carved or natural?? The needle formation of the rocks just before reminded me a little of the Dolomites.
Fondest memory: The island is famous for its sunsets. They are indeed gorgeous. Depending on the weather conditions the sunsets differ from day to day. So if you are staying at the Caldera side of the island you can enjoy the sunsets day after day in another light.
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