Santorini is not only the sunsets in Oia, the nights in Fira and those photos with the infinity pools you see on social media. You can discover the secret spots of Santorini in summer 2023 with Santorini tours. The most beautiful of the Cyclades is much, much more. Leave the others to flock to the sunset on the rooftops of Oia, and you go to discover the true heart of Santorini. You can see the secret beaches, and wander in villages that are not Fira and Oia, because Santorini does not only consists of sunsets.
A secret village-jewel, two and a half kilometers outside of Oia, full of colorful cave houses and stone-built cobblestones. If you can’t stand the crowds of Oia, here you will come for the famous sunset. You can also stay here if your budget doesn’t allow for a Caldera view, but you also don’t want to go to the “back” side of the island. A kilometer and a half outside of Finikia, the Sigala Winery is definitely worth a visit
The archaeological site of Santorini which, according to legend, may be all that remains of the mythical Atlantis, is definitely worth a visit, if nothing else to wander the courtyards and streets of a state whose inhabitants built two-story houses in 4500 BC For those who find it difficult to grasp how old 4500 BC is, let’s simply say that fewer years separate Socrates from us than they separate him from them
Two kilometers outside of Fira, the cave village of Karterados is perfect for afternoon walks on its picturesque cobblestone streets, with a view of the endless vineyards that stretch out at your feet. However, it is worth passing by here in the morning, on your way to the beach.
Right next to Mesaria, and just outside Fira, Vothonas is one of Santorini’s most architecturally interesting villages – and that’s a great distinction on an island with so much competition. Built on both sides of a ravine that stretches for 5 kilometers, Vothonas is almost completely caved in and has a fantastic hiking route for sports enthusiasts, which starts from the large church of Panagia in the center of the village and ends to Panagia Sergena, or Hole, carved into the rock above a plateau.
The secret beaches of Santorini
The pebbly Mesa Pigadia with its imposing rocks that resemble those of Vlychada and the cave through which you can pass and find yourself at Aspri Paralia.
Kantharos, accessible only by a path starting from Ammoudi, with its black sand contrasting perfectly with the white rocks behind it Also there is the favorite of the locals, tiny Pori, with its quietness and its fish tavern that always serves fresh fish.
The deserted Kouloumpos, Santorini’s bastion of nudists, with its giant rock providing the much-desired shade during summer afternoons. Fun fact: Kouloumpos is the name of the active crater of the Santorini volcano, located about 500 meters below sea level, a short distance from the beach.
Thermi beach, in which you will also descend from a path, which starts from Megalochori, to find your peace and to dive into the waters of the caldera with a background of black pebbles, red volcanic rocks, geothermal springs (there once were the thermal baths of the island) and the rock-hewn little church of Christ the Thermi. You can take a personalized private tour with us.
Next stop is Red Beach. The landscape at Red Beach is magical and so unique and attractive that I promise when I go to Santorini again to swim in its waters. The beach is not organized and you enter the area at your own risk because of the landslides and because the road is not a well paved dirt road.
If you want to get a taste of what Santorini was like several decades ago, you don’t need to refer to a photo album from the 50s, but simply take the boat and cross over to the small island of Thirasia and its traditional settlement of Manolas which also stands above the steep volcanic rocks of ancient Thira, Strogyli.
Thirasia is located at a short distance (1.4 nautical miles) from the port of Oia, the beautiful Amoudi. From there, boats start that will take you to the small seaside village ofAgia Irini in Thirasia.
After arriving in Riva, you will get on the bus to take you to the village of Manolas, while if you have time and appetite, you can also get off at the village of Potamos, which is an intermediate stop for the bus.
Enjoy the imposing view of Manolas
When you arrive at Manolas we would suggest that you immediately start walking through its narrow streets and initially head to the right of the settlement (as you look towards Santorini) towards its edge from where you will find points with the best views of the unique landscapes of this place.
Where to stay in Santorini
It is better to stay in a beach hotel behind the caldera. Fira and the caldera are only 20 to 30 minutes away by car, while Oia is an additional 20 minutes away. If you are a couple you can rent a motorbike for easy movement, since parking is difficult near the caldera villages.
The island is small, so it’s easy to stay in one area and explore another. Many families with children in order to have better control and comfort, prefer to stay in the coastal areas for hotels, restaurants and activities, because the flat landscape is easier and safer for walks with children or those with strollers as opposed to the steep cliffs of caldera and the endless rows of stairs.