Top 10 Romantic Things to Do in Santorini
I don’t know when or how I got this idea, but I just know I want to be married in Santorini one day. Just have to. The all-white buildings, the volcano cliffs, and the blue Mediterranean ocean all combine to form scenery that is truly out of this world. This postcard-perfect destination has been calling my soul for years, and 30 countries later, I finally got to it! I spent a total of two days in Santorini, which was wayyyyy too short, but I figured I would go back to this island sooner or later (to get married, of course.) And I managed to do A LOT in the 48 hours I was there.
I know a lot of people say Paris is the most romantic city in the world, and I don't disagree. Santorini, though, is definitely the world’s most romantic island. It’s so breathtakingly romantic in a totally different way. You really have to visit to understand its magic.
If you are planning a trip to Santorini or just fantasizing about it, I’ve made a list for you for the top 10 romantic things to do in Santorini, Greece.
1. Dinner on a patio overlooking the caldera
Imagine this: You’re sitting on the edge of a cliff, wine in hand, overlooking the vast blue ocean and the incredible caldera (volcano crater formed by collapse or explosion). As you’re working your way through the appetizers and entrees, the sun slowly descends into the sea, and the sky turns into a large painting of red, yellow, and orange. When the desserts are served, the colors have dissolved into a veil of darkness, adorned with sparkles from the stars and lights within the countless white buildings.
I really had to check myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. That dining experience was priceless. This is my #1 must-do at Santorini. No matter your budget, you HAVE to do this.
The restaurant I went to was Ambrosia, located in the center of Oia. With that view and the food, I’ll say it’s good value for the price.
2. Hunt down blue-domed buildings
The typical postcard or painting of Santorini always feature one or many of those blue dome buildings. I was on a mission to hunt them down while in Santorini. Turned out, that wasn’t too difficult since most of the buildings are located in Oia. However, if you are more adventurous, you can ride around town in a quad bike or ATV (more on that later) and chase down the blue domes to make your own postcard. That was what we did.
Many of the blue-domed buildings are churches, and many are gated so you cannot actually enter. But we managed to find some villages that are less touristy and crowded than Fira or Oia during our “chasing domes” episode. This proves the famous theory of how the most memorable parts of the trip happen before you step foot into your destination.
3. Sunset at Oia
The sunset is beautiful from every corner of Santorini. But Oia, oh my god, the sunset here takes my breath away. Get your cameras ready because you don’t want to miss the best sunset of your life. But also remember to live in the moment and soak it all in.
4. Relax in a pool and take in the view of the ocean
The term “infinity pool” is redefined in Santorini. Many of the hotels come with pools that sit on a cliff and overlook the ocean. If budget allows, you can look a room that comes with a private pool so you can enjoy some romantic time with your boo.
5. Visit a winery with a view
Santorini wine is actually quite well-known. The moisture from the volcano soil combined with the warm temperature makes the island a perfect place to produce wine. You have to try the Vinsanto wine while you’re here.
One of the most popular wineries was Santos Winery, located at Pyrgos. They have this massive patio overlooking the ocean and a bit selection of Greek wine. Visit in the late afternoon to catch the sunset!
6. Sunbake on the black sand beaches
Drop by the Kamari and Perissa beach to get tanned, grab a drink, and enjoy music and sunshine. And yes, the sand is BLACK! From the volcano eruptions. How cool is that?!
7. Rent quad bike(s) & drive around the island
I have an extreme fear of motorcycles. Just the thought of riding on one in high speed while having your body literally next to cars and trucks really freaks me out. So I surprised myself by saying yes to renting that quad bike in Santorini. But let me back up to the beginning……
Before going on the trip, I had a chat with a friend who just came back from Santorini. Since I am a big planner, I had already booked a car for the trip months ahead of time, but she advised me to rent a ATV or quad bike instead. The reasoning is that the island is so tiny, there are some places where there won’t be parking spaces or aren't easily accessible with a car. And you can take in more scenery on an ATV and almost get to all places around the island. At that time, in my head, an ATV looks like a real car, just without windows and doors. So I thought, ok, at least it’s not a motorcycle. When we actually got to Santorini, we asked the hotel to give us options on ATV rentals. In the end we settled on a quad bike. At this point I still didn’t know what a quad bike looked like. So when it arrived at the hotel, I was shocked. It’s basically a luxury motorcycle! Although I was a bit uneasy at first, it turned out to be a good mode of transportation since parking was so easy so we could literally stop anywhere on the island. With that said, it was very scary to drive on the narrow and winding highway at night, when you have mountain on one side, and the ocean on the other. And there were sections with no streetlights. In my head I was thinking, “I’m supposed to get married in Santorini. I DON'T WANT TO NOT DIE IN SANTORINI.”
Obviously, I made it out alive. And I guess it was quite romantic that I had to hold on to my boyfriend (for safety) on that quad bike at all times.
8. Souvenir shopping & donkey rides at Fira
Traveling is not complete without some souvenir shopping. There are so many options at Fira that I was stuck in the town for hours! I’m still regretting that I didn’t get that bracelet that is made with volcano rocks. Oh well. It’s always good to leave some regrets when traveling so you have motivation to go back!
Also, if you’re taking a boat to Fira, you can take the donkey up the steep stairs. Of course, if you think that’s too cruel for the animals, there’s also a cable car that can help transport you.
9. Seafood, Greek Style
It’s no surprise that Santorini would offer good seafood. It is right by the sea, after all. After doing lots of research, I decided to book a table at Selene Restaurant, which is known for serving local cuisine with local produce. The end result? A menu of seafood that is tastefully done. The setting, whether at the patio or inside the restaurant, is also perfect for a romantic date.
10. Stay in a cave house
There is really no excuse to miss your chance to stay in a white-washed cave-style building while you are in Santorini. There are many, many options to choose from – high-end hotels, premium hotels, and even hostels. The price-point really varies depending on the amenities, views, and locations. Most luxury travelers settle on staying at Oia, which is the main town of Santorini with the best view of the caldera and the crowd-favorite dining spots. Fira is also a popular town since it’s slightly more affordable. Fira is also the town that the boats stop at if you’re taking one from Athens or other islands. The hotel I stayed at was in Megalochori, which is on the Southern side of the island. This is also a great choice if you want to stay away from the tourists at Oia and Fira and still get a beautiful view.
Are you planning a trip to Santorini? Are you fantasizing about visiting one day?
Let me know your thoughts!
- Thinking about wearing a vacation dress like this one or this one to Santorini? Great idea for photos, not so good to walk around and sit in quad bikes. I opted for practicality in Santorini since I only had two days, but if you have more time, definitely pack a floor-grazing dress.
- Due to the proximity to ocean, Santorini gets really hot at noon and chilly at night. Make sure to bring a thin cardigan or jacket on you.
- Sunblock is very important, and make sure to reapply during the day! Even with sunblock applied all over, I still got tanned while being completely exposed under the sun for two days.
- Comfortable shoes. Those white pavements look pretty in photos but are killer for your heels. Leave those at your hotel.
- Should you fly or take a boat to Santorini? The shortest boat ride is around 5 hours, which is way too long in my opinion since you basically waste half a day on that boat. And I don't particularly enjoy boat rides. And flying actually costs the same amount money.
- To catch the best sunset, make sure to check out the times on your Weather app so you don’t miss it!
- Book the restaurants early! And put in a request for a table with a great view.
Top: LucyLove (purchased at Nasty Gal)
Shorts: American Eagle
Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim
Flip-flops: Tory Burch
Bikini Set: Victoria's Secret (Similar Here)
Dress: H&M (Similar Here)
Sandals: Steve Madden (Similar Here)
Top: Forever 21 (Similar Here)
Shorts: American Eagle
Belt: B-Low the Belt