Santorini, also known as Thira, is an island in the Aegean Sea located southeast of Greece’s mainland. The island was formed after a massive volcanic eruption around 3,500 years ago, which created the iconic crescent-shaped caldera that makes Santorini one of the most unique destinations in the world.
Santorini is a popular tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors every year. However, beyond the coastal towns, resorts, and Instagram-famous sunsets, there is so much more to discover in Santorini. Exploring the island’s hidden gems and indulging in its local cuisine will allow you to embrace the authenticity of Santorini.
Hidden Gems in Santorini
1. Akrotiri Archaeological Site
Akrotiri Archaeological Site is a must-visit destination for history lovers. The site was discovered in the late 1960s and was found to have been preserved by volcanic ash from the massive eruption that occurred around 3,500 years ago. The site features ancient buildings, pottery, and frescoes that offer a glimpse of life in Santorini during the Bronze Age.
2. Pyrgos Village
Pyrgos is a picturesque village located in the heart of Santorini. The village is characterized by its narrow alleyways, traditional houses, and Byzantine churches. Pyrgos is also home to one of the highest points on the island, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.
3. Mesa Gonia Village
Mesa Gonia is a hidden gem, located in the center of Santorini. The village is scattered with old churches, abandoned mansions, and traditional homes with blue domed roofs. The village is also famous for its wineries and the traditional Santorinian wines.
4. Megalochori Village
Megalochori is a traditional village known for its charming houses, churches, and narrow alleys. The village is also home to the famous Boutari Winery, where visitors can sample some of Santorini’s delicious wines.
5. Vlychada Beach
Vlychada Beach is a hidden gem located on the southern end of Santorini. The beach is characterized by its unique landscape of white rocky formations, which are a result of the volcanic activity that shaped the island’s coastline. The beach is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and photography.
Local Cuisine in Santorini
Santorini’s cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean flavors with a strong emphasis on local ingredients. Here are some of the must-try dishes in Santorini:
Fava is a traditional Santorinian dish made from yellow split peas. It is usually served as a dip or spread, accompanied by bread or pita.
2. Tomato Fritters
Tomato fritters are a popular appetizer in Santorini. They are made from a mixture of tomato, onion, flour, and herbs, and are usually served with a side of tzatziki sauce.
3. Greek Salad
Greek salad is a staple dish in Santorini, made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta cheese, and olives, topped with olive oil and oregano.
4. Santorinian Wine
Santorini’s unique terroir produces some of the best wines in the world, which are made from indigenous grape varieties such as Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani. A visit to a Santorinian winery is a must for wine lovers visiting the island.
1. What is the best time to visit Santorini?
The best time to visit Santorini is from mid-April to early November when the weather is warm and sunny. However, peak tourism season occurs between July and August, which can make the island very crowded.
2. How can I get to Santorini?
Santorini can be reached by ferry or plane. The island has a small airport with flights from Athens and other major European cities. The ferry is another popular option, with frequent connections from nearby islands and mainland Greece.
3. What is the local currency in Santorini?
The local currency in Santorini is the Euro (€).
4. Is Santorini expensive?
Santorini can be expensive, especially during peak tourism season. However, there are ways to save money such as staying in budget accommodations and eating at local tavernas instead of upscale restaurants.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Santorini
1. Oia Village
2. Red Beach
3. Skaros Rock
4. Sunset in Santorini
5. Santo Winery
6. Amoudi Bay
7. Kamari Beach
8. Perissa Beach
9. Ancient Thira
10. The Church of Panagia Episkopi
In conclusion, if you want to embrace the authenticity of Santorini, make sure to visit its hidden gems, indulge in its local cuisine, and explore beyond the tourist hotspots. Santorini is a stunning island with a rich history, fascinating culture and unparalleled beauty.