2 Sunsets In Santorini: How To Make The Most Out Of Two Days in Santorini
I’ve been travelling for a while now.
I’ve been to nine different countries, seen countless museums, castles and historic buildings. After so much travel that bright-eyed wonder you had when you first begun starts to wear off. It’s still amazing, yet you lack the awe you had when you first started. But not with Santorini. There’s nothing like the Greek Islands to make you feel reinvigorated.
When you’re waiting to exit the ferry, that ramp comes down excruciatingly slowly. But then you see it. The dark volcanic rock that towers out of the sea, with a dusting of those iconic white houses. And let me tell you, the sea really is as blue as it looks in the pictures. There’s only one problem. What do you do if you only have two days!?
There’s something comforting about being on an island.
In contrast to a bustling metropolis like Athens, on Santorini the edges of the sea embrace you and make you feel secure. Over the course of two days I wandered aimlessly through its warren of alleyways and never got lost. Wherever you are, the sea’s not far away. But don’t be mistaken, Santorini isn’t the island destination you go to if you’re after long stretches of golden sand (you’ll find these in Mykonos and Crete), it is however where you’ll find unique volcanic beaches, one that only a caldera can offer.
The best way to see the island and its beaches is to rent a car or ATV, this way you get to pick and choose where you’d like to go, and see more of the island to make the most of your limited amount of time. However, if you don’t rent a vehicle you can always take the bus. If you’ve only got two days you’re going to need a comprehensive overview to help with your decision making. So let’s break it down:
- The Red Beach in Santorini is famous for its colossal red cliff faces. To access this beach you must take a steep walk down the cliff to the beach or take a boat from Akrotiri port. It’s a steep slope and the beach itself is rocky, so bring appropriate footwear. This beach is not organised, so you may not want to stay long, but it’s worth a look for the stunning scenery.
- Perissa is a black sand beach with restaurants, stores, beach bars with umbrellas available and is a 30 minute bus ride direct from Fira.
- Perivolos beach and Agios Georgios, along with Perissa are technically all the same beach, Perivolos and Agios Georgios are just further south. Hotels become less frequent down this end and you might be able to find yourself a quieter spot.
- Kamari, a stones throw away from Perissa, and another organised black sand beach is a 20 minute bus ride direct from Fira. Kamari sits at the base of Ancient Thira, an archaeological site you can check out while you’re there. The site is located on Mesa Vouno mountain and a bus can be caught from Kamari.
- Monolithos beach is north of Kamari and offers a shallow beach safe for children and is popular for water sports.
☞ Related: Information and timetables for tours to Ancient Thira from Kamari can be found on their website
Where To See The Sunset
Oia in Santorini is famous for its sunset.
Situated right on the northern tip of the island it offers you an unobscured view as the sun goes down on another gorgeous Greek day. As a result of its fame it means that everyone has heard about it, so unfortunately everyone is there. If you want to get a spot at the lookout, or anywhere with a good view of the horizon for that matter, you’ll need to arrive early. A late arrival will have you battling for a place to take your picture. However, if you have two days you may want to spend one of your evenings here, just to experience it.
☞ Related: Learn about the equally beautiful sunset spots of Thessaloniki here
My favourite of my two Santorini sunsets was in Imerovigli. This village is just north of Fira and about a 15 minute walk. Here you’ll find a number of alleyways where you can find a spot to sit and enjoy the view. Alternatively you can dine in and enjoy it from a restaurant. Imerovigli is home to the Anastasi church, the blue dome church that adorns many post cards, iconic to Santorini and another beautiful place to view the sunset.
Hike To Skaros Rock
Skaros rock provides a beautiful setting for the sunset if you’re keen for a short hike, but its worth a visit at any point throughout your two days in Santorini.
Here the headland sticks out from the island and into the Aegean, offering undisturbed views of the horizon. In medieval times this spot was once a fortress, protecting the village against pirates. You can climb to the top of the rock if you’re determined, although there is no real path, so proceed with caution as it is very steep. Behind the rock and hidden from view is the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti, perched on the very edge of the cliff.
☞ Related: If you enjoy getting out in nature you will find some other good hiking options here
If you want to venture a little further afield you can easily do so. From Santorini you can catch a boat to do a day trip to the surrounding islands and see the remnants of this magnificent dormant volcano. These trips leave from the old port which is accessible by foot from the town of Fira, but beware there’s over 600 steps! If you don’t want walk you can take the cable car. Not recommended but very popular is the option of riding a donkey.
*The donkey is the true hero of Santorini, having contributed to the economic and social development of the island through the years, with locals using it as a method of transportation through the steep and unsteady mountainous terrain. In recent years, donkey rides have become a form of achieving the “True Greek Experience” ala “The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants”. New legislation has enforced a weight limit on donkey cargo, (including overweight passengers).
☞ Related: “In Their Hooves” campaign that urges tourists to consider how an animal is treated
Trips can be half day or full day tours depending on how you would like to spend your two days. You can visit Nea Kameni, the volcanoes crater, which provides stunning views of Santorini and beyond. These trips include a stop off at Palea Kameni for a swim in the natural hot springs and finally the island of Therasia for an afternoon swim and well earned bite to eat.