Anna's Ultimate Santorini Bucket List

When Anna arrived in Santorini, she had a very clear mission: get in and get out as quickly as possible. She just needed to fix up the summer house first. But as she grew closer to Elena and Nikos, they coaxed her out of her shell (and her timeline) and dragged her all over the island, and she fell in love with it.

So if you’re headed to Santorini any time soon (or in the distant future, or you just like to dream), consider this your ultimate Santorini bucket list:

1. Explore the town of Oia 

It may be the most touristy part of Santorini (or maybe even of Greece), but it’s beautiful and worth fighting through the crowds. Just make sure you remember that people actually live there, and appreciate the town for what it is. Plus, if you climb down to the cove you may be able to do some cliff jumping...

2. Soak up some sun on Kamari Beach

It’s one of the most popular beaches on Santorini, but that’s because it’s the best. The fictitious Kamari Sands Resort may not be there, but you will find plenty of five-star accommodation and lots of picture-perfect beach chair setups. Take a dip in the water, but remember not to swim – the currents around the island are pretty intense.

3. Tour the other islands that make up Santorini

Santorini isn’t actually one island but five – Thera, the largest; Aspronisi, the smallest; Thirasia, the other inhabited one that forms the ring; Nea Kameni, the one in the centre; and Palaia Kameni, another tiny one behind the central island with a famous hot spring in one of the coves. Travelling out to the other islands isn’t just easy (there are tours that go there throughout the day), but it’s impactful, too. You get to see the main island from a whole new perspective. It’s well worth a day while you’re there. 

4. Hire a Vespa and ride the rim of the caldera

There are roads that follow pretty much the entire rim of the caldera, and it’s well worth taking a car or motorbike along them. Since it’s crescent-shaped, it means that by the time you get to Akrotiri you’re able to see Oia, and vice versa.

5. Hike up to the tallest point you can find

One of the most iconic things about Santorini is the colour blue. It’s the colour of the domes on the churches, the colour of the Greek flag, and of course the colour of the sea and the sky. Anna would recommend hiking to the tallest point you can find on the island (the monastery at Profitis Ilias is the best spot) and taking in the 360 degree views. The blues of the sea and the sky blend together, and you feel like you’re on top of the world.

6. Catch a sunset over the caldera

The other most iconic thing about Santorini is its sunsets. Good luck finding a spot in Oia to watch it though. Anna recommends instead having dinner at one of the restaurants that dot the southern half of the caldera; you’ll be able to see both the sunset and the cliffside town of Oia all at once.

7. Stay in a cave

While the summer house was the right choice for Anna staying for a longer period (not to mention what it means to her family), visiting Santorini as a tourist definitely calls for staying in a cave hotel. Not only is it a pretty unique experience, but it’s functional, too; the caves are much cooler than traditional houses, which is very necessary in the Santorini heat!

8. Try to get to know the locals

Of course, the most beautiful thing about Santorini to Anna is the people who live there. Respect their boundaries, but also be sure to get to know the local culture. It’s way more than what you’ve seen in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. These are real people with real, beautiful lives. Support them by spending your money while you’re there, and then ask them questions about their life and their home. I’m willing to bet, and Anna is too, that they’d be thrilled to share it with you.

Santorini is a place built from tragedy and destruction that has grown into a vibrant and friendly community unlike any other. Anna fell in love with it, and I know you will, too.

Trip to Santorini not in the cards for you just yet? Try reading The Summer House in Santorini, just 99p in the UK or 99¢ in the US, to get your fix!