When you think of Greece, the chances are that the image your mind conjures up is of pristine white sugar cube buildings scattered along a backdrop of a brilliant blue sky. Something typical of a Greek yoghurt ad, right?
Well that, my friends, would be Santorini. In fact, Lonely Planet describes Santorini as “the supermodel of the Greek islands” – and they’re not wrong!
Of course, Santorini has lots to offer but if you’re only on the island for a short time, here is my guide for how to spend two days in Santorini and soak up those famous views.
Where to stay in Santorini
We stayed in Imerovigli at the Meli Meli accommodation, a boutique guesthouse with a shared pool. Imerovigli is a tranquil cliff-top village. While there isn’t that much to do there, it makes for the perfect base for walking the caldera. It is also a more budget friendly option compared to its famous neighbouring towns.
Day 1: Imerovigli to Fira
On our first full day in Santorini we decided to walk along the caldera to Fira (Thera), the island’s capital. Without getting into the geography of it all, the caldera side to Santorini island is the picturesque side that it is famous for and the caldera hike is a must-do whilst on the island. You can do the whole Fira to Oia (or vice-versa!) hike in a day but if you want to take things at a more leisurely pace then take my lead.
The caldera walk is very easy to follow and the Imerovigli to Fira stretch is around 2km. Although the views are incredible for most of the walk, I would recommend a pit stop at the Three Bells of Fira for a photograph or two, worthy of a travel guide book.
Once you arrive in Fira there are plenty of shops to explore, tavernas to enjoy and views to be admired. Parts of it are a bit of a maze so enjoy the time wandering about.
Although the walk to Fira is the easier stretch, note that the walk back to Imerovigli is uphill. It is doable but just something to bear in mind.
Day 2: Imerovigli to Oia
Today is the day for the hike to Oia from Imerovigli, which is around 8km long, so much further than the walk into Fira. The terrain is a bit of a mixed bag on this hike too, more so than the previous day’s hike. Sensible shoes are a must as there are sections of the walk that consist of loose gravel! Also to note, the whole 8km is not picturesque, however it is worth it when you reach Oia at the other end.
We did encounter a few stray dogs on our walk, of which I notified a rescue centre on the island, it broke my heart. The locals in Oia leave out food and water for the abundance of stray cats but I did worry about those dogs.
Oia is busy and bustling with tourists, it’s a popular stop for cruise ships too. Because of this, it may be worth making a dinner reservation ahead of time. We enjoyed some delicious Greek food at a restaurant called Melitini, which has a rooftop terrace. We also chose to eat at around 4pm so the restaurant was a little quieter than it would be at sunset.
To get a photo of *that* iconic view with the blue domes, you will find it tucked in one of the many little alleyways around Oia. There will probably be people lining up to get into this little viewpoint gap so I’m sure you’ll find it.
I would also say it is worth sticking around for a famous Santorini sunset. If you can find a seat, then do! But chances are you’ll be joining all the other patient tourists leaning against a random wall waiting for the sun to set.
Lastly, there are buses that will take you back to Imerovigli. It is probably best to get on the bus (or grab a cab) as it wouldn’t be too fun to make the calera walk back in the dark.
For a detailed step by step guide to the caldera walk I would recommend Santorini Dave’s website. This goes into detail of the entire route, including photos.
I would also recommend a twin centre holiday when visiting the Greek Islands. For us, the perfect partner to our two days in Santorini was five nights at an all-inclusive in Crete.