Cycladic Island of the Day: The Non-Touristy Face of Santorini

On Santorini, especially in summer, it's hard to escape the crowds. Here's our tips for must-see places that are off the beaten track.

Where can I go swimming when Santorini is “flooded” with people?

At Vlihada (as long as it is still around) and Mesa Pigadia, on the southwestern edge of the island. It is a beach without views of the caldera but offers a wondrous, rocky landscape overlooking a protected bay. 

What are the best non-touristy experiences on the island?

The route from Imerovigli to Oia, along the external “seam” of Santorini’s caldera. Emporio Castle, in the heart of the well-preserved settlement, and Pyrgos Castle (Kasteli) in the evening. The old footpath from Emporio tower through the vineyards of Thera.

Time for food: Where can I get the best value for money?

Psaraki (tel. (+30) 22860-82783) in Vlihada, above the small yacht port. They use the catch of the day optimally, serving dishes with raw and fried seafood, and even in casseroles. At Melitini (tel. (+30) 22860-72343) in Oia for delicious meze on the roof terrace. It is ideal in the early afternoon for a glass of wine. Metaxi Mas (tel. (+30) 22860-31323) in Exo Gonia is popular with locals for its simple, well-cooked food.

Where should I watch the sunset?

From the Akrotiri lighthouse, arriving there early for a good spot on the rocks. From Skaros, taking the downhill path of Imerovigli, to another view of the caldera – from the inside! From Pyrgos Castle. Explore the historic settlement with wonderful views, which looks like a labyrinth.

Εxtra tip: What else should I not miss this summer?

The exhibition “Santorini and the 1821 Revolution” at the Tomato Industrial Museum of D. Nomikos. From 07/08 to 10/10,

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