Santorini Travel Guide: Exploring Beyond Oia
Last Updated on July 10, 2020 by Dana Berez
Santorini Travel Guide: Exploring Beyond Oia
Most likely when you think of Santorini, you picture the beautiful blue-domed churches intertwined between the hilly landscape. That image is Oia, arguably the most photographed place in on the island. However, there is so much to do in on the island beyond just beautiful Oia. That’s why I had to share this Santorini Travel Guide with you. I hope this will inspire you to explore and see what the island has to offer!
Where to Stay Besides Oia
Megalochori, Traditional Village
During my time on the island, I stayed in both Oia and Megalochori but had no idea that staying in another village would completely change the way I see the island.
Megalochori is the cutest village located in the southern part of the island dating back to the 17th century. It’s filled with historic homes and mansions. Staying there was so unique, it truly felt like a local experience. It’s a pedestrian-only town adding to the charm.
There are a few restaurants and shops located in the center of the town where you’ll see the locals hang out and just watch. It definitely is a different vibe than Oia, but I am so glad I saw more of how the locals really live.
I stayed at the Ducato Villas which is a collection of renovated historic homes ranging from one to five bedrooms. Each villa is uniquely designed and comes with all modern amenities and a private pool.
I stayed in a one-bedroom villa, or the ‘Stone House’ which operated as a winery producing vinsanto at the turn of the century.
This is a perfect area to stay if you want an authentic experience in a quiet and charming village. It was a great break from the business of Oia.
Food in Megalochori
Raki: We ended up eating here so many times, and I am still dreaming of the warm feta drizzled in honey and sesame seeds. This one of the restaurants located in the small square of the village. Even if you aren’t staying in Megalochori, it’s definitely worth a stop!
How to Get Around
Rent an ATV
Taxi’s in Greece can become costly, especially since they don’t charge you by miles or time, it’s more of a flat rate of 25€-35€ one way. That makes visiting the whole island is a challenge. The best way to see the island on your own itinerary is by renting ATV \ quad bike.
I rented through Blue Island. They showed me how everything on the ATV worked and was great to communicate with.
Driving Around The Island
Before you can rent a car, be sure to get your International Drivers Permit! The process takes 10 minutes in person at your local AAA. Alternatively, you can just mail in the information.
Companies in Greece will require this document for a car or ATV rental. I know some companies let it slide if you don’t have one, but it’s better safe than sorry.
At first, I was a bit nervous to drive around but got the hang of it after a while. Stick to the right side of the road so cars can pass you, as the ATV doesn’t reach crazy fast speeds.
There aren’t too many main roads, which is a plus! You won’t get lost easily. I’d just brush up on some European road signs, just so you don’t park in a no-parking zone.
Renting the ATV was definitely a highlight during my trip. Being able to see the whole Island was so mind-opening. There is definitely more to the island than just Oia! Rent an ATV, you won’t be disappointed.
What to Do in Santorini
Visit The Beaches
If the island could improve on one thing, it would be its beaches. The island is not known for them, however, that doesn’t mean you should skip them.
We rode our ATV to Perisssa Beach, which is a black sand beach located on the south side of the island. The whole vibe reminded me of a laid back surf town.
Open-aired restaurants, bars & shops line the beachfront road. We stopped at Yazz for lunch and then continued our day on their beach chairs.
The chairs did not cost extra, so I am assuming if you order something you can sit. Or it’s so laid back they just didn’t care?
Because of the natural landscape, there are also red beaches on the Island. We didn’t get a chance to see these beaches, but it is something to add for next time.
Winemaking in on the island is unique and one of the oldest in the world. There are a few wineries you can visit, one being Gavalas Winery in Megalochori. Or you can take a 4-hour tour and visit three wineries with a small group!
Visit the Windmills
Santorini has its own set of windmills perched upon a hill! We found these driving the ATV and had to get a closer look. It’s a great stop for some photos and to take in the views.
Hope you enjoyed this post! There is so much to see beyond Oia, hope this convinced you to check out the traditional village of Megalochori!
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