After returning from an amazing trip to Santorini (which has been on the bucket list for quite some time), we thought it was important to tell you why you should opt to stay in the quiet, unassuming town of Akrotiri instead of the heavily touristic areas of the island, and why you won’t regret it!
1.) You’ll have more choice of stunning accommodation – and for a much cheaper price tag!
We stayed in the gorgeous Black Diamond Suites, just outside the centre of town, with a beautiful Caldera view. It was so peaceful waking up each morning, not being overlooked by other properties – which you’ll find if you stay in the traditional cave houses in Fira and Oia. Breakfast was delivered to our villa each morning and we even had our own private plunge pool.
We had a quick accommodation search when our onward flight out of Santorini was cancelled (due to the wind!) as we thought we would need to find some last minute accommodation, and there was still plenty available in the Akrotiri area – even one with a hot tub in the room – goals! Sadly, Ryan Air organised a hotel for the night close to the airport and it was not quite up to these standards!
2.) You’ll enjoy the best meals at ‘Good Heart’ Restaurant – a short drive from the town
On our first night, we arrived fairly late so the main thought on our mind was food. As it was out of season, our accommodation informed us that some local restaurants would be happy to pick us up and take us to their restaurants. We were recommended ‘Good Heart’ which is run by an amazing lady called Anna, and her husband Mikey, who came to pick us up. They’ve only had the restaurant a few years, as they sold local produce next door prior to this (and still do now), but the food and hospitality is second to none.
We highly recommend the moussaka here – we didn’t have one that came close to this during our time exploring Greece. You also definitely can’t go wrong with a glass (or 3) of local white wine for just 2 euros 50. And, if you come for sunset, you’re in the right place as you have a panoramic view of this end of the island – and the setting sun!
3.) You’ll enjoy views of the entire island and a quieter sunset!
From Akrotiri, you have views of both sides of the island (as it’s a narrow point of land) plus views over to Fira and Oia, and the volcanic island. You can watch the cruise ships come in across the bay and in the evening you can beat the crowds of Oia and enjoy a peaceful, and just as beautiful, sunset.
It was too windy for us when we had planned to properly watch sunset but we scoped out the spot earlier in the day (and almost got blown off our quad bike doing so!) But, the lighthouse in Akrotiri is supposed to be the perfect spot – and we even found a make-shift swing just before we got there. If you want to find this viewpoint, just head in the direction of the lighthouse and just before you reach it you’ll spot a restaurant on the left hand-side and the swing just ahead of it – you can’t miss it!
4.) Speaking of views, one of our favourites is from the Venetian Castle…
If you’re looking for off the beaten path and an epic panoramic view, this is it. A short walk up a narrow road (which leads to a narrow path) leads you to this little gem. All it needs is a bar and you’d be set for the day (we wish we’d taken a picnic!) We parked our quad just before the road turned into a path and it’s only a short walk to the castle with hand-painted signs directing you.
Whilst you’re in this area, pop into the restaurant on the corner of the road that leads up there. We had a lovely time watching the world go by, drinking sangria, and petting the dogs that came to say hello. And it’s total local vibes.
5.) It’s home to the famous Red Beach and the Archeological Site
Now, we can’t say too much about the archeological site as when we got there, it was closing (4pm). We were just out of season – be careful of online times as they often aren’t up to date – the internet told us 8pm which clearly wasn’t the case! Luckily enough, Red Beach is just a little further up the road and is definitely worth a visit for the adventure of getting there alone.
I wore flipflops which wasn’t my preferred choice of footwear as I had to scooch on my bum a few times due to the lack of grip (and my clumsiness) but we made it in one piece and it was a great little spot to catch some rays – and best of all, it was free!
The island of Santorini is actually pretty small so the journeys to Fira and Oia are only about 20 and 40 minutes retrospectively. They are definitely worth a day trip to snap those famous insta shots, but you won’t regret coming back to the peaceful town of Akrotiri to really make your Santorini trip special. Take us back!