I visited Santorini with my boyfriend in May 2022 and despite having never been at any other time I can confidently say may is the best month to visit. The tourism season is just beginning so it's much quieter than at the height of summer, it's not as hot (most days it was about 20 - 25 degrees which was perfect) and as it's the beginning of the season it was much, much cheaper for flights and hotels.
Even the week later was £400+ more than we paid!
We stayed at the El Greco resort with a bed and breakfast. I can't fault it at all the staff were amazing - super friendly and helpful! There were days that I was sure the reception staff were sick of seeing me and answering my one million questions but the next day they were sure to check in with me about whatever activity we had done the day before!
The location was also amazing - we were right on the caldera (cliff edge) so we had unreal views as soon as we stepped out of the hotel. We would actually see both the east and west coasts from our pool area which was gorgeous! The hotel was in Fira, the capital of the island, so there are many restaurants and bars! We were also a 10-minute walk from the bus station which has buses running all over the island for under €2 per person each way! For comparison, a taxi from Oia to Fira was €40 for two people but the bus cost us €3.20 for two people!
We ate at so many amazing restaurants, there are some that you have to book but as it was early in the season we pretty much walked in at most places and got sunset views. I wouldn't recommend this as it was a complete fluke and the sunset views are 100% worth it (side note - there are a few restaurants that are €100+ minimum spend per person for sunset, we didn't pay for any of them but it's worth checking before you commit!)
I would recommend trying the tomato frittatas They're a Santorini delicacy and really tasty!
The views from this restaurant were insane and the food was just as good. I had a chicken Souvlaki and my boyfriend ordered the sea bass.
The views are stunning in all of the restaurants but this was my favourite one to see the buildings in Fira - when that golden sun hits the white buildings it is stunning!
PK Cocktail Bar
They didn't offer food when we went here but I'd definitely recommend sunset cocktails. This is also a good alternative if you have to pay for restaurant sunset views in the height of summer!
We stumbled across this on our last night and realised it had been recommended by a friend before we went - it was delicious and the menu was varied which wasn't always the case.
There wasn't too much to do in Pyrgos so luckily we only went for an afternoon but we stayed for dinner and it was amazing! I had lamb meatballs on a bed of rice and it was so tasty. The dessert selection wasn't the best but I can't fault the service or quality of the food!
Amoudi Bay is at the bottom of a cliff in Oia - it's a small bay right on the water so the fish is incredibly fresh. We didn't actually eat in Oia except for here as we only came to Oia once and spent the whole day here.
This was hands down the best place we ate, maybe ever but definitely on this trip. I never eat fish and assumed there'd be something else on the menu but it was all fish so I went for the sea bass because it came with mash and loved it! It was tasty without being too fishy, I had to force myself to eat it slowly and make the most of it! I also had a dessert of White Chocolate Souffle with pistachio ice cream and I think about it every day - definitely recommend this!
Worth noting that the sunset taverna doesn't reserve tables by the water it's a get-what-you're-given situation (you book online and we paid €10/€20 per person which was taken off the bill).
We also called into another restaurant for lunch earlier in the day and had a few starters to share (chips, fried cheese and tomato fritters) - I wouldn't recommend walking down to this twice in one day as its about 500 steps up and down (we didn't realise it was the same place until we got to the bottom and seen the restaurant).
I won't go into these too much as I touch on the in my weekly itinerary below but these are the activities we managed to fit in. The only one we didn't do that we wish we did was kayaking around the caves and that's because we didn't know about it until our last day so definitely check with your hotel for their recommendations at the start of your trip!
We rented a bike for a day and it was the best way to see the island, everywhere was about 20/25 minutes apart and that was going east to west! You can also rent buggies but these were fully booked so if you don't fancy a quad I'd suggest booking in advance!
Vineyard Tour with Wine Tasting
The best way to spend an afternoon! We went to Santos winery and the tour was okay - it was interesting to learn about the grapes but obviously, the wine tasting was the best part (plus the views were stunning!)
We went with a tour operator for this one but you can get semi-private and private cruises. Depending on the sunset you'll leave at different times, ours was about 4 pm so if you're wanting a full day at sea this won't be for you. It's beautiful seeing the sunset from the water though (you also get a three-course meal and wine which was just okay compared to all of the other meals we had). The tour also includes swimming in the hot springs - which was a good way to spend an evening!
Most beaches are black in Santorini because of the lava rocks but they're still beautiful. We went to Perrissa and the black and red beaches - they're definitely worth seeing and Perrissa had a lot of bars and restaurants along the strip!
We visited the famous lighthouse when we were on our quad and it was good to see but it's literally just a lighthouse with a tiny stall selling refreshments so maybe factor it into another day!
This is indoors so perfect for getting away from the midday sun. There is a whole village that was presserved from a volcanic eruption - very interesting to see! It took us about half an hour but there are guided tours which take much longer but you get a lot of information.
Atlantis Book Shop
The famous book shop in Oia was closed when we visited and it looks like it had been for a while but I'm mentioning it in case it's open for summer!
Obviously, this will be different for everyone but we managed to fit in everything we wanted to without feeling rushed so I thought I'd share with you to take some ideas from
Day One - Travelling, arrived at 9:30 pm and headed to Fira for dinner (we went to the first place we found that looked busy and it was nice. It was on a street behind the caldera and therefore there were no views but the food was about half the price.)
Day Two - Pool Day, we walked into Fira to explore a little at lunch and tried Chill Box Frozen yoghurt. We didn't realise it was priced via weight until after we loaded them up with toppings and two ice creams cost us €20 would not recommend it.
I'm glad we chilled and had a wonder this day as we figured out which restaurants we wanted to try and booked one we came across for dinner that night (we went to The Vine).
Day Three - Day trip to Oia (we got the bus from Fira at lunchtime and stayed all day). We mostly just strolled around taking it in and looking at the views. In Amoudi Bay there's a path around the cliff where you can jump into the sea to swim - we didn't take our swimming costumes but wish we would have done! Before dinner we sat up in a bar and drank wine and read - it was so peaceful and nice to just sit and take it all in.
We then went back to Amoudi Bay for dinner which as I mentioned before was incredible, our table was right on the water's edge! We got the restaurant to book us a taxi home to Fira which was €40 for two people.
Day Four - Pool Day/Pyrgos. We headed to Pyrgos in a taxi from our hotel and it took about 10 minutes and cost €20 (not ideal, we got a bus back!) it's a lovely quiet village but there wasn't much to do there. At the top of the hill, there's an old monastery and the views are incredible, there are also a few restaurants so it's worth going for dinner with a view.
Day Five - We rented a quad bike from our hotel (there are plenty of rental shops about as well) and it was one of my favourite things we did! The island is only small so we managed to see the entire south in one day (you could do the north but we'd already been). The south and east coasts are where the beaches are so we started southwest and made our way across stopping whenever we saw something interesting. It actually only takes about 20 minutes on a quad to go from one side of Santorini to the other so we ended up crisscrossing back to places we'd missed (more information about what we saw is in the activities section).
Day Six - Sunset Cruise. We booked the sunset cruise for this day before we left the UK in case it was fully booked. We were picked up from our hotel at about 3:30 and were dropped back at about 7:30 but this would depend on the sunset time when you visit! We swam in the hot springs and ate at a cute taverna (the food wasn't the best we'd had but I find it never is on excursions - at least not the ones I've been on!).
Day Seven - Another pool day with a vineyard and winery tour with a wine tasting in the afternoon. We went to Santos Wines and it was amazing, I loved all of the Santorini wines I tried throughout the week so I was very keen to get this booked in and I'm so glad we did! The actual winery tour was interesting but the wine tasting was of course the best part.
We went for cocktails at sunset for the last night and ended up having dinner in a lovely restaurant Argo.
If you've made it this far well done! I also assume you have a trip booked so I hope you have the best time! If you have any specific questions feel free to message me on Instagram @thebreakfast.bookclub.