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Santorini is a more than just the picturesque island that your friends love to brag about on social media. Though, who could blame them? We’ve asked men’s lifestyle and travel expert Joe Miragliotta from Joe’s Daily to share his ways to make your next trip to the Greek island completely perfect.

Santorini Oia village, Greece

I would bet good money that there are only about five people in existence that don’t have Santorini on their travel bucket list. The magical views of the historic caldera and Aegean sea, collection of antique white stucco buildings with beautiful azure roofs, and beautifully stacked streets that look like they’ve been pulled out of a Greek fairytale create an iconic scene anyone would be lucky to take in just once.

But, while we all are very much aware that Santorini is a place we want to visit, I don’t know how many of us have thought much about what we would do once we got there. I mean, do you know where you would stay? Or even what you should look for in a hotel? What about the things you would do there? Yes, you’re definitely going to find a cafe where you can sit in your outfit of breathable, flowy fabric while sipping coffee and looking thoughtfully out to sea. But what else? I won’t say there’s necessarily a wrong way to visit the island, but there’s definitely a better way. So, you know, good luck to you.

Just kidding. Below, you’ll find 7 great ways to make sure you tick off this bucket list staple the right way.

The stay

Santorini is a place for rest and relaxation, so it makes sense why it has so many beautiful boutique hotels. Finding one that exudes the clean and calming vibe of the island is an absolute must for making sure your time there is worthwhile. Take Katikies Hotel, for example. Its 35 suites offer minimalistic design dressed with white decor, staying true to the essence of the island it was built on. With this, and other features like 3 infinity pools, you could literally put this hotel anywhere and it would still clearly be Santorinian through and through—which is exactly what you want.

Travelocity Roaming Gnome at Katikies Hotel Katikies Suite

If there’s something familiar about this hotel and you can’t quite put your finger on it, it may be that you’ve seen it before… No, not in your dreams, but on The Amazing Race! With incredible views like this, it’s easy to see why it’s such a prize.

Katikies Pool Bar

The land

It might not be considered as often as what’s been built on it, but the land that comprises Santorini absolutely plays just as big a role into what makes the island so beautiful. If you’re one for walks or hikes of any kind, you should definitely check out the amazing path between Fira and Oia. The refreshing sea air and amazing sights are said to be enough to make the trip themselves. However, if trudging along just isn’t your thing (no judgments here), you’re not out of luck. You can always try out one of the many tours Santorini has to offer, ranging in theme from solely wineries to highlights of the area.

White architecture on Santorini island, Greece

The sea

Between the astonishing views, different colored sandy beaches, spectacular boat tours, and exploring under the waves, it’s impossible to imagine a trip to Santorini that doesn’t heavily include water. How you choose to incorporate it is entirely up to you. My advice is to let your interests do the deciding. Like to lounge? Santorini has amazing beaches that feature sands of black, red, and white varieties. And, if you find it hard to choose, there are tours offered that will bring you to all three for a nominal price. For the more active or cerebral visitors, don’t miss out on the scuba diving to be had in the area. Those that go for this option will be treating themselves to adventure, history, and gorgeous marine scenes all in one fell swoop. And for those visitors that are people (yes, I mean everyone) you really can’t go wrong with a picturesque boat tour.

Boat tours in Santorini

The food

As with a trip to anywhere else in the world, your stay in Santorini wouldn’t be complete without tasting the local cuisine. Despite being a popular destination nowadays, the island hasn’t always been the easiest to get to. Thanks to this and other similar factors, traditional Santorinian cuisine relies largely on ingredients that can be acquired there. With unique varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant, and plenty of capers, fava beans (side note: if you don’t try the dip, you’re doing everything wrong), and fresh fish to go around, you can bet the culinary experience there is unique and flavorful. Of course, you should absolutely make sure to leave room for other Greek specialties as well. From the dolma and moussaka to the spoon sweets and baklava, if you leave without giving these a go, you’re not going to forgive yourself.

Moussaka

Greek Moussaka

Seltz Champagne Restaurant and Bar at Katikies Hotel

Seltz Champagne Restaurant and Bar at Katikies Hotel

The shopping

While Santorini might not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of fantastic shopping, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t boast both some great stores and boutiques worth checking out. From traditional garb to locally made spa products, there are places all over that feature items unique to the area that are great for gifting, or as conversation pieces to keep for yourself. As for where to go, best to keep an eye out for lesser-known gems. Even places that you might expect to sell the touristy items like a hotel shop could actually carry high-end treasures that anyone would be proud to take home. The boutique at Katikies Hotel, mentioned above, is a great example.

The history

On the off chance that you aren’t quite aware, Santorini has quite the history to boast. Back in days yonder and past, it was home to the Minoans—a people so advanced for their time, many speculate that the story of Atlantis was based on them. If you have the time, be sure to take a tour of an archeological site like Akrotiri. It’s referred to as the Pompeii of the Aegean, so you know it’s going to be good. And if that doesn’t sound like something that will float your boat, the area has plenty of unique fortresses and castles to be appreciated. Plus, you know, that whole caldera thing.

Akrotiri

Akrotiri

The special events

To be honest, this is probably good advice for anywhere you visit. If you have a trip coming up, and you’re going to be spending at least a few days there, I highly recommend checking to see if there are any special events happening in the area. Do a little research online before you go or inquire with your hotel if they have any recommendations. Even if your hotel doesn’t have a concierge, the front desk usually knows about all the big events happening during the time of your stay. 

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