Santorini hidden gems. If you read my post on Ios & Mykonos and were already sold on Greece, get ready to book your flight!
There are so many incredible places and I want to back and explore them all. But of all the hidden gems in Greece, Santorini is by far one of the most magical. Ya – MAGICAL!
As the ferry sailed into the harbor my jaw dropped. The magnitude of the cliffs and landscape of Santorini was unlike anything I had ever seen. Driving from the port up the mountains to Thera, but I couldn’t help but constantly just stare out the window. It was incredible.
We stayed in the iconic white cliffside resorts and every night we sat and watched the sunset in total awe. I kept telling Ryan the views in Santorini are how I picture heaven. Just this massive unexplainable beauty that’s totally overwhelming in an amazing way.
Santorini was much different than a typical vacation destination. Yes we went to a winery, we took a boat out, hit a few tourist spots for photos, etc., but those weren’t the most memorable parts. To me Santorini is all about observing. If you are in need of a vacation where you can just sit back, soak up the scenery and relax, this is it.
The Food, the Wine & the Workouts
By this point in our trip (about 10 days in) there had been A LOT of wine flowing, bread, olives and cheese being eaten, plain Greek frozen yogurt and more wine. We had 5 days left and I wasn’t about to stop enjoying myself in Santorini. This is why I workout first thing in the morning on vacay.
We had an awesome patio at both hotels in Santorini which made it super easy to workout and soak up the views at the same time. As tempting as it was to just wake up and head straight to a poolside breakfast, we made sure to do our Sweat Guide workouts before anything else every day! Well, almost every day…
We skipped one day to hike from Thera (where we were staying) to Oia. The walk is about 10.0km and usually takes 2 hours and 15 minutes. Not for this girl! I may have jogged it out a bit, but we finished in under 2 hours? #travelgoals
The food in Santorini was equally as good as in Ios & Mykonos. I mentioned the crazy breakfast spreads before and it didn’t stop in Santorini.We did go from Grace Mykonos to Grace Santorini so makes sense…
Greece knows how to breakfast. It was seriously every breakfast food you could imagine, coffee, fresh squeezed juices, champagne and anything else you could possible want every single morning. Needless to say lunch wasn’t really part of our day.
I tried my best to stick to the eggs, fruit and yogurt, but the fresh breads were too good to ALWAYS resist and that’s OK! I just made sure to only have a small piece and avoid any of the super sugary pastries.
Throughout the day we would snack on nuts, olives and cheese when we got hungry and would go all out again at dinner. The great part about Greece is that they are all about the FRESH food. Fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and even pasta made it much easier to eat clean and healthy even when we felt like we were splurging.
Dessert? Does champs count? Ya, it definitely does! I’m not a big sweets girl so champs or super tart Greek yogurt are my kind of “dessert” if I’m going to have it.
Where to Stay
You know Ryan and I have serious travel ants in our pants. Normally we country hop every few days, but this trip was less county and more Island and hotel hopping. We were in Santorini 5 nights and stayed in 2 incredible hotels!
This was our first stop in Santorini and they set the bar high. Our time at Grace Mykonos was amazing and this location knocked that out of the water.
We were greeted at the Grace Santorini with Champagne (already winning) and fresh like bites of goodness. I was totally impressed by the staff who had to bring our luggage down the massive cliffs along narrow flights of stairs. Talk about a serious sweat sesh!
Our room was an incredible ocean view suit with private plunge pool and no neighbors in the rooms next to us! Hooray!
As soon as we dropped our luggage we hit the private pool. Five minutes later they brought us a beautiful bottle of sparkling rosé and local chocolates for us to enjoy. The Grace is luxury vacation resort at it’s finest.
Every morning they serve a different 5 course breakfast that’s to die for. They even had a spirulina muffin one morning! It was green and amazing. The chef at the Grace is for sure on top of his healthy game.
Everyone says to go to Oia for sunset, but honestly it was better at the Grace. There is a champagne bar you can sit, sip and watch that glorious sun set over the water.
You guys can see this in the video, but everything about this hotel was perfection. The food, the staff and the views were seriously incomparable and I would go back in a heart beat.
If you have an opportunity to go all out, to splurge on even one night somewhere in Santorini, do it at the Grace Hotel. There isn’t a price you can put on what you will experience here.
It was incredible to see how much the scenery changed just moving down the road. The Iconic Santorini was only a 2 minute drive from our first hotel, but it was like a whole new place. Just walking around the resort we saw tons of new views of the island. It was gorgeous!
The Iconic Santorini is a boutique cave hotel in the Imerovigli village. The hotel is literally carved into the caldera volcanic rock which makes it uniquely beautiful. Instead of just hotel after hotel, there was much more raw exposed landscape in this area which was so cool to see. Everyone talked about how Santorini as a volcanic island and mentioning the caldera, but this resort really embodied that natural landscape unlike any other.
We had the opportunity to stay in two different rooms here and both were spectacular in their own ways.
The first was a loft style room with a MASSIVE bed. Ryan and I share a queen at home so a regular king feels big, but this was like a double king. Amazing. There was exposed rock in the room and cute windows upstairs that looked out over the water.
The second room was their Cliff or Honeymoon Suite. OMG! You guys… there was a private pool on our deck AND a HUGE jetted grotto pool INSIDE THE ROOM! Ya.. ridiculous. I can’t even. It was one of those rooms you literally don’t want to leave beacause it has everything.
The staff was also wonderful and super accommodating. I love when you visit a place and can feel how much the people working there love their jobs. They’re were all just happy, friendly and super helpful.
One of the coolest parts about this place is that it felt super private. We had everything we needed available, but also felt like we were the only people there. If you’re looking for a secluded getaway feel, but still want access to all the incredibleness of Santorini, this is your spot.
Where to Eat
Clearly we did some serious eating in Greece. Besides the amazing breakfast every day and snacks, we did eat at several incredible dinner spots.
- The Athenian House – Near Grace Hotel up on the hill. If you are in Thira you have to go here. Trust me… You just have to.
- Santoro – At the Grace Hotel. If you reserve a poolside table for sunset you will have the best views in all of Santorini for dinner. The chef is on point and they even have a sommelier on staff to help pick the perfect bottle of local wine for you.
- Argo – This spot is in Imerovigli right on the water. It’s an upstairs restaurant with great views and BIG portions for pretty cheap.
- Caldera Catamaran – We took a semi-private sunset cruise on afternoon and they gilled up fresh fish, chicken, veggies and all sorts of deliciousness. Totally recommend them.
- Sunset Taverna Amoundi – Lobster pasta is pricey, but 100% worth is. We ate here on our last day after hiking from Thira.
Greece You Have My Heart…
These 15 days in Greece were life changing. It might sound dramatic, but there is something really special about these islands and we only visited 3 of them.
If you have the opportunity, the views in Santorini are something you must experience first hand. Mykonos and it’s adorable little down will always hold a special place in my heart, but nothing can compare to Ios. It is lesser known, has a random reputation as a “party island,” but is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. It’s totally different than the other two islands and is absolutely amazing in it’s own little funky way.