Santorini, Greece, is voted as one of the most romantic destinations in the world and is widely popular among couples and honeymooners. A short-haul flight of less than an hour from Athens will transform your dreams into reality, as you set foot on this beautiful island. Fira is the capital of Santorini but many would head north towards the village of Oia, simply for its enchanting sunset that takes place every evening.
Admiring the romantic sunset view in Santorini
Due to its increasing popularity, there are many hotels, shops and restaurants available in Oia. The best time to head over to Oia, if you are not staying there, will be around 4pm. You will need around 2 to 3 hours to explore the shops, sit down for some coffee before heading to the spot to view the sunset at around 7pm from April to September. The sun sets earlier during winter from October to March, which are also the non-peak periods.
Contemporary shops and restaurants at Oia
The handmade souvenirs in Santorini are rather unique. However, if you see something you like, you should buy them since you may not be able to find the same items elsewhere. The prices of souvenirs in Oia appear to be slightly more expensive given the number of tour groups each day. Some price-haggling is possible if you are purchasing more than one item.
Arriving early gets you a good spot for the view
The sunset is magnificent with soft lights glowing over the glittering water and the white and blue structures. However, the crowd in Oia may be a little overwhelming with the presence of tour groups, which may start gathering an hour before the sun sets.
There are some restaurants facing the sunset view but you will need to reserve the table way in advance. Note that it is not easy to get a table here. Standing along the staircase or a higher point will allow you to capture the amazing view but with the crowds, you should be prepared to be ‘photo bombed’. Your pictures or view might be blocked by some heads in the crowd. Also, there will be many visitors taking out their selfie sticks and snapping numerous pictures. This is a great spot for photographers but for couples hoping for a romantic and quiet sunset view, this is not the most ideal spot. Avid photographers who plan to capture some great shots should head to the spot as early as possible to set up your camera.
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Alternative sunset view from Fira
The alternative spot to view sunset is at Fira. Although not as popular as Oia, the same sun sets against the backdrop of the volcanic island across the water and it is equally beautiful. Also, there are many restaurants that boosts a sunset view and there is a higher chance of getting a table here, as compared to Oia. This is especially so during spring before the start of the peak season. Couples and honeymooners are highly recommended to enjoy the beautiful sunset view with a romantic and delicious dinner in Fira.
Getting around Santorini
With a length of 18km and width of 12km, tourists can explore the entire Santorini island within 3 to 4 days. Public buses are available but the frequency of the buses may be a challenge especially during non-peak seasons.
Many travelers would choose to rent a car or ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle), which provides you the flexibility to explore the entire island. To rent a car, you would need an international driving license especially if your local license is not in English. The price of rented vehicles varies, so you may want to compare prices and insurance coverage before settling for one.
Given that there are many steep slopes around the island, you are recommended to go for automatic vehicles as compared to a manual model. Parking at Oia can be challenging though if you arrive after 6pm in the evenings. You can choose to park along the street with many other cars or parked at the paid parking area at 5 EUR (approximately 5.50 USD). There will be a signage indicating paid parking if that is a private area.
A beautiful island with amazing sunset from any views
If you cannot get enough of the mesmerizing sunset views, you can choose to head back to Oia on the next day or choose to view the sunset from other villages. With the similar classic blue and white structures and churches scattered around the island, sunset views are simply stunning from any parts in Santorini.
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