Every year Santorini gets inundated by hundreds of thousands of tourists, longing to bask in the warm sunshine and relax in the sapphire sea with their beloved ones. It’s only in the early evening that you feel the ambience changing. The overall chill mode makes place for a certain agitation. People start packing their things, they walk towards the closest shop to buy a bottle of wine, they double check the battery level of their camera and phone and they start to swarm all over the island. Everyone is getting ready for the spectacle of the day: the famous sunset!
Not familiar with Santorini? Then sunset watching must seem pretty straightforward to you: sit down and just watch. Wrong thought! In Santorini, you have to find the perfect spot, ward off your fellow sunset gazers and do your very best to crop them out of your pictures.
Let me help you with that. I spent one week in Santorini and picked the best sunset spots in Santorini for a perfect sunset.
Sunset in Oia
Immediately starting with a cliché, I know. Recommending people to watch the sunset in Oia is like telling them to visit the Tour Eiffel in Paris: beautiful, but hard to fend off tourists. As Oia is just as gorgeous during the daytime, I would recommend you to spend the day there in order to avoid the extreme traffic jams towards Oia that already start in the afternoon.
The good news is that I did manage to find two perfect spots in and around Oia! I enjoyed my first Santorini sunset from our terrace at IKIES Traditional Houses. With a delicious glass of local white wine and no other Canon cameras around except mine, the sun cautiously dipped its underbelly into the Aegean sea.
In Santorini, you have to find the perfect spot, ward off your fellow sunset gazers and do your very best to crop them out of your pictures.
If you prefer to train your sunset gazing skills at the beach, you should definitely go to Koloumpos. It’s a small village on a 10-minute drive away from Oia’s city center, located on the less touristic side of the island. For me, Koloumpos has one of the most characteristic beaches of Santorini. It is a non-organized beach that, although so pretty, is not besieged by tourists. There are some facilities (beach chairs, umbrellas, a few bars, parking) but it remains quite authentic. The most characteristic of the beach is that, at its southernmost point, it ends up to a huge cave adding a special view to the scenery. Pick your favourite cocktail from the bar and enjoy the spectacle!
Sunset at the Akrotiri Lighthouse
The lighthouse near Akrotiri is known by locals as ‘Faros’. Every inhabitant we spoke to, recommended us to avoid Oia and head straight to the lighthouse for sunset. To be able to find this sunset spot, you will need to rent a car or motorbike and arrive in time! Not to beat the crowd (there are significantly less tourists here), but not to miss a minute of the colorful reflection of the sun on the fairy lighthouse. Get cozy on one of the rocks and hear the cries of the seagulls flying over your head. I assure you, this is pure magic.
Sunset in Fira
Really, the capital? I agree, this sounds cliché as well. Although it’s not my favorite city in Santorini, I was surprised by its perfect sun gazing spots. Where you should go? Either you head to Imerovigli, the cute little village adjacent to Fira. A broad range of stunning hotels welcomes you here to enjoy the sunset. My personal favorites are: Grace Hotel and West East Suites.
Another option is a more religious one: the idyllic Santa Irini Chapel perched on the edge of the Caldera cliffs. Let’s say that this will be the most romantic sunset you will experience in Santorini. Overlooking the volcano and surrounded by the whitewashed Cycladic architectural style, every picture you take is just perfect without any effort. No wonder this is an attractive and prominent wedding location!
Do you happen to know other beautiful places to watch the sun dip into the sea? I’d be happy to hear from you!