Discovering Santorini’s Secret Treasures (An insider’s guide)

“But Santorini is so touristy,” is what everyone says.

They are absolutely right. I have been to Santorini five times, and the towns of Fira and Oia are getting more and more crowded by the season. Sometimes, you can’t even find a space to stand on.

While the main attractions of Santorini are undeniably captivating, let’s embark on a journey to explore some lesser-known, hidden tourist attractions that offer a unique perspective on this Greek paradise. Prepare to be amazed as I unveil the secrets of Santorini’s off-the-beaten-path gems.

  1. Amoudi Bay: Tucked away below the iconic village of Oia lies Amoudi Bay, a hidden coastal enclave that feels like a world of its own. A scenic hike down the cliffside will lead you to this picturesque harbor, where colorful fishing boats bob in the crystal-clear turquoise waters. Here, you can savor the freshest seafood at one of the charming tavernas while enjoying breathtaking views of the Caldera. For the adventurous, take a dip in the inviting waters or even try cliff jumping for an adrenaline rush.
  2. Pyrgos Village: Escape the crowds and head inland to Pyrgos, a tranquil hilltop village that exudes traditional Cycladic charm. With its labyrinthine alleyways and Cycladic architecture, Pyrgos offers a glimpse into the island’s rich history. Climb to the top of the medieval Kastelli, the village’s highest point, and be rewarded with panoramic views of Santorini’s vineyards and the Aegean Sea. Explore the quaint shops, indulge in local delicacies, and immerse yourself in the slow-paced ambiance of Pyrgos.
  3. Akrotiri Archaeological Site: Step back in time at the captivating Akrotiri Archaeological Site, often referred to as the “Pompeii of the Aegean.” This Minoan Bronze Age settlement was preserved by volcanic ash for centuries, offering an unparalleled glimpse into ancient Santorini. Wander through the well-preserved ruins, marvel at the intricate frescoes, and learn about the lives of the inhabitants who thrived here thousands of years ago. This archaeological gem is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
  4. Vlychada Beach: Escape the crowded shores of Kamari and Perissa and make your way to Vlychada Beach, a hidden gem with a distinct lunar landscape. Nestled in a secluded bay, this beach boasts dramatic cliffs sculpted by wind and sea, resembling an otherworldly setting. Relax on the unique grayish-black sand, soak up the sun, and admire the rock formations that add an ethereal touch to the scenery. The tranquil ambiance and natural beauty of Vlychada Beach make it a true hidden paradise.
  5. Megalochori Village: Immerse yourself in the authentic village life of Santorini by visiting Megalochori. Wander through its narrow streets adorned with bougainvillea-covered houses and traditional wineries. Take a leisurely stroll to the village square, where you can sip on local wines, savor Greek delicacies, and engage in friendly conversations with the welcoming locals. Megalochori offers an unspoiled glimpse into the island’s traditional way of life.

6. Fishing Boat Trip: Overall, fishing boat trips in Santorini offer a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the island, engage in a relaxing activity, and potentially catch some delicious fish. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a curious traveler, this experience can be a memorable addition to your Santorini itinerary. I highly recommend this company owned by my violinist friend Antoni’s family. You can learn more about the excursions at:


a) While most guide books will tell you that the best place to watch the sunset is Oia, try to go to Pyrgos instead. There are lovely wine bars on top and it is not nearly as packed.

b) You definitely need to visit Oia and Fira, but try to get there at 7:00 am so that you can easily find parking and beat the Cruise ship crowd that arrive around 10:00 am.

c) Rent a car or a motobike and venture out to uncharted areas! Seek out these hidden gems and create unforgettable memories in this Aegean paradise.