This sun-dappled heaven isn't just riotous restaurants you know. These are the best things to do in Santorini.
Set your sights – and stomach – even further afield: it's our round-up of the most delicious islands in Greece.
Right on Exo Gialos beach near Fira on the east side of the island, this is indisputably one of Santorini’s most atmospheric spots. The menu puts a modern spin on Greek classics like souvlaki, stuffed squid and salads, while the boho-luxe decor and DJs feel almost Ibizan. You can also rent sunbeds from Yalos for the day and take advantage of the beach bar menu – watching the sun set over the Aegean with a cocktail made with katsouni (Santorinian cucumber) in your hand is hard to beat.
Exo Gialos Thiras, Fira
On perennially popular Perivolos beach, Seaside is fashionable with a capital F, and wouldn’t look out of place on Mykonos. Alongside Greek favourites like tzatziki made tableside you’ll find the freshest seafood cooked with an eye on further-flung destinations: think Moroccan-style crab and Balinese-inspired fish in banana leaves cooked on the Josper, plus plenty of truffle and wagyu beef. Really, it feels more like a resort in miniature than a restaurant: the on-site sushi bar serves hand rolls to glamorous diners in the hireable cabanas, while the music plays late into the night.
Agios Georgios, Perivolos
This cool, friendly café in Pyrgos feels made for Instagram, with its vintage decor, suntrap tables and lush plants. But it’s certainly not a case of style over substance: the pancakes with fresh fruit and Greek yoghurt are superb, as is the strapatsada (Greek-style scrambled eggs with tomato), the stuffed vine leaves, the homemade pasta, the wine list... you get the picture. The takeaway options, including mezze and delicious sandwiches, are perfect for a day at the beach.
Domaine Sigalas Winery
This stunning vineyard is one of Greece’s most respected – and beautifully situated. It focuses on the Assyrtiko grape, grown on centuries-old, basket-trained vines, and visitors can enjoy a tasting experience in the sun-dappled winery under pergolas, along with a magnificent feast of Greek salads, baskets of homemade bread with Santorini tomato puree, slow-cooked octopus, local tsalafouti cheese and much more. Well worth making the trip to Oia for, wherever you’re staying.
Vezené, which you’ll find in cool new boutique hotel Cavo Tagoo in the north of Santorini, has sunset views to die for and one of Greece’s biggest gastro names at the helm. Ari Vezené aims to combine “the traditions of a Greek taverna and the elegance of a French bistro” – think oysters and ceviche, flash-fried prawns, succulent local tomatoes with capers, lobster with handmade pasta and steamed clams in Assyrtiko wine, plus flatbreads cooked right there in the wood-fired oven and a superb selection of Greek cheeses. Vegans are well catered for too.
The jewel in Fira's crown, grand Selene has been the number one choice for special occasion dinners for nearly 40 years. Michelin-starred chef Ettore Botrini has created a series of lunar-inspired tasting menus, along with an a la carte focusing on world-class seafood: think sea urchin, lemon and ’nduja spaghetti, red mullet with Sardinian pistachios, red prawns, and swordfish carpaccio.
Katikies Garden, Fira
For unforgettable seafood that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, head for this taverna overlooking the harbour at Vlichada. Its Aegean-blue woodwork and jaunty checked tablecloths make it a sight to lift the spirits, as does a menu full of the likes of shrimp with feta and ouzo, smoked eel salad and dressed crab. Simply but beautifully cooked and served, the catches of the day are priced (very reasonably) by the kilo, and might well have come out of the water just minutes earlier.
Vlichada Marina, Vlichada
For an authentic taste of old-school Santorini, try this handsome blue-and-white taverna in Firostefani, which isn’t far off its hundredth birthday (it was founded in 1922). Santorini specials like octopus with fava and sweet capers, fried feta balls with tomato chutney, skordomakarona (pasta with garlic) and moussaka bubbling from the oven are mainstays of the menu, and the selection of local wines is excellent. The sea views are spectacular, and Firostefani itself, one of the island’s prettiest villages, is well worth whiling away an afternoon in. And if you’re planning a beach trip, they also do takeaway.
A newcomer to Santorini’s restaurant scene, Katsaboo in Fira is already making an impact with its cooking based on homegrown and organic ingredients like fava, cherry tomatoes, white aubergines and their own olive oil. The restaurant also has its own wine label. Standout dishes include feta cheese crostini with black sesame and thyme honey, and slow-cooked octopus with warm potato salad. You can also drop in for breakfast, brunch and snacks, all served by the pool at the glamorous San Marino Hotel.
This gorgeous spot in Kamari is a cut above your usual beachside eatery, thanks to its spectacular sunset views, confident kitchen and truly warm, hospitable team. The freshly griddled bread, giant prawns with linguine, imaginatively topped pizzas and filled pastas are all delightful, but keep an eye on the specials board too for the catch of the day. Make a day of it by booking loungers and umbrellas on the sand in front of the deck.