Santorini is most famous for its sunset with the backdrop of the Cycladic village of sugar-cube houses. After staying for a week in Santorini, we are clear about the best and not so best places to witness the magical phenomena of sunset. Here is a list of the best and worst places to witness gorgeous sunset in Santorini.
Honest thoughts out of our one week of experience in Santorini
These thoughts may sound cynical, but this is what we experienced in Santorini. Other than the three sunsets we witnessed in “Non-tourist, unnamed spots, “sunset time was chaotic everywhere else. Tourists were dying to capture the right frame instead of beholding something astonishing.
Does Santorini have the best sunsets?
The sunset in Santorini is magical, no doubt about it.
We enjoyed twilight more than the sunset because many tourists want to click a perfect sunset photo and leave immediately to their next destination.
What is special about Santorini sunset?
When the tourist waves disappear, there remain the ripples of only a few genuine people who are there to savour the phenomena in real. The twilight or a sunset by a village side is the best part of your Santorini evenings.
If you are there to capture a perfect instagrammable photo instead of relishing the moments, reach the spots early to reserve the best seat for yourself! Thousands of people like you are looking for that “Perfect shot for social media.” (I don’t mean to offend anyone)
Annoying things you must not do while watching the sunset in Santorini
That is us surrounded by a flock of tourists who constantly kept pushing us aside and kept bringing their cameras up for a perfect photo rather than enjoying the moment Oia. See my face, you will know how irritated I was.
For heaven’s sake, don’t come with umbrellas to the crowded spots! It is ok to get tanned a bit. During sunset time, there are hardly any chances of you getting tanned. So chill.
Keep your phones and cameras away for a while when you are witnessing something magical like this. Live in that moment, capture it in your mind, and appreciate what you see rather than relentlessly seizing it on your devices.
Don’t kill others for your best photos – Live and let live.
Don’t keep hitting people with your elbows while trying to have the perfect frame on your great devices – We are there to enjoy, not get hit by you.
The best spots are those you discover accidentally! A side alley where nobody is walking may take you to the cliffside that opens to the canvas that is getting painted in crayons by god’s child. Keep your mind open to the unnamed places.
On an evening we were strolling in Fira. We thought a good yoghurt cup goes perfect with the sunset. And it did! Finding less crowd in Fira isn’t hard when you deviate from the main square.
Best place to watch Sunset in Santorini
The order goes from best to worst.
We have spent one of the best days of our life here! There is nobody to push you to grab your seat. There was no competition to grab that one perfect spot to pose for a photo. Nobody opens their photography equipment to capture that goddam Instagram photo here. People walked cautiously so that they weren’t a nuisance for anyone when we were watching the sun going down here.
This didn’t happen just because we stayed in Dana Villas. Because not many tourists don’t use the walkway between Fira and Oia as it is not closer to the main road. So you can’t find this place unless you are walking from Fira to Oia or Imerovigli. The young local couples come here to romance here quietly. A group of locals watch the sunset here while catching up with their friends. Firostefani is the best place for sunset and twilight.
We can label this real Cycladic village that is almost in the centre of the island as ” Santorini of the past.” I have I have gabbed about why we love Pyrgos most in the other post. Let us talk about why is it the second-best place to watch the sunset. Firstly, not everyone who visits Fira and Oia visits this village. So this town may make you feel it belongs to you. Its appearance is similar to Oia, but not the same.
In Oia, when you turn around to see, all you can spot is the building. In Pyrgos, you see an old three bell church. On the horizon, you see the Aegean sea lined by terraced tomato farms and vineyards. That is what makes Pyrgos landscape unique for the twilight time. By the time it was sunset time, both our phone batteries were drained out! So this photo was taken around 6 pm, even before the sun began to set.
This town between Oia and Firostefani is the hotspot for couples’ and models’ photoshoots. That means the backdrops are outstanding! When you look straight, you see Tholos islands. On one side, you notice the stretching arm of Santorini’s mountain topped with tiny gems like white houses. The other side of the hill is topped with white coloured homes, but not densely. You notice more of the Aegean sea than the landmass here. That is what makes the ocean look like a wrinkled silver foil. You can access the terraces of many private houses without disturbing them.
It Sounds Like the best town to watch the sunset with blue domes and silver water. Still, the catch is –
A team of photographers with models occupies every corner that gives the best backdrop! They keep asking you to move aside or further. After being chased away at a few spots, we were slightly annoyed, so we decided to walk watching the sunset rather than sit and savour.
The capital town is a hub of food, public buses, mid-range hotels, and old cafes. You get to the cliffside walkways if you come out of the main road towards the west. This is where all fancy, expensive restaurants are located. There is no doubt about having a fantastic sunset view if you can catch a place to stand on the walkways! The best spots are either occupied by tourists or expensive hotels. Book a table at an expensive restaurant beforehand if you aren’t bothered about the budget. Else keep walking until you find a place to sit on the parapet. Make sure to carry some Gyro or frozen yoghurt to make the evening better.
I know what you are thinking –” Why on earth does this guy put Oia at the last when this view is the best of all.” Aren’t we all get fooled by what we see on the internet?
This picture isn’t fake; the place looks exactly like this in reality too.
The view that pops up in your amazon firestick, the very first image in google search when you type Santorini, is this. That fancy picture you saw on Instagram where two couples were kissing is this Oia. This is a cliffside town where an Indian couple makes tik-tok videos to some cheesy Bollywood romantic song by blocking your way and ears.
The picturesque town is home to photo obsessed tourists flock.
This is where you have to reach the spot two hours earlier than the sunset spot to secure a seat for yourself. Expect to be shoved in the herd while coming back. Oia is a place that is never left out by any travel agency’s itinerary. Let us say you don’t mind the crowd and don’t mind securing a seat two hours early. Everyone wants to witness one of the best sunsets in the world, just like you and us. Fair Enough. But what happens here is –
You will feel great when you enter the town at 4 pm for the 7 pm sunset!
That image you have seen everywhere is right in front of your eyes now. The sea glitters in silver with windmills, blue domes, and white houses terraced at different levels, and your heart thinks of gold. You will say,” This is what I had dreamt of” Eventually, you will notice a flat deck cut in the rock. The obvious set-up for tourists to witness a magical evening at the “Mecca of sunset.” You enjoy the breeze, sunshine, the Cycladic town and everything. The fellow tourists are up to themselves, whispering, smiling, and listening to the music on their earphones.
Meanwhile, an older man comes and starts playing that handheld Piano -Accordion! Do you think heaven just came down to you? It feels like a perfect scene from a romantic movie- it feels surreal here.
What goes wrong in Oia?
Slowly, the accordion music begins to decline, and the noise of footsteps increases. Now the sea is turning yellow, and the village is glowing in the sunshine. You hear now chaos- people are shouting to make space through the crowd. Some random youngster is playing hip-hop music on his Bluetooth loudspeaker without thinking of others. The sky is turning gold and orange just like you had dreamed of- That is when the annoyance reaches its peak.
The tour organisers unload a bus full of tourists just before the sunset. They come down running. They speak so loud that you find them shouting. You try to watch the evening in the gap of two strangers’ bums now! You get bugged up and will ask the person in front of you to sit down. They stamp on your feet while moving aside because there is no space for them even to inch! Then one of the tourists is struggling even to see a ray of setting sun climb on the rock where you are sitting! They make their way to stand and see the sunset for just a second. You are lucky if they don’t fall on you. If they are sensible, they get off soon, wiping their bum onto your face. You are left bewildered.
The lady in the background is the one who stamped our foot and kept hitting us with her elbows forever.
You will feel great when you enter the town at 4 pm for the 7 pm sunset! That image you have seen everywhere is right in front of your eyes now. The sea glitters in silver, and your heart thinks of gold. You will say, “This is what I had dreamt of” Eventually, you will notice a flat deck cut in the rock. The obvious set up for tourists to witness a magical evening at the “Mecca of sunset” You enjoy the breeze, sunshine and everything. The fellow tourists are up to themselves, whispering, smiling, and listening to the music on their earphones.
Meanwhile, another person hands their phone to your hands and says-
“Click a sunset photo for me.” If you stand still and wonder, they get irritated and command you to either click a photo or leave the place for them! Randomly you click some crap and give back the phone to get rid of them.
The sun has gone down by now, laughing at the circus happening in the Mecca of Sunset! Everyone starts walking up in a rush without even glancing at the magic that has just occurred.
That is when you can sit back, take a deep breath, come out of the madness which was happening over the last 45 minutes and stare at the horizon painted red with sun vanished – That is why Oia becomes our last choice of place to witness the enchanting evening. However, it is the most picturesque one.
Which place would you pick in Santorini if you are on a short trip? Let us know in the comment section below.