• santorini island greece

What I Love About Santorini Greece: Scuba and the Gods

Don’t stop reading this because you think Santorini, Greece is a crappy place tourists go!!! I’m going to tell you what I love about Santorini Greece… and you’ll love it too, promise.

It is a stunning, magical place that made me beyond happy. Like all Greek islands, there are tourists for good reason! The food, the sunsets, the over-priced uniquely priced shops, and gorgeous people all are worth it. Yes, it’s expensive. There’s a sunset that “will change your life” that doesn’t. But there is so much more! I think the photos alone in this post will induce your wanderlust with Santorini (Fira), but just in case I’ll add a little story.

santorini island greece

Couchsurfing in Santorini was one of my luckier ones. We stayed with a Greek God who has been on the cover of magazines for being the “Island Boytoy”. He wasn’t around much, and at first I wandered why he even bothered hosting couchsurfers- but, I think it’s because he was hoping they’d pay for his Scuba classes. I was so naive back then!

santorini island greece

Why I Loved Santorini

  • Scuba with Greek Hotties for like 50 bucks… I mean that’s pretty cheap, and considering where we were!? We had no training in a pool before like many places in Thailand tried to enforce. We tipped over backwards straight into the ocean and started a whole day of my first time scuba diving. I can’t wait to go again and plan to in India soon. I almost got the bends when water got in my goggles and I panicked. My guide/Greek warrior saved my life. No big deal. There are many shipwrecks which is the main draw since visibility isn’t that good.

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

  • Couchsurfing. Just in general here. It not only introduced us to amazing people, but after the budget bummer in regards to clubs in Mykonos, it was so lucky that we stayed with these guys. We got to scuba and go to an old family friends’ bakery to try all the yummy Greek desserts. (PS: I have couchsurfing safety tips).
  • Clubs galore! They had free access to all the clubs being locals and we got to take advantage of that. We got back on budget, and had a baller (did I just say baller?) time at the coolest clubs in town. We went to a birthday party of a stunning Greek woman at a rented out bar before our biggest night out. The Greeks know how to party. Yamas!

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

  • Driving through the town on a Greeks motorcycle. Getting to see all the best sights from a local’s point of view. The best thing about couchsurfing is that you are with a local who can show you which guidebook advice is bullshit and which is worthwhile. They know better restaurants, or teach you how to cook something at their home.

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

  • A reminder on a trip that had some bumps and bruises like getting the airline losing my backpack and getting pickpocketed that I was lucky to be on the road. Travel is my life and I was feeling pretty down at that point.. the universe had NOT been rewarding me. It was nice to sit back and enjoy what the world was offering.

santorini island greece

  • Nea Kameni the volcano on the island, which has one active crater. I bought an awesome candle that has a covering made from the lava. It’s gorgeous. I bought one for my mom too, how fun to carry too hunks of hard lava in my backpack…
  • The “life changing sunset” at Oia is not so life-changing as it is shoulder bumping on the edge of the island to see the sun go out of sight like it does every. single. day. Regardless, here’s a photo and a blog post from someone who explored Oia Santorini better than me, lol.

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

  • The Greek Gods. I’m not talking mythology. I’m talking greased up tanned guys with blonde highlights in their beautiful hair. Yes, Greeks can be blonde! They have great accents, love to drink, and are quite funny. Because we stayed with a Greek hottie, we got to meet his friends. I love couchsurfing. Their friend Anna was pretty cool to meet too and I still talk to her often!

santorini island greece

  • The white on blue. The white buildings with the blue sea backdrop, or the white buildings with blue doors or window frames. They even paint white in between the cobblestones.
  • Donkeys are so cute. I didn’t ride one because is it just me or do they seem too small to carry people? Maybe like children, but me and a big bag? Yes, I’m aware this has been going on for ages, but I just couldn’t.
  • There are so many things to do in Santorini for tourists that I didn’t even scratch the surface!

santorini island greece

  • Rounded corners on all the buildings. Why does this make such a big difference? Something about it just makes the whole town look soft and inviting. It’s like some of the Portuguese houses here in Goa that I fawn over.

santorini island greece

  • Pink and Red flowers on top of the white and blue. It’s just enough color pop. I won’t overload here but I could.. I really could.

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

  • Long lunches at the beach hold a spot in my heart. The food is amazing and the Greeks love to feed. I had the most amazing shrimp in my life in Santorini. I eat Greek at the numero uno restaurant in Goa sometimes once a week, sometimes twice a day. I can’t get enough Greek food.

santorini island greece

santorini island greece

  • There was one thing I didn’t love. Leaving. It was a sad day… even though I was off to another island, I had a sinking feeling that Santorini was the most beautiful place I’d ever see. ever. and to this day, I think it still is!

santorini island greece

santorini island greece


Have you been to Santorini? What did you think- perfect island or tourist trap? 


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Alex @ ifs ands & butts January 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Somehow have not made it to Greece yet, except for a day trip over from Turkey to Kos. Hoping to make a trip in April for all the spectacular reasons you listed. Sure, it’s over run with tourists because it’s so highly dang recommended, just as you also spread the good news of Santorini :)

  2. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown January 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    This looks AMAZING, though as a scuba instructor your description of just going diving with zero training is absolutely terrifying to me. Glad you guys were okay though. The blue and white is so gorgeous and I would kill for some Greek food!! Yum!

    • Rachel Jones January 18, 2014 at 8:04 am - Reply

      It was a little scary. There’s an island here off of Goa that they do dive masters classes that I’m dying to get the time to go do! I really liked diving but found it exhausting!

  3. Stef January 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Santorini is so high on my bucket list. It just looks so beautiful in blue and white (I love that combination, my living room looks like that :P) with the flowers and of course the sea. I hope to make it there soon!

    • Rachel Jones January 20, 2014 at 5:48 am - Reply

      oh, I bet your place looks gorgeous then! So cool, and I hope you make it there too.

  4. Tana B January 20, 2014 at 1:18 am - Reply

    I love the houses/buildings on the Greek Islands, they are my absolute favorite. All white washed with blue roofs and many have plants and flowers hanging on them or in their windows.

    Never made it scuba diving while I was in Greece but I will keep in mind for when I end up there next.

    • Rachel Jones January 20, 2014 at 5:48 am - Reply

      Yes, you should definitely give it a go when you’re there next

  5. Renuka January 20, 2014 at 6:12 am - Reply

    I have never been to Santorini, but I’d love to go. The reasons you mentioned makes it even a better idea!

  6. Wendy Fairie Robinson January 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    ooooh loved reading this! thankyou for sharing, i have been to santorini and yes, it is beautiful… and maybe next time… try Crete! i am spending the winter here and it is breath taking and wonderful… xxxx I was sorry to hear your trip to Athens was spoiled by your bags getting lost… I did have a good experience there… but at least you were honest to share the bad stuff too… lots of people don’t…. and it’s not all rosy …. x

    • Rachel Jones January 21, 2014 at 5:12 am - Reply

      I’d love to try Crete, I’ve read so much about it! Athens started being spoiled by that- but it was mainly the fact that we came when everyone was on holiday and the town was like a ghost town! plus we spent most of the time lost & too hot haha, we wanted to get to the islands :)

  7. PurpleTravelKate January 21, 2014 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Ok, i’m not Greek – but this post has made me a bit homesick for Santorini!

  8. Camels & Chocolate January 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    The Maldives was the same experience diving! I’d never had a tank on before, and they threw me right in the ocean and off I went my first time diving! No skills training, no pool time, nothing.

    • Rachel Jones January 22, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

      crazy how some place won’t train at all! but ooo the Maldives!! There’s a good chance I’ll make it there this year. I must before it sinks away! I was thinking of getting my dive masters there. it’s cheaper here in Goa but there’s like no visibility or pretty fish. I’ve also considered going to the Andaman islands (but they have salt water crocs on a nearby reservation that kill on average 1 person per year! a friend of my boyfriend went there on vaca and his gf was killed. awful. There were no signs warning of the crocs either!

  9. Margarida Almeida March 25, 2014 at 6:32 am - Reply

    I absolutely loved this post! I’ve been to Santorini this last September and I fell in love. I had to avoid the touristic crowd but I found amazing places. I’m actually writing a post about it this week.

    And I was glad to know you have come to Portugal, I will search for those posts now hehe! (I’m portuguese btw)

    • Rachel Jones March 25, 2014 at 9:21 am - Reply

      I’ll check out your Santorini post when it’s up :)

  10. Julia May April 9, 2014 at 12:47 am - Reply

    I’m going there this summer! What’s the cheapest way to travel there from Croatia? I’m couch surfing as well! Also, what time of the year did you travel in

    • Rachel Jones April 9, 2014 at 2:33 am - Reply

      Hi, I traveled in July and the crowds were big, but not overwhelming. As long as you go in knowing it won’t be a peaceful empty island then all will go well! From Croatia, you can a bus down to Albania to the ferries. If you are doing many islands I would start there and work my way to Santorini. If not, then you might have to fly from croatia down or check with a travel agent in town.

  11. Julia May April 9, 2014 at 12:47 am - Reply

    And we’re the crowds really bad??

  12. Sami March 9, 2015 at 11:00 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel :)
    I’m going to Santarino in a month & half for 2 & 1/2 days!
    What are the absolute MUST SEE places and whats a safe and not too expensive place to stay? I would reallllllllllly appreciate your advice. I can’t swim, so avoiding Scuba. Wouldn’t mind to check a beach or 2 though.

    • Rachel Jones March 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Sami, It’s been ages since I was there so this post is really all the advice I have! I would check out Alex in Wanderlands recent santorini posts – she wrote a lot!

      • Sami March 9, 2015 at 7:52 pm - Reply

        Thanks so much Rachel, YOU ROCK!! :)

  13. Astha March 18, 2016 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Me and my husband are going to Greece (which has been on my list of to dos in LIFE since I was 10 yrs old) in June this year. Can’t wait for June!!! I am so thrilled.
    We will be covering Athens, Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos and Athens in that order. Average 2-3 days per place. I hope I have a good experience… I want to cherish this all my life. Its one of my dream destinations.

    • Rachel Jones March 18, 2016 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      You’e going to love it! I actually might be going back this summer too! :) I hope you have a fantastic trip!

  14. Miranda Risser June 30, 2016 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    I absolutely adored Santorini when I visited! I couldn’t bring myself to ride the donkeys either. I felt like I would fall off if they were to go down those steep, slick streets. Did you make it to the Highlander there? That’s where my friends and I would go at night. Super fun and hot Greek bartenders. What else could you want?

    • Rachel Jones July 1, 2016 at 2:04 am - Reply

      I am not sure if I went there or not- it’s been so long now, I can’t remember! But you describe it so well ;)

  15. Andrew Darwitan July 31, 2016 at 11:22 am - Reply

    The place is brimming with so much character it’s gorgeous. I love all the beautiful villages (Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Oia) but also the panoramic calderas… wish I can return again soon!

  16. […] of CS I have made great friends, had the best tapas Barcelona has to offer, Scuba-dived with a Greek god in Santorini, gotten into fancy parties at top clubs, local festivals, made new friends, and had a […]

  17. […] American girl called Rachel Jones has been travelling around the world and has mentioned quotes about her time at Santorini. Rachel […]

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