By Oceania Cruises Guest Marisol M.

Santorini, a gorgeous Greek island with whitewashed buildings and towering cliffs along the east coast, enchants all who visit with its romantic sunsets, unique volcanic-sand beaches and jaw-dropping sweeping views. It’s no wonder Santorini is known as a traveler’s dream.

Thira, the official name of this island, is definitely not a place to been seen in just one day. Yet, if a day is all you have, here are some experiences not to miss.

Food & Wine: The Magic is in the Soil

One thing I learned while on the island is that the flavors of their fruits and vegetables are enhanced by the combination of the island’s climate and volcanic soil. It’s no wonder their local cuisine is so good. Some of my favorite must-try dishes are the mouth-watering Greek salad, which to my surprise did not include lettuce like its American counterpart; the savory moussaka, a Greek version of lasagna; and their famous tzatziki sauce, the Greeks’ go-to sauce.

Greek Salad

Moussaka & Tomatokeftedes (Fried Santorini tomato Fritters) with tzatziki.JPG

Not only is their food and service fantastic, but their wine is one of the best I’ve had, so don’t leave without visiting one of the island’s wineries. The experience was so much fun, and insightful too. I learned all about the history and making of Greek wine and enjoyed a tasting of their most popular selections.

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For Adventurers: A Day Hike

If you’re an adventure-seeker like me, a hike to the beautiful town of Oia from the island’s capital, Fira or the striking town of Imerovigli can be one of the best ways to take in Santorini. This was quite a tough hike since the trails are not clearly marked, but as long you stay close to the paths by the caldera edge (or the coast) you will arrive at the unique and spectacular village of Oia.

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Once here, you can sit back, relax and enjoy a crisp white Santorini Assyrtiko wine while enjoying panoramic views of the caldera and the volcano on the nearby island of Nea Kameni or simply go shopping. To explore the island at your own pace take advantage of the Executive Collection Full Day Private Van shore excursion.

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Blissful Relaxation: Santorini Shorelines

If you’re looking for a relaxing day on Santorini, there’s a beach for every taste. Red Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island, well known for its surrounding red cliffs – just make sure you have comfortable shoes. To arrive there, you have to walk up a small cliff and a few uneven steps.

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If going up a cliff is not for you, there are plenty of other beaches to enjoy, like the tranquil open-air restaurant-lined, black-sand Perissa beach. This beach has an enormous rock called Mesa Vouno that rises from the sea and serves as the main attraction. Another favorite black-sand beach to visit is Perivolos, located close to Perissa and known for its sparkling azure blue waters and peaceful atmosphere.

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While writing about this, I’m reminiscing about Santorini and already can’t wait to return and visit all of the amazing corners of this island I still need to see.