- Why We Visited Santorini
- What to Eat in Santorini
- Santorini Food Guide
- Santorini Restaurants
- Santorini Souvlaki
- Santorini Desserts
- Santorini Drinks
- Things To Do in Santorini
- Santorini Meal Map
- Research Santorini Hotels
- Book a Santorini Tour
- Buy a Greece Travel Guide
- Pin It for Later
Wondering what and where to eat in Santorini Greece? We ate our way through the Greek island paradise and found great food among epic views. Check out our Santorini Food Guide with some of the best Santorini restaurants.
Santorini was impossible for us to resist. There’s good reason that the island’s blue church domes grace every Greek travel brochure and poster. Its geography, molded by an epic volcanic event several thousand years ago, makes the crescent-shaped island wholly unique in the Greek archipelago.
Santorini is beautiful – one of the world’s most touristed destinations. Thousands of visitors literally fill the island’s cobblestone lanes every day during the summer and into the shoulder seasons. These tourists include summer vacationers and honeymooners as well as boatloads of cruising daytrippers who swarm the caldera docks every day – often numbering up to 8,000 people.
Tourists crush Santorini’s lanes in search of the perfect island souvenir. We’re not exaggerating about the crowds. Many streets in caldera towns like Thira and Oia bulged with people during our October visit.
Instagrammers were literally climbing atop private properties to snap selfies featuring the island’s iconic blue-domed churches. Yes, we took selfies with the famous structures. No, we did not trespass on private property to do so.
In a way Santorini is like an A-list movie star struggling to escape the gaze of paparazzi. But like a radiant Greek goddess, this island cannot be ignored. White chalk stucco walled residences with arched roofs pile high upon rugged cliffs that look upon a vast, timeless seascape.
In one of nature’s most fortuitous coincidences, the monumental caldera acts as a solar amphitheater. If the weather breaks right, there’s no grander sunset on Earth. And, despite the crowds, it’s still possible to hide in narrow alleys that provide a respite of peace from the overabundance of t-shirt shops and pottery stores.
It would be a mistake to only visit Santorini’s western end. Outside the steep caldera, vineyard dotted mountains slope gently toward scenic beachscapes with views of the neighboring island of Anafi.
Southeastern mountain, Taygetus, rises above Santorini. Villages like Pyrgos provide more expansive views of the sea and island. Even Santorini’s airport lounge (open to the public) offers beautiful views of the seascape to the east. There’s little of this island that isn’t a visual gem.
Why We Visited Santorini
The popular Greek destination originally hit our collective radar back in 1982 when we saw the racy movie Summer Lovers for the first time. Beyond the film, it’s almost impossible to escape Santorini’s iconography. From travel agencies to American Greek restaurants and diners, Santorini images are everywhere.
With readers clamoring for Santorini recommendations and our desire to experience this island’s beauty for ourselves, it was finally time for us to visit, explore and, of course, eat our way around Santorini.
What to Eat in Santorini
Although Santorini isn’t famous for its food compared to islands like Crete and Rhodes, the scenic Cyclodian island is no slouch when it comes to cuisine. Visitors to Santorini can easily enjoy a full range of must-try Greek food at all price points from cheap eats to fine dining and everything in between.
Classic Greek dishes like souvlaki, moussaka and horiatiki salad are all readily available on Santorini, but food travelers who crave a deeper culinary dive will not be disappointed. Santorini’s rocky, volcanic soil creates amazing products that are best sampled at the source.
Without a doubt, the growth of tourism has brought challenges to the island’s agriculture. However, Santorini still has plenty of good food available from cherry tomatoes to white aubergine (eggplant) and, of course, magnificent wines.
If you’re visiting for the first time, you might not know what to eat in Santorini. We recommend that you start your Santorini food exploration with the following local products:
Cherry Tomatoes (Domatínia)
Santorini’s tiny tomatoes are intensely packed with sweet flavor due to the island’s dry climate and mineral-rich soil. Granted PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status by the European Commission, these tomatoes claim a prominent spot on almost every Santorini menu. Many chefs serve the red fruit atop salads while others fry them to make crispy, sweet, melt in your mouth fritters called tomatokeftedes.
Though fava beans are available all over Greece, Santorini’s variety is so special that the island’s yellow peas qualify for PDO status. Local restaurants typically purée fava into a creamy spread and top the lush concoction with octopus, tomatoes and other local products.
As an island in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is literally swimming with seafood. Most restaurants take advantage of this fishy situation by offering seafood options like octopus (chtapódi), prawns (garídes), mussels (mýdia) and fresh Mediterranean fish like red mullet, tuna, seabass and John Dory.
White Eggplant (Lefkó Melitzána)
Large in size and sparse in seeds, Santorin’s white eggplants (more commonly called aubergine in Europe) are filled with sweet flavor thanks to the island’s rich volcanic soil. In addition to frying and grilling aubergines, local chefs also transform them into paste and add them to comforting, cheese-rich saganaki.
Benefitting from the island’s arid climate and volcanic soil, Santorini winemakers grow flavorful grapes including Aidini, Athiri, Mandelaria and, most notably, Assyrtiko. They produce world-class wine with these grapes. This wine is sold on the island, around Greece and throughout the world.
Santorini wineries also produce Vinsanto, a late harvest dessert wine that derives its sweetness from white grapes that are sundried to a golden hue. To qualify as Vinsanto wine, winemakers must use a minimum of 51% Assyrtiko grapes and age the wine for at least two years in oak barrels. The resulting wine must be 9% abv or higher.
Santorini Food Guide
Santorini has a variety of eateries to satisfy its 15 thousand residents as well as approximately two million annual visitors. Let’s face it, people need to eat when they’re not busy gawking at gorgeous vistas during the day and watching the sun kiss the sea each evening.
In our quest to experience the best places to eat in Santorini, we dined at restaurants in hectic Thira and Oia as well as in quieter areas like Exo Gonias and Pyrgos. We chowed down on souvlaki and sipped glasses of wine. We dined at top Santorini restaurants recommended by trusted sources and followed our noses to discover local gems.
Read on to find our favorite places to eat in Santorini.
The best restaurants in Santorini celebrate the island’s local resources while adding creative twists to classic Greek dishes. Some offer epic views of the caldera while others operate in more intimate spaces.
Honeymooners and luxury food travelers will want to indulge in at least one special meal in Santorini. Award-winning Selene fits this bill by offering an upscale gastronomic dining experience filled with fresh ingredients and creative gastronomy. Recognized as one of the best restaurants in Greece, Selene offers a nightly a la carte menu during the tourist season, closing from mid-October until spring.
Opened by Yiorgos Hatziyannakis in 1986, Selene has continued its commitment to serving local products over three decades. Guests can dine at one of twelve tables in the Pyrgos restaurant’s surprisingly informal dining room or on its more expansive outdoor terrace. Note, dining on the terrace wasn’t an option during our shoulder season dinner.
Our meal started with an amuse bouche of ‘raviolis’ constructed with beetroot and celery shells and continued with the restaurant’s signature Santorian Tomato Can – a fun, tri-colored rainbow melange of multi-colored mini tomatoes, tomato sorbet, compressed watermelon and feta cheese water gingerly placed inside an edible tomato can.
The “can” was unique but we preferred the deep flavors and delicate pasta of Selene’s modern, canneloni-like Pasticcio. Stuffed with pork and beef cheeks and served with sour, creamy bechamel, parmesan foam, smoked carrot purée and tomato confit, this deceptively simple starter, incorrectly described as deconstructed by our server, was a cohesive culinary winner.
Selene’s main dishes stretch the envelope in terms of both execution and pricing. Accordingly, we opted to share one Piglet Prasoselino that had been slow-cooked for 12 hours and was plated with celery foam, smoked roasted leek, mini brioche hot dog and sweet red pepper ketchup.
Selene’s desserts are extravagant. Accordingly, we shared the restaurant’s take on a chocolate bar served over soft butter with olive oil and a side of cinnamon ice cream. It was a sweet ending to a satisfying meal filled with great food and excellent relaxed, friendly service.
Although we fully recommend Selene, we would be remiss if we didn’t comment on the cost of our meal. The tally for two starters, one main course, one dessert, a bottle of water, an espresso and two glasses of wine exceeded €140. Consider this your Santorini splurge with costs that are in line with European Michelin starred restaurants.
Our only complaint would be the restaurant’s lack of a comprehensive tasting menu (which, in our view, would eliminate surprises on the final bill) and a definitive list of wines sold by the glass. The restaurant does offer glasses on selected bottles at 20% of the total bottle charge, but it was a bit of a hassle to begin tabulating percentages as we selected our wines.
Overall, we recommend Selene for a modern, quiet splurge-worthy dining experience away from the tourist throng.
Selene is located at Pyrgos Kallistis 847 01, Greece.
You know you’re in Greece when you dine at Metaxi Mas. The 20 year old local institution has an ageless charm that feels like it’s been open decades longer.
Set in the shadow of Mount Taygetus, the popular Santorini restaurant fills with tourists and locals every day and serves honest dishes like plump, spicy pork sautéed with feta and ginormous lamb shanks accompanied with local tomatoes and white eggplant. Cats and dogs mill about the restaurant’s classic al fresco Hellenic patio while servers pour wine from clay pitchers.
Expect to eat dishes from Crete as well as typical Santorini specialties. In addition to serving items like Dako salad loaded with fresh tomatoes, feta, oregano and Cretan olive oil served atop a large Cretan barley rusk, the restaurant welcomes guests with shots of Cretan raki and little nibbles.
Portions are large and prices are reasonable. We were too full for dessert but somehow devoured the complimentary cheesecake topped with raspberry sauce after it magically appeared at our table. Consider yourself warned.
Though it’s away from the typical tourist areas, Metaxi Mas is far from a hidden gem. Diners fill the Exo Gonia restaurant on a daily basis, making reservations a must. We booked our dinner on the advice of trusted Greek friend and travel expert Chrysoula Manika of Travel Passionate. We thought Chryssie’s advice was spot on.
Metaxi Mas is located at Exo Gonia, Έξω Γωνία, Santorini 847 00, Greece.
Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna
Located below Oia on the northern edge of Santorini, hiking down to Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna is worth it for the spectacular views. We don’t say this lightly after a near catastrophe occurred during our trek down a steep trail’s 200+ uneven steps, many littered with donkey poop.
Don’t get us wrong, we loved the views from Oia to Ammoudi Bay, but our 70d DSLR camera nearly met a premature death after Daryl slipped on the trail’s slippery path. The camera literally bounced down ten or so steps, spilling parts along the way.
Somehow, after recovering the camera’s battery door, battery and function wheel (with a little help from some helpful locals), the camera miraculously functioned without a hitch. Seriously, buy a Canon if you’re in the market for a camera. We’re now Canon customers for life.
But back to Dimitris Ammoudi. Joy Kerluke moved to Santorini in 1985 and opened the popular taverna with partner Dimitris Hamalidis. Specialties include all manner of fresh seafood as well as comforting starters like tomato fritters, saganaki and dako salad.
Kerluke is a hospitable owner whose presence is felt all over the dining room as she touches tables and talks to guests. She even arranged our transport back up the mountain to Oia.
But, to us, dining at Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna, is all about the harbor view that the restaurant shares with three other lagoon-based tavernas. Our table was mere inches from the sea, facing epic red cliffs and providing an unobstructed yolk-like view of the sun tucking behind nearby Thirasia Island.
Be sure to plan your meal to coincide with sunset, preferably arriving before dark and securing a front-row view of the Aegean’s nightly show. You’ll want to toast the magical moment with sparkling water or wine. Better yet, order a bottle of Donkey Beer from Santorini Brewing Company (see below) to complete the ultimate Santorini sunset experience.
Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna is located at 1, Oia, Ormos Ammoudiou 847 02, Greece.
Dining at To Psaraki provided us with a quandary. Though Daryl wanted to order a whole fish from the seafood restaurant’s fresh bounty, Mindi was committed to ordering a selection of mezze dishes instead. In retrospect, there was no bad choice, though Daryl still feels regret about acquiescing to Mindi for a change.
DH: I plan to order a big whole fish during our next visit.
MH: Ok Daryl. Next time we’ll order a whole fish.
But seriously, can you blame Mindi for wanting to sample seafood dishes like sea bass ceviche, homemade white cod roe tarama, grilled octopus and paprika-flavored bonita as well as white aubergine baked with tomato and feta cheese??? A carafe of house wine plus a bread basket served with an intense tomato spread completed our midday meal.
Dining at To Psaraki made us happy. Open since 2009 and located by the Athinios Harbor on the south side of the island in Vlychada, the restaurant is an affordable, must-visit for food travelers in Santorini.
To Psaraki is located at Vlichada Marina, Vlichada 847 00, Greece.
Located a bit away from central Thira’s tourist fray, Kokkalo’s large windows overlook Santorini’s eastern terrain. Beyond its epic views, this Santorini restaurant manages to be both chic and comfortable. But, at the end of the day, dining at Kokkalo is all about the food.
We enjoyed a smorgasbord of local favorites during our lunch – crispy red tomato fritters, velvety fava topped with grilled octopus, grilled sausage stuffed with feta and tangy tzatziki dip. We added a Cretan dako salad for good measure, though we agree to disagree about the inclusion of xinomitzythra cheese instead of feta. (Daryl would have preferred feta in this dish though xinomitzythra is more traditional.)
Though it’s not on many lists of where to eat in Santorini, we’re proud to include Kokkalo in our Santorini guide. This restaurant impressed us with its fresh, local ingredients and flavorful combinations. We flat-out adored the feta-stuffed sausage. Plus, we’re suckers for restaurants that welcome us with raki.
Kokkalo is located at 25is Martiou 25, Thira 847 00, Greece.
If you visit Greece and don’t eat souvlaki during your trip, did you really visit Greece? We think not.
Greek souvlaki is the country’s ultimate fast food and is bargain-priced to boot. Throughout the country, souvlaki stands serve grilled meat on skewers, in pitas and on platters. Though typically involving proteins like chicken, pork and lamb, vegetarians can find meat-free souvlaki with a little extra effort.
After eating all the souvlaki in Athens, we were curious to check out the best souvlaki in Santorini. We satisfied our mission at the following two spots:
If you only have time for one souvlaki meal in Santorini, eat it at Pitogyros. This popular cafe cooks its meat to order on a charcoal grill and serves it on a serene outdoor terrace on the edge of touristic Oia.
Diners go inside Pitogyros to put their name on the list or order takeaway, and we were no exception to this rule. Seated fifteen minutes later, we ordered two pita wraps, one with grilled pork and the other with spicy sausage. Both were excellent, rivaling souvlaki we’d previously eaten in Athens.
Plus, priced at €4 each at the time of our visit, these gyros may be the best cheap eats in Santorini. You can walk away for under €10 even if you order a Yellow Donkey beer to wash down the tasty Greek sandwich.
Pitogyros is located at Oia 847 02, Greece.
We felt lucky when we nabbed two stools at Lucky’s Souvlakis in Thira. The busy souvlaki stand takes Santorini cheap eats to the extreme by selling gyros for €2.60 at the time of our visit. After ordering our gyro, we added a Mythos beer for just €2.50 more.
Our well-positioned stools placed us in front of spinning spits of meat and gave us ready access to chat with the stand’s colorful crew. Although it wasn’t the best souvlaki we’ve ever eaten, it was a fun break as well as a pleasant respite from the strong Mediterranean sun.
In our opinion, Greek bakers make some of the best desserts in the world. If you’ve ever eaten baklava at a Greek diner, then you know what we mean.
We rarely skipped desserts when we dined at Santorini restaurants. However, we sometimes made a special effort to secure dessert when we needed a sweet break during the day. These are favorite dessert spots in Santorini:
An institution in Thira since 1912, Sborwnos Bakery serves sweet and savory baked goods all day every day. The bakery also serves coffee, orange juice, sandwiches and ice cream.
During our multiple morning visits, we sampled Greek treats like the twisted spinach & cheese pie pictured above and this kataifi stuffed with almonds and coated with syrup. Although most customers take their treats away to enjoy later, we scarfed ours down at the bakery’s limited outdoor seating.
Sborwnos Bakery is located at 25is Martiou, Thira 847 00, Greece.
The Family Bakery
We initially spotted The Family Bakery during our Santorini wine tour. Once we realized that the Megalochori bakery was literally a two-minute drive from Venetsanos Winery (see below), a visit was inevitable a few days later.
With a strip mall exterior more resembling a New Jersey convenience store than a European bakery, the Family Bakery has a wide selection of desserts and is open 24/7. This bakery possesses a truly local feel and sells a range of cooked food suitable for a quick meal on the go.
We shared a decadent dessert called a ‘triangalo panaromico’ according to the cashier. With a honey-coated shell, sweet cream and pistachio bits, this pastry may have been the best dessert we ate in Santorini.
The Family Bakery is located at Επαρχ. Οδ. Φηρων – Ορμου Περισσης, Μεγαλοχωρι, Σαντορινη 847 00, Greece.
Touring Oia can be exhausting between the hills and the sun, not to mention the crowds. Accordingly, stopping at Lolita’s Gelato is mandatory for ‘mental health’ purposes.
Apostolis Tsolakos opened the popular gelateria in 2013 after studying the art of gelato in Bologna. He and his staff add ultra-fresh ingredients to every batch of gelato and sorbet.
Overwhelmed by the flavor choices, we chose three – Cuban lover, baklava and mastic. The combination was divine.
Lolita’s Gelato is located at Oia 847 02, Greece.
Locating a place to drink in Santorini isn’t a challenge. However, with so many coffee chains and party bars, the key is to find the best spots on the Greek island paradise.
With 16 wineries, wine is both prevalent and affordable, and there’s no lack of beer, both craft and commodity. However, coffee is more of a challenge. After literally walking out of two promising coffee shops, we finally found excellent specialty coffee in Thira.
Read on to find our favorite Santorini watering holes.
Drinks with a View
Santorini bars are a dime a dozen in both Thira and Oia, but the best spots offer epic views with their libations. Drinking with a view is easily one of the best things to do in Santorini. Just don’t forget your camera or wallet after enjoying one too many drinks.
Volkan on the Rocks
We bumped into Volkan on the Rocks on our very first day while touring Thira and returned three more times to enjoy the island’s best craft coffee, elevated brunch food and extraordinary caldera views. It quickly became our morning happy place due to its crafted specialty coffee made with taf beans from Athens.
Operated by Thessaloniki’s Ergon Foods, Volkan on the Rocks is a great spot to share a quiet drink or eat tasty food before, during or after a day of touring Thira. In addition to taf coffee, the well-positioned bar serves beer from Volkan Brewery (see below), wine from Nomikos and cocktails from The Clumsies.
Volkan on the Rocks is located at Firostefani, Thira 847 00, Greece.
Despite or perhaps due to its volcanic land and arid climate, Santorini farmers have been growing some of the country’s best wine grapes for over 3,000 years. Not only does the volcanic soil create interesting taste profiles, but it also protects the grapes from diseases like phylloxera.
As we learned during our Santorini wine tour, the island’s 16 wineries produce excellent wine of which 85% is white and 78% is Assyrtiko. Assyrtiko, which absorbs volcanic properties from the soil, is Santorini’s most important grape variety but it’s not the only grape in town.
Other varieties include Aidani, Arthiri & Mavrotagano. Then there’s Vinsanto, Santorini’s luxurious dessert wine exclusively made with late-harvest white grapes.
As you plan your Santorini itinerary, consider visiting the following wineries:
Carved into the cliffs just above the port of Athinios, Venetsanos Winerys’ sunset terrace is the ultimate spot for tasting wine in Santorini. The views of the island’s caldera and nearby islands are nothing short of breathtaking.
Constructed in 1947 and more recently renovated after being closed for decades, Venetsanos has been offering wine tastings and tours at its unique winery sine 2014. Venetsanos also has a museum for guests who want to learn about the winery’s storied history.
We shared a four-glass tasting during our sunset visit. Gregoria Koskorellou guided us through tasting 2018 Santorini (Assyrtiko), 2018 Nykteri (Assyrtiko), Anagallis (Aidani, Assyrtiko and Mandilaria) and 2016 Vinsanto (elixir of the gods).
Although we arrived by car, other guests we met had taken the bus from Thira to the Megalochori winery. However you get to Venetsanos Winery, get there. The cliffside view from the Southeast corner of the caldera is worth the effort.
Venetsanos Winery is located at Caldera Megalochori, Santorini Island 847 00, Greece.
Drinking wine at Domaine Sigalas’ Oia winery is a relaxing way to explore the breadth of Santorini wine. Not only does the winery grow estate grapes on its 37 hectares to produce 300,000 bottles each year, but it also purchases additional fruit from 100 local farmers.
Founded in 1991, the winery offers wine tastings and food pairings for visitors. During our visit and with a view of rows and rows of vines in the field, we shared a six-glass tasting and a Ntakos salad with barley rusk, tomato, Chloro cheese, capers, olives and oregano.
Our tasting included the following wines: Am (Assyrtiko and Monemvasia), Santorini (Assyrtiko), Kavalieros (Assyrtiko), Ean (Mandilaria), Mm (Mandilaria and Mavrotragano) and Vinsanto (Assyrtiko and Aidani). Santorini and Vinsanto both qualify for PDO status.
Domaine Sigalas is located at Baxes, Oia, Santorini 847 02, Greece.
Santo Wines is a popular winery that offers wine tastings with epic views of the caldera. Founded in 1947 as a cooperative, this Pyrgos winery is the island’s largest with more than 1,000 wine-growing members. Visitors to Santo Wines can take a tour and watch an informative documentary in the winery’s oenotourism center.
As for us, we headed straight to the wine bar when we visited Santo Wines as part of our Santorini wine tour. We enjoyed two five-glass flights with a variety of white and red wines along with a sampling of local cured meats, olives and barley rusks. Since it was already dark, we focused on the wine instead of scenery and selfies.
Santo Wines is located at Pyrgos Kallistis 847 00, Greece.
Sometimes we’re satisfied with drinking mass-market beers like Mythos and Fix but sometimes we want more. Thankfully, Greece has joined the craft beer movement and has two excellent breweries on Santorini.
Santorini Brewing Company
Famous for its donkey logo, Santorini Brewing Company sells its beers in many of the top Santorini restaurants including Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna, To Psaraki and Pitogyros (see all above). Founded in 2011, the small craft brewery imports all of its ingredients and brews its beer in Pyrgos with a focus on quality over quantity.
We met co-owner Majda Anderson when we visited the brewery for a beer tasting. Anderson shared that the brewery is producing 120,000 liters this year, some of which will be distributed abroad to the US, UK, Japan and Switzerland.
More importantly, we tasted three beers during our visit – Yellow Donkey, Red Donkey and Lazy Ass Donkey. We also bought a t-shirt as a Santorini souvenir.
Santorini Brewing Company is located at Mesa Gonia, Santorini 847 00, Greece.
Located in Thira, Volkan Brewery adds local ingredients like lava rock filtered mineral water and grape honey to their craft beer. The brewery currently produces four different beers – blonde, black, white and grey.
Unfortunately, the brewery was closed during our October visit. On the upside, we were able to order bottles at nearby Volkan on the Rocks (see above).
Volkan Brewery is located at Agiou Athanasiou, Thira 847 00, Greece.
Things To Do in Santorini
Santorini is a destination that demands exploration beyond its epic caldera. We’re already recommended that you take a wine tour. Here are some other ideas for how you can explore the island’s natural and culinary treasures:
- Take photos of the most scenic Santorini sites during an Instagram Tour.
- Explore the Santorini Volcano during a Sunset Dinner Cruise.
- Eat your way around Thira during a 4-Hour Walking Food Tour With Tastings.
- Eat more during a Cooking Class with Wine Tasting & Lunch.
- See Santorini during a Santorini Sightseeing Bus Tour with Oia Sunset.
- Splurge on a 20-Minute Santorini Helicopter Flight.
- Get adventurous ding a Horseback Riding Experience in Volcanic Landscape.
- Relax during a Volcanic Islands Cruise with Hot Springs Visit.
Hungry for more? Check out our Athens Food Guide since you’ll need to eat before and after you visit the Acropolis.
Santorini Meal Map
We’ve included this handy map so you can track your Santorini meals and beverage breaks with a smartphone.
Research Santorini Hotels
We recommend that you rent a car after you book a hotel. However, if you don’t feel comfortable driving on Santorini’s curvy mountain roads, you can use a Transfer Service to get around the island.
Book a Santorini Tour
You simply must explore Santorini – it’s one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Click here to find an awesome Santorini tour or try one of these tours:
Buy a Greece Travel Guide
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We thank Urban Adventures for hosting us on a four-hour Santorini wine tour to facilitate this article. We otherwise self-funded our trip to Santorini.
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