Santorini is unquestionably a travelers paradise with incredibly scenic views, sparkling golden sunsets, rich in taste Mediterranean cuisine, and unique volcanic beaches. That being the case, there is no shortage of hotels, restaurants, and shops. As travelers, we love to have the ability to recall memories from an idyllic spent holiday through souvenirs and photographs. Nowadays souvenir shopping is a major part of traveling as there is something undeniably appealing about owning collections of items to represent each place that we visited in the world. Shopping in Santorini can be a rewarding experience.
There are plenty of shops that will fit every budget and taste. Most of them stay open until late, hence you can combine your evening stroll through the narrow streets with seeking the perfect souvenir for you and your loved ones. Here is our list of the best things to buy while in Santorini.
Santorini was created by a massive volcanic eruption 3600 years ago. Hence, the rebirth of the island from the ashes inspired many artists to create unique jewelry collections that praise the unparalleled beauty of Santorini.
For those of you who love to spoil yourselves while on holiday, we recommend visiting the gold street of Fira, one of Greece’s largest gold markets. This is where you can find fine jewelry made from precious materials and handmade ones that combine silver, gold, and lava stones. Besides, Oia’s stylish shopping scene on the jewelry market is also not to be missed!
The power of the ‘evil eye’
It is almost impossible for someone to walk into a Greek gift shop and not find some kind of evil eye jewelry and decorative items. An evil eye can be found in many shapes and forms such as earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, and blue glass talismans. The first evidence of belief in the evil eye goes back to ancient Greece and Rome in the 6th Century B.C.
The main meaning of the evil eye symbol is the protection of its wearer from harmful energy and negativity. The evil eye or ‘mati’ as we call it in Greece, can be found in most of Santorini’s gift and jewelry stores. A great souvenir to boost your good luck!
If you are a wine lover and you consider visiting Santorini, this is good news for you! Santorini is one of the head destinations of wine tourism in Greece. More than 18 wineries open their doors to guests to offer wine tastings and tours. Santorini’s vines are among the oldest in the world.
The volcanic complex of the soil protected the vines from phylloxera, an insect pest of grapevines, that destroyed most of the European vineyards in the late 19th century. You will be surprised by the unique basket-shaped vines called ‘kouloura’ that protects them from the strong Aegean winds. What makes Santorinian wine truly outstanding and well known is the high levels of essential minerals found in the soil. You can purchase your preferred wine directly in one of the wineries or local liqueur stores. Alternatively, you may order them from their website to save some space in your luggage. A special treat to enjoy back home!
Local agricultural products
When shopping in Santorini do not miss trying its agricultural goods. The volcanic soil of Santorini is the secret behind the island’s high-quality products. Tasting the local cuisine may awake the desire to share the richness of the flavors with your family and friends back home. Luckily there are plenty of local stores selling a variety of goodies to escape from the common tastes.
- Fava beans. A very common dish that you can spot in most of the island’s restaurants and tavernas menus is fava. Fava is made of yellow split peas and it is a protected designation of origin (PDO) product that comes from Lathyrus Clymenum, a plant that has been grown in Santorini for 3500 years. Fava is an appetizer and it is simply cooked as a puree. Add onions and extra virgin olive oil and enjoy a simple yet nutritious dish!
- Cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes of Santorini are truly exceptional. This small vegetable needs very little water to grow as it concentrates the humidity needed during the night. The ntomataki (cherry tomato) is thick on the outside and juicy on the inside. Their sweet flavor makes them ideal for the composition of tomato paste. Seeds, canned paste, cherry tomato dessert, and sun-dried tomatoes can be found in the local markets!
- Capers. If you want to recreate the Santorini salad at home or to add a little bit of spice to your Fava, capers must be on your list of things to buy while in Santorini. Capers have a unique salty&spicy flavor and they grow in small bushes between steep rocks. The edible part of the plant is mostly the buds. However, the leaves are also rich in antioxidants and vitamins!
More and more people commit to adding natural, organic cosmetics to their beauty routine. Discover the benefits of simple yet effective ingredients with nourishing vitamins and oils by bringing back home Greek cosmetics straight from nature.
- Donkey milk cosmetics. From Ancient times, donkey milk was known for its numerous benefits. This is because of its high level of proteins, phospholipids, and ceramides. Donkey milk products are great for regenerating the skin with moisturizing and anti-aging effects. Plus they can relieve skin allergies, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and neurodermatitis.
- Olive oil cosmetics. Olive oil, called liquid gold, because of its beneficial traits. The unique, therapeutic, antioxidant, healing, and deeply moisturizing qualities were the first and most important cosmetic factors in Ancient Greece for the care of the body and health. Olive oil products give the skin firmness, freshness, and brightness.
- Volcanic cosmetics. The miraculous volcanic water and rock extracts are rich in natural minerals (Magnesium – Calcium – Potassium – Silica). The beneficial properties of volcanic ingredients help to build up your skin defense system. In addition, they offer detoxification, long-lasting and intense moisturization, cell renewal, collagen production stimulation, and anti-aging protection.
Do not also miss buying a sea sponge for your bath back home. Make sure that the labeled origin states Kalymnos. Kalymnos island is famous for the sponges divers acquire from the deep Aegean Sea.
Santorini is home to many artists who share the same passion for creativity. If you feel like taking back home something truly special, there are plenty of art shops where you can find a diversity of art-crafts that represent the tradition and history of the island and Greece in general. Gaining inspiration from the colors of the Aegean and the landscape of the island exceptional art pieces such as wall hangings, handmade paintings, unique sculptures, ceramics, and more. Keep in mind that shopping from a local artist will support a small Santorini family business and will guarantee you a truly handicraft item.
Fridge magnets, postcards of scenic pics, church miniatures, Santorini-themed accessories such as hats and T-shirts, Greek CD music are the easiest carrying and more classic souvenirs that you can find all over the island. They are great for displaying in your home and the perfect choice if you are a souvenir collection enthusiast.
Clothing and swimwear
Islanders love to wear light-colored fabrics and comfortable clothes. Elevate your holiday outfits and look great against the stunning landscape of Santorini. Purchase Greek clothing pieces, swimwear, hats, and handmade leather sandals or bags from one of the stylish boutiques.
Greek author books
Last but not least, if you are keen on reading, perhaps translated Greek Literature or Poetry works will be a souvenir that speaks to you. Book shopping from Santorini island will add a Greek treasure to your library for a lifetime.
Since taste is so personal, there is no such thing as a bad or a good souvenir. Whether it is something you have not seen before or an ‘ I love Santorini’ magnet, make sure that your souvenir is something that will help you cherish the memories of your holiday on our beautiful island! So, what type of souvenir do you always make sure to buy on your travels?
Are you ready for shopping in Santorini?