There’s no denying that Ammoudi Bay in Santorini is gorgeous. Located on the northwestern tip of the island of Santorini, Ammoudi Bay sits just beneath Oia and the idyllic bay is a beautiful contrast to the white-washed buildings of above—instead surrounded by pops of colour from local fishing boats, gorgeous turquoise waters and a handful of delicious restaurants to take the views in from.
In its glory days, Ammoudi Bay served as a transhipment port, with the buildings serving as warehouses. But like much of Santorini, in 1956 it suffered greatly from an earthquake. Since then, this quaint former fishing village has become the go-to spot for those visiting Santorini and looking for an incredibly beautiful place to walk, have lunch or swim.
Between the 278 steps down and the blaring Mediterranean sun, the walk from Oia to Ammoudi Bay takes quite the physical endurance and isn’t the easiest of walks. There’s no shade, and the steps are steep and made of cobblestones, so you need to look down and pay attention as you step. But it is beautiful. You could also take a taxi, which costs circa 10 EUR and saves you the trip hazard!
My hotel wasn’t too far from Ammoudi Bay, and due to the winding road nearby, we were able to enjoy a leisurely descent, strolling alongside the sunset and enjoying the difference in colour between the browns and reds of the cliff edge and the sea as the sun’s reflection bounced upon it. It was absolutely beautiful and as we got to the bottom of the bay we were greeted with vibrant yellows, blues, reds and greens from the buildings—a stark contrast to the red slopes of the caldera cliffs.
There are a variety of restaurants set into the famous red cliffs of the island’s famed caldera, including Barbounaki, Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna, Ammoudi Fish Tavern and the one we went to; Sunset Ammoudi Taverna, also known as Sunset Ammoudi by Paraskevas. Each restaurant gets incredibly busy, so you’ll want to make a reservation. We were torn between visiting for lunch (and being able to enjoy the incredible views in the gorgeous midday sun) or for dinner (who can resist the allure of a sunset?)—but the available reservations decided for us!
We were seated on the first floor of the restaurant and the staff were friendly from the first instance, kindly guiding us on portion sizes and must-try dishes. I won’t lie, the table felt a little too close to the one next to us, but once we were settled and conversation started to flow it was barely noticeable.
The restaurant was clean and had a balance between brickwork, bright yellow paint and simple tableware. It felt cosy and chic and conversation was flowing all around us—instantly giving those off-duty holiday vibes. As I’m sure you can imagine due to location, Ammoudi Bay is filled with seafood. Fresh options, caught daily and brought into the port. There were raw dishes such as ceviche and carpaccio, classic Greek dishes such as salads, Talagani and Tyrokafteri and an abundance of seafood options priced by the kilo.
When sitting in such an incredible seaside setting it would be rude to not eat seafood, so that’s exactly what we went for. Starting with Santorini tomato fritters which obviously aren’t seafood, but I love tomatoes and couldn’t resist. Followed by scallops with chorizo sausage, sweet potato mash and a ‘lemon butter’ sauce
Sun dried octopus with olive oil, vinegar, oregano and an undertone of citrus, a remnant from the sun-drying process
Grilled lobster and grilled jumbo prawns
It wasn’t the prettiest food I’ve ever eaten, but each dish was cooked to perfection. The flavours of the seafood were elevated with herbs, oils, butter or citrus, but never overpowered. Price-wise, it was an expensive dinner, but 100% worth it. There wasn’t a single fault, and we ate and drank everything we wanted whilst enjoying it all with incredible views—watching as the yellows of the sky transitioned to the yellow of the candlelight as the sun set and the skies blackened. It was the most romantic evening and I left feeling full of food, wine and life.
I can’t comment on the dessert as I was absolutely too full to fit it in. So much so, that after dinner we weren’t quite ready to call it a night, so we got a taxi to the top of Oia (there’s no way my calves or cardiovascular system could survive those steps after dinner!) and took a nighttime stroll along the main strip before heading back to the hotel and calling it a night.
I can imagine few things in this world that are more delightful than sitting by the sea, waves lapping in the distance as you enjoy a chilled glass of wine and delicious food—and Ammoudi Bay delivered so much more than that. So if you find yourself in Santorini, I thoroughly recommend treating yourself to a meal, a view and a memory that leaves your heart (and stomach) feeling full.