Not many places on planet Earth are as beautiful as the Greek Island of Santorini. With its pearly white buildings, posh cave-like hotels, quaint fishing villages, and rural vineyards, Santorini is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in Europe. Whether you wish to enjoy gorgeous sunsets from Oia, explore ancient archaeological sites like the Ancient Akrotiri, relax in thermal springs, or sip brilliant local wines at the island’s many wineries, there is no shortage of amazing things to do in Santorini. This travel guide allows you to experience this Greek paradise with blue-domed churches, lava-layered cliffs, and mesmerizing sunset views from a unique perspective and takes you to some of the island’s finest attractions.
Culture vultures interested in the history of Santorini will want to pay a visit to the wonderfully-preserved archaeological site of Akrotiri. Often compared to the Pompeii archaeological site, this former Minoan city is located just a short drive of Fira and boasts everything from wooden footbridges to remnants of pottery and clay buildings. If you wish to get a glimpse of life in Santorini around 1450 BC, a visit to Akrotiri should definitely be included in your travel itinerary.
2. Santorini Caldera
Looking for unique things to do in Santorini? Discover one of Italy’s best natural wonders, the famous Santorini caldera. This 4-mile long basin was actually formed by a volcanic explosion that took place about 3,500 years ago and changed the topography of the Mediterranean coast. From enjoying views from Cape Mavropetra to bathing in the hot springs and hiking to the summit to witness amazing scenery, there is plenty to see and do when exploring this natural wonder in Santorini.
3. Santo Wines
Wine lovers can visit one of the island’s most famous winery that offers charming views of the cliffs and some pretty amazing wines. Welcome to Santo Wines, a modern winery where travelers can sample some of the finest Greek wines, listen to live music and enjoy magnificent views of the dreamy outdoor terrace. In case you get hungry, Santo Wines has a fabulous on-site restaurant that serves both local cuisines and international dishes. Daily wine tours cost about 12 euros per person with two tastings included in the price.
4. Ancient Thera
Located at the top of Messavouno Mountain, Ancient Thera is an extraordinary archaeological site that houses remains of Doric columns, Roman-era theatre, public monuments, and private houses from the 9th century BC. There are even remains of a gym for military trainees. The easiest way to reach this place is from the coastal villages of Kamari or Perissa. This scenic hike lasts for about an hour and offers spectacular views of the Aegean Sea.
5. Museum of Prehistoric Thera
With a large collection of Akrotiri’s treasures, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira is a great place to visit while staying in Santorini. Divided into 4 parts including the island’s history, volcanic activity, history of archaeological digs, and exhibition space, the museum is home to hundreds of artifacts that come from several excavations from the island. Visitors will have an opportunity to see sculptures, jewelry, and ceramics, as well as ritual objects and paintings. However, the museum is quite small and it will take you not more than 30 minutes to see all of its items.
6. Red beach
Located below an impressive red cliff wall close to the famous Akrotiri site, the Red Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Santorini and offers stunning scenery. Keep in mind there is no paved path to the beach, but its uniquely-hued landscapes make it worth visiting. The beach is also accessible by boat from places like Perissa and Kamari. If you wish to take photos and enjoy the natural beauty of dramatic amber cliffs, Santorini’s Red Beach is a must-visit destination on the island.
7. Archaeological Museum of Thera
With an extensive collection of artifacts that date back to 700 BC, the Archaeological Museum of Thera can be found in the town of Fira. Expect to see items from Roman, Hellenistic, Byzantine, Ancient Thira, and Dorian periods including everything from marble figurines and sculptures to inscriptions and prehistoric vases. The most famous artifact is the krater with Attic black figures that come from the historical ships.
8. Sunset in Oia
The most beautiful settlement of Santorini, Oia is a cute village built on caldera cliffs. With its blue-domed churches and white-washed houses, it’s easy to see why thousands of travelers come to this place every day. Although there are many interesting things to do in Oia, Santorini, the number one activity is enjoying spectacular sunset views. One of the best places to watch a sunset in Oia is from the remains of the Castle of Agios Nikolaos.
9. Amoudi Bay
If you wish to enjoy spectacular views of the caldera, make your way to the small fishing village of Amoudi Bay. From small taverns like Katina’s Taverna that offer authentic Greek cuisine and picturesque coves that offer ideal conditions for swimming to admiring the beauty of the nearby striking red cliffs, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Amoudi Bay. The easiest way to reach this place is by walking down a 300-steps stairway that starts in Oia.
The capital city of Santorini, Fira may not be large as other island capitals, but its cobblestone streets dotted with colorful houses and tiny squares are worth exploring. See the blue-domed churches and admire fascinating views of the caldera from 300 meters above. There are two ways to reach Fira. You can either take the cable car from the small port of Skala or go for a hike up the winding steeped path. Fira is also an excellent place to shop for gifts, as it is home to many jewelers and souvenir shops.
11. Perissa Black Sand Beach
There are many cool things to do in Santorini for 2 days and we recommend paying a visit to the Perissa Black Sand Beach. Nestled on the island’s southeast coast, Perissa is one of Santorini’s most famous beaches. It is famed for its black volcanic sand and offers sunbed and umbrella rentals. On the coastal road overlooking the beach, vacationers will find many cafes, restaurants, and tavernas from which they can enjoy magnificent views of this six-kilometer-long stretch of black sand.
12. Santorini volcano
The island of Santorini is blessed with natural beauty due to the volcanic eruptions. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the island’s main attractions are the picturesque caldera and young volcanic islets. Visit Nea Kameni, the central islet that is famous for its healing hot springs. Many visitors come to Agios Nikolaos which is a small cove in this islet to enjoy the therapeutic wonders of the yellow thermal waters. The easiest way to explore these small islets is by going on one of the daily volcano boat tours that depart from Athinios and Fira.
13. Skaros Rock
Hiking in Santorini is a rewarding experience. You have the stunning views of the caldera, the architecture around you looks amazing, and the whole landscape is simply breathtaking. A large rock formation located in Imerovigli, Skaros Rock used to be a castle that was unfortunately ruined in the 19th-century earthquake. Nowadays, travelers can enjoy a scenic hike to this colonial headland and can actually see both sides of the island from this unpaved track.
14. Kamari Beach
Santorini is not short on beach resorts and one of the most unique destinations is Kamari Beach. Located in the small seaside village of Kamari just a short drive from Fira, this Greek beach boasts one of the largest stretches of black sand on the island. Keep in mind that Kamari Beach is surrounded by numerous hotels and restaurants, making it a popular and busy spot among many tourists during the summer season. It is worth mentioning that the beach has a Blue Flag and offers ideal conditions for swimming.