Santorini needs no Introduction, especially as beautiful Greek Islands go. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s probably one of the most iconic Greek islands to visit. Honestly, there are so many amazing and some of the best things to do in Santorini that you’ll be spoilt for choice as soon as you land.
Honestly, Santorini is a beautiful island, especially with all those cave-like hotels; crumbly cliffs, gorgeous sunsets from Oia and delicious Greek food.
So, to help you get the most out of your visit, I’m sharing the best things to do in Santorini once you arrive. Have fun in Greece.
Anyway, before I ramble on anymore, I wanted to share some of the very best things to do in Santorini on your next trip. Have the best time exploring and as with all our posts, message us if you need any other tips.
1.) Watch the Sunset in Oia
Starting with one of the most iconic settings, head over to Oia for a lazy afternoon stroll around this cliff-top town.
If you’re looking to watch the sunset, you can either find a spot in the town itself or book a table in one of the restaurants that overlook the town. Honestly, it’s one of the best things to do in Santorini, but you won’t be alone in your idea.
Yes, Oia does get incredibly busy around sunset but who can begrudge others from wanting the same experiences as us, right? For a prime position to overlook the Caldera and view, you sometimes need to arrive 90 minutes before sunset at peak times. So be warned!
If crowds aren’t your thing, head to the Monastery of Profitis Ilias on the other end of the island where you’ll see the sunset over the whole island. The views from up here are incredible and you can see all over the Caldera; but not a closeup view of the Oia Ciffs.
2.) Grab a tipple at Santo’s Winery
A holiday isn’t a holiday if it doesn’t include a glass of wine, or 10… am I right?
Head over to Santo Winery where you can try a range of delicious Greek wines, olives and bites to nibble on. It’s a great way to spend a lazy afternoon. As with all professional wine connoisseurs, make sure to spit the wine out after. I always like to drink mine and I ended up pretty tipsy after a tasting session here.
Alternatively, book yourself onto an expert winery tour that’ll take you around some of the best vineyards in all of Santorini; this is what we did and loved every second of it.
Just be sure to book this tour before arriving in Santorini; tickets sell out on peak days.
3.) See the real Atlantis
Well over 3000 years ago, a catastrophic volcanic eruption consumed Santorini causing the middle of the island to disappear into the ocean below, with the island long assumed to be the home of the legend of Atlantis.
The Volcanic eruption was one of the biggest eruptions in the world and happened around 1,600 BC.
Not only did it cause a vast majority of the island of Thera (the big island that once was Santorini) to sink beneath the ocean, it left a huge crater that formed the vast cliffs on Santorini – leading to many assumptions about this being the home of Atlantis.
Over the last five decades, archaeologists have found a place like the Akrotiri Archaeological Site that shows us a glimpse into the past. Head here to learn more about the island’s dramatic (and pretty recent) past while also discovering some of the ancient settlements.
A visit here will take you around 45 minutes and is well worth partnering with a visit to more of the south side of Santorini while you’re there. After all, it’s in the opposite direction from the iconic town of Oia.
4.) Grab some local food
Greece is known for its amazing food and Santorini is no exception. There are so many amazing local dishes in Santorini you have to try. We absolutely loved the grilled souvlaki lamb and the feta Saganaki. The latter is a delicious fried feta that’s drizzled in oil and it’s so yummy.
Just make sure to pack expandable trousers. I swear, I gained an extra few rolls around my tummy after this trip.
5.) Hike to the top of Santorini Volcano
Grab your walking shoes, book this amazing Santorini boat tour and jump over to Nea Kameni island. The beating heart (or head) of the Volcano just off Santorini itself.
This baron and the volcanic landscape is still pretty active but ‘asleep’ right now as I was reassuringly told. Though, you can still feel the heat escaping the ground; so it’s still warm.
Oh, and don’t forget to pack your swimming gear too! though, the water near the island is rich in minerals and can stain lighter-coloured swimwear.
Boat tours, like this epic one, will make a small stop on the edge of the island’s geothermal points that heat the sea below. It was a really fun experience and you can notice a big difference in the temperature.
6.) Visit Akrotiri Lighthouse
Perched on the opposite end of the island from Oia, Akrotiri Lighthouse is one gorgeous point to see.
If you’ve rented a small car or even a quad bike (yes, the island is small enough to explore by quad bike), you should definitely visit.
Explore the dramatic coastline, and the gorgeous views and soak up that amazing Greek charm. We loved visiting around sunset, mainly because it’s so much quieter than in Oia at sunset.
Though, be sure to visit in a car or as part of a tour as you might not find a taxi back to your hotel from here.
7.) Sail around Santorini
No trip to the Greek Islands, especially Santorini, is complete without booking this boat tour.
It’s one of the best things to do in Santorini for a tour of the island and well worth doing if you’re short on time or only visiting Santorini for a day trip as part of a cruise.
Many of the routes will head around the dramatic parts of the bay, visit the Volcanic Island and even have a little time for diving into the deep blue sea.
Not only that, most have a free bar with local Greek wines and Mythos beer to enjoy as you sail the coastline around the cliffs of Santorini. We loved it and spent the whole day onboard.
Though, like I said previously, make sure to book this Santorini boat trip before arriving on the island. Honestly, summer in Santorini is very busy, especially if there are lots of cruise ships that have tendered just offshore.
8.) Explore the capital, Fira
Fira is the capital city of Santorini (although, don’t expect it to be anywhere near as large as other capitals in Europe). In fact, it feels like a large village in lots of ways.
That being said, for a tiny little capital, Fira packs a hefty punch when it comes to gorgeous views, picturesque churches and cobbled streets that are just too good to miss.
Oh, also, don’t forget to visit the Archaeological Museum of Thera for a little glimpse into the island’s heritage and past. You can also find some lovely bars to watch the sunset from whilst in Fira, too. Just be sure to book a table the night before for sunset; most bars fill up at that time.
9.) Hike From Fira To Oia
You didn’t think Santorini was just pools and gobbling mountains of feta cheese, did you?
Okay, well, before I visited, this was totally my idea of Santorini.
After exploring some of the best things to do in Santorini, I found some pretty cool trails that are amazing to follow, especially the Caldera trail between Fira and Oia.
Pack some comfy shoes, and some water and head off in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the strong midday sunshine.
10.) Visit the quaint village of Pyrgos
Step away from the edge of the Caldera and you’ll spot so many amazing little places. Case in point with Pyrgos.
This quaint little village is home to less than 1,000 people, expect plenty of charm, friendly locals and a photo opportunity around every corner – it really is very pretty.
Built on top of a hill, it really is one of the best things to do in Santorini if you love a good view.
11.) Explore Megalochori
Megalochori is a small town that’s perfect to explore for a few hours.
Head across early in the morning and stop off at one of the town’s bakeries to pick up a Saganaki (I swear, I lived on these whilst I was here).
12.) Head to the highest point on Santorini
Profitis Ilias is a mountain and mountain-top monastery that’s well worth visiting when exploring Santorini. Head inside some of the beautiful monastic buildings enjoy the views across the island and gorge on some of the local produce they sell.