Santorini Things to Do & See

What to do in Santorini, Greece? There are many things to do when setting foot in Santorini and some that still remain a bit off the spotlight and can offer you a more relaxed, serene and off-the-beaten-track experience of this phenomenal island.

We have put together an up-to-date which can serve as a complete reference guide for when you organise your holidays to Santorini.
This list includes the absolute touristic must-sees and must-dos of Santorini, as well as some more authentic and upcoming trends of the island. It is of importance to mention that most of the tours and guides operating on the island are very well organised and professional. If you are visiting the island during the summer season, for a less than a 4-day stay, you will definitely have to book the tours that interest you in advance due to the high demand and limited spots.

 

15+ Top Things to Do in Santorini

We have gathered a list of the best Things to Do while in Santorini. You can also view all of them on our interactive map.

Oia

1. Gaze a Sunset from a Caldera Village

Category: Villages

Getting to see the world-famous sunset of Santorini is an absolute must! Caldera sunsets are far more beautiful than any other ordinary sunset and all the photos you might have seen don’t do justice to the golden sky. Words can barely describe the striking beauty of a manifestation of colors that takes place above the Aegean Sea, in front of your eyes! This is a spectacle worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime and the romantic atmosphere has made thousands of couples from all across the globe exchange their marital vows beneath the setting sun.
Note: The following villages are also among the best places for your stay in Santorini.

The traditional village of Oia is probably the most photographed village of Europe and the most famous place in Santorini to gaze at the sunset. A true labyrinth of cubic-shaped houses, whitewashed terraces, windmills and blue domes make the postcard-like landscape of Oia especially beautiful during the sunset. Another place to watch the whitewashed houses turn red during the golden hour is Imerovigli, also known as “the balcony to the Aegean”. While admiring the sunset at Imerovigli, try to spot the blue-domed “Anastasis” church and the castle ruins of Skaros. Last but not least, Fira, the capital of Santorini, is also a great place that sunset chasers should not miss, where the golden rays of the sun adorn the picturesque neighborhoods of the Caldera each day before dusk.
Wondering how to get there? Just book your car with us and get the best rates!

Santorini Volcano

2. Visit the Active Volcano & other Sites

Category: Sites

The active Volcano of Santorini is the beating heart of the Aegean Sea and this currently sleeping giant is responsible for creating, destroying and reshaping not only Santorini, but also numerous other islands all over the Aegean. The volcano wiped out an entire civilization in the past, only to give birth to the new one, as the farmers rely on the special properties of the soil. The volcanic background of Santorini has shaped many other aspects of local life, including the Cycladic architecture. For a glimpse into Santorini’s past, visit the thousands-years-old ruins of the Akrotiri Minoan site that were buried in the volcanic ground when the volcano took over. Lots of other significant findings that date back to different time periods can be found in the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the Archaeological Museum in Fira.
Not to miss: A guided tour to the Minoan site of Akrotiri is absolutely a must!

The volcano’s crater is located on “Nea Kameni”, an islet which faces the caldera and can be approached by boat. Walking tours on the volcano are one of the most popular things to do on the island, as they offer the unique opportunity to explore an ashen land, naturally decorated with almost exclusively black and red lava stones. Once you reach the volcano, you can admire a tranquil view of the world’s biggest Caldera and the whitewashed villages built on its top. It is a very powerful scenery that you cannot miss! Thanks to the high temperatures of the volcano there are hot springs where you can go swimming near Nea Kameni.
Not to miss: The Volcanic and Hot springs Boat Tour is strongly recommended!

Jet Ski Safari

3. Jet Ski Safari for a Volcano expedition

Category: Tours

During the past few years, a growing interest in alternative methods of exploration led to the creation of special tours that will allow you to see the island in a more unconventional way. For an unforgettable experience, we recommend a jet ski safari, an unusual way to explore the southern coast or the volcano. If you take the "south coast tour”, you will have the chance to visit the beaches of Perivolos, Vlyhada, Red beach, Kampia, White beach, and Mesa Pigadia. “The volcano tour” includes visits to Perivolos, Vlyhada, Red beach, Kampia, White Beach, Pharos of Akrotiri, Caldera, and the Volcano (Nea “New” Kameni).

Furthermore, the “Extreme Volcano tour” includes the places of the “Volcano tour” and is enriched with visits to Skaros, Mouzakia Bay, Armeni Bay, Ammoudi Bay, Thirassia, and Aspronisi. All the tours have been organized in a way that allows some spare time for relaxing, swimming or snorkelling. All the necessary equipment is included. The jet ski safari is considered a bestseller tour and the availability is limited, especially during the summertime. It is highly advised to book your tour in advance!

Selene Restaurant

4. Explore the Gastronomy Scene

Category: Eat & Drink

The continuously expanding gastronomic scene of Santorini has turned the island into one of the most significant culinary destinations in Greece. The most well-known restaurants involve fine dining, gourmet delicacies and magnificent sea views, although several underrated taverns are ready to offer an authentic experience. The essence of the traditional Greek cuisine lies in these small family-owned restaurants, where you can enjoy delicious homemade meals at affordable prices. Some of the best options are Metaxy mas and To psaraki, two of the best taverns on the island, where you can try the classics of Greek gastronomy in a traditional setting.

If you’re looking for something more up-scale, for a fine dining experience like no other, consider having dinner at Selene. This restaurant has undertaken a 35 years old ongoing project of embracing greek, cycladic, and santorinian products and creating a culinary scene that can be compared to the finest European restaurants. Selene is housed in an old monastery in Fira and you will certainly need a reservation in advance. Check out our list of the best places to eat in Santorini or take one of the cooking and tasting classes and immerse yourself into the secrets of the local cuisine. Another option for those who would like to to explore the local tastes and aromas is local product and wine tasting.

Infinity pools hotels in Santorini

5. Boutique Hotels & Infinity pools

Category: Hotels

Santorini is hands down a hotel-oriented destination and finding the best place to stay can be quite challenging due to the overwhelmingly large amount of options.Traditional cycladic architecture merges with modern design and the finest services to offer an unforgettable accommodation experience. You will find some of the world’s best hotels, with an impressive cubic design and amazing sea and volcano views. Cave-like structures with whitewashed walls, arches and other elements of Cycladic minimalism make Santorini’s hotels truly unique. One of the best features is the famous infinity pools, usually found in luxurious hotels Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani with a hillside location. The reason why they are so special is the optical illusion that the pool is connected to the sea.

In addition to the hotels with infinity pools, boutique hotels with a limited number of rooms and suites, as well as private villas are the main type of accommodation that you can find here, and they are certainly worth every penny! Check out our up-to-date selection of the best hotels on the island for all the essential information. View our recommendations, check the availability and book your stay! Our filters will help you optimize your search. In case infinity pools are one of your top priorities, we recommend Grace Santorini Hotel (its pool has earned an award as one of the best pools in the world), Katikies, Cavo tagoo and more.

Are you looking for something special? Don't miss our selection of authentic cave hotels of Santorini.

Ammoudi harbor

6. Visit the small harbor of Ammoudi

Category: Villages

Right underneath the hill from the famous Oia village, there is a tiny fishing harbor called Amoudi. Although it is very small it remains quaint, hosting delicious taverns where you can savor fresh fish and seafood. It may not have a beach but if you walk down a 10-minute seaside path from the port, you will come across many tourists swimming in its clear blue waters. You can dive directly from the rocks which is really refreshing, especially after descending the 300 steps from Oia. It is also considered a beautiful and peaceful sunset spot.
Not to miss: Your visit to Amoudi can be combined with a romantic catamaran tour during the morning or the sunset! Discover the tours including Ammoudi.

Old winery

7. Get a Wine Tour

Category: Tours

Santorini deserves a spot in every wine lover’s bucket list. The volcanic soil of this small island in the heart of the Aegean Sea is the secret to success, as some of the finest and most renowned wines in the entire world are produced there. Wine has been playing a huge role in local culture and economy ever since the ancient years and these days it is just one of the many reasons to love Santorini. You don’t have to be a sommelier or an expert to appreciate a good glass of wine; You can either visit some of the best wineries independently or you can participate in an organized tour to get a taste of Santorini’s most precious product.
Not to miss: The "Wine tour with sunset in Oia" and the "4-hour small group wine tour" are well organised and popular whereas the Catamaran cruise, winery and Oia sunset combo tour is for travellers seeking to combine more than one themed tours in the same day.

Views from the Hike from Oia to Fira

8. Hike from Fira to Oia

Category: Santorini Blog

Built on the top of a volcanic hill and overlooking the sea, Fira is the capital of Santorini. It is a picturesque town, full of small whitewashed houses with a Cycladic style, sun terraces and chapels with blue domes. One of the most spectacular island hiking routes in Greece is the 10km path that connects Fira to Oia. It is strongly recommended to add this 3-4 hour scenic course to your to-do list, even if you are not an experienced hiker. The trail goes through half of the volcanic caldera, and connects Fira to Oia via Firostefani and Imerovigli. This is considered a relatively easy hiking path, with breathtaking views at any point of the route. It is recommended to start either at dawn or before dusk in order to avoid the burning midday sun.
Not to miss: We recommend you taking the guided walking tour.

Helicopter in Santorini

9. Get to Santorini in Helicopter & Tours

Category: Travel there

Book a Private helicopter transfer between Mykonos and Santorini and enjoy a luxurious flight above the Aegean Sea! Private helicopter transfers are a fast, fun and safe way to get from one island to the other and allow you to enjoy a panoramic view of the Cycladic landscape like no other. During the transfer you will get to see the most beautiful places on the islands from a distance, including lovely whitewashed villages, impressive cliffs and the famous Volcano of Santorini. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you should not miss, definitely worth every penny!
If you would rather stay in Santorini, it is recommended to opt for a Helicopter tour for some unforgettable views of the Caldera, the volcanic mainland of Santorini and of course, Nea Kameni. Although this new trend is NOT the most eco-friendly way to explore the island, it is an experience to remember for a lifetime! This tour is usually taken for special occasions, such as anniversaries.
Availabilities are limited! Book your Helicopter tour.

Santorini Red Beach

10. Swim on Red & Black lava-sand Beaches

Category: Beaches

Even though Santorini is part of the Cycladic island group, its beaches are very different from the long sandy seashores of other Cycladic islands. Santorini’s volcanic background resulted in a truly unique and raw scenery of beaches with black sand or pebbles contrasting with crystal clear azure waters. Spending a day at the beach is one of the must-dos in Santorini, especially during hot summer days when a refreshing swim is essential. The most famous beaches on the island are Red beach, Perivolos, Perissa, Kamari, Monolithos, White beach, Agios Georgios, and Vlychada. Most of them are family-friendly with pristine and calm blue waters. They have organized parts, with beach bars, sunbeds and umbrellas and unorganized sections, you can lay down on your towel and enjoy the sea for free. For a completely unspoilt landscape, visit Columbo beach. Located in the northern part of the island, this is an unorganised, nudist-friendly beach.
Not to miss: Discover the available watersports available on some of the beaches!
Note: You can now Rent your Sunbeds online!

Photography tour in Oia

11. Alternative Tours & Activities

Category: Tours

Alternative tours have been increasingly gaining popularity among those who visit Santorini. For instance, a Photography tour is a great way to get to knοw one of the most photogenic places on earth through the eyes of a professional photographer. Photography tours are a well-received trend in Santorini and many young people rush to opt-in! Taking these tours will help you capture unusual and unfrequented spots, as well as professional portraits of you with the most amazing background.
Another alternative and fun activity is Sea Kayak Excursions at the southern coast. There are two tours per day that are suitable for couples, groups of friends and families, one in the morning and one in the evening. Swimming and snorkeling are also part of the tour. This is considered more environmentally friendly compared to the jet ski tour and it also allows you to visit most of the beaches on the island. Book the Sea kayaking tour in advance as the availability is limited! One of the activities that are closer to the authentic lifestyle of the island is the Traditional Fishing Boat tour. If you want to experience a different kind of dinner or lunch, embark on a “kaiki” the traditional wooden fishing boat, practice fishing with local fishermen, learn different fishing techniques and then cook and eat the catch of the day while gazing at the beautiful sunset or the astonishing coastal landscapes of Santorini. The "Traditional fishing trip and fresh fish lunch" and the "Sunset fishing trip with dinner and drinks" are considered two very satisfactory options for the whole family.

Seajet ferry leaving Santorini

12. Ferry Trips & Island Hopping

Category: Travel

If your trip to Santorini lasts more than 4 days, it is recommended to include a day trip to Thirassia or another nearby island. Thirasia is a small islet located very close to Santorini. It used to be a part of Santorini but it was cut off after a volcanic eruption. Nowadays, it is only inhabited by 319 and remains untouched by mass tourism. Santorini and Thirasia are like siblings that look a lot alike, having the exact same geology, landscapes and views but with a very different character. Santorini is one of the most popular islands, with modern tourism infrastructures, whereas Thirassia maintains a low profile by preserving an authentic lifestyle. Many tourists skip a visit to Thirasia island, but we believe a boat tour should definitely be on your things to do list. Strolling around the small alleys with the colourful houses and churches or dining at the local taverns is a simple but effective way to escape from the crowds of Santorini. Not to miss: Βook the best selling tour to Thirasia!
Not to miss: Βook the best selling tour to Thirasia!

If you have planned on staying a bit longer, then a day trip to Ios is the best option for a refreshing full-day visit. Ios is also part of the Cycladic island group, although much different from Santorini. Ios is famous for its numerous unspoiled and sandy beaches, with crystal clear waters. If you like the idea of getting to know other cycladic islands, Santorini is great for island hopping trips. Since it is a very popular island, its port is connected by ferry to most of the other Cyclades, as well as Crete. Some of the most popular island-hopping destinations from Santorini are: Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Anafi, Ios, Milos and Crete.
Not to miss: You can check availability and book your ferry tickets directly with us!
Not to miss: You can check availability and book your ferry tickets directly with us!

Emporio village in Santorini

13. Explore medieval & Authentic Villages

Category: Villages

Experience the authentic side of Santorini by visiting some of its traditional villages! These picturesque settlements are located on the mainland of Santorini and maintain its traditional character by remaining off the beaten track.
One of the most beautiful ones is Emporio, which has a prominent medieval character.Numerous renovated stone mansions that have been turned into boutique hotels, traditional taverns and wine bars. As you stroll around the alleys, you will notice some very interesting architectural details, such as old steep stairs leading to upper floors, small neighboring balconies that are almost attached to one another, colourful wooden doors and arches. Bougainvillea trees and pergola vines are adding up a natural note. The main attraction of Emporio is its castle “Kasteli” and the Tower of Nimporio “Goulas”.
Pyrgos should also make it to your destination list, as the island’s former capital. It lies on the slope of mount Profitis Ilias and it is surrounded by the famous vineyards that produce the renowned Assyrtiko wine. Most tourists skip a visit there, so Pyrgos rests away from the intense touristic buzz of Caldera villages, preserving the rhythm of the local island life. Whitewashed houses, traditional churches and paved alleys are some of its architectural elements, while the castle “Kasteli” is its biggest landmark.
Another hidden gem is Megalochori, with numerous paved alleys and streets. The local architecture has the main role here: cave houses, neoclassical mansions, blue domes, artistic bell towers, picturesque squares and local taverns are some of the things that make Megalochori stand out. The churches of “Agios Nikolas” and “Panagia tis Plakas” are constructed literally at the edge of the cliff, offering awe-inspiring views.
How to get there? Just book your car with us and get the best rates!

Entrance of Atlantis Book Store

14. Discover the Atlantis bookshop

Category: Shopping

Although dropping by a bookstore is not the first thing that comes to your mind when visiting a Greek island, “Atlantis” in Oia is an exception. This bookshop was founded by a group of American and European literature enthusiasts who wanted to create a retreat for readers and writers in one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean. On the shelves of Atlantis you will find books in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, and, of course, Greek. Being full of treasures, this small bookshop is every bibliophile’s dream! Taking back home a translation of the Greek classic tragedies, historical and philosophical texts, or poems is the perfect souvenir! Don’t hesitate to buy one or more books in order to support their vision.

SUP in Oia

15. More Sea Activities & Sports

Category: Sports

Apart from the organised tours, plenty of sports and other fun activities are offered on the island. Scuba Diving is a great way to discover a sea bed full of rock and lava formations and the rich marine life of Santorini! There are scuba diving sessions for beginners and introductory lessons conducted by experienced and certified instructors. After the lesson, you will head towards a nearby rocky reef for a guided dive. If you feel comfortable enough, you may choose to dive in open water around the Caldera and the Volcano. Advanced diving sessions for experienced divers are also available, while the diving center offers easy and quick access to all the diving sites around Santorini and the volcano. Expect to come across lava formations, lobsters, clams, spirographs, colourful sponges, barracuda, many schools of fish and even a small shipwreck! In addition, Stand Up Paddling or “SUP” is the next big thing when it comes to sea activities in Santorini. It is a fun way to play in the water while enjoying the breathtaking views. You can rent your SUP at Perivolos beach or take an organized SUP tour. It is a strongly recommended fun activity for the whole family!

Entrance of Cine Kamari

16. Watch a Movie at Cine Kamari

Category: Other

A very popular summer activity for the whole family is the open-air cinema in Kamari village. The cinema has a garden-like design and there is a bar that serves refreshments, snacks, cocktails, local wine and beer. There are two screenings every day and the films are in English with Greek subtitles. It has been awarded as one of the best open-air cinemas worldwide and it is certainly a nice way to enjoy a true, under the stars summer night in Santorini. Make sure to add it in your itinerary, as it is one of the best alternative things to do on the island! More info on www.santorinicinema.com.

The caves of Art Space

17. Enjoy Art & Wine at Art Space Gallery

Category: Galleries

The love for art and wine intermingles in this one of a kind winery and gallery in Exo Gonia. The Art Space Gallery cultural hub of Santorini should not be left out from your to-do list. During your visit, you will have the chance to see some of the finest contemporary paintings and sculptures while tasting wines. The building was constructed in 1861 and is an example of the traditional cave house architecture of the island.

View of the Lighthouse

18. A visit to the Lighthouse

Category: Sites

The Lighthouse is located in Akrotiri at the southwesternmost point of the island. It was constructed by a French Company in 1892 and is one of the oldest lighthouses in Greece. It is considered a timeless romantic spot during sunrise or sunset and of course a top photogenic place. Access inside the lighthouse is not permitted but the view from there is totally worth your visit. The area is away from the tourist crowds and has a calm and serene atmosphere. If you visit it during sunset, remember to bring with you a bottle of the local wine or beer and sit at its white stone walls while watching the boats come and go.

More things to do

But that’s not all! There are a lot more things to do in Santorini; from amazing places for coffee and pastries, bars to cooking workshops and more.
We invite you to explore even more options that the island has to offer and which will fulfill all visitors’ needs: Sports, Wellness and more.