13 Best Things to Do in Santorini, Greece

santorini travel tips

Santorini, with its iconic whitewashed buildings, blue-domed churches, and breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea, is a slice of paradise that attracts travellers from all corners of the globe. To make the most of your visit, here are 13 must-do activities in this enchanting destination, packed with Santorini travel tips to enhance your experience.

Explore Oia Village

oia

Oia is the quintessential Santorini experience. Known for its stunning sunsets, this charming village sits atop steep cliffs offering panoramic views of the caldera. Wander through narrow cobblestone streets, explore local boutiques, and dine at quaint cafés. One of the best Santorini travel tips is to visit Oia early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds and capture the best photos.

As the sun begins to set, head to the castle of Oia, a popular spot known for its spectacular views. To make your sunset experience even more memorable, consider booking a table at one of the many cliffside restaurants well in advance. This way, you can relish delicious local cuisine while witnessing the sky light up in shades of orange and pink.

Nestled on the stunning cliffs of Santorini, Kastro Oia Restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience. Not only are the sunset views awe-inspiring but the rich full dramatic sounds of classical music serve as a delightful ambient enhancement.

Visit the Ancient Ruins of Akrotiri

akrotiri

For history enthusiasts, is a must-see destination. Often referred to as the “Pompeii of the Aegean,” this ancient Minoan city was buried in volcanic ash around 1627 BC. The well-preserved ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into life in the Bronze Age, with remarkably intact frescoes, buildings, and pottery.

Guided tours are available to provide in-depth knowledge about the site’s historical significance and the daily life of its inhabitants. A useful Santorini travel tip is to bring comfortable footwear, as you’ll be walking on uneven terrain. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Red Beach, which is famous for its striking red volcanic sand and cliffs.

Relax on Kamari Beach

kamari beach

Kamari Beach is one of Santorini’s most iconic and most visited beach resorts. It is renowned for its unique black sand. This striking landscape is a result of volcanic activity, offering a surreal and beautiful setting that contrasts with the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea.

The beach is well-maintained, and you’ll find plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas for rent, along with a variety of bars and restaurants lining the promenade. It is located in the seaside village of Kamari, 10 kilometres southeast of Fira and close to the Airport. It is at the foot of the imposing Mesa Vouno Mountain where the prominent archaeological site of Ancient Thera is found. It is easily accessible by bus that departs from Fira and there is a big parking lot where you can leave your vehicle.

The beach is composed of black volcanic sand and is 5 kilometres long, among the 3 longest beaches in Santorini, with deep crystalline waters and a series of trees. Although it is extremely busy, it is maintained very clean and has been awarded the Blue Flag.

Kamari Beach has everything you may need for a relaxing and satisfying day at the beach. There is a diving center where you can take lessons and try snorkelling. Here you have the opportunity to experience a variety of water sports as well, such as windsurfing, water skiing, surfing and paddle boats that induce an adrenaline rush. Close by you can find a football field and a beach volleyball area that add to the amusement.

One of the best Santorini travel tips is to visit Kamari Beach during weekdays when it’s less crowded. Early mornings are serene, offering an ideal setting for a leisurely stroll or jog along the coastline. A long, parallel promenade is ideal for a pleasant stroll where you come across various shops. The lively atmosphere at the numerous cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs by the sea can offer you an enjoyable time. The black sand also tends to get quite hot, so packing water shoes is a good idea for your comfort.

Wine Tasting at Santo Wines

santo wines

Santorini is renowned for its unique wines, thanks to the island’s volcanic soil. One of the best places to experience this is Santo Wines. Situated on a cliff, the winery boasts an impressive selection of local wines, and the views from the terrace are nothing short of spectacular. A guided tour will introduce you to the island’s wine-making traditions and the unique grape varieties grown here.

Wine-tasting sessions allow you to sample everything from the fruity Assyrtiko to the sweet Vinsanto. A handy Santorini travel tip is to book your wine tasting in advance, especially during the high tourist season. Pair your wine with some local cheese and olives for a delightful experience.

Hike from Fira to Oia

hike

For outdoor enthusiasts, the hike from Fira to Oia is an unforgettable experience. This scenic trail, which stretches about 10 kilometres, offers some of the most breathtaking views of the caldera and the Aegean Sea. The hike takes approximately 3-5 hours depending on your pace and the number of photo stops you make.

A useful Santorini travel tip is to start the hike early in the morning to avoid the midday heat and crowds. Make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as the terrain can be uneven.

Discover Fira Town

fira

Fira, the capital of Santorini, is a bustling town teeming with life and culture. Perched on the western edge of the island, it offers stunning views of the caldera and the iconic white-washed houses clinging to the cliffs. Wander through its winding streets, explore the numerous shops, and savour some delightful Greek cuisine at the local restaurants.

Don’t miss the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera to gain insight into the island’s rich history. One of the best Santorini travel tips is to take the cable car down to the Old Port or, for a more traditional experience, ride a donkey. Remember to take time to relax at one of the many cafés while watching the world go by.

Take a Boat Tour of the Caldera

caldera tour

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Santorini is by boat. A caldera tour allows you to explore the volcanic islands and hot springs. Various options are available, ranging from luxury catamarans to traditional wooden boats. The tour often includes stops for swimming, snorkelling, and a visit to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni.

An essential Santorini travel tip is to choose a sunset cruise for a magical experience as the sky changes colours over the caldera. Some cruises even offer a BBQ meal and drinks on board, making for a perfect day on the water.

Visit the Red Beach of Akrotiri

red beach

The Red Beach, located near Akrotiri, is famous for its striking red cliffs and sand, a result of volcanic activity. The dramatic contrast between the red landscape and the turquoise waters creates a surreal and beautiful setting. Getting there is a bit of a hike, but the stunning views are well worth the effort. There is a small footpath, that you need to hike on, that leads to this imposing red-coloured scenery and the unique Red beach.

It is a semi-organized beach with a few umbrellas and sunbeds but without a beach bar, so make sure that you carry all the necessary equipment with you to get protected from the sun, and get provided with some supplies from the two canteens that you will find right before the beginning of the path.

One of the top Santorini travel tips is to visit early in the day before the beach gets crowded. Bring water shoes as the sand and pebbles can get quite hot as the huge impressive cliffs, protect it from the winds.

Experience the Nightlife in Fira

Fira is not only the cultural hub of Santorini but also the epicentre of its vibrant nightlife. From lively bars to sophisticated clubs, there’s something for everyone. Start your evening with a cocktail at one of the cliffside bars offering stunning views of the caldera, then head to a club for some dancing.

A handy Santorini travel tip is to keep an eye on local event listings, as many bars and clubs host themed nights and live music. Just remember to book a taxi back to your accommodation in advance, as demand can be high late at night.

Explore the Scenic Village of Pyrgos

pyrgos

Pyrgos, situated at the highest point of Santorini, offers panoramic views of the island and the Aegean Sea. This picturesque village is less touristy than Oia or Fira, making it perfect for a tranquil day out. Wander through its narrow alleys, discover charming chapels, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.

A must-visit in Pyrgos is the Kasteli, a Venetian castle with stunning views. For a delightful culinary experience, dine at one of the village’s traditional tavernas. Remember, a top Santorini travel tip is to bring your camera; Pyrgos offers countless Instagram-worthy spots.

Explore Emporio Village

emporiovillage

Emporio is the largest village in Santorini and offers a different slice of island life. Its labyrinthine streets, fortified medieval structures, and beautiful churches offer a perfect day of exploration away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas. The Goulas and Kasteli towers are some of the main attractions here, showcasing Santorini’s rich history.

The village also has lovely little cafés where you can enjoy a Greek coffee and traditional pastries. A useful Santorini travel tip is to visit during the morning when the village is quieter, allowing you to fully soak in its serene atmosphere.

Visit the Santorini Arts Factory

arts factory

Located in the southeastern part of the island, the Santorini Arts Factory is a cultural centre housed in a former tomato factory. The centre hosts various exhibitions, concerts, and workshops, making it a wonderful spot for culture enthusiasts. The setting itself, with its industrial architecture and stark contrast to the rugged landscape, is quite impressive.

One of the key Santorini travel tips is to check their event calendar in advance to catch any performances or exhibitions that might interest you. There’s also a museum on-site that highlights the history of Santorini’s tomato industry, offering a unique perspective on the island’s agricultural heritage.

Indulge in Local Cuisine

food tour

No trip to Santorini is complete without indulging in its delicious local cuisine. From fresh seafood to delectable cheeses and wines, Santorini offers a gastronomic delight for every traveller. Try traditional dishes like fava, tomato keftedes, and moussaka at one of the island’s many tavernas.

A highly recommended Santorini travel tip is to book a food tour, offering the chance to taste various local delicacies and learn about the island’s food culture. Don’t forget to pair your meals with local wines to enhance your dining experience.

Basic Santorini Travel Tips

This video was created by Sebastian, a Tour Guide in Santorini. Watch his guide for basic Santorini travel tips. Enjoy!

Summary of the 13 Santorini Travel Tips

Visiting Santorini is like stepping into a dream, with its breathtaking views, rich history, and unique landscapes. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, relaxing on a black sand beach, or indulging in local cuisine, there’s something for everyone on this magical island. Hopefully, these Santorini travel tips will help you make the most of your trip. At NOVA TRAVEL INC., we’re here to ensure your travel experiences are as seamless and memorable as possible. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the enchanting beauty of Santorini, where every moment is a cherished memory in the making.

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