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Santorini in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Traveling to Santorini for three days can become an exciting adventure that will lead you to explore the island's beautiful sights, its local cuisine and its rich culture and history.

Andressa García

Andressa García

10 min read

Santorini in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Santorini | Maggie Meng

Three days on the island will give you the opportunity to see amazing places like Fira or the sunsets in Oia. You will also have the opportunity to do interesting and fun activities such as taking a hike around the caldera to enjoy breathtaking views.

Another activity that is certainly one of the best things to see and do in Santorini, is to take a boat trip to see the island from the water and even visit the red beach, which is one of the most attractive places. In addition, three days will also be enough to explore the island's vineyards and taste some of Santorini's most famous local wines.

Day 1: Fira, Oia and trekking

In fira| ©Daniele Torreggiani
In fira| ©Daniele Torreggiani

The first day of your three-day Santorini itinerary will be quite exciting and filled with visits to some of the island's most famous tourist sites. To begin with, you will explore the capital, Fira, where you can lose yourself in its small, labyrinthine streets full of stores, restaurants and bars. From the city, you will be able to admire the views and take many pictures of the caldera and the Aegean Sea.

After touring Fira you will go straight to Oia, which is one of the most picturesque places, besides its fame for its white and blue houses and its unforgettable sunsets. To go to this place you can follow the coastal hiking route to the lighthouse. A great experience to start on the right foot the first day of your visit to Santorini.

Knowing the city of Fira and walking through the white streets and blue churches

To get your itinerary off to a good start, your first activity for this first day in Santorini will be to take a tour of Fira and its white streets with blue churches, starting around 9:00. This time is perfect to avoid the crowds of tourists that usually arrive later.

While walking through the streets of Fira, you will also have the opportunity to admire and take pictures of the views of the Aegean Sea. Most of the tourist activity in Fira revolves around the main street, where you will find numerous restaurants and stores, so it is definitely a place you can't miss on this Santorini tour.

After spending a few hours walking around the village of Fira, around 12:00 it will be the ideal time to start the hiking route that connects the villages of Fira to Oia. The distance between one village and the other is approximately 10 kilometers, which can be covered in about four hours at a leisurely pace. Along the way, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views while exploring Santorini's caldera.

Sign up for a tour of Santorini

Enjoy a hearty lunch on the hiking trail.

During the tour on the hiking route, you will surely get hungry around 13:00 and of course you will find some restaurant along the way. So you will have the opportunity to enjoy Greek flavors somewhere between Fira and Oia. In fact, if you take a guided tour, your guide will give you recommendations on the ideal places to enjoy a good meal.

Watching the sunset from Oia

As you know, between Fira and Oia via the hiking route, it's a four-hour drive, so you'll be in Oia at approximately 17:00, which is plenty of time to enjoy the panoramic views while exploring Santorini's caldera. To enjoy the sunset in Oia you have to take into account the time of sunset, whose time can vary according to the season. In summer, sunset usually occurs around 20:00, while in winter the sun sets around 17:00.

In Oia in particular, there are several places where you can watch the sunset, one of the most famous being the castle of Oia. You can also watch the sunset from the Ammoudi Port or by climbing up to the Profitis Ilias Monastery on the top of the mountain. If you want to enjoy the Oia sunset in summer, I recommend arriving at least an hour before sunset time to find a good spot from which to admire the spectacle.

Enjoy a dinner in one of the many restaurants overlooking the sea

Right after watching the sunset, you will probably already want to enjoy a nice dinner. That's why I recommend you to look for a restaurant with a sea view to end your day in Oia, a task that won't be too difficult considering that there are many iconic restaurants where you can do so. Although another way to dine in style is to sign up for a sunset Santorini cruise tour with dinner included.

Among the most iconic restaurants on the island is the guesthouse restaurant, which offers a spectacular view of the Aegean Sea and the Oia sunset. In addition, in its facilities you can enjoy a variety of Mediterranean dishes such as fresh fish, seafood and salads. Continuing in the search for beautiful views, another restaurant you can visit is Ambrosia, where you will find a terrace with panoramic views of the caldera and typical Greek food.

But if at this point you want to try another type of food that is not Greek, I recommend you go to try the flavors offered by Lauda Restaurant, which is located in a beautiful outdoor terrace with spectacular views of the Aegean Sea and the sunset, and stands out for serving Italian food of height. After enjoying dinner you can use public transportation to return to Fira if you are staying in that area. Buses usually operate until after midnight, so you can return safely.

Sign up for a Santorini Cruise

Day 2: Perissa, wine tasting & hot springs

Perissa Beach| ©Bevan Davis
Perissa Beach| ©Bevan Davis

For the second day of Santorini itinerary you are going to go to visit Perissa beach, which is famous for its black volcanic sand. You will also have the opportunity to go wine tasting in the local wineries of Santorini.

And finally you will go to enjoy the hot springs at Kamari beach, known for its healing and therapeutic properties for the skin.

Visit Perissa beach

Your second day in Santorini will start with a visit to Perissa beach, which you will reach after having some breakfast. You will be at this place at approximately 9:00, in order to take advantage of the most amount of time. This site is characterized mainly by its long stretch of black volcanic sand and crystal clear waters.

Perissa is a very quiet and relaxing beach, so you will be able to enjoy the sun and the sea for a couple of hours, with the intention that you will be leaving this place at approximately 11:00, if you want you can stay a little longer and take advantage of having lunch around 12:00 in the bars and restaurants near the beach area.

If you prefer not to eat inside the restaurants, I recommend you to join a nice picnic to enjoy on the beach. It is essential that you bring sunscreen and a hat to protect you from the sun, especially if you do this activity in summer, rather than including it among the best things to see and do in Santorini in winter.

Take a wine tasting tour of the local wineries in Santorini

After leaving Perissa beach around 11:00, you will go to one of Santorini's wineries to enjoy a good tasting of the best wines of the island. This tour can start around noon or in the afternoon. If you want to tour the most famous wineries of the island to taste their wine production, you will have to spend between 2 and 4 hours on the tour, although the duration can change according to each winery.

During this type of tour you will visit a traditional or family winery where you will be offered a more authentic perspective of the wine production in Santorini. Expert guides can also provide interesting information about the history and culture of wine on the island.

Visiting Santorini's hot springs at Kamari beach

Assuming it takes you about four hours to complete the wine tour and during which you can enjoy the different flavors of Santorini for lunch, around 15:00 will be a good time to embark on your visit to the hot springs at Kamari beach.

From 15:00 the wind starts to blow less strongly and feels much more pleasant. These times may vary depending on weather conditions but in general, the hot springs in Kamari are known for their therapeutic properties, which are beneficial for the skin. The best thing about this tour is that you will be able to relax during your trip in Santorini.

I recommend you to use about three to four hours to enjoy the benefits of these waters, especially because it is usually a little warm and you will probably not want to leave.

Near the beach of Kamari, you can find restaurants, bars and souvenir stores, so you can eat some dinner or have a drink after the visit to the hot springs. At the end of this tour you can continue to your hotel or accommodation to rest and wake up early to continue your three-day itinerary in Santorini.

Day 3: Red Beach, Akrotiri, Thera Prehistoric Museum and Amoudi Bay coastal walk

Red Beach| ©cb1973
Red Beach| ©cb1973

Your third day of Santorini itinerary is going to start early with a visit to Red Beach, which is famous for its spectacular red cliffs and crystal clear waters. You will also go to see the archaeological site of Akrotiri, which is a well-preserved prehistoric settlement and in the middle of the experience you will go to try good food at one of the quaint seaside restaurants in Amoudi Bay.

At the end of the day you will have the opportunity to take a walk along the bay, to enjoy the views of the island and the sea. Overall this is a day full of cultural and natural activities, in the middle of which you will have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beauty of the island.

Visiting Red Beach

To start the day you will have to try some good Greek food and then go to enjoy the unique landscapes offered by the Red Beach, where you can take many pictures of the red cliffs and enjoy the crystal clear waters. This activity is going to start around 9:00, to take advantage of the small amount of tourists during this time.

After knowing this, you have to keep in mind that the hike to the beach can be challenging because it involves a short walk over loose and slippery rocks. But once you reach the place, all the efforts will be worth it when you see the red cliffs that decorate the landscape.

I recommend you to dedicate about three hours to enjoy the sun and the water. It is also necessary to bring comfortable shoes and swimwear, as well as sunscreen and towels. You have to keep in mind that it is not very advisable to swim in this beach because it can be dangerous due to the currents. There are even different restaurants and bars nearby if you want to enjoy a drink or a quick meal.

Visiting the ancient archaeological site of Akrotiri

After enjoying the red beach, it will be time for you to continue your tour of this third day in Santorini, which will continue rightly with a visit to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, located less than 2 km away, a city buried by volcanic ash and discovered in the 1960s. I recommend arriving at the archaeological site of Akrotiri around 12:00 and having lunch outside the complex before entering.

At this site you will have the opportunity to learn about its architecture and the daily life of the ancient inhabitants of the island. It is also considered to be the most important Late Bronze Age settlement in the Aegean region.

It will take you a little over two hours to visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri, where you will not only be able to explore the ruins, but also learn about the history of the city buried by volcanic ash. One thing I recommend about this visit is to take a guided tour in which your guide will tell you all the details about the history and importance of this place.

Visiting the Museum of Prehistory of Thera

After visiting the archaeological site of Akrotiri, I recommend you to go and visit the Museum of Prehistory of Thera, which you will enter around 14:00 and which is located almost 20 minutes from Akrotiri. Also, exploring this place is ideal for after visiting the archaeological site because it will allow you to know in depth the history and culture of the island.

Inside this museum you will find an impressive collection of objects from the Bronze Age, around the third millennium BC to Late Antiquity. You will have the opportunity to take a close look at the everyday objects used by the ancient inhabitants of the island, as well as learn about their rituals and beliefs. Cooking utensils, pottery, jewelry and agricultural tools are some of the objects that you will see in the place and that will give you a clear idea of what life was like on the island thousands of years ago.

In this museum you can stay up to three hours to see the whole place and its collections. You will leave around 17:00 to continue to the coastal area of Amoudi Bay which is the last place you will visit during this third and last day of Santorini itinerary.

Enjoying dinner at one of the seaside restaurants in Amoudi Bay

Right after leaving the Museum of Prehistory, you can go and enjoy a dinner at one of the seaside restaurants in Amoudi Bay, but not before taking a nice walk around the coast. As you will arrive around 17:00 or a little later, you will have the opportunity to walk around the area and then go for a bite to eat around 19:00, when the sun goes down and the atmosphere becomes cooler and more pleasant.

During the whole experience you will have the opportunity to enjoy wonderful views and beautiful landscapes. One of the things you will like most about dining at this place is that you will be able to taste fresh seafood as the main part of almost every dish. But you will also be able to taste different typical dishes of Greek cuisine.

After two more hours enjoying dinner, you can return to your hotel or accommodation to rest and go back home the next day. I recommend you to make a reservation well in advance for the transfers from Santorini port.

Book your transfer from the port of Santorini

With this activity you end your three day itinerary around the island of Santorini and some of the most incredible attractions to see in this dream place.