10 Best Things To Do in Santorini

Santorini is one of those idyllic places where you would want to stop time and stay and live there. In this post I tell you what to see on the most photogenic island on the planet.

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

11 min read

10 Best Things To Do in Santorini

Views of the Aegean Sea | ©Hello Lightbulb

The Cyclades are the most famous and visited Greek islands. The great jewel of this Aegean archipelago is Santorini, an island of volcanic origin kissed by the sun and bathed by amazingly blue waters that have enamored travelers from all over the world for generations.

They arrive attracted by the typical image of a seaside village of white houses with blue roofs, but they leave with a lot of lived experiences because Santorini is much more. Are you ready to enjoy the vacation of your life? Check out the 10 must-see and do things to see and do in Santorini!

1. Sail Santorini by boat

Sail the waters of Santorini| ©Raimond Klavins
Sail the waters of Santorini| ©Raimond Klavins

Santorini is an island with a seafaring soul. Contemplating from the water its silhouette of cliffs with the peaks crowned with white houses with blue roofs is a marvel. So during your vacation I recommend you to book a boat trip around Santorini.

These excursions usually last several hours and are the most fun. Some of them organize Greek-style barbecues with music and dinner before watching the sunset from the sea.

It is a magnificent experience that every traveler should live in Santorini at least once. If you want to know in detail how are these boat trips on the island and what options are available, I advise you to read the article The best cruises and boat trips in Santorini...

Book a boat trip in Santorini

2. See the best sunset in Santorini

See the most beautiful sunsets in Greece| ©Nikola Totuhov
See the most beautiful sunsets in Greece| ©Nikola Totuhov

Santorini is said to have the most beautiful sunset in the Aegean Sea. It is a mantra repeated by so many travelers that it has become a powerful siren song capable of attracting so many others who dream of also witnessing the sunset in such an idyllic place.

Actually, the fame of Santorini's sunset is more than justified. It is a hypnotic spectacle with a magical touch, where the landscape of whitewashed houses and blue domes over the volcanic cliffs crosses the horizon where the sun hides to give way to the stars.

Nobody wants to miss this moment and there are many places from where you can enjoy the sunset in Santorini. These are some of the most outstanding.


It is the most popular place to watch the sunset in Santorini. To see it for free, the best places are the windmill or the ruins of the Venetian castle, although the latter is usually crowded so I advise you to go a couple of hours before to get space.

However, in Oia there are many bars with terrace-viewpoint where you can enjoy the moment with a drink, relaxed in your seat and listening to music.

However, if you are looking for a quieter and more secluded place to watch the sunset in Santorini I recommend you visit the beach of Katharos, one kilometer from Oia. Watching the sunset on this practically virgin beach hidden between cliffs is a marvel. I recommend you to book the sunset bus tour in Oia.


The capital of Santorini has many viewpoints to watch the sunset for free. I recommend those on the road from the Orthodox Cathedral to Kato Thira to contemplate the immensity of the Aegean during the twilight.

As in Oia, in Fira you can also enjoy the sunset from one of the bars with terrace-viewpoint to the sea. If you choose this option, I advise you to make a reservation in advance to ensure a place.

Before the sunset, I recommend you to book a guided tour of Fira to get to know the capital and taste its delicious ice creams by booking.


Oia and Fira are the most popular places to see the sunset in Santorini, but a few kilometers inland is Pyrgos, a charming medieval village from where you can also watch it without so many crowds.

Also, being the highest point of the island you can enjoy spectacular views of the sunset. The best place? From the monastery of the prophet Elias.


Watching the sunset can be one of the most romantic things to do in Santorini. If you are looking for an intimate and secluded place to watch it as a couple, in the vicinity of the lighthouse of Akrotiri towards the south of the island the scenery is breathtaking.

You can take advantage of being in the area to visit the ruins of Akrotiri and other southern areas by hiring a tour with guide and wine tasting.


An original way to enjoy the sunset in Santorini is to book a cruise along the coastline of the island

Not only will you have the opportunity to contemplate the most beautiful sunset in the Aegean but you will also have time to explore the coastline of this corner of the Cyclades archipelago by sea and land, climb to the top of the volcano of Santorini, snorkel, swim in hot springs and even enjoy a barbecue.

Book a boat trip in Santorini

3. Swim at the best beaches

Red Beach| ©Bryce Edwards
Red Beach| ©Bryce Edwards

Santorini is a place blessed by nature with some of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean with landscapes of turquoise waters and coves of black, white and red sand that look like something out of a postcard.

For such a small island, Santorini surprises with its variety of beaches. There are beaches of all colors and for all ages. Because during a vacation in Greece you also deserve a break and lie in the sun.

Perissa Beach

It is considered the best beach of the island. Here you can go snorkeling, water skiing or ride on jet skis. I like it because it has a fantastic atmosphere to go with friends and is surrounded by bars and beach clubs.

It is also known as the black beach because of its black volcanic sand that contrasts with the intense blue of the sea.

Kamari Beach

Ideal to go with the family for its quiet and cozy atmosphere. It's a very touristy beach that has a variety of bars and restaurants as well as playgrounds and leisure centers for the kids to have a great time.

White Beach

It rivals in popularity with the previous one, since it is the only one of Santorini that has this color that contrasts so much with the water of the sea. The scenery at White Beach is beautiful and you can take many souvenir photographs.

In addition, if you like diving you are in the right place because here there is an abundance of fish to swim with.

Beach of Eros

A few kilometers from Fira is the most romantic beach of Santorini, named after the Greek god of love. Perfect for couples seeking tranquility and escape from the crowds.

Red Beach

One of the most photogenic of Santorini thanks to the contrast between its turquoise waters and its reddish cliffs, a spectacle for the eyes!

As it is the only one of the whole island that has this peculiar color it attracts many tourists and instagramers.

I recommend you to book a cruise from Red Beach after enjoying it from the coast to see it from afar and enjoy the views but with another perspective.

Book a cruise from Red Beach

4. Visit Akrotiri, the Greek Pompeii

Archaeological remains of Akrotiri| ©Klearchos Kapoutsis
Archaeological remains of Akrotiri| ©Klearchos Kapoutsis

If you are passionate about history, one of the most interesting places you have to see in Santorini is the archaeological site of Akrotiri. It is usually included when booking a tour of southern Santorini, which I recommend you do so that a local guide will show you its ruins in detail

It is an ancient Bronze Age city that, like Pompeii, succumbed to the terrible eruption of the Thera volcano in the sixteenth century BC, which destroyed this thriving Aegean town that was closely linked to the Minoan civilization.

By remaining buried under the ashes and the remains of lava, Akrotiri has been preserved in very good condition for thousands of years and today we can know how this city related to the legend of Atlantis was through the utensils, vessels, sculptures and wall paintings that have been found.

Book a tour of Akrotiri and south Santorini

5. Take a tour of Oia and Fira

Fira from the Aegean waters| ©João Matos
Fira from the Aegean waters| ©João Matos

If during your vacations on the island you want to live a bit of adventure, one of the coolest activities to do in Santorini is to take a 10-kilometer route between Fira and Oia that connects these tourist towns.

Completing it will take you between 3 and 5 hours but the views along the way are spectacular and will allow you to know the magic of Santorini: from its beautiful white villages to the mountains, the volcano and the islands that make up the archipelago of the Cyclades.

Although the difficulty level of this route is relatively easy and much of the path is paved, to do it I advise you to have an average physical preparation. If you don't feel up to it, you can always book a guided tour of Fira and Oia.

Book a guided tour of Fira

6. Climb the volcano, the best excursion in Santorini

Visit the volcano and enjoy the unique landscapes of Nea Akameni.| ©michimaya
Visit the volcano and enjoy the unique landscapes of Nea Akameni.| ©michimaya

One of the most popular tourist attractions to see in Santorini is its volcano, responsible for an immense eruption in the 16th century BC that transformed the Aegean landscape as the caldera collapsed and gave rise to the small group of islands of Santorini that we know today.

Many researchers believe that the mythical Atlantis of which Plato spoke in his stories may have been found here and that it succumbed to the force of nature thousands of years ago.

So, whether you are on the trail of this legendary island of antiquity or you enjoy ecotourism, during your getaway to Santorini you can't miss booking an excursion to the islet of Nea Kameni and the hot springs of Palea Kameni.

What will you see on the excursion?

  • Nea Kameni: an uninhabited islet in the central part of the Santorini caldera. The ascent to the top of the volcano is done by walking for about 20-30 minutes along a small path.
  • Fumaroles through which this active volcano gives off vapors. In fact, the smell of sulfur is quite intense and if you dig a little in the ground you can find stones so hot that burn your hand if you touch them.
  • Palea Kameni hot springs, where you can relax for a while swimming or taking a mud bath, said to have medicinal properties!
  • Thirasia island, where you can enjoy the beauty of its coves and have lunch in one of its typical restaurants.

Don't forget to bring comfortable shoes for this excursion as well as sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water in your backpack because the heat can be suffocating.

Book an excursion to the volcanic islands

7. Enjoy the gastronomy of Santorini

Taste the rich wines of Santorini| ©Jameson Fink
Taste the rich wines of Santorini| ©Jameson Fink

Santorini, like all Greece, can boast a delicious gastronomy based on excellent Mediterranean products and oriental influences through spices. In Santorini you will really enjoy tasting the best Greek specialties:

  • Fava hummus (fava bean cream).
  • Dolmades (small morsels of rice or veal wrapped in vine leaves)
  • Keftedes (vegetarian meatballs)
  • Gyros (Greek kebab)
  • Roast lamb
  • Sun-dried octopus

In addition, Santorini is famous for its wine cellars and the quality of its wines such as the white wine Nychtery, very appreciated on the island. And don't forget to try a fresh Donkey, the typical beer of Santorini. In order not to miss anything, I recommend you to book a wine tasting tour in Santorini.

Book a wine tasting tour in Santorini

8. Discover the old port of Fira and Amoudi

Amoudi harbor| ©Upsilon Andromedae
Amoudi harbor| ©Upsilon Andromedae

Don't forget to include a visit to the old port of Fira and Amoudi in your travel plan. It is another of the most beautiful and authentic places to see in Santorini.

The old port of Fira was the main port of Santorini island until it was replaced by the port of Athinios. I recommend you to go to the old port of Fira to have dinner in one of its restaurants and enjoy the sunset views.

The port of Amoudi is another of the most charming places to see in Santorini. It is a small port that I recommend you to visit because it offers beautiful views of the contrast between the turquoise blue sea and the reddish cliffs of this part of the island. You can also book a cruise from Amoudi Bay.

Book a cruise from Amoudi Bay

9. Organize an epic road trip around Santorini

Discover the beautiful landscapes of Santorini by driving along its fun roads.| ©Matt Kieffer
Discover the beautiful landscapes of Santorini by driving along its fun roads.| ©Matt Kieffer

Another way to discover the island is to rent a car to go on a road trip or book a quad tour in Santorini. A very original plan to do in Santorini for which it does not require too much organization.

Do not stay only with the coastal villages of Santorini and go on land to explore it! Drive from end to end and see its villages, cliffs, beaches, lighthouses and viewpoints to contemplate the grandeur of the Aegean and its unforgettable sunset.

At the end of the tour, head back to your starting point following the circular route. You will come back with lots of souvenir pictures and an unforgettable experience to add to your travel log.

Join a quad tour in Santorini

10. Go to the open-air cinema in Santorini

Enjoy the cinema on your vacation| ©Jeremy Yap
Enjoy the cinema on your vacation| ©Jeremy Yap

After a fun day at the beach, a good plan to do in Santorini is to go see a movie at an open-air cinema. As the island receives visitors from all corners of the world, the movies are shown in English with Greek subtitles.

This open-air cinema is shaped like an ancient Greek theater and is surrounded by greenery and decorated with candles to make you spend a pleasant and relaxing time. I really liked how they take care of the ambience in detail to immerse you in the movie and make you feel at ease.

Although it is a tiny theater, the image and sound quality are good and the screen looks good from all angles.

  • Where? Open Air Cinema Kamari.
  • Price? 8 euros per ticket.
  • When? Open from May to October.
  • Hours? The cinema opens at 8:30 PM and the movie starts at 9:30 PM.

When is the best time to travel to Santorini?

Although Santorini boasts pleasant, warm temperatures year-round, summer can be sweltering due to its Mediterranean climate (plus the significant influx of tourists).

Winter on the Greek island brings the rains, wind and cooler temperatures, but as you might expect, it will also spare you from the crowds.

Spring in Santorini is the best time to discover the beauty of its landscapes and ensure you a perfect stay of about 3 days on the island. In any case, if you're wondering what to do depending on your chosen date, be sure to check out our guides: