Winter weather settles in Santorini between December and February, so it is considered a low season in terms of tourist activity. However, during this season the island offers you unique activities and opportunities if you want a quiet and authentic atmosphere. Before traveling during this time, you should keep in mind that temperatures can drop around 10 degrees Celsius during the day.
Although some tourist attractions may be closed during the winter, you can still sign up for many of the best things to see and do in Santorini. You can visit wineries and taste delicious local wines, sign up for a gastronomic tour to enjoy Greek flavors and even explore the deserted beaches. Plus, a great benefit of the season is that accommodation and food prices drop considerably.
1. Enjoy a day at the island's thermal baths on Palea Kameni island
This is one of the most relaxing activities to do in Santorini during the winter season, because you have the opportunity to enjoy the thermal baths on the island of Palea Kameni. These baths are located in the bay of Nea Kameni and you can get there by taking a Santorini cruise excursion, which departs from Fira all year round. The best thing about this island is that you can enjoy numerous thermal spr ings that are very popular among visitors and locals who want to relax.
These thermal waters have been known since Roman times thanks to their healing and relaxing properties. They also contain minerals that are beneficial to the skin and health, including relief from stress and anxiety. The best thing about bathing in hot springs during the winter is that you can escape the cold and relax in the warm water temperatures.
Details of interest
- Price: To enjoy the hot springs you will have to pay around 30 euros per person.
- Hours: These hot springs are open during variable hours, although the schedule for these types of visits, when guided, you have to coordinate with your tour guide.
- Location: The hot springs are located on the island of Palea Kameni.
2. Visit the Volcano and walk through the calderas
In winter I recommend you to sign up for a hike around the Nea Kameni volcano and through the calderas. Although the temperature on the island can be a bit cold, the panoramic views of the volcano and its surroundings are breathtaking and make the hike worthwhile. During this tour, which is included among the best Santorini tours, you will have the opportunity to explore the crater of the volcano and see the fumaroles and volcanic rocks up close.
The tour will allow you to enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding calderas, as well as the blue waters of the area. Also, as this tour is usually done together with tour guides, it is a good opportunity to learn about the geology and history of the island. At the end of the hike, you could rest and if you want, enter the thermal baths in the vicinity of Palea Kameni island.
Details of interest
- Price: This guided tour can cost approximately 100 euros per person.
- Schedule: Generally this activity takes place during the morning.
- Location: The hike takes place in the vicinity of the calderas and the volcano.
3. Do a wine tasting at a local winery
Wine tasting at a local winery in Santorini is a must-do activity that you will love to enjoy during the winter. Most of the wineries are closed during the cold season, but just as many are kept open for tours and tastings, so your experience during the activity will be much more exclusive and personal.
On a visit of this style you will have the opportunity to taste some of Santorini's best wines, such as the assyrtiko variety, with citrus and mineral tones. But you'll also get a first-hand look at the island' s traditional method of vineyard cultivation, which has a history dating back more than 3,000 years.
An amazing place for this activity is the wine village of Pyrgos, which is located on a hill near Fira, however, I recommend you make sure that in the village there are wineries open during the month of your trip. Overall this activity is one of the best ways to experience the local culture and enjoy the rural landscapes of Santorini, while tasting the different wines produced in the area and learning about the winemaking process.
Details of interest
- Price: Wine tasting tours usually cost around 120 euros per person.
- Schedule: These activities usually take place between morning and afternoon, however, the specific schedule you will need to arrange together with your tour guide.
- Location: The best wines can be found in Pyrgos.
4. Visit Akrotiri to discover the history and culture of the island.
When you travel to Santorini during the winter, you should not miss the opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the island. To get to know these roots in a detailed and fun way, I recommend you to sign up for a visit to Akrotiri, which is a well-known archaeological site where you can learn the basics of the island's past. To have a better overview of this place, you have to know that Akrotiri is considered one of the most important excavation areas in the Aegean Sea.
It is a prehistoric settlement that was abandoned after a major volcanic eruption occurred around 1627 BC, a story very similar to what happened in a certain Roman city, which is why it is known as the Pompeii of Greece. After so many thousands of years under the ashes, it is now a kind of town frozen in time.
The layer of ash left by the eruption allowed the archaeological remains to be preserved for thousands of years, so now you can visit and appreciate them as if they had been suspended in time.
Foundations of ancient houses, ceramic objects and tools, walls and frescoes magnificently preserved, will allow you to learn about the daily life of the inhabitants of the island in the Bronze Age.
- Price: A guided visit to this place will cost you on average about 130 euros per person.
- Hours: You will usually have the opportunity to get to know this place during the morning.
- Location: The ruins of Akrotiri are located very close to Fira.
5. Visiting the Wine Museum Koutsogiannopoulos
Just as it is a good idea to participate in a wine tasting during the winter, it is also a good idea to visit the Wine Museum Koutsos Giannopoulos in Santorini. The museum is located in the town of Vothonas, near Fira. This is a place where you can live a complete experience because you will taste the local wines of Santorini, while learning about the wine making process.
You will also get to see a large collection of antique tools and equipment that were used in wine production at some point in history. Some of these items include grape presses, oak barrels and hand presses. The best thing about these artifacts is that they were carefully restored and are now displayed in an amazing atmosphere that makes you travel back in time.
In addition to all these features, in the museum you can also visit a subway cellar, carved into the bank of the hill and which is considered one of the largest wine cellars in Santorini. Inside is stored a large number of wine bottles, some of which date back more than 50 years. It will be quite an experience to get to know this precious relic of the island.
Details of interest
- Price: To visit this museum you will have to pay around 20 to 30 euros per person.
- Opening hours: The museum opens between 9:00 and 19:00. While on Sundays it opens from 10:00.
- Location: This museum is located in the city of Vothonas.
6. Attending a Greek wedding show in Santorini
A unique experience in Santorini that you can live in winter if you don't mind the cold, is to enjoy an unforgettable night celebrating a Greek wedding in a house more than 200 years old, which is located in Fira. It is a show prepared by the locals to make you live the intense experience of a Greek wedding in the city.
The show is interesting and fun because it offers you an interactive experience of theater, live music, traditions, culture, dancing and plate breaking, all in a wedding celebration set in the 1940's.
Also during this experience you will have the opportunity to meet a Greek family, while savoring delicious appetizers and homemade dishes, accompanied by a good tasting of local wine. But you will also have the opportunity to have a great time breaking plates and dancing to the rhythm of Greek music. The show lasts about two hours, enough time to fall in love with Greek culture.
Details of interest
- Price: You will have to pay around 70 euros to enjoy this experience.
- Time: The whole show lasts about 2 hours, approximately.
- Location: The wedding takes place in a house more than 200 years old, located in Fira.
7. Tour the area of Oia and Fira
Visiting the areas of Oia and Fira in Santorini during the winter is an experience that will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the island in the middle of a quieter environment. You can find different activities to do in this region. In Oia, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the caldera, as well as stroll through its narrow cobblestone streets that are lined with stores, art galleries and restaurants with panoramic views.
On the other hand, Fira, which is the capital of Santorini, offers a more cosmopolitan and commercial experience. If you want to have a lively nightlife experience, this is the place to go, also for different bars and restaurants. In general during the winter in Santorini, you will be able to tour the areas of Oia and Fira which remain less crowded.
- Price: There is no cost to tour this area.
- Time: You can do the tour at any time of the day, although you might preferably do it during the morning.
- Location: The area of Fira and Oia are the most popular areas on the island of Santorini.
8. Take a quick walk along the black and red beaches
If there are two of the island's most iconic beaches that you can't miss, even during the winter season, those are the Black and Red Beaches. Exploring them during the winter has its advantages, mainly because you will be able to find fewer people than during the summer.
Touring the Black and Red beaches are two of the most popular beaches in Santorini thanks to the uniqueness of their landscapes. The first one is known for its black volcanic sand, while the Red Beach is special for its red volcanic stone cliffs, a spectacle for the eyes. Visiting both beaches is a short experience that you can do during the morning or during a free afternoon and is an ideal option if you want to enjoy the cool breeze of the coast during the winter.
Details of interest
- Price: To visit these beaches you will not have to pay anything, unless you take a private tour which would cost approximately 100 euros per person.
- Schedule: This type of tour can be done in the afternoon or in the morning. In case you do it through a guided experience, you will have to agree the time together with your tour guide.
- Location: Red beach is located in the south western part of the island. While the Black beach is located on Kamari beach.
9. Enjoying Christmas and New Year in Santorini
Santorini in winter is a perfect place to explore the traditional Greek culture, especially during the Christmas season. At this time of the year you can discover unique traditions such as decorating boats instead of Christmas trees and breaking pomegranates on New Year's Eve, all of which are included among the most special traditions of the Christmas season throughout Santorini and all of Greece.
Another thing you will love about this time is meeting and sharing with the locals, which will give you a true understanding of Greek hospitality. These Christmas activities are sure to delight you to include in your itinerary if you travel to Santorini in December.
I recommend making a reservation at a local restaurant or taverna to enjoy Christmas Eve dinner, which you can experience in the company of your friends and family if you go along with your group. You can also make a reservation for New Year's Eve.
Details of interest
- Price: Reservations for New Year's Eve in the island's restaurants usually cost around 30 euros per person.
- Hours: You can enjoy the Christmas and New Year activities all day long, but especially in the evening.
- Location: The whole island is infected with the Christmas atmosphere.
10. Hiking the route from Oia to Fira
Visiting Santorini in winter allows you to walk and explore the island on foot, being one of the best places to do it, the hiking route between Oia and Fira. During this route you can enjoy not only the scenery, but also the daily life of the area and the customs of the locals.
The hiking route between one village and the other is completed in just under four hours. You will be able to see beautiful panoramic views during the whole route and you will also be able to visit some churches such as Psilos Stavros, the Skaros Stone and the charming village of Imerovigli. The best thing about doing this route during the winter is that you will not find so many tourists on the route.
You can do this route alone, but one of the best ways to do it is to sign up for a guided experience with an expert guide who will not only introduce you to the place, but also tell you interesting facts about the island, its history, its archaeology and the extensive and rich culture it has.
- Price: To do this tour alone you will not have to pay anything. But if you take a guided tour you will have to pay a little more than 30 euros per person.
- Time: The best time to do this hiking tour is during the morning.
- Location: This route connects Fira and Oia.