Santorini Travel Guide

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Best Things To Do in Santorini

Santorini's volcanic activity plays a role in many of island's popular activities, from swimming and sunbathing at the molten-dyed beaches (such as Kamari Beach) to exploring ancient ruins once buried in ash (Ancient Akrotiri). Even the flavor of wine here is affected by the island's volcanic terrain, making a trip to one of Santorini's many wineries a must-do activity for foodies. Outdoorsy types will enjoy hiking along the caldera from Fira, where the city of Atlantis was said to have once stood. Whatever you choose to do in Santorini, you can't miss a sunset from Oia, or while dining alfresco in Amoudi Bay

How we rank Things to Do

Updated May 2, 2018

  • #1
    Kamari Beach
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    #1 in Santorini
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Santorini's volcanic history has led to the formation of some of the more unique beaches in the Greek Isles, and Kamari is no exception. Sitting about 4 miles southeast of Fira on the island's east coast, this stretch of black sand is one of the largest in Santorini. The beach is backed by the town of its namesake, a popular resort area where you'll find numerous hotels, restaurants, beachside bars and shops. On the beach, visitors can take advantage of the available lounge chairs and umbrellas.

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    Amoudi Bay
    View all Photos
    #2 in Santorini
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    For beautiful views of the caldera, descend the 300 steps from the northern city of Oia to the charming port of Amoudi Bay. Surrounded by striking red cliffs and dotted with white-washed buildings typical to Santorini, this little village features several quaint tavernas serving up the catch of the day. Aside from digging in the bounty of the sea, visitors can enjoy some swimming here, though the beach is rocky so you should bring appropriate footwear, especially if you plan on cliff diving (a popular activity in Amoudi Bay). On the small island of Saint Nicholas, seen from Amoudi Bay's beach, visitors can climb up stairs from the water onto the small, rocky island and jump from a designated point.

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  • #3
    Fira to Oia Hike
    View all Photos
    #3 in Santorini
    Hiking, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The best way to take in Santorini is to walk, and there is no better route than the one from Fira to Oia. This hike is 6 miles one-way and passes through four towns, including Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. It's important to know that there is no marked trail or pathway for this hike (aside from a couple signs, according to recent travelers), but a matter of following the roads closest to the caldera. Along the way, travelers will find numerous sites worth stopping for, in addition to spectacular ocean views and picturesque towns. One of these is  Skaros Rock. Today, this headland is a popular vantage point for watching sunsets, but in yesteryears it housed a castle that served as the prime meeting place for Christians during the 1800s. There's also numerous churches dotted throughout, including the blue-domed St. Gerasimos Church, which offers excellent views of the volcano. Once you hit Oia, you'll find Byzantine castle ruins open for exploration.

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  • #4
    Ancient Thira
    View all Photos
    #4 in Santorini
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Separating Kamari from Perissa on top of Mesa Vouna is Ancient Thira. This archaeological site, which was first claimed by the Dorians (ancient Greeks) in the 9th century B.C., is home to ruins from the Hellenistic (Greek empire built by Alexander the Great), Roman and Byzantine (eastern Roman empire) eras. Stroll through Ancient Thira and you'll find ruins of ancient religious sites, a theater, old city administrative buildings and even a gym for military trainees. 

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  • #5
    Winery Tours
    View all Photos
    #5 in Santorini
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    When conjuring up images of famous wine destinations, one might think of France or Italy, but believe it or not, Santorini is considered a premiere wine destination in Europe. That's because the soil in which the wine grows in Santorini, which is partially composed of volcanic sediment, creates an interesting flavor difficult to find elsewhere. Not only that, but here, vines trees are often formed into circles and grown on the ground (instead of propped upright in rows) to protect the crop from strong ocean winds.

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  • #6
    Red Beach
    View all Photos
    #6 in Santorini
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    It's important to know that since 2013, Red Beach has been on watch for landslides and vulnerable parts of the beach are sanctioned by rope for visitors not to enter. If you're uncomfortable visiting this attraction, but still want to get an eyeful of red cliffs, visit Amoudi Bay.

    ...Read More »
  • #7
    Ancient Akrotiri
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    #7 in Santorini
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This fascinating archaeological site was first discovered in the late 1860s but its buildings date back to earlier than 17th century B.C. This former Minoan outpost, which, according to the Greek Ministry of Culture, is considered one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean Sea, was once a thriving port town. The city was later destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption, the same one that made Santorini look like it is today. Thanks to years of excavation, enough of the site has been uncovered (only one-third of the site is said to have been excavated) to allow visitors to explore. Here, travelers can look at multi-level buildings, loads of pottery and even drainage systems. What is absent, however, is any sign of its former residences. This has led scientists to believe that Akrotiri's previous inhabitants knew of the eruption and fled the island accordingly.

    ...Read More »
  • #8
    Museum of Prehistoric Thera
    View all Photos
    #8 in Santorini
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Taking a trip to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera is a great way to finish exploring the ruins of Santorini's ancient cities. This tiny museum in the heart of Thira houses frescoes and other archaeological treasures found during the excavation of Ancient Akrotiri, which was destroyed by the volcanic eruption that made Santorini look like it does today. Some of the pieces here date back several thousand years (some of the pottery on display is leftover from 3,000 BC) and offer insight into early human life on the Greek Islands, making this an interesting place to check out if you're keen to learning more about the island's history.

    ...Read More »

Explore More of Santorini

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