Discover the Best 15 Things to Do in Santorini, Greece for an Unforgettable Vacation
Hey there fellow travel junkies! If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for your next adventure. And let me tell you, Santorini, Greece should definitely be on your radar.
With its stunning views, rich history, and delicious food and wine, this island paradise is the perfect destination for an unforgettable vacation. But with so many things to do, it can be overwhelming to plan your itinerary.
That’s why I’ve put together this guide of the best 15 things to do in Santorini, Greece, so you can spend less time planning and more time enjoying your getaway. So buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life!
1. Watch the sunset in Oia
Let me tell you something, visiting Oia for its iconic sunset views and picturesque white-washed buildings is a must-do on any Santorini trip. It’s like the ultimate checklist item to brag about to your friends back home. Trust me, when you see the sun sinking below the horizon, painting the sky with its golden hues and casting a warm glow on the charming buildings, you’ll feel like you’ve just discovered the meaning of life.
And the best part? You’ll have plenty of Instagram-worthy shots to show for it. Plus, strolling through the narrow alleys and admiring the traditional architecture will transport you to a simpler, more relaxed way of life. So, make sure to add Oia to your itinerary and witness the magic for yourself.
2. Explore the streets of Fira
Oh boy, let me tell you about the time I explored the streets of Fira! It was like wandering through a maze of charming white-washed buildings and narrow streets that seemed to go on forever.
I swear, every corner we turned revealed a new postcard-perfect scene that just begged to be photographed. I even got lost a few times (okay, more than a few times), but that just meant we stumbled upon some hidden gems that we never would have found otherwise. And let’s not forget about the friendly locals who always seemed to be up for a chat, even if my Greek was non-existent.
Just be prepared for a bit of a workout – those steep steps and winding alleys are no joke. But trust me, it’s worth it for the stunning views and unforgettable experience.
3. Visit the Akrotiri Archaeological Site
Visiting the Akrotiri Archaeological Site was like stepping back in time. This ancient Minoan city was buried under volcanic ash in the 17th century BC, which sounds like a bummer, but it actually preserved everything really well.
I mean, we’re talking about buildings, furniture, and even some pottery that’s over 3,600 years old! And you know what’s even crazier? Some of the buildings had multi-level structures and running water. I mean, talk about fancy digs!
It was like seeing a real-life history lesson, but with no boring textbooks or pop quizzes. Plus, the site is indoors, so it’s a great way to beat the heat (and the crowds). Just don’t be like me and accidentally wander into a roped-off area – those museum guards are no joke!
4. Go wine tasting at a local vineyard
Looking for a place to get your grape fix in Santorini? Look no further than the island’s many vineyards. Not only will you get to taste some of the most delicious wines around, but you’ll also get to experience the joys of stumbling around vineyards, pretending you know what you’re doing.
For the best local vineyards, check out Santo Wines, where the views are so beautiful you might actually forget that you’re drinking.
Or head over to Gaia Wines, where the knowledgeable staff will happily educate you on the art of wine drinking (aka, how to pretend you know what you’re tasting).
And don’t forget to stop by Venetsanos Winery, where you can sip on some of the island’s best vintages while taking in some of the coolest architecture around. So come for the wine, stay for the laughs (and the hangovers).
5. Swim at the Red Beach
let me tell you about the Red Beach in Santorini. It’s a sight to see, with its red volcanic cliffs towering over the crystal clear water. And let me tell you, I was ready to jump in and cool off after staring at that view for too long. But here’s the thing – the beach is rocky as all heck.
I swear, it’s like the gods decided to create a beach made entirely of pebbles just to mess with us. So there I am, hobbling down the beach like some sort of drunk crab, trying not to fall on my face.
And then, finally, I reach the water. And it’s freezing. Like, take-your-breath-away, numb-your-toes freezing. But you know what? It was totally worth it.
Because there’s something magical about swimming in water that’s so clear you can see your toes, even if they’re turning blue from the cold. So if you’re feeling brave (and coordinated enough to navigate the rocks), I say go for it. Just don’t forget to pack some toe warmers.
6. Take a hike from Fira to Oia
So, I heard about this hike from Fira to Oia and thought, “Hey, I love a good hike. How hard could it be?” Spoiler alert: pretty freaking hard. The views are absolutely stunning, don’t get me wrong.
But no one mentioned that the trail is basically a never-ending uphill climb. And I swear, every time I thought we were at the top, there was another hill waiting for me.
My legs were burning, my water bottle was empty, and I was pretty sure my face was the same color as the red rocks we were walking on. But then, finally, I saw Oia in the distance. It was like a mirage, a beautiful white-washed oasis in the midst of all that rocky terrain.
And let me tell you, that feeling of accomplishment made all the sweat and tears (and trust me, there were tears) worth it. So if you’re up for a challenge and some seriously beautiful views, give the Fira to Oia hike a go.
Just be sure to bring plenty of water, a hat, and maybe a stretcher for when you collapse at the end.
7. Visit the White Beach
So, getting to the White Beach in Santorini is an adventure in itself. You can either take a boat from the Red Beach or hike down a treacherous cliffside.
Personally, I prefer the hiking option because who doesn’t love a good adrenaline rush? Plus, you get to impress all the beachgoers with your ruggedness. Once you get to the beach, you’ll see why it’s worth the effort.
The white volcanic rocks that surround the crystal-clear water make for a picturesque view, and the beach is much less crowded than the others on the island. Plus, you get to pretend you’re on a deserted island (just don’t forget to bring snacks).
So, if you’re up for a little adventure and want to escape the crowds, make sure to check out the White Beach. Just don’t blame me if your legs are sore the next day!
8. See the Museum of Prehistoric Thira
The Museum of Prehistoric Thira is a must-visit spot on Santorini. It’s like taking a time machine back to the Bronze Age. I mean, who doesn’t love learning about ancient civilizations and their way of life?
The museum is packed with archaeological findings from the excavations at Akrotiri, an ancient city that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption around 1627 BC. You can see frescoes, ceramics, tools, and even jewelry that were discovered at the site.
Plus, the museum has air conditioning, which is a godsend during the hot summer days in Santorini. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this slice of history, especially if you want to impress your friends with some newfound knowledge.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, rumor has it that the museum has a secret room filled with ancient artifacts cursed by the gods. Just kidding, but seriously, go check it out!
9. Take a donkey ride up to the top of the caldera
let me tell you about my donkey ride up to the top of the caldera – it was a real adventure! First off, let me just say that these donkeys have got some serious attitude.
Mine was giving me some serious side-eye as I climbed on, like he was doing me a favour or something. But hey, it beats walking up all those stairs, right?
So there I am, bouncing along on this donkey, feeling like a real Santorini cowboy, when suddenly I realize that I have no control over this animal. He’s just plodding along at his own pace, ignoring my gentle kicks and pleading whispers.
But you know what? It was still totally worth it for the incredible views of the island and the feeling of triumph when we finally made it to the top. Plus, now I can say that I’ve ridden a donkey up a volcano – how many people can say that?
10. Enjoy a traditional Greek meal at a taverna
Let me enlighten you about the wonders of relishing a traditional Greek feast at a taverna! First, you gotta find a spot that looks like it’s been around since the days of the gods.
Once you’ve found your spot, don’t be afraid to ask the waiter for suggestions – they always know what’s good. And when the food comes out, be prepared to eat like a Greek god. The portions are huge, so bring your appetite!
And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the ouzo – but beware, that stuff can sneak up on you. Trust me, you won’t regret indulging in a Greek feast fit for the gods.
11. Go scuba diving or snorkeling in the Aegean Sea
Buckle up folks because I’ve got a story to share about my underwater escapades in the Aegean Sea! First things first, find yourself a good dive center with experienced instructors.
Don’t worry, they won’t throw you in the deep end right away, they’ll start you off with some basic skills in shallow water. Next, suit up in your wetsuit and gear, and get ready to make some fishy friends! Keep an eye out for octopuses, sea urchins, and colorful schools of fish.
Just make sure not to take any home as souvenirs! Trust me, you don’t want to have to explain to customs why you have a live octopus in your luggage.
And don’t forget to take some goofy underwater photos to show off to your friends back home. The Aegean Sea is waiting for you, so get ready to dive in!
12. Visit the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Fira
Oh, you better believe I had to check out the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Fira! This stunning church is located in the heart of the city and boasts breath taking views of the caldera.
But before you go in, make sure to dress appropriately – no shorts or tank tops allowed! Once inside, you’ll be surrounded by stunning Byzantine art and ornate decor.
And if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the bishop himself! Don’t forget to light a candle and make a wish while you’re there. Just be careful not to set your hair on fire, like I almost did.
13. Take a day trip to the nearby island of Thirasia
To get there, I took a quick ferry ride from the port in Fira. Once I arrived, I was blown away by the charming villages and stunning views of the Aegean Sea. I wandered through the narrow streets, admiring the traditional architecture and vibrant flowers.
I also visited the church of Agia Irini, which dates back to the 17th century. And of course, I couldn’t leave without trying some of the delicious local cuisine at a seaside taverna.
Thirasia is the perfect escape from the crowds of Santorini, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a peaceful and picturesque day trip.
14. Enjoy a relaxing day at Perissa Beach
have you heard about Perissa Beach?
This stunning black sand beach located on the southeastern coast of Santorini is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the Mediterranean sun. With crystal-clear waters and a backdrop of dramatic cliffs, Perissa Beach offers breathtaking views and plenty of opportunities to swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports.
But that’s not all – Perissa Beach is also home to a variety of beach bars, restaurants, and shops, so you can easily grab a refreshing drink, a delicious meal, or some souvenirs to take home. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a short hike up to the nearby ruins of Ancient Thira, an ancient city that dates back to the 9th century BC.
So whether you’re looking to relax, swim, explore, or simply bask in the beauty of Santorini, a day at Perissa Beach is an absolute must-do during your trip to the island.
15. Take a cooking class to learn how to make Greek cuisine
I recently had the chance to take a cooking class in Santorini, and let me tell you, it was a blast! The class was held in a beautiful outdoor kitchen, overlooking the stunning Aegean Sea.
Our instructor was a local chef who taught us how to make some classic Greek dishes, including moussaka and tzatziki. We started by picking fresh herbs and vegetables from a nearby garden, then headed back to the kitchen to begin our culinary adventure.
Along the way, we learned about the history and traditions behind each dish, and even got to taste some local wines. By the end of the class, we were all experts at Greek cuisine and had a delicious meal to enjoy.
If you love food and want to take a piece of Santorini home with you, I highly recommend taking a cooking class.
16. Visit the Black Beach of Kamari
This unique beach is famous for its black volcanic sand and crystal-clear waters. Located on the eastern side of Santorini, it’s easily accessible by bus or car. The beach is well-equipped with sun loungers, umbrellas, and various water sports activities.
It’s also surrounded by plenty of bars and restaurants, so you can take a break from swimming and grab a bite to eat. I personally loved the contrast of the black sand against the blue waters of the Aegean Sea, it’s truly a sight to behold.
The beach has a lively atmosphere and is perfect for families, couples, or solo travelers. Just remember to bring plenty of sunscreen, as the black sand can get quite hot under the sun. I highly recommend visiting the Black Beach of Kamari if you’re in Santorini, it’s definitely worth it!
17. Go on a horseback riding adventure
Giddy up, y’all! Let me tell you about my horseback riding adventure in Santorini. I was a bit nervous at first since I hadn’t ridden a horse in ages, but our guide was super helpful and made sure we were all comfortable before setting off.
We started off from the stables near the village of Megalochori and headed towards the coastline. The scenery was absolutely stunning, with the deep blue sea on one side and the rugged volcanic cliffs on the other.
We trotted along the paths, taking in the sights and sounds of the island. Along the way, we stopped at a few small chapels and had a chance to take some amazing photos.
It was such a unique and memorable experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a different way to explore Santorini.
18. Explore the picturesque village of Pyrgos
this quaint little village is an absolute gem! If you’re looking for a place to unwind, relax, and forget about the stresses of daily life, then Pyrgos is the perfect destination.
As soon as you arrive in Pyrgos, you’ll be greeted by a sea of whitewashed buildings and charming narrow streets. It’s like stepping into a postcard – I half expected a donkey to come trotting past me at any moment!
One of the first things you should do is climb up to the highest point in the village – the views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. Just be warned, the climb is steep and will definitely get your heart pumping. But trust me, it’s worth it.
Once you’ve caught your breath, it’s time to explore the village. One of the best things about Pyrgos is that it’s not overrun with tourists, so you can really take your time and soak up the local culture. Chat with the friendly locals, browse the small shops selling handmade crafts, and take plenty of photos to show off to your jealous friends back home.
And when you’re feeling peckish, make sure to sample some of the delicious local cuisine. From fresh seafood to mouthwatering pastries, Pyrgos has something to suit every palate.
All in all, Pyrgos is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in a slower pace of living. So pack your bags, grab your sense of adventure, and get ready to fall in love with this charming village.
19. Take a hot air balloon ride over the island
If you’re looking for a way to take in the jaw-dropping beauty of this Greek gem from a totally unique perspective, then you gotta hop on a hot air balloon.
First things first – getting into the hot air balloon is an experience in itself. It’s like trying to climb into a giant wicker basket while wearing your fanciest outfit and trying not to spill your coffee all over yourself. But once you’re up in the air, all of that awkwardness is forgotten.
The views are seriously out of this world. You get an aerial view of the iconic whitewashed buildings perched on the cliffs, the endless expanse of the Aegean Sea, and the craggy caldera that Santorini is famous for. It’s like you’re floating on a cloud and have a front-row seat to the island’s most breathtaking sights.
Plus, there’s just something so serene and peaceful about being up in the air like that. It’s like all of your problems and stresses are left on the ground, and you’re just soaring above it all. And you know what? You can totally do it with a glass of bubbly in hand – that’s right, some hot air balloon rides offer champagne, so you can literally sip on some bubbly while you’re soaring over the island. It’s like the ultimate way to #treatyoself.
All in all, a hot air balloon ride over Santorini is an absolute must-do. It’s a little bit scary, a lot bit breathtaking, and totally unforgettable. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes – climbing in and out of the basket is no joke!
20. Go on a catamaran cruise around the island
Ahoy there, me hearties! Let me tell ye about the most swashbuckling adventure I’ve had yet – a catamaran cruise around the gorgeous island of Santorini!
If you’re looking for a way to soak up the sun, take in the stunning sights, and live your best pirate life, then this is the experience for you. Plus, you get to do it all while lounging on a luxurious catamaran, so you don’t even have to lift a finger.
First things first – let’s talk about the catamaran itself. This ain’t no dinghy, folks. This is a sleek, modern vessel with all the amenities you could ask for. Think comfy loungers, shady spots to escape the sun, and even a bar where you can order up some icy-cold beverages. And let’s not forget the trampoline at the front of the boat, where you can bounce around like a kid on a sugar high (just maybe don’t try any somersaults if you’ve had too many of those icy-cold beverages).
But let’s get to the real reason you’re here – the sights! As you sail around Santorini, you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping views of the iconic caldera, the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea, and the stunning shoreline dotted with charming villages and picturesque beaches. And the best part? You can jump off the boat and swim in those crystal-clear waters whenever you darn well please. Just make sure you bring your snorkelling gear, because there’s some seriously cool marine life to spot down there.
But the real highlight of the cruise, in my humble pirate opinion, is the food. Oh boy, the food. I’m talking fresh seafood, delicious meze plates, and some seriously indulgent desserts. And if you’re feeling especially pirate-y, you can even order up a whole grilled fish to chow down on like the sea-faring savage you are.
All in all, a catamaran cruise around Santorini is a must-do for anyone who wants to experience the island in style.
21. Visit the historic Byzantine Castle Ruins in Oia
If you’re looking for a historical and breath taking experience, then visiting the Byzantine Castle Ruins in Oia, Santorini is a must-do on your list! As you wander through the narrow streets of Oia, the ruins will come into view, perched atop the cliffside overlooking the Aegean Sea. Trust me, the climb up may be a bit of a workout, but the views from the top are worth every step!
Now, for a bit of humor, let me tell you about my experience at the ruins. As I was walking up the steep incline, I thought to myself, “this better be worth it!” But let me tell you, as soon as I reached the top and caught my breath, I was speechless. The views of the caldera and the sparkling blue waters of the Aegean Sea were absolutely stunning. I couldn’t help but wonder what life was like for the Byzantine rulers who once lived in the castle.
22. Take a tour of the Santorini Brewing Company
Hello there, fellow beer lovers! If you find yourself on the beautiful island of Santorini, I highly recommend taking a tour of the Santorini Brewing Company. As a beer enthusiast, I was excited to discover a local brewery that creates unique and flavorful beers using locally-sourced ingredients.
During the tour, we learned about the brewing process and the history of the company, which was founded by two friends with a passion for brewing. We even got to taste some of their signature beers, such as the Yellow Donkey IPA and the Crazy Donkey Black IPA, which were absolutely delicious!
One of the highlights of the tour was visiting the brewery’s taproom, which had a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We had the chance to chat with the knowledgeable staff and even met some of the local residents who were regulars at the taproom. It was a great way to experience the local culture and make new friends.
Overall, I highly recommend taking a tour of the Santorini Brewing Company. It’s a great way to learn about the brewing process, taste some delicious beers, and experience the friendly and welcoming culture of Santorini. Cheers!
23. Go on a sea kayaking tour
If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable way to explore the stunning coastline of Santorini, going on a sea kayaking tour is the perfect activity for you. This adventurous tour offers a fantastic opportunity to witness the beauty of the island from a different perspective while experiencing the tranquility of the crystal-clear waters surrounding it.
The tour provides an expert guide who will take you to some of the island’s most secluded and picturesque spots that you wouldn’t have found on your own. Paddle along the coastline and witness interesting rock formations, hidden coves, and stunning beaches that are only accessible by sea. You’ll even get the chance to explore some of the sea caves that dot the coastline and enjoy the unique, peaceful atmosphere inside.
One of the tour’s highlights is stopping at a secluded beach for a refreshing swim and a picnic lunch. It’s the perfect opportunity to soak up the beauty of the island and relax with a view of the crystal-clear waters and the gorgeous surroundings.
- Watch the sunset in Oia
- Go wine tasting at a local vineyard
- Explore the ancient city of Akrotiri
- Take a boat tour of the island
- Swim at the Red Beach
- Take a hike from Fira to Oia
- Go cliff jumping at Amoudi Bay
- Visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira
- Take a donkey ride up to the top of the caldera
- Enjoy a traditional Greek meal at a taverna
- Go scuba diving or snorkeling in the Aegean Sea
- Visit the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Fira
- Take a day trip to the nearby island of Thirasia
- Enjoy a relaxing day at Perissa Beach
- Take a cooking class to learn how to make Greek cuisine
- Visit the Black Beach of Kamari
- Go on a horseback riding adventure
- Explore the picturesque village of Pyrgos
- Take a hot air balloon ride over the island
- Go on a catamaran cruise around the island
- Visit the historic Byzantine Castle Ruins in Oia
- Take a tour of the Santorini Brewing Company
- Explore the ancient ruins of Thera
- Go on a sea kayaking tour
- Visit the Museum of Minerals and Fossils in Perissa
- Take a stroll through the streets of Fira
- Go shopping for souvenirs in Oia
- Visit the traditional village of Megalochori
- Take a sunset cruise around the caldera
- Visit the Santozeum Museum in Pyrgos
- Go on a private yacht tour of the island
- Take a photography tour of the island
- Visit the ruins of the Venetian Castle in Akrotiri
- Attend a traditional Greek wedding ceremony
- Go on a fishing trip in the Aegean Sea
- Take a sunset horse riding tour
- Visit the Art Space Winery and Museum in Exo Gonia
- Attend a Greek music concert
- Visit the Monastery of Profitis Ilias
- Go on a scenic helicopter ride over the island
- Explore the village of Emporio
- Take a tour of the traditional Santorini villages
- Visit the ancient city of Thirassia
- Go on a private sightseeing tour of the island
- Attend a Greek cooking workshop
- Take a yoga class on the beach
- Visit the Lignos Folklore Museum in Kontochori
- Explore the island’s hot springs
- Take a bike tour around the island
- Visit the ancient city of Ancient Thera
- Go on a scuba diving tour of the island’s underwater volcanic formations
- Take a sunset wine tasting tour
- Visit the Megaron Gyzi Museum in Fira
- Go on a sea fishing trip
- Take a pottery-making class
- Visit the Santorini Arts Factory in Vlychada
- Go on a private photography tour
- Visit the Cultural Village of Santorini
- Attend a Greek dance performance
- Take a tour of the Santorini tomato fields
- Go on a Jeep safari adventure
- Visit the wineries of Santorini
- Take a cooking class on a farm
- Visit the island’s art galleries
- Take a sunset quad bike tour
- Go on a snorkeling tour of the caldera
- Visit the Museum of Musical Instruments
- Take a tour of the Santo Winery
- Visit the Byzantine Church of Panagia Episkopi
- Explore the village of Firostefani
- Visit the Naval Maritime Museum in Oia
- Go on a sea cave kayaking tour
- Take a scenic walk along the cliffs of Fira
- Visit the Tomato Industrial Museum in Vlychada
- Attend a cultural festival
- Take a yoga class overlooking the caldera
- Go on a wine and food pairing tour
- Visit the Blue Dome Church in Oia
- Take a stroll through the village of Imerovigli
- Attend a theatrical performance at the Ancient Theater of Thira
- Go on a snorkeling tour of the volcanic islands
- Visit the Folklore Museum of Santorini in Kontochori
- Take a boat tour to the neighboring island of Anafi
- Explore the village of Akrotiri
- Visit the Santorini Volcano and Hot Springs
- Take a tour of the island’s lighthouses
- Go on a photography tour of the island’s churches
- Visit the Skaros Rock in Imerovigli
- Take a ride on the Santorini Cable Car
- Visit the Ancient Cemetery of Armeni
- Go on a romantic picnic in the vineyards
- Take a tour of the island’s olive groves
- Visit the Museum of Megaron Gyzi in Fira
- Go on a sunset sailing tour of the caldera
- Take a stroll through the village of Fornos
- Visit the Prophet Elias Monastery in Pyrgos
- Take a scenic drive around the island
- Visit the Wine Museum Koutsogiannopoulos in Vothonas
- Go on a sea kayaking tour of the volcanic coastline
- Take a tour of the island’s ancient churches and chapels.