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Top 25 Things to Do in Santorini: Your Ultimate Island Adventure Guide

Are you searching for the essential things to do in Santorini?

Then you’re in the right place, we loved our recently included a 3 night stay in Santorini into our Greece itinerary, and we were so glad we did.

There are truly so many things to do in Santorini that you could stay for weeks! That’s what prompted us to put together this guide to Santorini island!

From amazing sunsets to incredible food and great historical sites, Santorini has you covered and we have included it in this post!

One visit to Santorini, and you will quickly see why it is a bucket-list destination for so many people.

Our list of curated recommendations tailored for an unforgettable journey will help to ensure that you have an unforgettable visit to Santorini.

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Things to Do in Santorini

church bells in Santorini, Greece

*This post contains affiliate links.  By purchasing through these links, we get a small commission at no additional cost. That Texas Couple also participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.  As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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Visit the Postcard Town of Oia

Sitting high atop the cliffs of Santorini is the postcard worthy town of Oia.

Oia is a must-do on your list of things to do in Santorini, and is well worth some of your vacation time thanks to the beautiful whitewashed houses that line the hillside.

People flock to Oia to experience the incredible sunsets that the town is famous for.

There is just something about the beautiful shades of pink and orange reflecting off of the deep blue Aegean sea that makes the sunsets in Oia seem a bit more magical.

When you combine those sunsets with the gorgeous blue domed churches that Oia is famous for, you have the makings for an incredible experience.

Of course, sunsets aren’t the only reason to visit Oia. Other highlights of Ois include:

  • The iconic blue-domed churches that dot the village
  • The narrow, winding streets lined with white-washed buildings
  • The charming shops and boutiques that sell local crafts and souvenirs
  • The delicious local cuisine, with its emphasis on fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes

As we wandered through Oia’s narrow walkways, we found ourselves constantly behind the lens of the camera.

The whitewash houses with the blue dome churches just seem to beckon for your attention as you explore Oia.

We spent our days shopping for Greek clothes and accessories before wasting the evening away in one of the many local cafes that line the narrow walkways of town.

When you’re hungry, opt for one of the many restaurants that boasts beautiful caldera views, or grab a drink as you enjoy Greek hospitality.

Of course, as we mentioned above, catching an Oia sunset is a highlight of any visit to the city.

Pro Tip: Spend at least a couple of nights in Oia. This allows you to explore Oia without the massive crowds that daytrip here from the cruise ships. (Trust us, you know when the cruise ships arrive in Oia!)

Explore the Wines of Santorini

One of the many things that Santorini is know for is its amazing wine culture.

The diverse landscape and unique grown season makes exploring the Santorini wineries one of the best things to do in Santorini.

The volcanic soil and unique growing conditions on the island gives the wines produced in Santorini a distinct flavor profile that is different that most other wine produced in the world.

Not only that, but some of the oldest vineyards in Europe, such as Vinsanto and Assyrtiko, can be found here.

In our opinion, Santorini’s wine culture is best done through an organized tour.

These tours offer a comprehensive exploration of the island’s viticulture and traditional winemaking methods.

You’ll get to visit renowned wineries such as Santo Wines and Venetsanos Winery, where you can sample a range of Greek wines paired with local delicacies.

Not only do you get to taste these incredible wines, but you also get to learn more about the island and the history of wine production in Santorini.

For a unique experience, check out Art Space, where you can learn about the traditional winemaking process before exploring the museum which houses old distilling equipment and ovens.

To fully immerse yourself in Santorini’s wine culture, consider booking a sunset wine tour which ends while drinking wine with a fabulous sunset view.

Uncover the Secrets of Ancient Akrotiri

History lovers will not want to miss a visit to the ancient city of Akrotiri, often dubbed as the ‘Pompeii of Greece.’

Like Pompeii, this prehistoric town was preserved under layers of volcanic ash, providing a unique glimpse into the Minoan civilization that thrived on Santorini since the 5th millennium BC.

Seeing all of the advances that the Minoans had implemented is truly mesmerizing.

We are talking dual piping for hot and cold water, and sanitary plumbing with drain lines.

It is truly try to see the innovation that the Minoans’ accomplish that long ago.

Take time to enjoy the meticulously preserved frescoes that display what daily life was like for this society.

To make the most of your visit to Akrotiri, consider:

  • Hiring a knowledgeable tour guide who can help you uncover the secrets of this ancient city
  • Checking the summer opening hours and plan your trip accordingly
  • Including other experiences, such as a wine tasting tour that delves into ancient civilizations

A visit to Akrotiri provides a distinctive chance to delve into the roots of Santorini’s history and travel back in time, and should definitely be on your list of things to do in Santorini.

Hike from Fira to Oia Along the Caldera Trail

To fully experience the beauty of Santorini, consider exploring the island on foot by hiking the trail from Fira to Oia.

The hike, known as the Caldrea Trail, offers incredible views and is one of the top things to do in Santorini.

As you walk along the trail, take note of the picturesque villages and iconic landmarks as you take in the stunning views of the Aegean Sea.

If you are planning to do the hike, please note the following:

  • The hike is approximately 6 miles
  • Plan for 3-4 hours to complete the hike
  • Some sections are a bit challenging
  • For a cooler experience, consider starting at sunrise, especially during the summer months
  • The path toward Oia can be steep and is often unmaintained

Soak in the Natural Beauty of Santorini’s Beaches

I don’t think I could imagine visiting a Greek island and not enjoying some time at the beach.

Lucky for you, Santorini boasts several unique beaches that are perfect for a lazy day in the sun.

Whether you are looking for a unique black sand beach, or the famous Red Beach, Santorini has you covered.

These beautiful beaches with picturesque sunsets and gorgeous villages are the perfect addition to your Santorini itinerary.

If a unique black sand beach is your speed, head to Kamari Beach.

If you want to see the famous red sands of Santorini, then Red Beach is for you.

Red Beach is so unique, not only for the red sand, but also for the stunning backdrop of the red cliffs that shelter it.

If your ideal day at the beach is action packed, then Perivolos Beach is for you as it offers a wide variety of water sports, such as jet skiing and windsurfing.

People also love the vibrant atmosphere provided by the beach bars that call Perivolos Beach home.

Whether you’re looking to relax, enjoy water sports, or simply soak in the natural beauty, Santorini’s beaches offer a slice of paradise that you won’t want to miss, so be sure to add this to your list of things to do in Santorini.

Sail Around the Island on a Boat Tour

It’s no secret that exploring Santorini is best done from the water.

A Santorini boat tour allows you to take in the island’s beautiful coastline, visit its volcanic islands, and even enjoy numerous water sport activities such as snorkeling and diving.

Whether you choose a yacht charter for a private cruise around the island or a guided tour to nearby islands, you’ll get a fresh perspective on Santorini’s beauty while visiting Santorini.

One of the highlights of a boat tour is a visit to the active volcano on Nea Kameni.

Here, you can hike to the summit, take in the unique geothermal landscape, and enjoy a refreshing swim in the hot springs.

The Aegean Sea surrounding Santorini offers safe swimming conditions and is suitable for snorkeling or diving activities.

Immerse Yourself in Local Cuisine

If you have followed us for a while, then you know that we love to experience a new place through their local cuisine, and Santorini is no different.

Your taste buds will dance when you experience traditional treats like moussaka, and dive into the fresh seafood and sweet treats that can be found throughout the island.

From beachside cafes to high-end restaurants, Santorini has something for everyone.

We really enjoyed trying the fried Saganaki cheese drizzled with honey in local cafés and the Melitinia, a local sweet treat.

Of course, Santorini offers more than just traditional Greek dishes.

You can really find most any kind of food you want during your visit!

For a truly unique culinary experience, consider dining at a winery or taking a food and wine tour.

Wander Through Santorini’s Villages

Beyond its famous sunsets and iconic blue-domed churches, Santorini is also home to traditional villages, providing an insight into authentic Greek life.

Each village has its own unique charm and reasons for visiting, so be sure to explore several.

If you want a picturesque village with a central square and traditional cave houses, then Megalochori is for you.

When you combine that with the lack of crowds, Megalochori is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Oia and Fira.

Another village to consider is Emporio.

Known for its medieval castle and windmills, emporio feels as if you have journed back in time!

Like Oia, Pyrgos is another postcard-worthy village in Santorini.

Offering paved alleys and whitewashed houses, Pyrgos is a great place to walk around hand in hand with your sweetie!

If Santorinian architecture is your desire, then head to Vothonas to see its unique cave houses embedded into the rocky landscape of the island.

Exploring the winding lanes of Pyrgos or the cave houses of Vothonas, you’ll find that wandering through Santorini’s traditional villages offers a genuine and unforgettable experience and, therefor, should definitely be on your list of things to do in Santorini.

Admire the Views from Akrotiri Lighthouse

The Akrotiri Lighthouse offers one of the best vantage points to soak in Santorini’s stunning vistas.

Located in the tranquil village of Akrotiri, the lighthouse combines historic significance with a prime location on the edge of a high cliff.

One of the oldest lighthouses in Greece was constructed by a French company in 1892. It stands as a testament to the country’s maritime history..

The lighthouse offers unparalleled sunset views, including the dramatic Santorini coastline, the northern sweep into the caldera, and the romantic spectacle of the red sun diving into the Aegean Sea.

As you stand there, watching the sun set, you’ll feel a sense of tranquility that only Santorini can offer.

Though the lighthouse is an active naval facility and internal access for visitors is not allowed, the exterior offers enough allure for a memorable visit.

To get to the Akrotiri Lighthouse, you can take a car or taxi from Fira Town. The drive takes approximately 26 minutes.

If you’re planning a visit, remember to check the local bus services and arrive early, especially if you’re visiting during sunset.

With its stunning views and historic charm, the Akrotiri Lighthouse is a must-visit spot, so it should definitely be on your list of things to do in Santorini.

Venture to the Top of Santorini Volcano

Venturing to the top of the island’s active volcano offers a truly unique experience in Santorini.

Located on Nea Kameni island, the volcano has played a pivotal role in shaping, destroying, and reshaping Santorini and its surrounding areas through its eruptions.

Take a hike to the volcano’s summit to see its unique landscape and experience the power of nature firsthand.

To reach Nea Kameni, you can book a boat tour or hire a chartered boat.

The hike to the summit takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes and offers stunning views of Fira.

Adding this to your list of things to do in Santorini adds an extra layer to your Greece vacation.

Explore Imerovigli Village

Imerovigli Village is the go-to place in Santorini for those seeking a serene escape.

The whitewashed buildings dot the hillside and offer up stunning caldera views and luxurious accommodations.

Enjoy wander the narrow alleyways before partaking in some Greek hospitality at one of the many cafes that call Imerovigli home.

That is exactly what we did before partaking in one of my favorite things to do in Santorini, a flying dress photoshoot in Santorini.

flying dress Santorini photoshoot

Get Adventurous with Water Sports and Activities

Adrenaline seekers will love all of the fun water sports that are available on Santorini island.

Some of the activities you can try include:

At Perivolos Beach, you’ll find a range of water sports to choose from. Some options include:

  • Stand-up paddleboarding
  • Jet skiing
  • Flyboarding on the Black Beach
  • Stand Up Paddling (SUP) and canoeing with your friends or family

Sail high above the island on a parasail to enjoy a breathtaking view of Santorini’s coastline.

If you prefer to explore under the water, then book a scuba diving trip while in Santorini.

The island’s volcanic landscape offers unique reef and diverse marine life for divers to enjoy.

Of course, if you prefer to stay above the water, then Santorini has you covered there also.

Enjoy kayaking or a boating adventure, either way, getting on the water offers a unique way to see the island.

Capture Stunning Photos on a Photography Tour

Santorini is the perfect location for photography enthusiasts.

That is why we recommend adding an island photography tour to your list of things to do in Santorini.

Photography tours in Santorini offer:

  • Guided tours to the island’s remarkable and less-visited locations
  • Professional photoshoots (such as the Santorini flying dress photoshoot we participated in)
  • Opportunities to capture Santorini’s architecture and stunning natural landscapes

Summary

From its stunning sunsets and picturesque villages to its unique beaches and rich history, Santorini is truly a jewel among the Greek Islands.

There are truly so many things to do in Santorini that you are sure to fall in love with the island just like we did!

Frequently Asked Questions

What you can’t miss in Santorini?

You can’t miss the breathtaking sunset in Oia, the black sand beach in Perissa, the blue dome churches, whitewashed villages, ancient ruins, and a visit to Santo Wines for a taste of the local wineries.

Is 3 days enough in Santorini?

Yes, 3 days is enough to fully experience Santorini and visit its prominent attractions like Oia and ancient Thira. Of course, I would advise allowing time to visit the other Greek islands also.

What is the best way to explore Santorini’s wine culture?

The best way to explore Santorini’s wine culture is by going on a wine tour. You’ll get to visit renowned wineries, learn about traditional winemaking methods, and taste a range of Greek wines, and, if you’re lucky, see some incredible sunset views!

What are some adventurous activities to do in Santorini?

You can hike the Caldera trail, explore the active volcano, try water sports like stand-up paddleboarding and scuba diving, or take a boat tour to discover the coastline and volcanic islands when you visit Santorini.

What are some of the best places to stay in Santorini?

If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Santorini, Imerovigli Village offers luxurious options like Above Blue Suites, San Antonio, and Absolute Bliss, as well as budget-friendly choices like LF Suites & Villas and Cresanto Luxury Suites.

The traditional village and the whitewashed buildings truly can’t be beat, especially when combined with the gorgeous volcanic landscape.

Alternatively, you can opt for accommodations along the black sand beach connecting Perissa to Perivolos for a beachside experience.

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Michelle Snell-Founder That Texas Couple

About the Author

Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

Shaf

Saturday 23rd of March 2024

This is such a good selection of spots! They all look really epic, but I'd have to say somehow the ancient city of Akrotiri is really drawing me right in!!

thattexascouple

Sunday 24th of March 2024

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

Jennifer Record

Sunday 17th of March 2024

Wow is this a thorough post! There is nothing as beautiful as the blue in Santorini!! the water, the roofs... all of it! The black sand beach looks pretty cool too

thattexascouple

Monday 18th of March 2024

Santorini is a special place for sure! Thanks for reading, Jennifer!

Linda (LD Holland)

Sunday 17th of March 2024

We have done Santorini a few times as a cruise port stop. We loved the short day visits but really wanted to plan a return visit to spend more time. The beauty of the sunsets would just draw me in. And the food would keep us exploring. The water sports would help burn off all those food calories. Need to get this on the travel planning board.

thattexascouple

Monday 18th of March 2024

You really should, Linda. I loved it in the evenings when all the cruise passengers were gone for the day, it was so peaceful.

Jenn | By Land and Sea

Saturday 16th of March 2024

Looks so incredible! I'm glad to hear that 3 days is enough time and learn about all the things you can do in Santorini

thattexascouple

Monday 18th of March 2024

It definitely is, Jenn.

Bri

Saturday 16th of March 2024

Santorini is still on my list! Trying to knock off a lot of the less expensive islands first but can’t wait to visit !

thattexascouple

Monday 18th of March 2024

You are so right, Bri. It is one of the more expensive islands. It's definitely worth a bit of a splurge to visit at least once.