Santorini, the famous island of the Aegean Sea took its name from Santa Irene, from the cathedral built in Perissa dedicated to her. Its official name, Thira, shows the relation of the island to the active volcano, whose crater is buried deep beneath the sea. Interestingly, the island was known for many years as Kallisti, the most beautiful of all for its stunning caldera views of rocky, untamed landscapes, and the unforgettable sunsets.
Black sand beaches, extraterrestrial beauty, and traditional architecture do not conflict with its vibrant nightlife and cosmopolitan character. On top of that, visiting Santorini offers the opportunity for island hopping, with various islands close to Santorini including Mykonos, Ios, Thirassia, Naxos, Folegandros, Sikinos, and Anafi. Perfect for daily trips or short island-hopping vacation, these islands are must-see destinations!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.
7 Islands to Visit Near Santorini
The glamorous island of the Cyclades, Mykonos with its popular nightlife, feel-good lifestyle, and luxuries hotels/suites is relatively near Santorini, located only 64 nautical miles away. Its iconic windmills, which decorate the landscape and give it its unique character from Little Venice can be seen from almost any point on the island, as it is said.
Cosmopolitan yet folklore, the Little Venice of Mykonos, is a very romantic neighborhood from Alefkandra beach until the very Castle, known as Kastro of Mykonos.
While it caters to the needs of every type of traveler, including party-goers, laid-back couples or families, it also maintains its amazing character, with wooden stairways, traditional old houses, painted blue against the view of the Aegean Sea and the breath-taking sunsets.
Arguably the most famous beach on the island, Paradise is a destination for countless visitors who want to enjoy the sun and have fun! Ideal for beach party fans, and filled with beach bars and all the amenities, this lively beach will never bore you!
Although it seems to be always crowded, it is fun and a great place to enjoy the sun and meet new people. Located only 6 km from the town of Mykonos, transportation there is very simple, as there is a very frequent bus service to and from the beach.
You might want to check out: The best Greek Islands for partying.
The other side of the coin is Ornos beach, located only 3 km away from the town of Mykonos, and to the south. It is a sandy cove with turquoise waters and amazing views. One of the most kid-friendly beaches on the island, Ornos has many taverns and restaurants, as well as amenities such as sunbeds and umbrellas. The beach also has regular connections by bus from the center.
You might also like: The best islands near Mykonos.
How to get to Mykonos from Santorini
The ferry leaves from Athinios port in Santorini. The journey to Mykonos can take between 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes depending on the type of ferry and company.
The lively and young island of Ios is perfect for youthful travelers eager for some fun. And still, it has many sights and points of interest for all types of travelers. Ios is one of the islands close to Santorini, located only 21 nautical miles away! Here’s all you can enjoy in Ios while island-hopping from Santorini.
The sparkling village of Chora, built high and reflecting the Aegean sun on the white-washed walls, has a great view and is perfect for strolling. You can find anything there: from hotels to restaurants, bars, and boutiques to shop. The church of the village named Panagia Gremiotissa has by far the greatest breath-taking view and is worth a visit!
The Chora of Ios also has its own Archaeological Museum with exhibits from the first Cycladic civilizations. There are also Roman elements and statues and sarcophagi in the museum yard!
Awarded with the Blue Flag, Mylopotas beach in the western part of Ios is one of the most popular and crowded beaches of the island. Only 3 km away from the Chora of Ios, it is the perfect spot to dive into emerald waters and swim your worries away. The beach offers amenities such as sunbeds and umbrellas, and yet retains an unorganized corner for the laid-back nature lovers eager to enjoy the sand and the sun.
Tip: If you are interested in water sports, Mylopotas is ideal as it offers scuba-diving and windsurfing.
How to get to Ios from Santorini
The ferry leaves from Athinios port in Santorini. The journey to Ios can take between 35 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes depending on the type of ferry and company.
The island most near to Santorini is Thirassia, technically a satellite of the volcanic island. Created by the volcanic eruption in antiquity, Thirassia was actually part of the main island before separation. Nowadays it is the ultimate destination for sailing day-trips and for panoramic views of Santorini. Discover its virgin nature and remote beaches, including Korfos, Riva, and Agia Eirini!
The Settlement Manolas
Possibly one of the most picturesque and untouched Cycladic settlements, Manolas is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Built on a caldera, the capital of the small island has an amazing over Santorini and the volcanic parts of the island. The buildings are a delight, and it is most known for the traditional churches.
From Manolas, you can also walk to the Monastery of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, located in the southeastern part of the Cape Trypiti, decorating its peak with a white shrine with a blue Cycladic dome.
How to get to Thirassia from Santorini
If you want to take a car with you (no reason to do this) you can take the ferry from Athinios port otherwise you can take a small boat from Amoudi Bay in Oia.
The most common way though to visit Thirassia is through a guided trip from Santorini that also visits the volcano and the hot springs.
Located near Santorini, and only 43 nautical miles away, Naxos is a treasure than keeps on giving. Mountainous with stunning beaches, traditional and yet so cosmopolitan, the island can guarantee you’ll find all you need there.
Translated in Greek, the village Apeiranthos means “countless flowers” and it is indeed one of the most beautiful inland villages of the island, which is mountainous and very rich in tradition and folk elements. Located on the north-eastern side, at an altitude of approximately 600 m., the village is perfect for hiking, strolling, and enjoying a coffee or local dishes with breath-taking views. Its stone-built houses and Cycladic marble pebbled alleys create a stark contrast with the mountainous, untamed landscape surrounding the village.
Agia Anna beach
Seen from above, this beach has bright cyan waters clear as glass, and it is justifiably traveler’s choice for 2020. Only 6.3 km from Naxos town, the beach is an extension of Agios Prokopios, and perfect for families to relax and sunbathe, or enjoy the shade and a refreshing drink by the shore.
How to get to Naxos from Santorini
The ferry leaves from Athinios port in Santorini. The journey to Naxos can take between 1 hour and 25minutes to 3 hours depending on the type of ferry and company.
Dry hills with white stone-houses and the endless azure of the Aegean Sea comprised the beauty of Folegandros, yet another Cycladic island near Santorini to visit. Ideal for relaxed holidays and families or couples, the island’s beauty is beyond comparison.
The Cycladic Chora
Stroll around the Chora of Folegandros, where cars and vehicles are forbidden, and the peace and quiet is astounding. Perfect for romantic dinners and walking by dusk, the paved alleys and stone houses give you the truest taste of Cyclades. Visit the Medieval Kastro in that part of the town and the Church of Panagia.
Tip: Nearby, you can also find a hidden cave named “Chrissospilia” to explore and dive.
Remote, untouched and precious, Katergo beach is in the south-eastern part of Folegandros and it is only accessible by boat. No amenities are provided, it’s only you, the deep blue clearest waters, and the peebles. Your view is a big rock islet opposite, where you can go snorkeling or simply swim to explore.
How to get to Folegandros from Santorini
The ferry leaves from Athinios port in Santorini. The journey to Folegandros can take between 40 minutes to 2 hours and 55 minutes depending on the type of ferry and company.
The secluded, forgotten gem of the Cycladic islands is Sikinos. Ideal from perfect getaways from Santorini, or from Ios and Folegandros, Sikinos is a must destination for those willing to explore the untouched beauty of the Aegean without the crowds and the spotlights.
The Chora of Sikinos
The windmills, the white-washed buildings, and Cycladic elements are prevalent here as well. Pebble-stoned alleys hidden with treasures are waiting for you to discover them, untouched by time and human intervention. The picturesque mansions and the folklore museum are spots you shouldn’t miss while visiting the Chora of Sikinos.
Tip: Don’t forget to see the old school from the 20th century with vintage elements and a rich tradition.
You will find it between Alopronoia and Agios Georgios. The sandy beach is accessible by car, but beware of the dirt road to reach there. Its beautiful waters and heavenly beauty is worth the effort, though. There is some shade from a few trees on the beach. Remote and very clean, Dialiskari is ideal for those close to nature.
How to get to Sikinos from Santorini
The ferry leaves from Athinios port in Santorini. The journey to Sikinos can take between 40 minutes to 2 hours depending on the type of ferry and company.
The last island near Santorini for daily island-hopping is Anafi, located east of Santorini and approximately 12 nautical miles away. Its wild beauty does not compare to any other island of the Cyclades, with sharp cliffs, and rocky hilltops of barren land, it really looks out-of-this-world.
The amphitheatric Chora
The Chora of Anafi is built high above, with unspoiled beauty and small traditional houses, churches, and monasteries with dome-roofs and an awe-inspiring view. It matches for an alternative vacation to relax and reach serenity away from crowded alleys and the fuss. However, during the high summer season, it has a vivid night-life! Stroll and enjoy the local specialties in ouzeries and taverns.
Tip: Don’t forget to try Anafi’s amazing thyme-honey!
In Anafi, you will find the highest monolith in Europe after Gibraltar, named Kalamos Rock. It is ideal for experienced climbers who wish to explore more of it and the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi. There, you can also find the ruins of the Temple of Apollo Aiglitis, with untouched stones from antiquity. Not to mention that the view from Kalamos rock is irreplaceable!
Situated 2 km away from the Chora and therefore conveniently accessible, you can find Kleisidi beach. It is close to the port of Agios Nikolaos and you can even walk there. One of the most beautiful beaches, Kleisidi is golden and sandy, and its waters are always clear, although prone to winds. Don’t worry, though, the small cove is such that the waves look like they are going inwards! The bare rocky views from the beach are not unlike Anafi, but there are a few tamarisk trees to enjoy some shade.
How to get to Anafi from Santorini
The ferry leaves from Athinios port in Santorini. The journey to Anafi can take between 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes depending on the type of ferry and company.