What to do in Santorini, Greece – 2023 Guide

The island of Santorini is always on the list of the top places to visit in the world. It is considered one of the most romantic places, and a lot of people from around the world come to the island to get married or for their honeymoon. Santorini also has beautiful villages with white-washed houses, blue-domed churches, pristine beaches with black sand and crystal waters, a lot of history, and great cuisine and wine. There are many things one can do in Santorini.

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The three Domes in Oia---popular photography spot
The three Domes in Oia—popular photography spot

Quick Santorini Guide

Planning a trip to Santorini? Find here everything you need:

Looking for ferry tickets? Click here for the ferry schedule and to book your tickets.

Renting a car in Santorini? Check out Discover Cars it has the best deals on car rentals.

Looking for private transfers from/to the port or airport? Check out Welcome Pickups.

Top-Rated Tours and Day Trips to Do in Santorini:

– Catamaran Cruise with Meals and Drinks (sunset option also available) (from 105 € p.p)

– Volcanic Islands Cruise with Hot Springs Visit (from 26 € p.p)

– Santorini Highlights Tour with Wine Tasting & Sunset in Oia (from 65 € p.p)

– Santorini Half-Day Wine Adventure Tour (from 130 € p.p)

Santorini Horse Riding Trip from Vlychada to Eros Beach (from 80 € p.p)

Where to stay in Santorini: Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel (luxury), Astarte Suites: (mid-range) Costa Marina Villas  (budget)

30 Things to Do in Santorini, Greece

1. Watch the sunset from Oia.

Sunset in Oia - Things to do in Santorini
sunset in Oia is a must see in Santorini

One of the reasons to visit Santorini is its great sunset. From the beautiful cliff-top village of Oia with the whitewashed houses, the windmills, and little churches with blue domes you will see the sun dive into the Aegean Sea. Beware, you will not be alone; every day a lot of people gather in Oia and climb the cliffs in order to find the best spot for the perfect picture.

Check here for more things to do in Oia.

2. Walk from Fira to Oia

It might sound tiring, but it is not that bad, and the view of the caldera will compensate you. This route will take you to all the villages that are built on the cliffs of Santorini and have amazing views of the Caldera.

Along the way, you will pass the beautiful villages of Imerovigli and Firostefani. In order to reach Oia, it will take you approximately 3 hours, depending on how often you stop to admire the view or take photos. You can start your walk in the early afternoon and reach Oia just in time to admire the sunset. Don’t forget to wear a hat for the sun, take some water with you, and wear sensible shoes.

You might also want to check out:

A 3-day Santorini Itinerary

A 2 day Santorini itinerary
A 1 day Santorini itinerary
How to visit Santorini in winter

Santorini vs Mykonos
Best Airbnbs in Santorini
Santorini on a budget
Santorini in winter

3. Visit a winery and do a wine tasting

wine tasting - The Best Santorini Tours

Santorini has been producing wine since ancient times. The most famous varieties include Assyrtiko, Athiri, and Aidani. There are many beautiful wineries you can visit scattered around the island where you can learn about wine production and taste the wine.

I totally recommend the Santorini Half-Day Wine Adventure tour which includes a visit to 3 wineries and sampling 12 different wines.

4. Eat local food

Santorini, apart from the famous wines, produces other products like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and kapari. You can taste all these in the famous Greek salad. Other dishes you can taste are fava (split pea) and Tomatokeftedes (fried balls made from tomatoes). Try to avoid all the tourist restaurants and find a small family-run taverna to enjoy better quality food at good prices.

I highly recommend the following restaurants:

Metaxy Mas Tavern in Exo Gonia village for reservations +30 2286 031323

Aroma Avlis Food & Wine in Exo Gonia village for reservations +30 2286 033395

Kantouni Traditional delicacies in Pyrgos Village for reservations + 30 2286 033474

For more food recommendations, check out these amazing restaurants in  Santorini.

Things to do in Santorini, what to do in Santorini, Santorini Honeymoon
Oia Santorini

5. Visit the Akrotiri Archaeological site

Akrotiri Archaeological site

The excavations of Akrotiri have uncovered one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean, dating back to the 4th millennium BC. There you will see the magnitude of the town, the multi-story buildings, its drainage system, the wall paintings, the furniture, and the vessels, all well-preserved due to the fact that they were covered by volcanic materials. The archaeological site is open to visitors daily from 10:00 to 17:00.

Check out: Archaeological Bus Tour To Akrotiri Excavations & Red Beach.

6. Book a Photo Shoot with a Private Vacation Photographer

Church bell in Oia Santorini - What to do in Santorini
Church bell in Oia Santorini

If you are looking to capture the best memories from your trip to Santorini, then you can hire a private photographer. You get to choose the best locations around the island, and then the professional photographer will take the best shots.

Check here for more information and to book your photoshoot in Santorini.

7. Make an excursion to the volcano

volcano-cruises -The Best Santorini Tours
volcano cruises

There are several tours operating on the island that will take you to the volcano; from there, it is a 10 min walk to the top, where you can see the active crater. Some other tours after the volcano take you to the island of Palaia Kameni, with the hot springs and famous mud baths.

I recommend the Santorini: 5-Hour Small-Group Catamaran Cruise that includes a swim in the hot springs and buffet lunch and drinks onboard.

If you actually want to walk on the volcano I suggest the volcanic island cruise.

8. Visit the village of Emporio

a church in Emporio village
a church in Emporio village

Emporio Village is another of Santorini’s stunning islands, with chic boutiques and cafes, beautiful architecture, a medieval castle, and eight traditional windmills that are well worth a visit.

Located in the south of the island, Emporio is a lovely alternative option to Oia for somewhere to stay.

9. Explore the village of Pyrgos

pyrgos village - things to do in Santorini
Pyrgos Village

The village of Pyrgos boasts the title of the highest point in Santorini, with views overlooking the whole island as well as out over the azure Aegean Sea. This pristine village features white-washed houses, blue-domed churches, meandering alleyways, and quaint cafes and tavernas. It is also a great starting point for exploring the nearby Venetian castle, the historic Church of Theotoki, and the monastery of Profitis Ilias.

10. Walk the alleyways of Oia

The beautiful town of Oia is crammed full of little alleyways that are just made for exploring. Follow the cobbled streets around the winding white alleyways, discovering the hints of blue in the town’s gates, doors, and churches.

You can also most always see a glimpse of the sea from every alleyway, making it even more spectacular. The alleyways of Oia are one of those places that look better in real-life than any postcard.

You might also be interested in: How to get from Athens to Santorini.

11. Cable Car from Old Port to Fira

Things to do in Fira Santorini, Cable car

Located high up on the hills of Santorini is its capital, Fira. With breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding islands, as well as beautiful narrow streets and spectacular architecture, Fira is one of the most popular places to visit in Santorini.

There are many ways to reach Fira, but the best way is by Cable Car, which you can get from the Old Port. The views from the Cable Car are phenomenal; even if you are not interested in visiting the town, it is worth just taking the ride up there and back again to see the unforgettable scenery.

12. Walk to Skaros Rock

Things to do in Fira, Sntorini - Skaros rock
Skaros Rock

Occupied in Medieval times, Skaros Rock is one of Santorini’s five castle fortresses. Towering above the deep blue waters and quaint little towns, Skaros Rock offers some of the best views, as well as history, in the whole of Santorini. If you are a fan of hiking, the surrounding area of Skaros Rock is great for exploring and offers equally incredible views that are a little more off the beaten track.

13. Visit Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera historic site on Santorini Greece
Ancient Thera historic site in Santorini Greece

Situated high upon Messa Vouno lies Ancient Thera, an ancient capital named after the mythological leader, Theras. For just 4 euros, you can wander around the ancient archaeological site and imagine what life was like here over one-thousand years ago.

Unless you participate in a guided tour, you will more than likely have to trek up to Ancient Thera, which is not for the easily exhausted. However, the hike is well worth the effort and time, as the site itself is fascinating, as are the views from the top.

14. Visit the Red Beach

Red Beach in Santorini - things to do in Santorini
Red Beach in Santorini

Not too far from the ancient site of Akrotiri lies one of the most stunning and unique beaches in the whole of Santorini, the Red Beach. Named for its deep red cliff faces, the beach is one of the most popular for tourists to visit; like most places in Santorini, there are busses and other forms of transport, but the hike towards the Red Beach is astonishing. It is a fairly steep walk down to the shore, but nothing beats gazing up and enormous, dark-red cliffs.

Check out more beaches in Santorini.

15. Atlantis Books in Oia

Nestled coyly beneath the whitewashed walls of Oia lies Atlantis Books, a bibliophile’s heaven. This wonderful little hidden gem is jam-packed with all kinds of books and has so many things to explore. The bookshop is really easy to miss as it is so discrete and concealed, but it is well worth seeking out; you could spend hours getting lost in the shelves and quirky little charms.

16. Museum of Prehistoric Fira

The Museum of Prehistoric Fira is a vast collection of artifacts, mainly from the excavations of Akrotiri. There are some fascinatingly early pieces of history dating back as far as the Neolithic period and the early Cycladic era. The Museum of Prehistoric Fira is the perfect place to visit if you are a history-lover or even if you are looking for somewhere to escape the Santorini sun and escape the heat for a little while whilst also discovering some incredible artifacts.

17. Lighthouse on the Southern Tip of Santorini

Akrotiri Lighthouse - Sanntorini

Also known as Faros Akrotiri, this stunning 1892 lighthouse is located on the southern tip of Santorini. This is one of the most popular sites in Santorini, largely because of its history and its nearby sites, such as the Red Beach.

view from the lighthouse in Santorini
View from the lighthouse

The best time of day to visit the lighthouse is at sunset, as you can see the sun slip behind the volcano on the horizon and watch the sky turn a beautifully subtle pink hue.

18. Explore Thirassia Island

View on Thirassia harbor
View on Thirassia harbor

In complete contrast to Santorini, Thirassia Island is remote, tourist-free, and tranquil. The island feels very old-fashioned compared to the more modern charm of Santorini, yet it is beautiful because of this. On Thirassia Island, there are gorgeous beaches and hot springs you can visit. Moreover, there are some lovely authentic Greek restaurants that serve some of the most beautiful food you will ever try!

19. Have lunch at Amoudi Bay

Amoudi Bay - The best Santorini Beaches
Amoudi Bay

Amoudi Bay is most famous for its traditional Greek taverns, serving authentic dishes, including fresh local fish. The Bay is incredibly romantic and is filled with a combination of young couples as well as families enjoying the atmosphere. Having lunch in Amoudi Bay is the perfect combination of everything: the astonishing views, the traditional food, and not being filled with tourists and any accompanying noise.

20. Visit the Santorini Wine Museum

This family-established wine museum is one of its kind and exhibits the historical to contemporary wine-making processes in Santorini, as well as a wine-tasting experience. It is fascinating to learn how the wine becomes what it is, and to then be able to sample it at the end is a fantastic experience. The museum is situated in a cave-style building, giving it a mysterious atmosphere.

21. Check out the Perissa & Perivolos Beaches

Perissa - The best Santorini Beaches

Perissa is a tranquil, relaxing seaside village with long stretches of beach, sheltered beneath Messa Vouno; this is the perfect beach to visit if you would like to relax, perhaps do some sunbathing, or get lost in a book. On the other hand, Perivolos is a lot more vibrant and filled with a younger crowd and lots of clubs. It is still well worth the visit if you would like to sample a different type of scene from the rest of Santorini.

Check out: Black sand beaches of Santorini.

22. Watch a performance of the Greek Wedding Show

The performance of the Greek Wedding Show is a great activity to do whilst you are in Santorini; it is an exhilarating musical that involves the whole family and is truly unforgettable. Jump right into Greek culture with this show’s exciting songs and dances, as well as its brilliant actors; this interactive performance is a definite must for anyone visiting Santorini.

23. Explore the town of Fira

watching the sunset from Fira
watching the sunset from Fira

Fira is Santorini’s main town and a vibrant hub of the hustle and bustle. Enjoy the narrow winding streets lined with boutique shops selling unique pieces, quaint little bars, and cafes filled with locals, as well as astonishing views of the neighboring islands and the emerald water below. Fira is as beautiful at night as it is in the day, as the lights in the town give it a very charming atmosphere; like many places in Santorini, it is also a great place to watch the sunset.

You might also want to check out: Things to do in Fira, Santorini.

24. See a Movie at an Open-Air Cinema

Since the 1930s, the cinemas have been quintessential to Greek life, particularly its Open-Air theatres, which are all the more beautiful in the summer. The cinema is beautifully designed, with lots of pretty decorations that provide it with a garden theme.

There is a bar that sells alcoholic beverages, as well as popcorn, which you can enjoy whilst watching a movie in the company of other locals and tourists alike! It is a great and unique way to spend an evening in Santorini.

25. Take a Cooking Class

Greece is famed for its cuisine and wine, so what better way to experience its culinary delights and fantastic wines than by taking a cooking class and a vineyard tour? Visit a volcanic vineyard and discover its unique basket vines and how Santorini wine is so distinct.

Some of the key wines to try are Assyrtiko, Nykteri, and Vinsanto. Afterward, learn to cook like a true Greek in the hands of a real Greek chef so that you can use these skills at home as well. Also, ensure that you try the classic Greek aperitifs, Raki and Ouzo.

Click here for more information and to book a cooking class with wine tasting.

26. Do a sunset cruise

Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Santorini is famed for its majestic sunsets, and one of the best ways to enjoy them is on a cruise. There are many tours that you can do that include dinner and drinks onboard a boat that gives you astonishing views of the surroundings and unforgettable memories.

There are also many tours that take you to certain destinations and offer many activities before dinner, such as snorkeling, swimming, and visiting hot springs.

Click here for more information and to book a sunset catamaran cruise.

27. Swim at White Beach (Vlychada Beach)

Vlychada Beach - The best Santorini Beaches
Vlychada Beach

Situated on the south coast of Santorini lies Vlychada Beach, an easily accessible beach that is dominated by its iconic large white cliffs. Even if you are not one for sitting on the beach for hours, sunbathing and relaxing, Vlychada Beach is still very much worth the visit due to its magnificent natural beauty. The beach is relatively quiet, so it is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of some of the more touristy beaches.

28. Taste the Yellow Donkey Local Beer

A local Santorini beer is Yellow Donkey, a quirky blend of hops from around the world that creates a refreshing citrus taste that is perfect for drinking on a hot summer’s day. There are also other variations by the same brewing company, such as Crazy Donkey, Red Donkey, and White Donkey, which are all equally delicious. You can also stop by and visit the microbrewery to see exactly how your beer came to be; if you were a fan of the beer, you could also buy t-shirts and other souvenirs!

29. Do a day trip to nearby Ios island

view of Chora on Ios island

Ios Island is one of those places that you have to see before you can believe it is real; imagine vibrant, clear waters sheltered by rolling cliffs dotted with white-washed buildings. It truly is postcard perfect. Relax on the sandy beaches, take a book or embark on a dip in the sea, finishing off the day wandering around the town and indulging in some beautiful Greek cuisine.

Click here for more information and to book a day trip to Ios island.

You might want to check out: Things to do in Ios Island.

30. DO NOT ride the donkeys 

donkey ride in Santorini

Donkey riding is a historic means of transportation in Santorini, and it is still available to tourists; for example, you can ride donkeys instead of the Cable Car when getting to Fira. However, many animal welfare groups urge tourists not to ride the donkeys because they are working in poor conditions, and it causes them a lot of physical pain and exhaustion.

They are forced to climb steep steps multiple times a day and consequently suffer a lot of physical abuse. There are many alternatives to donkey travel, such as taxis, buses, bikes, cars, or just walking.

Practical Information for your trip to Santorini

The best time to visit Santorini

The best time to visit Santorini is during the long summer season of April to November. As Santorini isn’t an island centered around its beaches, it can be a great place to visit in spring and autumn as well as summer.

July and August are the hottest months, but these are also the busiest and most expensive so are actually best avoided if you have the choice. June and September are ideal months for those who want to combine village visits, sightseeing, and beach/boat excursions, while April, May, and October are great for those who just want to explore.

Winter can also be a good time to travel to Santorini if you want a relatively mild place to visit during the darker Northern Hemisphere months. Many hotels, restaurants, and attractions (although not all) stay open during the winter months so this is an excellent option for those who want to avoid the crowds or the heat.

How to get to Santorini

The easiest way to get to Santorini is to fly, with direct flights from around Europe taking between two and four hours. These mainly run throughout the summer months, but connections can also be made via Athens during the winter. The airport on the island is Santorini (Thira) National Airport (airport code: JTR). All year round, you can find daily flights from Athens to Santorini.

Alternatively, you can reach Santorini by ferry from Athens or from other neighboring islands, with regular connections running during the spring and summer months. The conventional ferry from Athens (Piraeus port) takes between 8 and 10 hours to reach Santorini while the fast Ferry takes up to 5 hours.

Click here for the ferry schedule and to book your ferry tickets.

How to get around Santorini

There are a few different ways to get around Santorini, depending on where you are staying and how much you want to explore. One option is to rent a car which gives you full flexibility and allows you to stay outside of one of the main towns (Oia and Fira). Alternatively, you can use the local bus service, which serves the airport, main towns, and attractions, or take a taxi. The island is only 16 km long, so no journey should take too long in a taxi.

I recommend booking a car through Discover Cars where you can compare all rental car agencies’ prices, and you can cancel or modify your booking for free. They also guarantee the best price. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Santorini is also favored by walkers and there are routes such as the Fira – Oia Hiking Trail.

Where to stay in Santorini

Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel: If you’re looking for a classically picturesque Santorini boutique hotel, Canaves Oia is it! This spectacular hotel is perched on the cliffside overlooking the caldera and features elegant rooms and suites, an outdoor pool, and a bar/restaurant on site. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Astarte Suites: Located in the south of the island, offer incredible rooms with private Jacuzzis, breath-taking balcony rooms, and a restaurant overlooking the caldera. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Studios Apartments Kapetanios in Perissa offers self-contained studio units with comfortable beds and kitchenettes and there is an on-site pool. The studios are family-run and there’s always someone on-hand to help. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Athina Villa is a lovely option for those who want to be near the black-sand beach of Santorini; the coast lying just 100 yards away! The rooms are simple and comfortable and most feature self-catering facilities and a private balcony or patio. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Costa Marina Villas is located in the heart of Fira and perfectly combines traditional and modern styling. The rooms are well-equipped with air-con, a fridge, kettle, and en-suite bathrooms. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Summer Time Villa is a modern, boutique hotel in central Fira with a sun terrace and a small whirlpool overlooking the Aegean. This is a great chic option for those wishing to stay in the capital. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.


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38 thoughts on “What to do in Santorini, Greece – 2023 Guide”

  1. Santorini has been on my bucket list since I saw my cousin’s pictures who went there on her honeymoon. Amazing island!

  2. Ok, so I think you missed the massive archaeological dig which proved that a sophisticated people existed on Santorini before the eruption – it was called Thera then.

  3. My favourite part of Santorini was watching that amazing sunset.I also rode a donkey but it was a quite terrifying descent!

  4. I absolutely loved Santorini! I did almost everything on this list and can’t wait to go back and do more! It is so picturesque! I did ride the donkey and go to a winery and watched the sunset in Oia and eat delicious food and more!

  5. I just made plans to come to Greece in September and was looking for some local tips. Thanks a ton Chrissy, your site is a gem!

    • Hello Camie,
      I was in Santorini the last days of November this year. There were still people around because of the cruise ships. There were some restaurants and bars open along with museums and wineries. The weather was perfect but it doesn’t mean that you will have good weather. Generally it was good because it was less crowded.

  6. Thanks for the all the information. And the pictures are beautiful. I am hoping to visit Santorini next week. The only issue is that I have just a day there. Is it possible to cover all the 10 of the above in a day?

    • You are welcome. If you need to see as more as possible in a day you need to either rent a car or a private day tour. I don’t know your interests but if I skipped something from the above I would skip the volcano.

      • hello, I’m planing to go for honeymoon me and my husband on July 17 till
        July 24 , any recommended place and hotel to stay in we are planing to
        go to Athena, Santorini and Mykonos how to go from each island to
        another ? this is my email plz contact me when you can 🙂

  7. Good Day. I am hoping for some advise. My friend and I are scheduled to go on the Crown Princess for a week long cruise in July 2018. We are doing the Mediterranean cruise from Rome, Italy to Athens, Greece with stops at 5 different ports along the way. We would like to extend our trip by a few days and see some more sights. We are from South Africa and never expected an opportunity like this to present itself and therefore have no idea on what we should do… get there early and explore more of Italy or hang around in Greece for a few days???
    Do you have any suggestions for us?


    • Sounds like an amazing cruise. If you are interested in art and cultural sights you can get to Italy beforehand. If you are looking for beach time combined with some archaeological sights I suggest Greece. Both countries are equally beautiful. If you want you can email me using the contact form and we can talk about it more.


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