37 Best Things to Do in Santorini (Greece)

narrow streets of oia

Santorini Island (or Thira) in Greece is one of the most luxurious places to spend your summer holiday.

As it combines all the components of the perfect summer break, it is also one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations.

With its exceptionally mild Mediterranean climate, sunny and dry long summers, dark blue sea waters and whitewashed houses with blue doors and windows, the island is well-known from the pages of the glossy travel magazines around the world, from the United States to Australia.

It is an upscale island and is a preferred stop for sailor who travel around the Mediterranean.

Even if small, Santorini offers hundreds of things to do.

Let’s see just a small part of them.

1. Visit of the Akrotiri excavations

akrotiri excavations
Akrotiri Excavations by Eden, Janine and Jim/Flickr

The excavations of Akrotiri testify the existence of an intelligent and very well developed ancient civilization that originated on Santorini Island in the 5th millennium BC.

However, in the 16th century BC, it all ended as a result of a powerful volcanic eruption on the island.

2. Wine tasting (Domaine Sigalas)

domaine sigalas
Domaine Sigalas by Tjeerd Wiersma/Flickr

Greek wine is considered one of the best in the world.

That’s why it’s so important to try at least a glass of the drink while you’re here, even if you’re not a big fan of wine.

The island offers a number of very good places to choose from, and one of them is Domaine Sigalas.

Here you will find a great restaurant and winery, where wines with exceptional fragrance and colour are served.

3. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Thira

archaeological museum of thira
Archaeological Museum of Thira by Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr

The Archaeological Museum of Thira is a place in which you will find a rare collection of ancient artifacts.

Statues, clay pots, jewels, and many others have experienced the enormous volcanic eruption of the 2nd millennium BC.

4. Visit the Nea Kameni Island with the volcanic park

nea kameni island with the volcanic park
Nea Kameni Island with the Volcanic Park by Cha già José/Flickr

The island of Nea Kameni reminds of a lunar landscape.

The place is practically devoid of vegetation, and the colors vary in different shades of black, gray or brown.

The most interesting here is the fact that the island has remained practically untouched over the last almost 3600 years.

5. Visit the ancient Thira

ancient thira
Ancient Thira by Alex Healing/Flickr

The remains of ancient Thira are located on the top of a high hill south of Kamari.

They are accessible on foot, although as a result of the hot weather, most of the tourists prefer to ride on the back of a donkey while trying to reach the top more easily.

The remains are exceptionally well preserved, and the view is really worth seeing.

6. Take a stroll to Cape Akrotiri Lighthouse

cape akrotiri lighthouse
Cape Akrotiri Lighthouse by George M. Groutas/Flickr

There are two advantages to visit the lighthouse of Cape Akrotiri.

On the one hand, the lighthouse is very beautiful and worth seeing.

On the other hand, the place reveals an incredible panorama toward the rest of the island.

If you visit it at dusk, you will have the chance to enjoy its lights and avoid the heat.

7. Visit Kamari Beach

kamari beach
Kamari Beach by Alan Lamb/Flickr

Kamari Beach is located on the east coast of Santorini and is one of the sand stripes with the most facilities on the island.

It offers black volcanic sand, dark blue waters and all the extras you can think about during your stay on the beach.

8. Walk to the island of Thirassia

island of thirassia
Island of Thirassia by Abir Anwar/Flickr

Thirassia is a small island that partially closes to the west the volcanic cone on the island of Santorini.

This place is a very nice option for a walk as it combines tranquility, volcanic beaches, and the opportunity to stroll around the narrow streets of the village of Manolas.

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9. Visit the Maritime Museum

maritime museum
Maritime Museum by Michaela Loheit/Flickr

The Maritime Museum is one of the places you need to include in your plans.

It is located in Oia and stores various items, many of which date back to ancient times.

Anchors, old cannons and ship models are complemented by a rich collection of books which could help you touch the past of the island.

10. Spend some time in the village of Mesa Gonia

Mesa Gonia village is an attractive place, which has been preserved very well and almost unchanged over the centuries.

It is located in the interior of the island and is one of the centers of the viticulture of the island.

11. Take a photo session of Oia

view from oia
View from Oia by Dulup/Flickr

Oia is one of the most photogenic cities in Santorini.

It is located on the very slopes of the steep volcanic rock.

The houses are situated step wise, and the streets are often replaced by stairs.

In addition, Oia offers one of the most magical views, and the sunsets are just out of this world.

12. Explore one of the Byzantine churches on the island

byzantine churches
Byzantine Churches by Baptiste Flageul/Flickr

One of the best examples of a typical Byzantine church is Panagia Episkopi.

It is located in the interior of the island, not far from the village of Kamari.

It is a massive stone church, which has remained completely preserved over the centuries.

It was built in the 11th century and is a real treasure both inside and outside.

13. Explore the remains of the Byzantine fortress in Oia

byzantine fortress in oia
Byzantine Fortress in Oia by Jorge Láscar/Flickr

Do not miss to visit the Byzantine fortress of Oia.

It reveals an amazing panoramic view, and offers the opportunity to feel the ancient atmosphere and spirit of the Greek island.

Parts of the walls of the stone structure still rise on the edge of the steep volcanic rocks over the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

14. Visit the castle of Skaros

castle of skaros
Castle of Skaros by Jorge Láscar/Flickr

The castle of Skaros is better known as the ruined Venetian fortress.

It is an impressive stone structure located on the coastal rocks of Imerovigli, north of Thira.

The fortress was abandoned in the 14th century.

15. Buy some souvenirs

souvenirs shop
Souvenirs Shop

From classic fridge magnets with pictures of local landmarks to more expensive handmade souvenirs, Santorini is a magical place you definitely have to take a little part from.

Despite the small craft shops are full of diversity and creativity, the white and blue colours are traditional, and they practically present in everything.

16. Spend a day at Pyrgos Kallistis

pyrgos kallistis
Pyrgos Kallistis by Cha già José/Flickr

The village of Pyrgos Kallistis is a charming place where only the modern equipped tourists remind you that it is the 21st century.

The small settlement is a puzzle of narrow cobbled streets winding without direction between snow-white stone houses.

Blue wooden doors and windows complement the blue domes of the local churches, which in turn rise above all the other buildings.

17. Buy a gold jewelry for your loved one

gold jewelry
Gold Jewelry by Mike Beales/Flickr

Craft goods are part of the charm of this wonderful island.

You can find here a wide range of handmade jewelry and ornaments, including high quality gold earrings, rings, necklaces, medallions and many others.

The chance is to find golden jewels with a higher purity, for example 18K, 20K or even 22K, which could be an amazing gift for a loved one.

18. Enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets

santorini beautiful sunset
Santorini Beautiful Sunset by somma1977/Flickr

Santorini is well known for its wonderful sunsets, which are considered the most beautiful in the world.

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The best place to observe the magic of nature is the city of Tira, which is situated close to the edge of the steep and rocky western coast of the island.

19. Walk through the narrow streets of Oia

narrow streets of oia
Narrow Streets of Oia by Pedro Szekely/Flickr

Walking through the narrow streets of Oia is a special experience that will help you taste the atmosphere of Santorini.

If you want to feel the true spirit of the village, you just have to go out in the evening when every white house shines in bright lights, and the streets are full of tourists.

20. Take a helicopter trip over the island

santorini from above
Santorini from Above by Baptiste Flageul/Flickr

As you can see by yourself, Santorini Island is extremely beautiful.

However, if you want to fully enjoy its beauty, you should take a look at the island from a bird’s eye.

Of course, the best way to do this is to explore the Mediterranean paradise with a helicopter.

This is the only way to get an idea of how it looks like the island as a whole as well as to see all the cities and villages within minutes.

21. Scuba diving around the island

scuba diving santorini
Scuba Diving in Santorini by Nektarios Sylligardakis/Flickr

The waters around the island of Santorini are full of life.

This is also a place to find a number of sunken vessels.

Most of them have been lying on the bottom for centuries now.

The sea around the island is very clean and transparent, and the color of the water is the deepest blue you can imagine.

22. Romantic dinner in a panoramic restaurant

romantic dinner and panoramic view
Romantic Dinner and Panoramic View by Jorge Láscar/Flickr

To have a romantic dinner on the terrace of a panoramic restaurant in Oia or Thira will be one of the most unforgettable experiences during your holiday on the island.

This is a priceless moment to enjoy while listening to some nice Greek music and enjoying the scent of the sea.

Feel the cool refreshing breeze over your skin, and try the sophisticated Mediterranean cuisine with your loved one.

23. Try a gyro with meat and vegetables

gyro with meat and vegetables
Gyro with meat and vegetables by jeffreyw/Flickr

What is a walk through the narrow streets of Santorini without tasting one of the most popular local meals?

This is a kind of fast-food, which consists of a flat and thin bread filled with roasted meat, vegetables and sauces.

24. Visit the local art galleries

There is a number of must-visit art galleries on the island of Santorini, and it is recommended to visit as many of them as possible.

Of course, it all depends on the number of days you have here.

Among the most popular of them are the Mnemossyne Gallery, Oia Treasures Art Gallery and Tzamia – Krystalla Art Gallery.

25. Donkey ride tour

donkey ride tour
Donkey Ride Tour by Janice Waltzer/Flickr

Take a full day donkey ride tour around the island.

This is the best way to see some of the biggest attractions within a day, without having to walk at all.

All you need to do is to put some cold water in your bag as well as to protect your skin from the strong Mediterranean sun.

26. Try the cable car

cable car santorini
Cable Car in Santorini by Manu/Flickr

One of the experiences you should not miss is a walk with the cable car.

It connects the port with the village of Thira, which is about 230 meters above sea level.

It takes just 3 minutes to reach the coast and 3 more minutes to climb back to the town.

In addition, the view is fantastic!

27. Cycling around the island

cycling around santorini
Cycling around Santorini by Baptiste Flageul/Flickr

Santorini is not a big island and you can easily reach by bicycle from one point to another.

The only problem could be the heat and the hilly character of the terrain.

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To avoid any inconvenience, you could rent an electric bicycle.

This is a great way to overcome the steep parts of the road while exploring the island of Santorini.

28.Visit a cooking course

cooking like a pro
Cooking like a Pro by Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr

Since Greece is famous for the world’s healthiest cuisine, many visitors to the Greek island attend some kind of culinary classes here.

This is a great way to learn all about the basics of nutrition in Greece, about the most popular and widely used ingredients and how to combine them.

29. Watch the sunrise

beautiful sunrise santorini
Beautiful Sunrise in Santorini by dronepicr/Flickr

Although Santorini is famous for its sunsets, sunrises here aren’t less impressive.

Among the best places to enjoy the sunrise is the village of Kamari, which is located on the eastern coast.

Especially spectacular is the view from Ancient Thira because the place is located on a hillside by the sea, and you can enjoy the rising sun in its full glamor.

30. Snorkeling at White Beach

snorkeling at white beach
Snorkeling at White Beach by katiebordner/Flickr

White Beach is located in the southern part of the island, not far from the most popular Red Beach, which has become one of the symbols of Santorini.

The White Beach is a relatively small beach, covered with oval white pebbles.

As the place offers a very rich underwater variety, it is preferred for snorkeling, especially in calm and quiet weather conditions.

31. Enjoy some relaxing spa treatments

spa santorini
Spa Center by costanavarino/Flickr

Santorini offers the best conditions for spa on the Greek Islands.

Here you can enjoy relaxing pools full of hot or cold mineral waters, relaxing volcanic stone massage, aromatherapy and many other anti-stress procedures.

32. Visit the Red Beach

The Red Beach is located in the southernmost part of the island.

It is situated in the feet of reddish and brown steep volcanic rocks.

The beach is covered with large grain sand and cinnamon colored pebbles.

In calm weather, the emerald green water is extremely transparent and offers an incredibly good underwater visibility.

You can combine the beach with a walk to Akrotiri and the lighthouse.

33. The Monastery of Prophet Elias

monastery of prophet elias
Monastery of Prophet Elias by Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr

Built in the 18th century, the Monastery of Prophet Elias is one of the greatest sights here.

It was built in the highest part of Santorini.

Created of massive local stones, the monastery is a real historical, architectural and cultural treasure.

34. The village of Pyrgos Kallistis

pyrgos kallistis village
Pyrgos Kallistis Village by Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr

The village of Pyrgos Kallistis is an authentic ancient Greek settlement, located in the interior of the island.

It is known for its magnificent church, Agios Nikolaos Theotokaki, whose legendary bell tower rises above the whitewashed houses of the village.

35. Visit Perivolos Beach

perivolos beach
Perivolos Beach by Roberto Faccenda/Flickr

Perivolos Beach and Perissa form together one of Santorini’s largest beach stripes.

Located in the southeastern part of the island, it offers a vast and long stripe of dark volcanic sand.

The beach is one of the main landmarks of the island and extends about 4 km.

36. Full day catamaran cruise

catamaran cruise
Catamaran Cruise by Jérôme Decq/Flickr

One of the most romantic experiences here is to join a full-day catamaran cruise around the island.

It always includes a healthy Mediterranean lunch on the board, which by default consists of fresh seafood, Greek wine and delicious Greek salads.

Usually this kind of adventures include swimming, diving and snorkeling around the boat.

37. Water skiing

water skiing
Water Skiing by Rodolfo Araiza G./Flickr

Santorini is well known for its calm and smooth sea waters as well as for the lack of waves.

For this reason, the island is a perfect place for water skiing.

The main advantage is that even in windy days the waves here are very small.