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Things to do in Santorini

Greece’s iconic island of love boasts towering cliffs, stunning sea views, and a dormant volcano in the midst.

Our most recommended things to do in Santorini

Santorini: Volcanic Islands Cruise with Hot Springs Visit

1. Santorini: Volcanic Islands Cruise with Hot Springs Visit

Sail from Athinios Port to small islands that are home to volcanos, hot springs, and traditional villages. Enjoy some free time on each island, enjoy the fantastic views and charming atmospheres of typical Greek countryside. Set sail from Athinios and enjoy live commentary on board throughout the journey. First stop at Nea Kameni where you can take the path to the crater of the active volcano as you enjoy free time to explore the island. Next, head to Palea Kameni, and swim in the volcanic hot springs. Return to the boat for a short sail to Thirassia, where you’ll have free time to explore this charming village. Then, visit Manolas, accessed by winding stairs, or by a donkey ride up to the village. There is the option of extending the tour in Oia to admire the panoramic views and a spectacular sunset. If this option is selected, after the end of the boat ride you will be transferred to Oia. Please meet your bus at the meeting point 15 minutes after the sunset.

Santorini: Premium Catamaran Cruise with Fresh BBQ & Drinks

2. Santorini: Premium Catamaran Cruise with Fresh BBQ & Drinks

Climb aboard the 74-foot Ocean Voyager or the 80-foot Tahiti catamaran for a 5-hour cruise around Santorini in the Aegean Sea. Set off on a journey of discovery that will first take you to the hot springs, then the Red Beach, and finally the White Beach. Swim and snorkel and tuck into a delicious meal onboard. Start your adventure with a comfortable hotel pickup and set sail for beautiful Red Beach to swim and snorkel for 30 minutes. Continue to a secluded White Beach, only accessible from the sea, for more swimming and snorkeling in the shadow of the towering white cliffs. Onboard the catamaran, savor a barbecue supper of salads and grilled meat and veggie options. Continue sailing inside the crescent-shaped Caldera, close to the volcano, and enjoy a final dip in the Hot Springs, before sailing back to Oia as the day ends with a spectacular sunset.

Santorini: Catamaran Caldera Cruise with Meal and Drinks

3. Santorini: Catamaran Caldera Cruise with Meal and Drinks

Enjoy the spectacular beauty of the Caldera and the beautiful Santorini sunset, while sailing with a luxury catamaran. Select from the Day Cruise or Sunset Cruise options which both offer a unique chance to admire Santorini’s beauty, sailing through the deep blue waters of the island. Start your Day Cruise journey from the old port of Ammoudi and head to Thirassia Island, a fishermen’s island ideal for swimming and admiring the unique view of Manolas village. Explore the unmanned volcanic beaches or sunbathe on the deck. Feel the energy of the volcano while heading to the hot springs. Sail towards the Black Mountain and the big light house south of the Caldera, as you head to the White Beach and the Red Beach for a swim when anchored, a delicious lunch is served onboard with wine and dessert. The Sunset Cruise begins with a stop at the Red Beach for a refreshing swim and stops at all the same locations as the Day Cruise. On the Sunset Cruise, enjoy dinner with wine and dessert served onboard.

Santorini: Catamaran Cruise with Meal and Open Bar

4. Santorini: Catamaran Cruise with Meal and Open Bar

Cruise aboard a spacious and luxurious catamaran and experience views of Santorini’s landscape. Stop at the day at the famous Red Beach. Start with pickup and travel by minibus to the marina of Vlychada where the half-day cruise begins. Meet the crew and be welcomed on board with a glass of wine or a soft drink. Set sail towards the island's colorful beaches while the guide on board will share insights into the history of Santorini and the geological events that created Santorini’s rugged landscape and its surrounding islands. Your first stop of the day will be at the famous Red Beach. Enjoy time to swim, snorkel, and take pictures of its reddish hues and wild cliff formations. The first mezedes (finger food) are offered when you get back on board to continue your trip. Admire stunning views of the sandy shores of White Beach, surrounded by bright limestone cliffs, followed by a short stop for pictures of the caves and impressive rock formations of the Indian Rocks, which can only be reached by boat. Cruise past the 18th-century Venetian Lighthouse of Akrotiri, located on the southwestern tip of the island, and continue your sailing journey by entering the waters of Santorini’s caldera. Head towards the renowned volcano for the second stop of the day at the sulfur-rich hot springs. Take a relaxing dip into its healing and detoxifying waters. Back on board, enjoy the view of Santorini, a postcard-perfect portrait of the villages on the cliff. Set sail again towards the last stop for another swimming and snorkeling opportunity in the crystal-clear waters of Mesa Pigadia. Meanwhile, the crew will be setting the table for the delicious lunch for you to enjoy after your swim. The menu features BBQ chicken, Neapolitan pasta, Greek Salad, vegetarian meals, such as Greek Ratatouille, a traditional Greek dessert, and an open white wine bar that also serves unlimited soft drinks, and water. Then, sail back to Vlychada where your driver will be waiting to take you back to your accommodation in Santorini.

Santorini: All-Inclusive Luxury Catamaran Small Group Cruise

5. Santorini: All-Inclusive Luxury Catamaran Small Group Cruise

Explore the clear Mediterranean waters of the Santorini Caldera on a brand new Lagoon 450 catamaran. Make 2 swimming and snorkeling stops, then feast on a barbecue meal.  Once out on the water, the first stop of the tour will be a 30-minute visit to Red Beach, so named for its bright sand. After some relaxed swimming and great snorkeling, get back aboard the sailboat and continue to White Beach, featuring equally striking rock colors and more excellent swimming and snorkeling.  After swimming, the crew members will serve a delicious barbecue meal onboard. From there, take some time to take in the views from the beach before sailing past the beautiful uninhabited islands of Aspronissi and Akrotiri.  The tour's last stop will be at the hot springs for 30 minutes of relaxation, with the chance to go for a soak in the springs. The tour finishes at the port where you'll board a minibus for a transfer.

Santorini: Luxury Small Group Catamaran w/ Meal & Open Bar

6. Santorini: Luxury Small Group Catamaran w/ Meal & Open Bar

Drop anchor on a luxury catamaran tour around the Santorini caldera while enjoying a delicious traditional meal with refreshing drinks from the open bar. Sail in the morning or at sunset on a cruise with a maximum of 20 guests. After being picked up from your hotel, unwind as you’re taken straight to the port. Take advantage of the snorkeling opportunity with a half-hour stop off the coast of Red Beach, plus 1.5 hours to snorkel in the sea caves of White Beach. Bathe in the lagoon’s hot springs and snorkel in clear waters. Taste the flavors of Greece on board a menu of local Santorini delicacies for lunch or dinner, depending on the time of day you choose, with meat and vegetarian options. The menu includes barbecue skewers, dolmadakia (rice-stuffed vine leaves), Greek salad, and other local dishes. Sit back and unwind with a post-meal cocktail and music. Stay refreshed with unlimited drinks on board, including local white wine, Greek beer, and soft drinks. Continue past the two uninhabited volcano islands of Palia Kameni and Nea Kameni and take in other sights such as Aspronisi island and the Akrotiri lighthouse. Later the cruise sails in the caldera below the town of Fira and past the old port. If you chose the late afternoon option, stop below the village of Oia and be wowed by the striking sunset lights adorning the skies with vibrant, pastel colors. This is sure to be an unforgettable highlight to an already unforgettable cruise experience. At the end of your Santorini excursion, relax as your minibus driver conveniently drops you back at your hotel.

Santorini: Island Highlights Tour for Cruise Ships

7. Santorini: Island Highlights Tour for Cruise Ships

Embark on an unforgettable half-day journey to explore the mesmerizing beauty of Santorini's must-visit attractions. We'll pick you up directly from the cruise ship port of Santorini, where our friendly hosts will greet you and lead you to a modern, air-conditioned bus. Your professional local guide will be there to welcome you and introduce you to this stunning island. With their infectious passion for Santorini, you'll be sure to fall in love with its unparalleled charm and captivating ambiance. Experience the awe-inspiring views of the Aegean Sea and Caldera from the peaceful and picturesque neighborhood of Firostefani, where you'll discover the famous blue dome. Take in the symbolic elements of Oia, the most celebrated spot on the island, and immerse yourself in the local market, capturing unique photos to make your friends envious. Journey to the highest spot of the island, Prophet Ilias, and visit the famous old monastery, a sight that will leave you in awe. Then, continue to Megalochori, where you'll marvel at the traditional architecture that you won't find anywhere else. But that's not all. Discover Perivolos, the Black Beach, an absolute must-visit attraction of Santorini. Immerse yourself in the grape cultivation that produces tempting wine flavors. Optional wine tasting is available at an additional cost, allowing you to indulge in a sensory experience that will leave your taste buds craving for more. After an exhilarating tour, don't forget to savor a delicious meal at a local restaurant (at your own expense) and grab some souvenirs to commemorate your Santorini adventure. At our company, we have been organizing shore excursions for over a decade, so you can trust us to adjust the tour to your cruise ship's docking time, ensuring you have ample time to spare before your departure. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to explore Santorini's wonders. Book your Half Day Shore Excursion today and indulge in an adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories!

Santorini: Akrotiri Prehistoric City Ticket with Audio Guide

8. Santorini: Akrotiri Prehistoric City Ticket with Audio Guide

Experience the prehistoric site of Akrotiri at your own pace with a skip-the-line e-ticket and a captivating self-guided audio tour on your smartphone. Travel back in time to experience the curious, spine-chilling history of the site of Akrotiri, frozen in time by the eruption of the Santorini volcano. Put on your headphones and explore the layout of the prehistoric town, once buried under ashes, through the power of storytelling. Learn historical information about its affluent residences, known as Xeste, and little-known stories and anecdotes about the daily lives of its inhabitants. The content of the tour is the result of in-depth research, distilled into brief original stories that will make your visit both engaging and educational. The audio tour can be used repeatedly and at any time, before or after your visit. This is an unmissable opportunity to gain valuable insights into the archaeology of a prehistoric residential space that has been literally frozen in time, providing a snapshot of life just before its residents decided to flee the increasing fury of the neighboring volcano. As a result, you will relate to your surroundings in an entirely original way.

Santorini: 1-Way Transfer to/from Port or Airport

9. Santorini: 1-Way Transfer to/from Port or Airport

Enjoy your time on Santorini stress-free with a transfer service. Travel between Santorini National Airport, the port, and your hotel in a well-maintained bus, car, or van that has plenty of space for you and your luggage. Book an arrival or departure transfer, whether you are arriving or departing from the port or airport, and get a direct service to/from your hotel. Whatever your needs, the local operator will take care of them. Travel in a vehicle equipped with the latest technology for a worry-free journey. In particular, if you are organizing a wedding, conference or special event, look forward to excellent and convenient transportation for all your guests!

From Crete: Santorini Island Guided Tour

10. From Crete: Santorini Island Guided Tour

Enjoy a roundtrip tour to Santorini. Travel comfortably on a modern boat and in air-conditioned buses while learning about this island's history and mythology. Capture pictures of Santorini's famous Aegean architecture and narrow, winding streets.  Travel to Heraklion port where you will depart on a high-speed boat for Santorini. Enjoy ocean views on the 2.5-hour cruise to the island and pickup a snack from the bar onboard.  Arrive at Port Athinios and hop aboard the bus for the guided tour. Travel 40 minutes to Oia, where you will admire the blue and white houses built over the cliffs. Learn about the city before enjoying free time to admire the volcanic caldera at your own pace. Next, travel 30 minutes to Fira, the main town of Santorini, built on the edge of a 300-meter cliff. Check out its narrow streets, white vaulted houses, and bright blue domes. Have the option to take a cruise from Fira in a wooden boat to the volcano and hot springs (for an additional charge) or spend more time exploring the city. Return to Port Athinios where your guide will help you board the return ferry.  Take in the late-afternoon views on the boat before arriving at Heraklion port.

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Frequently asked questions about Santorini

What top attractions are a must-see in Santorini?

Insider tips: Explore Santorini like a local

Megan & Aram is a travel blog that focuses mostly on travel in the Nordics and Eastern Europe with the occasional trip beyond those regions. We love coffee, promoting small businesses, and sports.

What should I do on my first trip to Santorini?

One of the best things to do in Santorini is to watch the sunset from the gorgeous town of Oia and see the white buildings drenched in golden light. Santorini also has some great beaches, including Red Beach or the black sand Perissa Beach. Or you can dig into Ancient Greek history at the archeological site of Akrotiri, which gives a fascinating look at life on the island long, long ago.

What are some hidden gems to see in Santorini?

If you want a quieter vibe than Oia or Fira, head to Pyrgos, where you can wander the peaceful, charming streets. While there, check out the little wine bar Brusco where you can relax on the patio with a drink and a delicious local mezze plate. For a stunning 360-degree view of Santorini, hike the trail up to Skaros Rock, a ruined fortress in Imerovigli.

How much time should I spend in Santorini?

While seeing Santorini’s top sights is doable in a weekend, the ideal Santorini itinerary should be about three to five days. It’s long enough to enjoy several towns and archeological sites and still have chunks of time open for hiking and enjoying the beaches. Oia and Fira are the most visited towns on Santorini, but don’t skip some great smaller villages such as Emporio, Imerovigli, and Perissa.

What food is Santorini known for?

Santorini’s rocky, volcanic soil results in some amazing produce, including the grapes that go into its delicious wine. Santorini also has several breweries that make local craft beer. Try tomatokeftedes to sample the sweet tomatoes grown on the island. Santorini is also known for a unique type of fava bean blended into a yummy dip. Try it with another Santorini star dish, the amazingly fresh seafood. Octopus is particularly popular here.

What is the best way to get around Santorini?

Santorini is fairly small and easy to get around, but if you want the most freedom, definitely rent a car. With a car you can be on your own timetable as well as have the freedom to stop at any villages or interesting sites you suddenly see on the way to your destination. Another option is traveling around the island by public bus. The main bus station is in Fira, where all the buses depart from and return to. This is a great budget-friendly option for getting around the island.

What are the best months to visit Santorini?

While beautiful in every season, the best times to visit Santorini are the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October. The weather is warm and pleasant and there are fewer crowds. It's quietest in winter, though it can be chilly, and some restaurants and sights are closed for the season. Summer is hot and crowded, but if you don’t mind the people, it has the warmest days for laying out on the beach and the liveliest evenings for going out.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Fira, the island’s capital, has the most shops, markets, and the Fabrica Shopping Center with clothes, jewelry, shoes, homeware, and much more. Oia also has quite a few shops, including boutiques and souvenir shops.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Santorini?

If you want relaxed beach vibes, stay in Perissa where there is a gorgeous black sand beach. If you want amazing views and luxury accommodation, Oia’s cliffside villas with private pools overlooking the caldera are for you. If you need a more budget-friendly option but still want to be by Oia, consider staying in the neighboring town of Finikia, a 25-minute walk from Oia. If you want to be somewhere that you can easily explore the island from, stay in the centrally-located Fira.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Santorini?

Make fantastic memories with your family on a caldera boat cruise, where you’ll get a chance to see the island from afar, visit the volcano up close, and swim in volcanic hot springs. Good swimming options in Santorini for families include jumping off low rocks near Ammoudi Bay or playing in the black sand and waves at beaches like Kamari or Perissa. If you visit in the summer, don’t miss out on the cool open-air cinema in Kamari, which shows films in English with Greek subtitles.

What is the best thing to do in Santorini for solo travelers?

Santorini is great for solo travelers whether you want to be alone or meet other travelers. There are plenty of great hiking paths you can take by yourself, or join a walking tour to meet other people. Another great way to spend the day is relaxing on the beach. The best ones include Red Beach, Perissa, Perivolos, and Kamari. Treat yourself to a lovely sunset dinner with spectacular views at one of the terraced restaurants along the coast. If you want to check out Santorini’s nightlife, Fira is the liveliest town after dark.

What is the best thing to do in Santorini for couples?

Santorini is undoubtedly a famous couples’ destination with many romantic things to do. Book a private evening sailing trip to get spectacular views as the sun goes down to avoid the crowds waiting to watch the sunset. Just south of Órmos Athiniós is a heart-shaped hole in a rock (called the Heart of Santorini) that looks out on the caldera, which is a perfect place for a cute photo op with your partner. A nice dinner with sunset views or a wine tasting at one of the local vineyards are great ideas for ultimate romance.

What are the best annual events in Santorini?

In August, have fun at the Ifestia Festival (the Greek Volcano Festival), enjoying dance performances, concerts, and fireworks. In September, Fira hosts the International Music Festival of Santorini, which offers a variety of orchestral and operatic performances. If you’re in Santorini between May and October, don’t miss the fun open-air cinema in Kamari, which shows films in English with Greek subtitles.

What are the best things to do around Santorini?

Santorini has some fantastic outdoor activities to enjoy. Spend the day at the beach, where you can swim or snorkel. Hiking trails abound — an especially good one is the trail between Fira and Oia, which includes a path to Skaros Rock. You can discover the ancient archeological sites of Akrotiri and Ancient Thera. You can also explore some small islands in the caldera, such as Nea Kameni or Thirasia.

What are the best beaches around Santorini?

Santorini has a variety of interesting beaches you can choose from. Perissa and Perivolos are black sand beaches that are great for swimming. You can rent a beach lounger to relax the day away, and if you get hungry there are several beachside restaurants where you can grab a snack. Red Beach has a unique landscape and bright red sand. Kamari Beach, a pebbly, family-friendly beach, has crystal clear water with shops and restaurants nearby. While not a beach, Ammoudi Bay is a great spot for jumping off rocks and swimming in the water below.

Other Sightseeing Options in Santorini

Want to discover all there is to do in Santorini? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Santorini

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 22,184 reviews

This was absolutely amazing. The hotel pick up and drop off is great cause you don’t have to worry about extra transport. The staff on the boat were so nice, the food was great and the overall energy was perfect. There were plenty of opportunities to get in the water (I didn’t do that but watched others enjoy their time in the water). As a solo traveller, I really enjoyed being able to connect with others but also have plenty of space and time to enjoy the views and scenario alone. I highly recommend this experience. 10/10

I had a fantastic experience! The instructors were very helpful and kind. They were very patient and ensured that everyone felt comfortable during the dive. Definitely my favorite experience from my time in Santorini!

This was one of our favorite things about our whole vacation! The guide was so knowledgeable and the tour was outstanding. I recommend this to anyone! The history here is so amazing. We will definitely be back!

It was fantasctic. A very nice experice. We've seen places that otherwise we couldn't have seen. it was a great day.

Excellent, met some amazing people and the variety was great!