There is truly nowhere else in the world like Santorini Greece. Even on a short visit, you can explore everywhere from the famous town of Oia to the lesser-known mountain villages. Join us as we share popular activities you’ve probably heard about as well as random things to do in Santorini that we absolutely loved. Here are all the best things to do in Santorini Greece that will inspire you for your first visit!
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20 Best Things to do in Santorini Greece
1. Hike from Fira to Oia
We’re starting out this list with one of our favorite outdoor things to do in Santorini Greece! We love to hike and this was one of the most unique trails we’ve ever completed.
Starting in Fira, walk the winding small streets towards the neighboring village of Imerovigli. From there it gets rockier and mountainous as the path transforms into a more traditional hiking trail.
The 10km trip from Fira to Oia takes you along the volcano caldera, with each view seeming better than the last!
→ Fira to Oia Hike: Fun Guide to the Can’t Miss Santorini Trail
2. Morning Coffee Walk in Fira
This morning activity combines two of the best things to do in Santorini! First, there is a 24-hour bakery (yes you can even visit in the middle of the night) that serves up some of the best bakery treats on the island. Waking up early, we would make our way to Svoronos Bakery and pick out a freshly baked spinach pastry.
Once you grab a breakfast snack and coffee-to-go head to the cliffs of Fira town. While most travelers are still sleeping you can experience the beauty and calmness of the island which isn’t seen by many others. Also, your breakfast with magical views of Santorini won’t set you back more than a few euros!
3. Hit a Famous Santorini Greece Winery
Did you know Santorini Greece produces some of the best wine in the Greek Islands? Now there are a couple of ways to enjoy this amazing and flavorful wine. You can either jump on a wine tasting tour that takes you to several different vineyards or visit on your own.
If you plan to get there yourself take the bus or taxi to avoid driving in Santorini. The bus runs from Fira to Santo Winery which is hands down our favorite! Just make sure to call ahead in the summer months for a reservation. It’s also a short walk to Venetsanos Winery from there which is another must-visit.
Santorini Greece Tip: Many wineries offer free shipping if you buy a certain amount. This can make for a great gift or a fun way to remember your trip once you are back home.
→ Tasting at Santo Wines: The Santorini Winery Every Traveler Will Love
4. Visit a Local Brewery
Not a wine lover? Don’t worry! You’ll be happy to know there are three different local breweries in Santorini Greece that are all delicious.
Our favorite brewery is Volkan which has one of the best views on the island from their restaurant. In the summer Volkan on the Rocks even has movie nights playing classic Greek hits like Mamma Mia and My Big Fat Greek Wedding!
Besides Volkan, there is also Santorini Brewing Company and Ftelos Brewery Santorini. Santorini Brewing Company is the most well-known as they are responsible for the popular Crazy Donkey beer. If you don’t make it to the breweries you can still taste these local beers as they are sold on almost every street corner.
5. Cool Down at the Unique Santorini Beaches
While the beaches are certainly not the main draw to Santorini Greece. However, if you’re a beach lover there sure are some beautiful ones. You’ll find white, black, and even a Red Sand Beach that literally looks out of this world!
Many of the Santorini Beaches can be reached by car or by bus. Yet, others you’ll have to rent an ATV or take a boat tour to get to. Below is a list of some of our favorite beaches in Santorini Greece.
- Red Sand Beach
- Perissa (Black Sand)
- Kamari (Black Sand)
Santorini Greece Tip: You should also know that the beaches on Santorini are mostly rocky. Having sturdy water shoes will make your time much more comfortable!
6. Make the Trip to Ancient Thera
From the beautiful beach of Kamari, you can look up and see a mountain towering above. Mesa Vouno is home to the ruins of Ancient Thera which have been captivating travelers for years.
If you can believe it, these ruins date back all the way to 9th century BC! The Dorians created a settlement here a few centuries after the catastrophic volcanic eruption of Santorini.
7. Drive to the Akrotiri Lighthouse
Don’t get us wrong… The lighthouse is nice! To be honest though, the real highlight is driving out to this part of the island. You’ll have to rent a motorbike, scooter, or car to get here. Yet, seeing these views alone is one of the best things to do in Santorini Greece!
The Akrotiri Lighthouse is located on the opposite side of Santorini from Oia. So as you can imagine, this section of the island is far less visited by tourists.
The drive has several pullovers where you can stop and admire your surroundings. Once you make it to the very tip of Santorini you’ll discover the large 19th-century Lighthouse.
8. Explore the Mountain Village of Pyrgos
While most travelers get caught up in Fira or Oia, there’s another place that should not be missed! Pyrgos is the former capital of Santorini and the most traditional town on the island.
Hike up to the castle that sits at the top and make sure to stop at Franco’s Cafè for a coffee or wine. If you’re looking for an easy lunch after exploring Pyrgos stop into Kalliston for a gyro. You can’t ask for a better view with lunch!
→ 10 Amazing Things to Know About Pyrgos Village in Santorini Greece
9. Experience World Famous Oia
No trip to Santorini would be complete without visiting Oia! There is a good chance blue-domed churches and houses cut into the cliffside are what brought you to the island in the first place! This is also where you’ll find some of the fanciest and most unique hotels in Santorini.
Our favorite time to visit Oia is early in the morning before all the crowds arrive. It can get really crazy here during the summertime when the cruise ships are in town. Oia may seem a tad overhyped for some travelers. Yet, once you lay eyes on this incredible village it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about!
→ How to Visit Oia Santorini: Best Hotels + Sunset and Castle Tips
10. Rent a Vehicle in Santorini Greece
One great thing about Santorini is that you don’t need a car for your entire visit. You can see so much of the island by using the local bus system and doing the hike from Fira to Oia.
However, if you are anything like us and need some adventure, renting a vehicle for just a day or two is a great idea! This way you can see more of the off-the-beaten-path places and beaches on the island.
There are countless companies in the main town of Fira or you can rent something through your hotel. If you are traveling during high season it’s smart to book your car in advance!
We loved taking our motorbike out to the lighthouse, up to the highest peak on the island, and on the less explored East coast. Stop into a local taverna and grab a Greek lunch, jump in the ocean, and drive cruise the island without too many plans.
11. Climb Skaros Rock
Just below the town of Imerovigli is the massive Skaros Rock! Its shape is unmistakable and can be clearly seen jetting out from nearby Fira. One of the most popular things to do in Santorini Greece is to actually hike out to the rock and climb it.
By now you can tell Skaros Rock is more than just your typical viewpoint. It actually has historical importance and was the location of one of the five Venetian castles on Santorini.
Santorini Greece Tips: It’s not a good idea to attempt this hike on a windy day! Also, wear proper shoes and athletic gear as you’ll have to do a little climbing.
12. Spend the Morning in Amoudi Bay
Ready for another hike? Down almost 300 steps below the town of Oia is the beautiful Amoudi Bay. This charming and colorful port was once a busy place of trade but now serves the tourism industry.
There are a handful of accommodations and upscale seafood restaurants to enjoy in Amoudi Bay. You can also catch the ferry to the neighboring island of Thirasia from here.
→ Amoudi Bay Santorini: How to Explore the Charming Bay Below Oia Village
13. Swim at the Secret Amoudi Bay
After visiting the popular part of the bay there is one other place to go before making the climb back up the steps! Follow the rocky path to the left of Amoudi Bay that wraps around the rocky coast. At the far end of the trail, there is a fun swimming spot that has become more well-known over the years.
Here you can cool off in the crystal clear water and swim out to the small island if you’re up for it! On the far side of St. Nicholas Island, there is a concrete area where you can cliff jump from.
14. Take a Santorini Food Tour
One of the best things to do in Santorini is to sample as many Greek dishes as possible! If it’s your first time in Greece or maybe don’t know where to start, it can be a great idea to get help from the local experts.
The Eat & Walk Santorini Food Tour is a fun and delicious experience that takes you through the towns of Fira and Firostefani. Even though it was our 5th trip to Greece we tried things we’d never had on this tour!
The best part is it mixed in walking along the cliffs for epic views as well through some local neighborhoods. We even got to sample some amazing local wine and beer!
→ Eat & Walk Santorini Food Tour: Why This Is the Best Way to See Fira!
15. Day Party at Perissa Beach
While Santorini certainly doesn’t have the beach clubs of nearby Mykonos, there are a number of fun bars to spend the afternoon at. At Perissa Beach you can find exciting water activities or simply relax in a beach chair and soak in the sun.
The upscale vibe gets even more lively in the summer months and is located on a unique black sand beach. This is definitely the place to be for some fun in the sun on Santorini Greece!
16. Go to the Akrotiri Archaeological Site
If Ancient Thera caught your attention then get ready to have your mind blown again! Akrotiri is one of the most important historical sites in Greece. One of the best things to do in Santorini is to visit this archeological zone to see the ruins of the Minoan civilization.
Unfortunately, the entire island was wiped out when the Santorini volcano exploded which is why Akrotiri is nicknamed the “Greek Pompeii. Archaeologists have found evidence here that (even over 3,000 years ago) they were far more advanced than we ever could have thought.
Santorini Greece Tip: Many believe that Akrotiri was part of the Lost City of Atlantis! You can even take a guided tour of the Lost Atlantis Experience Museum just up the road from the Akrotiri ruins.
17. See the Santorini Volcanos and Hot Springs
Speaking of the volcano… One of the best things to do in Santorini Greece is to take a boat around them! You can book an inexpensive sailing trip over to the two volcanic islands and actually hike to the center of the main one with a large crater.
On the way back you will even swim in the live hot springs! From our experience, the water was more lukewarm than hot. Still, it’s easily one of the most unique swimming spots in the Cyclades. Just make sure to not wear a bathing suit you love because the sulfur can stain your clothing!
18. Take in the Views from Prophet Elias
Just past Pyrgos Village is a road that winds its way up the tallest mountain on the island. From above you’ll find beautiful views of Santorini and many more Greek Islands off in the distance.
The mountain is named after the Prophet Elias Monastery which also sits atop the viewpoint. This can be a fun drive from anywhere on Santorini and also a good activity to combine with the nearby ruins of Ancient Thera.
19. Jump on a Sailing Tour in Santorini Greece
While many of the best things to do in Santorini are land-based, don’t miss an opportunity to get out on the water! Spending the day sailing around the island is an experience you’ll never forget.
We love boat tours like this and try to take one whenever we can on the islands. Santorini has a tour for every type of traveler including Catamaran cruises, sunset sailing trips, and more! Many even stop at the Santorini hot springs we mentioned above.
20. Watch the Famous Santorini Sunset
Every night on Santorini people from all over the world gather to watch the beautiful sunset. Words can’t even describe how stunning it is watching. The colors change above the colorful houses on the cliffs.
While many head to the touristic Oia village for this time of day, make sure not to limit yourself to there. It is easily the most crowded place to watch the sunset on Santorini! We recommend watching from Fira, Imerovigli, or Pyrgos one night to switch it up.
→ Where to Stay in Santorini Greece: 7 Unique Areas and Best Hotels
Have any questions about the best things to do in Santorini Greece or want to share your own favorite things to do on this famous island? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Santorini Greece
Here are some hotel recommendations as well as inspiration for different areas of the island. As you can see, there is something for every type of traveler on Santorini!
Oia: Canaves Oia Epitome – Kastro Oia Houses – Allure Breeze Suites – The most iconic village in Santorini Greece with beautiful white-washed buildings & famous island and sunset views.
Fira: Atlantis Hotel – Pantelia Suites – Este Luxury Suites – The capital of Santorini is a great hub with lots of nightlife and shopping.
Imerovigli: Merovigliosso – Kasimatis by La Perla – Whitedeck Santorini – Traditional village with a laid-back feel. Yet still, with plenty of high-end hotels and restaurants.
Greece Travel Planning
Information: Explore all our articles on Greece and the many different islands we cover such as Rhodes, Karpathos, Crete & Milos!
For island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. The fast ferries like Sea Jets will cost more but often takes half the time of slower ferries like Blue Star!
Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Athens to Santorini for under $50 USD!
Accommodation: Always compare multiple sites to get the best deal. We search both Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: You can book a rental car for as little as $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.
Tours: Go to Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities in Santorini. You can find everything from group sailing tours to private catamaran cruises. Go wine tasting around the island, horseback riding down the beach, or even jump on an ATV tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
We want to travel to Santorini for renewal of our 25th Anniversary. We will be securing a private residence, but need assistance with an officiant, flowers, and a beautiful view for a backdrop for our small ceremony. Please help! Travel dates are June 18th-23rd.
That’s so amazing! Santorini is such a special place. I’m not sure we’re the best people to help you find what you need but there are definitely companies that specialize in this on the island. Hope you have a great wedding anniversery!
A fabulous roundup of excellent things to do in Santorini. I’m heading there in October so the food tour, wine tour and the hike between Fira and Oia will be on my to do’s list.
Thanks! October is a great time to visit Santorini and those were 3 of our favorite activities. Enjoy!