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12 Best things to see & do in Santorini

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: John Malathronas
  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

A sailboat sailing on bright blue waters in front of a cliff face in Santorini

Bucket List Experience

Sailing in Santorini

If you do one thing in Santorini, make it this. These fully customisable excursions aboard luxury catamarans – both full sail or motorised – allow you to take in Santorini’s spectacular volcanic scenery in stylish comfort.

You can sail all day, or select to stop at sights like Akrotiri, the Red and White Beaches, Thirassia and the hot springs, or sail off to a remote island for a day’s swimming and snorkelling. A gourmet lunch is served on board, while moored up in an idyllic bay. A day in paradise.

Adult price: £25

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 4 hours

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

Mountainous narrow edge of the caldera, with blue water in the centre

Bucket List Experience

Hike along Santorini’s caldera

A 6-mile hike along the rim of Santorini’s caldera, this relatively easy three-hour trek is one of the most memorable in the whole of the Aegean. The route links Fira, the island’s capital, with Oia, its most picturesque village.

Walking the caldera – the rim of a sunken volcanic crater – is the best way to appreciate the island’s unique geography and to soak up those spectacular landscapes. As you walk, you’ll see whitewashed houses perched on vertiginous slopes, and colourful, striated caldera cliffs that plummet into the azure sea.

Good for age: 16+

Duration: 4-5 hours

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

Hike to the Kameni Volcano

Bucket List Experience

Hike to the Kameni Volcano

Cruising the island’s half-submerged, cliff-rimmed volcanic crater is like floating in an open-air geological museum.

A full-day boat trip takes in three equally extraordinary attractions: climbing the charred, hissing crater of Palia Kameni, wallowing in the sulphurous hot springs of Nea Kameni, then shinning up the steep islet of Thirassia, a charming time warp miraculously overlooked by mass tourism.

Adult price: £25

Good for age: 10+

Duration: 6 hours

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

Wine tasting in Santorini

Bucket List Experience

Wine tasting in Santorini

Santorini’s arid, volcanic terrain produces some of Greece’s finest wines – a tradition that dates back more than 3,500 years. The practice of cultivating vines in niabelos (specially pruned baskets) to protect the grapes from the harsh winters also dates back centuries.

There are ten professional wineries and several smaller concessions on Santorini. The bone-dry, citrus-and-smoke Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri whites, and smooth, sweet Vin Santo are the island’s most famous exports.

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 1+ hours

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

White Santorini buildings lit up at night with a pink and peach sunset in the background

Bucket List Experience

Sunset at Oia

The character-filled town of Oia stands at the north-western tip of Santorini’s own little archipelago, with postcard-perfect views west and south. At sunset, the soft pinks and pumice-grey strata of the caldera walls turn to deep crimson and pewter, with the sea beneath deepening from shimmering azure to a dark indigo abyss.

Regrettably, Oia’s main street becomes shoulder-to-shoulder crowded, so come early and walk to the westernmost point and the rocky promontory further beyond. Later arrivals will act as a natural barrier, and your gaze will remain relatively unencumbered.

Another option is to book at a restaurant or café (with views) beforehand. The best place is the King Neptune restaurant, whose terrace stands above the throngs below. It’s a good-value family taverna with traditional staples such as moussaka, and its sunset location can’t be matched.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 1-2 hours

Vlychada Beach

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

People swimming and sunbathing and sunbathing on the beach near white rocks of Vlychada

Experience

A long, sandy and uncrowded beach on the island’s east coast. Go for authentic fish tavernas and a back-drop of spectacular volcanic rock formations.

Ancient Akrotiri

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

Ruins of an ancient village, with earthenware pots. People stand behind railings and look at the ruins.

Experience

A perfectly preserved ancient Minoan settlement, buried beneath volcanic ash 3,500 years ago. It offers a unique insight into an ancient civilisation, which some speculate could be the lost city of Atlantis.

Adult price: £10

Good for age: 18+

Kamari Beach

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

Black sand beach of Kamari seen from above, with dark blue water

Experience

The black beaches of Santorini’s east coast, made up of volcanic gravel, are one of the island’s big attractions and Kamari is a resort for those who want the full sun, sea, and sand summer experience.

Sunset at the Chapel of Theoskepasti

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

A white chapel near a cliff edge, with a bright blue sea behind it

Experience

The Chapel of Theoskepasti, suspended between sea and sky in a nook on Skaros rock, is a spectacular spot to watch the sunset. Enjoy with a bottle of chilled Assyrtiko.

Good for age: 18+

Museum of Prehistoric Thera

  • Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

A wooden walkway with railings between ancient ruined foundations

Experience

A small archaeological museum stuffed with frescoes and figurines from Bronze Age Akrotiri. Furniture and figurines, tools and weapons, seals and ceramic vessels all reveal aspects of how the inhabitants lived thousands of years ago.

Adult price: £3

Good for age: 18+