Shaped by an ancient volcanic eruption and home to the mythical lost city of Atlantis, Santorini has left its mark on the hearts of many a visitor. Whitewashed villages with blue-domed churches cling precariously to steep cliffsides, while the deep blue Aegean glimmers below.
Sail to lava islands and kayak from black sand beaches, or uncover mysterious legends at historic ruins. These are just some of the best things to do in Santorini.
1 – Watch the sunset from Oia
There is nowhere better to see a Santorini sunset than from the traditional hilltop village of Oia. Find the perfect vantage spot amongst a cascade of white walls and blue-domed churches, then watch as fiery oranges and reds flood the horizon before you.
See if you can photograph a windmill silhouetted against the romantic pink sky + arrive early to beat the crowds.
2 – Hike from Fira to Oia
Lace up those hiking boots and stride out along the rugged caldera rim on Santorini’s most beautiful walk. The plunging crater views will take your breath away, so make sure your camera batteries are charged.
Explore dramatic cliffside villages and take a small detour to the beautiful Three Bells in Firostefani. This is the most photographed church on the island thanks to its picturesque setting.
3 – Sail around the Santorini caldera
Have you ever taken a boat trip inside a volcano? This is your chance, with plenty of dramatic coastal scenery and iconic Greek landmarks to admire as you soak up the sun while relaxing on deck.
Enjoy stops at sandy beaches for a refreshing swim, and dive into the cool Mediterranean waters for a thrilling snorkel with the resident marine life.
4 – Go sea kayaking from Red Beach
Paddling around the volcanic coastline by kayak is one of the most fun things to do in Santorini. This aquatic mission takes in the photogenic Red Beach, exploring ethereal sea caves and secluded bays along the way.
Feeling brave? Then try the cliff jump at White Beach if you dare. Or take a dip and see what you can spot beneath the waves.
5 – Uncover myths at the Lost Atlantis Experience
Want to discover the truth about the mythical lost city of Atlantis? Then come and explore the first museum in the world in possession of all the facts. Learn how this ancient utopia was destroyed and admire the 3D holograms and detailed exhibitions.
Become a super sleuth and find out if modern-day Santorini is in fact the location of this mysterious underwater realm. Visit the Lost Atlantis Experience: your kids will love it!
6 – Laze in indulgent infinity pools
Turn the romance up a notch and book into a luxurious Santorini cliffside hotel like Grace, Katikies or Cavo Tagoo. Overlooking the caldera, these whitewashed havens boast some of the most idyllic infinity pools in the world, perfect for honeymooners as well as families.
Relax in your private pool with a glass of wine and watch the sun falling off the edge of the world.
7 – Take a tailor-made photo tour
Let someone else worry about finding those all-important posing locations as you just relax and enjoy taking in the views. Your professional photographer guide will whisk you away to all the best spots on the island during a fully customizable private tour.
Learn how to snap enviable holiday photos of sugar-cube houses and plunging caldera cliffs, and come away feeling like an expert behind the lens.
8 – Zoom along the coast by jet ski
Enjoy a whirlwind sea safari by jet ski as you power through the waves around the caldera. Ride tandem or go solo, either way it will be an adventure.
Admire the cliffs that loom high above your head and plunge beneath the sparkling blue sea with your snorkel to meet the local marine life. Relax afterward on the beach to catch your breath.
9 – Explore ancient Akrotiri
Get whisked off to the Bronze Age on a tour of the ancient settlement of Akrotiri. With overtones of Pompeii, this city was buried by ash during the volcanic eruption that created the caldera of today.
Wander around the excavated streets and stone houses to see if you can spot the well-preserved murals. Keep an eye out for the remains of fine frescoes and Minoan toilets.
10 – Take a wine tour
One of the most popular things to do in Santorini for foodies is to take a wine tour and discover the mysteries of volcanic vintages. Explore several different wineries on the island and visit hidden corners of rural Santorini that few travelers ever get to see.
Head down to the cellars and learn some sommelier secrets while tasting the distinct flavors of Santorini’s grapes.
11 – Have a go at scuba diving
Be at one with the sea on an exhilarating Santorini diving tour. After an introductory lesson, propel yourself over rocky reefs and play hide and seek with the marine inhabitants that flit between the hidden crevices.
Experienced divers can venture out into the deep blue caldera waters – will you be the one to finally spot the submerged lost city of Atlantis?
12 – Swim in hot springs and hike up a volcano
Walk up to the rim of Santorini’s dramatic volcano for show-stopping views over the island and beyond. The hop on board a boat to explore the mysterious black lava islands down in the caldera.
Jump overboard for a rejuvenating soak in the healing hot springs at Palea Kameni, and wander around the laid back village of Manolas on Thirassia island.
13 – Chill out in Ammoudi
300 steep steps below the town of Oia, the charming port settlement of Ammoudi is a great place for lunch and a seafront stroll. Traditional white houses line the natural bay, with fishing boats bobbing on the sparkling waters and striking red cliffs keeping watch from above.
Tuck into freshly caught seafood in the charming waterside tavernas and snorkel off the rocky beach.
14 – Sail off into the sunset
Sunsets on Santorini are among the best in the world, but venture out by boat in the evening and the romance shoots up to a whole new level. Sail past iconic landmarks and imposing cliffs, soaking up the sun while relaxing on deck.
Then watch as the magic happens – keep your camera handy to capture the flood of orange light rippling on the horizon.
15 – Soak up the views from Pyrgos village
Think you have nailed all the panoramic spots on the island? Then indulge yourself with one more stop, this time at the pretty little village of Pyros which lies nestled in the foothills of Mount Profitis Ilias, just south of Fira.
Gaze back over the entire island, stroll through the meandering medieval streets, and sample local delicacies in traditional restaurants.
16 – Hold onto your hats on a Helicopter tour
Taking to the skies by helicopter is one of the most thrilling things to do in Santorini. Get a bird’s eye view of the caldera as it unfolds beneath you, and admire the tiny, whitewashed villages that pepper the steep slopes.
See if you can spot the vineyards and mansions of Megalochora and identify outlying Greek islands across the Aegean.
17 – Go horse riding on Eros Beach
Feel the wind in your hair as you canter through the surf along one of the most enticing beaches in Santorini. Hold tight as your horse expertly negotiates lava trails through rolling vineyards and admire views of deep ravines in the volcanic rock as you approach the sand.
Horse riding tours to Eros Beach are suitable for beginners and experts alike.
18 – Try water activities at Perivolos beach
Get the adrenaline working overtime with a spot of jet skiing along the shoreline of this beautiful black sand beach. Or have a go at parasailing and soar over the water, enjoying incredible island views.
For something even more epic, feel the freedom of flyboarding as you practice your superhero moves high above the sea. Reward your efforts with fresh seafood from the shorefront restaurants.
19 – Explore the interior on a 4×4 or quad safari
Head well and truly off the beaten track on a jeep tour or quad biking adventure through the other-worldly island interior. Discover hidden trails, remote valleys, and secret corners of Santorini far from the coastal crowds.
Enjoy photo stops at scenic mountain viewpoints in this rugged realm, and chat to locals in sleepy countryside villages as you trundle by.
20 – Tuck into traditional Greek food
Try meze platters, lick sweet Greek honey off your lips, and dig into dishes of creamy fava on a tasty Santorini food tour. Stop at traditional tavernas and restaurants on this culinary adventure, learning about Mediterranean culture through its food.
Toast your new-found knowledge with a glass of cold beer or rich Greek coffee, and make room for a couple more delicious Loukoumades – Greek donuts.
21 – Ride the Santorini cable car
Get up close and personal with the sheer cliff face of the dramatic caldera on a cable car ride between Fira and the Old Port of Gialos.
If heights are your thing, this is one of the most fun things to do in Santorini. Keep your camera handy for photos from an unusual perspective as you descend gently towards the glimmering blue sea.
22 – Watch movies at Kamari open air cinema
Catch a late-night movie during summer at this unique outdoor cinema in the buzzing beach village of Kamari. Popular with visitors and locals alike, this tranquil open-air theater offers a relaxing evening out with films available in both Greek and English.
Take your seats under the starry night sky, grab some popcorn, and sit back to enjoy the show.
23 – Tour the island by electric bike
Santorini has hills, but on an electric bike tour of the island it is full steam ahead with a little extra help on those inclines. Enjoy the cooling breeze as you pedal through typical Greek villages, tasting wine and admiring the caldera views as you go.
Cycle beside ancient cities and medieval castles, enjoying the freedom of being on two wheels.
24 – Stroll around Megalochori
If you want to see a truly traditional village with bags of charm, then head to Megalochori. The labyrinthine streets and steep alleyways are lined with an eclectic mix of Neoclassical mansions and iconic cave houses, so keep your camera handy.
Eat ice-cream in the sunny square and admire the rolling vineyard setting. Make sure you swing by the iconic, blue-domed churches for the ultimate photo opportunity.
25 – Voyage to Thirassia Island
Take a boat trip to this pretty volcanic island across the lagoon and enjoy a scenic stroll past the colorful houses of Manolas village. Breathe in the scent of blossom from the lovingly manicured gardens along the way.
Feel the sand between your toes on the secluded beaches then trek to the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin. Reward yourself with a dip in the hot springs.
26 – Ramble around the ruins of ancient Thera
Perched on a rocky promontory between two picturesque beaches, the ancient city of Thera affords adventurous travelers some of the most breathtaking views of the surrounding islands.
Named after the mythical island ruler, Thera was inhabited until 726AD and today is a popular archaeological site. Take to the hiking trail for up-close examinations of Roman baths, Hellenistic shops, and Byzantine walls.
27 – Cast your line on a fishing trip
One of the most unusual things to do in Santorini is to take a fishing trip out into the blue waters of the caldera.
Sail around on a traditional wooden vessel and try your luck at catching shrimp or octopus under expert guidance from your skipper. Or dangle a line overboard and see if you can land some fish for lunch.
28 – Hone your culinary skills at a Greek cooking class
Cook up a storm with professional local chefs and learn about Greek culture through the language of cuisine. Have a go at traditional dishes like keftedes fritters and fava bean puree, and enjoy visits to wineries for the perfect pairings.
Of course, you get to eat the results afterward so make sure you pay attention. Takes notes so you can recreate those memories back home.
29 – Indulge at traditional Greek restaurants
Forget about bland tourist menus and delve into the delicious world of real Greek food at traditional restaurants on Santorini. Your taste buds will be working overtime as you sample homemade aubergine salads, freshly caught calamari, and organic fava bean dips.
30 – Hike up Skaros Rock
Head to the charming village of Imerovigli, find the striking white church of Agios Georgios, and then take the tiny trail out towards the rocky headland of Skaros.
Formerly the site of an unconquered castle that was destroyed by a 19th-century earthquake, today this imposing rock is a popular spot for photos. Scramble over the fortress remains and soak up the unsurpassed caldera views.
31 – Admire artifacts at the Museum of Prehistoric Thira
Go back in time at the Museum of Prehistoric Thira and discover ancient artifacts that have been excavated from Akrotiti, Thira, and other island sites.
Wander around the exhibition halls and be amazed at the sharp colors of earthenware ceramics that have survived the ravages of time. Discover marble statues, weapons, and even Minoan frescoes in the rich collections.
32 – Explore Emporio village
Sprawled out in the foothills of Mount Prophet Elia, the village of Emporio is the largest settlement on the island. Wandering the characterful medieval streets is one of the most relaxing things to do in Santorini.
Stop at the 15th-century fortress, stroll around the market, and take photos of the blue-domed churches with their attractive bell towers. Combine your visit with a trip to nearby Perissa beach.
33 – Get to know your grapes at the Wine Museum
Is there any better museum than one that celebrates wine? Especially when it is housed inside its very own natural cave. This unusual museum charts the history of vine-growers in Santorini since the 1600s.
Learn how wine is made on this volcanic island and discover the secrets of winemakers over the centuries. And yes, there is tasting too.
34 – Explore Fira
Fira is one of the most dramatic capital cities in the world, where bright white walls hide a maze of steep paths and secret stairways. The city balances a lively vibe with a romantic setting and is a must-visit on your Santorini getaway.
Many argue that the best caldera views are from Fira, where there are plenty of traditional cafes and hotels with panoramic balconies to soak up the atmosphere.
35 – Unleash your literary soul at the Atlantis Bookshop
Hide away for a while in this enchanting bookshop, where tomes of Greek mythology sit alongside rare first editions and dusty Mediterranean maps. Tucked away behind the heaving shelves are secret loft spaces where staff bunk down for the night.
Visitors can sit on the scenic terrace and lose themselves in a vintage world of timeless mystery and ancient Greece.
36 – Visit the Art Space Gallery and Winery
Combine luminous art and rich wine at this fabulous gallery which was once a 19th-century winery and tomato processing center. Stroll through the cavernous underground spaces, appreciating the colorful modern art that decorates the white painted walls.
Finish your tour with a glass of excellent local Greek wine made right here in the cellars by the owner and his family.
37 – Enjoy fine dining with a view
One of the best things to do in Santorini is to enjoy a sumptuous Greek dinner overlooking the caldera. For unadulterated romance, take a seat on the beautiful dining balcony at Lycabettus in Oia, or sit poolside at the Astarte restaurant.
Enjoy sunsets with your meal or dine in a natural lava cave at The Wine Bar for something a little different.
38 – Relax at Perissa Beach
Leave your footprints in the warm black sand as you stroll on the popular Perissa Beach. Not far from the ruins of Ancient Thira, this is a popular spot for swimmers as the inviting waters are crystal clear.
Take a few moments to gaze at the enormous Mesa Vouno rock that rises dramatically from the seabed before bagging a sun lounger for the afternoon.
39 – Take photos at the Heart of Santorini
The Heart of Santorini is one of the island’s best-kept secrets. High up on the rugged caldera rim, a perfect heart shape has been carved naturally into the rock, making for stunningly framed photos looking out towards the sea.
Not far from Megalochori, the rocky heart is a short hike along the cliffs and is a great spot for romantic proposals.
40 – Admire the views at Imerovigli
This traditional little village in the north of Santorini just oozes charm. Located higher up the cliff than nearby Fira, Imerovigli is home to whitewashed balconies looking out over the caldera and volcano.
If you want to take photos of quaint chapels and iconic churches, this is your chance. Wet your whistle in the boutique bars and stay for sunset for the full experience.
41 – Swim out to St. Nicholas Church
Intrepid travelers should head up to the northern tip of Santorini to discover the tiny island church of St. Nicholas. To get there is quite an adventure – you have to swim over or go by boat if you can find one.
Take water shoes for the rocky scramble at the other end, and snorkeling gear if you want to explore beneath the waves.
42 – Tour the Venetsanos Winery
Overlooking the caldera, Venetsanos Winery is one of the more unconventional venues on the island. Built deep into the cliffs, the unusually designed cellars are home to world-class tours and wine tastings.
After learning the secrets behind wine production on Santorini over the centuries, enjoy a traditional lunch with a view on the panoramic terrace. Accompanied by a glass or two of course.
43 – Stroll along White Beach
Gaze upwards at the dazzling cliffs that overlook White Beach as you breathe in the fresh sea air. Located just around the corner from Red Beach, this cove is secluded and quieter than its more accessible sister next door.
Arrive in style by boat, or hike along the shore from Red Beach to find a tranquil spot far from the tourist crowds.
44 – Visit the Tomato Industrial Museum
Of all the incredible things to do in Santorini, this is perhaps the most unique. Tomatoes were once an island industry staple, using the rich volcanic soils to grow top-class produce and sustain the economy for decades.
Today this former tomato paste factory is a museum, bringing the fascinating story of Santorini’s lost heritage to life once more. Tuck into tomato-based treats in the café after your tour.
45 – Dine at a vegan restaurant
Just outside the sunset town of Oia, the cliffside Katharos Lounge serves inventive vegan dishes to discerning diners on its stunning panoramic terrace. Try the strawberry salad and baked feta for a real treat as you watch the world go by down in the caldera.
Sip signature cocktails and local beer to the tune of laid-back beats as the sun sinks slowly beneath the horizon.
46 – Drink at the best beach bars in Santorini
Santorini has some great beach-side watering holes, where you can soak up the rays while indulging in some of your favorite tipples.
47 – Watch a show at White Door Theater
Enjoy an injection of culture and top-notch entertainment at the quaint White Door Theater in central Fira. Laugh out loud as you watch the humorously authentic Greek Wedding Show, and enjoy playing your part as a guest.
Be part of the story and meet the characters as they dance, drink and smash plates. Try some traditional Greek tapas to round off the evening.
48 – Check out the best cocktail lounges
Relax on the panoramic terrace of V Lounge Cocktail Bar, enjoying a plate of nibbles alongside your expertly prepared drinks. Savor lunch overlooking the vivid blue Aegean Sea, or linger on sultry evenings for front row seats as day slowly turns to dusk.
The views from family-owned PK Cocktail Bar are unsurpassed too, with romantic Champagne sunsets being a real highlight.
49 – Chill out at buzzing bars
One of the best things to do in Santorini after a busy day of sightseeing is to watch the spectacular sunset from the laid-back Tropical Bar in Fira, cocktail or local beer in hand.
50 – Party at the top clubs
Want the day to last forever? Then stay up after hours and shake those hips along to Greek and English tunes at Fira’s famous Enigma Club.
Dive into the mysterious world of mixology at MoMix Santorini, or head to Koo Club for delightfully cheesy tunes from the resident DJ. Whichever you choose, clubbing in Santorini is a great way to celebrate your amazing holiday.