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Things to do in Santorini

Things to do in  Santorini

Welcome to Santorini

Santorini has been called several things over the ages—including Kalliste, meaning “The Most Beautiful One”—and it’s an apt description of an island with high cliffs set around a volcanic caldera in the azure Aegean Sea. Fira, the capital, is an enchanting mix of Venetian and Cycladic buildings set into steep cliffs, which are often climbed by cable car or donkey. Meanwhile, Oia's whitewashed walls and blue domes show off one of the most famous and beautiful sunsets in Europe. On a guided tour, these towns reveal Santorini’s charm, which also extends to the sea. Take a boat tour to experience the volcanic island of Nea Kameni, the hot springs of Palia Kameni, and the ancient lighthouse Akrotiri. There are beaches of many colors to enjoy on shore excursions: white, red, and even the black beaches of Perissa and Kamari. More private tours take visitors to traditional villages such as Megalochori and Pyrgos. The highest point on the island is the Monastery of Prophet Elias, and it’s a popular spot on guided tours for its views. Of course, no outing would be complete without sampling the Santorinian wine, distinctive for its minerality courtesy of the volcanic soil—sip while touring the wineries where each bottle was made.

Top 15 attractions in Santorini

Santorini Volcano

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The “Santorini volcano” may refer to two different peaks: the first, Thira, exploded around 1600 BC and ended the thriving Minoan civilization and may have spawned the legend of Atlantis. Millennia of eruptions formed the second “Santorini volcano”—the island of Nea Kameni, drawing visitors eager to hike to the rim of its active crater.More

Oia

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Perched on the steep edge of the caldera, looking out over the glittering Mediterranean, Oia (pronounced “ee-yuh”) is famed for its dreamy sunsets. Oia is also one of the most picturesque villages in Santorini, with its striking white buildings, blue-domed churches, and atmospheric cave houses burrowing into the volcanic rock.More

Red Beach

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Santorini’s Red Beach is not your average white-sand beauty. Rather, it’s a narrow, pebbly stretch hemmed in by high scarlet cliffs and scattered with large volcanic rocks. Together with the sapphire blue waters of the Aegean Sea, these volcanic features create a striking natural color palette that draws photographers to its shores.More

Santorini Hot Springs

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Santorini’s hot springs are on the tiny, uninhabited islet of Palea Kameni. Continuous volcanic activity underground maintains the springs’ temperature between 86ºF and 95ºF (30°C and 35°C). The sulfuric, orange-tinged spring waters that bubble up into a shallow cove off the islet’s coast are said to be curative for the skin and joints.More

Nea Kameni

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Centered around a rugged volcanic crater, the small island of Nea Kameni offers a dramatic landscape, with dark cliffs sculpted from lava rock and orange-tinged natural thermal waters. The island’s striking landscape and natural hot springs make it a popular destination for day cruises from Santorini.More

White Beach

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Tucked away on the south coast of Santorini, White Beach (Aspri Paralia) is sheltered by chalk-grey cliffs. This minuscule strand is actually composed of coarse black—not white—sand, and liberally peppered with grey and white pebbles as well as massive white volcanic boulders.More

Akrotiri

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Akrotiri came to an abrupt end in approximately 1613 BC with a catastrophic volcanic eruption that buried the Bronze Age settlement in a carpet of ash. Beginning in 1967, excavations of the Minoan town revealed buildings, drainage systems, and pottery, but no human remains or gold valuables, indicating locals had time to flee before disaster hit.More

Pyrgos (Pyrgos Kallistis)

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This picturesque hillside village is set on a volcanic crater at the highest point on Santorini, offering panoramic views over the island. With whitewashed Cycladic architecture, Byzantine churches, and small winding cobblestone lanes, Pyrgos (Pyrgos Kallistis offers the historic charm of the Greek islands without the tourist crowds.More

Monastery of Profitis Ilias (Moni Profitou Iliou)

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The Monastery of Profitis Ilias (Moni Profitou Iliou is perched on the mountain of the same name, the highest point on the southern half of Santorini. Built in the early 18th century, the complex is now home to a fine collection of Greek Orthodox icons and religious items, and the resident monks hold demonstrations of artisan crafts.More

Thirasia (Therasia)

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Before a violent volcanic eruption in 1650 BC, Thirassia was part of Santorini’s mainland and now the pretty islet lies just off its western coast. With small pretty beaches, blue-domed churches, ancient stone villages and a population of only about 200, the little island is a perfectly serene spot to visit.More

Fira–Oia Hike

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Winding through whitewashed villages and rugged Mediterranean landscapes, the clifftop Fira–Oia hike is one of Greece’s most beautiful walks. The trail links Fira (Santorini’s postcard-perfect capital) with Oia (a village known for its sunset views) and takes you along the rim of the sunken crater of the island’s dormant volcano.More

Perivolos Beach

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A deep expanse of black lava sand, Perivolos Beach (Paralia Perivolos runs along Santorini’s southeastern coast, merging into lively Perissa Beach to the north and quieter Agios Georgios Beach to the south. Buzzing beach bars, often with DJs, and coupled with sun loungers and a range of water sports, make the strip popular with a younger crowd.More

Kamari Beach

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Stretching for around 3 miles (5 kilometers), dark-sand Kamari Beach is sandwiched between the blue Aegean waters and the mountain peak of Mesa Vouno. With a bar- and restaurant-lined promenade behind it and lots of facilities nearby, it’s one of the best places to park yourself for a day of relaxation.More

White Door Theater (White Door Theatro)

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White Door Theatro performs itsGreek Wedding Show, Santorini’s top theatrical performance, in the courtyard of a historic building in central Fira. The interactive show casts the audience as guests at a traditional 1940s Greek wedding, complete with song, dance, and plate smashing. The ticket price includes local wine and meze snacks.More

Skaros Rock

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A rocky promontory jutting into the caldera, Skaros Rock soars 65 feet (20 meters into the sky, cutting a striking silhouette that can be seen as far as Fira and Oia. One of Santorini’s most memorable natural features, this black lava-rock cliff is an ideal vantage point for admiring the sunset over the Aegean Sea and Kameni islands.More

Trip ideas

Top Beaches in Santorini

Top Beaches in Santorini

How to Spend 2 Days in Santorini

How to Spend 2 Days in Santorini

Wine Tasting in Santorini

Wine Tasting in Santorini

Top activities in Santorini

Santorini in a Day: Best of Santorini Private Tour
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Santorini Must-See Highlights: Private Sightseeing Tour
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ATV-Quad Santorini Experience Tour
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Santorini Private Tailor Made Experience with Farm Visit
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Santorini

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Fantastic day!
Steevi_M, Nov 2022
Half-Day Exclusive Catamaran Cruise in Santorini with Meal and Open Bar
Great staff super friendly and knowledgeable, what a wonderful way to see some of the highlights of Santorini!
star-5
A fantastic option to visit a unique part of Santorini!
mrslwaite, Oct 2022
Private Cultural Villages Sightseeing & Akrotiri Excavations
A fantastic option to visit a unique part of Santorini!
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A Greek Experience
Steven_M, Oct 2022
Santorini Private Custom Tour-5 Hours
Have a driver and guide is essential to see it all.
star-5
Very complete tour of Santorini
Jean_G, Oct 2022
Santorini Day Tour with Sunset in Oia
The tour is very complete if yiu want to see Santorini and hear about history and customs.
star-5
Great Half Day Tour of Santorini
Angela_S, Oct 2022
Santorini Must-See Highlights: Private Sightseeing Tour
Was able to cover the entire island and hit all of the major points of interest we wanted to see and experience.
star-5
Would recommend for small group
Laura_T, Oct 2022
Santorini Must-See Highlights: Private Sightseeing Tour
A great chance to see the whole island of Santorini instead of just the main tourist cities.
star-5
Nick , our guide was amazing!
Hsum12, Oct 2022
Tailor-made Private Tour- Explore Santorini with comfort and style
He took us to all the places we wanted to see and then some.
star-4
Would love to engage this driver again.
Jeffrey_Y, Oct 2022
Economy Arrival Transfers From Santorini Airport To All Destinations
Very friendly English speaking driver.
star-5
The full day was...
Sherry_S, Oct 2022
Full Day Santorini Highlights and Venetian Castles Small Group Tour
It was a wonderful way to see the best of Santorini in a short time from the castles to music and wine culture to a beautiful sunset.
star-5
A memorable tour of Santorini!
vallerie_w, Oct 2022
Tailor-made Private Tour- Explore Santorini with comfort and style
His English was good and he was very attentive to our needs.
star-5
Enjoyed the island!
Kristi_B, Oct 2022
All of Santorini in 6 hours (private)
We got to see and taste Santorini on our own time.
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Volcano in Santorini
Lourdes_M, Oct 2022
Santorini Volcano & Hot Springs Tour
to see an active volcano and the hot springs, an amazing experience to have in Santorini..
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See all of Santorini
Kaylyn_H, Oct 2022
Explore Santorini with a local - 4 Hours Private Tour
We got to see the whole of Santorini, the beautiful spots filled with Tourists but also local villages and the red and black sand beaches.
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Great boat trip!
Caryn_M, Oct 2022
Caldera Half Day Tour (Volcano, Hot Springs, Thirassia)
A great opportunity to visit the volcano and see Santorini from the sea.
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Amazing day driving around Santorini
Patricia_T, Oct 2022
Santorini Private Tour Designed By You
Great way to see Santorini!
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Great tour
Trelle_T, Oct 2022
Santorini Day Tour with Sunset in Oia
We got to see a lot in a day and it was worth it.
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Awesome!
Abraham_D, Oct 2022
Santorini in a Day: Best of Santorini Private Tour
We got to see places we wouldn’t have known to see had we rented a car and driven around on our own.
star-4
A beautiful day in Santorini
Agatha_C, Oct 2022
Full Day Santorini Highlights and Venetian Castles Small Group Tour
This is not my first visit to Santorini, we get to see quite a few places with this tour which is fun.
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Great cruise
Jorge_H, Oct 2022
Private Santorini Day Cruise All Inclusive
Included Red beach, White beach, hot springs, and amazing views of caldera.
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Great photo experience
Sophia_J, Sep 2022
Santorini Private Tour Designed By You
I can’t wait to see my photos in a week.
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All about Santorini

When to visit

If you like your holidays sizzling, hot, and sociable, June to September is the ideal time to visit Santorini. In summer, travelers cram onto the island and take advantage of its average 82°F (28°C) temperatures and enjoy annual events like July’s Jazz Festival and September’s Ifestia fireworks. The island is less crowded before and after the summer crush, so consider visiting in April, May, or October if you prefer milder temperatures, less crowded beaches, and a quieter island vibe.

Getting around

Santorini’s busy towns are laced with pedestrian-only lanes, so you’ll need to explore those areas on foot. That said, there are many ways to get around the rest of the island. There are buses that run between towns and to the beaches, and plenty of cabs available. Nevertheless, a rental car or moped is the most convenient way to explore if you want to see the island; just be prepared for heavy summer traffic and limited parking around Fira and at popular beaches.

Traveler tips

Many travelers pass through Santorini’s inland towns on route to its beaches. If you can, however, take an afternoon to visit the small town of Emporio, nestled below Profitis Ilias, the island’s highest peak. Look for To Kafenedaki, a tiny, traditional coffee shop next to a beautiful church, and enjoy an ice-cold vanilla frappé at one of the simple tables and drink in the setting—it’s traditional Santorini at its best. On the way to or from town, you can also stop at the Monastery of Profitis Ilias.

People Also Ask

What is Santorini known for?

Santorini is famous for its cliff-top villages, with white houses and blue-domed churches clinging to the edge of a volcanic caldera. Island sunsets can be spectacular, while Santorini beaches come in three colors: black, white, and red. Santorini wines, grown in volcanic soil on ancient stock, are unique in the world.

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How many days do you need in Santorini?

Many travelers visit Santorini as one stop on an island-hopping adventure by ferry (which is cleaner and greener than flying). You can see the essentials in three days or spend a week or even a fortnight enjoying the beaches, the nightlife, the restaurant scene—and those fantastic views.

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What should I not miss in Santorini?

Those dramatic caldera cliffs are the focal point of any Santorini visit: savor a sunset and stroll some of the Fira-Oia hike. Don’t miss a sailing cruise, with stops at hot springs and a gently smoldering volcano. Wine tastings are a must for foodies, while history buffs will adore the Akrotiri ruins.

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What is the most famous part of Santorini?

Nestled into the edge of the volcanic caldera, the cliff-top villages are the most famous parts of Santorini. Oia is the best known village, thanks to glorious sunsets, gorgeous hotels, villas, and restaurants, and striking historic windmills. But bustling, lively Fira also has a claim to fame: it’s the island’s capital.

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What is the nightlife like in Santorini?

Santorini nightlife varies depending on location. On the cliff-top west coast, Oia offers stylish restaurants and elite lounge bars, while the capital Fira boasts some lively bars and clubs. The seafront resorts of Perissa and Kamari on the east coast have beach bars, beach clubs, and restaurants.

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Is Santorini expensive?

No. It’s possible to live a very luxe lifestyle in Santorini, but the island does not have to be expensive. Staying in the stunning cliff-top village of Oia will cost top dollar, but Perissa and Kamari, on Santorini’s beach side, are popular vacation destinations for ordinary European travelers.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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