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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 10 attractions in Santorini

#1

Santorini Volcano

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The volcanic eruption of Thira that put an end to the thriving Minoan civilization was so cataclysmic, it may have spawned the legend of Atlantis. The explosion occurred around 3600 years ago, scooping out the once-circular island’s center and west coast, and creating the sea-filled caldera and signature sheer cliffs where Santorini’s townships teeter today. Since then, there have been perhaps a dozen major eruptions. The volcano is quiet today, though the nearby island of Nea Kameni in the center of the caldera still emits puffs of steam. It’s thanks to the caldera that towns like Oia boast such stunning sunsets, providing a low-lying, obstruction-free observation point as the sun sinks into the sea.More
#2

Oia

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If you came to Santorini for the sunsets, the town of Oia is where you want to be when the sun sinks towards the horizon to such glorious effect. Perched on the steep edge of the caldera, with open views of the sea, the village is quieter than the island’s main town, Fira, at least outside sunset hours. A string of tavernas turn their faces to the caldera for those views, and it’s fun exploring the town’s tiny backstreets and rocky cliff face, where homes have been carved from the volcanic rock. There’s some seriously chic boutique accommodations in Oia, complete with infinity pools and spas. The lucky people staying on for the evening dine in Oia’s gourmet restaurants, perched on terraces to catch the best views. Follow the 300 steps leading from the top of the caldera and you reach the fishing port of Ammoudi. Boats sail from here to the nearby island of Thirassia.More
#3

Red Beach

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Most of Santorini’s pocket-sized beaches are made of dark volcanic sand and pebbles set against black, austere cliffs, but perhaps its most unusual beach is near the Minoan ruins at Akrotíri on the south coast. Aptly named Red Beach (‘Kokkini Ammos’ in Greek) for its blood-red sand and gently crumbling burnt-umber cliffs, the crescent of beach forms a bizarre Martian landscape of red and black lava boulders scattered over grainy red and black sand. Rocks thrown up by ancient volcanic activity lurk just offshore in the calm bay, forming perfect platforms for sun worshippers, and the crystal-clear waters are paradise for snorkelers. Open-topped wooden boats, known as kaiks, trundle backwards and forwards between Red Beach and Akrotíri disgorging a constant stream of visitors.More
#4

Nea Kameni

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Centered around a ruggedly beautiful volcanic crater, the small island of Nea Kameni offers a dramatic photo opportunity, with its dark cliffs sculpted from lava rock and natural thermal waters tinted orange by the mineral-rich seabed. Floating off the coast of Santorini Island, Nea (New) Kameni and neighboring Palea (Old) Kameni lie at the heart of the mostly-submerged Santorini caldera, and are Greece’s newest volcanic islands - Nea Kameni dates back just 425 years. Reachable only by boat, Nea Kameni makes a popular choice for cruises from Santorini Island, with visitors free to explore the unique volcanic landscape and bathe in the natural hot springs, legendary for their healing and rejuvenating minerals.More
#5

Santorini Hot Springs

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#6

White Beach

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#7

Akrotiri

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In 1967, archaeologists uncovered the spectacularly well-preserved remains of an ancient Bronze Age Minoan village at Ancient Akrotiri, destroyed by a mighty volcanic eruption in around 1650 BC. The most famous Minoan site outside Crete, the sandstone remains of Akrotiri’s buildings reach several stories. Their door and window lintels are spookily intact, along with stone walls and porticoes, courtyards and rooms. As at Pompeii, the buildings were preserved by the volcanic ash. Fortunately, unlike Pompeii, it appears that the villagers were safely evacuated, as no skeletons have been unearthed during the excavation. The excavation site has been closed for several years, though restoration is continuing. To get an idea of what lies beneath, visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, where gorgeous frescos of boats, fishers, wildlife and everyday people from several millennia ago are displayed. You can also see personal artifacts like pottery and furniture.More
#8

Monastery of Profitis Ilias (Moni Profitou Iliou)

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The monastery of Mount Profitis Ilias is perched on the mountain of the same name, the highest point on Santorini at 1,853 ft (565 m) above the Aegean Sea in the south of the island. Built in the early 18th century out of sizeable stone and resembling a fortress, the monastery was dedicated to the prophet Elijah and initially enjoyed great wealth. It once also functioned as a secret school of Greek culture during the dark days of Turkish occupation of the country, but its power began to decline in 1860 and it was badly damaged by the earthquake in 1956. Today Profitis Ilias is successful once more; its three domed church has become a museum hosting an exceptional and significant collection of Greek Orthodox icons, early, hand printed books and bibles, wrought-iron artwork, wooden carvings and elaborately embroidered clerics’ robes. The resident monks put on displays of traditional carpentry, shoemaking, local cooking and wine making as well.More
#9

Thirasia (Therasia)

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The little island of Thirassia has a population of only 200 or so, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing lunch at a cliff-top taverna, with views over to Santorini. The island used to be part of Santorini’s mainland, until the violent volcanic eruption of 1650 BC set it free. Sail over from Santorini to escape the crowds on Thirassia’s lovely beaches, and bring a traveler’s dictionary as not many people here speak English. Those tavernas are clustered in the village of Manolas, near the ferry stop, and the tranquil island also has scattered blue-domed churches, ancient monasteries and stone villages.More
#10

Perivolos Beach

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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

Recent reviews from experiences in Santorini

star-5
Good tour
Abu_A, Sep 2020
Santorini Full-Day Sightseeing Tour
We get to see the highlights in santorini in short time and also relaxed in black sand beach.
star-5
Amazing Tour
Darryl_W, Sep 2020
Santorini Photo Safari Top Places
We got to see the whole island and the tour guide was super informative and helpful.
star-5
Once in a lifetime best experience
Belyn-Benjie-Lyka, Sep 2020
Semi Private Standard | Santorini Catamaran Cruise with Greek buffet and Drinks
It’s basically living the summer dream!
star-5
An outstanding experience, and great customer service
Billy_P, Sep 2020
Small-Group Santorini Wine Tasting and Vineyard Tour
She was charming, exceedingly knowledgeable, and her English is spotless.
star-5
A wonderful evening
Caius_B, Sep 2020
Santorini at Sunset: Walk, Drink, Eat Small Group Adventure
We got to taste some of the best food we had on our trip, local dishes made with some of the island's signature ingredients, and we got to visit local landmarks and secrets while listening to stories about Santorini's history, people and unique agric
star-5
Great wine tasting experience
hridhyabsb, Feb 2020
Santorini Winter Panorama
You will get to see a bit of evereything in santorini.
star-5
Amazing experience!
deniseandietan, Jan 2020
Santorini Caldera Panorama Sunset Cruise All Inclusive
I would definitely want to go again in the summer and get a chance to snorkel!
star-4
all you need to see is this tour
Compass644354, Nov 2019
Santorini Full-Day Sightseeing Tour
the tour was awesome and all you need to see is this tour other then the Santorini isnt great ,, the tour was very awesome, i will never go back to Santorini its boring and only shopping and its expensive.
star-4
Serioulsy consider taking this tour
ilishm, Nov 2019
Santorini Day Tour with Sunset in Oia
Got to see all the highlights of Santorini.
star-5
5 star excusion
WaiMeng, Oct 2019
Santorini Highlight Private Tour 4 hours
She catered to our every need and brought us to the attractions in beautiful Santorini whilst avoiding the crowds.
star-4
Great Tour
greecean13, Oct 2019
Santorini Day Tour with Sunset in Oia
Overall well worth it if you want to see the main attractions in Santorini in one day.
star-5
Dana
Dana2u, Oct 2019
Caldera & Oia Sunset With King Thiras Boat
There was fantastic views all around and a swimming in the hot springs.
star-5
Best tour ever
jungemaryann, Oct 2019
Private Custom Tour: Santorini in a Day
We basically told him what we wanted to see and he laid out the whole trip.
star-5
Amazing Experience
madisonmartellaro, Sep 2019
6-Hour Private Best of Santorini Experience
We were able to see all the amazing places and views within Santorini and she was very flexible with sculpting the tour to what we wanted.
star-5
Amazing day on water!!great friendly service, great food, beautiful stops to swim at,
WendyE1173, Sep 2019
Sailing Catamaran Cruise in Santorini with BBQ, Drinks and Transfer
Especially for couples or those that want to see and enjoy the waters and coastline of Santorini
star-5
Excellent Guide
JoelH11435, Sep 2019
Santorini Unforgettable Experience Private Tour 6 - Hours
Excellent English.
star-5
Amazing Experience!
Resort752167, Sep 2019
Semi Private Standard | Santorini Catamaran Cruise with Greek buffet and Drinks
We made stops at the hot springs, the Red Beach, and more.
star-5
Amazing Tour
Mickie G, Aug 2019
Santorini Private Custom Tour-5 Hours
We visited everything we wanted to see and more.
star-5
Best way to spend a day in Santorini with the best sunset view
Rickey B, Aug 2019
Sunset Sailing Catamaran Cruise in Santorini with BBQ and Drinks
This was by far the best way to see Santorini by the sea and the best view of the sunset, way better than Oia.
star-5
Great experience
P8621DLmaryl, Aug 2019
Santorini : Morning Sea Kayak & Snorkel with Lunch
It was a great pleasure to see another side of Santorini on a kayak.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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What are the top things to do in Santorini?
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