20 BEST THINGS THAT SHOULD DO IN SANTORINI, with only 15,000 people, Santorini is a stunning Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Within the named archipelago, it is the largest island. Sadly, Santorini was destroyed by a volcanic explosion in the 16th century BC, which buried towns and people and permanently altered its topography. It is now inhabited once more and a popular travel destination. It is simple to understand why given the rocky terrain, whitewashed structures perched on clifftops above an undersea crater, and breathtaking black, red, and white beaches.


Santorini is a small island, only 73 m sq. (28 sq. miles) but despite this, there is plenty to do to warrant at least a week’s stay, if not more. If you enjoy water sports or just taking in the rays, there are 22 beaches in Santorini. Some are busy with beach bars that are open all night until the sun rises, while others will suit those who want peace and quiet.

If you’re keen on discovering the island’s history, there is a spectacular archaeological site, Akrotiri, to visit and a few museums. Take a boat trip around the island, visit a winery to try the exceptional local wines, and indulge in food native to the island. To help you decide what to do during your visit to Santorini, here are my top 20 choices. I feel sure that you will enjoy discovering the island.



lighthouse at sunset
Admiring the sunset at Akrotiri is one of the relaxing things to do in Santorini, Greece.

Akrotiri was a Minoan Bronze Age city destroyed by a volcano erupting in the 16th century BC.

It was buried underneath ash for thousands of years until an excavation led by Professor Spyros Marintos began in 1967.

A city was discovered with houses, streets, shops and squares.

The volcanic ash has preserved the city, making it a spectacular site, especially when you think it is 3500 years old.

It isn’t hard to imagine how the people of that time lived and how far advanced they were for their time.

A bioclimatic roof now covers the site, and walkways have been suspended above the city so you can walk among the two to three-storey buildings.

Furniture and ceramic vessels were found in excellent condition and, together with wall paintings, are now housed in the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in the island’s capital.

The museum is well worth visiting and will give you a complete picture of Akrotiri.

It is a good idea to take a guided tour of Akrotiri with a licensed archaeologist to gain knowledgeable insights into the ancient civilisation of Santorini.



perissa beach
Feeling the sand between your toes is one of the things to do in Santorini.

Perissa Beach is one of Santorini’s best beaches.

Most of the island’s beaches have some black sand, but only a few are completely black.

Perissa Beach is one of these, and here, the sand has mixed with volcanic ash, solidified lava, and pumice.

It is very unusual, especially when you compare the beach to the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea.

The beach is on the island’s southeast coast and next to another black sand beach, Kamari.

The two beaches are separated by the Mesa Vouna Mountain.

If you are looking for a lively beach with plenty of atmosphere, this is the beach for you.

There are restaurants, beach bars and clubs close to the beach, some staying open day and night.

If you are interested in water sports, you will find many activities, including parasailing, windsurfing, water bikes and canoes.

If you want to relax, you will find wide sunbeds and umbrellas if you want a bit of shade.

Right next to the beach is a waterpark with waterslides and pools suitable for children and adults.

However, if you want a chilled beach experience, head to Colombo Beach, which is so secluded even buses don’t run there.

You’ll need to hire a car or call a taxi, but it is worth it as the waters here are the warmest due to the volcanic crater close by.


white buildings in Fira
Panoramic view of mountains, sea and nature from Fira town.

Fira, sometimes called Thera, is the capital of Santorini and where you can sample Greek food at its best or party the night away in one of the many clubs.

However, there is more to Fira than eating and drinking.

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera is well worth a visit, especially if you have visited the archaeological site of Akrotiri.

Here you can see wall paintings and ceramics from the site and temporary exhibitions.

While in Fira, visit the whitewashed Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, where you can see some stunning frescoes by local artist Christoferous Asimis.

Fira is perched on a clifftop with amazing views, offering stunning photographic opportunities.

Fira looks towards another island in the archipelago, Nea Kameni, with an active volcano.

The Museum Of Prehistoric Thera is at Thera 84700.


Young beautiful girl walking in Oia village on Santorini Island, Greece.
One of the things to do in Santorini is to explore Oia.

Oia is the second largest town on Santorini and is considered an artistic location.

It is a beautiful town with narrow alleyways, whitewashed houses carved into the clifftops, little churches, and a spectacular view towards the caldera.

Because of this, it attracts artists and photographers from all over the world.

Don’t miss going to The Naval Maritime Museum, where you can learn about the island’s nautical history.

You will see models of ships through the ages and relics recovered from the sea, including figureheads and sailors’ chests.

You will get a magnificent view towards the Aegean Sea from the ruins of Oia Castle.

The sunset from here is particularly spectacular, and many organised tours include the sunset at Oia as part of their itineraries.

The occupying Venetians built the castle in the 15th century as a lookout.

Unfortunately, a lot of it collapsed in the earthquake of 1956 but some walls and fragments of the residential area remain.

The Naval Museum is at 25ns Martiou 405, Thora 84700.


If you aren’t spending that much time on the island, a guided bus tour is a good idea as it takes you to all the important sights.

The tour first takes you to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, where you can spend a little time before heading to the traditional village of Emporio, which used to be the centre of commercial affairs.

It sits at the foot of the Profitis Ilias Mountain and is full of renovated buildings, making it a beautiful location.

A major attraction is the Kasteli, one of the five fortified castles of Santorini.

The next stop is Perissa Beach, where you can swim and have lunch before going to a traditional winery.

Here, you will have a tour and taste some of Santorini’s popular wines. Santorini is particularly famous for its white wines, such as Athiri and Assyrtiko.

The tour ends in Oia, watching the sunset.

Oia is the most photographed place in Greece; you will see why when you go there.

It epitomises Greece with its whitewashed buildings, blue domes, and narrow alleyways.



dining in a romantic restaurant
Having a romantic meal with a view of the volcano is one of the things to do in Santorini.

Whether you want to sip a cocktail quietly gazing at the sea or if you want to party until the early hours, you will be well catered for on the island of Santorini.

Most of the bars, lounges, and clubs are in the capital, Fira.

The clubs play various music, from traditional Greek to current songs.

Walking through the maze of narrow alleyways, you will come across many small clubs and bars.

The premier spot, however, is the Koo Club which plays chart tunes, dance music and electronica until 4 a.m.

High-end lounges and bars in Fira tend to be near the caldera.

You will also find good nightlife at some of the beaches, in particular, Perissa Beach.

Try Tranquito Beach Bar, which is right on the beachfront.

It serves ‘to die for’ cocktails as well as excellent vegan and vegetarian food.

It’s easy to party day and night and enjoy live music.


Assorted Greek dishes on rustic wooden background from above, moussaka, grilled fish, souvlaki, greek salad, steamed mussels with herbs, appetizers of Greece.
Tasting local food is one of the most pleasurable things to do in Santorini, Greece.

In Santorini, you can get the usual Greek dishes such as moussaka and Greek salad but there is so much more that is unique to the island.

Because of the volcanic soil, the flavours of the vegetables can be different.

The tomatoes, for example, have a slightly dry flesh, an intense aroma, and a sweet and brightly acidic taste.

Try tomato keftedes (tomato fritters) which are balls of tomatoes mixed with feta cheese, onions, mint, parsley, and oregano and then fried.

They are bursting with flavour.

The local cucumber (Katsuni) is also unique. It is larger than the common cucumber and, if not picked on time, becomes sweet and takes on the flavour of melon.

Fava, a dip made from yellow split peas, is eaten all over Greece, but Fava Santorini is something else.

It has been eaten on the island for 3500 years, and in the summer, it is served with red tomato sauce, and in the winter, with smoked pork.

If you find a taverna serving Apochti and you are a meat eater, it is worth a try as it is a speciality of Santorini.

Preparing takes four days as the herbs must be dried in the sun.

It is pork baked with salt, vinegar, cinnamon, parsley and black pepper.

Because Santorini is an island, many tavernas serve fresh fish and seafood. Fried calamari is a speciality.

One thing is sure; you can be assured of a gastronomic experience when you visit Santorini.


Aerial view of red beach
Relaxing on Red Beach is one of the top things to do on Santorini Island, Greece.

Why not take a cruise around the caldera on a luxurious catamaran?

Sail to Santorini’s famous hot springs and enjoy the waters before heading to Red Beach, where you can swim and snorkel.

Red Beach is unique in that the sand is red-hued rather than black. Don’t forget to bring your camera to take unforgettable photos.

The next stop is White Beach, a small cove with pebbles and grey volcanic sand contrasting with the white surroundings.

Here you will enjoy a barbecue with included drinks.

The cruise takes you past famous sites such as Akrotiri, the Indian Rock, and the Ancient Lighthouse.


Greek green olives, on white ceramic squared tile table background.
Tasting local food is one of the fun things to do in Santorini.

If you are enjoying the cuisine of Santorini, why don’t you take a cooking class to try to replicate the dishes when you get home?

Okay, so you won’t have the unique vegetables grown on Santorini, but you can still make delicious dishes to impress your friends.

The class is fun as it also involves visiting a winery where you can taste a glass or two of wine.

In addition, you will go to a local farm to find out how it runs and try seasonal produce.

After the cooking class, you and your classmates can enjoy the food you have prepared with local wine.

Join the Santorini Cooking Class with Wine Tasting & Lunch.


If you have always wanted to ride a horse or are an experienced rider, don’t miss the chance to go horse riding on the beautiful island of Santorini/

There are tours for both non-experienced and experienced riders.

Ride along the paths of the vineyards and on the black sandy beaches, dipping in and out of the water’s edge.

If you don’t have much experience in horse riding, you will get expert instruction, and your horse will gently trot.

If you are an experienced rider, you will have the opportunity to gallop.


Join an organised sea kayaking experience if you enjoy water sports and as long as you can swim, you can participate.

The experience begins at Red Beach, where you will paddle along the south coast, taking in the sights.

You will pass Akrotiri and many little caves that are quite spectacular, turning blue when the light hits the sea.

Enjoy snorkelling when you reach Black Mountain and get your adrenaline going by jumping off a cliff into the sea at White Beach.



and two cruise ships in the middle of the Aegean Sea.
One of the things to do in Santorini is to cruise to the volcano.

This is a lovely all-day cruise to the other islands of the Santorini archipelago.

The first stop is Nea Kameni, also called Lava Island, isn’t inhabited but you can still disembark and follow a path to the crater of the still-active volcano.

This is an ideal opportunity to take impressive photographs.

Nea Kameni is completely made of black lava, as is the island of Palea Kameni.

Here, you won’t disembark but can dive off the boat into the sulphur waves of the hot springs.

The final stop is at the island of Thirassia, which is inhabited, and here you have two hours of free time to explore.

Explore the village of Mandas with its winding steps and traditional houses, have lunch at one of the seafront tavernas, or swim and sunbathe.



The Santorini volcanic caldera is the largest in the world and is an experience you won’t forget.

You will be able to see where volcanic eruptions took place under the sea and get close to the colourful marine life.

The Aegean Sea is crystal clear so you won’t miss anything.

You will get a briefing with your instructor, who will familiarise you with the equipment and what the different diving hand signals mean.

Follow your instructor to the caldera for a diving adventure you won’t forget.


If you want to go off the beaten track and see what life is like away from the tourists, take an organised tour on a 300cc ATV-Quad vehicle.

Start your journey on Perissa Beach and drive to Emporio, the largest village on the island.

The village will make you think of a fortress as it was built to protect the citizens from pirates.

In the heart of Emporio is Kastelli, a castle town.

Wander through the old traditional alleyways before driving towards the village of Megalochori through a landscape of windmills and vineyards.

Arriving at the caldera, you will find a nearby winery where you can taste wine or drink Greek coffee.

You will then ride by the caldera and see places many tourists don’t see, such as a beautiful chapel built inside a cave.

Enjoy your ride back to Perissa Beach on off-road paths.


Young girl standing in front of white buildings
Another thing to do in Santorini is to go on a walking tour of Fira.

If you enjoy Greek food, you won’t want to miss this four-hour food tour of the capital, Fira.

The tour begins in Firostefani village, right next door to Fira, where you will enjoy a traditional Greek coffee before going to a local taverna to try local mezes such as stuffed vine leaves, mini dakos, Greek olives, chunks of Feta, and fresh tomatoes and cucumber.

The walk to Fira takes you along a picturesque path by the caldera.

You will be greeted with a cold beer once you reach the capital.

Then, it’s a delicious journey through the city, stopping for local treats such as Santorini olive oil with chunks of fresh bread, honey, and souvlaki.

You will also go to the market where farmers sell fresh fruit and vegetables.

The tour ends with a meal at a taverna where you can taste delicacies from both Santorini and the whole of Greece.

Whether you are a carnivore, a vegetarian, or a vegan, there will be something to delight your palate on a walking food tour of Fira.


An electric mountain bike will get you around the island without too much effort, which can be appreciated on a scorching day.

Start the guided tour at the black sand beach of Perivolos and cycle to the village of Emporio, where you will have a short tour and freshly squeezed orange juice made from delicious local oranges.

The ride continues to the caldera, where you will visit a small chapel built inside a volcanic cave. Photographic opportunities abound at the caldera.

The next stop is at the village of Megalochori, where you will visit the taverna, Feggera, for a wine tasting accompanied by local cheeses, olive oil and bread, and olives.

The electric mountain bike tour ends back at Perivolos Beach with refreshments before you return to your hotel.


Another way to enjoy the water is to go on a romantic sunset cruise from the port of Athinius.

Set sail before the sun sets and sip a cooling drink before stopping to watch the sunset.

Many of these sunset cruises include a buffet dinner with authentic Santorini cuisine.

Taste dishes such as fava, souvlaki, tzatziki, and tomato fritters all washed down with a glass of local wine.


For something a little different, go to a Greek wedding show held at the home of a Greek family in Fira.

The performance represents a Greek wedding from the 1940s, and you will be invited to learn traditional Greek dances and even smash plates.

Appetisers are served accompanied by local wine, and you will feel what it is like to attend an authentic Greek wedding.

The performance is in English but the songs are in Greek.


aerial view of santorini
Another thing to do in Santorini is to photograph the views.

Would you like to be a model for the day? If so, why not book a photo shoot with a professional photographer?

He or she will know how to capture you from the best angles so that you get photos that you will be proud to show your friends.

The photo shoot can be just for you, your family, or friends.

There are different options on offer. You can enjoy anything from an hour’s photo shoot to three hours and choose up to three locations. Your photographer will know the best places on the island for a photoshoot.

Within a couple of days, you will get your personal online gallery which will be a fitting remembrance of your holiday.

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