Santorini – 11 Things to do | Travel Guide

Santorini – A Romantic Paradise

 

At akrotiri
At akrotiri

Experience the epitome of romance on the enchanting Island of Santorini – an essential destination for any Greek getaway.

Journey through Greece is synonymous with Santorini for many people. Though that is not true but it is also a fact that when in Greece, a visit to this island is a must. Santorini is dreamy and mystical. The Aegean Sea here is surrounded by volcanic islands like Nea Kameni. Landscapes showcase the colors like red, brown or greenish with white houses popping up here and there. The whole experience is very different than the other islands of Greece.

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11 Unforgettable Experiences in Santorini

Planning your Santorini getaway? With so much to see and do, it’s essential to have a plan in place. Explore our curated list of activities tailored to suit every interest and make the most of your time on this enchanting island.

1. Main streets of Oia and Imerovigli

Oia: The quintessential Santorini experience. Wander through its charming streets, soak in breathtaking views, and indulge in delightful cafes and shops. Don’t miss the iconic sunset – a mesmerizing spectacle best enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand, creating unforgettable memories.

What Colors...!
Vibrant colors along the streets of Oia

Imerovigli: A picturesque village nestled atop Caldera, offering unparalleled views. Explore its winding streets and bask in panoramic sunsets, making it a must-visit destination for breathtaking vistas on the island.

A shot of Imerovigli just after Sunset
A shot of Imerovigli just after Sunset

2. Nea Kameni – Sailing around Santorini

Explore the heart of Santorini’s caldera, where the burnt islets emerge as small volcanic islands. Nea Kameni boasts an active volcano, while Pelaia Kameni offers rejuvenating hot springs. Embark on an unforgettable excursion covering both islets, with options including sailboats, cruises, and catamarans.

Embark on a full-day excursion to Santorini’s volcanic islets, featuring a visit to the active volcano and optional swimming near the hot springs. Enjoy lunch in Thirassia or onboard, with spectacular views of the caldera and sunset. For the adventurous, hike to the highest point of Nea Kameni in about 30 min for a glimpse of the active volcano, followed by a refreshing swim in the nearby gulf.

All in all you need an entire day to sail around the volcanic islets and have an experience to treasure for a lifetime.

Tips –

1) Good hiking shoes and drinking water are a must to carry during the hike. Without these you won’t be allowed.
2) Book this one day tour in advance if you are really interested. We missed it big-time because we did not plan it in advance and by the time we reached out to the tour operators, seats were all full.
3) Cost of the tour ranges from 50EURO for a 4hr tour to 90EURO for sunset tour to 150+ EURO for a catamaran excursion per person. You can choose according to your time and budget.

Please note that the tour starts either from the Old Port of Skala or the Ammoudi port.

3. Akrotiri – Thira’s Frescoes

This town, located at the opposite end of the island, is renowned for hosting Santorini’s largest excavated site. Following the volcanic eruption that buried the island, this site has preserved remarkable wall paintings and frescoes, unearthed during ongoing excavations. Explore the ruins of Akrotiri at this archaeological site, where artifacts continue to be discovered and displayed in museums across the country.

There are few known beaches around the area –

  • Akrotiri Beach
  • Red Beach
  • White Beach
  • Black Beach
Red Beach near Akrotiri, Santorini
The famous Red Beach of Santorini

You can arrange for a boat rental to explore these sites and even enjoy swimming there. During our visit, we opted to visit the Red Beach accessible by a short hike from Akrotiri Beach, where we were fortunate to witness a stunning sunset.

4. Beaches

While Santorini offers an abundance of beaches, the island’s allure extends far beyond its sandy shores. However, if you’re seeking some beach relaxation, there are a few options worth considering:

  • Kamari Beach
  • Ammoudi Beach
  • Red Beach
  • Caldera Beach

Santorini’s beaches offer a unique experience with their pebbly sands, typically black or red in color, setting them apart from traditional fine sand beaches.

5. Churches & Monastaries

The stunning churches of Santorini are renowned for their white-washed walls and iconic blue domes, creating a picturesque scene against the island’s backdrop.

Agios Georgios Church at the start of the Oia Street
Agios Georgios Church at the start of the Oia Street

However, some, like Aegios Georgios, boast a yellow base, adding to their unique charm. Oia alone is home to over 70 churches, with notable ones including Aegios Georgios, Panagia Episkopi, and the oldest, Prophet Elias Monastery, nestled between Pyrgos and Kamari villages.

Our pic in front of the church
Our pic in front of the church

6. Wineries

Given Dionysus’s status as the God of wine, winemaking holds deep roots in Greek culture. Santorini boasts some of the oldest vineyards and wineries in the region, with several renowned establishments including

  • Artemis, Karamolegos Winery
  • Canava, Roussos (Oldest Winery of the island)
  • Estate, Argyros Winery
  • Santo Wines Winery: You get to see an impressive sunset view of Aegean Sea from this winery.

These esteemed wineries provide guided tours, wine tastings, and cozy wine bars where you can savor your favorite bottle of wine.

7. Museums

In Fira, history buffs will find a plethora of museums worth exploring. From museums delving into the island’s rich history to those showcasing archaeological excavations, and even ones delving into fascinating stories connecting Atlantis and Santorini, there’s something for every enthusiast. Notable museums include:

  • Archaeological museum in Fira that contains artefacts from islands excavations (entry fee of 2 EURO)
  • Lost Atlantis museum (enroute your drive to Akrotiri), that creates a factual connection between the legendary lost island of Atlantis and Santorini (entry fee of 12 EURO)
  • Akrotiri Archaeological Site that witnesses historic importance of Santorini (12 Euro)

8. Walk from Oia to Fira

For trekkers or those seeking a scenic walk, the 13 km trail between Oia and Fira offers a picturesque route, with the sea accompanying you for much of the journey. Taking around 3 hours to complete at a leisurely pace, it’s ideal for adventurers with ample time to spare in Oia. Although we only managed a quick 4 km morning walk due to time constraints, it left us longing to return for the full experience.

Morning walk from Oia to Fira, Santorini
Morning walk from Oia to Fira, Santorini

 

9. Port of Armeni

As you stroll along the main street of Oia, you’ll encounter a small detour that offers a unique experience. While the main street is lined with shops, cafes, and scenic viewpoints, those seeking something different can venture down to the port of Armeni. Marked by signs along the street, this route takes you down approximately 290 steps, offering a refreshing change of scenery.

10. Diving & Water Activities

Santorini is not just about its stunning landscapes above ground; it also offers a diverse marine life waiting to be explored through diving and snorkeling. Dive into the shallow bay and discover breathtaking underwater rock formations, magnificent reefs, caverns, and small caves, along with mesmerizing underwater canyons. With 4-5 diving sites and professional diving schools and clubs available, you can embark on these adventures around Nea Kameni, Akrotiri, Kamari, and Thirasia.

Passengers of a Catamaran enjoying there snorkelling session, Santorini
Passengers of a Catamaran enjoying there snorkelling session, Santorini

11. Shopping

Strolling along the streets of Oia, you’ll discover a vibrant array of art collections, sculptures, ceramics, souvenirs, handmade traditional artifacts, and jewelry, all infused with the essence of traditional Greek artistry. Oia and Imerovigli stand out as the primary shopping hubs, offering a delightful blend of tourist treasures and authentic Greek craftsmanship.

Markets in Oia
Markets in Oia

During the summer months, Santorini experiences a surge in tourism, resulting in bustling crowds and higher prices. However, by October, as the tourist season winds down, you may find that expenses ease up a bit, making it a more budget-friendly time to visit.

Tip –

Bargaining goes a long way 🙂

 

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