11 Things to do in Santorini

No Greek vacation is complete unless you visit the romantic Island of Santorini.

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.

Things to do…

The most important part of any vacation is to plan what to do in a place which you are planning to visit. Santorini offers you a plethora of plans which might confuse you especially if you are there for a short period of time. Here we have listed some of the activities that you can indulge as per your interest.

1. Main streets of Oia and Imerovigli

This is the most famous part of the whole island, visited by every traveller. You can enjoy the best of views, great cafes and quick shopping in the main street. It also gives you lots of opportunities to capture the pricessless moments. Sunset of Oia is the most famous one. So do plan an evening with some wine by your side to get intoxicated with the colors of the sunset.

Imerovigli is another small village on the island boasting of quintessential views. The village is situated at the highest grounds on Caldera and hence the amazing views. You can go around the village and enjoy a panoramic sunset here as well.

2. Nea Kameni – Sailing around Santorini

In the middle of the caldera lie the burnt islets of Santorini which are small volcanic islands. While Nea Kameni is home to the active volcano, Pelaia Kameni is home to hotsprings. Both of them can be covered in a one excursion. There are many options for excursion that include – sailboats, cruise and catamarans.
A full day excursion includes – visit to the volcano and swimming near the hot springs, if you are interested. Lunch in Thirassia or on the boat while you admire the breathtaking views of the caldera and its magnificent sunset. One can also attempt to reach the highest point of the islet of Nea Kameni from where the active volcano is visible. Its a 30 min hike. Around the hot-springs lies a small gulf where one can attempt underwater swimming as well.

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 is the town situated at the other end of the island and is boasts of the largest excavated site of Santorini. Volcanic eruption that buried the island, in the process ended up preserving unique wall painting and frescoes that were brought to light during the excavations. You can visit ruins of Akrotiri in the archeological site present there. The excavations there are still undergoing. Many artefacts from there are housed in many museums across the country.

There are few known beaches around the area –

  • Akrotiri Beach
  • Red Beach
  • White Beach
  • Black Beach

You can hire a boat to cover all of them and can also swim there. We visited only the Red beach which can be approached by a small hike via Akrotiri beach and were lucky enough to witness a majestic sunset.

4. Beaches

As all across the Greece, Santorini also has lots of beaches but to be honest the island is much more than the beaches. But if you are interested and want to chill along a beach the few of them can be thought of. Some of them are:

Kamari Beach
Ammoudi Beach
Red Beach
Caldera Beach

Beaches in Santorini are not the usual fine sand beaches. Rather the sand here is more pebbly and either black or red in color.

5. Churches & Monastaries

The magnificent churches of Santorini mostly have white-washed walls and blue domes. But some of them like Aegios Geargios have yellow base as well. The town of Oia itself has more than 70 churches. Some of the most famous Churches worth visiting are – Aegios Georgios, Panagia Episkopi and Prophet Elias monastery which is the oldest of them all. It is located between Pyrgos and Kamari villages.

6. Wineries

Given the fact Dionysus was worshipped as the God of wine, wine making goes a long way in Greece. Some of the oldest vineyards and wineries are found in Santorini. Most of famous of them are:

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 wineries offer a guided tour, wine tasting, wine bar wherein you can enjoy your bottle of wine.

7. Museums

There are many museum worth visiting in Fira, especially if you are a history buff. While some of the museums enlighten on the history of the island, some of them are more about the excavation and archaeological findings, while some can make interesting stories connecting Atlantis and Santorini. Some of them being

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)

Tip: the timetable for these sites varies according to the seasons. Kindly check the timings before paying a visit.

8. Walk from Oia to Fira

There is a 13 km long trail between Oia and Fira that can be hiked if you are a trekker or someone looking for some walking activity. The route is quite beautiful with sea on one side which keeps you the company for more of the way. It takes around 3 hrs to complete the trail at a leisurely pace. So if you are someone looking for a quick adventure and has with ample amount of time at hand in Oia then this can be for you. We did a quick morning walk of around 4 KM on that route because we did not have enough time to complete it as we had to leave the island that day.

9. Port of Armeni

This is very small detour that you can take while strolling along the main street of Oia. Mostly you see shops and cafe and some view points along the scenic street, but if you are looking for something different then you can attempt to go all the way down to the port of Armeni. There are around 290 steps for it one way. There are signs put up on the street which help you take that route.

10. Diving & Water Activities

Santorini also offers you a divers marine life that can be explored with diving and snorkelling. You can dive into the shallow bay and explore beautiful settings and celebrated views of underwater rock formations and marvellous reefs, caverns and small caves alongwith underwater canyons. There are 4-5 diving sites with professional diving schools and clubs at the spot. These activities mostly happen around Nea Kameni, Akrotiri, Kamari and Thirasia.

11. Shopping

Along the street of Oia you find art collections, sculptures, ceramic, souvenirs, handmade traditional artefacts, jewellery – basically all sorts of tourist stuff with a touch of traditional greek art. Oia and Imerovigli are the major shopping hubs.

It gets quite during summers considering it is their main tourist season. By October the things might ease up a little on your pocket owing to the fact that its end of season there.
Tip – Bargaining goes a long way 🙂

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