The Best Things To Do In Santorini
If you’ve ever seen breathtaking images of the Greek Isles, there’s a good chance it’s been Santorini that has caught your eye. Located in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is situated within the Cyclades islands and its beautiful topography was reshaped during the 16th century after a volcanic eruption. There are such quintessential aspects of Santorini, which makes it one of the most recognizable destinations within the entire world – beautiful whitewashed buildings complemented with bright blue rooftops, set into the cliff-side overlooking picture-perfect Mediterranean waters, there is no wonder why Santorini is one of the highly sought-after destinations for romantic getaways and honeymoons.
Out of all the Greek islands, Santorini is one of the most visited – seeing more than one million tourists each year. Between the natural beauty and the welcoming people of Santorini, this island is surely going to remain a top destination in the decades to come, and while many travellers visit for relaxation and lounging on the picture-perfect beaches, there’s so many other things on offer that many of them are often overlooked!
In this blog I want to list my favourite things to do in Santorini, for the next time you are there. Maybe you want to travel there from Europe for the weekend, or maybe you’re coming from across the world on a Greek island-hopping tour? Whatever the reason, the activities listed below are some of the best things on offer in Santorini, and should not be missed!
TAKE THE PICTURESQUE FIRA TO OIA HIKE
Most people travel to Santorini to relax in luxury and to watch the magical sunset each night from the clifftop bars and restaurants overlooking the ocean, but if you want something more than that, the best way to experience the island is by making the hike along the caldera from Fira to Oia! Arguably one of the most spectacular and beautiful hikes you will ever make, the Fira to Oia trek will take you through some of the small villages of Santorini, along the rugged cliff-faces of the caldera, and onwards to the world-famous town of Oia. This picturesque walk generally takes between 3-5 hours to complete, depending on your intensity, and the trails are well marked so there is no need to take a guided tour!
You will experience, without doubt, some of the best views on the island, as well as the pristine, untouched landscapes and natural terrains, all of which you won’t ever get to see if you stay on the mainstream tourist trail. There is no other way of saying it – the Fira to Oia Hike is one of the best experiences on the island and should be at the very top of anyone’s list of things to do in Santorini!
ENJOY THE VIEWS AND WATCH THE MAGNIFICENT SUNSET FROM THE CALDERA
How many sunsets have you seen in your lifetime? Hundreds, I bet! Well let me tell you, you’ve never seen a sunset quite like the one you’ll experience from the caldera of Santorini. It is quite literally, EPIC! You might want to get there early though; as you could probably imagine, a sunset this amazing is sure to draw a crowd, and the best viewing points can get rather busy in anticipation!
From the tip of the island in Oia, right through to the capital of Fira, people line the streets and pack into the many bars and restaurants just to experience its beauty, and when it’s at its best, there is nothing quite like it!
VISIT OIA – THE MOST PHOTGRAPHED LOCATION IN GREECE
When people think about the beautiful Greek Island of Santorini, or even the Greek Islands in general, the picturesque town of Oia is usually what they envisage. One of the most photographed travel destinations in all of Greece, Oia is situated at the peak of the caldera, with uninhibited views of what is arguably one of the best sunset views on earth. Postcard-perfect in every way, luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and boutique shops, all painted a flawless and perfect white, line the cobblestoned streets. This is truly one of Greece’s finest and most famous island towns and it should not be missed!
ENJOY A SEAFOOD LUNCH ON THE WATERFRONT OF AMOUDI BAY
Once you have finished at the top of the cliffs in Oia, you should make your way down to the waterfront of Amoudi Bay. Amoudi Bay is a small fishing port located about 300-steps below the main town, and is known mostly for its spectacular seafood restaurants, which rest directly on the waterfront. When the time comes to grab yourself a bite to eat for either lunch or dinner, there really is no better place on the island to dine. There are several seafood tavernas to choose from in Amoudi Bay, but my favourite, without doubt, is Dimitris Amoudi Taverna – make sure you call ahead to reserve a table!
SWIM IN THE CRYSTAL-CLEAR WATERS OF THE RED BEACH
Take a break from touring Santorini and catch the public bus from Fira to the fabulous Red Beach for the day. It’s certainly different here, with deep red sand and a landscape that is almost lunar – magnificent red rock mountains surround this picturesque cove. Swim In the crystal-clear water and sunbake on the rocks that form natural platforms; there is nothing to do here but sit back and enjoy life!
TAKE A TRIP TO THE ISLAND OF THIRASSIA
The pristine Greek wonderland of Thirassia is a place where time stands still and natural beauty abounds in every direction you look. Just a short boat ride the mainland of Oia, you can explore the magnificent scenery and the spectacular natural terrains, or hike the pristine trails to enjoy the amazing views from the islands highest point. If that’s not enough to get you there, the best part about this island is the people, or lack-there-of! With an almost non-existent permanent population, and relatively small tourist crowds, this nearly-deserted authentic paradise is the perfect place to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of Santorini and just relax in peace for the day!
SIP COCKTAILS ON PERISSA BEACH (THE BLACK BEACH)
Perissa Beach, often referred to as the “Black Beach,” is located in the small town of Perissa, on the Greek Island of Santorini. Given the name the “Black Beach” due to its dark coarse black sand, you will find both crystal-clear water to swim, and row upon row of sunbeds adoring its shoreline. Come and relax for the day as you enjoy a cocktail and meal, and take in the spectacular scenery which graces this famous volcanic coastline of Santorini.
SPEND AN AFTERNOON SHOPPING & DINING IN THE CAPITAL – FIRA
The capital of Santorini – Fira – is both a picturesque and charming village, and an incredibly popular spot for tourists! If the presence of several cruise ships signals big crowds, head to the museums and explore the ancient history of the region. On the caldera side of the town you can enjoy spectacular views, and when the crowds subside, you are free to stroll the streets and enjoy the many beautiful cafes on offer! If you’re not already staying here, why not come for the day to enjoy some of the fantastic shopping on offer, and then stay for a tasty meal and a few drinks at one of the many restaurants and bars overlooking the ocean!
CHECK OUT THE AMAZING SANTORINI VOLCANO
For a fun day out with a smorgasbord of amazing experiences, take a boat trip and explore the wild beauty of the Santorini Volcano, with a guided tour that takes you through the history and challenges of this spectacular region. See the volcano, swim at the hot springs, and enjoy the magnificent views of the villages perched on the cliffs.
GO BACK IN TIME TO ANCIENT THIRA
The amazing history of Ancient Thira is yours to explore, sitting on the ridge of Messa Vouno. Going back to the ninth-century BC, the site was first used by Spartans, and then several centuries later as a naval base for the Egyptians. Excavated in the late 1800’s, stroll through the ruins of temples, houses, and markets, and gaze at surviving examples of the pottery of the ancient times!
RELAX ON THE BLACK SANDS OF KAMARI BEACH (THE BLACK BEACH)
Come to Kamari Beach for a relaxing day of enjoyment! With volcanic sand and clear waters, the scene is set for swimming and snorkelling, and the bars and restaurants provide for all tastes in food and drink. Explore the art and craft stalls, and make the most of all of the facilities that are available to you. Kamari Beach is just good fun, where the natural beauty of the region is matched by a pleasant blend of places to eat and drink.
BATH IN THE WARM WATERS OF THE SANTORINI HOT SPRINGS
Take a boat trip to the Santorini Hot Springs and swim in the beautiful therapeutic waters which bubble along between thirty and thirty-five degrees Celsius. The springs are located on an uninhabited islet called Palea Kameni and have an orange tinge from the sulphur. This is a fantastic way to relax for a few hours!
LET THE STRESS OF REGULAR LIFE FADE AWAY ON PERIVOLOS BEACH
At Perivolos Beach you can do as much or little as you wish, it’s the sort of beach that caters for every taste! Just relax on the sand, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or take to the water sports such jet skiing or windsurfing. There are plenty of beach bars if you just want to while away the day, and the walk along the promenade is a pleasant way to take in the surrounding sights!
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