Freelance writer in Toronto. Globetrotter, aspiring yogi, beach lover, cheese eater, and avid reader.
If there was ever a destination that embodies the description of “postcard perfect,” it’s Santorini. Beautiful beaches, epic sunsets, towering cliffs, and Instagram-worthy views nearly everywhere you turn don’t usually disappoint even the most seasoned of travellers. But if you’re wondering what to do besides staring blissfully at whitewashed villages overlooking turquoise water – we have you covered. Our local Santorini guides have put together some of the best things to see and do in Santorini.
Explore caldera villages on foot
Put on your walking shoes and spend some time exploring the spectacular suspended villages located at the edge of the steep cliffs of Santorini’s caldera. Villages such as Oia, Imerovigli, Fira, and Firostefani offer amazing strolls around whitewashed alleyways, and incredible views from the caldera. However, if you feel like doing something a bit more active, the most scenic hike, without any doubt, is the 10-kilometre trail from Fira to Oia.
Hiking the Fira to Oia trail is the most unique way to experience the most dramatic corner of the Aegean Sea. Follow the stone path at the edge of caldera’s top where some of the most breathtaking views will be revealed to you.
Visit a boutique winery
With more than 18 wineries in such a small area, it’s safe to say that Santorini is a wine-lover’s paradise. Choose any of the boutique wineries on the island for a wine tasting, many of which can be found in central Santorini. Not only will you get to taste some seriously good wine, but also learn more about the island’s vineyards. Visiting an estate winery, you’ll have the opportunity to see for yourself the unique kouloura method, a specific technique of cultivation used in Santorini, wherein the vines are woven into continuous circles to form a basket as protection from harsh weather conditions.
Sail to volcanic islands
While in Santorini, you have the chance to visit two volcanic islands, Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni. A scenic boat trip out to the islands will put you up close and personal to the crater of an active volcano. In addition to hiking the islands, you’ll get to see incredible lava formations, smoking craters, and once-in-lifetime stunning views of Santorini. There also hot springs on the islands, known to have therapeutic properties.
Enjoy a Santorini sunset
Santorini is know for a lot of things, but one of the most noteworthy, are its epic sunsets. Settle in as the sun goes down (and have your camera ready). Your best bet is to view the sunset from one of Santorini’s caldera villages. Oia’s sunset may be the most famous, but as locals we suggest less crowded spots like Firostefani, Megalochari, or Akrotiri, which offer idyllic scenery lit up in a red-orange glow and violet haze. Santorini’s sunset is so spectacular that simply, you can’t miss it!
Explore inland Santorini off the beaten path
If you can tear yourself away from Santorini’s beaches, caldera views, and the charm of Oia, we highly recommend getting off the beaten path and heading inland to explore more of the island. In particular, the charming villages of Pyrgos, Emporio, and Exo Gonia, as well as other off the beaten path locations. Here, you can stroll narrow alleyways, mingle with locals, and discover some lesser-known gems on the island.
Admire Akrotiri, the “Greek Pompeii”
Visit the archeological site of Akrotiri, one of the Bronze Age’s most sophisticated and well-preserved settlements to get a glimpse of what life was like around 3500 years ago. Like Pompeii in Italy, a massive volcanic eruption thousands of years ago destroyed the Minoan town of Akrotiri, covering it with a thin layer of volcanic ash, and as a result, preserving its remains in remarkable condition. Follow the pathways among the ancient structures and clay buildings and imagine how inhabitants of the past might have lived during Minoan civilization.