Best Things to do in Santorini
There are a few things in each holiday destination and every city that you should have experienced after you have left. This also holds true for Santorini, a small island in Greece with around 17,000 inhabitants. Even though you might not expect it, you might get lost without proper planning so we would like to give you some tips on the best things to do when discovering one of the most beautiful island in the world!
1. Explore Fira by Foot
Fira is Santorini’s core and actually really busy at times as there are a lot of cruise ships that fetch and drop tourists at the harbor daily. You might have seen pictures of Fira with its white color, lying at the edge of a volcano. So you should definitely make a visit and explore this beautiful area.
Over time, Fira has grown together with Firostefani and Imerovigli which you could easily access from Fira as well. Fun things to do around here are taking the cable car or a donkey to the famous harbor, checking out the Catholic Cathedral of St. John or simply enjoying the great views over sea and caldera from one of the many authentic restaurants and cafés.
2. Experience the Sunset in Oia
With the most beautiful sunset on the island, we recommend to see Oia, probably the most famous city and among the best things to do in Santorini. The small harbour of Oia called Ammoudi does not have cruise ships but still many tourists make a visit here to take pictures of the beautiful sea view and blue roofs on white buildings. There are only about 230 steps to get you down to the harbour so if you have time, get a closer look on it. The restaurants at Ammoudi also serve fresh fish that you should try!
It is a good idea to also see the local castle if you want to get a feeling of historic Greece. Afterwards, enjoying coffee with a view is a great way to spend your last hour here, which is reasonably priced even though the city of Oia in general is more expensive than Fira.
3. Rent a Quad Bike
Quad bikes have become a popular means of transportation in Santorini even though a lot of places can easily be discovered by foot. However, there are steep streets and mountainous areas which could be kind of exhausting. You may take another person with you on the quad bike and only pay around 30€ per day. As even locals are using quad bikes frequently, you might want to ask them for some tips for the best shops to rent from! With the quad bike you will easily find parking spots and generally have less problems on the small streets as the vehicle is very dynamic and easier to control than a car.
4. Visit the Excavation Sites of Akrotiri and Old Thera
Greece has a lot of ancient excavations but the best ones to see on Santorini are definitely Akrotiri with the Faros’ lighthouse close to it and Old Thera which you can find on the 370 meter high mountain Mesa Vouno. Akrotiri is a more popular place for tourists due to its accessibility and the fact that theres a building surrounding the site that protects from heat. However, Old Thera also has its merits as it does not only offer an interesting excavation site to see but also another great view with a different perspective over the sea, and the places Kamari and Perissa. However if you want to see Old Thera you should be prepared to climb for a bit, which is definitely worthwhile and one of the best things to do in Santorini.
5. Feel the Red Beach
When you see Akrotiri, we recommend to also see the so-called red beach or “Paralia Kokkini”. From Akrotiri you can easily get there by foot. The name of the beach originated from the red lava cliffs surrounding the beach. Even though this is not a common sand beach, the ground partly consists of dried algae which make it a comfortable place for lying and definitely a unique place to see with its special color. Many people also come here for swimming, so bring some suitable clothes!
6. Explore Pyrgos Kastillis
The village of Pyrgos is the highest place on the island and offers not only a great view, but also many small lovely streets. Even though Santorini often seems to have a lot of ancient elements, the front part of Pyrgos is quite modern. On the other hand, the back part is rather sleepy and you might get the feeling that time stopped here. A short walk is definitely worth it, as you can see sides of the village that you would not otherwise have expected. So take your time and have a look at Pyrgos Kastillis!
7. Lie on the Volcanic Beach of Perissa / Perivolos
Perivolos is a small district of Perissa which also has a very popular volcano beach that is a perfect place to sit back and relax! The beach stretches over several kilometers and offers you not only a black beach with its volcanic sand, but also an extremely clear sea where you can have some great time swimming. On the beach promenade you will find enough places to eat and drink after you spent some hours in the sun. A remarkable thing here is that the whole beach area is very clean and the locals are really putting efforts into preserving it.
8. Try Local Drinks
The bars and cafés on Santorini offer anything from coffee, cold drinks and ice cream but we suggest you also try the local smoothies and milkshakes to enjoy the easy-going life on Santorini and just relax. You might not expect it but the Santorini residents also know how to create different combinations of fruit, nuts and juices that make a unique flavor together. No matter what you call it, there are countless delicious creations of drinks that you absolutely must taste. You will not regret it!
Santorini Welcomes You
If you are thinking about visiting Santorini, we hope that the above tips give you some incentive to pack your suitcase and make a new experience. The island is truly beautiful with friendly locals and its many activities. We wish you a lot of fun when wandering around the ancient caldera and hope you will experience many of the best things to do in Santorini!