Santorini Island (Thira) is a world-famous tourism destination in Greece, located in the Aegean Sea. With its white-washed houses, blue-domed chapels, well-kept and immaculate narrow streets, pleasant cafes and restaurants, beautiful design workshops, and luxury shops, the island is frequented by millions of tourists every year. There are many beautiful things to do in Santorini and fabulous beaches to visit.
Santorini, one of the most romantic destinations in the world, is an island of volcanic origin. The island has an indented geographical structure formed by the effect of lava and volcanic eruptions. The black fine-grained volcanic beaches of Santorini, the enchanting atmosphere of the villages of Fira and Oia, and the magnificent sunset leave a deep mark in the memories.
- 1 Things to Do in Santorini Greece
- 1.1 Places to Visit in Santorini
- 1.2 Best Beaches – Things to do In Santorini Island
- 1.3 Where to Stay?
Things to Do in Santorini Greece
It includes rich opportunities that will enable visitors from all age groups to have an enjoyable holiday experience. Therefore, travelers only have to prepare a list of places to visit in Santorini and make hotel reservations. I will share very detailed information throughout the list of places to visit in Santorini, but first, pay attention to the following issues;
Places to Visit in Santorini
Santorini Island is one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in Greece with its white houses, unique landscapes, and pristine beaches. There are many places to visit on this island, which is also famous for its ancient historical buildings and ancient cities.
The island of Santorini, which hosts the coolest and most beautiful scenery among the Greek Islands, is one of the places where more honeymooners plan a luxury holiday. But it is also one of the spots that is very popular for solo or family trips.
The island is mostly famous for its white-clad settlements such as Fira and Oia. These two areas are already known as the most beautiful places on the island and have the most unique sunset views on the island. But Santorini is much more than Fira and Oia.
Oia is one of the most beautiful villages to visit in Greece. Because the village reflects the elegance of Cycladic architecture with its narrow streets, blue-domed churches, and terraces ideal for watching the sunset. So visiting Oia is one of the best things to do in Santorini.
This region, which hosts a unique view, is the most popular region of the island, although it is mostly preferred for honeymoon vacations. The reason for this is the magnificent views that the region offers. If you are looking for a beautiful place, especially for the sunset view, we recommend that you take a look at Oia first.
Oia is located in the north of the island. If you want to sunbathe or swim in this settlement, which the locals call “Apanomerites”, you can take a look at the beaches called Armeni and Ammoudi.
There are many options to watch the sunset here. For example, you can sit in a nice restaurant and enjoy the sunset. But it is also useful to be careful when choosing a restaurant. Because some restaurants are very crowded during the sunset in Santorini.
You can also have a nice experience by participating in boat tours called “Sunset in Oia”. Although a little pricey, it is one of the best things to do in Oia.
By the way for hotels in Oia, check the booking website to make a reservation.
2- Fira (Thera)
Fira is located in the center of Santorini. It has the distinction of being the most lively residential area on the west side of the island.
Since it is built on the steep slope of the caldera, travelers who choose to spend time in the town have the opportunity to enjoy the exquisite scenery at any time of the day.
The settlement, which is only 7.5 kilometers away from the port where cruise ships frequently stop, attracts great attention, especially from travelers traveling to the island for the first time. Because in this part of the island, a lively nightlife awaits those who want to enjoy every moment of their vacation to the fullest, in addition to the breathtaking scenery and the masterful examples of Cycladic architecture.
Fira, which managed to escape unscathed from the earthquake that severely damaged many settlements in 1956, offers its guests valuable information about the state of the island before it came under Venetian and Ottoman rule. So you might want to visit Archaeological Museum of Santorini.
In addition to the cultural facility with a wonderful collection focused on a wide period from ancient times to Roman times, you can also include the Megaron Gyzi Museum in your travel program. Thus, you can have an idea about Fira before and after the earthquake.
After visiting both museums, you can head towards religious buildings with a remarkable architecture, including Agios Minas, Panagia ton Dominikanidon and Panagia tou Rodariou.
If you have enough time, you can take your place on the tour boats that depart from Gialos Port, which was once the center of maritime activities in Santorini. Thus, you can have the opportunity to see the islets of Nea and Palia Kameni.
Imerovigli is 3.5 kilometers north of Fira. You can have the opportunity to spend time in Imerovigli, which is one of the most ideal places to watch the view of the caldera on the island.
This place is built on a steep slope just like the center of the island. In fact, there is not much difference between the two regions in terms of architecture. However, considering the atmosphere, I can easily say that Imerovigli is much calmer than Fira.
On the terraces of Imerovigli, you can enjoy the magnificent view. These large terraces, which the locals call the “Balcony Opening to the Aegean”, were built to warn the villagers against external dangers.
Apart from these terraces, you can also go up to the top of the rock called Skaros to watch the view and take photos. The Venetians, who took control of the island in the Middle Ages, built a castle on the summit of this rock in 1207. However, the military structure was abandoned to its fate in the 19th century and soon turned into ruins.
Imerovigli is also considered among the most popular accommodation areas on the island. Considering its location close to Fira and its calmness, an advantageous region profile emerges.
Because you can go to Fira at any time during the daytime and visit places such as the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Archaeological Museum of Thera, Megaro Gizi, Mati Art Gallery, and in the evening you can return to the village and sit in one of the restaurants with a stunning view and have your dinner with pleasure.
Another fascinating residential area that I would strongly suggest you add to your list of places to visit in Santorini is Firostefani, the Crown of Fira. So exploring Firastefani is one of the things to do in Santorini.
As you can easily understand from its name, this place was established as an extension of the center of the island. With its scenery and architecture, Firostefani is an amazing place like Fira. Moreover, in addition to these aspects, it offers its guests affordable accommodation and the opportunity to get to know the local life in all its reality.
The center of Firostefani, decorated with narrow streets, whitewashed houses, and blue-roofed churches, never sends those who want to get to know the riches of the island empty-handed.
On top of that, travelers who prefer to spend time here encounter unique opportunities to get to know the natural beauties of Santorini. If you also intend to pursue these opportunities, when you go to Firostefani, you can first take a stroll on the Ekklisia Theoskepasti hiking trail.
Then you can visit Parque Naturel Geológico Nacional De Nea Kameni. When you follow the road from Firostefani to Imerovigli, you can reach the Agios Nikolaos Monastery, which has been converted into a museum with an impressive collection reflecting the local culture.
Pyrgos is about 4.5 kilometers southeast of Fira. It stands out with its historical atmosphere and is charming and self-contained.
Unlike most settlements on the island, the village is not built directly on a hillside by the sea, but on the slopes of a hill a little further back.
However, this situation did not create a situation that would prevent watching the impressive Aegean view. On the contrary, with the effect of its gastronomic riches, Pyrgos Kallistis has become one of the most important stops for touristic trips on the island.
All the houses were built to surround the Venetian Castle in the middle of the settlement. As a result, the village takes on the identity of a place that reflects the influence of the Middle Ages rather than the Cycladic style.
The Venetian Castle is also the most popular spot in Pyrgos, which stands out with its natural beauty as well as its historical texture. Since the building was built in the 13th century, many travelers visit Theotokaki Church, which is decorated with beautiful frescoes.
Kamari is a famous place with its beaches. It hosts beautiful Santorini Beaches. The village attracts great attention from travelers who want to spend their holidays with pleasure. Because after a day spent enjoying the sea, visitors have the opportunity to focus on different activities after the sunset.
When you reach Kamari, you can first head to the long beach covered with black sand. At the beach, which covers the entire coastline of the settlement with a modern look, you can either swim or sunbathe. Also, you can find the chance to explore the rich underwater life of the Aegean through diving schools.
After spending time at the beach during the day, I suggest you take a pleasant journey towards the upper reaches of the majestic Mesa Vouno in the evening. In this way, you can both visit the ruins from ancient times on the island and watch the sunset view.
When you return to the village in the evening, you can have fun with traditional Greek music near the seaside. To spend time in a quieter environment, you can head to the movie theaters.
On your way to Kamari, you can stop by Vothonas and have the opportunity to visit the Wine Museum. The museum displays a wonderful collection that sheds light on the history of wine production on the island.
Just like Kamari, Perissa is a coastal settlement in the southeast of the island. Located on the south side of Mesa Vouno, the village actually resembles its neighbor to the north of the mountain in many ways.
In other words, it has a wonderful beach, many places to shop, and countless opportunities for activities. However, when it comes to entertainment, Perissa offers its guests a much more colorful atmosphere than Kamari.
Most of travelers prefer to spend most of their time on the black sand beach when they come to Perissa. Thus, in addition to standard activities such as swimming and sunbathing, they do not miss the opportunity to engage in water sports.
The fact that the beach in Perissa attracts great attention is actually related to Perivolos, which plays an important role. Because entertainment lovers have the privilege of having a pleasant time in nightclubs, restaurants, taverns, and bars.
Although it stands out with its entertainment-oriented content, Perissa actually appeals to those who enjoy cultural trips. If you like this kind of excursion, you can make your first visit to the Mineral and Fossil museums in the village. You can even add the Church of the Holy Cross and Panagia Katefiani to your list.
Having a quiet atmosphere, Karterádos is established in the upper parts of a valley where vineyards line up one after the other and dominate the eastern shores of the island. Therefore, the scenery here is simply unique. The cave houses and windmills in the region are the perfect backdrops for the photos.
When it comes to places to visit, the Second World War Monument comes to mind first in Karterádos. There are also many churches and chapels worth seeing, especially the Ascension Church in the village.
If you want to swim while spending time in the village, you can turn your route to Karterádos or Exo Gialos Beach. So exploring Karterados is one of the best things to do in Santorini Island.
Megalochori has a traditional lifestyle and architecture. It is also known for its lively atmosphere. Travelers visit this part of the island mostly in the evening. Thus, visitors have the opportunity to take pictures of the exquisite sunset views and try great delicacies in traditional taverns.
While we have mentioned the gastronomic riches of the village, you should not skip wine production. Especially Boutaris, Gavalas, and Antoniou offer their guests wines with exquisite aromas. So eating Greek food is one of the things to do in Santorini.
While wandering the cobbled streets of Megalochori, you can see the Neo-Classical style houses reflecting the originality of Cycladic architecture. In some parts of the village, you may even come across old cave houses with solid wooden doors and high walls.
These houses were built in the 17th century with the belief that they could provide extra protection against the danger of pirates. If you feel tired during the tour, you can take a break at a point that reveals the wonderful view of the caldera and Serbarli Island.
Akrotiri is another beautiful place to visit in Santorini Island Greece. It is a place like almost abandoned to its fate. However, the village continues to be one of the favorites of experienced travelers with its geographical location and historical places within its borders.
Akrotiri was built on a peninsula. It is a very silent village. Therefore, the most important activity to do while spending time here is to watch the magnificent view of the caldera and the volcano.
Moreover, most of the hotels in the region, are the favorite of travelers who want to have a holiday away from crowded.
There are two important archaeological sites you can visit in Akrotiri. The first of these areas is the ancient city of Akrotiri, which gave its name to the settlement. The other is the medieval castle called La Ponta.
If you go up to the 13th-century tower in the middle of the castle, you can enjoy the view much more comfortably. So visiting Akrotiri is one of the interesting things to do in Santorini.
Best Beaches – Things to do In Santorini Island
One of the fun things to do in Santorini is swimming at the beautiful beaches on the island. If you do not have a chance to go to tropical islands like the Philippines, Thailand, Hawaii, etc, you can spend your summer here. You will enjoy swimming and sunbathing here.
The island is like heaven in Europe. As an option, you can also visit Budva Montenegro during the summertime. Anyway here is the list of beautiful beaches on Santorini Island.
1- Red Beach
Red Beach is a few steps from Akrotiri Ancient City. The beach takes its name from the color of the volcanic rocks around it.
The beach occupies a very small area. However, due to its appearance and accessibility, it gets very crowded in summer.
2- Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach is famous for its beautiful and fun water sports. There are also 2 diving centers on this beach. So if you are interested in diving, you can take a look here.
Perissa Beach is one of the most famous beaches of Santorini with its black volcanic sandy beach. Especially this beach is very crowded between May and October. So swimming at Perissa Beach is one of the best things to do in Santorini in the summer season.
3- Kamari Beach
If you like the lively atmosphere, you can add Kamari Beach to your list of places to visit in Santorini to enjoy the sea.
The beach also attracts attention with its black sandy beach. It has an extremely impressive appearance thanks to the glow of the rocks in the moonlight. It also draws attention with its diversity in terms of water sports opportunities.
4- Perivolos Beach
Perivolos Beach is the largest black sandy beach on the island. It is located 3 kilometers away from Perissa.
There are many hotels and restaurants around this beach, which offer many options for water sports enthusiasts.
5- Vlychada Beach
Vlychada Beach is located in the south of the island. It arouses interest with the rock formations covering its back side. Its small pier is frequently used by fishing boats and yachts in summer.
You can easily reach this quiet beach by taking the buses from Vlychada village to Fira. So if you have time, one of the things to do in Santorini is visiting Vlychada Beach.
6- Ammoudi Beach
Neighboring Oia’s historic port, Ammoudi Beach is a bit difficult to reach. But it is a very enjoyable place to spend time.
There is actually no beach here. However, this situation does not prevent those who want to dive into the crystal clear waters of the Aegean. Because various wrecks await divers in the depths of the bay.
7- Almyra Beach
Almyra Beach is located within the borders of Akrotiri. It is preferred by travelers who want to swim and sunbathe in calmness.
There are no facilities around the beach. However, there is a tavern where you can spend time and try Greek food and fresh seafood.
8- White Beach
Another natural wonder beach that you can add to your list of places to visit in Santorini is White Beach. It awaits those who want to enjoy the sea close to Akrotiri.
Although it is right next to Red Beach, the rock formations here attract attention with their white color.
9- Monolithos Beach
Monolithos Beach is located very close to Kamari Beach. The beach attracts the attention of local people and families with its calm atmosphere.
There are sun loungers and umbrellas on a part of the beach. There are also gyms and children’s playgrounds around the beach. So it is also a good beach for families with children.
10- Cape Columbo Beach
Cape Columbo Beach is ideal for those who want to enjoy the sea away from the eyes. It is located 4 kilometers from Oia. The main reason why the beach is secluded even in summer is that transportation can only be provided by rental car or motorcycle.
If you are a master swimmer, you can go to the east of the beach. And then you can see the remains of the crater that gave the beach its name.
Where to Stay?
The most beautiful areas to stay in Santorini: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, Kamari, Perissa, Firostefani, Pyrgos and Akrotiri region.
There are many hotel options for every budget where you can stay in Santorini. But I would like to give a nice 5-star hotel recommendation for those who are thinking of staying in the center of the island, namely in Fira, the name of the facility is Orama Hotel & Spa.
Located just a short walk from Ira and the Caldera, the property has a massive 9.0 out of 10 rating on Booking.com as a result of nearly 250 visitor reviews.
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