The Greek island of Santorini is known to be one of the best places for a relaxing holiday. Keen tourists visit the island each year and there is a good reason for that – Santorini has everything! Black, red, and white beaches, volcanic islands, archaeological sites, and rock formations. On top of that, there are classy restaurants, quaint cafes, and luxurious hotels with incredible views. But if you’re short on time, what are the best places to visit in Santorini? Keep reading because we’ll cover some of the top attractions and areas on the island.

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1. Fira – Oia Hiking Trail

Hiking the Oia to Fira trail is a must when visiting Santorini. While hiking along the Caldera cliff, you will witness some of Santorini’s best beauties. This hiking trail is 10 kms (6 miles) long and it takes approximately 1-4 hours to complete. It consists of paved, pedestrian streets and dirt hiking trails. While hiking, you will go through Firostefani and Imerovigli before reaching your final destination. There are trail markers along the way but they are few and far between. So here is a tip to help you stay in the right direction – Always keep the sea to your left! You could hike early in the morning in order to avoid the exhausting sun. But, the amazing sunset in the late afternoon is also worth the wait.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Duration: 1-4 hours
  • Prices: Free
  • Location: Fira to Oia Trail, Santorini

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2. Oia’s Main Street

Oia’s main street is justifiably one of the most famous places on the island. It is a beautiful promenade. You will find luxury clothing brands, jewelry shops, boutique hotels, souvenir shops, and restaurants. As you explore, admire the whitewashed houses, the blue church domes, and the marble pathways. Enjoy marvelous views on each corner of the street. The view becomes exotic when the sun sets – You don’t want to miss it! Bring a camera with you, because there are some great photo opportunities along the way. The street might get overcrowded at sunset, so if you want to take the perfect shot, be patient.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Prices: Free
  • Location: Oia, Santorini

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3. Three Bells of Fira

The Three Bells of Fira is the most photographed motif in all of Fira. Despite the name, this attraction is located in Firostefani and not in Fira. It is officially known as The Catholic Church of the Dormition. It is famous for the three bells, the blue dome, and the amazing view. On arrival, the scenery and setting will look much better than the pictures. The view is just breathtaking! The three bells are placed above the caldera with infinite blue in the background. No need to say that at sunset, the view is extraordinary.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 24/7
  • Duration: 1 hours
  • Prices: Free
  • Location: Fira, Santorini

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4. Akrotiri Archaeological Site

The Akrotiri Archaeological site is one of the most important sites in the Aegean. If you are a history buff, this will be a highlight of your trip. The ruins are more than 4,000 years old. A big roof covers the entire site in order to protect it from bad weather conditions. Akrotiri is also referred to as the “Greek Pompeii” because it was also buried under volcanic ash. The information on the display panels doesn’t always do it justice. So your best option is to get a guide. Combine your visit here with a quick swim on Red Beach. It’s only 250 meters away.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8am-8pm
  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Prices: Tours from $42 USD
  • Location: South of Akrotiri village

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5. Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera might be a bit tiring to get to but it’s definitely worth visiting. It is located between Kamari and Perissa Beach. The city was created in the 9th century BC by the Spartans. In ancient Thera, you can find elegant Hellenistic shops and some awesome Byzantine Walls. The view from the top compensates for the exhausting trip. You will have fun while going up the mountain by renting an ATV. If you are planning to walk up, be prepared for a long day. Bring water, wear good shoes and don’t forget your hat. Finally, there is also a spring inside a cave which adds to this unique sight.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am-3:30pm
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Prices: Tours from $160 USD
  • Location: East of Santorini, between Kamari Beach and Perissa beach

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6. Monastery of Profitis Ilias

The monastery of Profitis Illias is located on the highest point of the whole island. If the day is sunny, you can enjoy the panoramic view. The whole island is visible from up there. The road to the monastery is winding, narrow, and at times, busy. But while driving up, you can set eyes on vast vineyards and mountainous landscapes. At the top of the monastery, it is very windy so be careful when standing near the edges. The monastery is huge, one of the biggest in Santorini. It is open during religious celebrations, and only then, you can see it from the inside. But don’t worry, the external building structure is still a great photo opportunity.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-4pm
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Prices: Free entry
  • Address: Epar.Od. Pirgou Kallistis – Profiti Ilia 10, Pirgos Kallistis 847 00, Greece

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7. Nea Kameni

Nea Kameni is the youngest islet in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is only 450 years old. You’ll find it in the middle of the Caldera, right next to Palea Kameni. In the islet, you will find craters and black volcano stones. Many visitors go to the hot springs where you’ll find yellow waters, said to be healing. If you want to reach the top of the islet then you should be prepared. Wear good shoes and have lots of water. At the top, there is an astonishing view of Fira and Oia hanging on the cliffs. If you are seeking sunset beauties, you can always take a sunset tour to Nea Kameni.

  • Duration: 3-5 hours
  • Prices: Tours from $24 USD
  • Location: Island near Santorini

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8. Thirasia

Thirasia is a version of Santorini that has remained untouched by touristic development. The island takes you back to when Santorini was still a hidden treasure waiting to be found. There, you can experience the authentic Greek life of the locals. You can get there by taking a tour from a local travel company. There aren’t many hotels or restaurants. Instead, you will find traditional tavernas, cafes, and ice cream shops. Many fish tavernas are by the sea and offer amazing views both day and night.

  • Duration: 4-10 hours
  • Prices: Tours from $31 USD
  • Location: Island near Santorini

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9. Hot Springs at Palea Kameni

The hot springs of Palea Kameni are not meant for everyone. First of all, you have to know how to swim. The boat will drop you off in the Aegean Sea, about 150 meters from the hot springs. It is a long swim and if you are not experienced, you shouldn’t try it. The hot springs are full of sulfur and other minerals. It’s best to wear a dark-colored swimsuit because the minerals will stain lighter colors. They are known for their healing properties. The small church by the hot springs makes the place really special.

  • Duration: 3-5 hours
  • Prices: Tours from $100 USD
  • Location: island near Santorini

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10. Red Beach

The red beach is considered a rare site, one of the most unique places in the world. You have to walk for about 10-15 minutes in order to get there. Your other option is to access the beach by boat. There are many tours offering trips to this wonderful beach. The waters are cold and clean, perfect for swimming. Admire the big red rocks while you are sitting on this scenic beach. This palette of colors will mesmerize you. There are no water sports, but you can go snorkeling. Discover many small caves and the beach’s rich marine life.

  • Duration: 1-5 hours
  • Prices: Free
  • Location: South coast near Akrotiri

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11. White Beach

The white beach is well-known for its wild beauty. It is not populated and people come here to find peace and quiet. You can access the beach by boat from Akrotiri port. While it doesn’t have the general sandy feel, there are many small white rocks – a typical Cyclades beach!  The only facilities on the beach are a canteen and some umbrellas. Remember to bring the essentials with you including a hat and sunscreen. This is a great walk for couples on a romantic date.

  • Duration: 1-5 hours
  • Prices: Free
  • Location: South coast near Akrotiri

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12. Kamari Beach

Kamari Beach is an attraction visited by everybody in Santorini. Characterized by its black sand, this volcanic beach is a very unique landscape. Umbrellas are placed everywhere but there is also free space if you want to place your own. The waters are cold and clean – You will love swimming here. The most developed water sports club is also located in Kamari Beach. You can try scuba diving, snorkeling, jet skiing, tubing, and stand-up paddleboarding. If you get hungry or thirsty, Kamari Beach has you covered. Many beach bars and restaurants are operating right next to the beach.

  • Duration: 1-5 hours
  • Prices: Free
  • Location: East coast on Santorini, near airport.

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13. Skaros Rock

Skaros is a rocky headland located near Imerovigli. The views from Skaros Rock are astonishing and are literally a treat to one’s eyes. There is a well-defined trail that connects Skaros with Imerovigli. Like many places in Santorini, the view at sunset will be incredible. Around the rock, you can find many bars and restaurants. This rock is the perfect place for a wedding ceremony. So don’t be surprised if you see brides and grooms preparing for a memorable photography session.

  • Duration: 10-20 minutes
  • Prices: Free
  • Location: Imerovigli, Santorini

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Best Santorini Day Trips To Other Islands

Santorini is just one of the various Greek Islands that you can explore. If you fancy seeing more of this archipelago, you can catch a boat to visit some outstanding island locations. The three volcanic islands of Nea, Palea Kameni, and Thirasia are popular destinations. Various ferries, boats, and sailboat tours leave daily from Thira Santorini Port or from the Athinios Ferry Port.

  • NeaIt’s a small island surrounding a rugged volcanic crater. Nea is known for its lava rock cliffs and yellow/orange thermal waters. The natural hot springs make it a popular destination for day cruises.
  • Palea KameniAn underground volcano created a thermal hot spring off the coast of this small island. It’s only accessible after a short swim from a tour boat. But its sulfur and other minerals are said to cure the skin and the joints.
  • ThirasiaThis small island near Santorini is still untouched by development and tourists. It’s pretty beaches and historic stone villages make it a popular destination. Visitors love the traditional Greek tavernas, cafes, and small ice cream shops.

Best Places To See Santorini Sunsets

Santorini is one of the best places in the world to watch the sunset. There are prime spots for sunsets scattered all over the island. But the Caldera villages on the west coast have the best views. Here are a few options to make the most of Santorini sunset viewing:

  • Fira – Oia Hiking TrailThis is one of Greece’s most beautiful walks, along the rim of Santorini’s dormant volcano. It’s a 3–4-hour hike, and it’s even better at sunset. The end of the trail in Oia is best for watching, so you’ll have to leave Fira in the afternoon.
  • Three Bells of FiraThis is a Greek Catholic Church in Santorini, known for its three bells and beautiful views. It’s set above the cliffs that are all along the island’s west coast. Only a 10-minute hike from Fira, it’s a popular spot to view the island’s famous sunsets.
  • Skaros RockOne of Santorini’s most popular landmarks, this black lava cliff rises 65 feet above the sea. It’s a cool viewpoint at the end of a very short well-marked hike. And if you’re a sunset lover, it’s an ideal spot to watch the sun drop into the Aegean.
  • Sunset Cruises For a 360-degree experience, book one of Santorini’s many sunset cruises. While the sun sinks in the west, the island’s whitewashed buildings glow in the fading light. Departing early afternoon, many of these cruises offer snorkeling, plus dinner and drinks.
  • Hotels With Caldera ViewsOne way to enjoy the sunset, is from the private balcony or terrace of your hotel suite. Many Santorini hotels offer private suites and villas overlooking the caldera. Imagine soaking in your own hot tub, while sipping champagne and enjoying an incredible Santorini sunset. Oia and Fira are two of the most popular areas for sunsets.

Best Things To Do In Santorini At Night

Santorini at night is an experience like no other. If you’re looking for a memorable night out, this Greek paradise has it all. You’re surrounded by fine food, local wines, unique entertainment, and most of all a vibrant nightlife. Here are some of the best things to do at night in Santorini:

  • The Greek Wedding ShowYou’re part of an interactive show, where you’re the guest at a real 1940’s Greek wedding. It’s a musical show complete with Greek dancing, music, and breaking plates. You’ll celebrate with unlimited wine and appetizers on a traditional Greek patio.
  • Open Air Cinema KamariThis open-air theater presents Class A movies with modern sound and projection in a garden setting. Considered one of the world’s best open-air theaters, it’s popular with locals and visitors. It features a full cocktail bar, local beer, and wine, plus refreshments, including snacks and ice cream.
  • Cocktail Bars – Santorini features some exceptional cocktail bars, with superb cocktails, and breathtaking views. The Tropical Bar in Fira is a great place for drinks, music, and sunset views. Another option is the PK Bar in Oia, offering handcrafted cocktails and the best views. But you’ll need to book a table if you want to see the sunset.
  • Nightclubs – Whether you’re looking for the best beats, elegant surroundings, or a beachside party, Santorini’s nightclubs cater to a variety of tastes. Fira’s Koo Club is legendary with amazing drinks and different music options on every floor. For an elegant night out, Oia’s Town Club attracts a fashionable crowd, with handcrafted cocktails and live music performances.

Best Time To Visit Santorini

Santorini with its breathtaking sunsets and island views is a dream destination. However, choosing the right time to visit is key to enjoying your best experience. Whether you’re looking for sunny beach days or a peaceful escape, here are the best times to visit.

  • Summer (June to August) – Santorini is most popular during this time, attracting travelers from around the world. With warmer temperatures, it’s the best time for the beach, nightlife, and enjoying the sunsets. But there are also larger crowds and higher hotel prices.
  • Shoulder Seasons (April to May & September to October) – These are ideal times to visit with mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower prices. The pleasant weather is perfect for exploring the island, and you’ll still enjoy a perfect sunset. With no crowds, you can sample the island’s cuisine without waiting for a table.
  • Winter (November to March) – Santorini’s winter season is ideal for those seeking a peaceful getaway. Some tourist services may be limited, but you can enjoy the island without the crowds. Expect cooler temperatures and you can take advantage of lower accommodation rates.
  • Weekdays or Weekends – When planning a trip to Santorini, choosing to visit on a weekday or weekend can impact your experience. Weekdays are less crowded which means some hotels may have lower rates. There’ll be more availability at restaurants too. Weekends are livelier with people enjoying the nightlife. It’s also the best time for festivals or special events.

Getting Around Santorini

When it comes to getting around Santorini, there are several transportation options available. Whether you’re looking for convenience or affordability, there are plenty of ways to navigate the island. These are the best ways to get around Santorini.

  • Public Transport – Santorini’s public bus system is a reliable and affordable way to get around the island. The main terminal is in Fira and connects to all the popular destinations. Although they can get crowded during peak seasons, they offer visitors the best option to enjoy scenic routes.
  • Taxis – Taxis are a convenient mode of transportation when traveling a short distance. They can be found at taxi stands or booked via phone apps. Taxis can be in high demand during peak hours or in popular areas, so be prepared for long waits.
  • Car Rental – Renting a car gives you more flexibility to explore Santorini. Rental agencies can be found throughout the island, offering a range of car options to suit your needs.
  • Cruises & Ferries – Santorini cruises and ferries are available to explore nearby islands. With the Aegean Sea as a backdrop, these water-based options offer a scenic and memorable experience.

How Many Days To Spend In Santorini

How many days visitors spend in Santorini varies, depending on preferences, available time, and budget. The normal stay is 3-5 days, exploring and experiencing the island’s attractions. For cruise ship passengers, your stay is limited to 6-10 hours, so we included an itinerary for you. Here’s a daily breakdown of suggested activities for cruise passengers and long-stay tourists.

  • Day 1 [for cruise passengers] – Take the tender boat or cable car to Fira. Then take some time exploring the city and admiring the views. Grab a taxi to Oia, enjoy lunch in a charming café, then stay on for their spectacular sunsets.
  • Day 2 – Take a caldera cruise to the neighboring islands and be sure to swim in the hot springs. Next are the volcanic sands of Red Beach, followed by wine tasting at the local wineries.
  • Day 3 – Spend the day at one of Santorini’s beautiful black sand beaches. At Kamari or Perissa, you can indulge in various watersports, or relax at one of the beachfront cafes.
  • Day 4 – Hike or take a taxi up to the ancient ruins of Thera where you’ll enjoy panoramic views. Then visit the village of Pyrgos with its winding alleys and historic castle.
  • Day 5 – Spend your last day shopping in Fira and Oia. You’ll find a wide range of artwork, jewelry, and traditional products to take home as souvenirs. Then enjoy a farewell dinner and one last sunset in Oia.

Where To Stay In Santorini


Canaves Oia Epitome – Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Oia is a village on the northern tip of Santorini, known for its panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and Santorini Caldera. Visitors stroll its cobblestone streets, lined with boutique shops, charming cafes, and restaurants. Oia is especially known for its spectacular sunsets and attracts the most crowds during the week. Hundreds gather every night to watch the changing colors as the sun dips into the Aegean. Here are some highly-rated hotels in Oia.

  • Canaves Oia Epitome [for families]With two, three, and five-bedroom pool villas it’s ideal for families. It’s the only property on Santorini with sea and sunset views from each of its villas and suites. There’s a variety of activities, including nearby beaches, an outdoor pool, plus private sailing and yacht tours. (Official site)
  • Andronis Boutique Hotel [for couples] If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in Oia, look no further than Andronis Boutique Hotel. They offer a variety of intimate suites with private pools, hot tubs, and romantic sunset views. Couples can also enjoy the outdoor pool, hotel spa, and private candlelight dinners at Lauda restaurant. (Official site)
  • Christos Apartments Oia [best value]Offers comfortable and modern apartments just a short walk from Oia’s shops, cafes, and restaurants. Guests can choose from a variety of apartments, including studios, suites, and villas. Each unit is traditionally furnished with a private bath and kitchenette. (Official site)


Cosmopolitan Suites – Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Fira, the capital of Santorini is a popular destination overlooking the Aegean Sea. Its most popular attraction is the Santorini Caldera which attracts many visitors. Tourists love its cobbled streets, lined with charming shops, boutiques, and traditional tavernas. Another top attraction is the Museum of Prehistoric Thera which showcases artifacts from the island’s rich history. Here are a few recommended hotels in the area.

  • Palmariva Villas [for families]This is a family-friendly property close to Fira’s city center and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. Their suites and villas are fitted with kitchens, dining rooms, hot tubs, and even private pools. There’s also a seasonal outdoor pool and a daily continental breakfast. (Official site)
  • Cosmopolitan Suites [for couples]This luxury boutique hotel is an excellent choice for couples. You’ll have the best Caldera views from your room. The Honeymoon suite offers an outdoor jetted tub, the ideal spot to view a romantic Santorini sunset. And for a romantic night out, you’re close to Fira’s vibrant nightlife. (Official site)
  • Dream Island Hotel [best value]This hotel offers rooms of all sizes, including single, double, and triple, as well as suites and villas. All the rooms are tastefully furnished and offer sea or pool views. It’s a short walk to downtown Fira and the cable car that leads to the port below. (Official site)


Santorini Princess Presidential Suites

Akrotiri is an ancient city that has been buried under volcanic ash for centuries. It’s famous for its well-preserved ruins, frescoes, and artifacts. Located in the southern part of the island, the area is known for its beautiful beaches. Red and White Beaches are the most popular, offering a variety of leisure and recreational activities. Check out these hotels for the best experience.

  • Santorini Princess Presidential Suites [for families]Ideal for family getaways, their three-bedroom villas are big enough for six. All villas are located on the volcano rim with a heated pool and hot tub. Rooms will be facing the Santorini Caldera. Everything is served in the privacy of your villa, including breakfast, cocktails, and dinner. (Official site)
  • Phos The Boutique [for couples]Phos The Boutique is a romantic 5-star hotel on the edge of the Caldera near Akrotiri. Couples love the cozy suites with infinity pools, extra-large beds, and terraces overlooking the Aegean. For a romantic evening, they offer candlelight dinners by the suite’s private pool. (Official site)
  • Akrotiri Hotel [best value]At Akrotiri Hotels you’ll find rooms of all sizes, including double, triple, and family rooms. It’s ideally situated with easy access to the port, bars, restaurants, and beaches. They also offer a daily buffet breakfast, an outdoor pool, plus snacks and cocktails from the pool bar. (Official site)


Santorini Kastelli Resort

Kamari, on the east coast of Santorini, is a beach resort known for its scenic black beach. With its crystal-clear waters, it’s ideal for swimming and sunbathing. There’s also a popular beachfront promenade lined with shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Kamari is home to Ancient Thera, an archaeological site overlooking the island and the Aegean Sea. It’s worth staying a couple of nights at one of these highly-rated hotels.

  • Secret Earth Villas [for families] Set at the end of Kamari Beach, Secret Earth Villas is the ideal family vacation destination. Two, three, and four-bedroom villas have everything you need. This includes private pools, kitchens, and hot tubs. Each villa also includes a lounge dining area and a spacious veranda with a sea or garden view. (official site)
  • Santorini Kastelli Resort [for couples]This secluded 5-star resort, a short walk from Kamari Beach, offers the perfect romantic getaway. Their luxury suites have everything couples want, including private balconies, swim-up pools, and outdoor hot tubs. At night, enjoy a candlelit dinner for two at Lydia restaurant or a couples massage at Kastelli Spa. (official site)
  • Santellini Hotel [best value] – This charming 26-room hotel is ideally located close to Kamari Beach, shops bars, and restaurants. They offer all kinds of accommodations, from double and triple rooms to suites and maisonettes. They also offer an outdoor pool with a bar and a fabulous daily breakfast. (official site)

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For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!