Santorini is what people think of as the quintessential Greek island. Visions of beautiful whitewashed buildings and vibrant blue domes dotting the villages come straight to mind. While you might think it’s easy to plan a trip there, I found it a bit difficult. This list of exciting things to do in Santorini will fill your days with the best activities you can find on the most iconic island in the world.
Don’t forget to check out my other helpful articles to plan your perfect Santorini getaway: 10 Airbnb’s with a View in Santorini & 5 Things I Wish I Knew before Traveling to Santorini
10 Amazing Things to do in Santorini, Greece
1. Sunset Catamaran Cruise
Not only was this our favorite thing we did in Santorini, Greece, but it was one of the top things we did on our entire trip through Europe. Sunset Oia Sailing picked us up near our Airbnb around 1:30 pm to take us to Amoudi Bay. From there, we boarded our catamaran to sail around the island. We stopped at several different places to jump off and swim and even got to snorkel a bit. They served us a delicious Greek dinner on board and we were given unlimited Greek white wine (which was dangerously smooth and refreshing). It was the best way to see the sunset because we were on the water and we didn’t have to fight any crowds.
We booked this excursion using credit card points we accumulated with our Chase Saphire Reserve card. So if you have this card too, you might be able to do this activity without spending a dime. If you don’t have this card and travel often, I highly recommend it. Free TSA Pre-check or Global entry, complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge membership, 3X points on any travel or restaurant purchase, no foreign transaction fees, plus much more! This card is so popular they don’t offer a referral bonus so I get nothing for telling you about it. I’m just spreading the word because I truly love this card.
Link to tour: Sunset Oia Sailing – Red Cruise
Price: 105€ per person for the shared sunset cruise (Red Cruise); includes all you can drink local wine and dinner
Time needed: plan for 5 hours
Helpful Info: Don’t bring much with you. One small daypack was enough. I didn’t bring my nice camera, but we did have our phones, one towel for both of us, sunglasses, our room key, sunscreen, and our cover-up clothes. You won’t need any money (except if you want to tip the crew after). There isn’t really a secure place to put your things, so just keep this mind when you’re packing for this excursion. Also, if you sit out on the net, you will get wet. But don’t let this deter you; it was so fun!
2. Take a dip in Amoudi Bay
Before I go into too much detail, Amoudi Bay was gorgeous. The water felt amazing and it was so clear we could see straight to the bottom.
Now here’s the hard truth: it was not easy to get to.
From Oia, you’ll have to walk down over 300 steps to reach the bay. Once you are down, turn left and walk through a restaurant. When you get to the other side of the restaurant, follow the volcanic rock path to reach the swimming spot (there will be lots of other people there).
Tips for visiting Amoudi Bay:
- Wear good shoes (no flip-flops!). The stairs to Amoudi Bay are slippery, steep, hot, and covered in donkey droppings. If you wear flip-flops (like we did) you’ll want to take them off, but you won’t be able to because the stairs are too hot and dirty.
- Don’t bring valuables. If it’s just you and your travel companion, there will be nowhere to put your things and one of you will have to stay with your bag the entire time.
- Make sure you have enough water. The hike down is very hot, but the hike back up is hot and strenuous. Make sure you have enough water to keep you hydrated.
- Give yourself enough time to enjoy the water. We didn’t realize how long it would take to get down and back up, so we only got to enjoy the water for a little under an hour. It’s not worth the effort if you can’t stay for very long.
Time needed: 2 – 3 hours
3. Hike from Fira to Oia
We did not do this, but I wish we had made time for it. I could write a long paragraph explaining exactly how to do this, but there are so many other bloggers who have done the research, here are a few:
Santorini Dave – His tips are wonderful for the hike, but he also has so many useful posts about everything in Santorini. This is a great blog to bookmark for your research for your Santorini trip. This post is going from Fira to Oia, but the tips can be used either way.
My Premium Europe – This has some advice on this hike, but also includes several other beautiful hikes in Santorini. I’m seriously regretting not doing one of these hikes!
Santorini Tourism Website – Additional info and tips to help you with your trek.
Time needed: At least 3 – 4 hours
4. Visit a Santorini winery
Relatively speaking, Santorini is not huge. But they have enough wineries to keep you occupied for weeks! There are at least 16 wineries (possibly more) on the island. Here are the top 3, but if you want a detailed list, check out this post on the Santorini Secrets Blog.
Top 3 wineries in Santorini
- Santowines – This is the most well-known winery on Santorini. You can book your tasting online through their website.
- Venesantos – They have an option to visit for the sunset. This would be a great alternative to the massive hoards of crowds that gather in Oia!
- Domain Sigalas – This is the closest winery to Oia. You cannot book on their website, but you shouldn’t have a problem with just showing up for a tasting.
Time needed: About 2 hours
5. Visit a Santorini brewery
You’ll find plenty of wineries on the island, but only one brewery, Santorini Brewing Company. This beer is all over the island and thankfully it’s really good. Their most famous brew is called Yellow Donkey, but they have many others to choose from. You can visit the brewery to tour the facility as well as taste all of their different brews. To be honest, the beer we found on Santorini was way better than the stuff we found on the mainland in Athens. While you can only visit one physical brewery, Volkan Beer makes their beer with all locally sourced ingredients from Santorini. So make sure you try their beer too!
Time needed: A little over an hour
7. Rent a motorbike or ATV
This is a great way to see the entire island in a short amount of time. Since we didn’t do this ourselves, I did a little research and found other bloggers who have mapped out great routes to take by ATV.
Price: Ranges from $21 for a scooter to $95 for a buggy (full day rental)
Time needed: This totally depends on what you want to do. You can just go for a couple of hours or the entire day.
8. Wander Oia first thing in the morning
I can’t recommend this enough. If you are staying in Oia, waking up early will be your only chance to see this part of Santorini without crowds. During the day, the tiny alleyways will be flooded with people. But if you wake up a little after sunrise to wander the town, you’ll be rewarded with the peaceful Santorini you’ve only dreamt about.
Tips: Try to get out right at sunrise or a little before. You’ll have at least 2 hours of complete serenity.
Time needed: 1 – 2 hours (depending on how early you get out)
9. Spend the day in another part of Santorini
If you’re staying in Oia, take a day trip to Imerovigli or vice versa. Imerovigli is much quieter than Oia, so if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, a day trip to this quiet town will be nice. Already staying in Imerovigli? You must visit Oia at some point during your stay. Yes, there will be crowds, but there will be much more to do in this area as well as some of the best restaurants on the island.
10. Explore the Akrotiri ruins
There are ruins all over Greece, but did you know there are ruins on the island of Santorini? I had no idea about these ruins until I started doing research for our trip. It’s not a huge excavation, but for history buffs, this is something different that you’re sure to enjoy.
Price: 12€ per person
Time needed: 2 hours
No matter what your plan is for Santorini, you’re in for a wonderful time. The island will blow you away because, believe it or not, it is actually more beautiful than all the pictures you’ve seen. I hope this list of exciting things to do in Santorini helps with creating the trip of your dreams.
Would you add something to this list? Tell me in the comments below!
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