Santorini is what sunset dreams are made of. And while you may have been drawn to Santorini for white cave houses stacked on the edge of the caldera and the deep blues of the Aegean Sea, don’t miss out on all the incredible ways to experience Santorini. Here’s our list of the top 10 things to do in Santorini, Greece.
1 Eat €2 Gyros, everywhere!
We tend to think with our stomachs, so one of our favorite ways to experience Santorini has to do with food. Santorini is upping its game and creating a serious foodie culture, but you can’t go wrong by sticking with a classic. Pork, chicken, lamb gyros, it’s all delicious. We averaged about two gyros a day while on the island without a single dud. Here’s a few of our favorites:
Pitogyros – Oia | Oia tends to be a bit pricey, so if you’re looking for cheap eats and an amazing gyro, this place won’t do you wrong.
Lucky’s Slouvaki – Fira | No doubt you’ll pass through Fira at some point during your stay in Santorini, so be sure to have a taste of Lucky’s Slouvaki.
Gyros Time – Perissa | If you visit the Black Sand Beach in Perissa and need a delicious snack, head past the overpriced tavernas lining the promenade and over to a little shack called Gyros Time. My favorite gyro on the island.
2 Fira to Oia Cliff Walk
We love to hike, and while this is more of a level walk, there’s no shortage of breathtaking views. The path along the caldera between Fira and Oia is about 10 km. The trek takes about 3 to 5 hours, depending on how many times you stop to gush over the view. We usually keep up a pretty good pace while hiking (or at least like to think so), but we were on more of the 5 hour end of the spectrum on this hike. The hike from Fira to Oia is way too beautiful not to stop and enjoy. 🙂
The first hour or so is through the towns of Fira and Imerovigli, with plenty of shade. After that, you’re a bit exposed, to both the sun and the view.
3 Hang Out in the Pool
Bonus points if you’ve got one of those amazing infinite edge pools. If your place doesn’t happen to have a pool, check out Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar in Oia.
4 Go Cliff Jumping in Amoudi Bay
If adventure is what you seek, go cliff jumping into the deep blue sea at Amoudi Bay. Click here for a link to google map directions. From Amoudi Bay, follow the path south (or turn left if facing the ocean), climb over a few rocks, and within a few minutes you’ll see a large boulder jutting up from the ocean. It’s a short swim from where you’re standing to the rock, and the perfect place to take the plunge!
5 Ride a Donkey!
When I imagined Santorini, I pictured donkeys clopping up on the edge of the caldera, pure ocean views on one side, whitewashed cave houses on the other. This dream became reality with a donkey ride (or, technically, a mule ride) up from Amoudi Bay. Rides are €5, and saves you the trek up the steep stairs.
6 Relax on the Beach
While the towns may be whitewashed, the beaches in Santorini are anything but. Head to Perissa on the east side for a long stretch of black sand, a taverna-lined promenade, and plenty of beach umbrellas and lounge chairs for rent. While I’d heard this place can get packed in the summer, it was practically empty in late August and so, so relaxing.
For something more colorful, visit the striking Red Beach. Just 12 km southwest of Fira, a deep red wall of lava rock rises from the clear blue ocean while the shore is covered in red and black lava rocks.
7 Watch the Sunset over the Caldera from Oia
We’ve seen a lot of epic sunsets, but the one in Oia is hard to beat. Crowds gather in the streets of Oia to applaud the sun as it sets over the caldera. And when I say crowds, I mean every single person on the island. If you don’t want to jockey for your place, grab some drinks and a cheeseboard and stake your claim early. We ended up finding a seat on the stairs, which also happened to be the path for the donkeys’ evening commute home. We had to jump out of the way a few times, but that just made it one of those “only in Santorini” type of experiences. If there’s one thing not to miss in Santorini, it’s this!
8 Wander the Streets of Oia
Oia is one of the most unique places in the world and one of the coolest places to wander and explore. To have it all to yourself (or at least mostly to yourself), then the earlier the better. With the sun pouring directly overhead, it can be incredibly bright when you’re surrounded by stark white cave houses. Santorini is a popular cruise stop, so it’s best to get out before the gangplanks drop. We were practically alone earlier in the morning, but by 10am we felt like we’d been swarmed. It was hard just to see the views, much less get a picture without 10 little heads making an appearance.
9 Get Out of Fira and Oia
Now that I’ve told you to explore Oia, I tell you to get out of Oia! But for good reason. No doubt you’ll go through Fira, and you can’t miss Oia, but take some time to explore other parts of Santorini. It is the whole island, so pick a few other ways to experience Santorini. Whether it’s visiting a vineyard, exploring inland towns like Pyrgos, or heading to the east side of Santorini for the black sand beach in Perissa, there’s so much to see and do.
10 Watch a Movie Under the Stars
Open air cinemas have been popular in Greece since ancient times, and thankfully, there’s one on Santorini. Enjoy a new flick under the stars at Open Air Cinema Kamari, near Perissa.
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