Santorini is one of the jewels of the Greek islands. Like many of its visitors your time here may be fleeting, and you want to know exactly what to do in order to prioritise your precious few days. For this we present you the top things to do in Santorini. To the lucky few who have copious holiday time you might like to complete them all. But one thing we know for certain is that time and time again Santorini captivates the hearts of those who visit and it leaves you certain you’ll be returning some day soon.
Visit The Beach
Perhaps not as widely recognised as the beaches in Mykonos or Crete, but the beaches of Santorini offer incredible views of the caldera, extravagant and breath-taking geographic formations that are unique to this special island.
Some are perfect for a family such as Monolithos, with its shallow, safe and inviting waters. Some are popular and give you incredible photo opportunities like the Red beach with its towering and rich red cliff faces, and some are quiet and secluded, only accessible by boat such as the White beach. Wherever you choose to venture, seeing some of the beaches is one of the top things to do in Santorini.
Tomato Industrial Museum
Believe it or not, the sparse and deceptively barren yet beautiful landscape of Santorini once supported a thriving tomato plant production. An essential element of every Greek salad, the tomato was a major product produced on Santorini. Despite the hot weather and lack of rain the tomato thrived in the porous volcanic soil.
The tomato factory in Vlychada was built in 1945 and was one of the most productive businesses on the island, producing cans of tomatoes and paste. While production stopped in 1981 as tourism began to take off, the old factory is now the Tomato Industrial Museum and is one of the things you can do in Santorini that allows you to take a step back into the past.
The museum has all the old original machinery on display, and videoed interviews with past factory workers offer an amazing insight into what life used to look like during this time.
More about the Tomato Industrial Museum
Cooking at Petra Kouzina is one of the top things to do in Santorini, not only because they are a warm and inclusive business that invites you into their own home, but because it means you’ll leave Santorini with more than just souvenirs, you’ll leave with an amazing new skill set!
As well as eating delicious traditional meals in Greece, it’s even more special to be able to learn how to cook them for yourself. Then long after you’ve left, you have the knowledge to craft a delicious meal in your own home, a tasty reminder of the memories that your trip to Greece gave you.
At Petra Kouzina you will undertake an incredible cooking lesson. You’ll be welcomed with wine and appetizers, guided by a professional chef and learn how to prepare 5 delicious Greek dishes. With a take home menu with every recipe you learn so this experience can be replicated, it’s a sure way to impress your friends and family!
More about Petra Kouzina
Walk To Skaros Rock
For travelers who are nature lovers and enjoy hiking and exploring, a walk to Skaros rock is in order. On this jutting section of the caldera your view of the Aegean and beyond is magical. Due to its excellent vantage point this spot was once a fortress, used for protecting the village against pirates.
You can climb to the top of the rock if you’re determined, although there is no real path, so proceed with caution as it is very steep. Behind Skaros rock and hidden from view is the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti, perched on the very edge of the cliff. This gorgeous and isolated church was one of my favourites I came across in my travels of Greece.
Watch The Sunset
Santorini has one of the most famous sunsets in the world and wherever you choose to see it you will be in awe of the magical spectacle that awaits you every evening. While the sunset in Oia is one of the most popular things to do in Santorini, be sure to arrive early so you can secure a view.
Otherwise you may find a secluded spot to yourself in one of the less crowded villages. If you’re visiting Santorini in winter, you won’t find the crowds a problem.
A sunset yacht tour can make it all the more more special. Sunset Oia offer private charters that give you your own personal sunset experience.
There are many things to do in Santorini, but we bet horse riding wasn’t one you had thought of, and we think it should be on the top of your list. There is a certain tranquillity that overcomes you when you’re exploring a new place on horseback, especially in a place as unique and picturesque as Santorini.
At Santorini Horse Riding, your equipment is provided, and they cater to all levels so no matter your experience you can enjoy Santorini from a saddle. You can take a tour privately or in a group and they even provide you with free photos as a memento of your ride, or if you’d like, a camera can be attached to your helmet!
They have an array of options such as a beach ride, following the winding alleys in the village of Megalochori or scoping the caldera. There are options for more experienced riders and couples as well, should you be looking for something romantic to do.
The Volcano And Hot Springs
Nea Kameni is the volcano that you can spot from almost every vantage point on the western side of the caldera. While still active today you can visit this dormant volcano and even hike to the top. Its peak offers fabulous views looking back onto the island of Santorini, where its towering cliffs make the villages seem a mere sprinkling of whitewashed homes.
An incredibly special feature of this volcanic island is that there is a natural hot spring located in one of the bays of the islet. You can reach the hot spring by boat, from which you can dive into the warm waters of this cove. Due to the high sulfur content of the water, it may tarnish what you swim in, so decide carefully what you’d like to wear. Some, however, may like to stick to their hotel pool, and if you’re traveling in winter many hotel pools are heated!
Santorini sailing offer private tours where you can travel in luxury around the island and beyond, including a stop at the volcanic hot springs. So, make sure you add this to the top of your list of things to do in Santorini.
The Akrotiri ruins are sometimes referred to as the ‘Greek Pompei’, emphasising the importance of this ancient and fascinating Minoan settlement. If you have limited time and are only planning to go to one place of historical significance, this is it, as it frequents most lists of top things to do in Santorini.
Dating all the way back to 4000 BC this ancient settlement was decimated by a volcanic eruption and the remains were only discovered when excavations in the 1960s were undertaken by archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos.
Santorini Wine Museum
Sounds intriguing doesn’t it, a museum where its acceptable to have a glass of Greek wine in hand? Count us in! Here you can learn everything there is to know about this idyllic island in the Aegean and its history of wine production.
Santorini has some fantastic wineries and wine tours are of course are an extremely popular thing to do, which we highly recommend, but learning about the process of viticulture itself just adds to the enjoyment of drinking your wine!
Family owned and operated by the Koutsoyannopoulos’ the museum takes you through the process of wine making and back in history with various exhibits on display, while also allowing you to taste the vineyards own wine.
White Door Theatro
Warning: At this theatre plates will be broken! This fun, interactive and incredibly entertaining show makes it a beloved favourite for tourists and one of the top things to do in Santorini. Located in a historical building in central Fira you will watch the show take place outside on the front patio.
As you dine on delicious local meze (appetizers) and plentiful wine you’ll be swept away by the theatrical performance that is the ‘Greek Wedding Show’. You will be seated as a guest of the Papadopoulos family wedding, prepare for a night of belly laughs, dancing and an insight to Greek culture and wedding traditions!
☞ Related: For ways to enhance your cultural experience in Greece click here
- That was our top 10 things to do in Santorini, some you might not have even thought of! Or maybe you’d like to see something on here that didn’t make the cut?
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Kia Ora. My name is Marcia Welch and I am a traveller from New Zealand. I have always dreamed of visiting and exploring Europe and have finally begun my overseas experience, or OE as we call it. I have always been drawn to the vibrancy and beauty that embodies Greece and I am excited to document and share my experiences. I am currently in Athens.