Santorini Bucket List: 30 Experiences to Have on the Greek Island

Santorini is a gorgeous Cycladic island that sure knows how to stop you on your tracks with its mesmerizing beauty. From its glorious sunsets and staggering multicolored cliffs to whitewashed buildings and ash-laden calderas, Santorini is definitely blessed with a unique landscape. Its beauty makes it one of the top spots to visit in all of Greece, but so does its delicious Greek food restaurants!

Your jaw will drop just at the sight of its brilliant blue roofs and bite of moussaka, but there are also so many more things to do and attractions to see.

Here are the highlights of Santorini that you can’t miss:

The Best Things to Do in Santorini While on an Epic Holiday

1. Experience Local Life in Pyrgos

Pyrgos, the largest  preserved village on Santorini,  is a blend of cheerful vibes, medieval charm, and eye-catching scenery. It is perched atop a quaint hill dotted with greenery, labyrinths, Cycladic houses, fortified walls, and taverns. Walk the narrow passages, stop by the local stores, meow at the stray cats strolling the alleys and be a part of merry chatter at bars and cafe. Make sure to visit Pyrgos Castle that sprawls at the top of the hill.

The Santorini Highlights Tours makes a stop there!

2. See a Santorini Sunset from Oia

Sunsets in Santorini are known for being some of the most stunningly beautiful in the world, and catching one in Oia is an activity that lures people from all over the globe. There are a few prime spots where you can witness the wondrous phenomenon, but Oia’s Byzantine Castle ruins is by far the most popular. Probably because it not only offers insanely gorgeous sunset views, but also panoramas of the whole city. However, it gets insanely crowded so make sure to arrive early for the perfect spot! 

For an extra bucket list worthy sunset experience, Get Your Guide’s 1-Day Boat Trip takes you to the Santorini Volcano, Thirassia and to witness an Oia Sunset!

Oia isn’t the only place to see a pretty sunset view, you can also catch one from the Akrotiri lighthouse, while sipping a flight at Santo Winery or while enjoying an award-winning dinner at a restaurant overlooking the caldera.

3. Hike to the Top of a Volcano

Nea Kameni is a volcanic island in that is part of the Santorini archipelago and hiking to the top of it is one of the best things to do in Santorini! It requires a boat ride from the mainland, which can easily be purchased at the old port in Fira. Or for more of a guarantee book in advance (this highly rated volcanic island tour includes a hot springs visit!)  Hiking tours will bring you to the crater and here you can take a steep, rocky climb to the top passing incredible lava formations, smoking craters and fantastic views. Not something you get to see everyday!

4. Do a Tasting at Santo Wines Winery

Not only is Santo Wines Winery one of the recommended spots to catch a stunning Santorini sunset, but you can also get a Greek wine education by partaking in a wine tasting flight. We had an eighteen wine flight—that’s right, eighteen different wines served with cheese and a spectacular view. You will taste everything from a rich Crescendo to an aromatic Rose to a dry Assyrtiko, and so much more. 

Like wine like me? The half-day Wine Adventure Tour will have you tasting at three different wineries in the countryside of Santorini. 

5. Take a Greek Cooking Class

Do you want to learn all about Santorini’s traditional cuisine? Then you definitely need to have a hands-on experience by taking a local cooking class. Choose the Petra Kouzina Cooking Experience and prepare a multi-course feast in a uniquely charming setting or take a combination cooking class/wine tour that bring you to a couple wineries beforehand just in case you want a nice one to accompany your meal!

6. Take the Scenic Hike from Fira to Oia

If you want to witness another unforgettable sunset, picturesque views then you must take a hiking route that connects the towns of Fira to Oia. The 9 kilometer trail has been called the most iconic thing to do in Santorini, and for good reason. As you walk along the rim of the caldera, you will pass through quaint villages dotted with pearly-white buildings such as Firostefani and Imerovigli. You will also have a chance to see splendid views of ragged coastlines and raging waves. It will take you approximately four to five hours to walk the hiking trail during which you can capture a handful of Instagram-worthy pictures and lifelong memories.

You can find a map here, or for something easier take the guided Caldera Trail hike and sunset viewing.

7. Wander through Ancient Thera

Perched upon on a ridge of Messa Vouno Mountain, Ancient Thera is an antique city with magnificent archaeological artifacts and a street that goes up to 800 meters. There is Agora, a gathering place, and the main square of the city. The street gives off branches to temple grounds, houses, and other facilities. The road finally terminates at the highest point of the mountain where stands the ruins of a beautiful building with courtyards that was supposedly the residence of a commander. Wandering through Ancient Thera will give you a glimpse to the lives of ancient Greeks that once dwelled here.

8. Explore an Archaeological Excavation Site

This Akrotiri archaeological excavation site in Santorini features ruins from the city of Akrotiri, which was buried by a volcanic eruption in 1700 B.C., though the first habitation dates from the Late Neolithic times (4th millennium BC). You can explore the massive visitor-friendly site where walkways lead you around the entire perimeter. There are not many placards or informational pamphlets, so if you would like the complete history during your visit hire a tour guide.

The Archaeological Bus Tour To Akrotiri Excavations & Red Beach includes a guided tour of the site.

The surrounding village of Akrotiri is beautiful too….

9. See a Movie at an Open Air Cinema

With the incredible Santorini weather, going to an outdoor movie is a perfect thing to do on a warm evening. Kamari Village located on this popular Greek island boasts one of the best open-air cinemas in the world with director’s chairs, tasty cocktails and, of course, popcorn. Get there early if you want a good seat! You can read about my experience here: See a Movie at an Open Air Cinema in Santorini.

10. Take a Caldera Cruise

The caldera is a large bowl-like volcanic depression that sits in the bay, and sailing around it is a top thing to do in Santorini, especially at sunrise or sunrise. There are plenty of tours that will take you on a memorable cruise, but these two are amount the most popular and highly-rated:

11. Walk the Steps From Oia to Amoudi Bay

Among the many gems of Santorini, there is a hidden pearl called Amoudi Bay nestled hundreds of steps below the isle. To get to the port will be slightly challenging, you have to trust your intuition for there are no signs and maps. Wear your best rockproof shoes, walk the weather-beaten tracks, and after a wrong turn or two, you will reach Amoudi Bay.

There you will find striking sea views, superb swimming spots and tall crimson-colored volcanic cliffs. There is also a large number of restaurants where you can indulge in scrumptious seafood.

If you get a little pooped on the way, make the popular pit stop at 39 Steps Cafe for a frappe or Donkey beer!

12. Swim at a Red Sand Beach

The Red Sand Beach in Santorini is located next to the ancient site of Akrotiri. This small beach features varying shades of red that can easily be seen from the headlands if you decide to not take the rocky path along the mountain to reach the beachfront.

13. Take in the View from the Akrotiri Lighthouse

The Akrotiri Lighthouse is located on the Southern peninsula of Santorini island. The lighthouse itself is not as much of an attraction as the views from it. This is another beautiful spot to bring a bottle of wine and catch a perfect sunset!

14 Take a Cable Car Ride

There are three ways to get from the town of Fira down to the Old Port (or the other way around) in Santorini: take an overworked donkey, walk the almost 600 steps or take the cable car. I opted for the least smelly and strenuous of them all, the cable car, which comes every twenty minutes.

You can also combine a cable car ride with the Fira walking tour and Wine Tasting. Also, at the Old Port you will find souvenir shops, restaurants and agencies that sell tours to the nearby volcano or hot springs.

15. See The White Door Theatro Show

The White Door Theatro Show is an interactive wedding celebration performance where you are cast as a wedding guest. Be prepared to be wowed once the festivities begin. There will be mezes, singing, dancing and even plate smashing! Book your tickets in advance here.

16. Eat a Santorini Salad

No doubt while in Greece you will eat plenty of traditional Greek food including salads topped with large hunks of feta, but while in Santorini indulge in a delicious Santorini salad. This salad is a version of a Greek salad that uses the ingredients that Santorini is known for: capers, sun-dried tomatoes and cucumbers. You can find a delicious one at Salt & Pepper in Fira.

The best santorini salad at a Greek Taverrna

17. Drink a Donkey Beer

In many cafes and restaurants around the island you will find bottles of the locally brewed Donkey beer made by Santorini Brewing Company. Or you can go straight to the source by paying a visit to the brewery and tasting their three products: yellow donkey, red donkey and crazy donkey.

18. Eat at a Classic Taverna

You just can’t possibly leave Santorini or any city in Greece without indulging in a meal at a classic taverna, a small restaurant serving traditional Greek food. If you are looking for a place away from the hustle and bustle of one of the bigger towns, try Taverna Aeolus which you will find by itself on the road to Akrotiri Red Beach and the lighthouse.

Looking for something a little closer to town? Stop by Salt & Pepper in Fira for their fried tomato fritters and deliciously fresh Santorini salad.

19. Helicopter Over the Island

It doesn’t get much more bucket list worthy than soaring over the scenic landscapes of Santorini (and surrounding sea) in a helicopter! Fly high in the sky getting a birds-eye view of the epic blue-domed roofs, postcard-perfect beaches and volcanic caldera. You can see some of the best helicopter tours here. 

20. Get a Fish Pedicure

While strolling through the town of Fira, make a stop to get a fish therapy treatment for the hands or feet at Fish Spa Kagal Wellness Center or Kissingfish Santorini. Stick your toes inside the tank and the tiny Garra Rufa fish will gently suck away the dead skin on your digits leaving them smooth as silk. This technique was primarily designed to help people with dermatological conditions, such as eczema, but it can also be very relaxing.

21. Sunbathe on a Black Sand Beach

Blue rooftops and sunsets may be the main reason why you travel to Santorini, but the beaches are sure to leave a lasting impression too. In particular, the black sand beach of Perissa. The famous black volcanic sand combined with the deepest of blue waters makes it a top attraction on the island. Put on your sunglasses and grab a lounge chair so you can spend a relaxing day at the beach!

22. Peruse the Shelves of Atlantis Books in Oia

Atlantis Books is a quaint bookstore located on the main street in Oia and tucked away downstairs, hidden from the bustle of the town—the perfect place to escape. The genre of books range from classics to modern and English to French to Greece.

Atlantis Book Store in Santorini

23. Walk Out to Skaros Rock

Sitting at the edge of Imerovigli and jutting out in the Aegean sea, Skaros Rock is hard to miss. The large rock, which was created by volcanic eruptions, was a former fortress with two castles, Rock and Kato Kastro. You definitely will want to take the half hour hike to the top and here’s a quick guide on how to do it. Have your camera ready—there will be plenty of photo opportunities along the way!

24. Sleep in a Windmill

At Windmill Villas in Imerovigli you can sleep in a newly-built luxury windmill equipped with a private pool, hydro-massage jets, terrace and a panoramic view to the Aegean Sea. Though each windmill can accommodate five people, you may want to just keep it romantic and add it to your private Couple’s Bucket List instead. Check Availability 

View of a Windmill Hotel

25. See a Concert at La Ponta in Akrotiri

You will find La Ponta in a 13th century Venetian Tower located within the castle of Akrotiri. Inside the tower there is a tsabouna exhibition featuring the Greek folk wind instrument of the bagpipe family. Though the real magic is not just visiting the site, but in hearing the music being played. During their summer concert series, held in the evenings, you can listen to the sounds of ancient and contemporary instruments uniting.

26. Visit the Tomato Factory Museum 

The former tomato factory of D. Nomikos has been transformed into a museum that offers a peek at the fascinating history of one of Santorini’s most traditional products—the tomato. The Tomato Factory Museum offers its visitors an inside look at the traditional methods of cultivation, processing and production.

Book your ticket in advance here: Tomato Museum admission ticket with audio guide.

27. Photograph the Iconic Blue-Domed Roofs

From Agios Theodori Church to small chapels in Oia, the photos of the iconic blue-domes of Santorini  is the quintessential shot found on plenty of postcards. Don’t miss them and here’s where to find them.

28. Visit the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum

The Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum is located in Karami, and tucked into a natural cave that is eight meters below ground. The underground labyrinth uses historical exhibits and dioramas gives visitors a glimpse of Santorini’s wine history and at what the life of a winemaker was like. Of course, there is also a tasting room where you can indulge in some of Greece’s best wine. Get the full experience by booking a tour.

29. Drink a Greek Frappe Coffee

If you are a fan of an iced latte from Starbuck’s, then chances are you’re going to love a Greek frappé! Invented in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1957 this coffee drink is typically made with Nescafe instant coffee, ice, water, sugar and milk. You can find them at most of the cafes all over the island.

30. Drive a ATV

There are a few transportation options for getting around the island of Santorini and one of the most popular (and fun) is renting an ATV. For about 50 euros a day you can be cruising the roads with the wind blowing through your hair. It’s fairly easy to find a rental shop, every towns main street has one or two, which you will spot by the line of quads parked out front. Or take a ATV Quad tour around the island.


Essential Tips for Visiting Santorini

Getting There: To fly into Santorini National Airport, you have to book a flight with Olympic Airways or Aegean Airlines from Athens. During the peak travel season (April – October), you can book flights directly to Santorini National Airport without having to fly out of Athens. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination. The quickest route from the airport to the city center is by taxi. However, you can also take the public bus for 1.70€ each way. You can also get to Santorini from Athens by ferry. From the port of Pireaus, there are 3 different ferries you can travel on, with the fastest option being the high-speed ferry, which costs $55 and takes 5 hours.

Where to Stay in Santorini: It’s best to stay near the city center, public transportation or the area that you will be spending the most time in. Merovigla Studios (moderate) or Artemisia Apartment (moderate) are both great choices in Imerovigli. For something on the less expensive side, try Ikaros located in Katerados (airport shuttle included). For a hotel with a little more extravagance, book a room at the Alonistra Oia Houses or Antoperla Luxury Hotel and Spa (both include airport shuttles). Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to VRBO that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range. 

Getting Around: Renting a car in Santorini is the best to really experience the island and has some great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of options. You can take the local bus, taxis, or rent a quad. Plus most of the top attractions can be accessed with the Santorini Sightseeing Bus.

Best Tours in Santorini: You can find some of the top tours at Get Your Guide or Viator, and here are some of the top ones:

  • Santorini Gems: Small Group Sailing Cruise on a Catamaran
  • Santorini: 4-Hour Sunset Wine Tour
  • Volcanic Islands Cruise with Hot Springs Visit
  • Insurance: It’s always a good idea to travel fully insured so you are protected in case of trip cancellations or medical emergencies. You can check out pricing at Travelex Insurance

    Universal Adapter: Your American plugged equipment will need an adapter. I use the Celtic Universal Adapter, which has brought me around the world with no problems.

    This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. For more information read my full disclosure.

    More About Greece

    30 Traditional Greek Foods You Must Eat in Greece
    See the Mount Athos Byzantine Monasteries in Greece
    Take a 4×4 Jeep Adventure Through Central Greece
    See a Movie at an Open Air Cinema in Santorini
    Eat a Greek Salad in Greece
    5 Greek Islands You Should Definitely Explore This Year
    Have a Romantic Sunset Dinner Overlooking the Santorini Caldera

    59 thoughts on “Santorini Bucket List: 30 Experiences to Have on the Greek Island”

    1. My time in Santorini was basically spent eating, drinking, seeing sunsets and indulging in the spectacular backdrops around the oceans. It is such a beautiful place

    2. Wow the windmill villa just looks so stunning,I could imagine waking up in the morning taking in the country side and going for a dip.

    3. Santorini is exceptionally beautiful, and I loved exploring here a few years ago. Can’t wait to return and do a few things from your list.

      I really enjoyed reading this post Annette

      Thanks :)

    4. I fell in love with this place after seeing it on a list of the 100 most beautiful places in the world. And of course I added it to my list straight away.

      All of the things you mention are things I’d like to do as well. Except for one though: the fish pedicure. I can’t get myself to try that! :-p

    5. I can honestly say that I’m jealous of you right now. Because wow… Santorini! I’ve always wanted to go there. But for some annoyingly unbelievable reason, I haven’t yet. Now remind me to book a flight to Santorini for my next backpacking trip. And if you don’t mind, I’ll be trying out your bucket list myself. Every. Single. Item.

    6. Hi Annette
      thank you for the recommendations and your tips of this magnificent place. This is a very comprehensive list and definitely one which everybody should do before kicking the bucket.

      For beautiful memories and to receive Santorini and the Cyclades at your doorstep, I would recommend in the meantime the luxury box from ELLADA LANEwhich contains an authentic selection of unique products from the region.

      It’s a wonderful present which will bring memories back or makes you feel traveling soon to Santorini.
      I am sure it comes on the ‘gift’ bucket list of Santorini.

    7. Hey, there, thanks for sharing your informative blog. Actually, we are planning a trip for 4 days to Greece. We wanted to stay in a hotel in Athens and have one day in Athens, and want to enjoy Santorini for one day.

    8. Santorini is a wonderful place, I believe I must return very soon when I go on vacation, I intend to spend some 15 days in this beautiful place.

    9. Me and my princess are going to try some of your ttdo in santorini…
      she doesn’t know yet, but i-m sure she will love it :D

      Thank you for the tips…
      PS:it’s so much easier to have help on trying to be the best companion of the universe, hihihihi ;)

    10. Great Post!!!! and great content!!!
      Amazing bio as well, Keep travelling!!!!!

      Santorini has always been on my bucket List and this November I finally visited. White and blue domes, white washed houses and beautiful roads of Santorini are once a lifetime experience.

    11. Amazing post! I went to Santorini last summer and it was so stunning! Reading this list makes me want to go back again.

    12. Santorini looks amazing! Thank you for sharing all this great inspiration of what to do. Santorini has definitely moved higher up my bucket list.


    Leave a Comment

    Annette White the Owner of Bucket List Journey
    Hey Bucket Listers!
    I'm Annette.

    I’m a goal obsessed mid-lifer, traveler, experience collector, fear crusher, digital marketer and author with big bucket list dreams. Let's Connect!

    GET MY 2,000 free bucket list ideas

    Jump right in and you will get your printable ideas by email: