The Greek island of Santorini (Thira) is in the southern Aegean Sea and actually consists of a group of islands. It is one of the most popular spots to visit in all of Greece, because of it’s brilliant blue roofs, but there are so many more things to do and attractions to see in than just the pretty domed buildings.

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See


Santorini Bucket List: 18 Best Things to do
& Attractions to See


✦ 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.

Kamari's Open Air Cinema in Santorini | Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✧ Take a Sunset Cruise

✦ Do an 18-Wine Flight Tasting

Not only is the Santo Winery one of the recommended spots to catch a stunning Santorini sunset, but you can also get a Greek wine education by doing an 18-wine tasting 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? Here’s a wine related tour in Santorini: Santorini Half-Day Wine Adventure Tour 

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✧ Helicopter Over the Island

✦ 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).

For just €5 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.

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ Drink a Frappe

✦ 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 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.

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✧ Swim in a Hot Spring

✦ Hike from Fira to Oia

This 9km hike, which connects the towns of Fira and Oia, has been called the most scenic in Santorini. The walk should take about 3 hours to complete, depending on how many pit stops you make along the way. With the path taking you along the picturesque caldera, you will definitely want to take some breaks for photo opps. Be sure to wear proper shoes as the path has some cobbled stones and loose gravel areas. When you arrive in Oia, reward yourself with a nice lunch or cocktail…or both. 

More info: Santorini Hiking: The Scenic Hike from Fira to Oia

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✧ Explore Emporio

✦ 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. 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.

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ Peruse Atlantis Books in Oia

✦ 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 

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✧ Visit the Santorini Wine Museum

✦ Have a Romantic Dinner Overlooking the Caldera

Many of Santorini’s restaurants overlook the beautiful caldera and one of the most romantic things you can do is have a candlelit dinner at one of these eateries, especially if you are able to catch the sunset during your meal.

There are several restaurants to choose from, but here are a couple recommendations:

Assyrtico Wine Restaurant | Ipapantis 40, Fira, Greece | Website | Map
Fanari | In the steps for the old port, Fira 84700, Greece | Website | Map

Related: Have a Romantic Sunset Dinner Overlooking the Santorini Caldera

Want to add more romance in Santorini? Here are some very Romantic Tours:

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✧ Take a Greek Cooking Class

✦ See a Santorini Sunset

Sunsets in Santorini are known for being some of the most stunningly beautiful in the world. Catching one from the Oia’s Byzantine Castle ruins is one of the most popular spots on the island, but the sunset view from the Akrotiri lighthouse, Santo Winery or at a restaurant overlooking the caldera would be perfect too. Or check out these Best Santorini Sunset Spots.

Related: Couples Bucket List: 68 Fun Activities & Romantic Things to Do

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ Eat the Local Fava Beans

✦ Walk the Steps From Oia to Amoudi Bay

The tiny port of Amoudi Bay is located a whopping 300 steps below the town of Oia. The descent will be slightly challenging, but you will be rewarded with breathtaking views along the way and quaint tavernas for refueling at the bottom.

You can also make a popular pit stop at 39 Steps cafe for a frappe, water or Donkey beer, you’ll need it.

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✧ Swim at the White Beach (Vlychada Beach)

✦ Eat a Santorini Salad

No doubt while in Greece you will eat plenty of traditional Greek food including salads, 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, sundried tomatoes and cucumbers. You can find a delicious one at Salt & Pepper in Fira.

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ 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.

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ Swim at a Red Sand Beach

The Red Sand Beach in Santorini is located next to the ancient site of Akrotiri (see #3). This small beach features varying shades of read that can easily be seen from the headlands if you decide to not take the rocky path along the mountain to reach the beachfront.

Swim at the Red Sand Beach | Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ 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.

✦ 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.

Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ 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 and costs 5 euros each way. At this port you will find souvenir shops, restaurants and agencies that sell tours to the nearby volcano (see #17) or hot springs.

Ride the cable car to Old Port: Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ Hike to the Top of a Volcano

Nea Kameni is the volcanic island in the center of the Santorini caldera that you can hike to the top of. Boat tours can easily be purchased at the old port in Fira. They 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! {photo by David Jones}

Walk on a Volcano | Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See

✦ 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 45 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. {photo by Hibri Marzook}

Drive a Quad | Santorini Bucket List: Best Things to do & Attractions to See


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 Booking.com. If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to Airbnb 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 RentalCars.com 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:

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.


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