It is defined as the pearl of the Aegean , whose history and morphology are closely linked to volcanic activities, some of which have considerably modified its structure and allowed the discovery of archaeological excavations that were decisive to reconstruct the genesis of this fairytale location. The “nemesis” of the more “worldly” Mykonos is undoubtedly Santorini, a favorite destination for couples in love for its breathtaking sunsets , but also increasingly targeted by families, singles and festive groups of friends. The reason is simple: the “backbone” of the Cyclades archipelago has a lot to offer in terms of culture and food and wine, even from the point of view of nightlife., with this guide with practical tips about the city!
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1 – Oia
Photo by Zde. A characteristic village, recognizable by its irresistible blue dome , belonging to the Blue Domed Church Santorini, immortalized in thousands of photos of tourists in love with the extraordinary sunsets that can be enjoyed from this location. Another symbol of the village are the picturesque windmills .
The village of Oia, in the northern part of the island, is also home to one of the 10 most famous and beautiful bookshops in the worldaccording to “The Guardian”: we are talking about the Atlantis Books founded by Oliver and Craig, which now hosts volumes in every language in a dream location, with aphorisms written on the walls and the owners’ dogs sleeping between the shelves. An “other” universe, which deserves a stop not only for reading enthusiasts. But not only: if you want to do some cultural visits, you can visit the Maritime Museum, the nautical museum of the city. And don’t forget to admire the view from the remains of the Byzantine castle !
Photo by Tango7174. Reach the Ammoudi bay : this wonderful and peaceful bay is a real paradise. You can reach it by going down the great staircase, called Oia steps, which will take you to the sea.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in the northern part of the island, 12 km from Thira and 22 km from Akrotiri. Reachable on foot from Santorini via trekking (2 h 30 min) or by car or scooter via Epar.Od. Firon-Ias (20 mins) – Get directions
  • Hours: Oia always accessible / Atlantis Book every day 14: 00-20: 00, more generally closed at sunset / Maritime Museum Wed-Mon 10: 00-14: 00 and 17: 00-20: 00, closed Tues
  • Ticket cost: free

2 – Imerovigli
In the central western part of the island stands the characteristic traditional village of Imerovigli, easily reachable on foot from Thira in about 35 min.

With more luxury hotels than private accommodation , Imerovigli offers a magnificent glimpse of the volcanoes and is one of the most luxurious resorts. It also houses the ruins of the fortress of Skaros, which was the capital of Santorini until the 18th century. Another striking attraction of the village is, without doubt, the chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti, built on a huge rock above the caldera.
Located on the coast, 2.2 km from Thira and 8.5 km from Oia. From Thira easily accessible on foot along the Caldera path (35 min), alternatively car or scooter via Erithrou Stavrou (8 min) – Get directions
Photo by Nikos A. Kanellopoulos. Admire the sunset on Skaros Rock : this rocky promontory is one of the most beautiful views of Imerovigli and of the whole island, not to be missed at sunset, when the sky turns red and you can take wonderful souvenir photos.

3 – Firostefani
Photo of Mstyslav Chernov. Between Thira and Imerovigli, don’t miss Firostefani, or rather the “roof of the island”, as it is called by natives and foreigners. Urbanistically speaking, this small village is part of the city of Thira, but still deserves at least half a day to visit!
Thanks to its strategic position, and in fact the natural panoramic terrace par excellence of Santorini, from where you can admire the northern coast on one side, the southern one on the other. But that’s not all: this small village, in a few characteristic alleys, contains the two sides of the island’s coin : the more romantic one, with candlelit dinners and spectacular sunsets, and the more lively and festive one, thanks to happy hours and its nightlife!
Located on the coast, 1.1 km from Thira and 9 km from Oia. From Thira easily reachable on foot along the path on the Caldera (15 min), alternatively from Oia by car or scooter via Epar.Od. Firon-Ias (20 min) – Get directions

Lunch with a view : being the roof of Santorini, it also follows that here are some of the clubs and restaurants with the most beautiful view on the whole island! We recommend that you stop for lunch at To Briki, a small Greek cuisine restaurant with a spectacular view.

4 – Thira (Fira)
Let’s start now to discover the villages of Santorini. Thira, or Fira, is the capital of the island , where it is possible to alternate cultural visits to the various museums with a day of unbridled shopping.then letting ourselves be drawn into the lively nightlife of the town. With its narrow streets, houses built in pumice stone, white roofs and blue doors, it is a riot of colors, movement, traditions and modernity .
Of particular note is the central square of the town, Theotokopoulou Square, a meeting point for tourists and natives. Here are also the main museums of the island : the Folklore and cultural heritage museum Folklore Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Thera.
A tip
Better to visit Fira early in the morning, so as to find less crowds and, if you are by car, to park more easily. Ah, the parking spaces are free!

Make your way to the Santorini Old Harbor: located on the sea, the Old Port of Santorini is unmissable, ideal for a relaxing walk and starting point for various excursions. It can be reached on foot along the Karavolades Stairs staircase, as wonderful views, or with the Santorini Cable Car, the cable car that connects it to the city (one way € 6.00). A personal advice
Avoid the experience aboard the donkey … looking at them, they don’t seem exactly keen to take you on their backs for 900 steps!
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in the central part of the island, on the coast, 12 km from Oia and 10 from Akrotiri. To be visited only on foot. Served by the port of the island – Get directions
  • Hours: village always accessible / Folklore Museum every day 10: 00-14: 00, July and August also 18: 00-20: 00 / Archaeological Museum of Thera Wed-Mon 8: 30-15: 30, closed Tue
  • Ticket price: country free / Folklore Museum free / Archaeological Museum of Thera full € 3.00, reduced € 2.00

5 – Caldera
The Caldera is the island’s number one natural attraction ! A stay in Santorini cannot exist without a visit, one of the most evocative attractions of the island. Scientifically speaking, the caldera is a large basin or depression that is formed by the sinking of the magma chamber of a volcano. This one of Santorini was born over 10,000 years and the depression was caused by the collapse of the volcano . Amazing what nature can do!
As already mentioned, today it is a real attraction and is targeted by tourists entranced by the breathtaking landscapeand, above all, by the exaggerated luxury flaunted by this suggestive location, considered the most “glamorous” corner of the island.
The best way to enjoy the Caldera is to walk it, the Thira-Oia route takes about 2 h 30 min. Alternatively, you can admire it from the sea, taking part in a boat excursion.

Don’t miss the Thira-Oia trek: this trek is one of the must do in Santorini, where you can walk right along the Caldera, thus reaching Oia on foot. The path is well marked and the journey takes about 2 h 30 min. If possible, do it in this direction, because the view of Oia at the end of the route is the most beautiful thing! You can return by bus. It can also be tackled with children, but avoid the central hours, preferring the early morning, wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water.

6 – Santo Wines
Enjoying an extraordinary sunset while sipping a glass of aphrodisiac wine is possible, thanks to the Santo Wines winery, one of the most famous on the island. The company is in fact equipped with a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the sea and the Caldera and also organizes visits to the winery.
After all, wine production is one of the pillars of the economy of Santorini , and this nectar of the gods represents one of the “heritages” of the area, to be protected and exported all over the world.

Take part in a wine tasting on the island : maybe not everyone knows, but Santorini has a great wine production! If you are a wine lover, you certainly cannot miss a tasting accompanied by experts, visiting the best wineries on the island! Info and costs here.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Pyrgos Kallistis, in Thira. Easily accessible from the Santorini Gem event center (50m, 1 min). 3.6 km from Thira, reachable on foot with a 45 min walk or by car or scooter via Epar.Od. Firon-Ormou Perissis (8 mins) – Get directions
  • Hours: every day, with variable hours based on the activity. Consult the official website
  • Ticket cost: based on the activity. Consult the official website

7 – Kamari Beach
Photo by Michelle Maria. Without doubt one of the busiest beaches on the whole island, as well as being the largest , extending for about 5 km, is Kamari Beach. It is located on the east coast of Santorini, not far from the archaeological site of Ancient Thira.
Kamari Beach is a really well organized beach, with umbrellas and deck chairs and numerous small hotels and resorts, but above all it stands out for its black sand , which makes it very special. It is also a favorite destination for families, as here you will find a promenade full of shops, equipped beaches and accommodation facilities that guarantee a moment of pure relaxation away from the more frenetic rhythms that, however, can be found in other seaside resorts of Santorini.
It is located on the eastern side of Santorini, 4.2 km from the archaeological site of Ancient Thira and 8 km from Thira, located on the west coast. From Thira, reachable by car or scooter via Epar.Od. Firon-Ormou Perissis and Epar.Od. Mesarias-Archeas Thiras (15 mins) – Get directions Homestay

stay : this is one of the best areas to stay if you’re traveling as a family! Numerous accommodations to choose from, many services including restaurants and shops and a large well-equipped beach which, due to its size, is never too crowded.

8 – Antica Thera
Photo by Tomisti. A large and rich city once stood on the archaeological site of Ancient Thera . The site is located on the Kameni, 396 m above the sea level, thus also giving a wonderful view to those who visit it!
Founded in the distant 9th century BC, today only the remains of this old city can be admired , trying to imagine what it was like in the centuries of ancient splendor. The highlight of the entire site is the Terrazza delle Feste, where banquets and celebrations in honor of Apollo were once held. The main road is still visible, around which two agora developed, the Temple of Dionysus and the Sanctuary of Apollo Karneio.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: on the Mesa Vouna promontory, between the beaches of Kamari and Perissa, on the eastern side. Reachable from Thira by car or scooter via Epar.Od. Firon-Ormou Perissis and Epar.Od. Mesarias-Archeas Thiras (10km, 20 mins) – Get directions
  • Hours: Wed-Mon 8: 30-15: 30, closed Tues
  • Ticket price: full € 6.00, reduced € 3.00

9 – Perissa Beach
Located in the southernmost part of the island, Perissa Beach is known as the black sand beach . But that’s not all: this is a corner of Santorini left out of the unbridled luxury and the latest fashion hotels that have instead invaded places like Oia or the capital itself.
Perissa is in fact a quiet location, also due to its position , protected by the Meltemi on the south-eastern side. Here you will find equipped beaches , crowded yes, but quieter than for example in Red Beach. Ideal place to relax, sunbathe and take a dip in the water. The area is also recommended for families, thanks to the presence of services and a large coastline that continues towards the beach of Perivilos.
The beach is located on the southern side of Santorini, 12 km from Thira, accessible by car or scooter via Epar.Od. Firon-Ormou Perissis (12 min). Nearby is the Ancient Thera archaeological site – Get directions

10 – Tomato Museum
We mentioned some museums in Thira or Oia, but on the island there is a very special museum and not to be missed , especially if you are traveling with children: the Tomato Museum, or the Tomato Industrial Museum, D. Nomikos, perhaps still little known.
If you want to know everything, absolutely everything about the cultivation and production of tomatoesby the inhabitants of Santorini, the museum in question is a real cultural center which, periodically, also organizes events of all kinds, which often revolve around this delicious and “fascinating” vegetable!
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in the town of Vlichada, in the southernmost part of Santorini. Reachable on foot in 1 min from Vlichada Beach and in 5 min from the small port of the resort (400 m). From Thira, reachable by car or scotter via Epar.Od. Firon-Ormou Perissis (10km, 18 mins) – Get directions
  • Hours: Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 00, closed Mon
  • Ticket price: full € 10.00, reduced € 6.00

11 – Red Beach
Photo of Hartmut Inerle.

One of the most beautiful and crowded beaches , especially in summer, is Red Beach.
The beach is characterized precisely by its characteristic rust-colored cliffs , which frame the small bay of red sand and pebbles. We advise you to reach it early in the morning, to avoid crowding during the central hours of the day. Not very large, but equipped with umbrellas and deck chairs , ideal for enjoying a day at the beach in total relaxation. Due to its conformation it is also suitable for families with children.
It is located in the southernmost part of the island. Reachable on foot in just 10 minutes from the parking lot (free). Thira is 11 km away, reachable by car via Epar.Od. Firon-Ormou Perissis (20 min). From the archaeological site of Akrotiri just 1.4 km (17 min walk) – Get directions

Plan your day : we recommend that you reach the beach early in the morning, as it is less crowded and easier to find a parking space. During the hottest hours you can explore the southern part of the island, indulging in a sea view lunch and then visiting the nearby archaeological site of Akrotiri.

12 – Akrotiri
Santorini is not just sea and sunsets, it would be a mistake to stop there. Indeed, in the island it is locatedone of the most important archaeological sites in the Aegean : the archaeological site of Akrotiri, located in the southwestern part of the island.
In 1962, Professor Spyridōn Marinatos found the remains of an ancient Minoan civilization, the Akrotiri, which in the 16th century BC was the victim of one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions that targeted Santorini. The whole town, or rather the whole civita, was completely buried in ashes. The remains came back to light thanks to the works and excavations conducted by the same professor. Here is therefore preserved a real piece of Santorini’s history , which is absolutely worth a visit, especially because the archaeological finds have remained practically intact, protected over the millennia by lava. And for someone,Akrotiri would even have to do with the lost civilization of Atlantis !
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in the southwest of the island, 10 km from Thira and 22 km from Oia. Reachable by car or scooter through Epar.Od. Firon-Ormou Perissis (17 mins) – Get directions
  • Hours: Wed-Mon 8: 30-15: 30, closed Tues
  • Ticket price: full € 12.00, reduced € 6.00

13 – Islands of Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni and Thirasia
The islands of Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni and Thirasia are three islands of volcanic origin , which were once connected to Santorini. With the depression of 10,000 years ago and the “collapse” of the volcano, these three islets were formed. Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni are located in the center, while the island of Thirisia closes the circle.
The best way to discover the islands is by taking part in an organized tour , with sea transfer included. Here you can discover wonderful landscapes and admire Santorini from another perspective. Most importantly, you will see how volcanic activity is still active: you can hike up to the crater, bathe in natural thermal springs or glimpse fumaroles and whiffs of sulfur from the ground.

Take part in a boat excursion : the islands can only be reached by sea, so we recommend that you join a boat excursion with thermal springs included, to better enjoy this beautiful place! Transfers to / from the hotel, stops for swimming, even snorkeling gear are included! Info and excursion costs here.

Other attractions to visit
As we have seen, Santorini is a 360 ° destination: culture, sea, nature and good food! A destination that brings together many types of travelers and tourists. So far we have seen the must sees not to be missed, but there are many other small things to do and see on the island.
If you want to fill up on museums , in addition to those mentioned, we also recommend: the archaeological museum Museum of Prehistoric Thira (€ 6.00); the Wine Museum (€ 10.00 with final tasting), for wine lovers who want to discover even more about Greek wine; and the Santorini historical museum of the past (free). Art lovers can instead find several galleries and exhibitions especially in the center of Thira and Oia.

9 things to do in Santorini
Admire the sunset in Oia

Admire the view from Pyrgos

Take a picture in front of the Kastro Oia Houses

Snorkeling in Amoudi Bay Impressive

walk at Emporio

Kamari open-air cinema

Staying in a luxury hotel Go on a


trip 1/9

  1. Catamaran cruise : impossible to visit Santorini without taking a day to live by sea, embarking on a catamaran and discovering all the coasts of the island! Info and costs here
  2. Watching the sunset in Oia : absolutely one of the best spots to watch the sunset, after having discovered all the main sites of the island! Info and costs here
  3. Admire the view from Pyrgos : this is the highest village in all of Santorini, it goes without saying that the view from up here is truly wonderful
  4. Take a picture in front of the Kastro Oia Houses : it is one of the most photographed houses in Oia and the whole island, characterized by a wonderful pastel orange-pink color, which certainly stands out compared to the many white houses
  5. Snorkeling in Amoudi Bay : not far from Oia, this is by far one of the best places to snorkel in Santorini. Crystal clear water and seabed full of life await you
  6. Suggestive walk to Emporio : it is an area not very frequented by tourists, in the northern part of the island not far from the beach of Perivolos. It is a very characteristic small fortified village
  7. Kamari open-air cinema : from May to October you absolutely cannot miss an evening of open-air cinema, the Cinekamari. Set up in the middle of the trees, it shows films in English, for an alternative and unforgettable evening
  8. Staying in a luxury hotel : at least for one night, we recommend you to stay in one of those wonderful hotels with an infinity pool, the famous infinity pool, from which you can admire the sunset and swim even at night, with the whole city illuminated
  9. Take part in a fishing trip : fishing lovers will certainly not be able to miss a traditional fishing trip in the morning off the coast of the island. A different but unforgettable experience. Info and costs here

Plan your stay in Santorini: tips, flights and hotels
Santorini is the southernmost island of the Cyclades islands and can be easily reached both by sea from the other Greek islands, and by plane , with flights that increase during the summer (compare flights ). The best period is certainly from May to October , possibly excluding August, which is really too crowded and very expensive!
To stay, I recommend and look for the best offers, since it is certainly not a cheap destination (compare the accommodations on booking). To move between the various locations, the best solution is to rent a moped . The buses cover only the main cities and are often full, the car is not recommendedbecause the streets are often narrow and do not lend themselves well. For a first approach, we recommend an island tour with a local guide, to familiarize yourself with the geography of Santorini and identify the landmarks. Ah, a personal tip
If you are tempted to climb the steps from the port of Thira on the back of donkeys … well, think about it. Looking at them, it doesn’t seem like they are enthusiastic about it.

Those looking for nightlife should know that the queen beach of night entertainment is only one: Perivolos, with disco bars that party until morning. In many beaches there are also several clubs, more or less quiet.

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