The beauty of Santorini lives up to the hype, from the white-and-blue buildings to the Greek island’s famed crescent-shaped coastline. When you get to Santorini, time slows to an island pace, thanks to the Greek hospitality, the striking views, and perhaps the high-proof ouzo. The distinctive bay that skirts Santorini is the center of the island’s caldera, which is essentially a large volcanic crater formed by an eruption. Of all the things to do in Santorini, taking in the caldera tends to rank first on the list. Beyond that, travelers should spend their time in Santorini exploring the wine scene, indulging in the freshly caught seafood, and hiking to the island’s best viewpoints.
If you’re passing through en route to another Greek island and looking for things to do in Santorini we've got you covered.
7:30 a.m.: You’ll start your day in Fira, grabbing breakfast before the hike over to Oia. Have a cup of coffee and a bite at Pelican Kipos on their charming Santorini patio. Lunch won’t be until well after a moderate hike, so you’ll want to fuel up with a cappuccino, a juice, and an omelette or belgian waffle topped with fruit. The lush patio at Pelican Kipos has flowers in full bloom and a far-off view of the water.
8 a.m.: The hike from Fira to Oia is, admittedly, on the longer side when you only have 24 hours. Nonetheless, it’s often touted as the best activity in Santorini—especially if you’re looking to capture all the island’s classic views. You’ll walk along the caldera cliff through four Santorini villages: Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. These four villages are known as the caldera-view villages. The hike is approximately six miles of relatively easy terrain—primarily paved streets and dirt trails. It should take travelers about two to five hours, depending on their pace. Taking the path from Fira to Oia tends to be faster, because it makes the hike primarily downhill.
12:00 p.m.: Santorini is known for its fine, local wines, making a vineyard stop an absolute must. Domaine Sigalas is in Oia, where you’ll complete your hike. Domaine Sigalas has a terrace right in the middle of their vineyards, where you can taste wines or buy a bottle. Greece is known for its white assyrtiko grape; Try Sigalas’ Assyrtiko before moving on to their Mandilaria, a black-skinned red grape most often grown in the Greek isles. If you’re peckish after the hike, Domaine Sigalas has an excellent meze selection, so you can enjoy a pre-lunch snack while wine tasting.
1:30 p.m.: When you’ve wrapped up at Domaine Sigalas, you can head down the cliff from Oia to Ammoudi Port. You’ll want to drive—or get a lift—but it’s a very quick trip, as you’re essentially coming down the cliff from Oia to the waterfront. Along Ammoudi Bay, Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna serves freshly caught fish and seafood they’ll grill right in front of you. All you have to do is choose a fish (served by the kilo) for the restaurant to throw on the grill—you can’t go wrong with grilled prawns or sea bream.
3:30 p.m.: After you’ve relaxed (and digested), change into swimwear for a quick dip in Ammoudi Bay, one of the best places to swim in Santorini. You can swim through the bay to the small island of Agios Nikolaos, or take a walking path from Ammoudi Bay and get to the island in five minutes. Agios Nikolaos has a ledge where you can (very carefully) jump into the sparkling Aegean waters.
6:30 p.m.: Post-swim, you’ll want to head back to your hotel and freshen up. Once you’ve taken a rest, it’s time for a pre-dinner cocktail at PK Cocktail Bar in Fira. A family-run joint, Palia Kameni Cocktail Bar has stunning views of the caldera, making their terrace a perfect spot to watch the sunset. PK has an impressive array of locally sourced ingredients, including fresh herbs and seasonal fruit, which they use to infuse their spirits and create innovative, flavorful cocktails. If you aren’t keen on a pre-dinner cocktail, they also serve good coffee, locally sourced teas, and Greek cigars.
8:30 p.m.: One of the best upscale restaurants in Santorini, The Athenian House takes a modern approach to classic Greek fare. The restaurant is in Imerovigli, and the terrace offers a magnificent view of Skaros Rock, the Aegean Sea, and the caldera. Executive Chef Christoforos Peskias encourages creativity in every element of the guests’ meal. His five-course tasting menu can come with a local wine pairing, or you can try the cocktails created by their in-house mixologist, which showcase Greek spirits like ouzo and tsipouro.
Where to Stay
Spend the night at Grace Hotel Santorini, Auberge Resorts Collection. One of the best luxury boutique hotels in Santorini, Grace Hotel is perched on a cliff in Imerovigli overlooking the caldera. Book one of their suites, some of which have outdoor plunge pools and terraces with views of the water. The spa at Grace Hotel has a private yoga and pilates studio, and their spa treatments are inspired by ancient Grecian healing techniques and ingredients.