Greece › Santorini › Things To Do
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 15, 2023
Santorini Things To Do: Tips & Advice
- One or Two Days in Santorini: Hike along the caldera between Fira and Oia, do a boat tour of the caldera, and have dinner at the Athenian House or Metaxi Mas.
- Three Days in Santorini: Add a wine tour, food tour, or jet ski tour.
- Four Days or more in Santorni: Visit ancient Akrotiri and Pyrgos. Lots more walking (the best way to explore Santorini).
- The best Santorini shore excursions for cruise passengers: 5-Hour Private Wine Tour • Best of Santorini Private Tour • Santorini Photography Tour
- Best Day Trip from Santorini: A day trip to Mykonos, Crete, or other Greek islands is difficult to do in one day. Nearby Thirassia makes for an excellent day trip from Oia.
- Most important tip: Do at least one tour. Or two or three or four. You might not usually do tours. They might be outside your comfort zone. But they’re awesome, fun, really well done, and a great way to get to see lots of the island (and get to know some locals) in a short amount of time. Santorini Boat Tours, Santorini Wine Tours, Santorini Private Tours – they’re all great. People spend thousands of dollars getting to Greece and then worry about a $200 wine tour. Just do it. You’ll remember it forever.
The Best Santorini Tours
The best day trips in Santorini are the caldera boat and winery tours. Every tour I’ve taken on Santorini has been great (or very, very good) – and I’ve never had a bad experience. It’s not absolutely necessary to pre-book tours before arriving, but if you’re on a short visit (less than five days), it’s probably a good idea to reserve your tour in advance. From June to September the best tours can be fully booked weeks in advance.
The Top Tours in Santorini
- Get Your Guide – The most complete list of Santorini tours. Good site for getting tour discounts. If you need to cancel it’s much easier to get a refund if you’ve booked through Get Your Guide than if you’ve booked through a local tour company.
- Small Group Wine Tasting Tour
Santorini has some incredible wine (Assyrtiko is my favorite). This is an intimate semi-private tour that visits three great Santorini wineries. There is also a less expensive Santorini Sunset Wine Tour that is almost as good. It will have a few more people but it’s still a small group tour (and since some people enjoy meeting other travelers on a tour, the fact that it’s not private may be a plus).
- Sunset Catamaran Cruise
Every boat tour is a different mix of these popular elements: swimming in the hot springs, visiting Thirassia, hiking the volcano, stopping at Red Beach and White Beach to swim and snorkel, eating lunch or dinner on board, and watching the sunset below Oia. This tour is the simplest (but still awesome) – it’s basically just sailing through the caldera, stopping at a few beaches (outside of the caldera), then the hot springs, with swimming, eating, and sunbathing along the way. It ends by watching the sunset from the boat below the Oia cliffs (the highlight). Bring a change of clothes; the evening gets cold if you’re still in wet swimwear. All boat tours mentioned on this page provide meals onboard and include transportation to and from your hotel.
- Santorini Day Cruise
The most luxurious boat tour with the best food and friendliest, smallest group. This is a caldera boat tour that includes lots of swimming and snorkeling, unlimited drinks, and free hotel pickup and drop-off. It’s similar to the Sunset Cruise but without the sunset and with more swimming and time in the sun. There is also an amazing private catamaran cruise of the caldera (both day and sunset options available) if budget allows.
- Best of Santorini (6 Hours)
The best private tour in Santorini. No boats. This is a sightseeing tour of the island itself with a professional guide. The tour visits three of my favorite places: Akrotiri (the fantastic ruins of the ancient town destroyed by the volcano eruption), Pyrgos (an old town with twisting pathways and churches galore – incredible views, too), and Oia (the single most beautiful village on Santorini). There are also stops at Red and Black beaches, a local winery (Venetsanos), and the picturesque town of Firostefani. Hotel pickup and drop-off make this a super easy way to see the island in one day.
- Santorini Photography Tour
A great tour of Santorini’s best views and shots that’s ideal for all photographers, from beginner to expert. If you’re looking for something really unique and special then this is it. People absolutely love this tour.
- Jet Ski To The Volcano
This might be the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. You start from Perivolos Beach and take the jet skis around the south of the island and then up into the caldera. It’s absolutely amazing. There are three types of tours. You’ll want to do the “Volcano Tour” or “Extreme Volcano Tour” – both of these go into the caldera.
- Santorini Fishing Tour
Wonderful tour of the waters around Santorini on a local fishing boat. Fresh seafood lunch or dinner served on board (you’ll eat what you catch and empty from the nets). The daytime tour is best for families and serious fishermen. The sunset tour is best for couples.
The 46 Best Things To Do in Santorini
1. Caldera Hike from Fira to Oia
This is the single best thing to do on Santorini. The views are incredible. The hike takes between 2 and 5 hours depending on your speed and how many pictures you stop to take along the way. Start in Fira and move north through Firostefani and then Imerovigli (this part of the path feels more like a village sidewalk). From Imerovigli to Oia, it’s a largely rural path with only a few shops or restaurants. Most people will want to wear a sturdy running shoe for the walk. The route isn’t completely marked but it’s fairly intuitive: stay on the path that follows the edge of the caldera and walk north (when in doubt stay to the left/west). Of course, it’s fine to do the walk in the opposite direction but it feels more natural (to me) to walk north to Oia and the island’s tip. And walking into Oia from the hills above is an awesome finish. During July or August I’d highly recommend starting before 8:00 a.m. Though it’s easy and free to do the hike on your own, hiring a guide is a great way to get a dose of history and some insight into the local culture and customs.
2. Sunset, Caldera, and Volcano Boat Tour
Do two fantastic activities in one boat tour: walk the volcano and swim in the hot springs. Be sure to get a tour that takes in the sunset too. There are also tour options that visit Thirassia (a small, populated island that forms part of the caldera ring with Santorini) and Red and black beaches. Boats usually depart from Vlychada Marina at the south of the island, or from Ammoudi Bay below Oia, and most tours offer hotel pickup to get you to the boat. All the tour companies are legitimate so buy the tour that suits your needs best as far as timing, interests, and transportation.
3. Santorini Winery Tour
Santorini wine is great, the people are super friendly, and the wineries are beautiful. Vineyards here mostly eschew planting their vines un upright rows, opting instead to wrap the grapevines low to the ground in a basket shape to protect the grapes from the extreme sun and wind. A Santorini wine tour is the best way of exploring more than one winery. Most wineries are inland from the caldera, though a few wineries do have caldera views.
4. Jet Ski Tour To The Volcano
An exhilerating and unique way of seeing the caldera. There are different tours that go different places – all leave from Perivolos on the south of the island. The shortest tour (“South Tour”) visits nearby Red Beach and White Beach and lasts about 90 minutes. The medium-length (“Volcano Tour”, 140 minutes) goes all the way into the caldera and stops for a swim in the hot springs by the volcano. The longest tour (“Extreme Volcano Tour”, 200 minutes) takes the volcano tour and adds Thirassia Island and Ammoudi Bay. The tours that go into the caldera are pretty intense and the waves can be big. It’s a taxing activity but super fun. My son has done the volcano tour when he was 14 and 15 years old (that’s him in the photo) and considers it one of the most fun things we’ve ever done. Staff are friendly, helpful, and very safety conscious. There’s a motorboat with the tour the whole way so if someone needs a break they can switch to the boat and one of the staff will ride the jet ski. I love the boat tours of the caldera but this takes it to another level – the cliffs are just right there! The same company also does parasailing, tubing, and water skiing.
5. Santorini Photography Tour
I can not say enough great things about this wonderful tour. It’s an excellent way to see the island from a number of unique spots. It’s also fine if only one in your group is interested in photography and the others only want to enjoy the views. Highly recommended – but book far in advance.
6. Santorini Kayak Tour
Wonderfully fun! The Morning Tour and Sunset Tour explore the south coast of Santorini (cool but you don’t get to see the caldera). The Round The Lighthouse Tour goes into the caldera and provides incredible views of the caldera cliffs. There’s also a good SUP and snorkeling tour, but it doesn’t go into the caldera.
7. Ancient Akrotiri
See and explore the remains of the ancient Minoan Bronze-Age village that was abandoned before (and buried by) the island’s devastating volcanic eruption in the 16th Century BC. The is the most interesting historical site on Santorini and very well preserved. For a long time, this advanced settlement was believed to have inspired the legend of Atlantis. I highly recommend booking a tour guide in advance to show you around the site and discuss the history of the island, the eruption, and the following destruction. Another option is the excellent private tour of Akrotiri and three Santorini wineries.
8. Walk the Volcano
The larger of the two islands in the caldera is called Nea Kameni (new burnt island), and it’s where you’ll find the island’s active volcano – the top point of interest in Santorini. The crater is 130 meters up and takes about 20 minutes to walk to. Sulfur vents are found along the way. The only way to get here is by doing a caldera boat tour or hiring a chartered boat.
9. Santorini Fishing Tour
Very professional, very fun fishing tour with lots of hands-on action and a huge lunch. The daytime/lunch tour is the most popular option, but there’s also a sunset fishing tour.
10. Visit Ftelos Brewery
An elevated craft beer experience like no other. You’ll find lagers and pale ales at this microbrewery, as well as curious brews like hibiscus saison and rosemary gose in limited runs, made from local and seasonal ingredients, sometimes barrel-aged. Awarded the “Most Innovative Brewery,” Ftelos offers tours, tastings, food pairings, cooking classes, and even a home-brewing master class. Art-filled facilities include two beer-themed gourmet restaurants, tapas bars, and beer cocktails served on the bioclimatic rooftop garden. Reservations are strongly recommended.
11. Take the Dogs to the Beach at SAWA
Santorini Animal Welfare Association is a shelter and sanctuary for the island’s stray dogs, donkeys and mules rescued from grueling labor, and abandoned farm animals (a newer phenomenon as traditional farms are being converted into profitable vacation rentals). Visitors are always welcome to swing by and take a dog or two for a walk along a desert pathway south to remote Eros Beach for some fun in the waves. Bring your own picnic or pop in at Theros Wave Bar for beachfront refreshments. Volunteers are are also needed for full working days (usually from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) to help care for the animals. Tasks vary but including feeding the animals, cleaning the pens, or light maintenance on the property, depending on the season. If you happen to fall in love, all dogs are available for adoption.
12. Explore the Paths, Alleys, and Stairwells of Fira, Firostefani, and Imerovigli
This is basically the hike from Fira to Oia but instead of continuing to Oia you can stop in Imerovigli, explore a little, and turn back around. All three towns have beautiful views and are worth a walk-through. You might get a little lost here and there, but that’s half the fun.
13. Hike Skaros Rock
Descend the cliff to the path that leads to Skaros Rock, an unmistakable landmark shaped by eruptions, earthquakes, and erosion. Under Venetian rule, Skaros was one the first of Santorini’s five fortified settlements and formerly the island’s capital until the 18th century. You can still see some of the old ruins here today (though it’s barely recognizable as a castle), as well as a small monastery hidden on the far side of the outcrop. Climb to the top of the rock if you’re brave enough. Great views from all points. The path starts just south of Grace Santorini hotel.
14. Swim at Ammoudi Bay
One of the best swimming spots on Santorini is down the cliff from Oia and a short hike south of the Ammoudi port. Walk the steps down from Oia (or drive/taxi to Ammoudi Bay), then take the path that leads south past the restaurants in the port – you can’t miss it, there’s only one way to go. It’s a 5-minute walk to Agios Nikolaos Islet (above) that you can swim out to. The deep water around the islet make it a popular spot for jumping from its rocky ledge into the sea.
15. Take a Private Tour of Santorini
Explore the hidden paths, alleys, beaches, photo shots, amazing villages, and quiet spots all around the island. All Santorini tours are good, but there’s something a little extra special about doing a private tour if it works with your budget. It’s not cheap.
16. Explore the Paths, Alleys, and Stairwells of Oia
Oia has even more hidden pathways than Fira. Be sure to get off the main path and explore the magical views you’ll stumble upon. A good place to start is to find the restaurant Lotza then take the path down the cliff directly to the right of the restaurant. The Venetian castle ruins are hard to miss as you wander around, and they offer fantastic views in almost every direction (no coincidence that the ruins are the most popular sunset viewpoint).
17. Open Air Cinema in Kamari
Family-friendly fun – depending on what’s playing, of course. Watch a movie outside as the sun sets and the sky grows dark. The selections are usually popular English-language films. Wine, beer, and simple snacks are available for purchase. Movies start around 9:30pm, but I recommend getting here when the doors open at 8:30 to ensure a seat. Sundays and the first and last day of any movie run are the busiest days. There’s a bus stop directly across the street with buses to and from Fira. In summer the last bus should be after the movie is out but check the schedule to be sure.
18. Ancient Thera
Find Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine ruins – and spectacular views – at this ancient island capital on the top of Messa Vouno mountain. You can hike the steep trail up from Kamari or Perissa, drive the narrow switchbacked road to the entrance, or hop on the 10€ shuttle from Kamari below. Expect maximum wind and minimum facilities – there are no bathrooms at the top. 4€ adults, kids free. 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
19. Tomato Industrial Museum
Learn all about the history behind Santorini’s world famous cherry-sized tomatoes in this former tomato paste factory that operated from 1922 until 1981. The Tomato Museum is small, but very well done. Most people are pleasantly surprised at how much fun they have here.
20. Dinner with a View
The food is often better when you go to a restaurant without a view. However, you have to have dinner with a view of the caldera at least one night while in Santorini. The Athenian House (pictured above) in Imerovigli is a beautiful restaurant with a caldera and sunset view. (And these are my favorite restaurants on Santorini.)
21. Santorini Helicopter Tour
This is pretty close to unforgettable. A wonderful tour above Santorini, the volcano, the caldera, and all the villages perched along the cliff (that’s Oia and Ammoudi Bay above, as seen from the helicopter). If you’re going to Mykonos you can also do a helicopter transfer between Santorini and Mykonos – which is fun, easy, and way faster than the ferry.
22. Visit Thirassia Island
Thirassia Island forms the western side of the caldera, and was connected to Santorini before the ancient volcanic eruption that formed the caldera. It’s an inhabited island with some good local tavernas, beaches, hiking trails, the picturesque Church of the Virgin Mary, and the intriguing, abandoned cave village of Agrilia. Although you can certainly visit on your own, it’s best to have a guide to ensure you don’t miss any important sights (you’ll need one if you wan’t to see inside the church pictured above; it’s locked most days). Even without a guide, a day trip here is worth the 1€ boat ride to visit. Boats run usually three times a day from Ammoudi, generally at 8:00, 12:45, and 15:20, though schedules may change seasonally or annually – check with your hotel for the latest information. Plan wisely or you’ll be spending the night on the island.
23. Kamari Beach
Good swimming, though it’s a pebble beach, not sandy. Many restaurants, beach clubs, and plenty of nice hotels line the main road facing the sea. The lively, pedestrian-only street along the beach is fun to walk at night when it gets quite busy.
24. Swim in the Hot Springs
Jump from the boat into the cold water of the caldera, then swim towards the warm water of the volcanic hot springs. It never gets really hot, but it’s warm enough to never feel the need to get out. The only way to get to the hot springs is by doing a Santorini boat tour.
On the way to Perissa Beach in the south of Santorini, you’ll find this magical, traditional village. In Emporio (pronounced eh boh REE oh) you’ll find a smattering of chapels, a couple of traditional cafes (kafenion), and homes stacked on homes spreading out from the ruins of the 15th-century Venetian castle at the heart of the village. There are almost never any tourists here, and it’s a pleasure to get good and lost in the tangle of colorful alleyways. There is car parking and a bus stop at the main entrance, but the village itself is open to pedestrians only.
26. Watch the Sunset in Oia
Bring a bottle of wine and hang out on the cliffs of Oia watching the sun set over the sea. The Venetian castle ruins are the most popular viewpoint. It’s always busy, so be prepared for crowds. Forget about finding a taxi back to Fira or Imerovigli, but there are extra buses waiting for the crowds after the sunset, and there’s often no wait for those. Elinikon is the best Oia restaurant with views of the sunset.
27. The Seafood Restaurants Of Ammoudi Bay
Walk down the stairs from Oia to Ammoudi Bay to find four restaurants serving incredibly fresh seafood. All of these restaurants are good, but Ammoudi Fish Tavern is my favorite. You can usually get in without a reservation. No need to climb the 200+ stairs back to the top – the restaurants will be happy to call you a taxi when you’ve finished your meal.
28. Museum of Prehistoric Thera
On the main street in Fira, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera is worth a 45-minute visit. It’s not huge but it’s interesting, especially if you’ve made a visit to the Akrotiri ruins first. A 5-minute walk away is the Megaro Gyzi Museum near the Catholic church. It’s even smaller, but still but worth a look if you want a more intimate view of Santorini’s history. And seeking it out is a good way to see some of the hidden alleys of Fira that you might otherwise miss.
29. Symposion Music and Mythology Cultural Center
Housed in a late 18th-century winery in the traditional village of Megalochori, Symposion immerses its guests in Greek mythology, music, and ancient instruments. Exhibits showcase Greek bagpipes (tsabouna), doubaki (Cycladic drum), rokana (a type of rattle, the lyre, and the lute. Interactive tours, hands-on workshops (build your own instruments), wine-tasting, and musical performances provide a unique educational and entertaining experience in a beautiful setting.
30. Red Beach
Just down the road from the Akrotiri ruins, Red Beach is the most spectacular and picturesque of any Santorini beach. From the bus stop or car park it’s about a 15-minute walk to the beach. The trail is sometimes closed due to the risk from falling rock; proceed at your own risk. Many caldera boat tours stop here for a swim on the way to or from the caldera.
31. Akrotiri Lighthouse
The lighthouse is the destination, but the draw is the incredible view looking north into the caldera – very different than the views from looking down from Fira or Oia because you can really see the circular nature of the caldera from this vantage point. Also popular for its excellent sunset views. Located on the very southern tip of Santorini, the only way to get there is by car.
32. Santorini Wine Museum
The Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum, in the same family of winemakers for five generations, sits at the center of Santorini. Its super cool, 300-meter-long wine cave set eight meters below ground displays exhibits of the history and development of Santorinian wine over the last five centuries. Admission to the museum includes four wine tastings from the family’s winery.
33. Art Space Winery
A unique and charming mix of contemporary art gallery, history museum, cave architecture, and great wine. Paintings and sculptures are displayed in the centuries-old wine cellars, raki distillery, and large central cave. It’s rarely visited by any tours, so you need to visit on your own.
34. Santorini Scuba Diving
There are wonderful dive spots all around the Santorini volcanoes and caldera. Professional tours are offered that cater to all levels.
35. Greek Cooking Class
The food in Santorini is amazing. Obviously, it’s easy to enjoy plenty of great food without doing a food tour or cooking class, but the guides are so knowledgeable and the tours so fun it’s really worth doing one. Like any Santorini tour the odds of doing one and then regretting it are almost zero.
36. Perissa & Perivolos Beaches
Perissa is the best swimming beach on Santorini and has the nicest sand. (It’s black sand, so it does get hot in the summer.) Good restaurants are spread along the beach front. Tranquilo is the best beach bar on Perissa. Perissa is about a 30-minute drive from Fira and 45 minutes from Oia. Perivolos Beach is the southern part of the same stretch of sand, with some newer luxury hotels and great restaurants (try Seaside or Savvas Popeye). Other than the change in latitude, though, there’s little to distinguish one beach from the other.
37. Cable Car from Old Port to Fira
Walk down the stairs to the Old Port, grab a drink, then take the cable car back up (though you can walk or cable car both ways if you want). From May to October the cable car runs every 20 minutes, 6:30 to 22:00 – a little longer hours in July and August, and a reduced schedule from November until April. It costs 6€ for adults and less for children.
38. Wood Carving Workshop at Xylo Wood Design
Learn the basics of wood carving at the workshop and gallery of artist Michael Arvanitis. The 90-minute course includes information on local traditions, an introduction to the tools of the trade, and demonstrations of different techniques, followed by hands-on practice, where students can put their newfound knowledge into practice. Be sure to take time to visit the gallery itself, filled with skillfully crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces.
39. Explore the Santorini Countryside
This is one of the advantages of renting a car in Santorini – you can get away from the main towns and explore the beautiful Santorinian countryside. The island is small – you can almost always see the sea – but there’s lots of farmland (especially in the south) and you can’t drive far without stumbling across a winery or two and vineyards with grape vines trained into distinctive basket shapes. As with other of-the-beaten-path attractions, hiring a guide
can ensure don’t miss any of the highlights of rural Santorini.
40. Best Dessert
You have to try a baklava and ice cream if you’re in Greece. Lotza in Oia serves the best baklava on the island. (Zotos Cafe in Fira has the best gelato on Santorini.)
41. Best View of Santorini
Walk up the meandering lanes of traditional Pyrgos village (15 minutes south of Fira) to the top of the hill where you’ll find a castle, a church, and marvelous views of the entire island. The rooftop bar at Franco’s Cafe is a great place to enjoy the sunset. The 6-Hour Best of Santorini Tour is an easy way to visit the most interesting Santorini villages (Pyrgos, Oia, and others).
42. Best Gyro In Santorini
Many of the gyro and souvlaki shops that target tourists make some pretty average food. Not Lucky’s. This is the real thing and just as good as anything you’ll find in Athens or mainland Greece. Lucky’s is on the main street of Fira and a 3-minute walk from the bus station. (Ask anyone and they’ll point you in the right direction.) Pito Gyros in Oia is also good.
43. Greek Easter
If you happen to be in Santorini for Greek Easter (the date of which is usually different than western Easter) be prepared for something special. On the night of Good Friday, head to Pyrgos where the whole town is magically lit with candles. Saturday night be prepared for fireworks (Fira is the best spot to see them) when the fast ends at midnight. And on Easter Sunday many Greek restaurants will have a special menu with roasted pork and Greek dishes (be sure to reserve a table in advance).
44. Day Trip or Overnight Trip to Ios
The great beaches on Ios and its proximity to Santorini make it the best day trip island from Santorini … but an overnight trip is better.
45. Lioyerma Public Swimming Pool
If you’re staying near Oia and your hotel doesn’t have a swimming pool, this is a good public option – but I don’t think it’s worth a trip from Fira or beyond. No fee, just buy a drink or some food and you can swim all day and enjoy the nice view. (It has a sunset view too.) This pool makes a refreshing finish to the Fira to Oia hike.
46. Best Thing To Do On Final Night in Santorini
The Greek Wedding Show puts on an unbelievably fun performance about a Greek family wedding. There’s singing, dancing, and a simple storyline. Guests are made to feel part of the wedding party. There are light snacks and lots of wine. Even my 12 and 15 year-old boys thought this was fantastic. Great fun!
Santorini Day Trips to Other Islands
My recommendation: Don’t do day trips from Santorini to other islands. Santorini has so much to see and do you’re better to focus on staying and enjoying it. If you really want to see other islands then you’re better off traveling there and spending a few nights rather than wasting your time going there and back on a ferry. (Ios is a bit of an exception as its so close.)
Besides the islands visible in the caldera (like nearby Thirassia and Nea Kameni), Santorini doesn’t have great day trip options. To visit an island on a day trip you need to get an early morning ferry from Santorini and a late-day ferry returning to Santorini. Since most ferries are based on other islands (or back in Athens) it’s usually mid-day before they arrive in Santorini. And even when there is an early morning ferry there likely won’t be an evening ferry that would provide you with the time necessary to make the journey worthwhile.
If you really want to make a day trip to another Greek island your best bet is to wait until you’ve arrived in Santorini. Then visit a travel agency and ask about the ferry schedule to and from Santorini’s neighboring islands. If it seems like the amount of time you’ll get on the island is worth the journey then book the ticket. If not, then don’t. Ferry schedules are always changing and rarely are released more than a few weeks in advance. A day trip requires fairly precise timing to pull off so it’s best to wait to arrange until you’re in Greece and can be certain of the schedule. Ferries on these short routes from Santorini will almost never sell out so don’t worry about finding a spot onboard. If the schedule works for a day trip then you’ll have no problem buying tickets.
The most likely candidate for a day trip from Santorini is Ios. It has fantastic beaches and a young and fun party vibe – though the clubbing doesn’t get going until late at night so day-trippers won’t get to partake. With a little luck you could have 6 or 7 hours on the island making the 35-minute boat trip from Santorini worth the effort. Mylopotas Beach (one of the best in Greece) and the Chora (the main town up a steep cliff from the port) are well connected to the harbor by a short bus ride. The ferry from Santorini to Ios is €20 one way.
Naxos and Paros are both (just) possible but even with the best ferry connections you’d have little more than 2 or 3 hours to explore the island. Except in rare circumstances a day trip to Mykonos is not possible from Santorini. The journey from Santorini to Mykonos is more than 2 hours and 30 minutes and there are rarely returning boats that make the trip doable in a day.
A day trip from Crete to Santorini is possible (from April to October) with the daily ferries from Heraklio. But a trip going from Santorini to Crete does not work with the ferry timetable.
Anafi is another island that would seem to allow for a day trip but since ferries run to Santorini in the morning and back to Anafi in the afternoon any visit would require staying a night on Anafi.
My girlfriends and I are headed to Santorini mid-September. Just wondering about the wineries. Can we just spontaneously drive to ones that interest us, or is it necessary to do a reservation and/or winery tour?
No reservations necessary. There are highway signs all over the island pointing to the nearest winery, so it’s well suited to spontaneity. (Just don’t drink and drive.)
We will be in Santorini at the end of September. Will the sea be too cold for the jetski caldera tour?
The weather is usually still very nice through the end of September. No guarantees but you should be fine.
Your site is really helpful! Thank you! I am coming to Greece with some single girlfriends for a birthday trip. What areas do you suggest we stay in? Everywhere looks amazing but we will only be there for 4 nights. All of the island looks beautiful and wonderful for day trips to explore. We are coming to celebrate our 40th birthdays and I am looking for a great area that is lively, beautiful, and with amazing views and restaurants. But it looks like that is all of santorini from my research. I just do not want to book the honeymoon couple destination of the island for a hotel.
We will definitely be taking a couple of the tours and hike you suggested. I really appreciate your help and for being a great resource for traveling. It is easy to get lost down the internet rabbit hole while researching a trip!
Considering your plans, staying in Fira is probably best. It’s busy, fun, has shopping, nightlife, and lots of restaurants. It’s also the hub for the bus network so the easiest place from which to get around the island. If you want easy access to Fira but would like to sleep somewhere a little quieter then go with Firostefani (a 10-minute walk north of Fira along the caldera path).
Hi Santorini Dave,
My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Greece in early-April, we absolutely love your site and it has been such a help in our planning process! Your reviews and travel guides have been amazing, but we have also found your thoughtful and diligent responses to people’s comments just as valuable. We would love to run our itinerary by you, to see what you think. For some background, we are a couple in our late 20s, we love to explore and be outdoors on vacations, also appreciate great food and wine.
Day 1: Land 4:50PM in Athens from NYC. We plan to catch a 7:30PM flight to Chania, Crete. Do you think this is too quick of a turnaround with going through customs? We both have global entry (if this is helpful).
** We understand we are rushing Crete a bit with only a full day in Chania and Heraklion. Do you have any hotel suggestions that you would consider better locations for seeing as much of the cities as we can? Mid-level is fine, as we usually spend very little time in the hotels on our trips.
Day 2: Will be in Chania for the whole day. Thinking of doing ‘Street Stories of Chania Walking Tour’ per your suggestion, in addition to exploring on our own.
Day 3: Will be in Heraklion for the whole day. We are thinking of doing the ‘Bites & Sites’ Tour you suggested, in addition to exploring on our own.
Day 4: Take the morning ferry from Heraklion to Santorini. Check into Keti Hotel (shout out to your great suggestion). We have roughly 3.5 days in Santorini. Of your suggestions, some of the things we are planning to do, include: Caldera hike Fira to Oia, Volcano boat tour, wine and olive tour. We welcome any other suggestions you may have as well, horseback riding on the beach/tour is another activity that has sparked our interest.
Day 8: Fly from Santorini to Athens. I know you suggest taking the ferry from Santorini to Athens, but in the interest of time we are going to fly. Would you say Plaka is the most central place in terms of being in a good location for site seeing? If so, do you have any hotel suggestions? Similar to our stay in Crete, we will be on-the-go the majority of our time there, so looking for a place with great location rather than the most luxurious hotel.
Thank you so much for the valuable information you have already provided on your site, and an even bigger thank you for taking a look at our itinerary. We have a couple of other friends who have upcoming travel plans and have highly recommended your site to them as well.
Looks like a great itinerary. Yes, a little rushed but still good. Both tours you mention are great. Also, try to get to Knossos and the archaeological museum in Heraklion. And 2 hours, 40 minutes should be enough time to get through immigration and get to your next flight (as long as your first flight is not late arriving).
For centrally located mid-range hotels try Palazzo Duca in Chania, Aquila Atlantis in Heraklion, and Phaedra Hotel in Athens.
First of all thank you for all of the helpful information on Santorini. I have built my itinerary based off of your reviews! So I am flying into Santorini from Thursday to Monday for my honeymoon. There are so many suggestions and great things to see! Can you suggest one activity that we absolutely should not miss?
I would be sure to do the Fira-Oia hike (or at least some part of it: Imerovigli to Oia or Fira) and take a boat tour of the caldera.
Thanks for all your posts about Santorini. They’ve been very helpful. My husband and I are traveling with another couple to Santorini March 12-14, and I have a few concerns. We’ve booked an Airbnb in Oia and plan to do the hike between Oia and Fira likely on the 13th when we have the full day. You highly recommend a guided tour, but given we’ll only have from lunch on on the 12th and departing Santorini in general on the 14th around 5pm, would you still recommend a guided tour or maybe explore Oia or a winery on our own? Since we’re not staying in the hub of Fira, would a rental car be best, as it looks like the buses stop running from Fira around 7pm and taxis are expensive? (We’re arriving by plane). I’m thinking we may have to hop over to Fira for dinner, as the only restaurants I know open in Oia in March are Roka and Candouni. Do you think we need to cancel our Oia place altogether for ease to stay in Fira? I’d love your thoughts! Thank you!
Yes, staying in Fira (for a March visit) would be easier and more convenient but it isn’t a necessity. Both Roka and Candouni are wonderful restaurants so not sure why you would need to go to Fira for dinner. You’d have time to do the walking tour but it is probably a better use of time to fit the hike in on your own schedule.
I was wondering if you have any other recommendations for a photography tour, Highlights Of Santorini Photo Tour is sold out the dates we are there in September. What do you think of a private tour of Santorini if I can’t book the photography tour? Any thoughts or suggestions would be great!
I think a private tour of Santorini would be great. It’s a fun and easy way to see the highlights of the island in one day. But in answer to your question, I don’t know of another photography tour.
Hi, we want to do the Fira to Oia walk. Where do we park and start the walk? We’re staying in Pyrgos so will need to drive there. Secondly, our two 14-year olds want to rent mountain bikes and ride what look to be numerous trails. I could only find e-bike rental. Which they said is “totally lame” for them. Any ideas on if there are any mountain bike rental shops who could rent and maybe take them out on some trails? Thanks much!
To start the Fira-Oia hike drive from Pyrgos and park your car at this parking lot. Then walk north and take the first main road to your left and get yourself to the Atlantis Hotel (map it or ask anyone for directions). And that’s the start of the hike. You’ll then need to bus back from Oia to Fira. The bus station is a short walk from that parking lot. Santorini Adventures rents mountain bikes.
First thank you for all of your suggestions. We will be coming to Santorini for 3 days in September. Unfortunately, we booked our hotel before reading your site. We will be staying at Hotel Eucalyptus in Messaria. I hope we didn’t make a mistake with that booking, what do you think?
On our list to do while in Santorini: a sunset catamaran cruise that includes Red Beach and the volcano. A trip to Fira and Oia, and we will take your recommendation and definitely eat at Mezzo in Imerovigli. Any suggestions on our itinerary, and perhaps in what order we should visit the places I mentioned? Thank you so much for all of your help.
Hotel Eucalyptus is not centrally located but it’s not terrible either. Several buses pass here on their way to Fira (about 5 minutes by bus). It’s probably too far to walk for most people. Your itinerary sounds great. Order doesn’t really matter.
This is such a great site. THANK YOU!
My partner and I are looking for a fun cooking class while we are in Santorini late June, and most research is pointing to Petra Kouzina as being a pretty good choice. We are also undecided if we want to combine wine tour/cooking class or do one or the other. Is wine tour a must do activity?.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
I would do both a wine tour and a cooking class but try to do them separately so they’re not rushed. The combo tours try to pack too much in (I think). If you can only do one then do a wine tour.
What are your thoughts on the logistics of visiting the Acropolis on a day from Santorini?
You would have to fly (ferries would not get you from Santorini to Athens and back in one day). So, fly from Santorini to Athens (1 hour), taxi or train into central Athens (45 minutes), walk to Acropolis (1 minute or 20 minutes depending on whether walking from taxi or train), tour Acropolis (1 to 2 hours, highly recommend getting a guide), and then the reverse trip to airport and flight to Santorini. (I’m sure you’d wander around the Plaka area before or after the Acropolis and get something to eat.) Is that worth it? It’s a long day for certain, but if it’s your one chance to see the Acropolis then could be worth it.
We are considering a family trip to Greece in late June or early July. It will be me, my wife, and our three children (Daughters are 15 and 18. Son is 16). We are from New Orleans and have traveled abroad several times. Our big concern is getting around Greece in a week’s time. Is travel on ferries really difficult and time consuming. Would it be enough to perhaps visit Athens and perhaps Santorini only? Are there other stops we should make?
Since we are traveling so far, we would really like to get “value” and see alot on the trip. It would be a shame to travel so far, but not have time to really do it right.
If you have a full week in Greece then try to see more than just Athens and Santorini (Naxos and Milos are good options). But if it’s a week including travel time from the U.S. then stick with Athens and Santorini. Try to arrange your flights so you don’t go through Athens twice (e.g. fly New Orleans to London to Athens, ferry to Naxos/Santorini, fly Santorini to London to New Orleans). Flying to Santorini (from Athens) is a good plan if you’re really tight on time though the high speed ferries aren’t that much longer than a flight when you factor in security and airport waiting time.
Love your fantastic information! If we are visiting for a day (a cruise… I know, not the best way to see the islands but it’s a start):
What would you do if we only had eight hours at each???!? We are bringing the kids. But I also want great restaurants with the best food to grab a bite and some wine at each island. So a mix of an activity for a half day followed by a great dining spot before we have to board the ship.
In Corfu, I would spend the day wandering Corfu Town and eat somewhere away from the main square. In Santorini I would walk the Fira-Oia hike. In Mykonos I would spend a few hours in Mykonos Town then walk from Platys Gialos to Paradise Beach. (For Santorini and Mykonos I have other pages where I discuss my favorite restaurants.)
This is great information and really helpful. Thank you for providing and helping visitors in planning their trips.
My friend and I are planning to visit Santorini in first week of April with 4 girls from 3-6 years and planning to book accommodation via airbnb. So, we are debating if need to go with 2 or 3 night stay. After reviewing all the information, I see lots of walking, hiking and water activities (good for summer though).
So, really looking for your suggestions on the following or any other advice.
– 2 or 3 nights
– Kids activities or any other activities to keep them engaged
– Family friendly restaurants
In April when the sea isn’t warm enough to swim (for most people though kids can sometimes be an exception), there isn’t a lot to do with kids. I suppose Akrotiri could be interesting for the 6 year olds. Ouzeri in Fira and Lotza in Oia are good restaurants for families. Try to stay in a central place (probably in Oia or Fira) that’s an easy walk to the center so you don’t have to worry about car or bus every time you go out. Assuming you’re able to find a way to be entertained 3 nights is definitely better than 2.
I’m in the beginning stages of planning a seven day trip to Greece in September. I want to visit Athens, Santorini but I’m debating between Mykonos or Crete. Can you please suggest the one you would pick. My group will include a mix of family and friends. We are mostly interested in the history and food experience. How many days would you recommend in each city? What city should we come in and come out of? How would we travel between these cities?
Thanks in advance for your time and feedback!
With your interests in mind, I would go to Crete – especially for the history. Spend time in Heraklion and Chania. Try to do some sort of loop in which you don’t retrace your steps. For example: fly into Athens, fly to Chania, bus to Heraklion, ferry to Santorini, then fly from Santorini out of Greece on your way back home.
Hi Dave… another question! I visited Fira with my elderly dad today, parked on the south side of town, had lunch and tried to go to the cable car station via the steps/pedestrian paths on the west side, but it was too much for him and we had to turn back. Do you know if we can drive over and park close to the cable car station? (Planning on doing the cable car both ways.)
So much great stuff here, signed up on Patreon!
There’s a parking lot directly opposite the McDonald’s (here). You should be able to find a spot (don’t be picky, anywhere you can pull in and establish yourself, take it) then walk to the cable car. If that doesn’t work, then leave your dad at the square/seating beside McDonalds, park somewhere you can find a spot then return and grab him before heading to the cable car.
We just became patrons. Thanks!
Trying to decide between Kamari or Perissa for a day at the beach or maybe even an overnight stay. We have 5 days in Imerovigli and might move one night to the beach. Or should we just visit? And which beach is best?
Both are nice beach towns. I slightly prefer Kamari as a place to stay (it’s closer to Fira, has more of a town-feel with better restaurants, and the nearby open-air cinema is great). But for a day at the beach I’d go for Perissa (and neighboring Perivolos). Funky beach bars and restaurants are spread along the length of the beach and the sand is nicer here. If it were me I’d keep my 5 days in Imerovigli and make a day trip (or two) to the beach.
I will be heading to Santorini in early-mid October with my husband and another couple. We were looking at different tours and have decided to do a sunset cruise and wine tour. We were wondering if we should definitely book in advance or since it is the off season if we would do better booking there (would there be any cost difference?). Also any thoughts on the Canvas Suites in Oia? Melissa
Even in October tours can sell out. So if you only have a few days you should book in advance. If you’re in Santorini for, say, a week, then you can afford to wait until you arrive. Canvas Suites are smallish but beautiful cave rooms in the heart of Oia. Great views (but no sunset views – for that you’ll have to walk 3 minutes to other side of the castle).
Coming to Santorini in a few weeks- we are staying in Kamari. What is the best way to get to Oia? Do you recommend we start at Fira to do the hike or Oia to Fira?
I slightly prefer doing it Fira to Oia but there’s no big difference – it’s the same walk both ways. Since you’ll already be on the bus coming from Kamari, I’d jump straight onto a Fira-Oia bus and start from Oia. Then you’ll avoid catching the Oia-Fira bus later in the day when it can be busy. And you’ll probably be tired at the end of it so 1 bus instead of 2 will be nice.
Hi Dave. My partner and I are visiting Athens March 8-15. We will have a free day on March 15 and have thought about possibly flying to Santorini for the day. We’d like to do a tour to see the highlights of the island, get a good meal and hit a winery or two. What is the weather like at that time of the year? Are many businesses and restaurants open? Or would a day trip be a completely crazy ideal? Thanks in advance for any tips.
Most wineries (and many restaurants) will be open and the views are always wonderful. I’d wait to book flights and take a look at the weather when you’re in Athens. If it looks ok (no big rain storms) then book the day before and go. Would be even better if you could pack a small bag and spend one night – you’d get to see a fair bit more.
I am going to Santorini in mid September. Do I need to pre-book the Santorini 5 hour sunset tour prior to my visit? Also, there are many sunset tours, are they mostly all the same? I will also be doing either the sunset wine tour or the 1/2 day wine tour. Again, do I need to pre-book these or can it wait until I get to Santorini?
Generally yes, book in advance. September is still a busy time and who wants to waste time (while you’re there) sorting through tour options. Much better to get that out of the way so once you’re there you can enjoy the island not be on your laptop trying to decide which tour is best.
As many have noted here, your blog is fantastic! We are going to Santorini in August and wanted to book a wine tour – between the two wine tours you recommend (half-day tour and sunset wine tour), which would you recommend? Our hotel has a sunset view, so we aren’t concerned about trying to fight the crowds for a good spot.
Which would you recommend?
Both are great, but go with the half-day tour.
Hi Dave – Your blog is fantastic!
We have booked to stay in De Sol Spa Hotel in Fira for 2 nights (23-25 June). I am thinking of booking a Santorini Full Day Trip. Any suggestions? As I am bring my mum who is 80 years old and had a knee replacement!
Do a wine tour. The boat tours can be tricky if you have limited mobility (lots of climbing aboard and up narrow stairs).
We just came back from a wonderful 10-day holiday to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos, and we are missing Greece already, especially Santorini!!! We followed many of Dave’s recommendations and I must thank you for all the excellent recommendations that you have given, especially in terms of food since there are so many choices. We tried Lucky’s, Zotos, Lotza, Mezzo (which is so good that we went back a 2nd time during our 4-night stay in Santorini) etc. Thank you once again for all the great recommendations which made our trip such a memorable one!
One incident did mar our wonderful holidays though. I am not sure if it is appropriate to post here but since many tourists visit your site, I thought it will be good to post to alert them, but if you find it not appropriate, feel free to remove the comment. This is about the donkey ride up from the Old Port to Fira. We came back to the Old Port from a volcano and hot springs tour and thereafter, we walked around the Old Port a little before deciding to make our way back up to Fira. When we went to the donkey station, there were a few men at the station including a younger man. We enquired about the price and was told that it was Euro 6 each. There were 4 of us but my husband didn’t want to take the ride as he doesn’t enjoy animal rides and he wanted the exercise to walk up the 500+ steps anyway, so we told them only 3 of us would be taking. They tried to pull a fast one on us and offered us Euro 25 (which would be more than Euro 6 x 4) for 4. We declined and insisted that only 3 of us wanted to take and paid them Euro 20 which they did not give us any change. They were conversing angrily to one another in Greek all these while and just told us to wait for other customers to come and go up together. About a while, no one came (and no one would anyway since there were no other tours returning back to the port at that time), so we asked them again. They lied to say that they had some customers in the toilet and told us to wait. Sensing that this was going to go nowhere, we told them that we didnt want the ride anymore (and know that we will be taking a risk that they wouldn’t return us the Euro 20 that we paid). They then reluctantly got 3 donkeys and chose a donkey that was super competitive for my daughter and she was so horrified during the ride as the donkey was always trying to over-take from the side nearer to the edge. She was almost on the verge of tears during the ride. During the ride, I knew there was no way the young man (who was the one who took the Euro 20) was going to pay us back the Euro 2. It was not about the Euro 2 per se, but because it was such an unpleasant experience, I felt it was only right to ask for our change when we reached the top. When I asked him for the change, he just brushed it off. The purpose of me sharing this is really not abt the Euro 2 but about the poor service and experience that we received, which I hope through our sharing, other tourists can avoid. If you want the experience of riding a donkey, the donkey ride from Amoundi Bay to Oia is not only cheaper (Euro 5), but when I told the guy that we are scared of donkey ride (especially my daughter after the previous experience) and told him to choose obedient donkeys for us, he really did and this time round, we certainly enjoyed our ride up more.
Thanks for sharing Wee. I am not that big on riding the donkeys and have considered removing it from my list … but some people do enjoy it. Thanks again.
Hi Dave, We are a family of 5 going to Santorini – 4 adults and a 14 year old in late June. Can you recommend a company to hire quad bikes from?
You don’t say where you’re staying so just rent from the closest place to your hotel (they’re everywhere and easy to find). No need to book in advance for June. Quad bikes are far and away the most efficient way to end up in the hospital while traveling – so, uhm, good luck.
Your hotel recommendations are incredible, but unfortunately I was a little late to the game when booking and therefore wasn’t able to make any reservations at the places you suggested on your site. I made a reservation at the Afrodete Hotel in Firostefani, and was just curious to see if you had heard anything about it/what your take on it is? I read the reviews thoroughly, but I just wanted to see if you had an opinion about it. Any insider knowledge would be greatly appreciated!(:
Thank you in advance!
Yes, everything is booking very early this year, but Afrodete is a fine simple hotel. It doesn’t have caldera views (the views you see in the photos look east and are not over the volcano). You’re a short walk to the caldera and views. When you walk into Fira be sure to get to the caldera path first, then turn towards Fira. If you walk along the road you’re really missing out.
Hi Dave! Great site! I’ll be staying in Oia for a few days by myself (single female) – are there any restaurants or bars you could suggest that are good for solo travellers in Oia in June?
Your best bet (maybe only bet) is Mary Kay’s. Get there a little early (say 9pm) and get a seat at the bar. It’s usually a very friendly crowd and solo travelers will fit right in. The two greek brothers (with facial hair) working the bar, look a little intimidating at first but are actually very friendly.
I will start by saying: your website is very useful, thank you.
Is it possible to do the Fira-Oia “hike” with a rented bike?
From Fira to Imerovigli it’s mainly a pedestrian path – so here you’d have to ride on the road and that doesn’t have any view. From Imerovigli to Oia a very talented mountain biker could ride the path but for any average rider you’d be walking your bike through plenty of spots.
Thanks to your fantastic website, my daughter and her friend have booked a wonderful trip to Greece (1.5 days in Athens, as you recommend!), then 5 days on Naxos to relax and explore, and visit Delos, and finally 3 nights on Santorini at Agali Houses, a fantastic recommendation from your site.
So the question is, how to avoid the cruise ship crowds on Santorini? Is is just a question of getting out early, or are there are other tricks to being where the crowds are a bit thinner?
Thanks for your help, Santorini Dave!
Do things early (cruise ship crowds typically won’t arrive until after 11am) or later (and they usually leave by 4 or 5pm). Oia is the town that gets most overwhelmed by cruise crowds. If it’s mid-day and you see 2 or more cruise ships anchored out in the caldera then don’t go to Oia – it will be busy.
(Note: I say anchored but cruise ships don’t put down their anchors here – the caldera is too deep. That’s why you’ll see smoke coming from their engines even when they seem to be stationary. They have to keep the motors going to maintain their position.)
We are spending 5 days in Imerovigli and 2 days in Oia. While in Imerovigli we are going to do tours and visit your suggestions in southern Santorini. But while in Oia we want to focus on the best attractions in Oia or nearby. In your opinion, what are the best things to do in Oia?
The best things to do in Oia:
-eat at one of the tavernas in Ammoudi Bay.
-swim and jump from the ledges at Agios Nikolaos islet (walk down to Ammoudi Bay, turn left, and walk south along the foot path – in 5 minutes you’ll come to the best swimming spot on the island).
-take small ferry boat across the caldera to the island of Thirassia, have lunch and walk about, don’t miss last ferry back.
-go to Sigalas Winery for a tasting/tour (5 minute drive from Oia, walkable if you’re an active type).
-watch sunset from Oia Castle.
-late night drinks at Mary Kay’s (popular with locals and Oia’s only true bar).
Traveling to Santorini at the end of May for 7 days. Do you recommend booking tours online or upon arrival? Is there significant cost savings, if you wait until your on the island. (Coming from the states.)
Great blog – appreciate the help!
It depends. Since you’re going for 7 days (and that gives you flexibility if some tours sellout) and you’re going in May (when it’s not as busy as high season), I think you’ll be fine booking when you get there. That said, if there are some tours you specifically want there’s little harm booking in advance.
We are considering booking one of the boat tours for our upcoming trip to Santorini May 16-21, but we are concerned that the water will be too cold for swimming. What do you think?
Water will be chilly but tolerable for most. You typically swim from the boat to the hot springs which are always warmish. If the suns out (which it should be) you’ll be fine. Boat tours are so much fun. I’d be shocked if you did the tour and said afterwards, “that water was so cold, I wish we hadn’t done that tour.”
Are there any boat tours to Santorini (from Crete) that include the Catamaran Cruise?
There is not enough time to do a catamaran tour while in Santorini given the timing of the ferries (between Crete and Santorini) that all tours to Santorini use.
Hi Dave great photos and information! My husband and I are heading from Australia to the UK for a family birthday end of November. As its my 60th birthday end of December we thought we’d incorporate a holiday into this time and I’ve never been to Greece. I know December isn’t really a good holiday time over there but we both love photography and the quiet and don’t care about shopping. What’s the weather like end of December? Are we likely to get some good days out of 2 weeks. Oia looks like a nice place to be for my 60th birthday… Thanks
As long as you know what to expect (lots of closed shops and quiet restaurants) you’ll enjoy it. Santorini gets busier every year as they’re starting to promote year-round tourism. It’s still quiet but not as dead as it used to be. Some people absolutely love Santorini in the quiet winter months. Here’s an interesting post on visiting Santorini in winter. (It’s a few years old so expect there to be a bit more activity than what is described here.)
We have 1 full day in Fira (arrive Tuesday night by plane, leave Thursday morning to Crete where we’ll spend 2 weeks). We’re not interested in a tour as not sure how early we’ll be moving on Wednesday morning but would like to be busy and see the area. What do you think are the best things to do in Fira for the day? (We won’t have a rental car. We’re coming in late June.)
Best Things To Do in Fira:
–Hike to Oia on the footpath, or at very least walk to Imerovigli (about 1/3 of the way); bus back.
–Lunch at Lucky’s (delicious gyros).
–Visit Museum of Prehistoric Thira.
–Dinner at Ouzeri (no view), Argo (partial views), or Naoussa (great views).
–Sunset views and drinks from Franco’s Bar or Tropical; party at 2 Brothers; dance at Koo Club or Enigma.
My girlfriend and I are headed to Santorini for 11 days in late July / early August, and are interested in booking a fun sunset cruise of the caldera. We’re pretty social and love meeting new people, so we were hoping you could recommend one that has an open bar and is known for having a younger, fun-loving crowd… maybe even music/dancing? Many thanks, Jeff.
The 5-hour catamaran sunset tour is probably the one you want. Lots of fun.
Hi! I’m making my way to Santorini April 24th and have 3 days there. I came across your blog while searching what to do! What a great find and extremely helpful!! As my trip is a solo trip would you say it’s safe enough for solo female travellers? Many thanks! Samina
Keeping in mind that no place is definitively “safe” then yes, I would say Santorini is very safe for solo female travelers.
I will be traveling to Santorini April 7th and I was wondering if there will be any kayaking tours available? Would you recommend renting an ATV for traveling around Santorini?
Santorini kayaking tours run from May to October (usually) so don’t think they’ll be anything in early April. Many people enjoy the ATVs but I prefer a car.
Hi Dave, My friend and I are going to Santorini April 7-13th… Will places (restaurants, shops, bars, clubs, etc) be open for business? Also, I have been reading a bunch about the weather and what to pack. Any suggestions for that time of year? This blog is awesome!
Thanks so much,
Restaurants and shops will generally be open. There will be a few bars open but not all of them. There won’t be any clubs open.
My husband and I just booked tickets to Greece for our 12th anniversary. We booked for 9days and would want to split between Athens and Santorini.
From Athens we intend to take the Blue Star Ferry to Santorini to enjoy the sights. Though 8 hours travel is quite a long ride. And based on your replies, It made me decide to spend our nights at Firostetani. Since we don’t prefer to drive, how do we go to our hotel from the port? And are bus stops accessible once we are at Firostetani? Berna
There will be taxis at the ferry port to get you to Firostefani – but they can be snatched up quickly so get off the ferry as quickly as you can. Or take the bus (always lots of room) to Fira. Then switch buses and take the next bus to Oia but get off in Firostefani (about 5 minutes). Or you can arrange with your hotel for a port pickup.
Hi Dave, thanks for all you share. We have a week in Santorini in September and are considering staying at 3 different places to get a feel of different parts of the island. Do you have a recommendation as to the 3 locations to base ourselves over that week, the order to do it in, whether to hire a car from day 1, or only at stage 2, etc.? (e.g. I imagine parking in some areas is a nightmare, so better not to have a car for those areas)
Any recommendations helpful. Regards Deb
Oia and Imerovigli for sure. Then decide between Fira (busy but lots of shops and restaurants) or Firostefani (10 minute uphill walk from Fira). Fira is the hardest place to find parking but even there it’s not impossible, you just need to search, park, and then walk back to the town (usually about 5 minutes). Fira also has the best bus connections with the rest of the island and that makes a car less necessary when staying there.
Hi Dave! Thank you so much for this wonderful sight, you really know your information!
My sisters and I are planning to visit Italy and Greece in the beginning of July. We have 12 days total and really want to see Milan, Rome, and Venice in Italy and Athens and Santorini in Greece. What are your suggestions to accomplishing most of this or what do you think is the best route? We are in our early 20’s and looking for history, relaxation, and gorgeous views. How many days do you believe is reasonable?
Fly Venice to Athens, ferry Athens to Santorini, fly Santorini to Rome. Visit Milan at the beginning or end of this, doesn’t matter. The above itinerary will reduce travel time and you won’t have to retrace your steps.
We will have 7 days in Greece in and out of Athens June 21-28th. We want to see the main sights in Athens and go to Santorini. Should we go to Crete too or just stay in Santorini? We are from California so we don’t need good beaches but I’m sure kids would love it. They have Mama Mia in their heads. We have 3 kids, 18, 16, and 12, all good travelers. Would love your recommendation! I’m inclined to just stay on one island perhaps Santorini the whole time to be more relaxed and really get to know it if you think there’s enough to do. Do you recommend flying? We usually rent houses or apartments when we travel. What area of Santorini would you recommend? Thanks.
With just a week I’d recommend a full day of sightseeing in Athens and then Santorini for the rest of your trip. There’s more than enough there to keep you busy and entertained. Staying along the caldera (the towns of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, or Oia) is best. Not a lot of rentals with views so you’ll probably end up in a hotel (and there are lots of great ones). Flying is quickest but ferry is fun and something to remember for the kids. Blue Star ferry takes longer than the fast ferries but you get to walk about the decks and see the caldera as you arrive in Santorini – once again this makes it more memorable for kids (and adults).
Hi Dave, I am planning a European holiday for my 40th. I land in Athens midday 15/7. I had originally planned Santorini 15/7-18/7 then ferry to Mykonos 18/7-22/7. I need to be in Split for a cruise by 6pm 22/7. Unfortunately there are no reasonable flights Mykonos-Split that day, but there is one Santorini to Split, so thinking I may need to swap my itinerary around and go Mykonos first. Problem is I turn 40 on 20/7. Don’t really want to change locations on my bday and if I go from Mykonos to Santorini the day before will I be able to have the bar hoping party I had originally planned on in Santorini?
My husband and I have been to Santorini (and loved it) but never Mykonos. My best friend + husband will be joining us as well. Would love your recommendation as to whether Santorini would be appropriate for big birthday festivities.
Santorini will be great for a birthday. Definitely be in Fira. There are 7 or 8 really good places to go out.
Hi Dave, have found your answers really informative. Myself, my wife and my friend are going to Santorini at the beginning of June (Mystique hotel Oia) and wondered if there are any good bars in Oia?
Marykay’s (also called Hassapiko) is great. Very small but gets busy after 11pm. It’s your only choice in Oia. (Lots more in Fira.)
My family (husband and teen age daughters 15/17 will be traveling to Greece and the end of June/July. We have about 10 days. 1-2 days in Athens and Santorini is a must for my daughters. Some friends rented a house on Paros(Luxury Retreats) and did day trips to Mykonos and Anti Paros and an all day boat excursions. I like the idea of being on a smaller, less touristy island but 10 days in tough to fit this all in. What would you suggest? How many days on Santorini? Would you suggest making Santorini our home base or elsewhere? We like being active but don’t want to rush around or spend days on ferries. What itinerary would you suggest?
If you want to do day trips then Paros is the best islands (easy day trips to both Naxos and Antiparos which should be enough). If you go to Santorini then stay on Santorini – day trips are not easy with ferry schedule and you’d never want to leave anyways.
Thanks so much for the website. It’s extremely helpful. I’m planning our 25th wedding anniversary and have a few questions for you:
1) We’ll likely spend 10 days in Greece. We’re thinking 2 days in Athens, 4 in Mykonos, and 4 in Santorini. Would you suggest another island or skip Athens and extend our stays on the islands?
2) My wife loves to snorkel. Is there good snorkeling on either of the islands? Any specific recommendations?
Thanks for your help – Mike
1 full day in Athens is enough for most people and enables you to see most of the highlights though if you really want to see the National Archaeological Museum (which is not in the Plaka/Acropolis area and is the best museum in Greece) then having 2 days makes it more practicable. Otherwise 4 days in both Mykonos and Santorini is perfect. If you did free up an extra day then Naxos is a good in-between island. Drop Mykonos to 3 days and do 2 days in Naxos. There’s very little good snorkeling in Greece and almost none in Santorini and Mykonos – best to leave the snorkel gear at home.
My fiancé and I are planning on spending 6 nights (5.5 days) in santorini – split between Oia and Imerovigli. Which activities are more convenient from Imerogvli? From your blog, looks like there’s a lot to do in/around (sunset, Amoudi Bay, hike). What about renting a car and seeing the beaches or going to volcano tour? Is this easier from Imerovigli? Chen
Boat tours of the caldera (which have hotel pickup but mostly depart from the ferry port south of Fira), Akrotiri, the beaches, and exploring the quieter corners of the island are easier from Imerovigli than Oia. But it’s not a huge difference – Oia just adds another 15 minutes of travel to do any of the above. So, yes, I’d try to arrange these to do from Imerovigli rather than Oia but it’s not a deal breaker if they have to be during the Oia-part of your stay. There are also regular small boats from Amoudi to Thirassia island which are a fun outing from Oia.
Hi Dave… This is an amazing information website for the travelers. I should have read it before planning to Greece. I have reached Santorini today without booking ferry to Mykonos and after reading your answers I got to realize there is no ferry in Nov. Now I’m feeling lost and all my plans are cancelled. I’m thinking of extending at Santorini till 4th of Nov. and not sure what to do. Is this a right move? Or by any chance can I reach Mykonos without burning my pocket? Please advise, Yograj
Your only option is to fly via Athens. Search Kayak for prices. (Technically, you can ferry but that’s a two-day trip via Athens.)
Thanks so much for all of this wonderful information! We’re using a ton of is to plan our upcoming trip.
We’re leaving in a couple of weeks and I’m having trouble figuring out how to book the ferry from Santorini to Mykonos (we’d go on November 20th). Is that because the ferry shuts down in the off season? I found one ferry going to Naxos, but couldn’t find anything going from Naxos to Mykonos. We are fine booking a flight, but would much rather take the ferry, for time, cost and experience sake.
You’re correct. There are no ferries between Santorini and Mykonos in November. You’d need to fly or ferry via Athens. In any case, Naxos has more off-season charm than Mykonos so I’d recommend visiting Santorini and Naxos.
Hi, I have come across your site while looking for help and advise. I am due to get Married in Santorini in September and planning on bringing 40 ish guests to the island.
Some family members are a little worried about the price as many reviews are advising that Staying in Santorini is very expensive. From research I can see that Oia and Fira can be expensive however Perisssa is showing as a more suitable option for families.
Do you have any tips or contacts on where I can possibly look into a villa complex? Where the whole wedding party can stay and share the same pool?
Thank you for your help
I don’t know of any villas that are that big. With 40 guests you could consider renting out an entire hotel. (Most hotels on Santorini are not that big.) And yes, Perissa is cheaper than Fira or Oia.
Stumbled across your website and there is some detailed information here so thanks for that.
Am sure you have been asked this a million times, but we are planning to visit this beautiful island from 25 – 30 December and going by what I read a lot of establishments around Fira and some around Oia are now open for tourists like us? Wanted to know what’s the situation on ground there actually?
We are planning to be 2 nights in Fira and 2 nights in Oia as of now.
Thanks in advance and if you can even share the link of any of your posts on this topic will be helpful.
Fira will have more open restaurants and hotels than Oia but both will be fine. It gets a little busier every year as Santorini becomes more of a year-round destination but it’s still certainly quiet.
Hi Dave- thank you for your information. You’ve answered many questions about car rentals, but I haven’t read anything about renting at the airport. We are flying in from a 2 night stay in Athens to Santorini and want to rent a car directly from the airport and drive to our hotel Gold Suites in Imerovigli. We are celebrating our 30th anniversary and bringing our 25 and 22 yr old with us. We want to see EVERYTHING in the 4 nights that we are here, so a car seems to be the way. However, saw many horror stories about renting from the town’s rentals, but nothing about the airport rentals. Budget looks like it has a kiosk there at the airport.
Please read my advice about renting a car on Santorini.
This might be a really crazy question but how easy is it to walk around the island, we are going to be in Kamari, could you walk from there to Oia or is that just mad?! We’re keen walkers but I dont know if the paths are ok? We will be there 1st week of October. Thanks
You certainly “could” walk it, but you’re better to bus it from Kamari to Fira and then do the caldera foot path to Oia from there. The walk from Kamari to Fira is not very interesting – but, as I say, certainly doable. A better walk from Kamari is over the mountain that lies between Kamari and Perissa, and where the ruins of ancient Thira are located. Great views from the top of the mountain to all of Santorini.
Hi Dave. Your blog has been informational. I’d like to know the best time to visit Greece. Me and my husband are planning a trip to Greece this December. Is it the best time?
It’s a great time to save money and experience local life. It’s not great if you want warm weather. The best months for a beach holiday are early June to late September. If you’re primarily focused on history, sightseeing, and exploring then you can included the months of April, May, October, and early November. Late November through March are cool and grey on the islands and along the coastal regions, cold and even snowy inland. Athens is interesting year-round and Crete is the best island for a winter visit.
Hi Dave, thanks for sharing your site and expert suggestions!
We are planning a team building trip of 11 of us this month for 2 nights. We are staying between Fira and Imerovigli. We will do a sunset cruise on our final night to see some of the sights by sea one evening, and likely will then go out and about in Fira that evening as we see you’ve listed some fun bars.
But we are torn for dinner the other evening and also are curious of your suggestion for getting around the island. For instance, we see that Oia is about 20 minutes from car from where we stay. Any restaurants that come to mind that are suitable for groups of our size in Oia, or would you recommend we plan to explore Oia during the day and see another nearby town for dinner? And, for us in getting back / forth, would you suggest hiring taxis for pick up and drop off, or rely on the buses?
Lastly, we are trying to plan a group challenge or team competition of sorts. We have a running list of a treasure or scavenger hunt going, but we likely would need to keep this to a certain part of the island for ease of getting around. Do you have any suggestions for something like this?
Thanks in advance!
Buses are great for getting around Santorini and will likely work best for a group of 11. But taxis are easy to find in Oia (as long as it’s not right after sunset) if you change your mind. Karma is a great restaurant in Oia that should easily accommodate 11 people. Not sure on the scavenger hunt (so many variables) but I would definitely include the hike from Fira to Oia as one of your activities – it’s perfectly suited for a group and really amazing too.
Hi! Are you able to get from these locations to Fira? I know that sounds like a silly question but the KTEL only shows Fira as the starting locations and all these places as destinations.
Al bus routes begin and end at Fira. So there’s a bus north to Oia, a bus to Kamari, a bus to Perissa, a bus to Akrotiri. And all return on the same route back to Fira. So, for example, if you’re going from Oia to Akrotiri you have to take the bus to Fira, switch buses, then continue to Akrotiri. Then the same thing for the return.
Hey Dave! This site is a real lifesaver!
My family and a few friends (Group of 6 in total) are stopping at Santorini as part of a cruise. I know that’s not the best way to fully see Santorini so I was hoping you’d give me your opinion on how to make the most out of it.
Ship arrives 7:00 am and departs 5:00 pm. So the options are:
1) Going from Fira to Oia, to save time it would be better to take your advice and take the bus half way, but maybe cable car would be more fun? In that case we’d stop by the places you’ve mentioned and try the Gyros, baklava and gelato.
2) Exploring Pygros and checking out the castle and church you’ve mentioned.
3) Hiking the volcano.
The first two would be on top of my list but I don’t know if it’s possible to do both in the little time we have? So if not, which would you choose? Also, the trip is around the end of August so I don’t know how crowded it’ll be and how busy transportation (whether bus or cable car) would be.
What would you recommend we do? How long do you think it will take? And what combination of hiking and transportation do you think would help us have the most fun in the limited time we have. I thought I’d ask for your- apparent- expert help because I’m afraid of over cramming stuff and ending up not enjoying it.
Sorry my thoughts are so disorganised, and thank you so much for your help!
I would do the walk from Fira to Oia. You’ll take the cable car up from the cruise port (it’s either that or walk, there’s no bus for cruise passengers). Then just start walking north. Assuming you just ate breakfast and get up to Fira about 8 or 9am, you’ll make it to Oia in time for lunch. (Just make sure you have water for your walk.) If you’re really motivated you could jump in a taxi and go to Pyrgos – you should have enough time to get there and back to the cable car in time (there can be a very long lineup to get on the cable car in the afternoon).
Wonderful tips and ideas on Greece! My husband and I will be arriving in Santorini in a few weeks for our honeymoon and wanted some advice for day trips to different islands. We will be in Santorini for 9 nights and want to explore as much as possible. We do not want to spend a lot of time traveling (on the ferry), what island would you say is a must see while we are there? I am open to a day trip or even spending the night on a different island.
Day trips are difficult to do from Santorini as ferry schedules usually don’t lend themselves to an early morning departure from Santorini and a later return. Much better to do an overnight trip to one or more islands. Ios is the closest and a beautiful island with incredible beaches. Naxos is a little farther, also has great beaches but more cultural and historical sights as well. Folegandros is another nearby island with great food and wonderful walks/hikes. These would be my top picks for an overnight trip from Santorini.
First & Foremost, Thank you for sharing your expertise & insight. It has been very helpful in my planning. I’m heading to Greece October 20th-28th with my best friend to celebrate her 30th Birthday. She lives in Scottsdale AZ and I’m in Los Angeles so this is a pretty big trip for us. We’re doing Paris days before and Italy following our week in Greece.
We’ll arrive in Mykonos (From Paris) around 7am Saturday Morning, hypothetically staying in Mykonos 3 days Sat-Mon, Santorini for 3 days, and 1 full day in Athens as that’s where we’ll be flying out of when we leave for Rome. I’ve travelled a lot, studied abroad, did the back packing through Europe in College etc, so I’m pretty independent and have gotten good at routing vacations for my friends and I HOWEVER I have some anxiety about this trip and so many questions and decisions to make. Another concern was the weather. I’d probably sit in the hotel room and cry if it rained on my vacation parade lol.
So the main question is do we do Mykonos or Santorini longer, should we take a ferry instead of a flight from Mykonos to Santorini for the experience? And is there one that doesn’t take 6-8 hours taking up a full day? I’ve searched extensively for the best and most conveniently located hotels throughout the islands (with price in consideration). We’re not honeymooning, we’re young, and both single so this isn’t a vacation to stay in the hotel most of the time. We want to explore hidden gems, deep sea dive, hang out at trendy bars, and go dancing at night (which Is why I initially booked Mykonos longer). Also am I cheating the experience for not exploring Crete or Rhodes or any other tourist-neglected Island…. Do we REALLY need to rent a car? Can we rent an ATV in Mykonos & call it a day?
Sorry for rambling, really looking forward to this trip but the planning, again, has been overwhelming.
If you have more time then yes, definitely add another day or two to Santorini (3 is plenty for Mykonos) and add Crete to your itinerary. Naxos or Paros are easier destinations (than Rhodes) to get to from Mykonos and Santorini so do one of those instead. But if you are truly limited to a week then your current plan is perfect. The ferry from Mykonos to Santorini takes less than two hours so no need to fly.
Hi Dave – This is a very helpful site, thanks for your efforts to help other travelers. As we prepare for our 3rd trip to Greece, my wife and I are struggling to narrow down our destinations. Some are required, due to family commitments. We have family in Athens, Nafpaktos and Mesolongi. Here is some background –
First trip – 1995 – Honeymoon. 4 weeks in Greece, rented a car and saw alot of the country. Also spent 1 week in Corfu and 1 week in Rome. Spent multiple days in Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, and Paros. Got a great feel for all of these islands. 4 or 5 days in Athens, 2 days in Meteora.
Second trip – 2009 – With two daughters, ages 10 and 8 at the time. Three weeks total – Athens 4 days – Acropolis and museum, 5 day cruise to Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete (Knossos), and Turkey (Ephesus). All of these stops were one day port calls and way too quick to see much of the island. Then rented a car and traveled to Nafpaktos and Mesolongi. Spent a few days with family. Then went to Corfu for 5 days, took the car on the ferry, so we saw most of the island. Came back to mainland and drove to Ioanina, spent 1 night. Drove to Meteora, spent 3 days. Then drove to Mt. Olympus. Spent 2 nights in Litochoro – girls toured the town while I climbed to the summit of Mt. Olympus (Mytikas peak). We saw alot of the country, but the 8 year old, who is now 15, does not remember alot of it.
Third trip – this summer. Girls will be 18 and 15. We only have two weeks. Actually, 12 days in Greece minus travel time. I have not been to Delphi or Olympia. I would love to go back to Meteora (too far for this trip). We have some ideas, but I was looking for advice to get between locations. Fly or ferry, tickets have not been purchased yet. Rent a car or take a bus? Is this plan doable in your honest opinion? Or is too much for 12 days? Open to suggestions…….Thanks so much! Sam
Day 1 – Arrive in Athens at 9:15am. See family
Day 2 – Acropolis, Plaka and other sites in Athens
Day 3 – Fly to Santorini on 7:20 am flight, spend day in Santorini
Day 4 – Spend morning in Santorini, afternoon or evening ferry to Mykonos
Day 5 – Mykonos
Day 6 – Morning flight or ferry to Athens, then drive or take bus to Nafpaktos
Day 7 – Nafpaktos w/ family. Half day trip to Delphi (not sure if it is worth the trip?)
Day 8 – Travel to Mesolongi. See family
Day 9 – Morning, travel to Olympia then go to Kyllini to catch ferry to Zakynthos
Day 10 – Zakynthos
Day 11 – Zakynthos, catch evening flight to Athens or early morning flight on day 12 to catch flight to the states.
Day 12 – Leave Athens at 11:30 am
The first observation is that you are packing too much into your (active) 12 days. Your plan is doable, but may not be enjoyable as you will spend a lot of time travelling and potentially reducing your enjoyment. On the assumption that you want to see the main places: Athens (family), Santorini and Mykonos (sightseeing), Nafpaktos (family), Mesolongi (family), Olympia (sightseeing) and Zakynthos (sightseeing?) here are some thoughts.
The route you designate is a complex and slow one and will inevitably chew up your precious time. For example getting from Athens to Nafpaktos by bus is nominally a short(ish) run (218 km or 2.45 hours), but by the time you get to the bus station from your location in Athens and depending on when the Athens Nafpaktos bus runs (they probably won’t be hourly), you will consume a minimum of half a day. Local buses will connect Nafpaktos with Mesolongi which is not too far (45 km or 50 minutes). While Delphi is definitely worth it … you will need a full day to get there and back from Nafpaktos. Already running out of time!
Mesolongi to Olympia will inevitably involve two buses (Mesolongi to Patra and Patra to Olympia) and then you want to get to Kyllini – all in one day?! And have you worked out when the Kyllini-Zakynthos ferries run? Zakynthos is a big island and if you want to do it any justice – like visiting shipwreck beach – the time you have allocated makes it very tight.
Going back to to the beginning of your itinerary, Santorini and Mykonos are quite doable in the timeframe, though you have not mentioned the dates. If it is high or shoulder season and you have not booked air tickets yet, you may be disappointed. You can usually squeeze on to a ferry, but air tickets go fast. The time you have allocated for both islands is not a lot, but you will get a meze-style taste of two rather extraordinary destinations.
For your mainland leg you are advised to hire a car and you would be better served if you forego Zakynthos. With a hire car you can maximise time and movement to your daily needs AND easily get to Nafpaktos, Mesolongi and Olympia and even Delphi. In fact you would be better advised to drive to Delphi from Athens (it will take you about 2.5 hours allowing for the time to get out of Athens). You could visit Delphi for 2-3 hours then take the lovely coastal run along the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth and be in Nafpaktos for dinner and meet the family.
Make an afternoon start for Mesolongi the next day and do dinner and family. Stay an extra day if need be, or the family insists. When ready, drive to Ancient Olympia (165 km or 2 hours 15 minutes) and perhaps spend the night there (it’s a very pleasant little village). See the wonderful ancient site at your leisure and choose the time of your return leg (by car) to Athens along the southern Gulf of Corinth Highway, according to your US departure plans.
If you hire a car in Athens, it will be a lot cheaper to drop it off where you pick it up from rather than try to drop it off somewhere else. Your car hire company may not even give you that option. If, by omitting Zakynthos you free up an extra day, then on your drive back to Athens try to take in either Mycenae or Epidaurus, if you are keen to see more ancient sites.
Your trip is adventurous, but more sensible if you modify it as suggested.
Fab site! We’ve just booked a week in Perissa at the Arapiou apartments for 19th July. Our sons are aged 10 and 7 so we want to balance sightseeing with keeping them entertained. Thinking the sunset in Oia might be a bit much for the boys with the crowds and we’re wondering if Fira might be better. Although we’ll drive into Oia at some point, probably an early morning. Thoughts welcome!
I think the crowds would be fine. It’s a fun festive crowd and pretty easy going. The bigger problem is getting back to Perissa from Oia after sunset. It’s not a long ways but if you don’t know your way around it can feel like a long drive on these rural-like roads.
Do you know of any yoga retreats or holidays on Santorini?
Here’s a list of Yoga Retreats on Santorini that I know of.
Hi Dave and readers, a little note regarding footware and the Imero-Oia hike. Today we did it; it took just under 3.5 hours (early 50’s couple in fine health) including many photo stops and worth every moment, the views were tremendous. We wore pumps and light trainers but have promised ourselves to pack walking shoes next time. Trainers should be the absolute minimum; flip flops are bonkers in our opinion!!
I agree. Good footwear makes it more enjoyable, for sure.
We just did that hike today too. Wore trail running shoes and light hikers, which made it easy. Little tip, tighten up those laces, especially in the front of your shoes when you’re going down hill to avoid that painful toe bump. You can loosen them back up when the trail flattens out, or starts uphill if you want to ease them off again. I agree with Dave, though. Most of the trail is paved, aside from the monolith detour near Fira Stefanis (optional, but definitely recommend it) and a lot of cobble near Oia, so flip flops would work. I hiked Cinca Terre in flip flops and that was definitely more tricky. However, if you have better shoes, wear them. Lots of amazing panoramic views.
I’ll be visiting Greece in a few weeks (Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini, Naxos) and I’ve been trying to find pottery studios to visit. The problem is that every google search comes up with Ancient Greek Pottery, and I’m looking for (and hoping to find) modern potters that are actually working and producing right now. Any suggestions?
Unsurprisingly for a country with a rich tradition in pottery from Classical times, Greece has a thriving pottery industry that you can tap into if you search appropriately. Try re-wording your search string to “pottery workshops in Greece” or “traditional pottery lessons in Greece” and you will have much more success. Here a few links in English to get you started: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Alternately and additionally you can find many more by entering your search terms in Greek. Of course if you don’t speak or write Greek this can get tricky so here are a few cheat phrases for you to try. Copy and paste into Google the Greek phrases.
Pottery in Greek is αγγειοπλαστική. It also means angioplasty (the medical term, so you will get mixed results). Try also κεραμικά. Pottery lessons is μαθήματα αγγειοπλαστικής.
Here are some results from searching on the Greek terms: PotteryMuseum.gr. This places offers lessons in theory and practice that run once a week from 18:00 to 21:00 and combines excursions and other activities. The cost is €80. The site is in Greek so try e-mailing them in English to firstname.lastname@example.org and see if they can accommodate you in English.
Try this one also and scroll to the bottom to swap language to English. They have two hour sessions on Wednesday and Thursday from 17:00 to 19:00 for €50 a month.
Finally, here they run both adults and children’s pottery lessons. The site once more is only in Greek but you can see their contact details on the first page. Try dropping an email to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are plenty more out there, but you need a link to the network and you can ask around the various schools once you make contact. Best of luck.
This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you so so much, Dave!!!
I can’t walk very well and when we want to hire a few days an automatic car in May, is it necessary to hire it at home?
You should be fine renting it after you arrive. If you ask the hotel to arrange they’ll even deliver it right to your hotel.
Hey Dave –
I will be in Santorini during 2nd week of May with my wife and 3.5 yrs old son. Though i wish to drive around, but I do not have IDP and inquiring about it in India made me realize that i am now late to get one. I have a valid Driving License. Would I be able to rent a car in Santorini?
Technically you are supposed to have an international drivers license if you come from outside the EU and rent a car in Greece. On most of the islands this is relaxed and someone with a Canadian, American, or Australian drivers license will have no problem renting a car. Now, do these informal rules apply for an Indian drivers license? – probably, but not for sure. I think you’ll be fine. If one company doesn’t rent to you just walk down the street and ask the next rental company. Pretty sure you’ll find something.
Thanks for your website with lots of good info.
Wonder if the public bus will be running on Easter Sunday? I am hoping to catch the bus from Fira to Oia on that Sunday.
Yes, buses will be running on Easter.
Thank you for providing great information about santorini. I plan to visit Santorini around end of July. I read that we have to booked at least 3 months in advance. The thing is I’m flying on standby tickets, so there’s no way that I can do that. Do you suggest that i still go ahead with my plan or not? I have 2 kids, 9 and 5. Do you think it will be too crowded to visit around that time with kids?
I would not arrive on Santorini at the end of July without a pre-booked hotel room. If you were a backpacker who could take pretty much any size room, then OK. But with two kids, I wouldn’t risk it. That said, you say you’re on stand-by tickets – I’m assuming these are to Athens. So, if you arrived in Athens and then attempted to book hotels for Santorini (say, 2 or 3 days out) I think you’d be able to find something. Nothing fabulous with a view but something.
Thank you for your site and all the incite you provide on beautiful Santorini! I am really enjoying your site and learning so much!
My hubby to be and I are going on our honeymoon in beginning of September for a week. We would like to book a car rental but after reading some many reviews on our people get scammed we are very hesitate. Can you please recommend a good trust worthy company to meet us at the port?
Thank you so much!
I’ve rented with Spiridakos and they’re fine. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re “trust worthy.” In fact, you should probably go into the process assuming that they’re not trust worthy and double check everything on the forms you sign. Get the extra insurance they offer and bargain with them (try to knock off 10% or 20% from the first price they offer – maybe in the form of including the extra insurance at no cost). Take pictures of the car (interior and exterior) before you drive away with it.
Thank you for getting back to me Dave!
Much appreciate your tips. I will let you know how it all goes.
So glad I found your site before our trip to Santorini at the end of this month (March). Our plan arrives at the airport on Santorini on March 23 at 7:15pm and our flight takes off from the airport in Santorini at 8:20am on March 26th. I’ve been searching for a bus schedule and saw the KTEL schedule but cannot make heads or tails of it. We are staying in Oia. Does the bus run at those times between Oia and the airport? Or should we take a taxi? How much should a taxi cost at those times of day? Do we need to get to the airport 2 hours in advance of our flight out?
A lot of your recommendations revolve around swimming, which I absolutely love to do, but I am guessing it will be too cold at the end of March. Would the hot springs be bearable? Hope I haven’t overloaded you with questions. So excited about our trip!!
The bus will be running for your arrival but there are no direct buses from the airport to Oia. You’d need to take a bus to Fira then switch to the Oia-bound bus. The whole trip (including waiting at the airport for the bus) could easily take 1.5 hours. I’d take a taxi. There should be taxis waiting there when you arrive. Taxi from the airport to Oia should cost €25 to €30. And get to the airport 1 to 1.5 hours in advance. The water will be too cold to swim and hot springs are not that hot – more warmish springs. Not sure if there will be tours going to the volcano yet and even if there are you have to jump in the sea first and then swim towards the hot springs about 100m from the boat.
Hi Dave ,
Love your site it’s amazingly perfect.
We are a group of 150 people coming to Santorini on a cruise in May and the time given at Santorini is from 4.30pm to 9.30pm. But I assume the time to get in and out of cruise we will be left with 3 hours.
I Wanted to get an idea on what shall we do. As the shore excursions by the cruise are expensive.
1. Is it possible for our group to take the cable car up and come back to the port in 3 hours time?
2. What are the things to do around the port?
Please suggest what we should do?
It’s hard to see much of Santorini when you visit as part of a cruise. The lines to go up and down on the cable car will likely be huge and you’ll be visiting when everyone else from the ships are coming ashore. If you could walk down on your way back to the ship that would save you some time. There is little to see at the port so getting up to Fira is necessary to experience Santorini. With such limited time I would simply spend it walking north (towards Imerovigli) along the caldera path then turn around and walk back when you’ve had enough or run out of time.
Hopefully you’ll get to return to Santorini and stay on the island for a few nights. It’s the only way to really see the island.
Hi Dave we are visiting Santorini in June and wound like to get a ferry to Rethymon Crete as it’s the nearest port to where we are staying in Crete.The only problem is Seajets are saying there is no ferry to Rethymon only to Heraklion? I have read your website and you said there are ferries to Rethymnon, is the service discontinued you that are in the know?
Some years there is a ferry between Rethymnon and Santorini but that does not appear to be running for this year. Could change but that’s how it currently stands.
I have really enjoyed all of the information here! My husband and I are planning a 25th Wedding Anniversary trip in April and have been looking at Absolute Bliss as our hotel. How long would you suggest a couple would need to stay on Santorini to really capture the essence of the island? I have been considering another island but not sure yet.
Also, do you suggest the rental of a 4-wheeler to get around the island?
Thanks so much for any information you share!
2 nights minimum but 3 to 5 nights is best to really explore the island. Some people like 4-wheelers but I prefer a car. The ATVs are fine for short distances but taking it up to Oia then down to the south is a long windy trip in my opinion.
Wow Dave! Even your answers to others’ questions are helpful! Anyway, our family of 5 will be coming the first week of August and staying at the Katikes in Oia for 4 nights. We love to explore so planning on renting a car and getting in as much as possible. Should we rent at the airport and drive ourselves to the hotel or rent from the hotel? Also, do most locals on the island speak English (i.e if we get lost, can people help us)? Lastly, there are usually cars available to accommodate 5? Thanks so much for providing this wonderful site!
Getting from the airport to Oia is easy in daylight but I wouldn’t want to do if you’re arriving after dusk. Katikies does not have parking and it will be tricky around the hotel. (You’ll always be able to find something but it can take some effort.) I suppose I’m almost talking myself into thinking it’s better to just take a taxi when you first arrive, then get a rental car the next day – it will be delivered right to the hotel and is super easy. You should be able to find a car for 5 without a problem but it being August I would probably arrange in advance. Definitely arrange in advance if you need a vehicle for 5 and it must be automatic (most cars are manual). Yes, most people speak english and getting directions is always easy. The island is small enough that you can usually “see” where you want to go (sort of) and then take the most obvious road in that direction. Obviously this isn’t full proof but it will generally get you to where you want to be as long as you aren’t on a tight schedule.
We are going to Santorini in August and staying in Oia. Most sites I visit talk about the hike going TO Oia from Fira. Are the views as wonderful going in reverse, Oia to Fira, or do you recommend taking the bus to Fira and hiking to Oia?
The direction doesn’t matter. Views are great both ways.
Quick question, and maybe stupid, but can we walk from Oia to Fira? Or is the view the best going the opposite direction. I ask because we are staying in Oia but very much still want to do the hike.
Yes, walk is great in either direction.
Hi Dave I love your site! It’s been so helpful in planning my trip to Fira! I was hoping you could give me advice on taking the bus around the island. I’ve tried looking for maps and schedules of the public bus, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere (at least not in English!) Would you recommend travelling around with a private bus company and if so, which one? Thank you so much!
There is only one public bus schedule (KTEL). Fira is the hub of all bus routes. The main routes from Fira are north to Imerovigli and Oia. South to Akrotiri. Southeast to Perissa and Perivolos. Southeast to Kamari. And east to Monolithos and the airport. There are a few other less frequent routes too. Bus tickets cost between €1.60 and €2.20
The schedule to the ferry port changes often and is based on the arrival and departure times of the ferries.
HI Dave – Great site you have here! We are going to Santorini for my wife’s birthday and she really would like to see Shipwreck beach on Zakynthos island. How can we access that beach from Santorini? Is a day trip possible or is it too far? We are flying in on an overnight flight from NY and staying 2 nights in Athens & 5 nights in Santorini.
Shipwreck Beach is on the opposite side of Greece from Santorini. So you’d have 2 flights there and 2 flights back. Sorry, not doable.
Hello Dave and Thank you very much for your comprehensive guidance while for Santorini.
We are going for Easter this year and would like to know if renting a private villa will be better then if we are to stay in a hotel and what area will be best for the great views, maybe you know some good sits to get in touch with private landlords for 10 days stay for 4 young children and 4 Adults, for easy reach of the sea side and things to do with kids.
Thank you very much,
There are very few villas that have locations as good as the best hotels. I prefer staying at a hotel, getting pampered, and having the fantastic views to being out in the countryside where most of the villas are located (not all, but most). In any case, you have to choose between great view and easy-reach of the seaside as you can’t have both.
Hey Dave, we’re in Santorini for a lovely 9 days next July. We’re looking to split it 4 in Oia (looking at Gabbiano Apartments??) and then 4 on the beach with a pool. Where would you recommend and on which beach? As others have said your site is amazing. Cheers, Russ.
Gabbiano is a great little place in the quiet section of Oia. Wonderful views and a small market just up the lane. It does require a bit of walk (and a portion of that is on the road) into central Oia but it’s a very good value for what you get. Kamari and Persia are the 2 best beach towns. I slightly prefer the vibe in Perissa (fewer package tourists) and the sand is nicer but favor Kamari as it’s closer to the caldera towns than Perissa. (Since, you’ll already be spending 4 night in Oia perhaps that distinction is not as important.) In Kamari, Kastelli Resort is my favorite hotel. Two other pluses about Kamari are the open air cinema and the proximity to Metaxi Mas (one of the very best restaurants on Santorini and a short drive from Kamari).
My and husband and me a re much interested in hiking, but we had a 2 year old baby, just wondering would the road be reliable to take baby on a buggy … or is there any alternative way to do this hike? … Could you please let us know.
It’s a pretty good path but no, you can’t take a stroller on it.
Can you recommend a helicopter tour? I have only seen one company offering this: “Santorini Day Tours”. They charge quite a lot, so do you know of other ways to see Santorini by air? Morten
Santorini Day Tours is the main/biggest/most consistent company that does helicopter tours on Santorini. There is ABI and Interjet as well but all 3 have about the same rates: €400 per 10 minutes and up to 5 passengers. Not cheap!
We are travelling from Australia (2 Adults, 2 Kids – age 15 and 12) and are wanting to stay in Oia (we are there August 6-August12). Do you have any recommendations for accommodation that has Caldera views and use of a pool. We would appreciate a kitchenette for basic breakfasts but want to experience some great traditional Greek food too. We visited in years ago on a cruise ship and simply had to come back! Looking forward to any suggestions you may have.
Two hotels with rooms that allow kids your age and have caldera view and pool are the Family Room at Armeni Village (very small pool, great caldera view but no sunset view) and the Junior Suite at Esperas (pool is larger, great sunset views but not full caldera view).
Hi Dave! Thanks for all of your help! I am going to both Mykonos and to Santorini and would like to charter a boat for a day. Which island do you think would be a better place (prettiest, most unique views/destinations/experiences) to charter a boat? Thanks again, you are awesome!!
Santorini, for sure. That’s a phenomenal setting to charter a boat.
1) Are the crowds or noise an issue at all in Fira for mid-April?
2) Does the Syrian refugee issue impact Santorini or Crete?
And your site is phenomenal!
1) Fira is quiet in April and noise will not be a problem at all.
2) The Greek islands that have lots of Syrian refugees are the ones close to Turkey – Kos, Rhodes, and Lesvos. Crete has had some boats arrive but much fewer. Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, and Paros have had zero refugee boats arrive (it’s not close to Turkey and not on the direct route to Western Europe).
Great website, super helpful!
Trying to plan a 2 week trip to Greece. Thinking 2 days in Athens, 6 days in Santorini, and 4 days in Naxos.
Do you think 6 days in Santorini is too many? Should we consider adding a 4th place?
I would probably add another island for the sake of diversity but I wouldn’t do because 6 days is too much on Santorini. It’s easy to spend 2 weeks on the island and not feel like you’ve had enough.
Hi Dave .
We are staying in Santorini princess in April, can you recommend restaurants and bars nearby also if you can suggest the mode of transport to see around and is Santorini Princess good enough? Or should we change.
There is not much nearby to the Santorini Princess. Tasos Taverna is out on the main road from Imerovigli to Oia and is pretty good. There are many great restaurants in Imerovigli (about a 15 to 20 minute walk from the Princess). Imerovigli has a few places to get a drink with a view but for a true bar you’ll need to go to Fira. Renting a car is the best way to really see the island but there is a bus stop (with buses going to both Oia and Fira) a short walk from the Princess.
We are looking to book for our honeymoon in around 11th May. We have looked at the Amber Lights Villas, Imerovigili. The reviews look good but we are concerned we might be out of the way? Would you recommend this hotel? Also would you recommend us to stay in Imerovigili as we are looking for good views and to not too far from bars and restaurants. Will the weather be warm in early May? Your help would be very much appreciated! Thank you
The good: New hotel, good-sized pool, good value, nice view looking east. The not so good: Lousy location, nothing within walking distance, would need to rent a car, no caldera view (it’s on the opposite side of the island from the caldera). The weather in early May can be anything from beautiful warm sunny days to cloudy days with crisp nights and some rain showers, so be prepared for anything.
The hike from Fira to Oia sounds gorgeous. For a shorter hike would starting in Imerovigli and walking towards Oia knock some time/distance off without missing some of the nicer views? And if so, where would you access the path in Imerovigli?
Thanks a bunch!
Yes, this will definitely make it shorter. Take the bus from Fira (heading to Oia) and ask to get off at the Cavo Tagoo (just north of Imerovigli) – this is about half way between Fira and Oia. Still many of the best views are between here and Oia.