Santorini is the most magical incredible island in Greece. If you can only visit one island then it should be Santorini.
Crete is wonderful and beautiful too – it’s also much bigger and requires one to two weeks (or more) to tour the island properly.
Crete has more outdoor activities. Santorini has more top-notch tours. Both have wineries and great local food.
Crete has better beaches but they’re spread out and it takes a fair bit of effort to see the best beaches. Santorini is small and it’s easy to get around to all the popular beaches.
Crete has more small traditional (non-touristy) villages.
Santorini is more romantic and better suited to a honeymoon.
Santorini has better and more unique luxury hotels.
Fira (in Santorini) and Chania and Heraklion (in Crete) all have excellent clubs and nightlife.
Both Santorini and Crete have a longer tourism season than most Greek islands. For beach weather, Santorini and Crete are best between late May and early October. But if you’re more interested in sightseeing than swimming, March to November usually have good weather. December to February will have cool wet weather but both islands can be considered decent year-round destinations.
Santorini and Crete – What To Do
The string of caldera villages in Santorini are the island’s top attraction. Other highlights include boat tours to the volcano, wine tours, sunset views, and exploring the magical villages perched on the caldera cliff.
The charming Old Town of Chania is one of the top destinations in Crete. Other highlights include Knossos, Agios Nikolaos, Rethymnon, Elafonissi Beach, and Samaria Gorge.