Santorini in 1, 2, 3, and 7 Days

Updated: July 23, 2017

  • The single best thing to do in Santorini is to walk the caldera footpath and experience the incredible views of the volcano.
  • The best tours in Santorini are the boat tours of the volcano and the wine tours (see both the countryside and the caldera views).

One Day in Santorini – The Highlights

Enjoy The Views Of The Caldera And Volcano

Views of caldera and volcano from Oia.
The caldera and volcano is why Santorini is so spectacular and unique and a good chunk of your one day should be spent experiencing it in one way or another. The main towns of Santorini (from south to north: Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia) are spread along the cliff overlooking the caldera. It would be easy (and fun) to spend your entire day somewhere along the rim of the caldera. You could do the complete walk from Fira to Oia. Or do just part of the walk. If staying in Fira, you could walk to Imerovigli, have lunch, and return to Fira for shopping, dinner, and an evening of nightlife. If staying in Oia, you could walk to Imerovigli for lunch, then bus or taxi back to Oia for dinner and sunset. There are a hundred variations on this and more than enough awesome viewpoints, enchanting little lanes, and spellbinding stairwells to easily fill a day.

Do A Boat Tour Of The Volcano

One day in Santorini – Boat tour of volcano.
Most boat tours of the volcano begin in the late morning or early afternoon and include hotel pickup. If you got an early start you could explore the views of the caldera in the morning (as described above) then hop a boat tour in the afternoon. All boat tours have incredible views of the caldera cliffs but offer many different options: private boat tour for a small group • boat tour with volcano hike and swimming in the hot springs • boat tour with hot spring swimming and sunset.

Do A Santorini Wine Tour

Wine tour in Santorini – Best tour for one day
Santorini has some wonderful wines and charming family-run wineries. Doing a wine tour is one of my top recommendations for Santorini. However, most wineries are located inland from the caldera so you are giving up some time experiencing the caldera views. It’s a tough trade-off and there’s no easy answer. I think for most people the best way to spend one day in Santorini is walking the caldera path and doing a boat tour. But if you’re not fond of boats (or just had enough ferry time to make a boat tour sound unappealing) then doing a wine tour is a great second option.

The Very Best Restaurants In Santorini

Best restaurant with caldera and sunset view – Mezzo in Imerovigli
With just one day you’ll only have two meals to enjoy the incredible food that Santorini has to offer. (Most hotels provide free breakfast and there are few good breakfast options so it’s only lunch and dinner.) If you do a tour that will further cut into your options but assuming you have two meals to fill I’d do Ouzeri in Fira or Avocado in Imerovigli for lunch, or Naoussa in Fira if you really want a view restaurant. (Not all restaurants are open for lunch so some planning is wise.) For dinner go for Mezzo or Athenian House in Imerovigli, Roka in Oia, Ammoudi Taverna in Ammoudi Bay (for fresh seafood right on the water), or Metaxy Mas in Exo Gonia (but does require a taxi or rental car to get to).

Santorini Nightlife

Best bars with view of volcano and sunset in Santorini.
Most of the nightlife options are found in Fira. (Don’t bother mapping any of these places. They’re all located on little lanes that don’t map well. Just ask and any shop owner will point you the right direction.) My favorites are 2 Brothers (crazy fun), Kira Thira Jazz Club (small and intimate), Tropical (cool vibe with great views), Franco’s Bar (just below Tropical and more of a wine bar usually playing classical music), and the Koo Club (dancing late into the night). If you’re in Oia you’ll only have one choice for nightlife but it’s a good one: Mary Kay (very small but super fun and a local old-school vibe).

Two Days in Santorini

  • Do the Fira-Oia Hike or if that’s too much explore the caldera paths in Oia and between Fira and Imerovigli.
  • Do a boat or wine tour. Could do both with good use of time.
  • Eat at more of the restaurants mentioned above.

Three Days in Santorini

  • Do the Fira-Oia Hike or if that’s too much explore the caldera paths in Oia and between Fira and Imerovigli.
  • Do both a boat and wine tour.
  • Visit Akrotiri and Pyrgos (if you have a rental car) or one of the beaches (Kamari or Perissa) if you don’t.
  • Eat at more of the restaurants mentioned above.

Seven Days in Santorini

  • Do the Fira-Oia Hike or if that’s too much explore the caldera paths in Oia and between Fira and Imerovigli.
  • Do both a boat and wine tour.
  • If budget allows do one or more of the private Santorini tours.
  • Rent a car for at least one day.
  • Visit Akrotiri, Pyrgos, Emborio, Kamari Beach, and Perissa Beach.
  • Buy a book from the most enchanting bookstore in the world.
  • Eat at more of these restaurants. Be sure to try a gyro at Lucky’s in Fira.

See Also



6 Questions and Comments

  1. Swimming at Ammoudi Bay

    Hi, Dave!

    Is Amoudi Bay a good place to swim? Is it worth going down the steps to explore this place?
    Alexandre

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      The swimming and cliff jumping is great. Lots of fun.

  2. Renting A Car for 1 or 2 Days in Santorini

    I’m so glad I stumbled across your site, it is so helpful! We are staying at Perivolas in Oia for 7 nights from 30Sep-06Oct. After reading through much of your site, it seems like renting a car for a day or two may be a good idea based upon our location and amount of time we have on the island. What places would you suggest visiting during those 2 days with a car and in any suggested order?
    Thank you!
    Kara

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Yes, renting a car for a day or two will be a great way to see the island but you don’t need it for the whole week.

      Places to visit while you have your rental:
      -drive the east coast starting east from Oia to Baxedes (not taking the main road back to Fira)
      -Pyrgos
      -Emborio
      -Akrotiri (the ancient historical sight)
      -Red Beach
      -Outdoor Cinema in Kamari
      -Lighthouse on southwestern tip
      Metaxy Mas Restaurant
      Good Heart Restaurant
      Yalos by The Sea Restaurant

      I would do a wine tour instead of visiting with your rental car but if you do go on your own most of the wineries lie in the area between Kamari and Megalochori. They are marked with a road sign that you’ll quickly recognize.

  3. Itinerary for Mykonos and Santorini

    Hi Dave!

    Your site is amazing and has been a tremendous help in planning my solo trip to Greece later this month. I’m going to Mykonos for a few days and then Santorni. I’ve written out a whole itinerary, including key Greek dishes I’d like to eat. Needless to say, I like to plan ahead. I’d like to get your thoughts on it if you can take a look. And suggestions you would strongly make? Or red flags? Let me know!

    About me: 25 year old American woman (New Yorker). Not really into the crazy party scene. I don’t even drink. But I do like hanging out at bars and dancing. I’m a big foodie. I’m also very physically fit and love hiking.

    Mykonos (21st – 24th)

    Day of 21 (arriving nighttime):

    Activity: Explore Mykonos Town (Matoyianni Street)
    Dinner: Bakalo Restaurant (Lakka, Mykonos Town)

    Day of 22:

    Activity: Platys Gialos Beach (maybe Paraga and Paradise as well)
    Lunch: Yialo-Yialo (Platis Gialos, Mykonos)
    Dinner: Katerina’s Bar for Sunset (Little Venice, Mykonos)

    Day of 23:

    Activity: Hike from Ano Mera to Lia beach to Kalafati
    Lunch: Paprika (Ano Mera)
    Dinner: Kiki’s Tavern

    Day of 24 (Morning):

    Activity: Ornos Beach (morning)
    Lunch: Markos Falafel
    Depart Mykonos at 1:50
    Hellenic Seaways to Santorini

    Santorini (24th – 28th)

    Day of 24 (arriving late afternoon):

    Activity: Explore Fira
    Lunch: Gyro at Lucky’s
    Activity: Sunset in Imerovigli at Skaros Rock
    Dinner: Anogi

    Day of 25:

    Activity: Ancient Thera, Perissa Beach
    Lunch: Tranquilo
    Dinner: Metaxy Mas Tavern
    Activity: Kamari Cinema at night

    Day of 26:

    Activity: Hike Fira to Oia
    Lunch: Roka
    Dessert: Lotza (in Oia)
    Activity: Koo Club or Tropical Bar

    Day of 27:

    Activity: Explore Fira, Ammoudi Bay
    Lunch: Ammoudi Fish Tavern
    Activity: Sunset in Oia

    Day of 28:
    WHATEVER

    Depart Santorini on 6:50 flight

    DISHES TO EAT

    Appetizers
    Courgette Balls (kolokithokeftedes)
    Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmadakia)
    Greek Salad (Choriatiki)
    Tzatziki
    Spanikopita
    Calamari

    Entrée
    Gyro
    Meatballs (Keftethes)
    Moussaka
    Souvlaki
    Octopus

    Dessert
    Balaklava
    Galaktoboureko
    Revani
    Loukoumades

    Thanks,
    Cherice

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Looks wonderful. Getting from Metaxy Mas to cinema you’ll need a car or ATV – not walking distance and taxis are hard to find.

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