Santorini in 1, 2, 3, and 7 Days

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by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 21, 2019

  • 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 of the local wineries.

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 to Athenian House in Imerovigli, Roka in Oia, Ammoudi Taverna in Ammoudi Bay (for fresh seafood right on the water), or Metaxi 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.

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12 Questions and Comments

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  1. When To Book Tours, Make Restaurant Reservations

    Hey Dave,

    We are staying in Imerovigli in Santorini from the end of September until after the beginning of October for our honeymoon. We are going to Athens for two days and then spending 7 days in Santorini. We were wondering if we need to make reservations for all the restaurants and tours now or if we would be able to pick and choose once we arrive? We didn’t know if everything would be booked by the time we got there.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      If there was a tour or restaurant that was very important then yes, reserve a month or more in advance. But for most tours you’d be fine booking a week or so in advance. For most restaurants a day or two in advance – or less.

  2. Best Wineries in Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    My wife and I will be in Santorini the first week of October. (Staying at the Grace Santorini.) We are planning to do some wine tasting. Any particular wineries you would recommend (someone suggested Domaine Sigalas)?

    Thanks in advance for your insights!

    – Michael

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Gavalas winery in Megalochori has the best wine. Art Space in Exo Gonia is the most interesting. Venetsanos has the best views.

  3. Travel Itinerary for Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos

    Hi Dave
    Thanks for the great information on this site. We are travelling from Boston to India in Jun 2018 and visiting Greece on our way back. Family of 2 adults and 2 kids (7 and 10 years old)

    We arrive at Athens Jul 13 @ 1:15 pm.
    We leave Athens for Boston on Jul 21 2:30 pm.

    Our plan is to stay in Athens for 2 nights (Jul 13, 14), travel to Santorini and stay there for 4 nights (Jul 15-18), travel to mykonos and stay there for 2 nights (Jul 19-20)

    We are looking to stay at Pantheon or Ramezzo in Santorini and Mykonos Princess in Mykonos.

    We would like to get your thoughts on our travel within Greece.
    1. What hotel would you recommend in Athens that is not too far from the airport. The main places we want to cover is the Acropolis.
    2. Easy to get to for a flight to Santorini on Jul 15.
    3. Since our return flight from Athens is at 2:30 pm, what is latest time that we should leave Mykonos to make it to Athens in adequate time?
    4. Are flights for Athens easier to get and with more frequency from Santorini vs Mykonos ? If yes, then we can go to Mykonos first and then Santorini and then return to Athens.
    5. Do we have the time to do a day trip to Naxos?
    6. Any other recommendations you may have?

    At this point, our travel plans for greece are quite flexible and I would appreciate your input before we make any reservations.

    Thanks and Happy Holidays,

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      1. You’ll see my favorite hotels on my Athens hotels page. I would not stay near the airport if you want to see the Acropolis. If you overnight in Athens on your final night (in transit from the islands through Athens) then staying at the Airport Sofitel is a good plan.
      3. I’d be sure to arrive in Athens at least 2.5 hours in advance of your departure. But even then it’s not a 100% that you arrive in time.
      4. Santorini does have more flights than Mykonos but both have plenty. You only need one flight, if Mykonos has a time that works for you then do that.
      5. Possible, but I’d spend that time in Santorini.

  4. 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?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

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

  5. 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!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      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)
      -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.

  6. 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:

    Depart Santorini on 6:50 flight


    Courgette Balls (kolokithokeftedes)
    Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmadakia)
    Greek Salad (Choriatiki)

    Meatballs (Keftethes)



    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

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